Enlightenment as the Birth of Progress

Only in the 18th century Enlightenment did the concept of progress become widespread. Earlier, most people thought of history in terms of a fall from a past Golden Age, or perhaps repeating cycles. (If they thought of such things at all. Mostly they just worried about their next meals.)

With the Industrial Revolution, progress became almost synonymous with science and technology. By the late 19th and early 20th century, we see the beginnings of modern science fiction (Verne, Wells), and prototypes of today's hackers and geeks (Edison, Tesla, Tom Swift). Tellingly, we also see early instances of techno-optimistic wishful thinking: the telegraph, dynamite, and airplanes (and later, movies and television) were all heralded, sometimes even by their inventors, as tools that would end war. The First World War was a huge setback for all optimists, but the techno-optimistic spirit soon recovered.


Folksonomies: enlightenment progress

/society/unrest and war (0.665868)
/science/social science/history (0.407794)
/science (0.351925)

18th century Enlightenment (0.930132 (positive:0.213404)), past Golden Age (0.784973 (negative:-0.320051)), techno-optimistic wishful thinking (0.768357 (negative:-0.567628)), early 20th century (0.729342 (neutral:0.000000)), modern science fiction (0.727363 (positive:0.297187)), huge setback (0.518912 (negative:-0.385714)), early instances (0.462045 (negative:-0.567628)), Tom Swift (0.460999 (positive:0.286510)), late 19th (0.458927 (neutral:0.000000)), Industrial Revolution (0.455100 (neutral:0.000000)), World War (0.422958 (negative:-0.385714)), progress (0.370823 (positive:0.306743)), optimists (0.228226 (negative:-0.385714))

World War:FieldTerminology (0.839405 (negative:-0.385714)), Tom Swift:Person (0.683828 (positive:0.286510)), Verne:Person (0.628023 (neutral:0.000000)), Wells:Person (0.563159 (neutral:0.000000)), Edison:Company (0.540827 (neutral:0.000000)), Tesla:Company (0.521175 (neutral:0.000000))

Industrial Revolution (0.974829): dbpedia | freebase | yago
18th century (0.842624): dbpedia | freebase | yago
Age of Enlightenment (0.822490): dbpedia | freebase | yago
Science fiction (0.679097): dbpedia | freebase
World War I (0.639386): dbpedia | freebase | yago
20th century (0.618255): dbpedia | freebase | yago
Science (0.604883): dbpedia | freebase | opencyc
Scientific revolution (0.597187): dbpedia | freebase

Books, Brochures, and Chapters>Book:  Sirius, R.U. and Cornell, Jay (2015-01-01), Transcendence, Red Wheel Weiser, Retrieved on 2015-01-25
  • Source Material [books.google.com]
  • Folksonomies: science futurism transhumanism