The Death of Progress

How we have stopped believing in the future.

Image for post
Image for post

Our Parents

My parents were baby-boomers, born in 1950. They grew up in the shadow of World War Two, their parents always talking about the war and the deprivation it had wrought. As white, middle-class people from educated backgrounds, the world was at their feet as they progressed into adulthood, — full employment, rising standards of living, educational opportunities and governments founded on the premise they would look after their citizens, from cradle to grave. Their generation was to become the richest in the history of humankind. Their experiences taught them that the world could be made, shaped and formed; gradual improvements would lead to an ever better world.

Us

We were brought up on a steady idea of linear progress, projecting visions of growth into the future, encouraged to think ‘where we see ourselves in ten years.’ We have learned to plan and to anticipate, to be ambitious and bold, to improve ourselves and develop our talents, in search of fulfillment as a manifest destiny. It was the middle class liberals who projected this vision onto the rest of society and made it the cornerstone of its socialization process, in schools, workplaces and media. Is it somewhat surprising that our firm faith in steady growth was always so ingrained into our very existence?

Stirring the depths

Funny that. How history always outpaces the conceptions of those at its helm. For the formulas of the 20th century no longer hold. Middle-ground liberals no longer relate to the dominant mood of a society in transition. Their expectations are a relic of the past and they cannot understand what is happening around them. Just look at the recent upheavals: Trump’s presidency and imminent re-election, Brexit and the rise of populism.

Reflecting on the future

The experience of recent history has awakened us — boom! — reality check.

Educator, author and knowledge seeker, committed to social change. Check out my book — DISPLACED — https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/43782238-displaced

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store