International Journal of

Arts , Humanities & Social Science

ISSN 2693-2547 (Print) , ISSN 2693-2555 (Online)
Progress, Hope, and Ecocide



Considering the climate crisis, the ‘4th industrial revolution’, the current pandemic, and a recent ideological campaign named the ‘New Optimists’ that celebrates humanity’s progress, the paper revisits this idea, which marked the emergence of the Western world and has been globalized in the 20th century. The paper, in particular, examines three basic assumptions of the idea of progress: that it encompasses society as a whole; that improvements and increases are infinite; and that the present is always more advanced than the past, and the future will be more advanced than the present. The main question is how far these assumptions hold today. I argue that the climate crisis is removing the sense of infiniteness, traditionally accompanying the belief in progress, which is now being shifted from the social to the private horizon. As progress no longer guarantees the future, the past emerges, as I also argue, as memory, as nostalgia, but also as a threat.