What is progress

“Change is not progress,” but progress requires change. The issue of progress is the main underlying theme throughout the entire second part of Kushner’s Angels in America. Progress can be easily identified as improvements made in the life of the human kind. How does this mean building a nuclear bomb is progress? If so what kind of progress? Also another interesting question: is there a morality aspect to progress?

In our context perhaps I believe that progress is best defined as: Human advancement is any change that makes some people consider themselves better off without making anyone else worse off (This is called the Pareto principle.) I believe that this is the message Kushner is trying to push that progress shall either positively enhance or doesn’t enhance one’s life;it should never make it worse off. This mentality is essential in our Novel as Kushner throughout the novel is making us doubt the policies of former presidents Ronald Reagan and is trying to deliver the message that advancements in nuclear weapons and failing to acknowledge the Aids epidermal is not in any form progress. He tries to deliver the message through the character of the angel and Harper who strictly rejects progress.

However I would like to challenge this approach. If we think at the invention of the automobile it threw the manufacturers of buggy whips out of work. If we think of achieving democracies, it dramatically stripped the previous rulers out of power and changed their lives to the worse. If we think of the invention of the internet it has improved the quality of life of people and disadvantaged those who have been subject to cyber attacks. I believe most people would view these examples as progress but by this definition they are not. And if we choose a different definition as “development towards an improved or more advanced condition.” Then the very notion of nuclear weapon which Kushner would fall under the label of progress. I failed to find the meaning of progress but perhaps one of you can…..

Don’t forget to progress,
Ali Abouelatta

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