Thanks! I’ve only just started reading and there’s really good stuff here.
My own take: in order for the zeitgeist to be optimistic on progress, it has to seem possible for things to get better. And for things to get better, it has to be possible for them to be good. But in most forums, I find, it’s almost impossible to call anything good without being torn to shreds from multiple sides. We’ve raised the bar beyond what mere mortals can achieve, and retroactively damn the past’s achievements by applying standards that even now are very far from universal. It’s like Calvinist predestination, but the total number of the elect is zero, so there’s not much social incentive to bother trying to improve things. Thankfully, most people try to be and go good anyway, based on their understanding of what that means.