Sunday, April 5, 2009

Lusting after Progress

So dazzled are our Masters of the Universe with the beeps and blinking lights of their manifold electronic toys that they do not even realize that the Bitch Goddess, Progress, is leading us into the grave. She’s a clamorous whore who demands that life and nature be offered up as burnt offerings on the gurney that is her altar.

They are always striving out for the New Frontier just beyond the horizon, for the dawn that never breaks, for the Age of Aquarius that is still born.

They equate progress with change, any change, even if it’s decay and decline. They worship her even if it makes life more wretched in the belief that the putrescence that engulfs them is a product of Divine Providence.

They are comforted by their belief that progress is a straight line ascending upward towards a heavenly golden age when, in fact, progress is a Bell Curve, complete with ascent, apogee and descent. The sad truth is that as “progress” advances, there is a diminishing return in the change each step “forward” effects on our lives.

· The railroad affected a profound change by jump starting the Industrial Revolution with all of its attendant misery. Products could be transported cheaply so factories could be built anywhere. Before the advent of rail transport, they had to be built next to waterways because that was the cheapest means of transportation available.
· The automobile affected another radical change because towns could spread outwards from the rail lines and urban sprawl became possible.
· Telegraphs and telephones made instant communication possible and reflective thought unnecessary.
· Television destroyed community and family as society fragmented into multiple screens.

Alas, since then, the changes affected by new technologies have been superficial, at best. Everyone touts the computer as the instrument that brought us the Information Age. They told us more information would bring increased prosperity by giving managers more detailed idata to work with. Unfortunately, nobody had anything new to say, so this “information” was little more than a raging torrent of trivia. And, judging from our economic meltdown, the information the computer fed to management sucked.

Optimism is their religion. Like Little Orphan Annie they burst into song at the drop of a hat, their lyrics proclaiming that tomorrow will be a better day, that tomorrow the sun will shine, that tomorrow will clear away the cobwebs and sorrows.

Little do they know that Miss Hannigan has changed the locks on the orphanage.

--Belacqua Jones

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