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Good call. It's easy to have a go at the idea of progress in the West, but in fact progress - of some sort - seems to be basic to human happiness.

You need a goal, and you need to have the sense you're heading towards it rather than getting further away from it.

The big mistake of the last few centuries has been to limit that to economic growth. And I think you're quite right about fundamentalism and New Age ideas, because what defines both of them isn't so much the detail as a simmering millennarianism, which is where those particular world views want to progress to. (It's often explicit with New Agers, many of whom will tell you how 2012 is the year that everything changes. Twenty years ago it was 2001, or 1999, or the Harmonic Convergence, or...)

Marxism had a similar driving force, with its 'after the revolution' rhetoric.

Advertising tries to play it up on much smaller scales, with its encouragement to see, buy, spend... But it's becoming increasingly empty, financially and personally.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Thu Oct 19th, 2006 at 02:13:18 PM EST

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