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Progress?

 

"Achievements of the Megamachine - The first exhibition of the megamachine comes from the Step Pyramid at Sakkara, constructed under the architect, engineer, scientist, and physician, Imhotep, who well earned his later deification. The Pyramid of King Zoser, the dominant feature of a whole city dedicated to the dead, surpassed all contemporary works - Lewis Mumford "The Myth of the Machine - Technics and Human Development (1966)

“Achievements of the Megamachine – The first exhibition of the megamachine comes from the Step Pyramid at Sakkara, constructed under the architect, engineer, scientist, and physician, Imhotep, who well earned his later deification. The Pyramid of King Zoser, the dominant feature of a whole city dedicated to the dead, surpassed all contemporary works – Lewis Mumford “The Myth of the Machine – Technics and Human Development (1966)

Saqqara (Arabic: سقارة‎, Egyptian Arabic pronunciation: [sɑʔˈʔɑːɾɑ]), also spelled Sakkara or Saccara in English /səˈkɑrə/, is a vast, ancient burial ground in Egypt, serving as the necropolis for the Ancient Egyptian capital, Memphis.[1] Saqqara features numerous pyramids, including the world famous Step pyramid of Djoser, sometimes referred to as the Step Tomb due to its rectangular base, as well as a number of mastabas (Arabic word meaning ‘bench’). Located some 30 km (19 mi) south of modern-day Cairo, Saqqara covers an area of around 7 by 1.5 km (4.35 by 0.93 mi).

At Saqqara, the oldest complete stone building complex known in history was built: Djoser‘s step pyramid, built during the third dynasty. Another 16 Egyptian kings built pyramids at Saqqara, which are now in various states of preservation or dilapidation. High officials added private funeral monuments to this necropolis during the entire pharaonic period. It remained an important complex for non-royal burials and cult ceremonies for more than 3,000 years, well into Ptolemaic and Roman times. ~~~  Wiki

One World Trade Center (also 1 World Trade Center or 1 WTC; the current building was dubbed the Freedom Tower during initial basework) is the name of two buildings. It most commonly refers to the primary building of the new World Trade Center complex in Lower Manhattan, New York City, and the tallest skyscraper in the Western Hemisphere.[10] The 104-story supertall structure, which shares a name with the northern Twin Tower in the original World Trade Center that was destroyed in the September 11 attacks, stands on the northwest corner of the 16-acre (6.5 ha) World Trade Center site, on the site of the original 6 World Trade Center. (5/1/14) (Bill Wolfe)

One World Trade Center (also 1 World Trade Center or 1 WTC; the current building was dubbed the Freedom Tower during initial basework) is the name of two buildings. It most commonly refers to the primary building of the new World Trade Center complex in Lower Manhattan, New York City, and the tallest skyscraper in the Western Hemisphere.[10] The 104-story supertall structure, which shares a name with the northern Twin Tower in the original World Trade Center that was destroyed in the September 11 attacks, stands on the northwest corner of the 16-acre (6.5 ha) World Trade Center site, on the site of the original 6 World Trade Center. (5/1/14) (Sources: text Wiki – photo Bill Wolfe)

This inquiry began with a deceptively simple question. How does it happen that serious people continue to believe in progress, in the face of massive evidence that might have been expected to refute the idea of progress once and for all? The attempt to explain this anomaly – the persistence of a belief in progress in a century full of calamities – led me back to the eighteenth century, where the founders of modern liberalism began to argue that human wants, being insatiable, required an indefinite expansion of the productive forces necessary to satisfy them. Insatiable desire, formerly condemned as a source of frustration, unhappiness, and spiritual instability, came to be seen as a powerful stimulus to economic development. Instead of disparaging the tendency to want more than we need, liberals like Adam Smith argued that needs varied from one society to another, that civilized men and women needed more than savages to make them comfortable, and that a continual redefinition of their standards of comfort and convenience led to improvements in production and a general increase in wealth. There was no foreseeable end to the transformation of luxuries into necessities. The more comforts people enjoyed, the more they would expect. The elasticity of demand appeared to give the Anglo-American idea of progress a solid foundation that could not be shaken by subsequent events, not even by the global wars that broke out in the twentieth century. Those wars, indeed, gave added energy to economic development.  ~~~ The True and Only Heaven – Progress and its Critics (Christopher Lasch – 1991).

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  1. June 4th, 2014 at 08:33 | #1

    A well informed anonymous reader comments:

    Dear Mr. Wolfe:

    I saw your impolite, irreverent and ultimately irrelevant posting this morning, and I, we at the Short Hills Garden Club are just fit to be tied, although we are too refined to even begin to imagine that process. You are disrespectful of us, our ancestors and the DAR, not to mention all of those who died during 9/11 on behalf of the Saudi sanctioned scheme to draw us into the Middle East. Your nasty deprecations upon the idea of progress – and I don’t know why you didn’t use capital letters and show more respect, is like throwing mud upon our most sacred accomplishments.

    And furthermore, to add even more insult to us and to show just how shallow your pseudo intellectualism is, you got the date from the Lewis Mumford book wrong, it was written much earlier than that. So please, in addition to all your scorn upon us, we insist that you get your dates correct.

    I am your superior in all things, but especially good taste and fine dining,

    Elizabeth Seton Bluestocking,

    Summit NJ,
    and on behalf of all the Garden Clubs of New Jersey.

  2. June 4th, 2014 at 09:12 | #2

    @Bill Wolfe
    Dear Reader – Not to worry, according to Google analytics, this far my readers in Switzerland are paying more attention to this post than those in Short Hills and Summit.

  3. June 4th, 2014 at 09:18 | #3

    @Bill Wolfe

    Upon correction of Ms. Bluestocking’s false claim about my alleged error in citing the date of Mumford’s work, I received the following reply:

    Dear “Mr.” Wolfe, (if that title is not dignifying you far, far too much):

    Upon consultation with literary experts and our attorneys, I have been advised to reach a compromise with you over the disputed date of the book you cited. Mr. Mumford himself has been very uncooperative with us, in stubbornly writing far too many books and having far too much to say about well, just about everything, I trait which I am sure you can certainly appreciate.

    Therefore, it would appear that said Mr. Mumford, the very wordy author and authority on everything, including land-use, which we both know remains firmly under the control, and bless them, of the real estate industry and the good attorneys of New Jersey who still believe in the 5th Amendment, apparently published a book in 1936 with a very similar title; and then insisted in writing something, just changing one word of the title, again in the year you cite.

    I can assure you that making this minor concession is still very troubling to us, since we form the backbone of , or what’s left of it , in New Jersey society, and do not concede such ground, small and almost invisible as it is, readily at all, which shows our good character and why we deserve everything that Thomas Piketty says we now have, that foul mouthed ignorant Frog who writes too much, just like Mr. Mumford.

    You should be grateful that we have stooped to pursue this matter to our graceful conclusion.

    Authoritatively, on behalf of “The Good Earth” and Garden Clubs Everywhere

    Elizabeth Seton Bluestocking

    @Bill Wolfe

  4. June 4th, 2014 at 09:20 | #4

    @Bill Wolfe
    Speaking of Garden Clubs …

    Mumford had some amazing insights in his Chapter 7 titled: “Garden, Home and Mother”

    All lost on the good folks of Short Hills, Pontefrac, and Summit, of course.

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