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[gentle music] ♪ All around me are familiar faces ♪ ♪ Worn out places ♪ Worn out faces ♪ Bright and early for their daily races ♪ ♪ Going nowhere, going nowhere ♪ Their tears are filling up their glasses ♪ ♪ No expression, no expression ♪ Hide my head I want to drown my sorrow ♪ ♪ No tomorrow, no tomorrow ♪ And I find it kind of funny I find it kind of sad ♪ ♪ The dreams in which I'm dying are the best I've ever had ♪ ♪ I find it hard to tell you I find it hard to take ♪ ♪ When people run in circles it's a very, very... ♪ ♪ Mad world ♪ Mad world ♪ Children waiting for the day they feel good ♪ ♪ Happy birthday ♪ Happy birthday ♪ Made to feel the way that every child should ♪ ♪ Sit and listen ♪ Sit and listen ♪ Went to school and I was very nervous ♪ ♪ No one knew me ♪ No one knew me ♪ Hello teacher tell me what's my lesson ♪ ♪ Look right through me ♪ Look right through me ♪ And I find it kind of funny and I find it kind of sad ♪ ♪ The dreams in which I'm dying are the best I've ever had ♪ ♪ I find it hard to tell you ♪ I find it hard to take ♪ When people run in circles it's a very, very... ♪ ♪ Mad world ♪ Mad world ♪ Mad world ♪ Mad world [muffled explosion] [wind blowing] [music fades] [increasing high-pitched ringing] [propeller increasingly rumbling] [helicopter whirring] [muffled helicopter rumbling] [ominous music] [increasing dramatic music] [dramatic upbeat music] [Buckminster Fuller] What I call the World Game now is an exercise that I have been following through for a great many years. Can you hear me in the back alright? And it started with my being in the United States Navy. The time of World War One. At that time, the navies represented investment of all the science, all the chemistry, all the physics, all the mathematics known about our universe. And I was shocked that it was only going in this negative thing of killing. [dramatic orchestral music] [Buckminster] We have this extraordinary technology. Man was not doing anything with that kind of accuracy on the land in relation to trying to make man a success. It became very quickly apparent that the fundamental raison d'etre in all of our state craft was based on Thomas Malthus. Now Thomas Malthus was the scientific servant of the masters of the earth of the time. He's the first economist in the history of man to receive the total Vital Statistics from around the spherical earth and in 1800, he wrote his first book, in which he said apparently man was reproducing himself much more rapidly than producing goods to support himself. Therefore, very sad, but man is supposed to be a failure. [dramatic orchestral music] Shall we inform the whole world, the whole world of that time being more than 90% illiterate and unable to then even read any information if it was sent to them. Should we try to inform the whole world? There is nowhere nearly enough to go around. If we divide up evenly we'll all die slowly together. And that didn't seem logical to them at all. They said, "What we can do is the following: all these people out here are ignorant of what we know about and because they're ignorant, they think they have some hope. And we know they don't have hope most of them. Why, why eliminate their hope? They're going to die, poor characters, and might as well let them die in ignorance." Ignorance and hope. This is the kindest thing to do. And that's exactly what they did do. [dramatic music] [computer beeping] [gentle piano music] How's it going? Everything seems to be on pace. But, you know, there's only so much we can be sure of since its theoretical. -Think it's going to work? -I have no idea. Hey, any word about John yet? -Glad you asked, actually. Yes, John just made the evening news. [computer beeping] And it appears Simon wants to gloat about it. [headline hisses] [gentle cybernetic music] [Newscaster] They call themselves Concordia, after the ancient Roman goddess of harmony. The pro-revolution hacktivist group, world famous after a decade of subversion, suffered a major blow this week with the capture of leader John Taylor. Once a high-ranking military engineer, Taylor is being held in an undisclosed location by the UN's Global Security Agency. And with us to discuss is GSA director General Simon Devoe. Simon, thanks for being here. -[Simon] My pleasure. -So let's step back if you don't mind. Who are these people and how have they operated with such impunity after all these years? -Concordia was formed by a group of cyber warfare experts that defected from their military positions around 2050. And in the process, a great deal of classified information and advanced technologies were stolen. -What kind of technologies? -Mostly communications; cloaking, encryption, surveillance. Hence why they remain so elusive. But the GSA's core concern is the theft of some highly experimental warfare technology, advancements in biochemistry and molecular science that have dramatic potential for large-scale harm. -Aside from all the hacks, leaks and other things that have made them so famous. -Yes, they certainly enjoy being disruptive. -Disruptive indeed. Just last year they breached the accounts of the world's richest CEOs, extracting almost two trillion dollars, moving that money into virtually traceless charity donations worldwide. [Operative #1] Hmm! I tell you the warm fuzzy feeling I got from that one has yet to go away. Delicious. -Before that were the notorious email leaks revealing major Wall Street firms had lobbied CIA, MI9 and Mossad to help gain monopoly control of rare earth metals in Asia. [Operative #2] Yeah, too bad I didn't do a damn thing. Corporate terrorism just gets worse. [Operative #3] Exposure media does very little these days. It just sets a tone. -And in 2054, they jammed both Chinese and American defense systems during the Saudi Annex Crisis, disabling thousands of warheads; a move Concordian sympathizers claim might have stopped World War III. And speaking of sympathizers, what do you make of the support? Legions of followers worldwide. -Troubling, but I get it. Lots of problems out there. The food/water crisis, refugee migration, automation-driven unemployment, serious ecological decline. I get it and it's natural to be angry. But anger doesn't solve problems or justify unlawful acts. This Robin Hood savior appeal of Concordia is just an immature fad. -A passing trend? -I think so. As cinematic as the idea is of Concordia, the radical yet benevolent protagonist fighting for their utopian revolution against the evil establishment, last I checked, this is reality, not a movie. [eerie music] -Seems that way. -So I encourage people to regain trust in our time-tested institutions and democratic process, not tear it all down as Concordia would like to see. -Now, in regards to John Taylor, I understand you once worked together. -Starting in Special Forces, yes. I even considered him a good friend at one time. -Have you had contact with him since his capture? -Not yet, but I must say I am very much looking forward to speaking with my old associate. [Operative #4] So are we, Simon. -ell, I wish I could be a fly on the wall for that. Thanks for being here, Simon. Always a pleasure. [dramatic news music] [director] So, can I get you anything before we get started? [Malikan] I think I'm good. [director] Alright, feel free to take a seat. How we doing on tech? -[tech] Almost there? -[director] All right. Well, let's, let's go ahead and roll for basic info and we'll, uh, we'll just, we'll tweak it as we go. Sound. [man] Speed. [tech] And rolling. [director] All right, so, please go ahead and introduce yourself and state your work. [Malikan] My name is Malikan Soyenka and I'm a professor of history at Columbia University. My specialty of interest surrounds what most historians call today "The Great Transition", that period of time between the 21st and early 22nd century where global society underwent a rather spectacular social revolution. [Cynthia] That's a good question. I guess time will tell. [director] All right. Let's, let's inch into this. Please state your name, vocation, and how you found interest in economics. I'm Cynthia Floris and I received an interdisciplinary degree in systems ecology and economics from the University of Cape Town, where I also now teach. I guess I would start by saying that I can't think of anything more relevant to the character of society than its economic foundation. [Aleniya] Hello, I'm Aleniya Demir and I teach epidemiology at the University of Istanbul. Epidemiology is the study of public well-being or what one could call population level phenomena, specifically the distribution of physical and mental health across society. With respect to your documentary, I would say the period before The Great Transition likely marked the most unhealthy and unstable period in human history. [Vivian] So am I looking at you or the camera? -[director] At me. -Got it. -Whenever you're ready. -I'm Vivian Marcella and I'm a socio-cultural biologist, which simply means I try to better understand the synergies that mold human behavior and, by extension, culture. I joined the Center for Behavioral Studies in Oslo in 2115, and I continue to try to make sense of this lovable mess we call humanity. [somber music] There is absolutely no inevitability. So long as there is a willingness to comtemplate what is happening. Marshall McLuhan [Malikan] There's an exercise that I often do with my first-year students. I have them research mainstream economic publications from the 16th to the 21st century, trying to find any mention of basic sustainability principles. And each year the students come back stunned by how this period gave no priority to even the most obvious regenerative science, let alone anything related to public health. Such things were considered external to this contrived, competitive game they called business. [Cynthia] Here you had an entire global civilization powering itself through the mechanism of consuming. That's literally what drove their economy, as absurd as that sounds. And the more people bought and consumed, the more demand for jobs. Hence more circulating purchasing power to, again, be spent on consuming. Endlessly and viciously repeating. That was the economic system back then. And to think any part of that would be workable in the long run, on a finite planet, is pure lunacy. [Vivian] To make matters worse, the system was rooted in strategic human exploitation, which structurally ensured large wealth and power differences between groups, and the long term cultural result was very poor social integrity. Racism, xenophobia, sexism, and other forms of bigotry were an inevitable side effect of this kind of social system ultimately rooted in class stratification, otherwise known as socio-economic inequality. And when you put it all together, you realize a deep social pathology. A pathology that not only severely limited human potential, actually bringing out the worst of our biological and social nature, but one that was blindly pushing civilization toward oblivion due to accelerating ecological decline and systemic human conflict. [Aleniya] By the time we reached the 21st century the consequences of all this weren't subtle. We're talking massive global inequity and poverty, relentless worldwide conflict, endless power abuses and systematic oppression, not to mention the near irreversible decline of all life support systems. And while it seems obvious to us today, you have to understand the kind of indoctrination that occurred back then. The culture was so conditioned by the dominant worldview, they just couldn't recognize the flaws inherent to the structure of their society. So by force of this, they engaged in very superficial activism centered around political institutions that really were just a parody of themselves. [Malikan] Attempts at social change were deeply fragmented in focus because people's understanding of cause and effect was so shallow. So the whole thing just became a spectacle, An endless blame game between groups. Their so-called democratic process centered not on actual policy, but around these political institutions that seemed to vaguely represent such policy. A true democracy, as we now know, allows for public consensus on actual issues, not the appointment of representatives to make those decisions for them. That's not really democracy at all. That's simply a watered-down version of authoritarianism, voting for kings and queens. [Cynthia] And to add insult to injury, because society was rooted in this business system of property and trade, everything was for sale. People loved to argue about moral lines and ethics, but the fact was politicians, and hence policy, was just another commodity to be bought and sold. So inevitably those who did end up with true social power were the ones with the most wealth. That wasn't a corruption, that was simply the nature of the system. And needless to say this business power subculture was certainly the least likely to want to change the very system that had so disproportionately rewarded them. [Aleniya] And as science and technology increased efficiency, creating higher material standards of living in general, the lack of human rights progress and the anti-democratic nature of society became increasingly masked. People's dignity and integrity were bought off by gadgets and toys and addictions, feeding a materialist fetish that so distracted the minds of many. [Vivian] And you know, I often ponder all this, trying to put myself in the shoes of the average person back then, especially in the more affluent and highly unequal regions, such as the United States of America, and it really makes me shudder. People stuck in traffic, piling into these office prisons to push paper around, engaging meaningless occupations that wasted far more energy and wealth than they created so they can continue buying these things they don't need, elevating their artificial status and so on. It's like a bad horror movie. [somber music] [high speed steps humming] [muffled phone ringing] [muffled phone ringing] [phone ringing] [white noise] [clock ticking] [phone continues ringing] [high speed steps continue humming] [music stops] [rain puttering] [ominous musical sting] [muffled footsteps] [chains rattling] [gun clicks and fires] [body thuds] [ominous music] [gun clicks and fires] [body thuds] -[gun fires] -[body thuds] [ominous music stops] [muffled robotic voice] [people chattering] [Malikan] If there's any historical through-line that reveals how important a system-based worldview is, both in understanding society and knowing how to change it, it's the long history of slavery and human exploitation. You can't have a society that's based upon hierarchical power and specialized labor, where people are seen as economic tools to be used strategically for another's differential gain, and ever expect high moral integrity. [Cynthia] Consider the function of cost efficiency. Cost efficiency is about trying to save money on production in order to maximize profit upon final sale. It's at the core of the basic gaming strategy that's required in market economics. And that simple incentive, the principle of seeking to reduce input costs to maximize output gains, is at the root of thousands of years of human slavery in one form or another. Whether indentured servitude, bonded labor, chattel slavery in earlier times, to human trafficking and debt-driven wage slavery in more modern times. And the point to make here is that this kind of framework was so normalized by the turn of the 21st century, a period, by the way, that had more slaves in absolute numbers than any time in human history. The average person still didn't see the connection. They had been conditioned by these mythical free market ideas arguing that because people could now choose which area of the economy to submit their labor to, choose which company to be subordinated, or perhaps get the capital and start their own company and then choose who to exploit for their own personal advantage. Somehow coercion just no longer existed. That was the illusion. And any advanced technological society that evolves not to organize an effort to provide basic life support to its citizens allowing them to pursue their own interest on their own terms, instead structurally forcing everyone to fight with each other for basic survival, for not defendable reason mind you, is not a free society at all. It's a system of violence and oppression regardless of how materially wealthy that society may appear. [fading] Now, all that said, it's important to consider... [gentle piano music] [audience applauding] [knocking on door] [doorbell buzzing] [chains rattling] [handcuffs clicking] [glass thuds] [Simon] You have meddled with the primal forces of nature, Mr. Beale. And you will atone. [John] It's been a long time, Simon. -So, the reason you're here with me and not in some vassal state being tortured is because the GSA needs your help. We're being overrun by a group of hackers and they appear to be advancing their abilities faster than we can counter. -Orion. -That's right. Orion. -We have been tracking them for years. Luddite anarchists. They want to return civilization to the Stone Age. -We figure if they continue their rate of progress, we only have a few weeks before they breach; taking control of our systems. -That'd be bad. -Hence our priorities. As aggravating as your little Concordia project has been, you were never this distasteful. -You do realize that even if Orion is stopped, another insurgency, likely more malicious, is just around the corner, right? -Your point? -My point is one way to measure the integrity of a society is by how many outliers it creates. Violent criminals, inner-city gangs, serial killers, mass murderers, terrorists, to now this lovely hacker dystopia you've inspired. You have a systemic problem, Simon, and it's only going to grow. -You're looking through the wrong lens, John. -And unlike the past, the outliers now have exponentially advancing technology. Some disgruntled kid fashioning a Molotov cocktail years ago, can now create weapons of mass destruction, or in this case weapons of mass disturbance with little more effort. -Again, you're looking through the wrong lens. No one ever said the natural course of humanity was going to be pretty. -So it's natural for humanity to flirt with its own destruction? And increasingly so? Because that's where all this leads. -Since the dawn of civilization, those with the most advanced tools are the ones who set the stage. From the rock, to the sword, to the gun, to the bomb, to AI, a sociological law of nature rooted in our evolutionary psychology. And if this race happens to lead to destruction, well, such is the natural course. Only human conceit assumes otherwise. -I see you haven't lost that charming nihilism. -Drink? -No. -And it's not nihilism, John. It's realism. Conflict is what makes the world go round. And whomever wins defines the course. -So what's the deal? -The deal is you help us tame the barbarians at the gate along with anything else we ask. In return, you'll be granted a decent life here. This ship might be a place of work, but it's also a self-contained city. We go back a long way, John, and despite our differences, I would hate to see that genius go to waste. -And if I don't? -You know the answer to that. Aside from this possible Orion catastrophe, which I doubt your humanist ego would allow, you'll be turned over to interrogation and it won't be cinematic. Either way, you're not leaving this ship. -Okay, Simon, but I have one condition. I want you to put an end to program UX83. Otherwise known as the Malthusian Mandate. -If you knew about the Mandate, why hasn't Concordia leaked it? -Never had a complete picture. -And what do you think you're missing? -Good question. We find it cryptically mentioned in documents related to the GSA's control programs. It appears the Mandate was employed in the death of at least 20 million last year alone. How this is occurring and why is not clear. So why don't you enlighten me? [soft music] [eerie music] [eerie music increasing] [robotic hissing] [robotic echoed crunching] [ominous music] [light hissing] [light loudly hissing] [dramatic cybernetic music] [music abruptly stops] [birds chirping] [director] So you wrote a book called The Neolithic Maladaptation which focuses on the nature of culture before the Great Transition. Can you clarify what you meant by this title? [Malikan] Sure. So I think the defining question of civilization is what characteristics enable us to survive and prosper, sustainably and peacefully, over generational time. Thousands of years ago, upon the advent of agriculture, the Neolithic Revolution, we found ourselves in a new social arrangement, a new structure, one that would later prove to be highly incompatible. Not only incompatible with the habitat, inherently unsustainable since the economy literally required consumption and growth, but also incompatible with our very social nature. And, long story short, humans are simply not meant to exist in an economically stratified society if the expectation is high levels of public health and peaceful coexistence. [Vivian] It's always interesting to review the work of mainstream scientists at the turn of the 21st century as they desperately try to convince themselves that a competitive, exploitative, vainly status-seeking mindset was an inalterable expression of human nature, when the fact is our genes, our biology and how the environment interacts with our evolved selves allows for a vast range of orientations with narrow self-interest, greed, merely part of that range. [Aleniya] If we've proven to be anything, it's adaptable. There's certainly no blank slate. We're not infinitely malleable, but it has been grossly underestimated historically just how wide our range of adaptive potential really is. And what most determines which behavioral traits will define a society's culture is its social structure. Or more specifically, that structure's economic basis. The method by which we must survive. [Cynthia] If that structure rewards competition, dominance, and narrow self-interest, then the culture will predominantly express those values. If it rewards collaboration, empathy and pro-social concern, the resulting culture will predominantly express those values. [Aleniya] For the majority of human history, before the advent of agriculture, We lived in non-hierarchical, non-competitive social arrangements. Why? Because the economic basis of survival actually incentivized sharing and collaboration, and not the opposite. [Malikan] So what I mean by maladaptation is while humanity did successfully adapt to the survival requisites born from the Neolithic Revolution, the resulting social structure, the system that became codified, proved maladapted. [Cynthia] The economic system was simply incompatible with what was required for humanity to be sustainable in the long-term. Failing our need to integrate properly with the ecosystem while limiting our ability to coexist peacefully with each other. [Vivian] And by the time of the Industrial Revolution in the 19th century, these flaws were rapidly coming to the surface. Conditions had changed and if it wasn't for our dramatic transformation to break out of that system, there is little question society would have seen total ecologically collapse combined with catastrophic global war. [director] So it must be difficult to look back at that time given what we know now. It seems like things should have changed much sooner, right? -Sure, but it reveals that as much as we'd like to believe we're rational, objective beings, we're actually bound by deep social vulnerability. We are social beings first and intellectual beings second. [Cynthia] What you see back then is a kind of mass hypnosis that paralyzed society, keeping people short-sighted and fearful, prone to conform to the values and practices of those who happen to be winning in the contrived economic game. One glance at the media from back then gives it all away. Status posturing, people obsessed with appearing affluent, accomplished, loved, famous, beautiful. All a kind of pathological emulation of those of high socioeconomic status; billionaires, celebrities. [Aleniya] As one notable philosopher stated long ago, It is no measure of health to be well-adjusted to a profoundly sick society. ~Krishnamurti [Malikan] So once again it all begs the question, what actually defines success in the human condition? What kind of culture is most optimized to sustain itself over time while, of course, being happy and stable? And while there's plenty to learn, we do know what doesn't define it: the excessive materialistic wealth and status driven neurosis so characteristic back then has literally zero positive relationship to long-term species sustainability and optimized public health. [Cynthia] In short, the values were dead wrong. And not to sound mean, but if I were to resort to derisive status labeling, common to that period of time, there's no question that the greatest failures were the ones who owned mansions, drove over-priced cars, wore luxury jewelry, maintained extremely lucrative yet completely meaningless occupations while hoarding great wealth. What kind of sad, insecure creature needs to flaunt such excess clearly signaling opposition to other people's well-being? [Aleniya] True success is reinforcing harmony, balance. The goal is not necessarily to become something, but to find out who and what you truly are. And how you fit inside the ecosystem of nature that gave birth to you. The most successful people, the true winners, are never the ones striving for celebrity and material excess, they are the humble minimalists valuing how they can contribute to the well-being and health of everything, realizing the world is one system, and the more they optimize that contribution, the more truly successful they actually become. [Cynthia] When I look back on all this, I think what I find most tragic is the spiritual loss of the individual. How people were fundamentally alienated from themselves their identities hijacked by competitive insecurity, trying to conform to some acceptable profile that would serve their advantage best, not who they actually are, but what the system requires them to become. [traffic humming] [muffled people chattering] [fast speed hissing] [muffled beeping] [robotic humming] [with robotic voice] The soul selects her own society. ~Emily Dickinson, 1862 Then shuts the door to her divine majority. Present no more. Unmoved. She notes the chariots pausing at her low gate. Unmoved. An emperor be kneeling upon her mat. I've known her from an ample nation. Choose one. Then close the valves of her attention. Like stone. [high-pitched whirring] [traffic humming] [humming stops] [humming resumes] [humming stops] [dramatic musical sting] -[robotic clicking] -[humming resumes] [sirens wailing] Insecure societies are the most intolerant of those who are non-joiners. They're so unsure of the validity of their game rules, that they say that everyone must play. ~Alan Watts [Simon] Let me ask you, John. What do you think the greatest form of social control is? Law? Debt? [scoffs] Religion. [John] And this has what to do with the Malthusian Mandate? -Humor me. -I don't know. How about socialization? People policing each other. -A properly tuned culture does regulate itself, yes. -We've had the same training, Simon. I'm just as aware of what shapes psychology as you are. -Yeah, see, I'm not so sure. I don't think we'd be in this situation if that was really the case. -You mean because I actually believe the world can change? A child's born biologically programmed to adapt to its environment. It grows, inching through formative years, shaped by the traditions and beliefs of culture. Institutional education introduces structure creating comfort with authority, regimentation, status. -Nurturing social schema. -And a fundamental insecurity forged by a deeply unequal world, a world of sanctioned indifference, where compassion is weakness and domination is virtuous. -What survival requires. -In the current arrangement, sure. And this early sense of insecurity has a unique effect. Once childish tendencies we humans are supposed to grow out of: attention-seeking, spoiled self-interest, manipulativeness, bullying, competition, become ingrained. Maturity stunted. Setting the stage for yet another disciple in the cult of narcissistic individualism. -[chuckles] Poetic. -By the time higher education is reached, formalized academia, the stronghold of the status quo, what natural curiosity may remain is now further constrained by socialization. Myopic focus, detached from the pursuit of knowledge, existing only for the sake of commercial utility. -To define their product. -And ultimately their identity. Becoming little more than yet another agent of trade. A civilization reduced to the goal of endless striving. To sell something to someone else. -The world is a business, Mr. Beale. -So the cog turns. While in those fleeting moments economic stress does subside, when the shackles do come off, existential turbulence blooms, as they desperately search for some kind of deeper meaning in the daily grind. And this emotional void, this state of loss, leads the pathological escapism. Distraction and self-medication become the hobby. -So they turn to their screens windows of projected normality equating freedom with the unattainable delusions of wealth, fame, honor. -While constantly being reminded that they are the authors of their own misery and success can only be a matter of winning versus losing. Since the vast majority will no doubt lose, they live vicariously. If their sports team wins the game, so do they. If their country goes to war, they wave their flags as if they were at war. While following their celebrity heroes, feeling as though somehow that success mirrors their own. -And when that doesn't work, they move inward, seeking self-help retreats, therapy, medication, illicit drugs. -Anything to avoid the identity crisis. [gentle music] That the society they mirror just might be deeply flawed. So the masses remain complacent, short-sighted, bigoted, primitive, delusional. -Manageable. No conspiracy required. Viable systems regulate themselves. -Viable? [scoffs] You see all this as sustainable. -No conspiracy required. -Viable systems regulate them. [Operative #4] We just picked up the signal. -Now there's one thing you missed in your monologue there. Aside from primal provocation, keeping people half-conscious, trapped in lower brain fight or flight mode. Aside from the cultural hegemony where people's values and envies mirror those of wealth and power, reinforcing social order. And aside from the climate of opinion fostered by the acclaimed intelligentsia deciding the limits by which truth must conform, the most critical mechanism here is that of social inclusion. Nature wired us with a strong tendency to override rational thought in favor of group acceptance. Part of our evolutionary fitness. And when people violate consensus the nervous system seeks to correct the behavior with pain and fear, as there's little more psychologically damaging than social exclusion. To be ostracized. Ridicule, stigma, loss of reputation, which could also mean loss of employment, income, loss of survival. -Yet there's a long history of people who have moved against that tendency. -A long history of very few people who inevitably turn into mere righteous symbols put on T-shirts rather than forces of revolution. -So this Orion problem of yours, is it indicative of anything? -Orion appears to be a fringe group of extremists with no public support. This is about normative culture. And my point, John, is that given our social nature, the stronger force here is not on the side of reason, it's on the side of inclusion and conformity, and that, my friend, is the greatest form of social control and why the masses will never break out of its self-perpetuated oppression. [elevator rings] [gentle jazz music] [slow motion buzz] [clock ticking] [robotic squeaking] [circus music] [upbeat music] "I always say... When you're born into this world, you're given a ticket to The Freak Show And if you're born in America- You get a front row seat. ~George Carlin [dramatic musical sting] ♪ Twenty-three I see come with me my dear ♪ ♪ It's time we re-examine this reality ♪ ♪ So I understand there's been a fail and you're back for sale. ♪ ♪ To no avail since we're bound, locked, overstocked ♪ ♪ An endless scheme. The Industrial Machine. ♪ ♪ The unemployed, destroyed and forever void ♪ ♪ This Earthly sphere that we commandeer ♪ ♪ Now only as cogs in the machine of fear ♪ ♪ Witness the human abyss of aimless wants and vain appeals. ♪ ♪ So we'll start with the consumer monstrosity. ♪ ♪ This indifferent acquisition for a status position. ♪ ♪ The wall-to-wall mall ♪ ♪ Now we see, built to fortify our culture of insecurity. ♪ [music stops] ♪ Such are the means by which commercial extremes ♪ ♪ Exploit our social nature for material needs of sad fiends. ♪ ♪ A neurotic appeal. Social exclusion. Confusion. ♪ ♪ Fueled by an elitist sense. A Machiavellian Delusion. ♪ ♪ Darwinistic Plight, an endless fight to oppress the poor ♪ ♪ And reward those with more. ♪ ♪ CLASS WAR! ♪ ♪ Now that's what's in store. ♪ ♪ So take a pew. and bow to the alter of the money god. ♪ ♪ The "Success" facade. ♪ ♪ But rest assured if you're granted employment stay, ♪ ♪ in time it'll be automated anyway. ♪ Be ready? ♪ Welcome to the Freakshow, baby ♪ ♪ This is what it is ♪ ♪ You aren't more than property here, dear. ♪ ♪ A cog in the machine of fear. ♪ ♪ Welcome to the freak show honey. ♪ ♪ Industry is King. ♪ ♪ This world's merely commodity here, dear. ♪ ♪ A circus built for the insincere to profiteer ♪ ♪ Off humanity's most primal fear. ♪ ♪ So you see, 23 ♪ ♪ The world that we inhabit's an atrocity. ♪ ♪ A global condition of submission; attrition. ♪ ♪ Ammunition to destroy by whatever ploy. ♪ ♪ This democracy of plutocracy ♪ ♪ will not be stopped by the public's idiocracy. ♪ ♪ So pick a complacent face ♪ ♪ And submit yourself as an inferior race. ♪ ♪ Kickin'-it-up to the higher class that has amassed ♪ ♪ Wealth beyond the brutally vast. ♪ ♪ As the death toll mounts for all to see. ♪ ♪ The slow-motion genocide known as inequality. ♪ ♪ So welcome to the freak show, honey. ♪ ♪ A society beset by the capitalist threat. ♪ ♪ And the cast is currently stocked ♪ ♪ But we'll let you know if we need another floor ♪ ♪ To be mopped ♪ [director] So earlier something was said to the effect that humans are not designed to exist in an economically stratified society. [Vivian] So to speak, yes. A stratified society is far more unhealthy and unstable when compared to an egalitarian one. [director] That seems like a pretty bold conclusion. Can you elaborate? -Sure. Consider our biology, specifically the human brain. We're profoundly wired for social response. For instance, the same brain centers that react to physical pain also react to emotional pain, such as feeling rejected, excluded, or shamed. In early life, socially isolated infants not receiving proper affection, will fail to produce critical growth hormones, harming development. While in adulthood, similar effects occur. For example, there were these dehumanizing institutions called prisons, and they practiced solitary confinement - severe social isolation. And that practice literally caused brain damage. Now, what do these examples have in common? They are negative responses to social related stress. And when you review the past 200 years of epidemiological study on the issue, you realize that an economically stratified society is one of the most toxically stressful conditions you could ever impose upon the human species. [Malikan] We've all learned about the horrors of abject poverty. A condition that affected a billion people at the turn of the 21st century, causing literally millions of deaths each year. But the negative effects of economic stratification aren't limited to the distinctly poor. Inequality harms just about everyone. A kind of social pollution. And the lower one finds themselves on the stratified ladder, the worse their health becomes on average. [Cynthia] Consider a lower class mother working two jobs, in debt, can't afford a car, living paycheck to paycheck while trying to take care of her young child. They may not be homeless, starving, or even poor by legal standards, but every day is still a battle to make ends meet. This is known as relative poverty, or more formally, low socioeconomic status. And a defining characteristic of this condition on average is high psychosocial stress, meaning stress related to social factors. [Aleniya] This stress includes not only feelings of general insecurity, such as worrying about paying your bills, affording your child's next doctor visit, or losing your job, but also the stress of social status itself. How one feels about themselves compared to others. And while that particular aspect may seem trivial, the fact is our brains have evolved to react in profoundly specific ways when it comes to how we think others see us. We have an acute sensitivity to our perceived social status. [Vivian] In other words, it's not just about the stress of endless worry and the technical difficulty of being poor that's toxic. It's equally, if not more, about the stress of feeling poor. For example, studies have shown if you take people with the same equal access to free health care, controlling for lifestyle factors, you will still see, as you inch down the ladder of income and wealth, people's health getting progressively worse on average. The lower they are in the class hierarchy the sicker they become. [Aleniya] One mechanism for this is that high psychological stress leads to a state of chronic inflammation and what's called an allostatic overload. Allostasis means your body's trying to recover from something working to return to a more balanced state. But it can't. And this causes the body and the mind to wear down rapidly. Living in relative poverty in all its day-to-day insecurity and feelings of low self-worth, keeps people psychologically locked in a stressful state, ravaging mental and physical health. [Vivian] Consider heart disease. low socioeconomic status creates a 50% greater chance of its development. and not just because people may have poor lifestyle habits, but due to psychosocial stress itself, which increases the hormone cortisol, damaging arteries, fostering strokes and heart attacks. Low socioeconomic status is a heart disease risk factor on its own, similar for diabetes and cancer with far higher rates for those relatively poor. As one study put it, "Poverty itself is a carcinogen." [Malikan] And given that heart disease, diabetes, and cancer were some of the leading causes of death in that highly unequal global society of the early 21st century, these facts help explain why life span gaps between the rich and the poor were shockingly wide. Ranging from 15 to 40 years depending on region. [Cynthia] And then you have mental health. Low socioeconomic status fuels much higher instances of depression, anxiety disorders, schizophrenia, suicide, not to mention violence, including child abuse. The condition of poverty was found to be the leading predictor of child abuse, which is particularly troubling since such abuse often leads to adult disorders such as addictions, antisocial behavior, immune system problems, cognitive impairment. [Malikan] In fact, it was found that children simply living in the condition of poverty correlated to large decreases in IQ, decreased brain development, and worse overall health throughout the life cycle. Personally, I would argue that if child abuse is about negligence and harm, any society that tolerates the existence of poverty, when it has the means to end it, is a society that is fundamentally abusive to children. [Aleniya] Now, as far as behavioral violence in general, it's no surprise. The pre-transition period was saturated in it. The emotional pathogen behind most acts of violence is shame and inequality produces shame like a finely tuned machine. Shootings, gang violence, terrorism, domestic violence, all highly correlated to inequality, like a toxic cloud hovering over civilization. The more economically unequal a society, the more violent it tended to be on average. And that goes for most everything in terms of negative public health outcomes. [Cynthia] With higher incidences of disease, crime, obesity, infant mortality, homicides, teen birth, mental illness, poor education, conflict, domestic abuse, illiteracy, suicide, premature mortality, overall mistrust, and much more. [Vivian] There is no viable defense of its existence on any level and it's certainly not representative of a fixed human nature. Humans are basically allergic to socio-economic stratification. [ominous music] [lights buzzing] [lights buzzing] [muffled steps] [muffled chattering] [door creaking and thudding] [ominous music increasing] [dramatic musical sting] What are you doing? Come on! [siren wailing] [gunshots in distance] [lock rattling] [door creaking] [ominous music] [muffled white noise] [ominous hissing] [gun clicks] [beeping] [Op #1] So how's this supposed to happen exactly? [Op #3] I'm not sure. The satellite details we need are very specific. How John pulls this off is going to be interesting. Hey, where did you get the popcorn? [Op #1] Oh, I don't know. It was just here. [Op #3] Right. Are they still in debate mode? [Op #1] Listen for yourself. Hope you went to college. [Simon] ...and why the masses will never break out of its self-perpetuated oppression. [John] Historically observable. Biologically sound. And grossly exaggerated. While most may indeed be stuck in lower brain, limbic system reflexes, you underestimate the prefrontal cortex. Our ability to transcend primitive reactions. Whether you believe it or not, Simon, the activists of the world are slowly becoming more aware, more focused. -Focused on what? The system? -The origin of the social psychology that keeps those feedback loops of oppression going. -Ah, so a threat to the money God? -If you want to be spooky about it, sure. The money God is eventually going to be overthrown. This age-old march toward increased equality in human rights is now accelerating into new territory. And one way or another, it's eventually going to arrive at the doorstep of the economy. -And then what? You seem to be suffering from a kind of amnesia, John. That moment's long past. Immortalized by the failed Soviet experiment, a memory that's fostered an enduring boogeyman. Anyone today daring to suggest economic equality, which is what I assume you are getting at, as some final stage of human rights progress, will quickly be condemned as a freedom-hating socialist. -Propaganda may be strong, but so are the mounting problems, problems that have no in system solution, forcing people to think differently. -Such as? -How about the collective insult that one percent of the world's population now owns 80% of the wealth? Or more importantly, that every life support system continues to be in decline, with now millions dislocated. Famines, wars, growing poverty. People will eventually realize the economic mechanisms behind this, further opening the gate. Same for technological unemployment. Half of all jobs have already been automated. And while nations have compensated by giving basic income, the system contradiction is still clear. What happens when people realize this welfare program is really just an excuse to keep the labor system in place? Hence keeping the ruling class in place. -You assume too much, John. Three-quarters of the people on that planet, believe in supernatural beings that live in the sky affecting their lives. You're projecting your rare intelligence upon a sea of glorified savages. And if you think the activist community has anything in their toolkit to even approach system-level change, you're not paying attention to their ignorance. -You mean the spectacle? People piling into free speech zones, holding up signs, yelling at buildings, ranting on social media, creating political art, poetry, writing books... making movies. I agree it's mostly catharsis. -It's a pressure release valve, easing periodic tension, making people feel like they're actually doing something. Aside, of course, from helping the economy, the anti-establishment market has been increasingly profitable. -[chuckles] Yes. The anger dollar. If only such outrage could be packaged and traded on Wall Street, right? -[chuckles] And then social change might have a chance. [both laugh hysterically] But catharsis aside, John, the real issue is hope. Activism today is a hope industry. Take Concordia. It's been irritating and I'm certainly bothered by the technology you have, but your actions have posed no true threat. What you do is give your millions of fans hope. And hope is a drug that subdues. -So the long history of rights progress is meaningless? The abolition of slavery, women's liberation, child labor laws, unions, indigenous restitution, global decrees, LGBTQ equality, disability acts? -All adaptations and accommodations. No threat to the system itself. Take abject slavery: the origins are clear. It was never about racism. -It was about economic exploitation. -Hence business as usual. And yet racism took the heat. The system connection goes unrecognized. -Limits of debate. People have been conditioned to seek moral causes rather than structural ones. -Which is exactly my point, they don't have the vocabulary. -Nothing in their experience offers it. The average person engages six hours of media a day much of that news constantly reinforcing the status quo. -I'm glad you brought that up. News is a business. And do you think that any for-profit institution is ever going to tolerate ideas that move against how it survives? The odds are stacked, John. The system protects itself on every level almost as if it were a living organism. But for argument's sake, let's assume a formidable movement existed. A united front to change the social structure. Then what? Does it play out on the stage of political theater? A stage owned and operated by business power? -Part of the awakening. People are realizing their elected officials are structurally corrupted by default, regardless of intent. Approaches will shift. -To what? Insurrection, violence, overthrow? A French Revolution? -Possible, but certainly not inevitable. A critical mass large enough to stop the machine in its tracks is really all that it's needed. -You remember George Orwell? -Of course. -He observed something interesting in this endless battle between the haves and the have nots. If it's true as you say, the masses are beginning to understand the system. Building force against it. You should also recognize that there's a natural counter-movement. The system defending itself once again. And every threat to its integrity, what you see as progress, will be twisted around and presented to the public as an attack on their way of life. Those outliers that you spoke of, the terrorists, gangs, criminals, mass murderers, insurgencies, hackers, the Orions. The Concordias. All empower the system in the end providing excuses to further tighten things down. More police, more prisons, more laws, more bombs, more surveillance. More control. Again, no conspiracy required. It's the masses themselves that push for this, willfully exchanging their freedom for security. So they can comfortably return to their workstations and continue pulling levers on the machine just as the money God ordained. [train honking] [dramatic music] [steam hissing] [upbeat music] [levers rattling] [light blaring] [coin clinking] [machine rattling and dinging] [wheels rattling] [lights blaring] [coins clinking] [machine dinging] [wheels rattling] [spray hissing] [slow motion buzzing] [music resumes] [toy rattling] [seagulls cawing] [Malikan] In the end, it wasn't the so-called communist, socialists, anarchists, or whatever counterculture group that posed the most serious argument for the Great Transition. It was the environmental scientist. One could debate the ins and outs of morality, public health and human rights, but if the habitat goes, all that becomes moot. And at the turn of the 21st century, our ecological negligence was pretty embarrassing. With great inefficiency, we were using far more resources each year than the planet produced, Had destroyed vast realms of biodiversity, polluted the air, the soil, the water, not only destabilizing the entire global ecosystem but, by extension, society itself. [Cynthia] The most common question I get when teaching this history is, "How is it even possible things could get so bad? How could everyone just keep blindly pulling levers on that destructive economic machine and not see what was happening?" And it comes down to a kind of faith-based conditioning, a religious pathology taking the form of mass economic behavior. The doctrine was that of universal scarcity. People had been taught to believe that at no time, under no circumstance, can economic balance exist. [Aleniya] The very idea an economy could be organized to efficiently provide for everyone, while also being in balance with the habitat, was a sacrilegious taboo. The cult of scarcity and consumption wasn't having it. They considered it utopian thinking. Supporting the myth that people had infinite wants and were accusatively insatiable. Hence, the poor had to exist and if anything was the problem, it must be population, not the system. That was the prevailing dogma. There must be too many people. [Vivian] You can't have ecological balance in a system that requires constant consumer activity to work. It's one thing to consume based on need. It's another to consume because the system demands it. And the market system of economics needed constant turnover of goods to keep and create jobs, providing workers, which of course were also consumers, with income to spend back into the system, endlessly repeating the cycle of cyclical consumption. If it didn't repeat fast enough or slowed, the economy contracted. Purchasing power wasn't circulating and the society proceeded to shut down. [Cynthia] A very unique historical moment occurred in the early 20th century when it was realized that technology was now creating a goods surplus and great confusion ensued. The problem was this newfound productive efficiency was not being met by people buying more stuff. So two competing perspectives emerged: on one side you had idealists, envisioning a new era. If we can produce an overall goods surplus, why not lower the cost of goods respectively, reducing work hours and increase pay in proportion? So you can now have, say, a person working only two days a week without losing their standard of living, since the market value of labor and goods adjusted to compensate for the increased efficiency. This logic makes perfect sense when it comes to the basic principle of supply and demand. Suddenly people have more free time, not buried in debt. They can enrich their social life, family life, and pursue the things that have true meaning. Well, that's not the way it played out, nor would it ever. [Malikan] Which brings us to the system level perspective since the system itself simply isn't designed inherently for a steady-state equilibrium. Market economics is predicated on a 'more is better' ethic; to be competitive in the quest for market share. That's what's incentivized. More growth, more sales, more employees, more capital accumulation, more profit, constant expansion. So what happened was to be expected, fortifying a new industry, commercial advertising. What was once a simple media service, notifying people of new goods they may need, turned into a powerful form of manipulative propaganda. In the later stages, companies spent more money on advertising than they did on research and development. [Aleniya] What advertising does is abuse our social nature by making people feel like they're missing out. They're not good enough without this, they're lower in status without that. They feel excluded from others if they don't own something. And as pathetic as all that sounds it had a profound effect on society with everyone keeping up with the Joneses in a hideous feedback loop. [Cynthia] And the result, as industrial productivity still continued to rise, people worked more than ever, had less free time, were in staggering amounts of debt, and arguably had a lower standard of living when you actually account for human happiness and the level of stress people endured. All to keep the economic machine moving. [Vivian] One thing that's really interesting in all this, is that the economic system back then embraced a fantastic paradox. So here you had a model that defended itself by the assumption of universal scarcity. Forcing competition, oppression, exploitation, poverty, and so on, while at the same time the entire machine needed infinite consumption to work. Think about that for a moment. How do you justify these harsh outcomes of assumed scarcity when the system itself disregards the idea entirely when it comes to the very mechanics that make it work? [Aleniya] And the bottom line is this wasn't an economy at all by definition, it was an anti-economy, with human beings functioning like cancer cells eating the Earth alive. In systems theory, this is known as a positive feedback loop. Don't let that word 'positive' confuse you as there's nothing positive about it. It means there's nothing working to balance system behavior to its regulatory environment. That environment in the case of Economics is a finite planet with a delicate ecosystem. If respect for scarcity was taken seriously, the goal would be to focus on efficiency, working to reduce resource use, reduce waste in the process of meeting human needs. Manifesting, of course, a culture that's mature enough to understand the boundaries of its own existence. [Malikan] Truly positive economic metrics are the opposite of what was sought back then. Degrowth, so to speak, would be the goal. Doing more with less and needing less. People would go on TV to give an economic report and say something like, "Great metrics for the economy this month. We reduced our use of energy and raw materials by another three percent. Lowering sales once again with less need for human employment, Increasing overall efficiency by a factor of two. We continue to be in homeostatic balance with the planet for yet another year and humanity has more free time than ever." Here's Tom with the weather. [Cynthia] "Well, it's clear skies across the hemispheres. The Amazon rainforest isn't on fire. We aren't clogging the atmosphere with CO2, and we haven't seen swarms of refugees cascading across continents in search of food for some time. And the fog of billionaire douchebaggery seems to have cleared a bit. We do expect some precipitation adding to our already abundant fresh water supply further improving topsoil while global abundance measures has everyone sitting pretty for the foreseeable future." [Malikan] Yeah, you would never hear anything like that, instead the opposite. [Cynthia] Some dickhead PhD ivy league market economist religious fanatic, who literally has no clue what the word economy even means, would come on and say, "Quarterly earnings were down last month in most sectors as GDP slows. We're seeing an increasing in unemployment due to the contraction, but hopefully the coming Christmas season will spark new consumer demand, while it's anticipated that the central bank will lower interest rates and buy more bonds to increase liquidity to ease the credit crunch. Hopefully this will improve consumer confidence inspiring investors to reallocate capital into da-da-da-da-da-da-da-da." Translated this means, "We need you people to take on more loans, go into more debt to buy more things to create more jobs so we can sell more things and use more of the Earth's resources. If we're lucky, industry will improve on shortening good life spans through planned obsolescence. Make things impossible to repair. Hopefully more single-use goods will become the norm so people can buy and throw away at an ever-increasing rate keeping this shit show going." [gentle music] A human being is part of the whole He experiences himself, his thoughts and feelings as something separate from the rest A kind of optical dillusion of consciousness. ~Albert Einstein [director] So I want to shift gears here a bit and ask you about your work in group identity. Specifically how it relates to economic conditions. [Aleniya] Well, like everything is complex. As we talked about earlier, our social nature can get the best of us, and we have some interesting evolutionary wiring when it comes to groups. Us and them, in-groups and out-groups, and perhaps what's most unique is what defines an us and what defines a them is subjective and culturally dependent. If you grow up only being exposed to people who look like you, and then you're exposed to those that don't, your brain tends to fire with apprehension. But the same thing also occurs with something even more trivial like baseball caps. You show people who like a certain team photos of that team, and then throw in a photo of an opposing team member, the same thing occurs. So for whatever evolutionary reason, we have a propensity to divide society up and make judgments. And there is no value in it whatsoever. It's just dangerous baggage. And before the Great Transition, because the economy was fundamentally divisive due to its competitive nature, bigotry and group oppression was a huge problem. [Malikan] So you have the human species developing in pockets around the world with different environmental exposures. Not only shaping appearance such as color of skin, but also setting in motion cultural differences. And as these groups began to mix, it got very messy. Which is why you see, especially by the 20th century, strong social movements by people trying to stop group oppression, at least on the legal and political level. The demand for gender, ethnic, sexual orientation, and creed equality was constant, with modest success given the fact society was still stuck in an economic mode based upon mutual exploitation amplifying the tendency for group antagonism. [Vivian] But there was a side effect to all of this: rather than seeking equality to neutralize the group identity problem, many chose to embrace it. They took what was an artificial construct imposed upon them and defined themselves by it. For example, someone descended from the African slave trade in America is only a black person via the construct of being called so. There is no such thing as a black person just as there's no such thing as a grey person, just as there is no such thing as a white person. These are all social constructs that have invented to artificially categorize people. And the same applies to culture, just as there is no such thing as a white person, there is no such thing as an Italian person or a Buddhist person or an Irish person or a Jewish person. [Cynthia] It is one thing to have a valued practice, meditation, or a sense of philosophy that inspires you and educates you. History is rich with beautiful traditions across many belief systems. Dogma aside, religion itself helps to serve as a kind of gateway into our spiritual and intellectual evolution. [Malikan] Finding meaning in meditation, or putting up a Christmas tree or lighting the menorah creates ritualistic connection that can have great personal meeting. But engaging Buddhist practice doesn't make you Buddhist. Being born from a bloodline in Italy doesn't mean you're an Italian and going to church doesn't mean you're Christian. [Aleniya] The moment you go from a person that enjoys the practice of something, to saying "I am this or that," is the moment you draw dangerous lines through the species. Taking such pride in your ethnic, religious, or regional background creates an identity with the group by label and it is fundamentally elitist and bigoted by nature. There is only one race, the human race. And within the confines of that fact, to separate yourself any further leads to absolutely nothing positive. [gentle music fading] [slow motion buzzing] [notification beeps] [ominous music] [ominous music increasing] [with robotic voice] Kike. No, looks more like a wop. Yeah greaseball dago to be sure. Just another Eurotrash wetback. Cracker guinea freeloader. And look at those clothes. A Nancy Drew Becky wanna be Stacy. Looking for her chad that never comes. No doubt a tree hugging, dirt worshipping feminazi. Soy boy beta cuck magnet. A card-carrying purple haired, muff diving, spook lovin' self-righteous socialist pinko. Coloring in her little book with her junglebunny Towelhead libtard comrades. Just a sea of bleeding-heart social justice warrior welfare queens. Bootlicking, anti-freedom globalist vegan red zombie. A communist snowflake cumdumpster. So just move back to Cuba with all the other crybaby, regressive, leftist, Marxist, Antifa Utopianists. [audience booing] [muffled booing] [muffled thudding] [ominous music] [music stops] [Op #4] Break time. [Op #1] Yeah, I need to zone out for a bit. [Op #1] This final programming is melting my brain. -What's this? -Good question. Some old film by this guy, Joseph. It's like an abstract social commentary. I haven't quite figured it out. -Looks pretentious. -How's the great debate? -That's what I'm going to find out. I'm sorry. I thought we were trying to save the world. [Op #3] Everything's ahead of schedule. [Op #5] And I can't do much more without the satellite coordinates. [Op #2] Plus this is getting good. -Hm-mm. According to the script, looks like John's about to school Simon on the nature of hierarchy. [Op #5] Wait, how is it we're seeing both in the shot at once. The camera links to his eye. [Op #2] Shh. Audiences don't usually notice things like that. [Simon] And besides, where do you see equality in the animal kingdom? No one's equal, John. [John] And it would be painfully boring if they were. Humans are diverse. Everyone has different capabilities, strengths, weaknesses, talents. The push for social equality and human rights is about how that diversity is understood. And you seem to think people should only be valued by how well they compete in the business game, as if the violence spread between the rich and the poor reflects objective human worth. -John, I amuse myself with the notion of the money god because it isn't far from the truth. Some system has to exist to divide up a scarce world and nature has spoken as to what that system must be. Those who reach the top of the pyramid deserve it, not because you or I think it's right, but because that's what nature is selecting for. -So nature prefers sociopaths and psychopaths to guide the species? Because those are the dominating traits of the ruling class today. -The system is as the system does. -Is that what the Malthusian Mandate is about? To then select out the poor and weak. -We'll get to the mandate in a moment. I'm still bothered by your denial of the fact our social system reflects our true biological nature. And if this revolution you speak of did magically occur, it would just be a matter of time before the innate compulsion towards social dominance prevailed yet again. Deep down, John, the slaves don't want to be free. They want to be slave owners. -Nice one. Too bad history paints a different picture. -Our hierarchies have remained constant throughout recorded civilization. -For perhaps the last 12,000 years, sure. But you know as well as I do, before the discovery of agriculture, there was no such thing. Ninety-nine percent of human history has been egalitarian. -I said civilization, John. Meandering hunter-gatherer tribes chucking spears and eating grubs isn't civilization. -How contemporacist of you. Yet 20th century study of numerous hunter-gatherer tribes, those still surviving in remote areas just as they did thousands of years prior, actually show socially rich cultures. Adult life spans not far from ours. Relatively peaceful in balance with nature. No leaders, no group hierarchy, no inequality. To argue today's society is somehow more civilized is dubious at best. -Well, then perhaps you can encourage all your enlightened followers to come together and live out their utopian fantasy in the Amazon jungle. -You mean what's left of it? What hasn't been destroyed by the supposedly advanced culture that's ravaged the natural world into total decline in the name of infinite consumption and economic growth? And the point here, Simon, is hunter-gatherer cultures are evidence of human variability. variability which contradicts your vague biological determinism. -John, just because history shows a range of behaviors across time doesn't prove anything. The introduction of agriculture indeed changed the human condition, because it triggered a dormant trait in our evolutionary psychology. A trait that wasn't expressed before. -How? -By the advent of economic surplus. -[scoffs] Economic surplus. -Resources and goods that could be stored, hoarded, stockpiled, owned, traded, controlled, leveraged for personal gain. A phenomenon that was impossible in a hunter-gatherer reality. And it was that realization that sparked our now omnipresent drive toward dominance and hierarchy. -I didn't know that. Genetic dormancy of an evolutionary expression. Needed an environmental trigger, psychological drive, but then morphs into complex oppressive institutions and structures. Compelling. Intuitive. Plausible. Too bad it's total bullshit. All simpleton, pedestrian, bio-deterministic conclusions that are nothing more than elitist projections. -You think it's wise to insult me given this circumstance, John. And listen. [phone ringing] [phone ringing stops] -Agriculture did change everything. But not because of someone's dormant psychological drive magically triggered by economic surplus. It was about what such a society technically required, dramatically shifting incentives and very nature of human relationships. Think about it. First you need the proper land, water, the right conditions to farm, then creating settlements around those fruitful areas as opposed to foraging. And since land quality varies some settlements will prosper due to their geography and some will falter. So what happens when a group finds itself with failed crops and no way to survive the winter? They may trade with other groups, building out what we call a market today, giving way to the idea of property and so on. Or if they have nothing to trade, desperate, they may invade, they may steal, compete, establishing the need for protection, laws, armies, the state institution itself. At the same time people begin to notice the imbalance and power of this new propertied reality, rationalizing the hoarding of wealth for the sake of future security. Hence the birth of inequity, poverty, socio-economic class. Simon, every major structural aspect of society today, from ownership, to trade, to nation states to institutional warfare at the competitive ethic to vast economic inequality and power hierarchy was predictable. Snowballing ever since. -So your theory is if you change the structure of society you change the human condition? There's no going back, John. -No one's going back. We're going forward. Humanity has been trapped in this immature stage for too long, not to mention the sickness manifest by this endless striving towards social status is palpable. Children, when who asked what they want to be when they grow up say, "Rich and famous." How the most wealthy nations, those beacons of supposed success are by far the most mentally ill. People don't know who they are, where they're going, or what they're doing. Lost in a perversion of social image. A spectacle that no longer has any relationship to anything real. [door creaking] [door thuds] [white noise] [gentle rock music] [dinging] [high-pitched whirring] [dinging] [high-pitched whirring] [rock music continues] [dinging] [high-pitched whirring] [dinging] [high-pitched whirring] [dinging] [rock music intensifies] [rock music continues increasing] [rock music abruptly stops] [white noise] [gentle music] Money is a new form of slavery Distinguishable from the old simply by the fact that it is impersonal. That there is no human relation between master and slave. ~Leo Tolstoy [director] So I'd like to go back to the subject of inequality. But this time to understand the mechanics of the oppression how the hierarchy was kept in place? [Cynthia] Okay, let's start with money. [gentle music] Money was the infrastructure of the market economy. And how it was created and moved around was instrumental to lower class oppression. [Malikan] So you had these things called banks, and they had the ungodly power to make abstract value out of nothing. If a person needed money for a home or car or business, they went to their local bank and applied for a loan, and if approved the person signed a contract binding them to return that loaned money at a future date. Though, it's not really a loan in the sense of somebody lending out what they already owned. Contrary to what most assumed, banks didn't loan out money they actually had. They instead created new money in the form of credit backed by debt. [Vivian] So on one side, money represented a store of value people could spend, while on the other it was a liability made out of debt. In other words, for every dollar that existed, there was also a debt of a dollar owed to some bank somewhere. That was how money was brought into existence, and when someone repaid the loan debt, the money then disappeared. [Cynthia] That understood, any kind of service in that economy sought a profit, and in the case of a loan, that came in the form of a fee called interest. So the borrower not only had to eventually repay the loan, but also the interest charged as well. [Aleniya] Imagine an island of a hundred people. They decide to organize themselves through market economy. They plop a bank down and each of them take a loan for 100 credits of money at ten percent interest. So they all now have 10,000 credits total in their money supply, and they begin to work in exchange creating economic activity. When the time comes to pay back the loan, they realized they owe not only the 100 credits, but the ten percent interest, so 110 credits. Same for the whole society. In total, everyone on the island now owes the bank 11,000 credits. But yet, only 10,000 actually exist in the money supply. There is now more debt owed than money in existence due to the interest charged. [Cynthia] So three things can happen: one, those short can take on more loans to temporarily cover the old ones postponing the problem. Two, people could ramp up competitive trade increasing economic activity to try to get enough from others to cover the debt, displacing the debt responsibility like a game of musical chairs. Or three, the bank comes in and takes real property to compensate for the outstanding debt, which is inevitably what happens somewhere down the line anyway. [director] Wait, that, that can't be right. That would just be a system of organized theft. Yes, banks were vehicles of creation on one side, and a system of organized theft and class oppression on the other. But in a large complex global society, one based on economic growth, money moves so rapidly it was very hard for the mechanics of this to be recognized. Obscured by things like the boom-and-bust cycle, monetary expansion and contraction. -[director] Mm, please continue. -So back to our island again. But this time for the sake of simplicity, let's remove the interest fee from the equation, and focus only on the outcomes of competitive trade itself. [Aleniya] So the 10,000 credits of money has been moving around through trade, labor, investment, starting businesses, hiring employees, and as is inevitable to the game, some businesses will outperform winning disproportion income, while others will fall behind losing income. And naturally those with more money can then increase their gaming advantage becoming ever more competitive and, of course, more prone to keep winning. [Vivian] As the old adage went, the rich get richer and the poor get poorer. A small business with limited means simply can't compete with a larger one that can outperform them in the same service due to having more resources to work with. [Cynthia] So on our Island, we see an inevitable point in time where say ten percent of that population managed to acquire 90% of the island's wealth while the other 90% of the population now has only ten percent. By the way, this isn't some arbitrary assumption, this can be modeled mathematically. The dynamics of mass competitive trade in any society always moves toward disequilibrium. So back to my point, when you put this together a displaced debt burden and the application of interest, you can begin to see the insidiousness. An economic process based upon competitive advantage and trade that inevitably consolidates wealth increasing that advantage. Coupled with a financial system that is charging interest on loans that can never be fully repaid. [Malikan] So it's no surprise that in the early 21st century, the global economy had about 200 trillion in debt and only 80 trillion in outstanding currency. While in the United States, then considered the richest nation on the planet, half of the population had less than 1,000 dollars in savings while also spending more each year than they actually earned, just trying to keep up. [Vivian] While on the global level, nearly 50 percent of the population lived in poverty on less than $5.50 a day as roughly 30 individuals, yes '30', owned more wealth than the bottom half, 3.6 billion. [Aleniya] Now, there are plenty of other intermitted things that contribute to this disparity. Offshore tax havens for the rich. The mythology of trickle-down economics where government favors business over the public's well-being, gaming strategies to restrict the power of unions and keep wages low, various shenanigans related to this thing called the stock market. But the financial system and its use of debt is really the foundation of it all. [director] Wow, you would expect riots in the streets if people really understood that. [Malikan] Well, there eventually were. But again, at the time, people just couldn't see it. But, no, it wasn't until the complete abolition of debt on all levels that human slavery finally ended on this planet. [director] Speaking of awareness, I'd like to talk a little about how the awakening started. I know Concordia was instrumental to technical change later on, but what about before that, perhaps starting in 20th century? -Well, it's sporadic. The largest move against this system was the Bolshevik Revolution in Russia, inspired by a man named Karl Marx. That brought about the Soviet Union, which existed for a couple decades. And it employed a top-down regulation system they called communism. But it proved to be inefficient and oppressive. It was also wildly opposed by Western capitalist powers which sought to destroy it by any means necessary. Criticism was generally infused with civil rights movements. [Vivian] For example, Mahatma Gandhi, who helped liberate India from Colonial rule, was notably against the system, recognizing its creation of poverty. Once saying that "poverty was the worst form of violence." Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., was also steadfast against capitalism, seeing it as a part of a system of oppression fueling racism. Same for the Black Panther Party. That had chapters all over the world in the 1960s. You also had more academic-minded organizations like the technocracy movement, largely inspired by famous economist Thorstein Veblen, who recognize that a society run by business people was a very bad idea. [Aleniya] And by the 21st century, when economic inequality was reaching unprecedented extremes coupled with a growing ecological crisis, many more were realizing something had to be done. [Malikan] But there is one that sticks out to me in the context of the value system disorder present at the time. An iconic speech given by a man named Omar Padillo. Omar was born in poverty in Los Angeles, California. And as a young man, he just happened to win the largest state lottery ever in 2037, and he decided to use that money to solve the vast homeless crisis in his hometown. He funded non-profits, established housing treatment centers. Not only getting people off the streets, but really helping them recover and acclimate. Something that hadn't been done before. And they gave him a Nobel Peace Prize for it. But what he had to say during his speech wasn't exactly what they expected. [audience applauding] [solemn music] [Omar] Thank you. And while I'm happy for those we have helped over the past few years, taking about 75,000 homeless off the Los Angeles streets, I must say that the problem at hand runs much deeper than the poverty we see around us. When I created this program, focusing on just this one regional crises, my long-term hope was that it would set a new precedent. That those who disproportionately benefit in this world would be inspired, step up, and help take responsibility for the plight of the less fortunate. After all, what I have done here is merely a patch that can only help a few. For the true source of poverty, our social system, continues to go unaddressed. We live in a world of stories and myths. And we've been told that the vast inequities that we see is the price we must pay for innovation and progress. Well, innovation to what end, and how do we define this notion of progress? For if progress is about how much one can own, the availability of jobs, the state of a nation's GDP, the rise of the stock market, or the development of some gadget to entertain and distract you, then we face a serious existential crisis. I submit that true progress can only be measured in the health, stability, integrity, and responsible freedom of a civilization. Responsible to ourselves, responsible to each other, and responsible to their earthly habitat we all share. And by those measures, my friends, there is now little progress to be found, as we all sit idly by, presupposing that the way society works is the only way it ever could. That said, if it's true that we must persist in this inhumane economic order, an order that has proven it can only create affluence for a minority at the cost of destitution for the majority, then our only choice is to seek a new level of humanitarian effort. Today, three people have more wealth than the bottom 75% of the world's population, six billion people, the total wealth of the 4,000 billionaires out there have the means to end global poverty a hundred times over, and yet if you study their philanthropy, it is clear that they are far more concerned with their own interests, their own comforts, than working to counter this ongoing structural violence. You see there's a deeper kind of poverty here. A spiritual poverty, a poverty that grows a culture of sociopaths and the more they have, the more they want, and the less they seem to care otherwise. Moral bankruptcy hiding behind this age-old story that one can have a billion dollars in the bank while others starve is somehow natural to the human condition. In a number of months my program will end as the funds will be gone. And to date not one wealthy, so-called philanthropist has offered to help keep the program running. Now I know this event is about peace, but it must be understood that the wealthy of this world, those at the root of true political power are sick. Their priorities have nothing to do with true progress. And the time for tolerance is over. The billionaire's of this world are not symbols of success. They are symbols of violence. And until that violence ends, there will be no peace on this planet. [somber music] [Simon] [sighs] I am sorry, Peter. Can we cut? [Peter] Cut! -Well, it's, you know, it's this opening section. I'm, I'm still not getting it. I know we've been through it but, uh, it's just not landing for me. -[Peter] I'm just going to keep rolling here. [cameraman] Can you grab that color swatch for me? [Peter] You have to think about the interpretation in reference -to the-- -[tech] All right. Thank you. This tripod head is toilet. [actor] You know, my latte was cold this morning. And that's my problem because? [Simon] Okay, okay, I, I think I got it. Thanks. [Peter] No problem. All right everybody, let's move. [Simon] [sighs] Jesus, take a screenwriting class for Christ's sake. No one's going to understand any of this shit. -[Peter] Camera? -[man] Rolling. -[Peter] Audio? -[woman] Speeding. [man 2] Slate. [man 3] Scene 37, take 23. [clicks] [playful music] [audience applauding] [Simon] What if I told you, John, what many see as problems in the world are actually solutions in transition. -Is that some kind of Taoist riddle? [audience laughing] -Poverty, crime, war, disease, even the ongoing destruction of the habitat. What if they were actually productive forces assisting a larger end? -I'd suggest you lighten up on the Nietzsche. [audience laughing] -What separate us from the rest of the animal kingdom is that we have no natural predators. Nothing out there to snatch us up for an afternoon snack. We're also uniquely aware of our own mortality and fight it with hospitals, medicine, inoculations. Little stopping us from reproducing to the very limit of our host, at least not externally. Evolution had to do something a bit different with us. So, instead, we are our own predators. Predator and prey in one. -How convenient. [audience laughing] -Which explains not only why humans murder each other at a rate unparalleled by any other species, but also why we've generated a social structure that by systemic force further ensures a consistent rate of premature mortality. -You mean structural violence. -Embedded into the very design of civilization itself. -So that is what the Malthusian Mandate does, regulate how to kill off the weak. -No, the Mandate isn't a policy of action. It's a policy of inaction, a commitment not to interfere with the natural course of the system. -So the invisible hand of the market has a machete. [audience laughing] I don't expect to win you over, John. I'm just telling you the way it is. I agree it's ugly. But without the premature death that capitalism brings in the form of inequality, that planet would have flown off its access long ago. As you know, the Industrial Revolution set in motion population growth that was hyperbolic. And out of the 70 million who now die each year 30 million do so because of unequal conditions. -So 40 percent of all global deaths are structurally inflicted, you know, there's a word for that, Simon. -Oh, don't be dramatic. Again, this is system-level behavior, John. Not some nefarious conspiracy. You want to know what the population would be if this wasn't the case? If we removed inequality driven mortality for the last 100 years, accounting for fertility, about 16 billion would be sucking up resources on that planet today with a carrying capacity still at only ten billion. And you think things are messy now. -First of all, Simon. When the great Reverend Thomas Malthus decided population would forever outpace resources, only one billion existed. We're almost ten times that now despite his projections. Second, in the modern era, the greatest predictor of regional overpopulation is poverty itself. If the world ever did abolish it, increasing education, population growth would dramatically slow likely approaching equilibrium. Your 16 billion number doesn't account for that. And third, you're completely disregarding what the Fullerian study proved long ago, a study sanctioned by your own department. -The Fullerian study was purely theoretical, John. A model only possible if humans magically conform to strict sustainability and efficiency principles. It required a completely egalitarian structure without money and markets. A fantasy given once again the reality of human nature. -Fantasy or not, the study was clear. Not only can the Earth hold upwards of 30 billion, it can do so with each having a standard of living equivalent to today's upper-middle-class. -Yeah, again, assuming equal distribution, which is absurd. Humans have infinite wants. -No... they don't. Infinite wants is a value disorder, inspired by an economy that needs infinite consumption to work. People are just as prone to be minimalist as they are materialist. Comes down to the social condition. Today, if people didn't have highly acquisitive values, the entire economy would collapse. -Fine, believe what you will, John. It's all moot anyway. You asked me what the Malthusian Mandate was and I'm telling you. Whether you like it or not, this is the reality of things today. [buzzing] [Op #4] We got Mandate metadata, please tell me this is recording. [Op #2] It certainly is. [Op #5] Looks like John got his subterfuge. [John] So how's this organized then? Tracking demographics and mechanisms? [Simon] We are. As you'll notice, conditions related to absolute poverty in the third world countries account for about 40 percent of all premature deaths. -And I see you're also tracking poverty related illness and violence in the industrialized nations. -With heart diseases, cancer, and diabetes remaining at the top, while suicide, inner-city gang warfare, and drug overdoses coming a close second. -What about deep stomach relationships? Lack of education, childhood stress? -Correlated as well. Actually, very consistent. Regional cycles of deprivation are like clockwork. Poor families continue to produce more poor families, even in the richest states. -And the mechanisms? -Standard class war stuff. Only difference now is the ecological and climate crisis, which has rapidly increased mortality in poverty-stricken desert and coastal regions. But the same story otherwise. The rich get richer with disproportional opportunity in capital. The political establishment favors business and wealthy interests over social support programs, and the banking system keeps a solid stranglehold on social mobility by saturating the lower class in insurmountable debt. Same on the global level through international finance institutions, structural adjustments, austerity, sanctions. In fact, the financial system is really the glue that holds all this together, keeping constant downward pressure on the impecunious masses. [loud rumbling] [robotic buzzing] [traffic noises] [ominous music] [eerie music] [ominous music increasing] [announcement] Final warning. Please evacuate proximal region. Program will commence in ten, nine, eight, seven, six, five, four... [building rumbles] [muffled rumbling] [glass shattering] [gentle music] [Malikan] Centuries ago humans discovered hydrocarbon energy, fossil fuels, and for a good chunk of time, it was a critical mechanism advancing civilization. But after a while it became obvious that its continued use posed insurmountable repercussions, damaging the environment. So we eventually had to stop using it completely, figuring out other means. And this is a good analogy as to why we also needed to transcend that social system. [Cynthia] I look at capitalism as an adolescent stage in the growth of civilization. Let's let loose and have people be selfish, building and creating in a belligerent manner with no regard for consequences. And we learned a lot. I think without this phase, we wouldn't have been able to recognize and amplify what really makes us unique as a species. We started as DNA moving from simplicity to complexity, evolving a brain with consciousness, while blessed with a profound social nature, merging us into a truly global consciousness continuing this expansion. Not through our biology, but through the sharing of knowledge, cultural evolution. [Vivian] There was a great library in a city called Alexandria long, long ago, and it contained some of the most foundational texts of human civilization. And sadly, it was destroyed in war. Many centuries later, a famous astronomer named Carl Sagan commented on the subject, "It was if the entire civilization had undergone some self-inflicted brain surgery, And most of its memories, discoveries, ideas, and passions were extinguished irrevocably." ~Carl Sagan [Aleniya] So the great question of scientific and hence, economic progress, inevitably becomes, How do we optimize the power of our group mind To increase knowledge and solve problems? How do we harness our different talents and skills to bring out our best potential, not only as individuals, but as a civilization? [Malikan] We know the hardware, so to speak. A finite yet profoundly regenerative planet bound by laws of nature with our species part of a delicate ecosystem sharing common ground. [Aleniya] The true measure of economic progress is simply doing more with less. Efficiency, the ability to build something for a given purpose that is not only better than what came before it in utility, but also better in terms of reducing the amount of labor, energy and resources required to make it work. Which means it all comes down to design. [Cynthia] And back to my point about markets, the infrastructure it created set the groundwork for powerful new means to merge human talent and skill. We just needed to remove the counter-productive aspects. And, needless to say, wasteful human competition, proprietary knowledge, and people motivated to sell things over and over to feed a system of infinite growth wasn't going to work. There had to be a way to bridge minds and solve problems directly, not by proxy of market competition and profit. [Malikan] I think the smartest thing we ever did as a society was the adoption of an open source, shared resource commons. It exponentially catapulted our problem solving creativity. We ended corporations, localized communities, and shared all knowledge. In fact, if it wasn't for that move, I really don't think we would've solved the climate crisis and all the other ecological and social problems we faced before the Great Transition. [Aleniya] I still stand in awe today at the stunningly productive collective design processes we created, where status is driven not by differential competition for gain, but by the degree of your contribution: how dedicated you are to problem solving and creation, working to improve the fabric of society itself. [Cynthia] We also realized the true purpose of a means of production based upon automated technology. Not as some brute industrial mechanism to produce an endless stream of arbitrary goods, but as a way to free ourselves from uncreative labor, not to mention improving efficiency and safety. [Vivian] And one final evolution worth noting was the removal of the price system. People stuck these numbers on everything that suggested some kind of earthly value. The numbers were a result of a particularly crude equation dealing with supply and demand. And while the high priests of the market religion saw those price decrees as the word of God, the truth was any price value determined by market dynamics alone was woefully incomplete. [Malikan] And the only term to know in regard to that is negative market externality. These are cost values, unaccounted for by the market price equation related to damage done by industry. For example, in the early 21st century, the running price of hydrocarbon energy was in a particular range. But yet, there was actually an additional 5.3 trillion dollars in cost every year as people worked to clean up the damage the use of hydrocarbons was doing to the planet. [Aleniya] Same for the plastics industry, a serious problem back then. It had an externalized cost of 2.5 trillion dollars a year just to clean up the oceans. [Malikan] In fact, if you went back and did the accounting for global industry as a whole factoring in these negative market externalities, again, these costs not reflected in the set prices, you would find that no company on the planet was actually even profitable. [Cynthia] So, of course today we have a very different system of accounting. We know almost exactly what's happening or could happen in downstream effects and we improve our total system efficiency every single year because of it. It's a true economy, in other words. [Vivian] And all of this creates a very different social atmosphere. Today our incentives are aligned. No one cuts corners, there's no reason to. No one is trying to improve some bottom line by disregarding our ecological stewardship or the well-being of others. We finally got it right. [Aleniya] And I compare the footage of the way people behaved back then to the way they do now. It's an astounding amount of pride and community, meaning and purpose. They don't feel alone. They know they have support, not just from their friends and family, but from the very design of the social system itself, a system designed to actually care. Imagine that. [loud traffic] [horn faintly honks] [horn honking loudly] [train softly rattling] [train rattles loudly] [rattling stops] [soft gentle music] [men speaking indistinctively] [man speaking with distorted voice] [man speaking with distorted voice] [softly scoffs] The low polygon people are here. [sighs] -I wish they'd go back to their own resolution. [distorted chat continues] [gentle music] [loud whoosh] [ominous music] [John] How are you still standing? What is that, your tenth drink? [joyful sigh] [Simon] Apple juice. [loud beeps] -What's that? -That is a breach alarm. Looks like Orion is continuing through our security. And on that note, John, I need to know your intent. I've explained the Mandate and how it's far bigger than both of us. -Policy of inaction is still a policy of action, Simon. -Well, if you'd like, we could continue this colorful debate another time. Assuming you're willing to assist us here now. -Signal source, what are the regional markers? -Well... ...that's part of the problem. The best we have is a desert region on the west side of North America about 10,000 square miles. -It's not too horrible. I assume your satellites have been scanning more remote terrain. -Of course, nothing out of the ordinary has been seen. -What about surveillance gaps? Are the satellite passes seamless? -For the most part, there are some periodic latitudinal gaps, but they only last a few hours. -Is it possible Orion is aware of them? Exploiting them? That's what I'd do. -I suppose, but highly unlikely. They would have to already be in our system to know the trajectories. -Show me the gaps. You want my help or not? [high pitched whirring] [sharp beep] Zoom into the area in question. [high pitched whirring] [Op #4] Perfect. Hold it right there, John. [Simon] We've already conducted sub-sonar scans. If they're underground, they're using some kind of reflective shield. But what I think would be best for you is to analyze the signal code itself, see if you can find a signature. John? [John] Yeah, sorry, I was just thinking. Hey, remember that Aqua Terraformation project we worked on years ago? [soft tense music] -Sounds like you need to get some sleep. Your attention span is going. And of course... can I forget? Ionized nanotech pop-up islands from seawater. Too bad it never worked. We could've extended populations into the ocean, free up some space. -Yeah. What other ambitious stuff did we work on? Those were some exciting times. Remember TRD Hollow Cloak? -Huh! A sci-fi classic. Tactile remote drone hologram. We played with that for a while here, but proved impossible, light just can't merge like that. -Yeah. Too bad. Lots of uses for a fully controlled remote tactile human hologram. [upbeat tense music] [high pitched whirring] [sharp thuds] [high pitched whirring] Cool, huh? And it's at this juncture, Simon, I'm afraid I have to deliver some kind of protagonistical declaration of moral superiority to indicate the philosophical error of your ways. So here it goes. Those that seek to create in this world, those who embrace change as a natural force, helping to unify humankind as one entity in one shared direction, realizing that injustice anywhere is injustice everywhere, will always be one step ahead of the traditionalists, the preservers, the elitists, who, in defense of their separatist identities and egoist fears, seek to divide, conquer, oppress, and destroy. The pursuit of livingry will always be one step ahead of the pursuit of weaponry. -Orion doesn't exist, does it? -Nope. We just put a virus in your firewall. -Why? What's the point of all of this? -To expose the Mandate, of course, which will be leaked shortly to every major news network. [chuckles] -Oh, seriously, that's it? You think we can't absorb that? That we haven't perfected endless ways to deflate and confuse public perception when needed? -Well, then I guess you have nothing to worry about. See you around, Simon. [loud whoosh] [high pitched beeps] [Op #1] Hey, token white guy is back! -[John, chuckling] Shut up. All right, folks. We don't have much time. I don't think he's going to buy that story for long. How're we doing? [Op #5] Satellite coordinates locked, everything's ready. But keep in mind, even with bypassing your surveillance, once this thing hits, the heat signature is going to be out of control. [John] That's what the subterfuge is for. Mandate leak on the blockchain yet? [Op #2] Packaging now. Should be in the hands of every major media outlet in about 20 minutes. -Good. Don't forget to show Simon's stupid face. So this is it folks. We have a clear path avoiding GSA surveillance. Once the Mandate exposure hits the press, Simon and company will be in damage control, hopefully long enough so we can pull this off. Anybody need anything? -Music. -Music. -Music. -Music. You got it. [drum beats] Your magic unites what custom strictly divided Be Embraced. [mechanical whirring starts] This kiss is for the whole world [cheerful instrumental music] [helicopter blades buzz loudly] [singing opera] -[loud whirring] -[loud laughs] -[claps] -[director] All right, everybody, come on. We got-- we got to finish this goddamn movie already. Left. Right. Left. [loud whirring] [singing opera] [muffled explosion] [sharp whoosh] [Reporter #1] Responding to this new leak by Concordia, purporting to reveal a policy of neglect, where the death of millions in poverty was deliberately accentuated by International Trade policy. [#2] Leaked documents even include what appears to be a video of GSA's current head, Simon Devoe. [Simon] Don't look at me like that. Standard operating procedure, folks. Get your media agents out there and start changing the narrative. [instrumental music continues] [water splashes] [GSA Op #1] Sir. [radar beeps] -What is it? -I don't know. We don't have visual coverage in that region yet. -Send the drones. [high pitched whoosh] [water splashes] [John] Holy shit, it worked. [Op #5] Shall we alert the base? -Indeed. The migration begins. [hologram buzzes] [GSA Op #1] It's an artificial island, Sir, in the Pacific, about 700 miles off the coast of North America. [Simon] Holy shit, it worked. [GSA Op #2] Scramble fighters to destroy it? -No. See this? It's a plasma congealed electromagnetic field, impenetrable. [GSA Op #1] How do you know that? -Because I know the creator. [John] End scene! [music ends] One Year Later [water splashing] [Reporter] So, we've just arrived at the colony of Concordia, where almost a million people have migrated to basically get away from the rest of the world. We are the first press allowed in, waiting to meet our guide. -Hi, I'm Elnoria. -Nice to meet you. Thank you for having us. -I suggest we move to the city center, start our tour from there. -[softly] You can cut. So, there's been a lot of speculation on the mainland about what goes on here. You're depicted as some kind of a cult. Claims of human right abuses, and your media is being censored pretty aggressively. -Well, that's why you're here. This island wasn't created to escape the world, it was created to set an example to change the world, show what's actually possible if humankind decided to work together. So, where would you like to start? -I guess technicals. How are you powering this place? [Elnoria] Mixed renewable integration. The island's core baseload systems are solar, wind and ocean, while localized kinetic energy capture, mixed use/reuse mechanisms, are designed into most everything. -Like footsteps? -Footsteps, vehicle motion, pipe flows, anything that moves, we recapture. We're at about 5,000 percent efficiency, more energy than we know what to do with. -That's insane. -Not really. The earth is, in effect, a perpetual motion machine. You people on the mainland could easily do the same thing, but your economic system simply isn't conducive to integrative design. Speaking of which, let's head to the development center around the corner. -Okay. -This is one of our design facilities. -Okay. Like an office. So these people are employed. -Employed. Um, I suppose in the most technical sense of the word, sure. But we have no systemic slavery here. No one is coerced to submit for their basic survival, something I suspect might be very foreign to you. -But everyone needs to do something, right? So how do you network skills, organized trade, markets? -There is no trade. There are no markets. There is no currency. Those who wish to contribute do so through collaborative design in an open-source environment. What you think of as industries of production on the mainland is unified here. -Wait, I don't understand. These people are not paid to be here? How are they motivated? -Well, how is anyone motivated? Do you need to get paid to get out of bed in the morning? Do you need to be paid to ensure your own health, the health of your family and friends? Paid to show stewardship for the habitat and society that supports you? -How about innovation? -Innovation to what end? To create something to improve life and experience? Or to create something to sell? If you think about it, it has been the blind economic drive toward innovation, as you know it, that continues to lead your society to destruction -Okay, then. [sighs] Once these people have designed something, then what? [Elnoria] If a design meets proper criteria in terms of efficiency and sustainability protocols, it is then accessible by our mostly additive manufacturing system. [reporter] Additive? 3D printers? [Elnoria] Which have been perfected to a degree where modular arrays can produce most anything conceived of with traditional material. [gentle whimsical music] And by the way, there's no waste here. Our AI designed filters won't allow production of any item that isn't 100% regenerative. -Sorry, I'm speechless. If what you say is true, you've actually done it. -Done what? -You've created Utopia. [Elnoria chuckles] If you want to sound like an idiot, sure. This isn't Utopia, friend. It's simply pragmatic design. Come, let me now show you our democratic system, how we use direct democracy to eliminate politicians and control problems. [reporter] What? No elections? -No goons? -[Elnoria] God, no. [reporter] Whoa. So... so where do I sign up? I want to join your cult as soon as possible. -[Elnoria chuckles] I'll see what I can do. -Please. I don't know if I can take much more. [soft chuckles] [director] So, I'm afraid we're going to have to wrap this up for now, but a-- as we discussed, I will be back for the second part of this interview fairly soon, uh, specifically to discuss the colony of Concordia and their historical influence. -Sure. So what's the name of the documentary? [director] InterReflections. -Interesting. -But before we end, I have a rather strange request. If you could address those vulnerable, confused souls, you know, before the Great Transition, given, as you put it earlier, we barely made it at all, what would you say to them? -Wow, that is a strange request. Hm. I think I would paraphrase the words of a notable civil rights activist from the mid-20th century named Bayard Rustin. And he said, "You are all one. And if you don't know it, you're going to find out the hard way." [upbeat music] ♪ It's a bacchanalia ♪ It's a cornucopia ♪ Champagne and a caviar ♪ What else is there? ♪ Swimming pool and fancy yacht ♪ ♪ Vacation in the south of France ♪ ♪ You got anything you want ♪ What else is there? ♪ Did your mama teach you how to ♪ ♪ Teach you how to share? ♪ Did your mama teach you how to ♪ ♪ Teach you how to share? ♪ Did your mama teach you how to ♪ ♪ Teach you how to share? ♪ Did your mama teach you how to ♪ ♪ Teach you how to share? ♪ Your company has rising stock ♪ ♪ Cheaper labor in the eastern block ♪ ♪ No complaining in the sweat shop ♪ ♪ What else is there? ♪ Making deals in the back room ♪ ♪ If you don't like it you can change the rules ♪ ♪ Thank your friends in the Legislature ♪ ♪ What else is there? ♪ Did your mama teach you how to ♪ ♪ Teach you how to share? ♪ Did your mama teach you how to ♪ ♪ Teach you how to share? ♪ Did your mama teach you how to ♪ ♪ Teach you how to share? ♪ Did your mama teach you how to ♪ ♪ Teach you how to share? [crowd claps and cheers] ♪ Never felt like we had enough ♪ ♪ Welfare check don't buy much ♪ ♪ I started working from eight on up ♪ ♪ What else is there? ♪ I know when I look at you ♪ You got feelings like I do ♪ Can we go by the golden rule? ♪ ♪ What else is there? ♪ Did your mama teach you how to ♪ ♪ Teach you how to share? ♪ Did your mama teach you how to ♪ ♪ Teach you how to share? ♪ Did your mama teach you how to ♪ ♪ Teach you how to share? ♪ Did your mama teach you how to ♪ ♪ Teach you how to share? ♪ Did your mama teach you how to ♪ -♪ Teach you how to share? -♪ Help somebody ♪ Did your mama teach you how to ♪ -♪ Teach you how to share? -♪ Help somebody ♪ Did your mama teach you how to ♪ -♪ Teach you how to share? -♪ Help somebody ♪ Did your mama teach you how to ♪ -♪ Teach you how to share? -♪ Help somebody [music fades]

Video Details

Duration: 2 hours, 45 minutes and 11 seconds
Year: 2020
Country: United States
Language: English
Producer: Peter Joseph
Director: Peter Joseph
Views: 23
Posted by: ltiofficial on May 29, 2021

InterReflections is an experimental, mixed genre narrative feature film by Peter Joseph, adapted from his book The New Human Rights Movement. Taking place in three time frames, the through-line is connected by the story of Concordia, a hacktivist organization comprised of high-ranking military defectors from around the world. They seek to stop further destabilization of the world in the mid 21st century by strategically shifting technological focus from “weaponry” to “livingry”.

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