Many folks think history is going somewhere. It was required for marxists at one time, for it provided the only possible justification for doing evil things now. Many brands of Christian not only believe that Jesus will return, but that history is moving inexorably toward that in some fashion we can discern. Teleology, the idea that things are going somewhere according to some design, is not only a Christian idea. In fact, however much Darwin maintained that survival was all that was measured by evolution, his belief that we are improving, and expect greater improvement to come, suffuses his writing.
In law and society, we see a pattern of rights being progressively extended to more and more beings. In Western Europe, rights of the nobility gradually became rights of adult male landowners (if they weren't felons or from the wrong church). Rights of women and other races came in unevenly, with property rights, rights before the law, rights to education, and voting all being granted in no particular order. Taking this as a pattern, some now wish to extend rights to animals.
But what if it's not a pattern? The thinkers of the Enlightenment described a course of improvement leading from the Dark through the Middle Ages, the Renaissance, and then their exalted selves. That Classical Greek and Roman thought occurred before this should perhaps have been a clue that there was no general trend here, but they found ways to work that in as well.
At summer studies in 1970, one of the courses was Western Intellectual History, because it was still fashionable to believe that the Enlightenment had basically gotten it right, and we had gotten even better since then! The idea that Western thought did not merely describe a set of ideas, but represented some slow but inevitable development was quite common. It was as if we could not help but have come to where we are - progress could be slowed or diverted, or even set back for a time, but would resume its march (notice the image from that word).
Well, no. We didn't have to end up here. We didn't even have to basically end up here, or mostly end up here except for the details. Retrospectively, so many things look inevitable, as we can see them "grow" out of past events. But association is not always cause, and certainly not determinative cause.