The Unconscious Civilization
Written by John Ralston Saul
Publication Date November 01, 1995
Governor General's Award Winner
Tenth Anniverary Edition, with a new preface
Our society, John Ralston Saul argues in his 1995 CBC Massey Lectures, is only superficially based on the individual and democracy. Increasingly it is conformist and corporatist, a society in which legitimacy lies with specialist or interest groups and decisions are made through constant negotiations between these groups.
The paradox of our situation is that knowledge has not made us conscious. Instead, we have sought refuge in a world of illusion where language is cut off from reality. Reconnecting language to reality, clarifying what we mean by individualism and democracy, making these realities central to the citizen's life, identifying ideologies in order to control them, these are among the first elements of equilibrium which Saul proposes in these lectures.
John Ralston Saul
John Ralston Saul was elected President of International PEN in October 2009. He is author of a number of national bestsellers, including Voltaire's Bastards, The Doubter's Companion and The Unconscious Civilization, which won the Governor General's Literary Award for Non-Fiction and the Gordon Montador Award for Best Canadian Book on Social Issues. He lives in Toronto.