Is the World Progressing? Perpetual Challenges of Man



Progress or development is a transformation or process change that affects the different components existing in a given system that may be in an abstract or real form. The movement of the lower position to the upper situation or the best target characterizes this process of change.

While this statement may be true, the action of transformation or changing of the system is not an arbitrary act, but objectively a result based on logic and corresponds indubitably to a rational response to a challenge that likely meets specific needs of our existence.

This paper is to describe and look at the facets of development for a human being, talk about some progress made in the past, their benefits, as well as their problems, caused at humanity. Moreover, I would like to give my thoughts about development and conclude if it is a good or bad thing for global humanity.


In general, progress is an action that concerns domains related to the existence of the human being. According to free Encyclopedia, Wikipedia, these areas may concern:

– Social life related to social progress which corresponds to the improvement of social, political or economic structures;

– Science domain related to scientific progress supported by research that promotes creative thinking and enlarges then the ability in problem-solving. As we can see, creative thinking is a fertility aid for invention or innovation in the field of technology as a whole.

Moreover, progress takes place in the space of time, which seems to be well known. It is for this reason that John McGowan (2008) argued that progress is a temporal entity characterized by a start time and end one. As such, progress arises first, develops in interest and spreads through people and is then supposed to die after a while because another facet of this progress has exceptional performance or could just be completely different with more esthetic than the first design. Thus, in the field of electronics, for instance, we mutated from analog to a digital system between the twentieth and the twenty-first century. Progress observed resides only in the communication quality.

Progress has, to our understanding, a certain logic that governs its existence and a particular need that it meets. More specifically, for development in the field of weapons technologies in a given country, we note that the logic of the equipment of advanced weapons is the prevention of war. However, the essential need to meet in this context is the guarantee of the security of their property, the protection of the territorial integrity and its people. This situation reflects the power of the deterrent potential of its enemy. As a result, this provides evidence that rising and expanding of progress may depend greatly on the binary aspiration of human beings. The description of Psychologists for these two states of the human being’s aspiration is as follows:

– An instinctive aspiration of the human being is attached to his propensity to satisfy his needs first and to seek more pleasure through its action. The humans taste to have money, property, ensuring their social security, the eager to have social status and to indulge in various recreational range reflect this aspect;

– Instead, a mental aspiration is based on the intrinsic reflection which corresponds to the image that people have of the world around us. The development of concepts, ideas and values, moral, political or religious knowledge justify this situation.

Beyond the above, the desire of mankind to progress operates as a “Deming Wheel theory ” which describes a cycle of actions “Plan – Do – Check – Act”; improving the system depends on these actions based on an ongoing commitment.

General Analysis:

Since the ancient civilization, the human being had forever lived in an aggressive environment with the other species. He was certainly the weaker among all these creatures. This situation has requested for him more intelligence and more ability in order to survive. Thus, he has developed creative thinking to respond to the atrocity of the nature or its environment. That was the first impression of its development in the approach of tackling new or unusual difficulties. Then, it is true that humans have paved the way for a very long time’s development. Unlike the other existing species, human beings had learned to make fire for cooking his foods, discovered the metal and succeeded to fabricate useful instruments and also to domesticate crops through the creation of farms; it was the beginning of the agriculture that today has gained strength and became, beyond its role of subsistence, a primary source of income for some nations and individuals.

Humans have evolved the status of Homo-Faber to that of Homo-Sapiens, becoming then more and more inventive with the growth of the science that is related to all areas of our life. However, humans try every day to tame or harness more and more the nature to their account. All these actions constitute what we call progress that could arise in various fields like science, technology, economics, politics, governance, culture and religion. To clarify the situation presented above, we will try below to talk about some progress made in the past through examples, as well as their advantages and problems caused to humanity.


In general, new technologies of information and communication that have developed in the late twentieth century are one of the major advances in technology. They have completely revolutionized our lives with the development observed particularly in medicine, the uses of telephone and internet.

Concerning the medicine area, telemedicine today permits to have a service of a specialist who is away in the other end of the world. Besides, endoscopy offers the possibility of medical examination inside of the body, using the apparatus called endoscope, without any operation. Thus, the risks in medical surgery are reduced to zero and post-problems due to it are ignored.

The Free Encyclopedia, Wikipedia: Mobile phone, stated that the development of mobile phones now provides the ability to transmit information in three ways which are Internet connections, direct voice or indirect text messaging. In addition, its use provides banking services that may include the ability to transfer payments secured by text message and opens the opportunity to electronically transfer money from one person to another and in the world. In fact, the mobile phone which has spread rapidly among people ended the formal system of postal services for transmitting information by letters or telegrams. Rational usage of this facet of communication presents some benefits; in fact, through given information, it permits to resolve a particular problem without any physical displacement where cost would be engaged as well as risks due to travelling. Thus, it is worth to notice that mobile phone offers sometimes both economic and social advantages to owners.

Talking about of the Internet domain, it has also revolutionized the means of communication as it offers the same above uses as a mobile phone, but in a wide range. This technology has irreversibly transformed the world into a small village where you can travel in a few seconds, at home or in your office. In addition, being in your office, you can take part in an important meeting held at the end of the world through Visio-conferencing apparatus that allow remote exchange between members of a given group.

If progress brings benefits, it also causes more problems to humanity. J. McGowan (2008) confirmed this statement by saying that:

“The sins, attributed to the idea or ideology of progress, are legion. Conceptually, Marx or in the eyes of various liberal optimism of the nineteenth century, progress has been associated with the inevitability and holism.”

H. Lemmen (2014), in his article “Progress is always a good thing?”, also reported that although progress means a better life, but disciplines such as science, industry and politics create harmful conditions for most members of humanity. For instance, the discovery or invention of nuclear weapons could exterminate humanity while industrial wastes contribute to the pollution of the environment and can create a public health problem. Besides, some political ideologies can promote clashes between groups of people and thereby create the deterioration of relations between persons.

The mobile phone, developed in the field of technology as presented above, emits electronic microwaves that are invisible when you are in communication or not. Research has shown that continuous exposure to these electronic microwaves could be harmful to humans because it causes the formation of tumor or cancer that may affect neurons or the whole brain system. This condition could lead to a physical disability to the concerned person and thus causes a social problem in a social group which depends on the productivity of the sick person. In the case of the Internet, cyber-crimes are increasing every day and in this way people can extort money or other to third parties through this modern communication tool.


This part shows that the world is progressing. Indeed, Epicureans (in free Encyclopedia, Wikipedia: Progress History) stated that:

“The earliest condition of men resembled that of the beasts, and from this primitive and miserable condition they laboriously reached the existing state of civilization, not by external guidance or as a consequence of some initial design, but simply by the exercise of human intelligence throughout a long period.”

In the same order of ideas Xenophanes said:

“The gods did not reveal all things in the beginning, but men through their search find in the course of time that which better.”

The above statements of Epicureans and Xenophanes allow us to know that the situation of the human being has gradually left the beast state for the best opportunities of living conditions, since the ancient civilization. This step is a particular sign marking the progress of humanity or the whole world; it is also interesting to note that the constant improvement of social and economic conditions remain the palpable part of this progress of the world.

General Recommendations:

In general, the human being is always looking for better conditions or the happiness all his life. For these optimum conditions, progress becomes an imperative and essential factor that permits to achieve development likely to reflect this situation. We recognize that social progress and scientific progress are needed to support such development. Then, humans are obdurately looking for better conditions, through progress. But, they don’t think that it could cause too much harm to humanity. From this point of view, my main recommendation joins Kate A. Moran (2012) who stated that the recognition of the moral law should limit our quest for better conditions or happiness (ours and their). He justified that this moral law is achieved when the maximal virtue and maximal happiness become compatible and exist together in a particular type of relationships. Thus, when humans seek better conditions for their existence thanks to progress, they must avoid committing atrocities or moral errors that could lead to social problems, disruption of human rights or freedoms.


Progress influences a human’s life in all domains whether technological or scientific; much under the influence of their instinctive aspiration facing the satisfaction of their needs. Thus, it is true that progress offers opportunities to better condition for our existence, but it is worth to keep in mind that it could also give rise to social problems for an individual or a group of people. Therefore, as indicated by the General Assembly of the United Nations (November 10, 1975) and with the concern that progress is good for all humanity, “all States have to promote international cooperation to ensure that results due to an increase in various fields are used in the collective interest of strengthening international peace and security, freedom and independence, as well as the objective of economic and social development of people and the realization of human rights and freedoms.”


• Lemmen, H. (2014). Is Progress Always a Good Thing? Publish Your Articles. Accessed July 25, 2014

• McGowan, J. (2008). The Possibility of Progress: A Pragmatist Account. University of North Carolina: Good Society Journal; Vol. 17 Issue 1, p33-42, 10p.

• Moran, K. A. (2012). Community and Progress in Kant’s Moral Philosophy. University of America Press. eBook Collection (EBSCOhost)

• General Assembly of United Nations (1975). Humans Rights: Use of Scientific and Technological Progress. Declaration on the Use of Scientific and Technological Progress in the Interests of Peace and for the Benefit of Mankind.

• Wikipedia, the free Encyclopedia: Progress (Hystory). Available: Accessed July 25, 2014

• Wikipedia, the free Encyclopedia: Mobile phone. Available: Accessed July 25, 2014

Source by Tobias Enguene


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