The Cult of Progress

“Progress is a comparative of which we have not settled the superlative.”
– “On the Negative Spirit,” Heretics

“Progress should mean that we are always changing the world to fit the vision, instead we are always changing the vision.”
– “The Eternal Revolution,” Orthodoxy

“My attitude toward progress has passed from antagonism to boredom. I have long ceased to argue with people who prefer Thursday to Wednesday because it is Thursday.”
– New York Times Magazine,  Feb. 11, 1923

“Men invent new ideals because they dare not attempt old ideals. They look forward with enthusiasm, because they are afraid to look back.”
– “The Unfinished Temple,” What’s Wrong With The World

“Men invent new ideals because they dare not attempt old ideals.” Click To Tweet

“Tradition means giving votes to the most obscure of all classes, our ancestors. It is the democracy of the dead. Tradition refuses to submit to that arrogant oligarchy who merely happen to be walking around.”
– “The Ethics of Elfland,” Orthodoxy

“The modern world is a crowd of very rapid racing cars all brought to a standstill and stuck in a block of traffic.”
– Illustrated London News, May 29, 1926

“Comforts that were rare among our forefathers are now multiplied in factories and handed out wholesale; and indeed, nobody nowadays, so long as he is content to go without air, space, quiet, decency and good manners, need be without anything whatever that he wants; or at least a reasonably cheap imitation of it.”
– Commonwealth, 1933

“A detective story generally describes six living men discussing how it is that a man is dead. A modern philosophic story generally describes six dead men discussing how any man can possibly be alive.”
– “The Divine Detective,” A Miscellany of Men

“None of the modern machines, none of the modern paraphernalia. . . have any power except over the people who choose to use them.” – Daily News, July 21, 1906

“I still hold. . .that the suburbs ought to be either glorified by romance and religion or else destroyed by fire from heaven, or even by firebrands from the earth.”
– “The Artistic Side,” The Coloured Lands

“The whole curse of the last century has been what is called the Swing of the Pendulum; that is, the idea that Man must go alternately from one extreme to the other. It is a shameful and even shocking fancy; it is the denial of the whole dignity of the mankind. When Man is alive he stands still. It is only when he is dead that he swings.”
– “The New House,” Alarms and Discursions

“To hurry through one’s leisure is the most unbusiness-like of actions.”
– “A Somewhat Improbable Story,” Tremendous Trifles

“This is the age in which thin and theoretic minorities can cover and conquer unconscious and untheoretic majorities.”
– Illustrated London News, Dec. 20, 1919

“The past is not what it was.”
– “The Age of Legends,” A Short History of England