Lest we forget: In our pursuit of ‘progress’ we have created the destructive path in the pursuit of plenty
Simon Schama’s History of Now, BBC2: An earnest appeal against political apathy.
‘Simon Schama explores how filmmaker Charlie Chaplin and author Ayn Rand created radically different visions of how the new post-war world should work. Meanwhile, writers like Rachel Carson drew attention to the damage being done to the natural world. Simon talks to author Margaret Atwood about how Carson inspired her own work and photographer Edward Burtynsky about his photographic projects with haunting images that capture the push for consumerism.’
Last night (11 December 2022) I watched a very inspiring, informative and educational documentary presented by historian Simon Schama on BBC2. What I watched was the third episode in the three part series History of Now.
The first episode was on Truth and Democracy. The second was on Equality and the third which is the subject of this posting was on The Price of Plenty.
This topic has been the subject of much coverage, study, research and analysis by us also since the founding of the GCGI in 2002. Indeed, I was pleased to note that a few of the topics, as well as the researchers and observers that have been noted by us, were also noted by Prof. Schama in this documentary. More on this later.
First a bit more on the series, History of Now, and then on the final episode The Price of Plenty.
‘On 13th February 1945, German rockets rained down on London. In Dresden, bombs dropped by the Allied powers killed tens of thousands of civilians. It also happened to be the night historian Simon Schama, now 77, was born.
‘Despite the postwar ideals of democracy, equality and prosperity, the ensuing decades of Schama’s life have seen the world experience great upheaval. History of Now, his new three-part BBC Two docuseries, traces the events of his lifetime, searching for what happened to the liberal ideals of the artists, musicians and writers he calls “true agents of change” and wrestling with our current age of misinformation, rising hatred and restrictions of freedoms already won…’- Rachael Sigee, Simon Schama’s History of Now, BBC2, review: An earnest appeal against political apathy.
Simon Schama’s History of Now: The Price Of Plenty
‘After the Second World War, there were deep divisions in America about how to move forward. Should it be a social democracy, in which a benevolent state would look after its most vulnerable citizens? Or should it put its faith in individual enterprise and the free market to provide plenty for all?
‘Simon Schama examines how the filmmaker Charlie Chaplin and author Ayn Rand created radically different visions of how this new postwar world should work, and how writers such as Rachel Carson drew attention to the damage being inflicted on the natural world. He talks to author Margaret Atwood about how Carson inspired her own work and to photographer Edward Burtynsky about his photographic projects to document haunting images of the pursuit of consumerism.’
To my mind, everyone in pursuit of discovery, everyone in search of truth on what has gone wrong, why the world has sunk so low in despair and hopelessness,...should watch this documentary. Below I have noted a few channels which you can access and see the series, including The Price of Plenty
Simon Schama's History of Now episode 3- The Price of Plenty
In The Price of Plenty, Simon Schama, highly praises the works of the Canadian photographer, Edward Burtynsky. Below you can discover more:
‘These images are meant as metaphors for the dilemma of our modern existence; they search for a dialogue between attraction and repulsion, seduction and fear. We are drawn by desire, a chance at good living, yet we are consciously or unconsciously aware that the world is suffering for our success. Our dependence on nature to provide the materials for our consumption, and our concern for the health of our planet, sets us into an uneasy contradiction. For me, these images function as reflecting pools of our times.”-Edward Burtynsky
"Our post-war dreams are hanging in the balance"
The Price of Plenty: How To Survive The Modern World
A pick from our GCGI archive
How to lead our lives, function and prosper in an increasingly polarised world?
The modern world has become an anxiety machine
‘The modern world has brought us a range of extraordinary benefits and joys, including technology, medicine and transport. But it can also feel as though modern times have plunged us ever deeper into greed, despair and agitation. Seldom has the world felt more privileged and resource-rich yet also worried, blinkered, furious, panicked and self-absorbed.’-World in Chaos and Despair: A Path on How to Survive the Modern World
The relevance of Chaplin's 'Modern Times'(Noted by Prof. Schama also)
‘…According to the opening title, the film narrates a “story of industry, of individual enterprise — humanity crusading in the pursuit of happiness.” The machine is projected as the most outstanding achievement of human beings. However, Chaplin presents a contrasting picture of the devastating effects of industrialization on human beings. The brutal nature of the work at the factory leads to Chaplin’s character suffering a breakdown and being sent to an asylum. After his recovery and release from the hospital, he is arrested mistakenly and sent to jail. His presence at a mental asylum and a prison is, therefore, the direct consequence of working at the factory…’- Continue to read
Silent Spring: A Must-Read Book for all those hoping to heal and save mother nature (Noted by Prof. Schama also)
The Tragedy of Ayn Rand (noted by Prof. Schama also)
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