The Progress Meme

Proposition: the “progress” meme suggests that all bad things are aboriginal to us all, in all of our pasts, and so natural, evolved, and to be expected, while only the latest fashions are “good” and “moral.” In this way, perhaps the concept annihilates itself, by placing all bad things in “nature” and making all good things “artificial.”

Someone on Twitter expressed how sad it was to ponder all the closeted people of the past with never a glimpse of freedom of sexuality – my words – and absolutely, but this view is a little like history is only the history of our colonies, sad to ponder anyone around here for the last few hundred years, certainly – but there have also been times and places, even now, where they would cry for us. But then, the view expressed wasn’t unheard of, that it’s sort of a binary, present good, past bad.

The progress meme, right?

I’ve been chasing this idea all my stupid life!

Suddenly strikes me as fascist propaganda, this awful, bigoted past – when it is only lately, a hundred or two years that this brutal, near global conformism has been doing this, thinking it has to kill practically everyone. Isn’t the present nightmare all of more relevant, salient, and right in front of our faces?

Right? But, to the point, wouldn’t these Nazi sorts want you to think that about the past? That hating you is natural and forever? Normal? Even if it’s a few thousand years, all of Bible times, all of history or something – that’s still all modern propaganda more than it is “nature,” is what I’m saying.

If the concept includes its opposite, and most do, if as I’m trying to say here, “progress” must be predicated on an awful, “natural” past and so destroys itself, reinforcing the validity of the awfulness as “natural,” maybe even evolved – then that is the entire point. The point after that is that if the concept has all that, logically and inherently – then you bloody well know it too. Your brain does. The harder we scream “progress” at ourselves the louder our brains hear “the bad things are natural.” We only talk about the side of things we can or want to – but your brain knows everything, the totality of all the concepts. Right?

Philosophers? Right?

 . . . where this is heading: the greatest trick the Devil ever pulled was convincing people he exists. Right? “Awful is natural,” you can hear the fictional bastard whispering it; I mean, your brain can.

I am quite certain this wheel has already been invented, I expect it’s well known that the toxic manifest destiny grows out of something like “progress,” be it only their vapid Christian “spiritual” progress. But this is not the point, what we think of others, what thoughts “progress” produces about other peoples, but the thoughts that the progress meme engenders regarding ourselves. The very suite of “progress” ideas that makes the Indigenous less than human to some people allows those same people the “lapse” into ancient, brutal war behaviours themselves.

Well, again, this is the totality, the dark side of the concept, so to everyone caught in the progress meme – well again, not to everyone perhaps, until we look – but to all of our brains. The status quo lives in this function, somehow. It’s already in your brain, so it’s not as shocking as it seems it ought to be, perhaps.

I am going to need some time to integrate this idea, the progress meme has ruled my life, and now I see it’s what ironically let’s us never change and grow and clearly we need to stop thinking about futures and destinations and goals and just settle down and try to live as though this might really be it, all there is.

Jeff

June 26th., 2021

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