‘Progress’ is a much talked about subject. Progress is, and should be, the aim of everyone, be it at the individual level, group level or national level. In the present article we shall briefly discuss about the progress at the individual level, though the conclusion will be applicable at the collective level also since the individual progress automatically leads to collective progress.
The simplest meaning of the word ‘Progress’ according to Chamber’s Dictionary is ‘Forward Movement’. It is silent over the direction of movement and forward is a relative term. Also the factor to be looked into is the ‘Purpose of Progress’. Assuming that the purpose of progress is happiness at all levels, we shall try to analyse as to why so much misery exists despite ‘Progress’ in all fields.
Now when we talk of the direction, let us assume a three-dimensional space consisting of X, Y and Z axes. Let us also assume that the earthly plane is the X Y plane and the Z axis be the vertical direction. The progress we generally talk about and try to achieve is at the X Y plane that is at the earthly level. This kind of progress can never result in universal happiness. It is practically impossible for all to move in the forward direction on the X Y plane, because there is not enough space. In economic terms there are not enough resources for all to develop equally on the material plane. Such a dream will never come true.
That being so, what is the option or the desired strategy? Here comes the Z axis. Unless movement is in the higher direction, the real progress will never be possible. And as one moves higher and higher, material progress starts appearing more and more insignificant. A comparable example can be that of flying in an aero plane. As one goes higher up in the sky, the divisions of villages, towns, provinces and even countries keep going in the background. One really starts wondering as to why are so many man-made barriers. If such becomes the thinking while one is at physically higher level for a short period, one can imagine the state of mind of a person who remains at a higher level of thinking all the time. That is to say, unless the parameters of progress change, its objective can never be achieved. And for that, one has to rise above the material plane. Here the question of lack of space (or resources) does not arise. From a higher level of thinking the differences at the materials plane will look very insignificant.
I don’t mean to say that efforts to make progress at the XY Plane should not be made. But I definitely believe that mere progress at this plane does not achieve the objective of progress. For that, one has to progress in the Z direction. As long as we aim only at material progress, the result will be the same. For example, the world has been trying to remove poverty for a long time but are we not poorer than ever before? The people may be moving above, the poverty line moves up even at a faster pace.
Therefore, we should plan of progress not only in the X Y directions but also in the Z direction. We may call them worldly directions and the spiritual direction respectively. Then only the objective of ‘Progress’ can be achieved.
When the selfish side of our life dies away, the nobler, bigger, braver God-side will manifest itself.