Alan Lightman’s “Progress” Essay

September 25, 2017 Engineering

In Alan Lightman’s Progress ; the author believes that the general thought about promotion in engineering being the mensurating graduated table for society’s advancement is a logical false belief ; the two thoughts mentioned in this paragraph province Lightman’s ego contradictory. yet comparative and valid points. In the 4th paragraph Lightman states. “If advancement is human felicity. has anyone shown that Twentieth- century people are happier than Nineteenth-century people? ” Alan Lightman makes it clear that technological promotions are non a true index of society’s advancement. He hints that a better index would be “human happiness” . I agree with the author because felicity to me is the existent mensurating graduated table of advancement.

Technology has been germinating of all time since adult male invented the wheel. In any given epoch or clip in history the engineering or know-how has ever been of the highest degree ; it is merely subsequently on in history that makes engineering of the past seem old or “out-dated” . Twenty-five old ages from now today’s engineering will look disused. even though at this present clip it is the finest adult male can pull off. Lightman’s 2nd thought comes near to beliing himself. but it still makes a valid point. The author provinces. “Only a sap would claim that new engineering seldom improves the quality of life” . Lightman challenges his earlier statement by bespeaking that engineering improves the quality of life. This is a “slight” contradiction because if engineering “improves the quality of life” . it aids in human felicity.

It indicates that worlds are happy when the quality of life is high. Indirectly. the author points out that promotion in engineering aids make people happy. I disagree with this due to the fact that a high-quality life style is non the exclusive ground why people are happy. Peoples find happiness in non-covetous things such as faith. household. reading. nature etcetera. Lightman’s contradictory thoughts lay out a perfect platform for an obscured significance of advancement. In decision. there is no specific dimension ( index ) for advancement. as the two issues mentioned indicate. Advancement can non be specifically defined. The thoughts besides show the confusion in which the author is himself in. As Einstein himself said. “It has become appallingly obvious that our engineering has exceeded our humanity. ”

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