13 Sep

prog•ress  n.
1. Movement, as toward a goal; advance.
2. Development or growth: students who show progress.
3. Steady improvement, as of a society or civilization: a believer in human progress.

4. A ceremonial journey made by a sovereign through his or her realm.
intr.v. pro•gress (pr -gr s ) pro•gressed, pro•gress•ing, pro•gress•es
1. To advance; proceed: Work on the new building progressed at a rapid rate.
2. To advance toward a higher or better stage; improve steadily: as medical technology progresses.
3. To increase in scope or severity, as a disease taking an unfavorable course.

in progress
Going on; under way: a work in progress.

In the information age, all of its benefits aside, people now seem more content with knowing things than with doing things. I continue to be confused by those who call themselves progressives but who aren’t willing to work through a progression of events, or to accept the constraints of time to witness the progression of something. ( I am not trying to put anyone down; we all do this at times, hoping that despite a lack of cooperative and/or independent effort, our dreams will come true, today. And the lack of results drives us crazy!) Does this apply to you? : Political and social progressives- do you just like the word “progressive” because it sounds like something new and bold with big action potential? Or did you, like the socially/politically-charged “pro-life” crowd, just decide to take a word, strip the definition, and re-design it as a brand name? If you are a proponent of progress, why are you standing still and screaming? Why are you engaging in pointless, circular debates, just for the sake of debating? Why are you resigning yourselves to a hopeless present and unsure future in which you can only imagine yourselves as stifled and oppressed OR as part of a utopia? Progress, by definition, involves movement. And that movement must involve either some kind of expansion or the traveling of a measurable distance away from a starting point.


Here’s my point: In order to get from point A to point B, there has to be some sort of line connecting the two: that line, that road, is the progress. That’s how things work in space and time. Sounds simple enough, but the problem is that too many people want A to turn into B. If you could simply snap your finger and change point A into point B, then there would be no progress. It would be, for lack of a better word, magic.


A building’s construction is progressive. Evolution is progressive. A baby doesn’t just appear out of thin air, it starts as an embryo and over the course of 10 moons, becomes the complex design that was planted in that fertilized seed. Trees don’t spring up overnight; they take years to fully grow. If my refrigerator is empty, I will have to get up and go to the store to buy more food, bring it home, and put it in the fridge myself. If the food just appeared in an instant, without action for m someone or something, I couldn’t call that “progress.” (It’d be kinda cool though). To think that instant gratification or instant change is possible is to assume that we live in either a completely random form of existence or that we live in a mental mirror where every thought is immediately projected and made tangible in front of our eyes. Doesn’t work that way (thankfully): there has to be a move.


In reality, life exists through movement and growth. In my opinion, if you want to embrace the idea of progress and being progressive- in its original definition, not as a fad social or political title- then you have to be willing to act as a seed sower. You have to be prepared to plan out a strategy for your goal, make sure the conditions are right to even begin the movement, plant the “seeds” at the most opportune time, watch over the field as they grow (keeping the growing conditions fertile), and wait until it’s time to harvest the fruits of the work. If a person is expecting progress to happen through instant transformation, would they even recognize the profound progressiveness of a singular seed turning into an apple tree over the course of a decade?…In social context, in historical context, I think it becomes even more difficult to grasp and accept because the bigger and conclusive the goal is, the harder it becomes to control the way it progresses; who can possibly predict the line that begins with the unlawful enslavement and trade of people of direct African decent, moves through the establishment and construction of a nation built by these captured people, legal slavery, escape, emancipation, continued state segregation and local terrorism, the slow implementation of civil rights, the continued quest for equality, the negative reactions to social evolution, and is now moving through that nation’s witnessing it’s first executive leader of direct African decent? And still the line will move unpredictably throuhg progress that is meant to satisfy the first seeds of desire from those kidnapped Africans; the same desire that people of all historical progressions had in the beginning: ‘I want to be free’.


Progress ultimately comes from first accepting the reality of a situation and then working in all ways possible to change that version of reality by designing a path that it can move through and evolve from. What are you doing to build that path?


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