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Culture in Decline - Episode #6 - Tale of Two Worlds

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Oh, hey! Do you ever play these funky little logic puzzle things? You might discover them when bored silly at the airport. Nothing mysterious; they give you a set of system rules which discipline you towards achieving a certain goal. It's perhaps not the most exciting thing in entertainment today. I don't know. Maybe there's something more to this whole logic and reason deal than just killing time while in transit? Of course, we all naturally assume that we're being well-reasoned in our decision making, right? In fact, it can be argued that to some degree such associative, causal logic is inherently inescapable, effectively wired into our brains

with respect to how we interpret and link our experiences. Yet, it's that very issue of degree that appears to be where the problems arise, as all too often the foundational premises upon which we frame our conclusions are indeed utterly faulty or without proper evidence to be considered factual to begin with. Needless to say, being logical within a cognitive framework of the illogical only takes you so far. And today, if you dig deep into the origins and bases of perpetuation of our most cherished institutions, from religion to politics, to economics, to the social order itself, you might discover something called 'faith', rather than reason. And 'faith', by definition, is not a premise of logic. Faith is belief without evidence and, hence, contradictory to the entire process of understanding itself. In 1961, engineer R. Buckminster Fuller created a global simulation called 'The World Game'. The idea was to "make the world work for 100% of humanity in the shortest possible time, through spontaneous cooperation, without ecological damage or disadvantage to anyone." It's a pretty simple and rational thought exercise, a logic puzzle, if you will, on the most grand scale which, even in basic gesture, actually stands in stark contrast with the organizational frame of reference our established society currently operates within. In truth, all this train of thought suggests is to take a broad design perspective to the Earth and human society, using what we now know regarding scientific causality, as opposed to the wheeling-and-dealing inherently elitist market anarchy which moves the world by, arguably, a rigid superstitious faith that the 'invisible hand' of the market knows all and sees all. I ask you, what if we dare to view the Earth as a single puzzle board, a problem to be solved with our logic based around the Earth's natural rules set: the known laws of physical science? What if our goal was to maximize our economic efficiency, to design out poverty, to design out national war, to work structurally to create a clean energy abundance and, hence, to work to facilitate a material success for the whole of humanity, in harmony with nature itself? What? What's that? Utopian, you say? Too idealistic? Communist? Well, I don't know about you, but when I stumble around this planet we call home, a system condition that demands one thing to ensure the prosperity of the human family: adaptation, I am at once impressed at our tremendous accomplishments as a species and at once horrified at the ignorant failures, mostly resulting from a refusal to see the Earth as one system design and humanity as one family bound within. As this season finale of Culture in Decline will argue, humanity is being faced with a choice, a fork in the road. It is my personal conviction that the broad social decisions made [by] this generation might very well be what makes or breaks our species in the long run. And perhaps by the end of this episode, you, like me, will feel the need to think about which path we should choose: a culture in ascent, or a culture in decline? From the creator of the Zeitgeist film trilogy comes the worst reality show of all time: the real one. GMP Films presents Culture in Decline with your guide Peter Joseph www.cultureindecline.com [Electronic sounds] Science fiction writers, scientists and so-called futurists of the world have painted many pictures of what the future may hold. Some are modest, positive or even utopian. Some are dystopian, dark and oppressive. As far as the probable truth, the best we can do is measure the trends and average out the projections, with perhaps, of course, the most relevant trend being the influence of science and technology. Of course, technological progress has its culture lag, right? However, today doesn't it seem like the gap between our scientific advancement and our actual understanding and consideration of that advancement is growing wider and wider? Doesn't it seem a little bit obvious that technological capacity is exceeding social maturity? It's actually a frightening point, in truth, as it's a cultural value issue. Science and technology, put into the hands of forward-thinking developers, who perhaps recognize the profound capacity to create an abundance, stabilize our ecological influence and become sustainable both environmentally and culturally, tend to view the world very differently than the more common market, nationalist, elitist mindset which sees society through the filter of narrow self-interest and competition, constantly reinforcing that gain at the expense of others is a law of nature and, hence, a virtue to be praised and rewarded. In this context, we might see how those same tools will be used to make bigger weapons, more surveillance technology and ever stronger physical and psychological prisons for the vast majority of humanity, to remain in servitude to a small group of people and essentially the ownership class. So, with that in mind, I present to you a thought exercise. Using my fresh new time-machine here, I'm going to be your guide on a trip to two possible futures. First we'll visit a world that just may be, if the current social, ecological and technical patterns persist as they are. Then, we'll visit a possible future that very well could be, if we as a species were willing to simply employ our vast potential to forge a new, highly-efficient societal design with new practices: a design which is not utopian or idealistic but rather quite simple, practical and doable, if we simply made the decision to change in accord with the logic of our natural existence. [Poof!] [Ghostly voice] It's Culture in Decline's 'Tale of Two Worlds'. New York City, 2110. It's been a while since the fall of the US empire and by extension, the general decline of much of the world. The massive influence of US economic policy, along with the corresponding materialistic, inefficient and wasteful values born out of the consumption-based growth economy, began to reach its physical limits in the mid-21st century. Until that point, the race towards global industrialization continued unabated, with the world still pining for the so-called American dream, not computing that if the entire world acted with the same waste patterns as the US, we would have needed four more Earths' worth of resources, just to keep it all going. What happened? Well, there were three nails in the coffin of societal collapse. The synergy of these issues compounded each other into a vicious storm, and by the time the Earth hit a population of 8 billion, right before the Third World War, global unemployment reached levels of 65%, every government on earth was bankrupt to each other, and the core hydrocarbon energy sources saw destabilizing scarcity. And while China did win the war, what resolution was achieved didn't last long. The cancer and health epidemics alone in Asia and beyond rose to catastrophic proportions, with a third of the planet still uninhabitable today due to industrial pollution. Today, the global population has fallen by 40%, due to scarcity and disease. As far as the energy crisis, the early 21st century made tremendous progress in understanding renewable, sustainable energy systems. We were learning on paper how to stop our use of inherently scarce polluting energy stores in the earth, realizing the almost unlimited abundance of our regenerative universe and energy income that could provide for everyone many times over, if we only moved fast enough to create the proper infrastructure. Unfortunately, such a transition attempt was met with great resistance by financial interests. You see, there was this thing called the free market which was far from free, in truth. It was a war and elitist protection system, and the bigger and more profitable an industry became, the less financial incentive existed to alter it. Money was the goal of this game, not sustainability or efficiency. And the fact was, we needed to move fast utilizing the remaining hydrocarbon resources to create new sustainable energy infrastructure. It was a race against global population increases and hence needs. And sadly we failed, passing the point of no return as once the true scarcity of our hydrocarbon resources became understood, social destabilization and panic rapidly commenced to further barricade. What little progress did take place was rapidly destroyed thereafter by the water and energy wars. At the same time, the world faced the largest unemployment rates in history. Long considered a Luddite myth, the exponential increase in machine automation in the 21st century created a powerful acceleration of industrial productivity at ever cheaper rates, displacing workers more rapidly than technology could actually create new jobs. Forward thinkers saw a great shift in the architecture of society. Perhaps the ancient idea of earning a living could be replaced with living a life. We could see the new capacity to create an abundance to meet the needs of every human being on Earth, 8 billion and beyond. But sadly, this prospect met the same fate as our energy ambitions. The corporations, locked into a manner of thought which viewed mechanization as not a means for abundance, but rather a means to save even more money in the process of production set up a violent clash, not only a clash between workers and owners, but ironically, a clash of system functions. Capitalism was faced with its most grand contradiction, where suddenly labor could exist with increasingly less human involvement; and hence, the constant pursuit of cost efficiency for profit inevitably meant that less money would be put into circulation through wages. And so the system ran itself down into an ever-weakening slump. Noticing this, the cry of some was to stop mechanization, knowing the economy literally needed jobs by design. Others performed activism to try and convince the world that it was time to adapt, to simply give humanity what it needed, to bypass the market. Why should we invent more jobs to waste human life, just to keep this system going? Yet of course, they were bashed in the media, dismissed as socialist upstarts and freedom-hating communists trying to corrupt the supposed liberty of what was nothing more than a religion: the all-seeing market. And by the time the corporate-controlled governments couldn't look the other way any longer, the momentum of anger and dismay was too much. The unions went on strike, and the cry for revolution exploded. The Luddites blamed technology for the problems, the businesses blamed government interference, the counter-culture blamed idealized conspiracies with few realizing that it was a system failure, a natural evolution of our culture which demanded respect and adaptation. And the third and perhaps most absurd of all social plagues was the illusion of financial debt. It's an interesting historical note that, for some reason, the mafia-style organized-crime mode of the market was never really accepted as a legitimate consequence, when it was, in fact, a ruling ethos inherent in the competitive, scarcity-driven nature of the system. Centuries of denial can be found in the endless economic textbooks of this now-failed model, saying that if any such behavior did occur, it was an anomaly, a corruption rather than a core characteristic expected of the system itself. Within this propensity, a debt system emerged. Whether structurally intended as a force of class warfare or not, the system served the elite quite well, for a little while. Every form of currency produced was created out of debt and loaned at interest to the governments, businesses, and individuals. Yet, it was a mathematical impossibility for this debt to ever be repaid, as there was always more debt in the global economy than money to pay it back, due to the profit mechanism of interest being charged. And while this allowed for a surplus of cheap labor that further divided the classes, moving from 1% owning 40% of the planet's wealth in the early 21st century to now 1% owning 70%, the viral nature of the mechanism got the best of everyone in the end. To expand the delusion, global banking institutions were then installed to loan money made out of debt again to the now bankrupt countries, only to watch these world banks fail over time as well. It was the greatest inadvertent scam of all time, a pyramid scheme on steroids destined to fail for all. And by the time of World War III, all the countries had defaulted to each other and the global banking system collapsed. Of course, during these trials, the illusion of so-called democracy still persisted, equally as religious and mythological in its understanding as the so-called free market. Everyone turned to their representative government, a mafia constituency to be sure, intimately in bed with the corporate financial interests, which by virtue of the ruling ethic of social and class warfare and competition, had little structural incentive to care about the vast majority of the world. And so it went. Not too pretty, huh? Well, while this future may be a little extreme in its presentation, keep in mind this is what the trends suggest. However, I think it's time we take a positive view of the future, one that's actually quite possible if we were intelligent enough to adjust accordingly. [Poof!] [♪ ♫ ♪] Uh, what the shit? Where am I? I must have dialed wrong. Oh wait, we went in the past to the 2013 Zeitgeist Media Festival. Sweet! Oh, and there's Kellee Maize doing her thing, hah! ♫ "If we do these things when the tree is green, oh please, what will happen when it dies? I create and know somewhere deep in thee, unseen, is the key that will open up all eyes." ♫ -What do you think the future's going to be like in, say, a hundred years? - Well, I think we could go down two paths. The first would be that we continue to build on top of this cancer cautiousness, separation, every human being for themselves kind of a thing. I don't necessarily like that idea. But I do think there's another direction that we could go. I would love to see people working together in community. I think we're missing the whole kind of tribal element. As Mouse would say "I would love everybody to live in tree houses." I mean, I really believe that we have the technology to deal with every imaginable problem on Earth. We have plants that can bioremediate like sunflowers, for example. We have everything that's available to us to fix all these problems, to create incredible abundance, to not have to deal with this ridiculously corrupt monetary system. [Kellee Maize performing 'Tree of Life'] Ah man, I hate to leave this sweet-ass festival! It really is amazing how the arts contribute to social development. And yes, life really should be a celebration, not a trial. But okay, let's get back to work. [Poof!] Los Angeles, 2110 What was once a sea of congested traffic and agitating urban sprawl in the early 21st century, has been transformed into a model of efficiency and safety. The 9-to-5 workday tradition which forced most of society to cram into gridlocked highways, en route to a kind of covert slavery, is a distant memory of a new, highly advanced technological society. Contribution to society is no longer based on the narrow, selfish pursuit of personal gain. Money lost its use long ago as the foundational premise of its existence was outgrown. The culture finally realized that a basic, technical system of collaboration, sharing resources and ideas would enable a highly abundant, sustainable and stable world, unlike anything the market ethic of scarcity, competition and class warfare could fathom. It was called The Great Transition, where the benefit of taking an earth-wide system perspective, coupled with the application of basic physical and social science, set in motion a train of thought that transcended most everything we had considered normal in the early 21st century. And while it is far from perfect, the basic design to take care of everyone worked, while still structurally respecting the natural environment, unleashing a kind of human freedom and capacity for development never before seen. To understand how this new world emerged, we need to start by recognizing a trend which became apparent in the early 20th century. With humanity having spent the vast majority of existence under the veil of superstition, impending scarcity and general elitism, the idea of not having enough to go around, and the perpetuation of haves and have-nots, appeared to be simply an immutable law of nature. War after war, genocide after genocide, it intuitively appeared that this was simply the way the human condition was to be. However, with the development of science and the notion of something called technical efficiency, a pattern began to emerge which set the stage for likely the most radical change in human societal operation in history. It was called ephemeralization, the ability to do more and more with less and less. As paradoxical as it may seem, our advancement and understanding of how to use our planetary resources, in conjunction with the emerging laws of natural science, set in motion a pattern of conservation and efficiency where over time, less and less materials, labor and energy were needed to produce and execute more and more life-supporting processes. For example, the first computer built in the 1940s covered 1800 square feet of floor space, weighed 30 tons and consumed 160 kilowatts of electric power. Today, an inexpensive pocket-sized cell phone computes substantially faster, running on virtually nothing in comparison. Communication which used to require enormous amounts of arduous copper wire to facilitate phone calls has been replaced by light-weight satellites. Physical home construction, which took massive amounts of resources and labor, eventually evolved into using lightweight prefabricated structures which could be assembled by automation using a fraction of the materials and labor as before and yet were substantially stronger and durable. Even the core foundation of nutrition: agriculture, which, since the start of the neolithic period, was bound to certain regions for certain climates and land propensities, saw a revolution in versatility where soil-less farming systems could provide organic food locally without pesticides, using less fertilization and with little energy wasted on transport. The very idea of globalization was a distant memory, along with the vast waste it created. In effect, no industry or sub-industry was amiss with this trend. Even labor itself, with the application of automation, finally applied as the target means for production, exploded efficiency and capacity with less and less human toil necessary over time. By the mid-21st century, even the idea of mass good production was also no more, as advancements in modular robotics and nano-technology allowed for good- production to exist on site, on demand, in a kind of variety never before seen in capitalism. The idea of producing goods en masse and storing inventory was no more. In fact, most homes now had production rooms which printed the basic clothes, household tools and general needs right there on site. And on and on the efficiency grew, bringing the world into a condition of post-scarcity abundance where, within the educational framework of natural law, respecting that there are indeed limits to growth and consumption, a new human value system emerged which gloried in its capacity to increase efficiency and maintain ecological balance and sustainability, not only physical sustainability per se, but cultural sustainability. Taking care of everyone was not a poetic consequence; it was a core focus to create a form of earthly harmony unknown before. Of course, none of these transitions came easily. The market economy and those who profited most dogmatically tried to stop this advancement, as the elitism they held dear was drawn into question. It took decades of activism and showing the world, including those of great power and wealth, that life could be much better for them as well, along with everyone else and that the market system simply was incompatible with this new mode of optimized efficiency, an efficiency desperately needed to not only progress society, but save it. Ah shit, I've got to get back. It's almost time for my favorite TV show. [♪ ♫ ♪] [Laughter, sound of TV slapstick, knee-slapping] - Bitch! [Announcer] We now return to Free Market Fun Sack! Welcome back to Free Market Fun Sack, the game that tests your understanding of the global economy and reminds us that true freedom is our ability to restrict the freedom of others. We are now in our final action round, with the remaining categories: Those Wacky Austrians, What Mafia? Fuck You And Your College Dream, and Gimme Gimme Gimme! Mine Mine Mine! Tammie, it's your turn. - Sam, I'll take Fuck You And Your College Dream for $300 please. - Currently in the United States, which form of indirect slavery is most actively saving the ownership class by generating legions of young, desperate laborers? [Bell sound] Tim? - Sam, that would be debt slavery. [Bell Sound] - That's correct, Tim! [Applause] In fact, there's now about 1.2 trillion dollars in student debt alone; an excellent career motivator to be sure. Tim, you're up. - I'll take What Mafia? for $400 please. - Which free market-induced cartel currently maintains the most oppressive power over life-improving public health policies? [Bell sound] Tammie? - The Federal Reserve. [Buzzer sound] -Close, but no. [Bell sound] Fred? - The Food and Drug Administration. [Bell sound] -There we go! That's right folks. We do have cures for cancer. Too bad it would interfere with the bottom line of the existing Medical Mafia. Fred! - Yes, Sam. I'll take Gimme Gimme Gimme! Mine, Mine, Mine! for $600. - Which continent has been most capitalized upon for its natural resources and cost-efficient labor since the start of the British Empire? [Bell sound] Fred? - Asia? [Buzzer] - Very close, but no. [Bell sound] Tammie. - South America? [Buzzer sound] - Even closer, but no bueno. [Bell sound] Tim. - Africa. [Bell sound] - You got it! Oil, minerals, spices, land and even people have been taken by the West and put to good economic work for hundreds of years. Economic efficiency at its best! [Buzzer] That buzzer means we're out of time. Fred, you're our new winner! Tammie and Tim, please enter your designated Free Market Fun Sacks, as your fates have been set to help contribute to the emerging market economies of the third world. Ed? - That's right, Sam. Tammie is off to luscious Thailand to be a sex slave of one of the most promising markets of the region, human trafficking, while Tim is off to South East Asia to work for 18 hours a day for 10 cents an hour, making expensive sneakers for American school children. - Thank you all for joining us. Now a word from our sponsor. [Footsteps] Most people have no idea that golf was invented by Alphonse Leggard, whose glass eye popped out in the park when he sneezed too hard. Because of his broken leg, he had to putt the eye all the way home before his wife retrieved it for him. But by then, he knew he had a new sport, and a dream. It's all true. Know why? Because you heard it from some guy in a tie. Final thoughts. I spent the beginning of my focus in activism by doing what most everyone else was doing: blaming other people and institutions. Don't like the war? Let's blame the President, Congress or political lobbyists. Don't like ecological disregard? Let's blame this or that corrupt corporation or some regulatory body for poor performance. Don't like being poor and socially immobile? Let's blame government coercion and interference in this free-market utopia everyone keeps talking about. The sobering truth of the matter is that the only thing to blame is the dynamic causal unfolding of system expression itself on the cultural level. In other words, none of us create or do anything in isolation. It's impossible. We are system-bound, both physically and psychologically: a continuum. Therefore, our view of causality with respect to societal change can only be truly productive if we seek and source the most relevant sociological influences we can, and begin to alter those effects from the root causes. I don't know about you, but I am so sick of listening to 95% of the world's media, social critics, political parties, economic philosophers, so-called scientists and yes, activist communities, as they continue wasting time and energy trying to patch a sinking ship that never had structural integrity to begin with. It isn't to say we don't need such patches, OK? because we are truly hemorrhaging from our wounds. But the level of embarrassment now upon us with respect to the hamster wheel of pointless acts, must truly make one hell of a reality show for the possible aliens watching our rather idiotic planet orbit into oblivion. The late great George Carlin once said "When you are born on this planet, you are given a ticket to the freak show. And if you're born in America, you are given a front row seat." It may be true that behind every cynic there's a failed idealist. But in a world where no good deed goes unpunished, it is easy to see how the most sensitive of the human condition can't help but suffer a kind of trauma of the spirit where the child-like goodwill, curiosity and rational development is stomped, suppressed and destroyed by stubborn traditionalism forged by the supposed virtue of arrogant elitism. And yes, if you haven't figured it out, at the root of this series is not a light satirical view of modern life. It is a deeply frustrated and agitated expression that furthers in part my personal cathartic attempt to ward off the condition of simply not giving a shit anymore. And my hope is that those of you out there who can identify with this plight will begin to understand the seriousness of this societal struggle and work to help redeem this epidemic of intellectual belligerence known as the zeitgeist we endure. With that, I would like to thank all of you who have supported the show this far and perhaps we all may emerge to see a common human end in time, realizing that everything is you, and you are everything: a spiritual responsibility of sorts, if you will, perhaps finally lifting us out of the dark age we wallow in today. My name is Peter Joseph and perhaps you, like me, will no longer perceive yourself as a victim of a culture in decline but rather as an agent of evolution: an agent of a culture in ascent. [Culture in Decline theme music] Every revolutionary idea seems to evoke three stages of reaction. They may be summed up by the phrases: 1 - It's completely impossible. 2 - It's possible, but it's not worth doing. 3 - I said it was a good idea all along. ~ Arthur C. Clarke Culture in Decline The Pentagon has implemented its new strategy for global presence: Total Awareness Military Protocol Operational Network Operation TAMPON (because National Security is now getting personal)

Video Details

Duration: 32 minutes and 37 seconds
Country: United States
Language: English
Producer: GMP Films
Director: Peter Joseph
Views: 1,590
Posted by: ltiofficial on Sep 7, 2013

In this final episode of the season, Dr. Peter Joseph shows off his fresh new Time Machine, guiding the audience through a vision of two possible futures.

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