I am inspired to do this post by Christopher Knowles and his blog post on progress as myth, reality, and as a subverted ideal.
America serves as the cauldron in which all of the many forms of "progress" that Chris has outlined in his blog post linked above. Here is one example of "American Progress" as seen in more genteel times...
Notice that even in this painting we have some very disturbing images of "progress". The Native Americans are pushed out, so robbing the natives of their land is "progress". The march of technology and the means to mold and shape the Earth are seen as "progress". There is much more, and this in a supposed gentler time.
Today progress is often seen in the light of technological advance and that will be the focus of this post. Chris has touched upon the idea of transhumanism and the notion that humanity will one day move beyond human. It seems like an oxymoron to me. Is this what awaits people in the future?
Progress has been more and more seen within the idea of scientific progress and technological advance. The end result is that humanity moves more and more away from being human. Computers allow us to communicate, as alternate identities, with others, that are doing the same and we have no need to get out of bed to do so, let alone leave the house.
The idea of technological advance tends to isolate people and simulate reality. TV's move from standard to digital to High Definition to 3D. Communication means that people need not interact on a personal, face to face, way.
This is the reality of the future to many...
From the movie "Surrogates" which allow you to "inhabit" a machine that will go about the business of your normal life while you lay in a recliner hooked up to machines.
In recent months I have come across the work of John Lamb Lash. He is the author of the book "Not in His Image" and has a website worthy of a look here.
John's work presents a radical view of Gnosticism and their teachings. His work has illustrated to me that progress for humanity is void if we do not progress along with our world, our bodies, our minds, and our "spirit". Progress should be holistic.
The march of progress toward a technological singularity has been commented upon by many. One may ask what appeal there may be to transhumanism and the technological replacement of our bodies/minds and the acceptance of simulated reality over the real thing. To be sure there are some things that appeal like extended "life", freedom from disease, etc. But the unreality of the result is so far removed from what is natural that it is still hard to imagine why people would become cyborgs, willingly.
One result of the transhumanist agenda is that diseases are not cured, just managed (and even that is questionable) by medication. Why waste time curing the body if we will one day embody a robot? Of course there is also a monetary and power angle to this as well while we occupy this time of economic rape and pillage.
There is also the willingness by many to utilize the resources of the Earth without limit or regard. Witness the lunacy of the current candidates for the office of President.
She wants to do away with the EPA. Corporations, of course, would NEVER just dump toxic waste and poison us and the environment, so why worry...
Oh I forgot about Love Canal. And others...
We should not go the radical Earth First agenda but need to be mindful that the Earth provides for us and should be protected to some extent from the ravages that man can visit upon it.
John Lamb Lash in his work has an explanation for this apparent desire by many to accept a simulated reality and the transhuman agenda of a cyborg future where technology is king. That explanation involves the Gnostic Archons.
In his view the Archons are inorganic beings that cannot exist in our organic biological environment, except for short periods.
Which does have a relation to the so-called "Grey Aliens" and the "alien agenda" which seems to serve no purpose and has no rational solution.
The Archons do not operate in the same way that we do, they do not have the same thought process and as such they cannot be understood fully by our reasoning. The Gnostics, according to Lash, warned quite explicitly of this during their time. This is why they called the Demiurge insane.
I have went a little ways here but a proper background is necessary for you to fully grasp the idea and appeal of this "march of progress" and salvation by technology.
The Archons are masters of simulation and being inorganic they are something like a machine intelligence, an AI if you will. Technology has offered a doorway to this influence that has never before been seen. The Archons seek to corrupt humanity and the link between humanity and our own home, Earth. Technology and transhumanism offers them a robust way of doing this.
I have had several conversations with people on my radio show which talk about the influence upon the Earth and humanity of a machine like intelligence, but the most explicit was with Richard Sauder...
I don't want to attempt to summarize the work of Lash any further but will encourage you to read his book and check out his website for further information.
What he does present is a reasonable solution to the lunacy we see in our world today, the drive for technological "transcendence" and the capitulation to corporate domination.
I will have John Lamb Lash on my radio show on December 23, 2011, in a recorded interview in which we discussed many of these issues. I encourage you to listen. It is food for thought, if nothing else.