Confused over progress


 Technological progress has merely provided us with more efficient means for going backwards (Aldous Huxley).”

There was a time when living was a daily grind but there was always food on the family papag

The rice garong was never empty.  A row of chicken nests supplied fresh eggs for breakfast and the hay-lined stone tapayan was never without ripening fruits. 

Live bulig and hito were always available during monsoon season.  Taba, our hardworking female carabao, provided me with nourishing drinks of fresh milk and snacks of tasty pastries. 

Our small farm produced surplus rice, vegetables and seasonal aquatic food for the town market.  Chickens, hogs and goats fattened in the backyard and grazing area for special days like cumpleaño, fiesta and Christmas. 

My father (God bless his soul) was a good provider and family man.

Early evenings I would lie down in my “camping” kariton, scan the night sky, and get mesmerized by the dazzling display of heavenly bodies and shooting stars.  That was my wide (very wide) screen television. 

Soon my mother (God bless her soul too) would fetch me from my “astronomy class” and tuck me in to my bed of banig and bulak pillows.  At the front yard of our modest home, we would be greeted by the soothing scent of sampaguita and dama de noche in bloom.

Life was simple and modest but always good.

My children all grew up in the big city where it was, and still is, hot and humid, noisy, chaotic and sanitized.  But the air was still breathable and the community a small patch of green and tranquility in the jungle of concrete pavements and controlled chaos. 

Life was no longer simple and modest but still good.  They too, like their father before them, might one day miss their childhood world.

We call it progress — the new supplanting the old, technology prevailing over old ways and values.  We say progress is good because technology makes our lives easy and comfortable.

Technology has two sides to it; it can be good or bad, even fatal.  Which technologies are helpful and which ones are too dangerous to develop and use?  Can we tell the difference?  Who decides for us? 


In the free-for-all dash to progress, we have allowed technology to take over and topple our lives.  We ravaged the environment and poisoned the air because progress is good and desirable. 

More than half the world’s population lives in constant hunger and misery while a small minority of us consumes the earth’s dwindling resources in ever increasing volume. 

Our hopes and dreams of progress have been mired by the inablity of science and modern technology to use our best resources in solving the age-old problems of disease, hunger, ignorance and poverty. 

And we call it progress.

There was a time when life was simple and modest but always good, when a small piece of land provided for everything important in life, from one’s birth to death, from one generation to another. 

Author: Rene “RC” Catacutan
Published 07 November 2010



Air pollution

Water pollution

Land pollution

Industrial pollution

Industrial and household waste pollution

Agro-chemical pollution



Oil spill

Toxic waste dumpsite

Destruction of wildlife habitat



Weapons of mass destruction

Globalization:  rich countries getting richer, poor countries getting poorer 


Ozone layer depletion

Melting of polar ice

Extreme weather disturbance

 Forest fire

 Extreme draught

Severe flooding

Fish kill

Extreme hunger

Abject poverty

Destruction by hurricane

Painstaking clean up of oil spill mess



 Rising sea level


Civil strife