Progress and History in Zigzag

One of the key ideas promoted by the European Enlightenment or the Age of Reason of the 18th century is that of progress, according to which human history develops across a curve from a low point to higher and higher points. One may debate and dispute the exact nature of “higher” and “lower” points in that context. But most students of the Enlightenment agree that “progress” has two facets: material and cultural.

Material progress could be measured by such yardsticks and life expectancy, average health of the people, and better living conditions in tangible terms such as housing and the ability to cope with natural disasters. On a cultural level, progress includes literary and artistic creation, scientific and technological discoveries, participative politics and the rule of law.

But is it possible to question the very existence of a curve indicating linear progress? Isn’t it possible that human history proceeds in zigzags with “lower” and “higher” points alternating according to mysterious laws?

Applied to the “Muslim World”, the theory of progress hardly resists the challenge of the rival theory of historic zigzag.

via Progress and History in Zigzag

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About OyiaBrown

Please send me, as a comment to this page, any old material you have for inclusion in The Daily Joke Alert - to help enable us all to have our fancy tickled regularly! Never mind the state it's in as I tidy everything up prior to publication. Don't let good material go to waste - and so much does. In the interests of the environment we should always try to re-cycle everything, especially jokes. You know that makes sense! You may find some historical stuff here, but this does not really matter as humor is fairly timeless.

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