``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''
― Carl Sagan, /The Demon-Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark/

@HMLivy @senator Definitely this, which isn't just a history or anthropology book:

Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind, by Yuval Noah Harari

"Homo sapiens rules the world because it is the only animal that can believe in things that exist purely in its own imagination, such as gods, states, money and human rights.

@HMLivy @senator

"Starting from this provocative idea, Sapiens goes on to retell the history of our species from a completely fresh perspective. It explains that money is the most pluralistic system of mutual trust ever devised; that capitalism is the most successful religion ever invented; that the treatment of animals in modern agriculture is probably the worst crime in history; and that even though we are far more powerful than our ancient ancestors, we aren’t much happier."

@The_Whore_of_Blahbylon @senator
have you ever read "Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds" by Charles Mackay?

@The_Whore_of_Blahbylon @senator
Have now ordered "Sapiens" as well. Those two should make interesting reading alongside "Eyelash", Which I also recently ordered (my reading list is always overcrowded, but I like it that way).

@The_Whore_of_Blahbylon @senator
Ah, that's a bit off-topic for this discussion (to put it mildly). It is a bit of science fiction, but from a... different... perspective (so I've been told).

@HMLivy @senator Ah! Yeah that sounds odd. I like some sci fi, but it's hard to do well. Have you read Annihilation? Or The Girl With All the Gifts? Annihilation wasn't an impeccable book, and I think the movie was a bit better. Both the book and movie of Girl are good.

@HMLivy @senator The problem with Annihilation is that it is told in first person, which makes it tedious. Girl is a more exciting book, although it relies heavily on standard literary tropes. It's really well written though. The movie is also very good.

@The_Whore_of_Blahbylon @senator

Thanks for the heads-up. But I'll probably add both to my to-read list anyway. 😀

@The_Whore_of_Blahbylon @senator

Re: Annihilation. I'm finding a lot of books with that title. Who is the author?

@The_Whore_of_Blahbylon @HMLivy I liked ``the zone''. I liked how it messed with not just reality, but one's perceptions of reality too. Not only was what you saw not ``normal'', but what was really there wasn't ``normal'' either!
I liked how the team unravel over time. They last longer than previous teams (probably because previous teams were too ``macho'' for introspection and self-reflection), but ultimately the strange mutagenic forces take their toll.

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It is an early study of crowd psychology by Scottish journalist Charles Mackay, first published in 1841 under the title "Memoirs of Extraordinary Popular Delusions".
Definitely worth a look (IMHO).

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