If you abandon the modern cult that says that science and technology improve every year and that our prejudices and bigotries fade away as we become—again, year after year—more tolerant and diverse, then there is a certain tendency to renounce the word “progress”; after all, the modern cult adherents call themselves “progressives”—and the above view is called “progress”. If you reject it, surely there can be no “progress” at all?
So you have become “one of those”; you know—there he is, with his vile hatred and bigotry and his crazed irrationalism and fundamentalism; he wants to drag us back to the dark ages, just like the Taliban—and all because he is an incel who can’t get laid. Why can’t you be an ordinary decent person and applaud when my human leather-daddy dog begs on his leash as our float rolls past for the gay pride parade? After all, it’s 2022—not 1150. Honestly, these people…
Progress is real. For a time, we crawled on all fours; today, we have progressed to bi-pedalism—at least, I assume you have progressed to bi-pedalism if you are reading this post (other options: you are a precocious baby, a retarded adult, or a leather-daddy dog—frankly, all possible types who might frequent this website). Anyway, normally people progress from being rugrats to being two-leggers; and I maintain this represents an improvement, an increased capacity for action in the world—and also represents normal human development.
However, “progress”—as used by progressives—is meant in a special sense. When they speak about progress they really mean that as a historical phenomenon “progress” can be imagined on a line chart as an inverted parabola between points “A” and “B”. Point A could be called “the Fall” and point B “Heaven”. The inverted parabola is the infamous “arc of history that bends towards justice”, and “progress” means the transit between A and B; some people—nasty people who just want us to suffer—like to impede this progression; however, mirabile dictu, the arc of History inevitably bends in this direction; we will go to Heaven, bigot.
Point B has been taken to be many things in history: the Second Coming, for Christianity; Communism, for Marxism; and the Singularity, for tech utopians. Point B not only marks the moment when all our material concerns are satisfied, it also marks the moment when all angst, insecurity, and existential pain is eased as well. Who could not want that? Only very evil people—reactionaries, conservatives, and fascists; “the pagans”, really.
So it is only in this special sense that progressives believe in “progress”. This is why they will happily support science and yet evince no interest in ideas like the connection between IQ and race—and the way in which eugenics could genuinely progress people. “Progress” does not work like that: all tendencies that push against the old order—the Fall—must push towards B, since B is both necessary and good; and its necessity and goodness has been demonstrated by historical materialism or by the Church’s teachings.
Further, B is for everyone; now, of course, only an elect might make it, yet the prospect must at the very least be open to all: you will have a chance to join the Church or the Party, even if you foolishly decline—everyone is offered salvation, and Judgement Day is a-comin’. Heaven is a democratic institution, initially meritocratic—eventually fully democratic—in that all must be saved. Ideas that suggest that not all can be saved—whether scientific (inherent biological differences) or practical (we can only have feminism if we reduce Muslim immigration)—are not progressive, even if they are genuinely meant to achieve the final goal.
So the conservative progressive who wants to use IQ tests to fine-tune the universal education system finds himself classified as a reactionary “demon” because he never fully grasped that progress is about point B; if you in some way impede the ability of all people to reach point B (its implied universal salvation and inevitable arrival), you are like a Christian in 1500 who suggests that the Chinese cannot be saved—obviously a ludicrous heresy.
This idea of “progress” was taken over by the Enlightenment, although they pitched themselves as anti-Christians they mostly secularised Christianity—especially its historical view. We no longer progressed towards the Second Coming, we progressed towards Enlightenment—the Christian worldview was flipped, often literally. It was a Christian who coined the term “the dark ages” to refer to pagan times—the Enlightenment flipped this round, in a way similar to contemporary political word games, so that the Christian ages were now “the dark ages”. So it has remained to this day; and yet the Enlightenment never stood outside the Christian historical schema, it just altered it.
The Enlightenment philosophes fancied themselves to be pagans, but their “paganism” was to imitate men like Cicero—to imitate Romans who were already in a rationalistic phase, men who no more believed in the pagan gods than the philosophes believed in the Christian God. Hence the Enlightenment did not really imitate—as the philosophes thought and their Christian detractors accused them of—paganism; it imitated a kind of secular rationalism that was about to fall into decadence and superstition—into Christianity, just as the Enlightenment fell into wokeness.
In what sense does progress exist? There is an abstract progress that can be represented as an asymptote—a constant tendency to increase that never reaches the aimed-at end point. So, for example, we can trace the way computational power increased over time, from the Greek Antikythera Mechanism to Babbage to a 386 chip to today’s iPad—and that power could progress, perhaps with eventually very small increments, indefinitely; although civilisational discontinuities may lead to extended breaks and genuine regressions.
Yet there is no moral component to this progress, no necessity to it—computational power could freeze where it is today for 500 years, nobody who works in the field will tell you it must increase; and that is because they are genuine scientists and technologists, they operate without the historico-theological framework that ties technology and science to history and says both must progress towards point B—and necessarily lead to plenty and displace traditional religion, dubbed “superstition”, on the way.
Progress also occurs in the old pagan model: the circle, the dragon that eats his own tail. This represents nature—a lifecycle. It is considered “gloomy” by Christians because there is no Heaven in it—no point B. Things are born, grow, age, die—and turn into forest mulch. There is no point, no teleology—no end of History, no Heaven. However, there is progress: there is the ascent side on the circle of life, when you are young: growing in possibilities, power, and potential. You do genuinely progress, up to high noon—and then…the recession begins, down you go the other side of the wheel back to babyhood (back to being on all fours) and eventually back to nothing.
If you are a materialist, you return into the life cycle as your parts are mulched into the soil by the worms—if your are an idealist, your consciousness is recycled into the wider psychic system. However, this view is not necessarily complete; if the circle is open, if the snake releases its own tail at Ragnarök, then you have the possibility that life is a spiral ascent; not an ascent with any final point but an endless spiral that increases (much like the asymptote above)—and this is very much like the celestial ascension described by Guénon and Nietzsche; the polar, Hyperborean ascension—there is only constant growth facilitated by death, just as the snake sheds his brittle old skin.
Either way, there is no distinct entity “you” that is separated at point B and fully resurrected in perfect condition—the Singularity is materialist Christianity: you no longer become an angel, you become an upload—there is perfect indefinite life at the end of History, of different sorts. As with Christianity, the Singularity is a Jewish invention—Kurzweil is Jewish—so that this historical schema, as with Marx, really represents the destiny of a particular race but not all races; hence “progress”, as meant by progressives, constitutes the Jewish destiny projected upon other peoples—sometimes by renegade or secularised Jews.