Progress Means Reinvention

Governments and religions have every right to fear things such as air pumps and electrical machines. Inventions like these really seemed to disrupt many forces that were already in play. Government and religion were used to controlling people and ideas and with the invention of the air pump, things began to change. People began to think for themselves and question the beliefs and ideas of their authority figures. I think Johnson describes it perfectly on pg. 238, “progress inevitably undermines the institutions and belief systems of the past.” Government and religion founded many of those systems, and slowly, they were beginning to unravel. To move forward meant to change, of which neither government or religion seemed fond of. Johnson describes that in order to progress, we have to consider reinventing everything we knew, or thought we knew. “Embracing change meant embracing the possibility that everything would have to be reinvented.” Pg.238


One blinding example I can think of, and not sure if it’s in the text, is the internet. The internet has revolutionized so many aspects of our daily lives. We now have a vast database of information directly at our fingertips. We can communicate instantaneously and can gain even more knowledge on any topic we so desire. Before the internet, people had to rely on the government for vital information, but that has certainly changed. We have the ability, at least in the U.S., to explore topics that may be directly against government or religious views. This allows us to form our own opinions about certain topics that before may never have been explored.

4 thoughts on “Progress Means Reinvention”

  1. First off I would like to start off saying that i enjoyed reading your blog. I agree with you that religion and the goverment should fear these new intentions for a few reasons. I also wrote about how they would lose control and thats not something they are use to. Science and invetions tend to lean towards their beliefs. Science and invetions mean progress and that progress can but government money at a stand still for the ones in power. It must alao be embarrassing and sad for religion to watch their beliefs unfold right in front for them.

  2. You chose an excellent quote. I like how it embodies most of the discussion in the book and you articulate that very well. I completely agree with your assertion that the government and religious establishments do not take too kindly to change, even if this change means progress. Personally, I think this resistance is the result of how invention challenges their authority. I also think the internet is a great example of how knowledge promotes progress because the government cannot vet what gets searched. At least they cannot for now.

  3. I agree with your point about how when progress is made, people begin to question not only themselves, but also what they believe in. Many governments and religions really don’t take change very well and are usually pretty against it to begin with, so it’s scary to them when people begin questioning them and wanting changes to be made. I also agree that the internet probably scared governments when people began to stop relying on them so heavily for information and just went online instead. The fact that we have the ability to search things that are against our governments or our religions is probably something that would have been unheard of before the internet’s existence and I’m sure it’s something that’s still scaring governments today.

  4. Hey Mandy, your blog was very interesting to read and I really enjoyed how well you were able to understand and pick apart what Johnson was saying such as science inventions leaning towards or moving with the beliefs of religion. I could not agree more with your binding force (the internet) because as you stated we have a huge data base almost everywhere we go, and that is one of the biggest factors of life today.

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