This week we will take a look at the idea of progress. Don’t mind that this posting is falsely advertised in regards to its time stamped title. We are going to get a bit abstract, so if that isn’t your kind of thing, turn away now.
But progress and that ever-eluding human ambition seem to be always on my mind and might even find its way into yours here and there. I couldn’t say, as I have never been in your mind. This is your chance to take a glimpse into mine, though this will be metaphorically similar to an iceberg. I can only let so much out at a time.
But moving forward- progress. Get it? See what I did there? Anyway, I may be alone in this but despite progress allegedly being something involving the future, it is really only made up of the past. People guess at what futures may hold and despite many of them being rather educated and plausible, they cannot be known. A person can look back at all they’ve done up to the moment in which they stand and claim that progress is inevitable from there on out. Those people are usual idiots or fools, and not the good kind either.
The problem with probabilities as I see them, is that they don’t account for the improbable. Now this may be my madness or just my faint and fuzzy memory but to the best of my recollection, improbability is one of the key factors in any personal progress that I’ve made. Every leap forward was only vaguely planned, at best.
With that being said, I seem to be at a point in my life that I generally approve of.
Now with that being said, I should profess that in no way am I content. I itch and burn for more and more and more, and those loosely defined intentions do not show the exact way onward. They hardly even suggest which way to go and if they do, it seems to be wrapped in some sort of infuriating riddle. There are projects upon which I work and I have a good job and things along that nature, but if there is any wish of mine that were to be fulfilled, that would be to never be defined as something so single minded as an occupation.
Still, I don’t know how I wish to be defined, at least not exactly. I do know that occurrences that are considered likely, I also consider to be boring. If my memory serves me correctly, which it doesn’t always, the steps I’ve taken in life were not predictable. Many of the great things were unexpected, while many of my tragedies could have been predicted, except for the true tragedies of course. Pop culture has turned that word into a deformed bastard of its former self.
So what does this mean? Are we all powerless to control our fates? Is progress an idea that only exists within the mind and has no play in reality? It is not my place to provide any sort of answers on such things. Ipso facto… that is exactly what I am going to try and do.
You see, I really rather despise the idea of fate. Whether that is just conditioning from my own personal past will have no effect on my argument against it. Fate is for the lazy. I believe firmly, no matter how foolish, that existence is totally moldable. That’s not to say such a task of metaphysical arts and crafts is easily accomplished. Nor do I think such a deed could be conquered by a single perspective. I just think that ultimately, it can be done.
I suppose the entirety of this half-assed essay could be summed into a simple and very common phrase, that being ‘I don’t know’. But I ask you, where is the elegance and sport in that?
You see, I believe, in each moment as it passes, that existence is the smallest of things. If I were to elaborate, I would confirm this by asking what is it that you truly experience? We’d all like to say the past but that is gone as soon as it passes from the present. The only fossils left behind are memories which can and most certainly will be altered based upon the present in accordance with where one would selfishly like the future to go. It is far more common for one to remember what they want to remember than what they need to remember. Further, I will be so bold as to say that what you want and need to remember is still different from what actually happened as each of those moments originally passed.
Then there’s the future. Everyone is talking about it and yet none of those talking are living like they give any kind of damn. From the tiniest deed to the most massively dire of straits, almost everyone around lives each moment based upon some made promise of some made-up history. Every little sheep tightening their own chains around their own ankles, each one chewing away all that is left of their lives.
But I know this because I often live it. Despite the reputation, a hypocrite would know more about what they are criticizing than he who does not participate.
But all of this doesn’t solve the issue, does it? Is there any such thing as progress? Which moments of time would such a thing even be based off? The past is at best a bent moment of the truth. The present is near immeasurable and far beyond capture. The future is bloated off of the illusions of the other two but is always beyond imagination.
Perhaps it is in that unpredictability that the truth resides. The idea that we will never really know why and that the mystery is that there is no mystery. It can be a terrifying proposal and I’ve spent many a sleepless hour being afraid of such things, even since I was a kid. Trying to grasp how small and insignificant you truly are can cripple anyone with fear. At first.
If you think of all that is that you don’t know and how small and fragile your existence is, you might, with the right amount of madness, see a tremendous amount of freedom.
And when you begin to grasp such meaninglessness, you understand that if there is a force in the universe that is something like fate, it probably isn’t concerned with you. And that my friends, is freedom beyond imagination and for those with the right kind of madness, that sounds like an opportunity to make yourself into something colossal amongst all that tininess.
So is there such a thing as progress? I would have to say yay but only if thou embraces a good bit of thy insanity.