|We have defined “progress” in
the warped materialistic
world of the USA as only quantifiable objects. This leaves
the most important things that are non-quantifiable out.
We speak of progress in terms of only material things.
As long as we do that the term ‘‘progress” does not
really mean “progress.” The word has been bastardized.
I am delighted to see rises in the standard of living.
That means the terrible material poverty of so many
of the poor in the world is being raised. That is
wonderful. I am delighted to see wealth as measured
in MANUFACTURED goods, rise.
But to use simply material things to define ‘‘progress”
is misleading. I am told the motivation for people to
work is money. That’s true only so far. Then comes
what that money is used for. Generally speaking I find
the goal most people are working for is love.
The family man who brings home his paycheck to his
wife is working for love. The mother who cooks for
her family after a day at her job is doing it for
love. The father who is paying much of his hard earned
money for the formal schooling of his son or daughter
in higher learning does it for love. The church members
who give or work at their churches are doing it for love.
Why the church people are in the churches, is to worship a
God who is Love according to scripture.
Money is not really what most are working for. Money
is a means to enhance the welfare of the ones the workers
love. The motivation is not money. The motivation is
love. Love is what most people have as their goal.
People are chasing love, getting it or giving it.
Now if love is the goal and motivation of the
majority, the measuring of manufactured goods
is not a measurement of true progress. I would
suggest technology and increases in manufactured
goods are only aids to progress. They are defined
as Progress because they are quantifiable (touchable)
and what is really more important, love, is not
Since what most people seem to be after is love and
expressions of it, varieties of it, why is the GNP
measured in material aids to happiness, and not the
the successful loves that give people happiness?
I suggest we should have as well as a GNP (Gross National
Product) what could be called the LCP (Love! Character National
Product) the GNP (Gross products) may be going up, but the
LCP (Love! Character production) is going down. We seem to be
making progress in things, but we don’t seem to be making
progress in the intangibles that satisfy and are the real goals
in life, like love and family.
Take for your consideration some divorce statistics,
children not brought up with their biological fathers
statistics, crime statistics, and increase in dope statistics
(try the new thing, “Meth”). You could get some
highly interesting statistics. There are others statistics.
I wish we could settle on something sensible as
to include more non-quantifiable productions, since they
are what most people obtain satisfaction in life
from as well as measure the quality of their lives by.
It seems we are making progress in quantifiable aids/services
to life, but we are not making progress in what is
important in life. So don’t measure secondary comforts
as primary progress. I bet there’s not a mother of a son on
“crack” or “meth” out there who wouldn’t give up her
refrigerator to get her son cured and off it.
Don’t hand me that tangible, quantifiable goods and a little
increase in services is the kind of progress people want.
Technology offers many of the secondary things people have to
compromise for, because they can’t get the primary spiritual
and non-tangible desires they place first.
My suggestion is the next time someone says, “progress,”
ask “progress?” Then give them heck. Isn’t that where
the last 100 years has made strides? Making more mess in wars
and ruined lives than you can imagine. But we might paraphrase
Jesus: What is the profit of gaining new technology if it costs
your happiness and loses you either loved ones or your soul?
Let us recall the views of John Ruskin in his book, “Unto
This Last,” where he comments: “That country is the richest
which nourishes ... noble and happy human beings.” The amount
of miserable ones in this wealthy country is to me beyond
belief, while character words like “noble” are forgotten
concepts, long since forgotten in American thinking.
More’s the pity. That is an example of how character
production (LCP) is sliding down. The good old words
of character are vanishing, shrinking, diminishing.
America may seem rich to shallow thinkers: the literal,
the materialistic and the insensate too callous to be touched
by spiritual awareness. But the type of riches that matter, the
quality of life in a life, that is always the most important
factor, the cloud that leads in the wilderness, is our national
vision of an *America The Beautiful* full of good people making good
lives and doing good things. It is the same vision the Pilgrims
had. Only now much has fallen, and whatever has been debased
has to be RE-ACHIEVED. We must and shall reinstate the Great,
endeavoring to find newer, different and creative ways for these
times. Such is our challenge. Such is always the challenge of
America! What is to be your response?
Dr. James MacLeod may be contacted through the Neill Macaulay Foundation.