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Wed Jan 19, 2022, 08:15 AM

Carl Sagan's prediction of an America he never lived to see

Prediction starts at 2:24




What is alarming to me is how quickly, relatively speaking, the progress of the industrial revolution is unraveling.

It reminds me of this passage from the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous though I am not an alcoholic (my dad was).

This world of ours has made more material progress in the last century than in all the millenniums which went before. Almost everyone knows the reason. Students of ancient history tell us that the intellect of men in those days was equal to the best of today. Yet in ancient times material progress was painfully slow. The spirit of modern scientific inquiry, research and invention was almost unknown. In the realm of the material, men's minds were fettered by superstition, tradition, and all sorts of fixed ideas. Some of the contemporaries of Columbus thought a round earth preposterous. Others came near putting Galileo to death for his astronomical heresies.

… Even in the present century [1900s], American newspapers were afraid to print an account of the Wright brothers' first successful flight at Kitty Hawk. …

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Arrow 33 replies Author Time Post
Reply Carl Sagan's prediction of an America he never lived to see (Original post)
live love laugh Jan 2022 OP
captain queeg Jan 2022 #1
wnylib Jan 2022 #9
captain queeg Jan 2022 #11
krispos42 Jan 2022 #19
wnylib Jan 2022 #21
PatrickforB Jan 2022 #26
wnylib Jan 2022 #28
PatrickforB Jan 2022 #30
wnylib Jan 2022 #31
PatrickforB Jan 2022 #32
Lonestarblue Jan 2022 #10
ChazII Jan 2022 #2
Auggie Jan 2022 #3
Delphinus Jan 2022 #4
Bourgeois Liberal Jan 2022 #24
Rebl2 Jan 2022 #33
erronis Jan 2022 #5
TheRickles Jan 2022 #8
wnylib Jan 2022 #13
Lonestarblue Jan 2022 #14
plimsoll Jan 2022 #16
Alexander Of Assyria Jan 2022 #18
KS Toronado Jan 2022 #15
mitch96 Jan 2022 #27
captain queeg Jan 2022 #29
UCmeNdc Jan 2022 #6
niyad Jan 2022 #7
dalton99a Jan 2022 #12
Farmer-Rick Jan 2022 #17
Wounded Bear Jan 2022 #20
Whiskeytide Jan 2022 #22
ananda Jan 2022 #23
mountain grammy Jan 2022 #25

Response to live love laugh (Original post)

Wed Jan 19, 2022, 08:32 AM

1. There's a biblical passage that springs into my mind sometimes: there's nothing new under the sun

I don’t remember exactly where, I haven’t read it for many years but I think it was from Solomon. He was talking about how the basics of life never change. At least that’s how I interpreted it.

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Response to captain queeg (Reply #1)

Wed Jan 19, 2022, 09:40 AM

9. It's from Ecclesiastes 1:9 which is

referred to as the "reflections of a royal philosopher," presumably Solomon.

Regarding human nature, the quote is probably accurate. But, in regard to technology, it is an example of what Sagan was concerned about, the loss of scientific inquiry and discovery.

(Amusing note: As I typed this, auto correct changed Sagan to Satan.)

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Response to wnylib (Reply #9)

Wed Jan 19, 2022, 09:45 AM

11. Yeah I get some of those auto corrects like that

Had one the other day that I thought was funny but can’t remember now.

I had a professor that used to say all the easy stuff has been discovered. Probably seems like that looking from are present vantage point but it was a long road.

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Response to wnylib (Reply #9)

Wed Jan 19, 2022, 10:27 AM

19. Well, that's because Sagan IS Satan!

*puts on Michelle Bachmann voice*

You see, "G" is the 7th letter from the FRONT of the alphabet, and "T" is the 7th letter from the END of the alphabet! So Satan just did this symmetry thing, doncha know, and swapped the letters so he could lie about God and baby Jesus and the wise men and evolution and the Great Flood and the value of pi and how rabbits chew their cud and how old the Earth is! And everybody would think he was just an atheist scientists unintentionally doing Satan's work, instead of Satan himself! Isn't that right, Pillow Guy?


*puts on Mike Lindell voice*

TRUMP WON THE ELECTION!!! I HAVE INDISPUTABLE PROOF!!! HE WON BY TWENTY MILLION VOTES AND GOT ALL THE ELECTORAL COLLEGE VOTES!!! ALSO I'M COMPLETELY RECOVERED FROM MY CRACK AND METH ADDICTION AND AM NOT TAKING ANY NEW DRUGS AT ALL!!! I'M TOTALLY SOBER!!! PLEASE DON'T SUE ME!!! USE CODE "LOOSE SCREW 20" TO SAVE 20% OFF YOUR ORDER AT MYPILLOW.COM!!! JET FUEL DOESN'T BURN THAT HOT!!! JEWISH SPACE LASERS!!! JFK JR 2024!!!

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Response to krispos42 (Reply #19)

Wed Jan 19, 2022, 10:40 AM

21. Oh dear. I fear that my phone is

an anti science fundamentalist Chrino.

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Response to wnylib (Reply #9)

Wed Jan 19, 2022, 11:18 AM

26. Ecclesiastes is one of my favorite OT books because it pounds on the illusions that

beset us in this life - the twin lies on which we seem to have built our society - that if you amass large amounts of wealth and/or large amounts of power, it will somehow make you immortal.

But it won't. This is why selfishness, greed, envy and so on are so foolish. Sagan was an interesting guy, but he wasn't much for either religion or spirituality.

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Response to PatrickforB (Reply #26)

Wed Jan 19, 2022, 11:36 AM

28. Most people regard Ecclesiastes as

depressing, but I don't see it that way. It is one of my favorite books, too, which is why I recognized the quote immediately when I saw it.

Agree that Ecclesiastes cuts through our illusions. In doing that, it points to real spirituality, which makes it uplifting to me and not depressing.

Regarding Sagan, he was not a religious person at all, and generally regarded religion as superstition when taken on a literal level. But he wrote an interesting book on science and religion, titled Dragons of Eden. In that book, he explored the possibility that human thought patterns are similar in science and religion because there are some parallels in Biblical descriptions of creation and scientific theories on evolution. The book covers the difficulties of maintaining objectivity in science because the ways we think and perceive life are influenced by the society we live in and our personal experiences in life. I recommend the book.

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Response to wnylib (Reply #28)

Wed Jan 19, 2022, 08:33 PM

30. Wow, is THAT a blast from the past! I read Dragons of Eden in the way-back-when -

maybe the late 70s or early 80s. Yes, it was a good book, though I don't remember it all that well.

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Response to PatrickforB (Reply #30)

Wed Jan 19, 2022, 09:17 PM

31. I read it back in the mid 1980s

for an English course that I was taking on mythology. I used the book as one of my sources for a research paper that I did way back then. So, yes, it's an old book, but still relevant for people who are intersted in issues of scientific objectivity and the relationship between science and religion.

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Response to wnylib (Reply #31)

Wed Jan 19, 2022, 11:20 PM

32. Yes, I belong to a Noetic Sciences discussion group that meets one Saturday a month.

Like you I have always been interested in the intersection between science and religion/spirituality. They used to be together in ancient days, of course. But for the insistence on a narrowly dogmatic interpretation of the Old and New Testaments, they still likely would be. If only gnosticism was not cast out as heresy!

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Response to captain queeg (Reply #1)

Wed Jan 19, 2022, 09:43 AM

10. Ecclesiastes 1:9

“What has been will be again, what has been done will be done again; there is nothing new under the sun.”

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Response to live love laugh (Original post)

Wed Jan 19, 2022, 08:42 AM

2. Wish that I could give this more than 1

Kick and recommend.

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Response to live love laugh (Original post)

Wed Jan 19, 2022, 08:51 AM

3. The dumbing down of America:

it's where one would start if the goal was to destroy a liberal democracy.

This has been the objective of the 1% since Reagan. Slow, methodical, committed, and nearly complete.

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Response to Auggie (Reply #3)

Wed Jan 19, 2022, 09:16 AM

4. Sadly,

I agree.

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Response to Auggie (Reply #3)

Wed Jan 19, 2022, 11:02 AM

24. When Democracy gets in the way of Income Streams...

...then it's democracy which has to go. Destroying democracy was not a conscious long-term objective. When you live in a world where time horizons are determined by news cycles, quarterly-earnings reports, ratings books and the next election you generally don't have long-term objectives. The immediate objective is always to preserve and guarantee income streams. And its for that reason that for the past 50 years (the 1971 Powell Memo serves as a convenient starting point) the US has been groping and stumbling from a democracy to an oligarchy. It's simply the line of least intellectual resistance. A petrified government which exists solely in order to hold the existing distribution of wealth in place is basically all that our 1-percent can imagine.
So there.

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Response to Auggie (Reply #3)

Thu Jan 20, 2022, 07:39 PM

33. Must agree

It started with Reagan and then in the 90’s disgraced Newt Gingrich, then came the tea party idiots of the 2000’s

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Response to live love laugh (Original post)

Wed Jan 19, 2022, 09:18 AM

5. Full quote at end of show (excellent):

I have a foreboding of an America in my children’s or grandchildren’s time – when the United States is a service and information economy; when nearly all the key manufacturing industries have slipped away to other countries; when awesome technological powers arc in the hands of a very few, and no one representing the public interest can even grasp the issues; when the people have lost the ability to set their own agendas or knowledgeably question those in authority; when, clutching our crystals and nervously consulting our horoscopes, our critical faculties in decline, unable to distinguish between what feels good and what’s true, we slide, almost without noticing, back into superstition and darkness.

The dumbing down of America is most evident in the slow decay of substantive content in the enormously influential media, the 30-second sound bites (now down to 10 seconds or less), lowest common denominator programming, credulous presentations on pseudoscience and superstition, but especially a kind of celebration of ignorance.

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Response to erronis (Reply #5)

Wed Jan 19, 2022, 09:24 AM

8. Thanks for the quote. Wow - he was right on!

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Response to erronis (Reply #5)

Wed Jan 19, 2022, 09:52 AM

13. An accurate description of social decay.

It has happened before, many times in history. It is what happens when a society achieves greatness and then declines. Sumeria, ancient Egypt, Phoenicians, ancient Greece, Persian Empire, Rome, etc.

The cohesive principles that drive a society to develop become corrupted, or the people lose interest or belief in it, or people at the top exploit the developments for themselves, or a combination of those things causes the decline in creative thought and achievement.

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Response to erronis (Reply #5)

Wed Jan 19, 2022, 09:55 AM

14. And Republicans are not finished dumbing down America.

In Republican-led states, they’re banning books about race, about LGBTQ, and no doubt about women, especially minority women. They’re turning social studies courses into myths while trying to turn science into superstition and religious beliefs. We will have a generation of kids who come of age only to learn that their education was essentially useless, except perhaps for mathematics and physics which Republicans haven’t yet figured out how to bend to their peculiar ideas.

It is the children in Democratic-led states who will have a true education that will prepare them for the workplace and an understanding of how our government and our country functions. Those are the future scientists who will do something about climate warming and addressing pandemics while many Republican kids who just follow in their parents’ footsteps will remain the uneducated base the Republican leaders want.

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Response to Lonestarblue (Reply #14)

Wed Jan 19, 2022, 10:13 AM

16. Think about that last sentence though.

those "Republican kids who just follow in their parents’ footsteps will remain the uneducated base the Republican leaders want" will be the execs and managers.


That's precisely what DFP is, an uneducated person who followed in his fathers footsteps and bred a new generation of the same.

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Response to Lonestarblue (Reply #14)

Wed Jan 19, 2022, 10:27 AM

18. Sagan was prescient, an intellectual equal to Michelangelo, but why less celebrated is itself

a sign of decline of general intellect.

Twitter and Facebook predicted…


« The dumbing down of America is most evident in the slow decay of substantive content in the enormously influential media, the 30-second sound bites (now down to 10 seconds or less), lowest common denominator programming, credulous presentations on pseudoscience and superstition, but especially a kind of celebration of ignorance »

A celebration of ignorance… that’s the party the republicans have invited the stupid part of the countrymen. And they come out in droves maskless and unvaccinated to mingle among themselves and spread the holy virus, as they worship the golden calf.

Nothing new under the sun.

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Response to erronis (Reply #5)

Wed Jan 19, 2022, 10:04 AM

15. Thanks, was getting ready to search for "Carl Sagan quotes"

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Response to erronis (Reply #5)

Wed Jan 19, 2022, 11:36 AM

27. Tnx, I was just gonna turn on "Notes" and use the voice recognition to type out the quote

So I could send it to my laptop to print it out... Saved me some work...TNX!!
m

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Response to erronis (Reply #5)

Wed Jan 19, 2022, 12:50 PM

29. Yikes. The guy nailed it long ago

And have others have pointed out in this thread America is so focused on profit and gaining wealth, the pursuit of which is short sighted, we continue to diminish. A whole lot of American success in the physical world comes from the exploitation of “undiscovered” (by white Europeans) land to develop and exploit. It did allow regular type people to move up the economic ladder, But we are quickly devolving to a new royalty. Why does someone need billions of dollars? They have trouble spending it, so just accrue more.

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Response to live love laugh (Original post)

Wed Jan 19, 2022, 09:21 AM

6. K&R

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Response to live love laugh (Original post)

Wed Jan 19, 2022, 09:21 AM

7. KNR

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Response to live love laugh (Original post)

Wed Jan 19, 2022, 09:51 AM

12. Kick

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Response to live love laugh (Original post)

Wed Jan 19, 2022, 10:24 AM

17. Wow, he saw it coming.

"Unable to distinguish between what feels good and what’s true."

I really think religion promotes this kind of thinking. I feel good when I sing in church therefore the religion must be true. It makes me happy to think there is life after death so my religion must be true. Thinking of a god makes me feel safe and secure so it must be true. It's all about feelings, no thought out evidence supported beliefs. Religion is all based on magical thinking.

When an economic system starts to fail, and the wealth of nations is accumulated in just a few hands, that society collapses too. An economic system has to be constantly circulating the wealth to be able to support a society. When it stops circulating and gets captured at the top by Kings, Queens, Slave Masters, Plantation owners, Princes, billionaires, dictators and CEOs, then it stagnates and starts to crumble.

With this obvious failure of the economy to support everyone, comes magical thinking because effort, work and mastery of technical issues do not bring any wealth. The only route remaining to gain enough wealth to survive is luck. The luck to be born the right color. The luck to be born to the right rich woman. The luck to be born to the the right family. The luck to have picked the right career path. The luck to kiss up to the right king. The luck to be born without a conscious to be able to spread lies without blinking.

When luck is the only thing that gains you success then all sorts of magical, feel good thinking seems to be justified. No one can control luck but we all hope for some because hard work and accomplishments mean nothing when the economy is failing.

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Response to live love laugh (Original post)

Wed Jan 19, 2022, 10:38 AM

20. K & R...nt

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Response to live love laugh (Original post)

Wed Jan 19, 2022, 10:41 AM

22. A "celebration of ignorance". That's it. We stopped ...

… educating people in critical thinking, and simultaneously gave them the notion that their ignorant opinion was just as valid as that of an expert in the field. Whatever happened to Dean Wormer’s prescient observation that “fat, drunk and stupid is no way to go through life, son”?

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Response to live love laugh (Original post)

Wed Jan 19, 2022, 10:52 AM

23. Superstition, tradition, and all sorts of fixed ideas...

What goes around, comes around.

Wow.

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Response to live love laugh (Original post)

Wed Jan 19, 2022, 11:03 AM

25. An amazing man..

Glad he was a part of my lifetime.

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