Culture

The Fate of Progress at a Time of Crisis

The great German historian of culture Reinhart Kosseleck has pointed out that the concept of “progress” took its modern form at about the same time as that of “crisis”, with the latter term coming to mean a traumatic interruption to humanity’s onward march. For the ancients, “progress”, in the sense of growth and development, had as its inevitable counterpart senescence and ultimate decline. The moderns broke that link, making progress a process without an ending; but they coupled the unfolding of man’s capabilities to an evil twin of disruption, reversal and even collapse. The fate of progress at a time…

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