The Myth of Progress

One of Lewis’s more subtle aims appears to be to train us (and particularly children) to be suspicious of modern myths, particularly the peculiar modern Myth of Progress. Central to this Myth is Developmentalism, the application of Evolution to all spheres of life—physical, social, political, and religious—so that everything is not merely changing, but perpetually improving. – Joe Rigney, Live Like a Narnian (Loc. 922)

There is a danger in assuming that things are constantly improving and that what is new must be better than what is old.

This thought was brought up again when listening to this interview with George M. Marsden on his book looking back at the intellectual era of the 1950s. He commented that the ideology and arguments that seemed so profound to him as a college student when he looked back now with a half century of perspective were not as insightful as they had previously appeared.

We should also take stock regarding the intellectual fads of our time. What will they look like a half century from now? We should be cautious of embracing the idea that all spheres of life are “not merely changing, but perpetually improving.”


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