A while ago I posted this thread, it's a little rant about what twitter liberals mean when they speak of 'progress', and how it limits their ability to grasp/envision progress outside of tiny 'improvements':
Today I realized that, to most people, progress means improving what already is. It means building on top of everything we've 'accomplished' so far, and racing towards a better future by constantly improving the status quo. [...]
Then, a couple days ago I posted about my disillusionment with the "ideas that keep the destructive human-made world very stable".
Maybe I'm just late to the game, but I dove deeper into Proudhon's writings and discovered that his entire philosophy is, at its core, an expression of very similar sentiments and ideas of progress, and whatever follows from them.
Take his 'mutualism', it's not much of a specific social or economic system, it's really about creating conditions that allow individuals to progress in any way they see fit, allow them to voluntarily band together, with respect to different needs and interests, without governance of any kind. It's about allowing change to these conditions, so that relationships (and thus society as a whole) can progress in any 'direction'.
Perhaps more than anything else, it's the opposition to the stable, controllable world. Actual progress is what people want when they speak of freedom. Actual progress is a threat to this world, and it's a threat to any system we attempt to keep stable, including communist societies.
Here's a page or two from "The Philosophy of Progress", written in 1853. I wanted to share because it's great. (IMO Proudhon deserves to be in anarchist reading lists, why is it always Kropotkin, Bakunin, Goldman, and Malatesta?)
[...] Progress, in the purest sense of the word, which is the least empirical, is the movement of the idea, processus; it is innate, spontaneous and essential movement, uncontrollable and indestructible, which is to the mind what gravity is to matter, (and I suppose with the vulgar that mind and matter, leaving aside movement, are something), and which manifests itself principally in the march of societies, in history.
From this it follows that, the essence of mind being movement, truth,—which is to say reality, as much in nature as in civilization,—is essentially historical, subject to progressions, conversions, evolutions and metamorphoses. There is nothing fixed and eternal but the very laws of movement, the study of which forms the object of logic and mathematics.
The vulgar, by which I mean the majority of the savants as well as the ignorant, understand Progress in an entirely utilitarian and material sense. The accumulation of discoveries, multiplication of machines, increase in general well-being, all by the greatest extension of education and improvement of methods; in a word, augmentation of material and moral wealth, the participation of an always greater number of men in the pleasures of fortune and of the mind: such is for them, more or less, Progress. Certainly, Progress is this as well, and the progressive philosophy would be short-sighted and bear little fruit, if in its speculations it began by putting aside the physical, moral and intellectual improvement of the most numerous and poorest class, as Saint-Simon’s formulas said. But all of that only gives us a restricted expression of Progress, an image, a symbol, (how shall I say it?) a product: philosophically, such a notion of Progress is without value.
Progress, once more, is the affirmation of universal movement, consequently the negation of every immutable form and formula, of every doctrine of eternity, permanence, impeccability, etc., applied to any being whatever; it is the negation of every permanent order, even that of the universe, and of every subject or object, empirical or transcendental, which does not change.
The Absolute, or absolutism, is, on the contrary, the affirmation of all that Progress denies, the negation of all that it affirms. It is the study, in nature, society, religion, politics, morals, etc., of the eternal, the immutable, the perfect, the definitive, the unconvertible, the undivided; it is, to use a phrase made famous in our parliamentary debates, in all and everywhere, the status quo.