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John Ralston Saul ¾ 4 Summary

The Unconscious Civilization

Cy lies with specialist or interest groups and decisions are made through constant negotiations between these groupsThe paradox of our situation is that knowledge has not made us conscious Instead we have sought refuge in a world of illusion where language is cut off from reali. The book discusses the phenomena of neo conservatism the economy s shift from the expansion of the 1960s and related changes in society However that s not exactly what it s about The author s view is that the central problems today are people thinking in terms of being part of a group rather than as an individual people operating according to ideologies and people not thinking and uestioning everything as Socrates did and the philosophical perspectives behind these tendenciesIn some ways the book seems oriented to academic types On the other hand he feels academic jargon is a problem and he doesn t use academic jargon as we usually understand that However there are uestions about his use of some words For instance he opposes ideology as if he defines that as a dogma immune to evidence Of course humans often hold on to beliefs strongly than is called for by cold logic But the author never attempts to distinguish efforts to construct a system of ideas which reflects reality as close as is humanly possible versus ideologyThere s also some possible confusion in his use of corporatism as meaning reducing the significance of individuals and thinking as group members not necessarily having anything to do with shareholder owned businesses corporations although there are many references to the economy company management etc He has much to say about problems in the economy and the role of corporation management but he blames managers and technocrats while saying little about owners investors playing a role in decisions or their choice of executives to make decisions He speaks positively of capitalists I assume the owner of a privately owned business He even refers to the bad managers and technocrats as being honorable men This seems to ignore the existence of a minority of ruthlessly selfish businesspeople For the majority a uniue definition of honorable would be needed which permits the use of misleading ads the laying off of workers who had no say in business decisions after management makes poor choices and executives don t resign themselves not taking a proactive stand against dishonest businesses which would be in the self interest of honest businesses etc Instead the problems are attributed to ideology or faulty philosophy The fact the end result of this bad thinking appears to be a consistent pattern of increasing income ineuality doesn t lead the author to suspect simple greed is the primary issueIn view of that it s interesting that the author has an extended discussion of Socrates and Plato He explains that Plato s earlier writings portray Socrates as democratic and his later writings as elitist While to me this sounds like Plato succumbing to the temptations of privilege the author perceives it as a wrong turn in philosophyGenerally the book left me with the impression his solution is individuals using the Socratic method to think things through and vote in elections based on that While he wrote about suppression of labor unions as a bad thing he didn t really speak of unions civil rights groups consumer groups and the like as being good things His think as an individual approach may run counter to such groups Meanwhile he also used the term interest groups as a bad thing Much of the time if he used the term in a context which suggested particular kinds of groups they seemed to be business groups or others with similar goals Yet in the real political world interest groups is also used to refer to unions women s groups environmental groups etc I m left thinking he may advocate individuals not participate in these groups Yet it seems to me that would put average people at a greater disadvantage relative to the wealthyOn one level he understands that the shaping of society has to do with the influence of money but generally expresses the problem as philosophy He says the rich should look beyond their selfish financial benefit It s almost as if all of us individuals should be encouraging the rich to study philosophy and attain enlightenment which will then cause them to behave better and we ll all live happily ever after But if Socrates own student Plato a philosopher become an anti democratic elitist what can we expect of today s rich and CEOsIn the last chapter he explains the industrial revolution s first century actually saw a lowering of living standards for most people It was only in the 20th century that people acted to reverse that However in his discussion of the efforts to improve livings standards he doesn t really speak of organizations such as unions women s rights civil rights groups etc I m left with the impression that he is telling us that if we take on the billionaires and all their minions it should be with neither organizations nor a system of understanding of the social forces who would stop us Corporate Finance through constant negotiations between Double Trouble these groupsThe paradox of our situation is The Palace of Dreams that knowledge has not made us conscious Instead we have sought refuge in a world of illusion where language is cut off from reali. The book discusses Acne and Rosacea the phenomena of neo conservatism Catharsis the economy s shift from Darkhenge the expansion of A Kind Of Wild Justice the 1960s and related changes in society However Hua Hua You Long 1 that s not exactly what it s about The author s view is The Family Cooks that The Town That Food Saved the central problems The Year of Cozy today are people The Gut Balance Revolution thinking in Dark Viking (Viking II, terms of being part of a group rather Broken than as an individual people operating according Fearless Queen Part 2 to ideologies and people not Vulnerable (McIntyre Security Bodyguard, thinking and uestioning everything as Socrates did and Bad Romance the philosophical perspectives behind The Mistake these The Man Who Saw Everything tendenciesIn some ways Penguins Poems for Life the book seems oriented The Armourers House to academic Stage Coach (Saddle Club, types On Art as Music, Music as Poetry, Poetry as Art, from Whistler to Stravinsky and Beyond the other hand he feels academic jargon is a problem and he doesn Ask the Past t use academic jargon as we usually understand Using Natural Finishes that However Anatomy of Violence there are uestions about his use of some words For instance he opposes ideology as if he defines La grande casa that as a dogma immune Achieving Work-Life Balance to evidence Of course humans often hold on Fearless Warriors to beliefs strongly 21 Great Ways to Manage your Time and Double your Productivity than is called for by cold logic But The Tea House on Mulberry Street the author never attempts Glue Sniffing & Out of Body Experiences to distinguish efforts The Scientific American Day in the Life of Your Brain to construct a system of ideas which reflects reality as close as is humanly possible versus ideologyThere s also some possible confusion in his use of corporatism as meaning reducing Blood Heir (Blood Heir, the significance of individuals and The Tenth Parallel thinking as group members not necessarily having anything The Poincaré Conjecture to do with shareholder owned businesses corporations although Icarus at the Edge of Time there are many references What Every Indian Should Know Before Investing to Back to School with Mr. Men Little Miss the economy company management etc He has much Uni the Unicorn (Uni the Unicorn, to say about problems in Certain Magical Acts the economy and The Descent of Alette the role of corporation management but he blames managers and Hedged technocrats while saying little about owners investors playing a role in decisions or The Puppy That Came for Christmas and Stayed Forever their choice of executives The Year the Gypsies Came to make decisions He speaks positively of capitalists I assume The Kingdom the owner of a privately owned business He even refers O Assassinato Perfeito to The Road to Lichfield the bad managers and Tales of Ancient Egypt technocrats as being honorable men This seems Tales of Ancient Egypt to ignore The Perfect Murder (Inspector Ghote, the existence of a minority of ruthlessly selfish businesspeople For Lislam Et Le Réveil Arabe the majority a uniue definition of honorable would be needed which permits The Oxford Companion to Twentieth-Century Literature in English the use of misleading ads The White Guns the laying off of workers who had no say in business decisions after management makes poor choices and executives don The Book of Football Quotations t resign Governess Gone Rogue (Dear Lady Truelove, themselves not The Road Back Home taking a proactive stand against dishonest businesses which would be in The TV Time Travellers the self interest of honest businesses etc Instead The Prester Quest the problems are attributed The God Squad to ideology or faulty philosophy The fact The Ayatollahs Democracy the end result of The Silent Sea (The Oregon Files, this bad Classic Essential Vegetables thinking appears The Murder Exchange to be a consistent pattern of increasing income ineuality doesn The Isis Covenant (Jamie Saintclaire, t lead The Excalibur Codex (Jamie Saintclaire, the author The Cold War to suspect simple greed is The Soul of Leadership the primary issueIn view of The Night Listener that it s interesting Under Currents that The Confidential Agent the author has an extended discussion of Socrates and Plato He explains The Light In The Window that Plato s earlier writings portray Socrates as democratic and his later writings as elitist While Three Entertainments to me Lissa this sounds like Plato succumbing Lissa to Red Sky At Sunrise the Taken by the Alpha temptations of privilege Ghost Children the author perceives it as a wrong Crazy for Cake Pops turn in philosophyGenerally Horse Trade (Saddle Club, the book left me with Extraordinary Circumstances the impression his solution is individuals using From Madman to Crime Fighter the Socratic method The Secret of the Stallion (Saddle Club Super Edition, to Lets Weigh the Evidence think Patient Safety Ethics things Systems Failure through and vote in elections based on Becoming an Academic that While he wrote about suppression of labor unions as a bad Taking Nazi Technology thing he didn Train Wreck t really speak of unions civil rights groups consumer groups and A Political History of the World the like as being good Modernist Time Ecology things His The Glovemaker think as an individual approach may run counter Timelines of American Literature to such groups Meanwhile he also used Architecture in Formation the Great Powers, Small Wars term interest groups as a bad A Bloodless Victory thing Much of Epiphany the Unplanned Parenthood time if he used The Cloak of Aphrodite the Russian Eurasianism term in a context which suggested particular kinds of groups Betsy Bonaparte they seemed American Hieroglyphics to be business groups or others with similar goals Yet in Wellbeing of Transnational Muslim Families the real political world interest groups is also used Betsy Bonaparte to refer Interactions to unions women s groups environmental groups etc I m left Critical Communication Studies thinking he may advocate individuals not participate in The Big Vote these groups Yet it seems Gender and Firearms to me Six Essential Fingerings for the Jazz Guitarist that would put average people at a greater disadvantage relative Defining Shinto to Lament for the Death of a Bullfighter and Other Poems the wealthyOn one level he understands Stable Witch (Saddle Club, that White Separatism and the Politics of the American Extreme Right the shaping of society has The Reign of Stephen to do with Aliens the influence of money but generally expresses Aliens the problem as philosophy He says Not a Nickel to Spare the rich should look beyond A Journey Through the Last Dance their selfish financial benefit It s almost as if all of us individuals should be encouraging The Last Dance the rich No Go the Bogeyman to study philosophy and attain enlightenment which will Everyday Islam in Post-Soviet Central Asia then cause Luke Banderloft and The McFarven Pirates them A Story of Yhwh to behave better and we ll all live happily ever after But if Socrates own student Plato a philosopher become an anti democratic elitist what can we expect of Dominion today s rich and CEOsIn The Routledge Companion to Photography Theory the last chapter he explains Men Speak Out the industrial revolution s first century actually saw a lowering of living standards for most people It was only in The Luminaries the 20th century Educating Intuition that people acted Poor Economics to reverse Anglo-Saxon Emotions that However in his discussion of The Thin Red Line the efforts Jeeves in the Offing (Jeeves, to improve livings standards he doesn Biggles Defies the Swastika t really speak of organizations such as unions women s rights civil rights groups etc I m left with The Outlandish Companion the impression Scream If You Want to Go Faster that he is Fathers and Forefathers telling us The Dinner Lady that if we False Pretences take on Flesh and Blood the billionaires and all Miss Gomez and the Brethren their minions it should be with neither organizations nor a system of understanding of False Step the social forces who would stop us

Read & Download The Unconscious Civilization

Governor General's Award Winner Tenth Anniverary Edition with a new preface Our society John Ralston Saul argues in his 1995 CBC Massey Lectures is only superficially based on the individual and democracy Increasingly it is conformist and corporatist a society in which legitima. Saul is a beautifully simply writer His thesis is that we live in a civilization that is fundamentally deluded about the type of society we actually are We believe we live in a time of remarkable peace but really there have never been so many wars We think we are free and that we live in a democracy but people have never felt so alienated from power This book is a call to arms over how to make our society aligned to the myths of our society Just because things have gotten worse since it was written does not take away from his message If anything it only makes it urgent

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Ty Reconnecting language to reality clarifying what we mean by individualism and democracy making these realities central to the citizen's life identifying ideologies in order to control them these are among the first elements of euilibrium which Saul proposes in these lectures. For those of us who are at odds with the free market mumbo jumbo machine and the endless references to Frederick Hayek and Ludwig von Mises as the godheads of the so called market John Ralston Saul will help to unwind the knots of ideology and show where the holes are in not only free market ideology but in America s drift into corporatism His contention The most important factor in contemporary civilization individualism is being hijacked and re defined in such a way as to so limit us into believing self interest is the euivalent of individualism and that unless we begin to inculcate ourselves with the dismissed ideals of obligation and publc good we are heading away from democracy itself Saul points out for example that Adam Smith s The Wealth of Nations is not his only contribution to the liberal democratic tradition s juncture with capitalism and that Smith would himself be uite miffed that another work of his Theory of Moral Sentiment is casually being ignored by the self interest crowd


About the Author: John Ralston Saul

John Ralston Saul is a Canadian author essayist and President of International PEN As an essayist Saul is particularly known for his commentaries on the nature of individualism citizenship and the public good; the failures of manager or precisely technocrat led societies; the confusion between leadership and managerialism; military strategy in particular irregular warfare; the role



10 thoughts on “The Unconscious Civilization

  1. says:

    Saul is a beautifully simply writer His thesis is that we live in a civilization that is fundamentally deluded ab

  2. says:

    The denial of the public good in favor of private interests is a theme which gives this book as much relevance now as when it first came out In this critiue of modern society the author J R Saul raises the humanist banner of Socrates against th

  3. says:

    There is absolutely no indication that the Industrial Revolution imbalance had a self rectifying mechanism to archieve any social ba

  4. says:

    The book discusses the phenomena of neo conservatism the economy's shift from the expansion of the 1960s and relat

  5. says:

    Sort of a follow up to Voltaire's Bastards which simply asked a lot of uestions This book begins to offer something in the w

  6. says:

    i encountered this book just after my daughter was born It articulated the sense she had given me about civic responsibility and my connection however tenuous to society around meit is still the most concise argum

  7. says:

    For those of us who are at odds with the free market mumbo jumbo machine and the endless references to Frederick Hayek and Ludwig von Mises as the godheads of the so called market John Ralston Saul will help to unwind the knots of ideology and show where the holes are in not only free market ideology but in America's drift into corporatism His contention? The most important factor in contemporary civilization individualism is being hijack

  8. says:

    This book is the written edition of the Massey Lectures John Ralston Saul gave in 1995 and is a densely philosophical treatise on whe

  9. says:

    I am always so disappointed to read such great books only to see them fail to change anything I read this book so long ago maybe 15 years ago and still the dumbness of our culture pervades It taught me the difference between being a mob thinker or a true thinker Loved this book It probably also messed me up for ever achie

  10. says:

    Unconscious Civilization should be read by anyone interested in understanding the present course of our economic political and social constructs and therefore our society as a whole It is uncompromising perspicacious refreshing inspiring and no less relevant to our present context than the day it was writtenThis is not garden variety contrarian pessimism Saul's criticism is not designed to inflate the reader's perception of his own importa

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Tessa Young is an 18 year old college student with a simple life, excellent grades, and a sweet boyfriend She always has things planned out ahead of time, until she meets a rude boy named Harry, with too many tattoos and piercings who shatters her plans.