The Roots of Progress

What would a thriving progress movement look like?

In recent essays I’ve outlined the intellectual-historical need for a progress movement, and the core ideas that I think the budding 21st-century progress movement is based on.

What would a thriving progress movement look like, in terms of activities, programs, and institutions? Here’s what we might see within the next decade or so:

The foundation of all of this is intellectual work: a lot of hard research, thinking, writing and speaking. The philosophy of progress has barely begun to be elucidated. To succeed, this movement will need much more than just “yay progress!” or “look at this hockey-stick graph!” Those notions are the beginning of this body of thought, not the end. As I wrote recently, we need to answer the challenges that arose in the 20th century and caused many people to sour on the idea of progress. Without more serious intellectual work here, we risk falling back on the naive 18th- and 19th-century notions of progress that proved wrong and led the world to start questioning the entire enterprise.

I see at least four major areas for progress intellectuals to work on:

My main contribution to the above efforts is the book I’m working on, The Story of Industrial Civilization: Towards a New Philosophy of Progress for the 21st Century. But as an organization, The Roots of Progress will be working to help make all of the above happen, both by empowering intellectuals and creatives who want to advance this program, and by building community, both online and off.

This is the work of a generation. In large part this is a program to change a culture, and cultural change is slow. But the goal is worth it, and we are in for the long haul.

Comment: LessWrong, Reddit

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