Progress

by Natalie Robin

I like looking through the books at thrift stores. Buying a book at a thrift store almost always begins as a selfish whimsy–you don’t know what you went there looking for and you just finger along the bindings until you stop on what seems like the most intriguing title or author you’ve heard of. You pluck it out from its dusty, familial shelf and flip through for a few moments, subconsciously believing it will invoke some psychic power to tell you what’s inside the pages, and you buy it with confidence, despite that it is almost always an inherently compulsive act.

One of the books I ended up with the other day after this aforementioned process was a book called “The Paradoxes of Progress” which after I picked up, I was sure would depress me, but fought my selfish intention NOT to get it only because the back cover said it was written by a professor at the school I attend. The beginning of the book ended up suggesting not only what are the paradoxes of progress, but why progress is finite due to these paradoxes. There were a lot of things I did not agree with and some I felt compelled to believe, but then I thought of all the books on the shelf where I got it from in the first place and all the people whose feelings, theories and knowledge now reside there in finite form, making their person in some way reside there in finite form, and I sincerely hoped that these books which were there due to their obsolescence to one person would serve as inspiration to someone else, so that the one book that I managed to pick up from some brilliant asshole would not be right.

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