Progress?

by Andrea Elizabeth

I don’t usually watch morning television, but George is off this week and we wanted to see what the talk shows were saying over our coffee. A car commercial came on which shows a silent progression of foot prints moving through a path, to horse prints, to rail road tracks to a slick new road with a slick new car. The slogan was, “You can’t stop progress, but you can drive it.” It’s hard to argue against the inevitability of progress when there doesn’t seem to ever have been a time when it abated. Even devastations like the Chicago and San Francisco fires have just cleared the way for “new and improved” technology. One could point to certain reversals of pollution and reclaiming of natural territories, but these have been scientifically engineered with new technology and laws. They aren’t in the same context they were before.

Whether this progression is the result of greed, or because change is part of our predetermined nature, I’m not sure. Curiosity can be unhealthy, but once something is known, things organically change. A new path is forged in our brain and it’s hard not to choose it. One can stay willfully ignorant, but this introduces a new conflict. Before the thing was known it was not fought against. Once one person knows it, then everyone has to make a choice for or against. Deserted island aside (and can this be with google maps?) things are changed forever. I could get theological with this and point to what happened between the east and the west with the Schism, no Charlemagne,  but I’m not completely sure of the ramifications. After this Orthodoxy had to fight within itself against an alternative. There had been heresies before, but the 5 Sees had in pretty short order (if you count 150 years a short amount of time) stamped them out. After the Schism, as much as Orthodox deny it, the Church was divided. I say they deny it because even if (I believe “though”) we maintained the true faith, Rome cannot be as easily dismissed as the Arians and other heretics. They seem more legitimate. I don’t even want to think about the Reformation right now. All I’m saying is that in this sense we can’t go back. The various pathways in our minds and DNA are forged. But is this the ultimate reality? I don’t think so. The mind of Christ can somehow overcome and heal any deficiencies caused by it and baptize what is true.

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