The Absurdity of Progress | Power Yoga

The Absurdity of Progress

What is progress?  Does it mean "To move to a better place?"  Or maybe it means "to move forward or higher" or "to acquire more regardless of whether it’s a better place or more optimal."  Could progress mean "the inability to be content with what is?"  In a natural scenario, lessons are learned and evolution entails. People are not trying to get better yet they naturally evolve. Evolution is growth without progress.

I know this is all semantics yet the point is, originally progress was just a word that basically meant “more beneficial” or “closer to an objective." If progress makes life easier, does that mean life is better, more fulfilling, or more beneficial? Have we truly made progress if what we pay is greater than what we reap? What is the objective of one embarking on progress? Is it money? Fame? Prestige? Is it progress, if fear, vanity, or ignorance is the impetus? Is evolution benevolent and is progress malevolent? Is a nuclear bomb progress? Is social media progress? How about global warming? Is a cure for a disease progress if another disease replaces it? If there is as much disease, war, crime, poverty, suffering, hunger, etc. as ever, have we made progress?

If it moves us toward health and fulfillment, it’s progress. If not, then what’s the point?

We live in a time where acquiring is more important than enjoying, where we are more desirous of taking than giving, where being acknowledged is more important than contentment and substance. Progress has become the new religion, replacing the message of the great ones. We have nicknamed this era the “rat race."

Many of us complain about this rat race and then unwittingly pass it to our children, not understanding that we ourselves are the cause. This desire for “more” is an understandable by-product of an ancestry that never had enough. Yet once we do have enough we need to stop wanting more (this is called intelligence.) This intelligence is supposed to differentiate us from our animal siblings. Yet, emotions trump logic and we are emotionally attached to all we were told we should want. At one point or another “progress” becomes the same as “no progress” as it becomes an extreme. In other words, it’s lacking balance! So instead of famine we have gluttony. We need to find a personal place in-between too much and not enough (moderation.) We need to walk the razor’s edge, and we need to find balance. This mentality easily translates into exercise/fitness. Any idiot can push farther and get more but it doesn’t mean it’s healthy for you.  

The psychological law states “the more you see something the more you believe it” even if it’s insane. We have grown-up in a culture that constantly spoon feeds us these messages that “more is better” and “no pain no gain." We see these messages everywhere in different ways and we start believing them even though they are insane. The truth is “more is not always better” and “no pain no injury." We unwittingly go along with this cultural mentality without seeing it, therefore unable to even question it or being able to step outside of it as to witness its absurdity. It’s like we have been programmed by our cultural norms and then we blindly play out the program. Our children witness this program we are playing out and then they start playing it out as well and the disease spreads. Yet, the disease spreads not through our spit but through our demeanor. We don’t like the results, but we do not see our program as the problem because part of the program is blaming something outside of ourselves for our problems.

Yogis of old were called seers. They were able to see the program and they helped others to see the program. Once the program is witnessed, the real work begins. This work is called a yoga practice.

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