Saturday, June 18, 2016


Phil and I often sit and discuss politics, world affairs and the like and shake our heads about where the world in general is heading.   I am fearful of what the future holds for my children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren.   I found this quote from Carl Sagan (a man both Phil and I admired and who was taken from this earth far too soon) and I think it covers all bases.   Wonder what you think about what Carl said.  It could relate to any of today's Western World countries.

From: The Demon-Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark

"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 manufacturing industries have slipped away to other countries; when awesome technological powers are 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 nerviously consulting our horoscopes, our critical faculities 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."

I find Carl Sagan's comments about the media and and especially "common denominator programming" confirms what I've been saying for some time now.  As Phil said to our dermatologist on Wednesday "It is difficult to find many intellectual minds these days" to which *Jonathon agreed.   He said "my sons does very well at school and find very few of his classmates read the classics any more.  Authors like Hemingway are ignored.  Jonathon then said he had gone to the same school as his son and when in the library recently checked out a book he had enjoyed as a youth only to find his was about the last name that had taken that particular book out.  I think that speaks volumes.

*Jonathon is not only in private practice but also head of a department in one of our large teaching hospitals.   He was born here but is of Asian descent and a more delightful man it would be difficult to meet.  After a visit to Jonathon Phil and I both come away feeling lighthearted and in a good frame of mind.


  1. Thirty second sound bites are now almost documentaries. Sigh.
    I hope (and believe) that the young are finding 'new' classic literature to savour.

    1. Another annoying thing about the news is you hear a story but very seldom a follow up as something more dramatic comes along to take its place.
      Is modern literature quite the same as much of the old? A little like modern music compared to the old music classics? Not quite as much depth.

  2. I'm not one of the 'intellectual' types. I don't read the classics, i find them far too long-winded and literary, pop fiction is easier for me. I don't like a book that I have to "wade" through, I want something that keeps me interested and turning pages.
    I don't understand politics or world affairs and couldn't discuss either with anybody.
    I sometimes wish I did understand, but what real difference would that make?
    Common denominator programming is what has brought us such appalling reality TV shows in such great numbers there is little time left for anything worth watching.

    1. River I have to contradict you when you say you are none an intellectual type. I read and have read some of the stores you have written on here and your way with words is amazing.
      My parents used to talk about politics so I guess it began at an early age with me. I once was secretary of the Young Libs in our area. There I've given it away now.
      When I say old classics I don't meant Homer etc but those within the past 100 years, some of which are fantastic.
      I agree with you wholeheartedly about the rubbish on TV these days and I regret hearing at times that some of my family watch some reality shows. Ugh!!!

  3. I fear the UK has already embraced the fate Carl Sagan envisioned. Our news reporting is generally lazy, particularly in the BBC, once renowned for its fairness and breadth of coverage. Our television programmes are full of 'reality' programmes - cheap to produce and cheapening for those who watch them. Too many of our young children want to be 'famous' when they grow up. Oh dear, I am becoming a Grumpy Old Woman (but then I was a fairly Grumpy Young Woman . . . ;-))

    1. I think we in Australia are definitely going that way and, strangely enough, Phil (who lived his first 30 years in the UK) was saying how fair the BBC was back then but had probably gone the same way as our ABC these days.
      As far as reality programmes go, I even detest the promos they show over and over and over. I never see the stations ask for volunteers for any of these shows so one wonders how they are chosen
      You are not being a Grumpy Old Woman but just one who remembers what life once was as Phil and I remember.

  4. That is an oddly specific quote...eerie, actually. Is it possible that's a modern quote, not Sagan? Pretty unnerving to say the least.

    Don't lose hope. We have been through difficult times before. I know what you mean as you look around at the world. But the light always overcomes darkness.

    Bless you, Mimsie.

    I was over at your other blog just a minute ago, the one about your parents. It is a gem. Wonderful stories. Thank you for sharing them.

    1. Definitely from Sagan's book that I quoted Sandi and I and others feel it is spot on and we are far too rapidly heading in the direction he suggests would happen.
      I know there was the Wall Street crash back in the late 1920s and two world wars but when Phil and I look back on our long lives we feel people don't care for each other the way they once did etc. etc.
      I realise now it is over a year since I wrote on my other blog. Not sure why but perhaps it was something I had to do back then and maybe one day will do again. I still feel very close to my mum and dad. They are with me every day still. Glad you enjoyed it as I did writing it.

    2. "people don't care for eachother the way they once did..."

      Some do. Look at the comments here. These people care. That counts for something.