A short history of progress is a work by Canadianwriter and anthropologist Ronald Wright. In this book, he raised questions aboutthe glittering myth of progress.
This book first answers the question ofwhere we came from. We come from the trees, or the cave, or the prairie in Africa.We walked from history to now, from upright our bodies and drop stone tools, toremote control of nuclear weapons and travelling in space. We have beenprogressing along the road of three million years. However, through the carefulstudy of Mr. Wright, we also found many traps on the history road to progress.Society presents a situation where the poorare poorer and the rich are richer.
Progress has resulted in the concentrationof wealth and power. The fruits of progress have not been equitably distributedamong the public. Compared to the rich, the poor can only rely on the laborforce to obtain social resources, and even through the social educationchannels, they still cannot compare favorably with the descendants of the richwho receive excellent family education from a young age. Regardless of theprocess of society to what kind of level, the rich always accounted for thebest social resources.Humans have broken the nature. From theNeolithic era, the only way to upward growth is to obtain more resources.
Whether the over-exploitation of oil or the excessive emission of exhaustgases, people rob the resources from nature and send rubbish back to nature.Natural resources will be exhausted until someday.People whom unable to fly and withoutstrongholds, dominate the earth using the technology.
The technology isaddictive, self-reproduction and the main anti-passenger. From the moment ofthe development of the atomic bomb, technological progress is no longer just agood thing. The problems caused by technology must be solved by furthertechnology. There is no way to stop.These traps and improvements are very closelyassociated with each other.
They are all hiding on the road to progress and cannotbe evaded. The author said that those monuments like the stone statue in desertand jungle, pyramids, palaces and so on, are not only the great civilization,are actually progressive “tombstone.”Perhaps influenced by optimism orpassionate about the future of mankind, I am still cautionary about the ideas cameup with in this book. After all, we have to live in now, but also to move onand look forward to the future. However, in the process of the development ofcivilization, we must pay attention to some questions raised in “AShort History of Progress”: Why the great progress has been made inthe materialization of human society, the spiritual civilization has notachieved the same growth? Whether human can minimize the harm to society whenthey develop a variety of technologies and tools? Why is the effect ofimplementation is greatly reduced while so-called sustainable development isindeed impressive? The various questionsraised in the book are a tribute to utilitarian and fanatics.
It is also a goodwake-up call to rational people.The Chinese are very particular about thedoctrine of the mean, which is not biased, not easy to describe and everythingis appropriate. In the “A Short History of Progress”, we also see the author’spursuit of this moderation.
For those who excessively pursue the interests, theauthor criticized this “unforeseen ” approach without any comment. For thehunting 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 underthe cliff. It was too cruel of you. You are also too wasteful.
The developmentof civilization has indeed brought about many problems. However, the rootcauses are still the nature of human selfishness: greed and self-interest. Desire is endless. The fulfillment ofdesires will not lead to satisfaction, but it will prompt the emergence of moredesired.
We are in the desire to promote progress. However, all this so-called “progress”should lead us to where?Urbanization, the advent of the state, thecomplication of society… We embarked on the developed civilization. Humansociety is more prosperous and more vulnerable, losing its natural stabilityfoundation.When we are lingering for the glory ofannihilation, we may not think that we are just another Mayan reincarnation.When we marveled at paleontology, we might not think the lazy of dinosaurs whetherflowing in our blood.
Chinese people are not suitable for readingthis book. This is not only because China has the largest and most faithfulprogressive believers (which are wired but true), but also because we are adeveloping country and development is our absolute principle.