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Fixin' Healthcare

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Vitality, Driving Force, and Progress

Progress is often interpreted to be change with a positive and beneficial outcome; movement toward a desired or specified goal. Such may be the case but progress can simply mean movement in any direction regardless of the goal. And, there is the matter of inertia. For a society to move in a somewhat coordinated manner at the same time in the same direction is a monumental feat. "The old-time rabbis used to teach that the Kingdom of God would come if only the whole of Israel would really keep a single Sabbath simultaneously." (Albert Schweitzer, The Philosophy of Civilization, 1987 by Prometheus Books) Societies do not easily or frequently change directions but they may lack progress and improvement.

Change starts slowly and moves in fits and starts before gaining momentum. The knowledge of life is not easily acquired or understood. However, it is necessary for life to be optimistic and ethical. Optimism affirms life as something possessing intrinsic value and stimulates the impulse to raise existence to the highest level of value within current capability. From this comes activity directed to the improvement of the living condition, which will be the wellspring of progress for individuals and society. (Albert Schweitzer, The Philosophy of Civilization)

Many tools and attitudes are available to characterize, pursue, and enhance the direction and pace of change but the essential element is the driving force. Civilizations rise and fall; cultures come and go depending upon the vitality of the driving force. The nature of the driving force reaches beyond the logical conclusions and theories required in the assessment of reality and extend into the spiritual realm of what might be and the ideals of life. Individuals conceive ideals and fit them to the realities of life as a basis for decision making. The vitality of the driving force for society is dependent upon whether the ideals of individuals aim at progress of the whole.

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