Essay No. 169:
The World Does Not Progress-It Merely Changes: The saying is clothed in a bit of confusion. It contends that the world merely changes but does not progress. In the event of change, the world registers many changes in diverse fields-positive or negative. Change mostly pushes the world forward and it witnesses a chain of new discoveries as a result of research and development going on round-the-clock in the economically developed countries.
Research also is initiated in the less developed countries, which owing to financial and technical constraints, is handicapped considerably. The cycle of change moves, clamping new changes in diverse fields of life. Is it not progress? Change is associated with progress. Can progress be isolated form change? How would it justify one to say that the world has changed but not progressed? It is rather difficult to answer.
The advances made in the field of transportation, medicine, health, knowledge speak louder than rhetorics that the world has witnessed a great transformation of the highest order. In the field of health the discovery of antibiotics has reduced the death rate and increased the longevity of human life.
The surgery leading to the transplant of human heart, replacement of defective lungs with artificial ones, speaks volumes about the progress has made in this filed. Man has greatly succeeded in reducing physical distances through fast-moving vehicles, aero planes, cargo ships, trains. It is the result of scientific progress made on a vast scale.
What about the space discoveries to probe into the secrets of different spatial bodies? Would it not be called progress? Would it marely be branded as change? The world has moved form a lower to a higher level and that is progress. The progress, of course, is the result of change. There can be no progress without a change. Change and progress are complementary to each other.
It is somewhat strange to say that the world changes but progress not. It involves a confusing sort of logic. If world is capable of changing, it is equally capable of progressing. The seeds of progress lie in change, which is the most established law of life.
Hence if change occurs, it causes acceleration to progress. All the same, it is not certain whether the change is good or bad for man. The discovery of atomic energy has enabled man to manufacture atom bombs, which if detonated, could push man to eternal sleep for ever. It is a double-edged weapon. It can be used for construction or for destruction.
It is man’s own outlook that is to decide about his own fate. It needs a positive change in the thinking of man. The fault lies not in atomic energy but the blame is to rest on own species. Let man correct his own psychology to save world form extinction. The atomic energy signifies a great stride and development in the field of physics. It falls however, under the category of progress.
However, there is a bad change in the attitude of man towards his non-material needs of life. He is only after his body and not after his soul and other aesthetic urges. Man has made tremendous progress in different material fields but has lagged behind miserably in catering to the needs of his soul.
Gain in one filed is loos in the other. He is a slave of materialism. He has reduced himself to the status of a mere machine. His finer sentiments remain buried under the layer of materialism. It defies the concept of progress in the real sense, because it is one sided. Total progress is missing in the life of man.
The presentation of the foregoing facts leads to the conclusion that progress cannot take place without a change. Progress and change move hand in hand. Hence it is somewhat difficult to agree to the proposition at hand. If there is change there is progress. Change without progress is not understandable.
The World Does Not Progress-It Merely Changes: According to the proposition, the world merely undergoes changes without making any progress. It is a mind jolting type of proposition, involving an in-depth analysis of it. There is much truth, the proposition has to unfold to the contemplative.
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Since the outbreak of the industrial revolution, the world has been split into developed and underdeveloped countries. The fruits of economic progress largely remain confined to the developed countries. They have less than one-third of world’s population but less than one-third of resources of the world. The income disparity between the developed and the underdeveloped continues to increase over time.
The developed are getting more economic affluent while the underdeveloped experience exacerbation of poverty, hunger and privation. The rich are getting richer, and the poor becoming poorer with the passage of time. The technologies for the exploitation of natural resources have changed, facilitating better productive use of resources but the uneven distribution of wealth between the rich and the poor countries, has swelled poverty in the latter.
The technologies have changes, but it has not brought about sizeable diminution in poverty in the poor countries. Can it be considered progress? No! Progress occurs when its fruit are equitably shared by the rich and the poor. This means that methods are equitably shared by the rich and the poor.
This means that methods of productions have changed but the fruits of progress have remained largely uneven. There is no real progress. It is progress of the already rich and poverty of the already poor.
Same trend is applicable to the domestic economy. With the attainment of high growth rate, the poverty maintains a rising trend. The rich, the affluent roll in prosperity, while a large segment of populations rolls in poverty and its attendant evils. Would you call it progress, when the poor are made to lick the lacerated wounds of poverty, while the rich, the affluent continue to fill in the coffers of riches?
This shows there is a change in the level of development, but the basic malaise remains the same. Progress can take place when it leads to a change in the economic living of the poor. This does not constitute progress. Progress should be for the whole and not for the part.
Warfare technologies have changed. The conventional weapons are replaced with the modern sophisticated weaponry. The US economy largely depends on the sale of weapons to the developing countries. The latter have failed to resolve the outstanding disputes with their neighbors like India and Pakistan. A lion’s share of their budgetary resources are gulped by defence, while the social sectors like education, health, housing starve for want to adequate resources.
The progress of defence means the unprogress of the common man. While sophisticated changes have taken place in the design and manufacture of weapons, the basic economic issues like poverty gripping the poor countries, have at the utmost been handled in a cosmetic way. Poverty remains number one problem, but it receives a scant attention of the developed countries like Iraq and Afghanistan, to realize certain geo-strategic objectives.
The US is spending colossal amount on war activities but poverty in the poor countries does not catch its attention. In short, man carries the evil instincts with himself. The progress made under the conditions cited above can at the most be considered a deception. This proves that the world does register changes but does not make the real progress.