Sourced Transcript
CULTURE IN DECLINE EP #1: “What Democracy?”
There we go. We got it, Bob! Hi! Sorry, we're running a little bit late. Excuse me a second. Hey
Bob, think fast! [Glass breaking] [Shouting] Sorry, man! Welcome to 'Culture in Decline'. My name
is Peter Joseph. This show is designed for those that want to be a little bit more skeptical about
society, because perhaps, you're like me. As you stumble around this experiment we call global
society, you can't help but feel an increasing sense of unease, perhaps even frustration, with
respect to how we, the human family, have chosen to organize ourselves on this little planet.
The late astronomer and well-known advocate of scientific thought, Carl Sagan, in his famed PBS
series 'Cosmos', once invited the question: "If we were visited by a superior species from another
part of the galaxy, and we were forced to explain to them our stewardship of our planet, not to
mention the state of human affairs today, would we be proud of what we described?"
How would we frame our explanation of how almost half of the world, over 3 billion people, are
either barely surviving in abject poverty and sickness, 1 - or are simply dying off unnecessarily at a
rate of about one person every couple of seconds 2 all occurring in the wake of an advanced
technological reality, where we could easily feed, clothe and house every family on Earth in a
respectable standard of living? 3 .
How would we frame the global warfare: 230 million killed by their fellow man in the past 100
years alone 4 - based on what, meaningless territoriality, resources, dogmatic, obsolete ideologies?
Again, this all occurring in the shadows of a looming scientific recognition, that we are indeed
simply one family sharing one household, bound by the exact same laws of nature, and hence the
same unifying operational ideology.
How about our economic system, the bedrock of what defines our society, not to mention our
dominant motivations? How would we explain the reality that, rather than organizing ourselves
efficiently as a single system to properly manage this household we share, we childishly divide
and compete and exploit each other through an archaic, completely environmentally decoupled
game. A game, by the way, which not only appears to perpetuate a vast spectrum of social
atrocities, but now seems to be further destabilizing society, decreasing our public health.
Sorry to say, as an individual, I really don't care what you believe, nor do I particularly respect it.
Why? Because I don't really respect what I believe either.
There is no evidence to show that any of the traditional values, establishments, social structures
or common practices we have today, will be relevant tomorrow. The only thing that appears to
stand the test of time is this very notion of change, the ever-evolving understanding of ourselves
and the world we inhabit. Perhaps, some might think that that's actually the definition of human
intelligence. What do you think about that? Less about what we know, more about how vulnerable
we are.
So, when you look out your window, ask yourself. Do you see intelligence or do you see dogma?
Do you see a culture listening and working to realign itself with the ever-emerging natural orders
as they unfold, or do you see desperately stubborn efforts by many, particularly those in positions
of power, trying to keep everything the same to the detriment of the entire human experiment?
You know, like you, I might be only one member of this family that is now 7 billion strong; and
1 http://www.globalissues.org/article/26/poverty-facts-and-stats
2 http://www.globalissues.org/article/715/today-21000-children-died-around-the-world
3 http://true-progress.com/the-earth-can-feed-clothe-and-house-12-billion-people-306.htm
4 http://www.cissm.umd.edu/papers/files/deathswarsconflictsjune52006.pdf