Progress can be seen in several ways. It can be seen as discovering the potential that was always there. It can be seen as increasing one’s knowledge over time. It can be seen as new things – the Creation of new technologies and new modes of existing. It can be understood as a gradual improvement of life over time, either one’s own life or the march of history.

Knowledge increases exponentially along with the arrival of new products and discoveries.

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Better research reveals that we do in fact take halting but real steps toward improving life all around.

All these modes of progress are valid and all are happening as we speak. We cannot go backward. But we should understand that some seemingly seismic realities were present all along, well before we took a human form.

Some things were always there

Values may well be the only thing that transcends time.

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From the very beginning, even in the most elementary forms, there were signs of tolerance, helpfulness and even democracy.

Diversity and coexistence from the start suggest the world was not self-devouring in the way that binary culture and thought often is.

Openness

Scientists are often at odds in estimating benchmarks in the spacious billions of years of our prehistory.

The attainment of certainty, as C.

S. Pierce knew, is itself subject to endless amendment as knowledge proliferates. There is fallibility and chance. There are also those anchor qualities that somehow suggest creation’s fundamental goodness.

We should live with a critical attitude toward all assumptions that bear the marks of certainty. A one-sided notion of good or evil should be used sparingly and generally to prevent the worst of evils.

Are values eternal?

Values seem to trump time.

Universal values, some call them rules, are constant and beneficial. We find among them keepers, values worth remembering.

Tolerance, helpfulness, and democracy were instrumental in the bacterial, protist, fungal, and plant stages. Tolerance is both strength and flexibility, two characteristics of development that relate to the capacity to survive and flourish.

Letting life live

Helpfulness substantiates a live-and-let-live, enabling quality.

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It shares by example and deeds the information necessary to survival and evolution.

Getting through billion-year stretches of human development also involves a sort of democracy. It is a respect for the elements and processes needed to make creation possible.

The binary threat

It is also the binary, predatory forces we must understand if we are to derive insight from this backward look. That will be the subject later articles in this series.

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