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Offlinehongomon
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Registered: 04/14/02
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True Progress
    #654294 - 05/30/02 08:21 PM (14 years, 6 months ago)

Pinky called me in another thread on my use of the term "true progress," and rightly so. Progress means different things to different people, and so then, must true progress.

I like the word "progress." It connects more with the journey than with the arrival. Let me try to clarify what I consider "true progress."

True progress is made when the environment is not overtaxed in the process. When more business decisions which concern the environment are made--not based on the maximum leeway allowed by law but on sound principles of ecology, true progress is made.

True progress will see profit lose, more and more often, when it goes up against the needs of our environment.

True progress will see more people treat the concept of profit like a drug--which in moderation can be nice, great even, but whose destructive potential for abuse is well known and discussed often.

True progress will see the lessons in sharing that we learn as children survive intact into our adulthood, where they will take on a deeper meaning.

It's about percentiles, and which way the scale tips. We'll never have a perfect world, without those things that run counter to true progress. There will always be theft, fraud, and violence, and innocent people suffering from them.

But like I said, progress is not an arrival, it's a journey. It's a long journey, that goes on as long as we do.

A few hundred years ago, history brought the Western world to a phase where we were compelled to explore in no casual way the concepts of freedom, of inalienable human rights. Great men and great women off all classes entered into the bare-knuckle match with their reality, and we have them to thank for the principles of democracy that came from their struggle, often at the cost of their lives. That was true progress.

But we've rested long enough. The world can't keep consoling itself with yesterday's victories.

hongomon


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OfflinePhred
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Re: True Progress [Re: hongomon]
    #654350 - 05/30/02 08:57 PM (14 years, 6 months ago)

hongomon writes:

Let me try to clarify what I consider "true progress."

I'm still waiting for a definition from you. You haven't even defined "progress", let alone "true progress". You could substitute the phrase "true ice cream cone" in your post everywhere "true progress" appears, and it would be every bit as enlightening. But, from the tone of the phrasing you use, I'm guessing that you are using the word "progress" as a synonym for "profit".

While I await a clarification, let me post a few reactions to your comments.

True progress is made when the environment is not overtaxed in the process.

Since man cannot exist at all without altering the environment (even by simply picking berries or scooping fish from a stream), it becomes necessary to define what "overtaxing" the environment means. Fuzzy terms sound nice, but are useless when it comes to making policy. Is it okay to eliminate a few species in order to save millions of lives, for example?

True progress will see profit lose, more and more often, when it goes up against the needs of our environment.

Same question as above. Who decides when profits take a back seat to the environment? Remember that ALL human activity requires a profit or human existence ceases. A corollary question -- what is the point of having an environment if there are no humans to appreciate it?

True progress will see more people treat the concept of profit like a drug--which in moderation can be nice, great even, but whose destructive potential for abuse is well known and discussed often.

Every human activity has a "destructive potential for abuse". The profit motive (combined with private property) actually leads to a better treatment of the environment.

... we were compelled to explore in no casual way the concepts of freedom, of inalienable human rights.

And, as a human, I have to say that HUMAN rights take precedence over those of the environment. As a rational human, I will not clear cut an acre of land just to find the perfect Christmas tree, but neither will I refrain from killing and eating the last living specimen of a Dodo bird if I am trapped starving on a desert island and that Dodo is the only food available to me. I would feel bad about it, but I'd do it anyway.

Great men and great women off all classes entered into the bare-knuckle match with their reality...

The difference is, the men and women of that time UNDERSTOOD reality. Too many people today don't. They believe that "wishing things were so" will make them so. It would be nice if we could all survive without affecting the environment, but REALITY does not allow that.

The world can't keep consoling itself with yesterday's victories.

The world does worse than that, it DISCARDS yesterday's victories. See the increasing restrictions on individual freedom in the US as a prime example.

pinky





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Offlinehongomon
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Re: True Progress [Re: Phred]
    #654497 - 05/30/02 09:57 PM (14 years, 6 months ago)

Forget about your policies, Pinky. I'm making a moral case out of all of this, and moral decisions are made by individuals. Much has been learned about homeostasis. The decision to consider that knowlege and technology, or to disregard it because it's still too fuzzy for our liking is ours to make.

Your obtuseness is very trying, Pink one. When you say things like, "It would be nice if we could all survive without affecting the environment, but REALITY does not allow that," or "Remember that ALL human activity requires a profit or human existence ceases," you betray your determination to remain deluded. It's frightening to think that humans, for all their ingenuity and resourcefullness, are incapable of NOT fucking up their planet.

Between fatalism and idealism, I'll take idealism.

hongomon


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OfflinePhred
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Re: True Progress [Re: hongomon]
    #654923 - 05/31/02 06:20 AM (14 years, 6 months ago)

hongomon writes:

Forget about your policies, Pinky.

Which "policies" are those? What makes my "policies" worth forgetting and yours worth remembering? Exactly what ARE your "policies", anyway? Maybe it's time we heard them.

I'm making a moral case out of all of this, and moral decisions are made by individuals.

I am making a moral case as well. My position is that it is MORAL to change the environment in order to allow human survival.

Your obtuseness is very trying, Pink one.

How odd. I feel the same about yours.

When you say things like, "It would be nice if we could all survive without affecting the environment, but REALITY does not allow that," or "Remember that ALL human activity requires a profit or human existence ceases," you betray your determination to remain deluded.

You are the one who is deluded if you refuse to acknowledge those facts. I don't make statements like that to score debating points, but to try to remind you of the nature of REALITY and humankind's relationship to it.

It's frightening to think that humans, for all their ingenuity and resourcefullness, are incapable of NOT fucking up their planet.

Many things about existence are frightening to contemplate. Sadly, refusing to acknowledge them doesn't make them go away. As for "fucking up the planet", define your terms.

Finally, remember that this entire discussion is taking place in the context of the supposed evils of the "religion" of "capitalism/consumerism". I contend that Capitalism (and all its components, including private ownership of property) is less harmful to the environment than other forms of government, Statism in particular. It is well known that the environment suffers to a FAR greater degree in Statist countries than in Capitalist ones. Again, I don't say this to score debating points -- it is easily verifiable, but no one on this message board ever bothers to do so.

Between fatalism and idealism, I'll take idealism.

Realism is not fatalism. But, as it happens, I too am an idealist. My ideals, however, acknowledge reality.

pinky


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Offlinehongomon
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Re: True Progress [Re: Phred]
    #658240 - 06/02/02 02:56 AM (14 years, 6 months ago)

Pinky writes:
"My position is that it is MORAL to change the environment in order to allow human survival."

My position is that human survival is contingent on our ability to maintain a healthy environment. We have not shown an ability to maintain a healthy environment. What we have shown is increased consumption, increased pollution, increased destruction of the environment, both land and sea. Either we find the ability, or eventually our environment will cease to provide for us. That much, at least is simple.

Unfortunately, that much is also very disheartening. It's a tough one, because it's so easy to get turned off to the whole thing the more one understands what we're up against. But we can't cut a deal. There's no way besides awareness to arrive at possible solutions.

People are doing it, and that's honestly the level that I think the greatest changes can take place, at the individual level. Crazy that my government is so much more intent on getting us to rally behind our warlords. Bush and his boys are so caught up in their crazy game that they're completely missing the bus.

You know, it's a good thing to go out and let life seduce us now and then.

hongomon



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