In similar territory, here is John Banville on John Gray, and it's all (yet once more): the world is without meaning, it's not a teleology, we're going precisely nowhere, progress is a deluded myth, and so on.
I can't. Not again. I can't spend time arguing that you don't have to think of progress in this way, as inexorable and governed by a grand purpose; that you can draw attention nonetheless to actual improvements there have been to human existence; that you can observe the fact that there seems to be a simple human impulse to try to do things better than they were done before.
One fresh thought does occur to me, however. Imagine the Johns, Gray and Banville, rising in the morning and really behaving as if the idea of progress was to be eschewed in the non-metaphysical, non-teleological, non-religious, non-inevitabilistic meaning that a lot of us would want to give it - the meaning, that is, of just trying to make the world a better place to the extent that you can, whether by small personal acts, by charitable giving, by supporting meliorative reforms, by acting against injustice, or what have you. If you dismiss all that, what then? You get up and hit someone or hurt their feelings? You argue for social ills to be left as they are? You mock those who are suffering? You recommend new lies, the commission of new wrongs? You support murder and oppression?
I don't think so.