What is progress?


[n. prog-res, -ruhor, esp. British, proh-gres; v. pruhgres] 

1. a movement toward a goal or to a further or higher stage
2. developmental activity in science, technology, etc.
3. advancement in general.
4. growth or development; continuous improvement.
5. the development of an individual or society in a
direction considered more beneficial than and superior 
to the previous level.

We will take a look at:

Societal Progress

How is our current situation a direct consequence of progress?  How can artists’ work incite people to react and do something about the possible problems that lie ahead? Can literature or art motivate social change?


Utopia vs. Dystopia

Learn more by listening to this podcast:
Podcast – Dystopian Literature


Why are Dystopian novels so popular amongst young adults?

A utopia is a perfect world, and a dystopia is a world gone horribly wrong.

Thomas Moore – Utopia, 1516

George Orwell – 1984

Watch the trailer for the film, Divergent

Climate Change

Barack Obama talks about climate change:

Young Ones, 2014

The Road, 2009

Waterworld, 1995

Dystopian Novels and artists for climate change awareness:

Short films about Climate Change

Banksy’s Theme Park – “Dismaland”

Do you have a utopian vision of technology or a dystopian vision?

Why is America so obsessed with the Apocalypse?

Medical progress

Should we adhere to this new technology or reject it?

What are the ethical questions that are being raised when we think about the consequences of this new technology?
“Designer babies”                                                       Natural Solutions  – Food as Medicine
“My Sister’s Keeper”                          vs.                   Natural Remedies
Silicon Valley’s answer to immortality

“Smart Drugs”

Watch these videos or listen to the audios.
Think about the level of progress, is it really progress
Think about the positive and negative aspects of progress.

Click on the links to listen to radio shows about the search for perfection:

Design your own baby /
Smart Drugs/Smarter,Faster, Stronger/ Silicon Valley’ Quest for Immortality and Perfection

21 thoughts on “Progress

  1. it’s so sad to see teenagers nowadays worry about their body and their physical appearance,and had plastic surgery at this age.I personally think that we don’t have to look all the same , we all have our particularities , and it is so simple said like that but it is so true ; nobody is perfect. If we have to name a responsible today , it may be all the mediatic pressure , TV shows , magazines and social medias that create a model of beauty and perfection when actually we have to accept our body and not being stressed by society. However , on the other side I think that plastic surgery is not always a bad thing. In fact , it can be beneficial to help people increasing their self-esteem and feel better which is the case of Nicolette and Renatta for example.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. The video I watched talks about a real issue in America which is bullying. Indeed we meet a 15 year old girl named Renada for who school became torture . Her classmates were making fun of her because of her nose . Due to all these criticisms and insults Renada could barely leave her house and she has been home schooled for 2 years . The only solution was for her to get a nose job so she could finally be accepted from others .Unfortunely her mum couldn’t afford the surgery. Then, they heard about baby face foundation which is a plastic surgery group that treats facial birth defects for free. Doctor Thomas Romo who runs the foundation received a letter from Renada explaining to him what she was going through .He also said that he gets a lot of letters from teenagers dealing with bullying .So thanks to this doctor and this foundation Renada was able to have a nose job and finally go back to school . However, using cosmetic surgery as a solution against bullying raises many criticisms . Indeed , if it allows teenagers to feel better in their body it is also seen as a failure because the bullies have pushed them to change their appearances .


  3. I have watched the first video that talks about bullying teenagers and the one that talks about the worst cases of plastic surgeries. In the first video, a young girl was suffering of bullying because of the size of her nose, so, 2 years ago, she decided to be homeschooled in order to get away from hazing. I am shocked about the fact that her mother has accepted to let her get a nose job, instead of teaching her how to live with her flaws. I think it’s completly stupid to do some dangerous surgical operation just because people think you’re not beautiful. To be beautiful, you need to be yourself. You don’t need to be accepted by others. In the other video, we can see how obsessed people can be. Plus we can also notice that the results aren’t always what we expected them to be.


  4. If you ask me “Are you for or against progress?”, I will answer you “I am for progress.”.
    But some people take it to extremes and . Take for example these girls who push the limits of progress, they use plastic surgery to find perfection. They change their faces and bodies for a little bit of attention. And sometimes, the plastic surgery can damaged them, let’s take the example of Jocelyn “the lion girl”. Plastic surgery costs 4 million dollars to create an ugly woman who dreamed about becoming a feline.
    “Stupid” is the word who can describe this negative way we use this scientific progress.
    Finally, we have to help humanity with the new possibilities that our century proposes to see the dangers in abusing progress.


  5. The video I watched talks about a young girl, who was suffering from bullying 2 years ago because of the size of her nose. So she decided to not go to school and it’s so sad to see teenagers worry about their physical appearance, their body, and had plastic surgery to get a nose job like the girl in the video. We Know that the results aren’t always what we expected them to be. Nobody is perfect and it’s really not necessary to do this surgical operation because first of all it’s dangerous. To be beautiful you need to be yourself not what the other person want you to be!.


  6. I’ve watched the video about the worst cases of plastic surgery . One of the worst cases , Jenny Lee ,who battled self esteem since she was young, grabbed national attention when she made an appearance on Oprah in 2004 with her new look . She was still not happy with her appearance , she had over 59 plastic surgeries and stopped it after being diagnosed with fibromylgia .
    The second example was Hang Miaku , a Japanese woman obsessed with staying young and having a soft skin . She got addicted to plastic surgeries and had silicone injections in her face .
    Finally it’s sad to see some people obsessed with becoming a perfect , looking for a human Barbie body and face for women or for becoming a human Ken for men just because of the influence of society . People completely lose their self esteem and become addicted to plastic surgeries in order to be perfect . It’s also sad to see people killing themselves for the pleasure of society .


  7. I saw Cameron Russell’s video where she’s giving us a speech about her real life as a model . In this video she’s talking about this superficial world where everything is just about superficiality and not about how we really are. During her speech she’s showing us her real self :a simple person ,not the fashionista we thought she was in the beginning of the video , with, pictures of her photo shoots and ,next ,pictures of her daily life .

    Cameron speaks sincerely about how she felt insecure in her job where she had to be perfect everyday as the fashion world and the medias wants her to be and pushes us to be too, now .That’s why a lot of teenagers hate their bodies and most of them decide to have plastic surgery earlier .I think that people should understand how media can manipulate us , specially teenagers that are bullied because of their physical appearance thinking that the only solution is to have plastic surgery .


  8. Well, I choose to watch Cameron Russell’s video and I did not regret, it was so powerful.
    In fact, Cameron is an American fashion model who raised in Cambridge, so she talks about her model career which lasted 10 years . She is original as a person and spontaneous : she brought with her casual clothes to not make women in the stage feel insecure. Cameron wants to transform what they think of her. At first sight, she looks nice and not mean like we can see in all the magazines and that is what she wants to show us : Magazines are not the truth.
    She tells us that how we look has a huge impact in our lives but images are also powerful and superficial, in a bad way.

    The point is, I totally agree simply because you might be beautiful, if you are not a good person, you will make everyone run away from you. On the other hand, in magazines, photo-shopping all the photos, even Cameron highlights it : “these pictures are constructions done by professionals”. So, what you see is not what they are, and what they really are is what you see everyday.

    Finally, even if Cameron has free things because of her job, she still feels insecure and she always asks herself if she is beautiful enough… beauty is not everything.


  9. I watched the video of Cameron Russell who is a famous american model, and who shared with us her opinion about looks which is really important from a ‘perfect woman’ as society would say after seeing her with a dress, high heels and on magazines.
    What is amazing in this video is that she chose to dress in a spontaneous way to talk about her life and her opinion about her job and the definition of perfection that a society creates. Even if she has all the features that everyone would judge as perfect, she stills feel insecure because she is always worrying about how would she look like tomorrow etc, which proves that even if we have those perfect features, it doesn’t mean that we would be happy.
    Plus that, she had been modeling for 10 years, but, she criticizes her job and tries to change the mind of those who want to be a model by telling them to choose other ‘more’ interesting jobs. Why? because the person we see on magazines is not really who she is: the image is superficial. The model doesn’t look or dress like on magazines all the time and Cameron gave us the proof. in fact, she showed us ‘normal’ pictures of her, which means not photoshopped pictures and she really looks different than on magazines.

    I totally agree with her. ‘Pictures are constructions done by professionals, as she said which means that the models we see on magazines, t.v. etc don’t really look like that in reality simply because they are like us! I think magazines should stop showing us fake pictures of models that push people to feel insecure for commercial reasons, I just think that it is awful!
    Cameron was right beauty is not everything, and I can say that this model has a lot of things to say, she might be really pretty but I think she has a really amazing personality too.


  10. I think that Cameron Russel is an amazing person!! because it takes a courage and guts to talk about a sensitive topic like this. She clearly stated that what we see on the magazine covers/pages, isn’t her. It’s a “Construction” of her. How much clearer can she be. That one sentence resumes everything. I think that maybe if she pointed out how short term a model’s career is or how her looks will fade with time, her TED talk could of been more convincing. Let’s face it society pays far to much attention on the packaging instead of the contents. You can be beautiful on the outside but when you age, all you are left with is who you truly are. And that can only be found on the inside. That is what we need to pay attention too. And personally I would much rather be beautiful on the inside because that’s the person I will live with 24 hours a day. And no amount of money would be worth a temporary superficial surgery because beauty is not in the face it’s a light in the heart.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Actually, I don’t understand why people think they need to change themselves, maybe for the right reason like a victim and people that have a terrible accident or something like this, but not for the wrong reasons, like someone who doesn’t like themselves and also when they don’t like the way they look

    I’ve watched the video Teen Bullied into the plastic on ABC news about how the girl had a big nose and their parents say let their daughter get a nose job because she was teased and bullied at school by some students. Taylor is in the 8th grade is having a rhinoplasty to make her nose smaller.

    So I believe there are some people that get cosmetic surgery cause they need to love ourselves, than to be accepted by others.


  12. Copied from a comment someone else wrote…..

    Glory Knights: from

    In this video model Cameron Is literally admitting her privilege and pointing out both the biases and superficiality of the fashion industry (which can severely affect the body and beauty image of young girls everywhere) and the way people judge others based solely on physical appearance (RACE, gender, weight, hair color etc). In my opinion the first part to fixing a problem is letting it be known and her speech was very powerful. I’m surprised because what she has said is true. I hope one day we can look people how they really are. Doesn’t matter your size, your color, your hair or your nose. What is important is who you are and what you do in your life.


  13. The video I watched makes me realise that the world is insane. In fact, it was a sequence of worst plastic surgery obssesion, Besides 3 cases caught my attention. The first one is Jenna Lee’s one, She grabbed world attention at Oprah’s show in 2004 because she is not happy with her appearance even if she had 59 plastic surgeries, She has self esteem issues. For me, this problem of self-confidence is not a real argument to do plastic surgery.
    The seconde case was Hang Mioku’s one : This Korean model who moved to japan bought her own silicone on the black after plastic surgeon refuse her demand because she has a psychological issue. At the end, she was taken to the hospital. In fact, she completely disfigured herself…..To my mind people have dangerous idea to achieve perfection even if it doesn’t exist.
    Finally, the best for the end, the human barbies and ken cases : We have seen everything in this world devoid of limits but this is incredible. These people paid to look like their idols.
    People become addicted to plastic surgeries and it’s going worse with time !


  14. This article presents a huge progress in the scientific field .Indeed we discover that a drug called Modafinil which is normally prescribed to treat narcolepsy, can actually make people smarter.
    Thus this drug allows better focus and helps you make better decisions and retain more information. Moreover, it allows you to do several things at once and deal successfully with new ideas.

    Therefore; Modafinil will change our life and the way we used to work allowing us to be more effective. We can work longer and thus produce more.

    But is it really worth it?

    Some researches showed that the side effects of this drug are about the same as drinking coffee, though there can be negative consequences if it’s taken in large doses.
    Furthermore, we will soon become so addicted to this drugs that we will start to act like machines , locked in a productivity arms race ; always trying to be more powerful and successful

    As far as I am concerned I am against smart drugs . Firstly because I believe that nobody needs drugs to think .Indeed we all come with a brain and cleverness, therefore we are all capable of thinking and working without using any drugs . In addition to that, I think being tired is a normal human reaction that shows you your limits and by taking this drugs you will push your body to go above these boundaries which I presume is not very healthy . We can also become addicted to this drugs and that can be very dangerous.
    Finally it will transform us in machines without feelings or thoughts who are obsessed with being more and more efficient .


  15. Smart drugs are the new generation of medication. It’s a biological hack that allows you tp control your brain and body’s ability to perform. So we can say that wonder pills are the result of society’s progress and in their turn they help to progress the society.

    So are smart drugs good for our health and it creates a new version of humans more intelligent?

    On the one hand, after seeing the videos about this subject, we found that smart drugs help their consumer to become more intelligent, more concentrated, more efficient in their jobs or work. They can also see beyond human limits, doing miracles in the society, they could earn billions dollars, could possibly learn quicker and have speedy reflexes. To illustrate these talks, Neil BURGER, a movie director, produced a movie about wonder pills: the main character, Bradley COOPER, tried one of the smart drugs. Then he became a trader earning millions of dollars but he became addicted to this miracle. Personally, I liked this movie and I think if I had the possibility to try it, I would try it to see how far we can use our brain.

    Finally, we can say that smart drugs have advantages and disadvantages as all the result of human progress, we just have to be careful using all the new stuff that we get from the new technology world.


  16. I think that the CRISPR-Cas 9 can be considered as a great progress in so far as it allows to save babies from genetic diseases. However, I believe that changing a baby‘s appearance should be forbidden. Indeed if god made a baby look a certain type of way we should accept him the way he is and not try to change anything in order to make him perfect because he is a human being and not a machine.
    Furthermore, some parents might want to make their kids more efficient and intelligent, even if doing so can actually have impacts on their personalities in other ways.

    Liked by 1 person

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