Is It Progress?
MANY persons today are greatly impressed by the achievements of science and technology. But what has been the effect of these advancements upon people as a whole? Does the standard of living that science and technology have made possible really make life richer and more meaningful?
In the book Environment, William W. Murdoch, associate professor of biology at the University of California, comments:
“I have said that in an affluent society we can conceive of an optimum standard of living which is below the maximum we could achieve, and that we should therefore consider putting an end to economic growth as we know it. This implies that increasing affluence is not necessarily correlated with an increasing quality of life, and that in the United States we may already be experiencing a decline in the average quality of life as our COLLECTIVE wealth increases. . . . The weight of evidence as exemplified in this book favors the hypothesis that as we grow richer in the United States the quality of our shared environment declines.”
Clearly, what modern science and technology can offer does not necessarily mean progress in every aspect of life. The World Book Encyclopedia acknowledges: “In spite of his scientific and technological progress, man has not been so successful in dealing with human problems.” Why is this? One reason is that all too often the guidelines of the source of wisdom, Jehovah God, are ignored.
A scientist and university professor in Chile came to appreciate this fact after some months of study with Jehovah’s Witnesses. When resigning from a political position in the university, he wrote:
“There are powerful reasons leading me to this decision. Everywhere we see fraud, lying, envy, hatred, violence and an unmerciful fight for fame and power. Universities are not free from these stigmas.
“We impart superior teaching. But what real benefits has it given to the society in which we live? We observe pollution that increases day after day, drug addiction within a large part of youth, increase of delinquency and collective neurosis.
“We have encouraged exaltation through diplomas and degrees—perhaps to dazzle the people. We have stimulated others to fight for fame and power and at the same time we have undoubtedly helped to create selfishness and disunity. As a Christian, I have become convinced of how mistaken all of this is.”