Where's the progress in culture?

Nov 2, 2021

Culture

Progress

Something has changed in the last two years. It feels like we’re making progress again. Crypto is allowing us to innovate on new economics and governance models, amongst dozens of other things. SpaceX has reduced the cost per ton to orbit by orders of magnitude. Space tourism is now an actual thing.

And don’t get me wrong, these are much needed advancements. But something is missing. We might be advancing in technical capabilities, but we’re stagnant in something else. Taste.

Perhaps the most important overlooked problem right now is that technological advancement means nothing if not paired with an advancement in how humans understand themselves, relate to the world, and flourish within it.

See, we can go to the moon, to mars, feed everyone, connect everyone, but if we don’t know what to do with ourselves, if we spend all this time distracted and disengaged, what’s the point? We’re making things faster, smaller, more powerful. But are people getting happier? When you step out of the door, does it really feel like the 21st century?

Where are the advancements in architectural taste? Where are the beautiful buildings? Where are the large communal spaces and pieces of art dedicated to progress? Who’s the Michelangelo to today’s Medicis?

Can we truly say each individual can understand themselves more than they did 100 years ago? Or are we all just the same clueless pleasure seeking apes, except with iPhones and faster cars?

There’s hope. Crypto art and NFTs are refreshingly unique. New, more welcoming ways of looking at psychedelics are becoming more mainstream. But we can do better. The sweeping scientific and technical advancements of the Renaissance and Enlightenment were paired with equally large advances in art and philosophy. Where’s ours?