The dams we build, the giant telescopes and other huge functional structures have to do with controlling nature. Of course, we didn't invent that concept. I think the Romans beat us to it with the aqueducts! There was a proposal to build a huge dam which would have diminished water supplies downstream for the sake of supplying a city with water. The dam wasn't built due to environmental and water needs which were concerns of neighboring states. However, during the controversy surrounding it, one of the dam's advocates complained that it would restrict the growth of the city. The thing we don't hear people say much is that probably some cities can't and shouldn't grow any larger! Perhaps bigger is getting to be not necessarily better. And that ends up in one's definition of "progress." A good essay related to this subject is "The Reenchantment of Art" by Suzi Gaiblik who redefines the role of artist in this culture of winning and being the best and biggest, etc.