GRE Issue Essay 188
“It is through the use of logic and of precise, careful measurement that we become aware of our progress. Without such tools, we have no reference points to indicate how far we have advanced or retreated.”
Progress is a process of improving in order to get nearer to achieving a particular goal. It is a relative issue since we measure this success in terms of how near to the goal a person has reached. I agree with the given statement that it is through certain careful measurements that we get to know actual progress. However, I also feel that such tools can help in tracing the progress of only certain fields. The progress in many fields is not possible to measure in terms of accurate and precise measurements, but it is left to observe how far we have retreated or advanced or in which direction we have progressed.
Measuring ones progress starts early in life when a child begins to go to school. There are predefined standard measurements used in school that grade a student’s progress. Not only does this help in making an estimate of individual progress, but it also helps in recording a student’s progress against the progress of others. With every advancing class, there is advancement in the mental capabilities of a student. Another example of measuring progress through accurate and precise tools can be taken in the field of business. A business is called progressive if its customers, profits as well as shares are increasing. All these factors can be measured and can clearly indicate the direction of progress. Similarly, the number of votes a government gets is an indicator of its progress. In order to judge the progress of a nation, the increase or decrease in its national income, number of people below poverty line, the value of its currency in international market etc. can be measured.
Scientific measurements can definitely help in simplifying and vividly indicating the progress in a field. However, I hold the view that these measures and tools are only limited to certain fields which have a criterion of measurement. There are many such fields that are abstract and only refer to some idea. It is impossible to measure these ideas with scientific tools and units. For example, can the progress in goodness, truthfulness and humanity be measured by use of logic and precise measurements? These ideas and qualities are only understood and their progress is comprehendible only by observation and understanding.
Let us take the example of happiness. Can any tool or unit of measurement tell us the extent of happiness? We cannot measure on any scale if a rich businessman is happier than a poor farmer. The status of their respective wealth is in no case a measurement of their satisfaction and happiness in life. A businessman can be extremely wealthy but at the same time he could be undergoing tensions and worries that keep him from being happy. An addition of money to his riches cannot ensure that his happiness quotient will also advance. The state of happiness is however reflected on the facial expression of these people, which is only observed and understood, but cannot be measured.
To sum up, I would like to say that there are certain methods of measuring progress in many areas. By using logic and scientific tools, we can not only come to know if we have advanced or retreated, but also know the extent of progress or retreat. However, this is possible only with an exception to certain fields that cannot be measured in terms of quantity, distance or any other units. It is only a matter of understanding and observing progress in these fields and that does not come from any scientific measurement.