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  • Writer's pictureJ.F. Skubis

The Nature of Progress

Progress is to move forward or onward in space or time. I’ve always thought it odd how people acknowledge progress in many areas but fail to see it in relation to themselves, their family, and lineage. Now I don’t mean in financial terms or quality of life as it stands. Those things are quite common to see. Generally speaking a lot of people want to improve upon and have it better than their parents had it and so on. I mean in terms of character, the mental and moral qualities distinctive to an individual.

Once you hit an approximate age, it varies for everyone, you have the opportunity to recognize character flaws not only in yourself, but those around you, including your parents. Often as children we have this admiration for our parents that allows us only to see them through rose colored glasses. Due to our lack of experience in the world, little do we know, our parents are humans just as anyone else. If you’re lucky you have parents who embody sound qualities, though no one is perfect. When this approximate age is reached you start to develop a different perspective on things. Maybe your parents aren’t quite as you originally saw them. You start to get more of the full picture and you begin to understand how their behavior and ways in which they approach life have affected you and your family situation. Ideally you would recognize the shortcomings of the behavior of those who reared you and improve upon them. This is often not the case. Somehow the poor habits are handed down to the next generation and they are accepted, sometimes consciously, sometimes not. Sadly, this can happen even when the children of said parents vow that they will never be like that, never succumb to the same traps and negative cycles they watched their parents endure and proffer.

We as individuals need to examine our behavior and determine, “Is this who I want to be?” We’re always fed the notion that we need to make the world a better place. How is that done? The majority of what you see when people try to achieve this is external and it’s going about it from the wrong end. I’ve encountered so many people who think that we need to save the world, we don’t need to save the world, we need to save humanity. The world will still exist long after humans are gone. We need to improve humanity. What comprises humanity? Well… humans! Can we change all humans in one fell swoop? It’s highly unlikely! Improving humanity can only begin on a personal level. Here’s where the oversight of progress comes in. If on the whole people decide to be no greater in behavior, noble in qualities and morals, than their parents the face of humanity stays the same, or worse yet degrades. This is something that I cannot understand. We need to look at the microcosm of this macrocosm. Should we not expect each successive generation to be better than the next? Should we not expect ourselves to be better where our parents showed weaknesses and flaws, yet retain what good qualities they had? We should, we should expect and work towards being better! We should retain what is good, discard what is sub-par, and find a better way than what we were shown. For this is the true nature of progress!

The sad part is we expect it of material things, but we don’t expect it of ourselves. You expect the next year’s car model to be bigger, better, sleeker, faster, improved over the previous year’s model. You expect the next smart phone to do more, be more user friendly, operate faster, and make your life easier. So why are we allowing ourselves to remain in stasis, yet everything around us must improve? This is hypocritical garbage and we shouldn’t stand for it. We need to weed this out of our personal being and let it inspire those around us. This is how you improve, this is how humanity improves, and maybe then we can figure out how the world, overall, can be a better place. Better gadgets and gizmos don’t make better people. People who decide to be better people make better people. You aren’t responsible for making the person next to you a better person. You are responsible for making you a better person and until you decide, for yourself, to be the best person you can be, to master your being, you’re limiting how much you can do in this lifetime. What good could come if we all decided to master ourselves? The answer is simple… all of it.

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