Thursday, June 14, 2012

Inevitable Crash of Progress

Most of my readers will be able to call examples of this trajectory easily to mind, and a fair number will have experienced at least a small part of it themselves. I’ve come to think, though, that in the years immediately ahead of us, it’s going to be almost impossible to miss. Plenty of belief systems will have to deal with repeated disconfirmation, but the one that’s likely to get hit the hardest, and may well produce the biggest crop of pathological behavior, is the established religion of the modern industrial world, the belief in the inevitability and goodness of progress. I suspect, rather, that the refusal to recognize and deal with the end of progress will become a massive social force in the decade or so ahead of us, and that the great divide in American society during those years will not be the one between left and right, or between rich and poor, but between those who have accepted history’s verdict on our fantasy of perpetual progress, on the one hand, and those who cling to the fantasy despite all disconfirmations, on the other. Since refusing to recognize the fact of decline is a good way to get clobbered over the head by one or another of that fact’s manifestations—a point that the inhabitants of coastal North Carolina are likely to find out the hard way one of these days—those who choose the path of denial may be in for a very rough road indeed.
Archdruid Report

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