This musing is absolutely informed by Wendell Berry’s writings.
I think I have come to disagree with the majority of Americans, possibly the majority of people, on the idea of progress.
Progress, especially in our affluent community, is synonymous to building bigger and better buildings, and attracting more people to the community (it seems at any cost), which, of course, means more money for everyone. And money is what is important, right?
Of course people must be able to meet their needs, and in our society, we need money to do that. We need to pay for housing. We need to pay for food. We need some kind of transportation. There are plenty of other ‘needs’, and some are legitimate. However, the needs that cannot be met by money are that of local, small, and united community. Community is not bound together by bigger parking lots and more traffic. Community cannot be anonymous.
Genuine community should inspire people to support each other. I should make an effort to purchase items from local stores over the chain stores, and especially online. Large chains and Amazon are not invested in the communities they serve. They could care less about the unique needs of the community – and often even their own employees.
I think we have taken a wrong turn on progress. Progress = profits now, and it should not. Because progress is about people, people bettering themselves and their world. Profit often sacrifices both people and the good.
I suppose I am hoping for balance. Profit isn’t bad. Progress isn’t bad. The key is having a holistic perspective. Thinking thoroughly about the outcomes of decisions that will affect the community. Thinking about different people that will be affected.
Balance. Moderation. Perspective.
They are not sexy words… but they are caring, reasonable, and outwardly focused. These words inspire my hope in humanity. Thoughtful decisions are the future. And we must take our decisions seriously as consumers and community members.
More to come…