(A few friends and I are reading this book together. Each week we are reading one chapter. On Fridays, I am posting my comments, then giving them the opportunity to add their thoughts as well. If you would like to join us or simply find out more about the book, you can read about it here.)
Chapter 2: "The Pain of Progress"
- He pointed out that our society has many of the things previous generations would have wished for, yet our society has still not found happiness. In the chapter, he shows that problems, and not just blessings have come with progress.
- I think he is right in saying we trust progress more than we realize. We quickly put our faith in a new product because it has advantages over the old, but we often don't take into account the potential accompanying problems.
- His list of the problems that we have in America, probably the most developed nation in the world, was sobering. As he later points out, we have made advances in the wrong things and more important things have been shoved aside.
- "The American definition of happiness is, after all, 'more than I have now.'" (Page 26) Isn't that so true? If happiness depended on things, there would be a clear "plateau." Those below the plateau would be unhappy, those above would be happy. We see that is not the case.
- Another quote I liked: "Our relationships are being starved to death by velocity." (Page 27) This is true in our families, churches, workplaces, etc.
- Some of you alluded to the fact that it is almost looked at as spiritual in some circles if we are super busy. I thought of that when I read these well thought-out questions: "Is God now pro-exhaustion? Doesn't He lead people beside the still waters anymore?" (Page 27)
- To me, one of the most helpful lessons from the chapter is when he showed that the things our society has progressed in care little, if anything, about our transcendent needs (spiritual, emotional, social). Instead, the progress areas relate to money, technology and education.
- He challenged people to make progress subservient to relationships (with God, self, and others) and to not consider something progress if we advanced in money, technology or education to the detriment of those relationships.
- Overall, I had trouble following his thought all through the chapter. He said some good things, but I had trouble seeing where it was going. It was better when skimming it again to write this post. I think this is a good summary of the chapter's thrust: "While the progress we boast of is found within the material and cognitive environments, most of the pain we suffer is found within the social, emotional, and spiritual." (Page 31)
- I agree with him that our society tries to solve its problems by throwing more money at it, or providing further education. Need more reading to convince you? (Ok, so it is a Wikipedia link. Just because it is on Wikipedia doesn't mean that everything is a lie!)
- My understanding of the last section of the chapter: true progress comes as individuals become more like Christ, thus effecting change in their homes, churches, companies, and communities.
I've had my say, what say you?
Discussion on Chapter 1
Discussion on Chapter 3