The Unconscious Civilization In this intellectual tour de force Saul argues that the West now toils unconsciously in the grip of a stifling corporatist structure that serves the needs of business managers and technocrats as it p

  • Title: The Unconscious Civilization
  • Author: John Ralston Saul
  • ISBN: 9780684871080
  • Page: 286
  • Format: Paperback
  • In this intellectual tour de force, Saul argues that the West now toils unconsciously in the grip of a stifling corporatist structure that serves the needs of business managers and technocrats as it promotes the segmentation of society into competing interest groups and ethnic blocks.

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      Posted by:John Ralston Saul
      Published :2018-05-11T14:47:31+00:00

    One thought on “The Unconscious Civilization”

    1. Saul is a beautifully simply writer. His thesis is that we live in a civilization that is fundamentally deluded about the type of society we actually are. We believe we live in a time of remarkable peace, but really there have never been so many wars. We think we are free and that we live in a democracy, but people have never felt so alienated from 'power'. This book is a call to arms over how to make our society more aligned to the myths of our society. Just because things have gotten worse sin [...]

    2. The denial of the public good in favor of private interests is a theme which gives this book as much relevance now as when it first came out. In this critique of modern society the author, J. R. Saul, raises the humanist banner of Socrates against the ideological standard of Plato.Since about 1870, he tells us, Western individualism has given way to “corporatism,” the idea that power involves only group interests. The corporatist world view denies that individuals can be a source of social l [...]

    3. The book discusses the phenomena of neo-conservatism, the economy's shift from the expansion of the 1960s, and related changes in society. However, that's not exactly what it's about. The author's view is that the central problems today are people thinking in terms of being part of a group rather than as an individual, people operating according to "ideologies", and people not thinking and questioning everything as Socrates did - and the philosophical perspectives behind these tendencies.In some [...]

    4. Sort of a follow-up to Voltaire's Bastards which simply asked a lot of questions. This book begins to offer something in the way of an answer out of the predicament of modern civilization.

    5. i encountered this book just after my daughter was born. It articulated the sense she had given me, about civic responsibility, and my connection, however tenuous to society around me is still the most concise argument available that demonstrates the need for citizenship and the dangers of narcissistic individualism should be in highschool curriculums everywhere.

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

    7. This book is the written edition of the Massey Lectures John Ralston Saul gave in 1995, and is a densely philosophical treatise on where, in his opinion, society in general is heading. This is neither a happy book, nor is it likely that it has been well understood by many who may have or will read it. His concepts are deeply troubling and as he states a number of times, it is incredibly difficult to remove ourselves from our normal mindset and see our political and societal situations from such [...]

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

    9. These are a few of the things Saul’s least favorite things…The corporatist systemIdeologyCertaintyNeo-conservatismIndividualism in caricature Misunderstanding Adam SmithThe senior PlatoFinancial wealth vs productive wealthI had a lot of bookmarks of things I wanted to remember or check later in this book. And it was a good thing because even though I enjoyed the act of reading this relatively short work, by the end I mostly forgot what I just read. Which is on me, but still to my mind it did [...]

    10. Coming from a position that cannot be easily characterized as either Left or Right, Saul critiques technocracy and the anti-democratic culture of management and conformity, the favoring of private profit to public good, which comprise what he calls "corporatism." Regularly citing Adam Smith in opposition to the received truths of contemporary "free market" evangelists, Saul argues that markets do have a proper place in society (a fun game for those with the means to enjoy them!), but that they d [...]

    11. Despite the fact that this book was written over 25 years ago, it provides a detailed explanation of how the election of President Trump was simply a natural outcome of the "corporatist" agenda that is eroding our society. John Ralston Saul is excellent author and this book is truly exceptional! While being eminently readable this short volume draws upon history, political theory and philosophy to provide a thorough analysis of the decline of any consideration for the "public good" in modern soc [...]

    12. An interesting book written as a critique against free-market capitalism leading to corporatism and conformism. The author would like to see an increase in governments' power, so that personal interest and self serving can be reduced in favor of citizen democracy and the public good.At points the author's anti-ideological ideology becomes somewhat repetitive.

    13. "The apple (of knowledge) is the game"Saul effectively delivers a proactive political message in a clear style, that doesn't require a lot of background knowledge. Although, this was presented to a university level one audience, the keen reader can tackle the topic and still gain a lot from a close reading.He gives readers the history of the rise in corporatism, gradual weakening of individualism and democracy, how this relationship functions today, and what can be done about it. Saul does this [...]

    14. Saul got it right way back in 1995 and it could not be more evident today. Money and politics. How did we get here? Who is to blame [all of us, of course]?Basically, we have been stumbling around for decades, content in our selfishness, unconscious. While we have been amusing ourselves to death, the well financed elites have kept us fed on the soma of consumerism and self-gratification because it lets them proceed to control the bigger systems. They have forced the narrative of our existence int [...]

    15. This book is short and too the point. With much research to back up his theory, Saul makes it clear that the main reason that corporatism now rules government and, in turn, us, is that we have become lazy and even fallen asleep in our duties as citizens. With an eloquence I can only envy he shows how this has happened, starting with differences between Socrates and Plato, how it has progress. He shows how it has lulled citizenry into unconsciousness and gives grave warning as to the consequences [...]

    16. Saul provides interesting commentary on the legacies of Socrates versus Plato, the "managerial elite", and the corruption of equating individualism with selfishness.On the other hand, the book suffers from numerous unstated assumptions, which David's review outlines very nicely. I'll just add that I think the most problematic is the assumption that there exists a holistic "public good", which Saul constantly invokes. Ideology is to avoided, he says, because ideology always involves the invention [...]

    17. A quick read that points out how we, the U.S. Citizen has turned our Democracy over to the corporations. We continue to play by their rules and not by the rules od Democracy. How as citizens we have allowed our education, Democratic, legal, health care etc systems stop serving us, the citizen and serve the corporation. When serving the corporation those services stop providing for the common good and only provide what the corporation allows. We stop it by voting. By putting candidates up who are [...]

    18. I'd been waiting to get my hands on this book and it starts off in very promising fashion with John's statements on how modern day democracy is just a guise for interest groups realising their ambitions. While there are many sections that I did highlight and found very much relevant to our society today, I have to agree with the comments of another reviewer here who quotes the author himself, "I've said it before that one of the signs of a healthy civilization is the existence of a relatively cl [...]

    19. I bought this and started to read it quite some time ago - but never finished it. I picked it up again and read it cover to cover - perhaps because he was dealing with the notion of corporatism, something I had recently become very aware of. Everything he discussed rang true in my head, perhaps because I got to experience "corporatism" first hand. "Hey don't this this personally - this is business".

    20. The author makes no sense. He will propose a premise, but the following sentences tend not to address that specific premise and give no rationale for the conclusion he draws. I agreed with many of his conclusions, but it was sheer frustration to read, knowing that I could find more logical, reasoned arguments from an inmate of the local asylum.

    21. The author lays out a compelling argument for the promotion of humanism and critiques the current state of our civilization and the traditional ideologies we are so accustomed to hearing from our political figures.

    22. this is a groovy little text until it comes to speaking to the heart of the unconscious civilization of freudian and jungian theory. john ralston saul gets the notion of the unconscious all wrong.

    23. A classic I have recently re-read after almost twenty years. Prescient and still has a lot to say about our current condition.

    24. A magnificent criticism of the economic ideologies with which we have deluded ourselves, and which are being foisted upon us like religious gospels. Magnificent effort.

    25. The acceptance of psychic discomfort is the acceptance of consciousness. Really excellent and frightening/sad that it's 20 years old but sounds mostly completely like today.

    26. A rather scenic historic perspective on echelons of power in hands of Corporations manipulating Govt Media and the unconscious public!

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