From the Edge of the Sphere: Progress as development of modernity.

by Andrés Del Castillo 

El Progreso

“There is no Route to Peace, Peace is the Route” M. Gandhi: As I reread this introductory quote, an ant climbed on to the screen of my laptop; I squish it with my finger. Now there is one fewer ant to kill, or a battle has begun.

2012 began for us without electricity, which means without technology: low battery in the camera, no internet, and no social networks.  Little by little, I realized how dependant we are on technology and the automatic link between development and progress.

Indeed, progress means to go forward, but it is not a synonym for technology or modernity. Modernity is a hand that uses the lantern, which is technology, to show us the way to follow, but leaves the context in darkness. (Baudelaire?)

On the other hand, development is not a goal; it is a process toward progress, not toward modernity. In Kant´s words, progress involves “chronological unfairness.”

Progress takes many resources, which leaves fewer for those in the future, who will actually reap the benefits.  It also demands labor and innovation from those in the past, who do not get to enjoy the fruits of their works. It is unfair to the past and future generations. In an attempt to compensate for future generations, sustainable development is one of the ways to mitigate the chronological injustice.

Kant argued that progress is not a measure of prosperity or knowledge, but rather a necessary step toward enlightened culture and the abolition of the war, which in others words means a culture of peace.

I squish another ant with my finger.

Sustainable development is just one side of the coin. On the other side, there is the culture of peace. As human-centred approach to address current global challenges, the concepts of culture of peace and sustainable development are intrinsically linked. Peace must not be considered as the mere absence of war, but as an environment where human rights are observed and where every person has the possibility to realize his or her potential.

The core elements of peace and sustainable development are the respect of life, human rights, dignity, freedom, stability, social harmony, duty of forgiveness, justice, tolerance, mutual respect, solidarity, gender equality, and a lasting and sincere dialogue.

In my reflection, I have done my best to try to explain (or confuse) the difference between modernity, progress, technology and development. This practicum is our time to act, stopping occasionally to think about the meaning of the words that we wish implement.

The unfortunate ants were stuck between a rock and a hard place, or between the screen – technology and my finger – humanity.

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