The Philosophy of Progress

phi·los·o·phy (n) : the study of the fundamental nature of knowledge, reality, and existence, especially when considered as an academic discipline.

A Philosopher’s purpose is to examine, dwell, and question the world and the structures around them.  They are the leaders of introspective study and interpreters of the individual, questioning conventions and applying these questions to other conventions.

Let’s take Zeno, for example. David Levy detailed his paradoxes well, in that motion is both possible and not possible at once, as he cannot escape from this “Point Zero” that he created.

“Who here believes motion is not happening right now? Who wants to raise their hand and stand behind that thought?”

As Kazon raises his hand, Dr. Levy raises the point that motion is now occurring; that is, the motion that Kazon is using to signalize his agreeance that there is no motion in the room creates motion in aforementioned motionless room.

Is Kazon wrong? Is he ignorant for this paradox he created? No; his perception of the room around him was one of relative stillness, beyond the rustling of papers and fiddling of pens. Perhaps he’s from the city, and to him, this was complete calm compared to the constant dynamism found in metropolitan areas.

Levy’s prompt could be inspected with a molecular lens, in that our blood is moving, we are breathing, our organelles in perpetual work. No matter how well we play mannequin, something is always in motion. Consider the rock we stand on, its constant revolution through space around the sun, a small speck even engulfed by constant cosmic chaos.

Zeno’s motion paradoxes speak of completing an impossible task, inching along an invisible line to Point B, each instance of motion inherently progress, though Levy argued that leaving Point A is not even an option.

Sarah’s interpretation of this when we worked in groups stuck out to me. She argued that progress is “all about the process”, in that as long we are moving forward, Point B is irrelevant. This very King-like mentality of hope fueling progress combats the notion of progress being linear. Perhaps Levy must step off the aforementioned line to progress.

Zeno’s theory reminds me of the asymptote, continually approaching, but never quite reaching intersection. Maybe motion is involved, but the end game is never met. Perhaps Levy is destined to be stuck in line (on line!), making no progress.

Kazon brought up a good point of applying nihilism to Zeno’s theory. If you never reach Point B, then what is the point of trying to progress in the first place? Perhaps it doesn’t matter that Levy doesn’t move. Does the line even exist?

Does the line even exist?

If this line’s existence is questioned, who’s to say what interpretation of said line is correct? Change and progress is multi-faceted, much like the people and faces of change and progress. One perspective is no more right or more correct than the other. There are many levels and definitions to change.

prog·ress (n/v) : forward or onward movement toward a destination; move forward or onward in space or time.

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