A short history of progress is a work by Canadian writer and
anthropologist Ronald Wright. In this book, he raised questions about the
glittering myth of progress.
This book first answers the question of where we came from. We come
from the tree, the cave and the prairie in Africa. We walked from history to
now, from upright our bodies and lost stone tools, to remote control of nuclear
weapons, and travelling in space. Three million years later, we have been
making progress along the road. However, for the history, through the careful
study of Mr. Wright, we also found many traps on the road to progress.
Society presents a situation where the poor are poorer and the rich
are richer. Progress has resulted in the concentration of wealth and power. The
fruits of progress have not been equitably distributed. Compared to the rich,
the poor can only rely on the labor force to obtain social resources, and even
through the social education channels, they still cannot compare favorably with
the descendants of the rich who receive excellent family education from a young
age. Regardless of the process of society to what kind of level, the rich always
accounted for the best social resources.
Humans have claimed nature. Since the Neolithic era, the only way to
upward growth is to obtain more resources. Whether the over-exploitation of oil
or the excessive emission of exhaust gases, people ask for the resources from nature
and send rubbish to nature. Natural resources will be exhausted, like the real estate
that can be the instant collapse collapsed.
Since the invent of the technology, people who are unable to fly and
without strongholds, dominate the earth. The technology is addictive,
self-reproduction and the main anti-passenger. From the moment of the
development of the atomic bomb, technological progress is no longer just a good
thing. The problems caused by technology must be solved by further technology.
There is no way to stop the machine chariot.
These traps and improvements are very closely associated with each
other. They are all hiding at the end of the road to progress and cannot be
evaded. All human history and civilization chariots have been brought in,
almost without exception. The author said that those monuments like the stone
statue in desert and jungle, pyramids, palaces and so on, are not only the
great civilization, are actually progressive “tombstone.”
Perhaps influenced by optimism or passionate about the future of
mankind, I am still cautionary about the ideas put forward in this book. After
all, we have to live now, but also to move on and look forward to the future.
However, in the process of the development of civilization, we must pay
attention to some questions raised in “A Short History of
Progress”: Why the great progress has been made in the
materialization of human society, the spiritual civilization has not achieved
the same growth? Whether human can minimize the harm to society when they develop
a variety of technologies and tools? Why is the effect of implementation is
greatly reduced while so-called sustainable development is indeed
impressive? The various questions raised
in the book are a tribute to utilitarian and fanatics. It is also a good
wake-up call to rational people.
The Chinese are very particular about the doctrine of the mean,
which is not biased, not easy to describe and everything is appropriate. In the
“A Short History of Progress”, we also see the author’s pursuit of this
moderation. For those who excessively pursue the interests, the author
criticized this “unforeseen ” approach without any comment. For the hunting of
primitive humans, if you are hungry, you can kill a mammoth, or two. However,
if you kill the whole group mammoths, and let the meat rotting under the cliff.
It was too cruel of you. You are also too wasteful. The development of
civilization has indeed brought about many problems. However, the root causes
are still the nature of human selfishness: greed and self-interest.
Desire is endless. The fulfillment of desires will not lead to satisfaction,
but it will prompt the emergence of more desired. We are in the desire to
promote progress. However, all this so-called “progress” should lead us to
Urbanization, the advent of the state, the complication of society…
We embarked on the developed civilization. Human society is more prosperous and
more vulnerable, losing its natural stability foundation.
When we are lingering for the glory of annihilation, we may not
think that we are just another Mayan reincarnation after Liangzhu. When we
marveled at numerous paleontology, we might not think the lazy of dinosaurs
flowing in our blood.
Chinese people are not suitable for reading this book. This is not
only because China has the largest and most faithful progressive believers
(which are wired but true), but also because we are a developing country and development
is our absolute principle.