taking incremental steps toward this abyss

NewAmerica

Senior Member
Mandarin
Does "taking incremental steps toward this abyss" mean "speeding up toward this abyss"?


Thanks in advance
********************

Even if each conscious being has a unique nadir on the moral landscape, we can
still conceive of a state of the universe in which everyone suffers as much as he or she (or it) possibly can. If you think we cannot say this would be “bad,” then I don’t know what you could mean by the word “bad” (and I don’t think you know what you mean by it either). Once we conceive of “the worst possible misery for everyone,” then we can talk about taking incremental steps toward this abyss: What could it mean for life on earth to get worse for all human beings simultaneously?


-Sam Harris (The Moral Landscape Page 22)
 
  • NewAmerica

    Senior Member
    Mandarin
    Did you look up 'increment' or 'incremental'? What did you find?
    Of course. My Longman Dictionary says:

    Incremental:
    1. increasing in amount or value gradually and by a regular amount

    incremental pay scales
    2.
    happening gradually over time

    But I got no clue with the collocation of "incremental steps."
     
    Each increment is a step. One can pursue a goal [or it may come about] in 'incremental steps'. In this case, a terrible outcome [greatest misery] can be imagined to be approached step by step; worse and worse for humans each day (e.g. 10,000 more get sick every day).
    Each '10,000 more' is an increment, a step (small measure of change or motion).
     

    NewAmerica

    Senior Member
    Mandarin
    Each increment is a step. One can pursue a goal [or it may come about] in 'incremental steps'. In this case, a terrible outcome [greatest misery] can be imagined to be approached step by step; worse and worse for humans each day (e.g. 10,000 more get sick every day).
    Each '10,000 more' is an increment, a step (small measure of change or motion).
    Got it. But it sounds to be a passive process - the supposed people are dragged into the abyss day by day. While the expression "taking incremental steps" appears to be active (e.g., taking action is initiative), which contributed to my confusion about the meaning.
     
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