It seems that the only reasonable definition of progress is discovery of that which maximally furthers human interest and the act of implementing such things. Minimal suffering for maximal benefit on the large scope is the preferred outcome. The objective of man (in the classical sense referring to human) is first self preservation and then species preservation through trying to offer maximal benefit for their offspring.
For example, If protection of the environment is not directly related to man's interest then it is by its nature a secondary concern, as soon as it is, it becomes primary. Any measure taken by the species must be maximally beneficial when all possiblities that can reasonably be considered are such by logic via the afformentioned parameters . This way leads to balance, and definitly approaches perfection by trial and error, as the data gathering becomes more efficient, decisions can be made more and more logically.
This manner of action or thought cannot provide the deepest of answers which prove unyeilding to logical analysis, but rather a basic set of natural directives that is somewhat artificialy reinforced. The natural instinct of man can be redirected to a natural prerogative of which logical directives flow and thus provides man with his most reliable and understandable compass.