The Peril of Romanticism

with David Brin

The Peril of Romanticism

with David Brin

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In Episode 19 of The Futurists, David Brin expounds on the interplay between scientific research and storytelling in shaping society’s future. An astrophysicist, prolific science fiction author and the winner of many awards, Brin also writes non-fiction about social dynamics and politics and contributes to NASA’s Innovative Advanced Concepts Program. In this playful and wide-ranging interview, Brin discusses all of his passionate pursuits. Brin sets forth the distinction between fantasy and science fiction, and he underscores the danger of romantic notions that inspire political movements. He ends the episode with speculation about a universe filled with planets and teeming with life. Follow @DavidBrin


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This week on the futurists if you’ve grown up with a warning perhaps the people in your future also had that warning so in my uplift universe what i do is i change the social premise and that is people have read all these warnings and they’ve decided we’re going to be careful not to be bullying [ __ ] to these new creations don’t you think they would still make mistakes if you get past the simplistic automatic dystopia you’re still going to have a flawed utopia and those flaws in a better society i find more interesting

well robert you look like you’ve returned from your travels welcome back uh thanks how was your your month in europe was it was was not quite a month was it but is it more than a month it was great it was a terrific trip and and i learned great many things i can’t wait to share with you awesome fantastic looking forward to catching up in person soon but today we have the just it’s my distinctive pleasure to uh welcome to the show david brennan a um storied and celebrated science fiction author has made many predictions in the space of course you probably know uh the movie the postman that was written based on um uh was was produced based on his work but he he’s uh twice won the hugo award for best novel um he’s he’s a hard sci-fi guy which which um i love and you know if you’re wondering about things like um cern um you know and uh stuff like that like uh just one of david’s novels um earth predicted the creation of micro black holes at cern which were now in right in the midst of at the moment amongst many other things um david brin welcome to the futurist it’s delightful to have you with us well uh thank you brett and uh certainly it’s it’s good to re-encounter robert the uh you know it’s guys who poke away and poke away i think the biggest compliment i can give someone is almost any other civilization would have burned you at the stake by now and probably throttled you at 16. and in this civilization you are at least somewhat honored or at least put up with and that is that is the dangling participle up with which i will definitely put well great to have you on the show david we’ve been talking to a number of people who are focused on the future thinking about the future and um one of the things we’d love to ask to begin with is how how is your work helping people think about the future of course there’s a science fiction that you’ve written and there’s that contains many different ideas but beyond that i’d also love to talk about your non-fiction work as well well yeah i i’m spread way too thin and uh that was the genesis of one of my novels which was a wish fantasy about having a machine where you could make cheap copies of yourself every day they last for 24 hours you might call them dittos or golems they know everything you know kind of resent being the one that’s going to melt in 24 hours but uh if they share your sense of purpose to get things done then you can download their memories at the end of the day and you have been essentially five views going out into the world coming back together again uh in each given day and you can get everything done well i i get more hate mail over that uh book from people saying i want that machine he angled that that glimmering possibility in front of me and now every busy day i get i i dream for it uh it’s also one of my most fun novels it’s got the among them among the worst puns but um at any of that didn’t you didn’t you um predict in one of your novels i would have thought this would have been controversial that that um using some sort of form of gravitational lensing or wormholes that we were able to look back in time and broadcast history um something related to that uh i have a a young adult series that i’m running called david bryn’s out of time in which uh so far a dozen different authors several of them nebula winners like uh nancy kress and sheila finch but but more recently i’ve been mentoring um younger authors paying it forward and uh what happens is the it’s got a ideal team reader premise because we suddenly get teleportation to the stars but it kills adults so not only must all the colonists and spies and adventurers and warriors and diplomats all be teenagers but

instead of your usual future dystopia it’s been a wonderful utopia for several hundred years so utopia in peril is just as good a way to get action in your story but it also implies a little hope but the problem is they haven’t had much use for warriors or liars for a couple of hundred years so they twist the teleportation machine and genius figures out how to do it and turns it into a time snatcher so they reach back in time to get heroes who saved the world at various times especially the mid 21st century

and uh get them because they know how to do all those things they don’t know how to lie and and sneak and but they can’t get the adult versions who saved the world right right because that’s teleportation they died too so you have to get them when they were teenage schwamps in junior high school or joan of arc’s page or leonidas of rhodes from 300 a.d so you have a lot of fun uh historical crossovers i don’t know that that um rapid plug that you enticed from me uh actually uh actually answered your question but no it’s fine i just remember something um in i’m not sure if it was earth or whatever but one of the side effects of um one of the technologies but here’s a question for you you know you given that you um wrote about particle accelerators and this sort of uh in investigation of of these sciences um what do you what do you think about the the crazy theory that um cern created an alternative reality and created the mandela effect oh well look um a lot of us have had uh what i call mandela sniffs you know you you you sniff the air and you say what’s that smell what’s that suspicious um glitch in my memory uh in my case for instance i was absolutely sure and i was in mourning that joni mitchell had died in the late 80s and i was very surprised about five six seven years later when she came out with a new album many people seem to remember something very similar about nelson mandela right and yet if you look at all the mandela effect sites the stuff is really lame yeah i mean it’s about it it’s monocle missing from the monopoly guy yeah i know it’s about as lame as um most ufo sightings that bad uh and by the way i am notorious uh online for uh sneering at uh 99 of ufo fetishism yes i now include in chat uh my most recent decryption of what those that aren’t weather balloons and west a fellow named west has has decrypted about 90 of the these supposed sightings uh as being uh optical effects and all of that but that leaves a certain number that are these glowing tic tacs moving around in midair and ways that um destroy physical objects or be non-newtonian and all that well i’m look i’m mr alien i i’ve uh i’ve been involved in seti for 40 years uh the search for extraterrestrial intelligence i’m on nasa’s innovative and advanced concepts program as uh as their senior most advisor and uh of course i’ve written about aliens from almost every perspective i could shake a stick at um so i i’m not unfriendly to the notion that they’re aliens uh in fact i in my novel existence i posit the most likely kind that we will meet is when we get to the asteroid belts we might find either dead or dormant or crippled as i depict in existence lurkers lurker probes that were sent here across the last billion years and some of them use me as their front for uh their stories and uh to um mess with your heads i will tell them shut up they think i’m joking

right robert you think i’m joking tell the truth no i love it you david talk talk to us about sci-fi as a tool for thinking athletically about the future you know you’ve given us examples just now of how you debunk theories that you find to be specious you’ve also talked to us about how you’ll playfully think about and you know and mess around with in a constructive way uh other ideas that you do find constructive well yeah look um i i mentioned that you know we the the we uh we are here on screen right now probably would have been burned at the stake i remember all my past lives i was grated burned eviscerated disemboweled before i was 16 because i had this personality in this civilization i’ve gotten all this and kids and honors so i am loyal to the enlightenment experiment very very loyal to this experiment that has allowed guys like us and um our tolerant uh spouses to to do well in this world so um

yeah it’s it’s poking away at the

ground in front of us as we’re charging into the future that’s what science fiction does science fiction is the stick we use to poke into the uh territory as we speed up every day our charge into the future and it has to be forward those who would renunciate and return to the past

would have us return to utter failure six thousand years six thousand years of uh hierarchical pyramid cultures in which the kings and the lords and the priests repressed the only thing that lets us navigate across this minefield and that is criticism uh reciprocal criticism aimed even at those at the top and that’s the secret that’s the secret sauce and um so i don’t i don’t try to repress the guys on those ufo sites i just ask questions like for instance has anybody looked at these tic tacs and done an analysis to see if any light and i mean any one percent a tenth of a percent if any light from that ocean behind the tic tac is passing through it may be washed out by the brilliant bright light of the tic tac but if any light at all is passing through that it’s not a physical object and therefore this whole business about having super warped door door drive is not pertinent it’s an aerial phenomenon all right it’s a glowing dot in the atmosphere and if you gave me 10 million dollars tomorrow within a month i’d do it i’d be making dots in the atmosphere that do all the things that these um these you so-called uaps are doing so what’s the smallest explanation the simplest explanation is it’s a cat laser a cat laser for humans that’s right and it’s probably being being done by the biggest [ __ ] around us right those poor pilots are being treated to a cat laser yeah you you’ve got um quite a history of making some um predict some great predictions um one for example kessler syndrome which of course is the concern about space junk you start off your novel existence with a garbage orbital garbage collector of course you know you predicted uh um you know some of the work that’s been done um in places like cern and so forth you’ve looked at gene therapy and many of these areas you’ve been quite pre-seen on but let’s talk about the mechanics of forecasting because you you don’t stick to just at the next 20 or 30 years either you are writing 10 000 years in exit you know in the future sometimes but how do you go about that process of forecasting what informs you so that you’ve made such such good bets in the past well my novel my novella chrysalis caused a cancer researcher to write to me and say bren all your other crap will probably fade away like everybody’s works but a hundred years from now this this speculation about what cancer actually is is what you’ll be remembered for what a lovely company uh because i speculated um about what cancer might actually be uh and uh but you see that’s that’s a good example to answer your question what i do is i look for

pigeonholes or niches in the ideascape that are interesting that could make a good story and that have been under utilized like for instance showing kids kid readers about possibly hopeful future when does that ever happen um when it comes to for instance the gravity laser in earth now uh you have to be able to make micro black holes and then find out if they reflect um gravitational waves now those are two things we just don’t have right um but i speculate that if you could do that if you could make micro black holes unfortunately have them evaporate but they could still last a while and be useful not be a threat to the earth but the whole plot of the novel reflects around that question of whether one that’s been dropped into the earth is going to kill us all but if you could have two reflectors of gravitational radiation and you put them on both sides of a gravitationally rich

volume like a planet what you’ve got is a laser because that is what a laser is a laser is two mirrors with an excited medium in between and then you could externally excite it further and whatever but sooner or later you’re going to get a bouncy bouncy bouncy b that’s how you get a laser that’s how you get a mazer and so in earth i speculated about um gravity lasers well you know look that falls into the category of 90 percent fun 10 plausible and other speculations switch that they’re about 90 plausible things that i am deeply concerned about or there are possibilities that we’re missing um and uh when you get down to that 10 000 years that you were talking about it’s almost tennis with the net down um i don’t consider my uplift series with all the uplift dolphins and chimpanzees and all of that i don’t consider that hard sf because it’s so filled with aliens right so filled with warp drive methods i have fun saying what about this method what about this method what about this method and i throw them all in as a way to say to the reader look we’re having fun here yeah so you mentioned that you focus on an interesting niche you’re looking for a niche that hasn’t been exploited yet or hasn’t been explored yet in order to tell a story in other words you’re not starting this as with a didactic purpose you’re not here to teach anybody anything but you are rigorous in your thinking how important is storytelling to helping humans understand real issues and understand the world we live in tell us about your craft as a storyteller yeah well that’s extremely important but let me just start with a slightly related remark and that is that my uplift series which you see the the the jim burns cover to sundiver above my head of course that made me as as an author um my second novel star type rising won all the awards and you know

really you know took things off and hollywood is too chicken to do anything with it uh because it’s too garish and complicated but in any event the uplift universe i’m not the first to uplift chimpanzees or other animals uh h.g wells did it in the island of dr moreau uh pierre bould planet of the apes cordrayner smith magnificently in his stories uh uh mary shelley and frankenstein but the thing is that they all went to the basic morality tale that the lead character was arrogant and then treats these new beings badly like victor frankenstein treats the monsters or we make this like we treat dolphins and the chimpanzees are made into slaves and planet of the apes and so one of the things about you know these niches and boxes is it’s not just the general idea it’s what people do with it and my biggest complaint about avatar for example a wonderful movie uh is that nobody in that future that james cameron portrays ever saw avatar i mean they’ve had 200 years to watch avatar or dances with wolves or dances with very very very very very very tall smurfs which is what uh avatar is did i do all five fairies um so the thing is that if you’ve grown up with a warning perhaps the people in your future also had that warning so in my uplift universe what i do is i change the social premise and that is people have read all these warnings and they’ve decided we’re going to be careful not to be bullying [ __ ] to these new creations don’t you think they would still make mistakes interesting ones if you get past the simplistic automatic dystopia you’re still going to have a flawed utopia and those flaws in a better society i find more interesting i find it more plausible now uh it’s more optimistic too right well yes but it’s i i’m accused of being this flaming optimist because i think there’s a 40 chance we’re going to cross the current crisis and make a dazzling new version of the enlightenment based upon all that was our parents accomplished uh well all right 40 percent versus 60 percent that like pericles’s athens like da vinci’s florence the oligarchs will succeed in what they’re trying to do right now but that they reflexively do want to do out of stupid repetition of male reproductive strategy that goes back 6 000 years and that is crush the current enlightenment experiment i would give them 60 odds of succeeding it looks it looks bad but with the 40 odds of succeeding if we just get our act together i i i that makes me accused of being this clown cuckoo

i love that 40 is what makes you optimistic it’s not 100 it’s not 99 but just 40 percent optimistic it makes you a crazy uh uh starry-eyed optimist we have a chance yes we do and and that’s the thing that’s the thing that makes me start singing from bye bye birdie uh kids what’s the matter with kids today why can’t they be like we were perfect in every way what’s that with kids oh my biggest gripe about them is that they are so into sanctimonious gloom yeah you guys are better than yours but we’ve trained them on the internet with fake news and so forth but listen dave let’s just take a quick break you’re listening to the futurists i’m brett king with robert turscheck and we’re talking to david bring we’ll be right back after these words from our sponsors welcome to breaking banks the number one global fintech radio show and podcast i’m brett king and i’m jason henricks every week since 2013 we explored the personalities startups innovators and industry players driving disruption in financial services from incumbents to unicorns and from cutting edge technology to the people using it to help create a more innovative inclusive and healthy financial future i’m jp nichols and this is breaking banks

hello you’re listening to the futurists with brett king and myself robert turcik and this week we’re talking to noted science fiction author david brin now david’s written a number of things not just science fiction although he has a legendary background there as award-winning author he’s also written a considerable amount of non-fiction including very lively social media posts and a great deal of information on his blog one of the posts on your blog david that you’ve written about that i found very interesting and relevant for this show is a post that’s about the difference between science fiction and fantasy and there you you frame science fiction as kind of like a child or a step you know a child of fantasy but you make a really important distinction between sci-fi and fantasy in terms of its uh bo their their relationship towards change and the possibilities of change can you talk a little bit about that because i have a follow-on question i want to link that back to what’s happening today well sure i mean a lot of people distinguish a science fiction from fantasy by the furniture and the tools but that’s obviously very silly uh star wars is 100 fantasy it’s a member of the mother genre that goes all the way back to gilgamesh and the iliad the odyssey and what they tend to have in common is uh uh uh several things first off demigods the iliad the odyssey gilgamesh their uh the the bhagavad gita the the journey to the west they are all and and so many tribal stories and stories from nations that uh that ethnologists are finally getting around to collecting they show uh garish beings uh doing um supernatural um extravagant things so we’re not talking pride and prejudice here i mean the mother genre that people told around the campfires were were uber beings doing uber amazing things that the caveman or the or the tribesmen or the the villager could not do and so that do you have in common with science fiction but what it is is these were not normal people these are superheroes and the superheroes are of course um they are representative of this demigod thing uh probably the most articulate and brilliant uh conveyor of the demigod message is orson scott card who preaches relentlessly against uh the enlightenment and against equality of people um in almost all of his works but with such persuasive soulfulness that you don’t even notice i think he’s i think he’s a genius they may we oppose each other in in almost every way of where civilization should go um but in any event the the the point is that science fiction look the social situation in fantasy doesn’t change and that’s the main thing you replace an evil um wizard uh uh warlord like sauron with a good one yeah but the hierarchy doesn’t change yeah uh you know aragorn i i would fight for aragorn if that’s my only choice in star wars your only choice except in rogue one in star wars your only choice is to choose which demigods you’re going to be slaughtered for the jedi of the sith yeah that’s right and what a choice um yeah i’m notorious for calling um yoda probably the effectively the most evil character in the history of all human mythologies if you go by the net body count effects of his deliberate actions but the point is now now tolkien is another story tolkien is honest he’s honest about being a romantic he’s honest that about his suspicions toward modernity um and and and he earned it fair and square watching the flower of his generation get mowed down by tools of modernity at the battle of the song i have no problems with tolkien he is invading against the future he is my foe but i respect him i have no respect at all for star wars and a matter of fact i have a a book called star wars on trial it’s one of the funnest because one of his novelizers was the defense attorney and we called witnesses and much much flapping of of suspenders and all of that uh it was a fun book but um well so david you you say then in that essay you say that uh fantasy kind of reverts back to the mean in other words when when order is restored after the crisis in the story in the fantasy story what we’re left with is kings and queens and knights and nobles of some sort or another maybe each fictional world has a slightly different hierarchy but it’s a but there’s no mistake about it it’s a top-down hierarchy whereas science fiction presents the possibility of change the possibility of something different mind you as i implied with fantasy there’s a huge spectrum within each category and overlap but you know if we’re talking at the high end of science fiction then you’re talking about things that experiment with gee what if this changed yeah and that engages the prefrontal lobes which are these nubs above the eyes which are sometimes called the lamps on the brow from the bible which shine light ahead um with with what einstein called the gadonkan experiment or the thought experiment that doesn’t mean these are accurate predictions but what they shine is the light of what if and now here’s my here’s my explan here’s my experiment of what if um ann mccaffrey uh she wrote all those dragon novels and they are filled with medievalist crafts and bards singing and lords and ladies and dragons and if you said she’s a fantasy author she would rear up and say i am not a fantasy author i’m a science fiction author because the j the dragons had been genetically engineered generations ago in order to help humanity get across a disaster that had smashed them down into medievalism and the difference is this across the course of her novels the people in the in this these dragon riding you know dolph your hat to the noblemen and all that society learned that they had once been mighty beings who bestowed the stars in starships and had libraries and flush toilets and the germ theory of disease and the difference is they want those things back

and over the course of the novels they they excruciatingly do get them back while singing their bard songs and doing their loom crafts and all of that sort of thing so so she has the sensibilities of fantasy but she has the desires and the motivation of science fiction that change happens and it’s and and maybe maybe it’s time for a little change i’ve got a dragon joke robert two dragons walk into a bar one says to his mate boy it’s hot in here the other one says shut your mouth sorry you know this talking about dragons makes me think about the most successful tv show in the history of television game of thrones um you know we live in a time right now where certainly science fiction has always been very popular for tv and film but fantasy has become a really big topic right people are super interested in fantasy and really really dark fantasy is some somehow we’ve got more sci-fi too like we’ve got great sci-fi coming out now sure but roll with me for a second world okay for one second brett so the point i’m trying to drive out is right now there seems to be a yearning for these stories that have a reversion back to the mean there’s a there’s a yearning for stories that that end with and then everything went back to the way it was and we’re going to revert back to the status quo as opposed to what david’s been talking about is you know using science fiction as a stick to kind of probe into the future and consider what if what about this possibility let’s consider another possibility uh what we seem to have now is a real you know kind of society watching the preferences yeah yeah people are learning yearning for the past you see this in politics where politics are always telling us about some version of the past some mythical version of the past that we’re going to go back to you know make america great again wait when was america so great again for whom and when when was this particular time in history so think about the amount of effort and money and creative energy that’s being poured into preserving the status quo versus thinking very athletically or very in a very focused way about the possibilities for change and david do you do you see the connection that i’m making here from the stories we tear ourselves to the political reality that we’re living in well of course i do i think it’s extremely insightful uh and and spot on the uh i believe that uh a great deal of the fantasy that we see going on is because um we are in essence romantic beings and this has polluted our politics for at least 6 000 years because those at the top of the hierarchy are able to exploit romanticism to say the demigods at the top deserve you to doff your hats and march forward and die for them so the pyramidal social structure dominated 99 of societies for the last 6 000 years that we know of um and right now the tussle over the future is going on right now as we speak between reversion to the mean reversion to the standard uh pyramid of privilege at the top and there’s a lot of propaganda out there that i’m i’m going to be blogging soon about the neo monarchists these guys who don’t even pretend to be pro capitalist or pro-competition anymore they want peter they want peter thiel to be to be the king of the world um the the point is that romanticism has led to hell when the nazis and the soviets and the confederates were and the japanese imperialists were all extreme extrema of romanticism mark twain blamed the civil war on the uh south’s love affair with the novels of uh sir walter scott uh the romantic romantic novels of sir walter scott which was the media uh you know the game of thrones of that day um now i’m not blaming uh george martin he’s a pal and um he has grumbled they just don’t get it i make these lords worse and worse and worse and worse and they don’t get it so he he and frank herbert in dude frank was even more expressive he just made made his um even the good guy lords in uh dune the atreides were basically nazis versus vampires yeah uh and he says i don’t get it while people are gobbling and they’re writing to me saying i wish i lived there somebody wishing he lived or she lived in dune

and then george lucas ripped the whole thing off yeah exactly well i mean in lucas’s universe the point is you imagine that you’re going to be one of the demigods right and you’re not going to be one of the top dogs you’re going to be kibble whereas in this uh in this world you’re you’re asked constantly to make vexing choices to have vexing arguments nobody’s on top of you telling you do this and the result is that we have by far by orders of magnitude a civilization that’s more successful happy rich uh and hope and and has more hope and possibility than all other human civilizations combined and and so we have to destroy it so you know by all means so the thing about romanticism is people claim that so you just dislike romanticism for heaven’s sake look what paid for this room i have a romantic soul i can pour it into stories i can jerk your heart i can grab you by the left ventricle and yank you into a a a a a a a situation with characters make you weep fine that’s great that’s that’s that’s important for being human it’s my one discernable skill and talent but it should not be in charge of the daylight in which we have our jobs and we try to be logical and we negotiate with each other and we avoid romanticism affecting policy when you get home from a day’s work helping to build bricks that build a civilization logically negotiatingly you come home absolutely you’re not human if you don’t wallow in romanticism romanticism is for the night time it’s for when you open the text or you if you’re really lazy bum you let the video or the tv or the take you on a tour but this stuff’s better now david you you started um your career obviously in electrical engineering in astronomy plus a you’ve got a doctor of philosophy but right now we’ve had some amazing developments coming out of the james webb space telescope but prior to that you know when you started writing you know we at the time it was sort of common accepted wisdom that planetary systems were quite rare now of course we’ve logged i don’t know what is it 6 000 exoplanets or something and we’re finding every star we essentially look at as a planetary system um but looking at the the james webb um you know what what do you hope comes out of that in terms of um opening our eyes to the universe well uh for one thing i’m going to um put into the chat so you can put it down below a link to nasa’s funnest little corner where i’m the senior advisor and that’s nasa’s innovative and advanced concepts program or niacc if you go to their site and look at some of the things that we have funded over the years this is nasa’s proof that we allocate a very small but significant funding to what if so these are ideas that are at technological readiness level one or even zero but sound like they could use a hundred thousand dollars to see if it becomes slightly more plausible if you get a phase two it means work it out and we give one phase three every year for things that wow we didn’t expect that to then of course we’re cuz we consider ourselves to be too timid in failures if there’s not at least one per year that we go what were we thinking so you know that’s that’s at the other end from the web i was surprised and delighted when the web uh everything functioned and it proved that we are a member of a civilization filled with competent people um perseverance and curiosity uh doing that incredible stunt land uh a minivan sized laboratory seven minutes of terror yeah and then a helicopter so yeah uh what i have a rant uh from a ted talk in which i diss one of the greatest movies ever made it’s called network um uh and it’s a wonderful movie a fabulous movie but we have taken to heart its message uh i’m as mad as hell and i’m not going to take it anymore far too long yeah and it is a poison and so when when curiosity landed uh i embarrassed my kids by going out onto the balcony and screaming i’m as proud as hell and nothing’s going to stop us

yeah that is the impudence if you think it’s romantic to be impudent against the standard motif then be impudent that way so i put a bunch of um my essays analyzing you know why we are alive today because of science fiction largely cinematic science fiction in my um most recent nonfiction book vivid tomorrow’s science fiction in hollywood uh and it has a it has a lot of these um explanations for why um cameron should should have done an extra two minutes at the beginning of avatar so um i i don’t know if i can showing us how how they got how they um traveled between the stars well yeah yeah i’m i’m willing to i’m willing to punt that but the the point is that we um so i gave i gave links to vivid tomorrow since i don’t know if i answered your question properly though well one thing you’re sharing with us now which i think is important to underscore is that if you really want to be defiant today and if you really want to challenge the status quo today the appropriate stance isn’t to be negative it’s to be an optimist optimism is the ultimate form of impedance well yeah especially since you know look i believe that one side of our political struggles uh i believe we’re in phase eight of the american civil war and i’ll put the link there uh making that argument uh there it is i have i referred to i referred to your civil war in in my last book the rise of techno socialism and i referred to that model that you share from will durant of the diamonds and pyramid-shaped societies that’s fascinating stuff that’s fantastic brett i uh i just uh by the way i recommend keyboard maestro for those of you with macintoshes they will it’s the best macro program you just press one key and stuff happens but the point is about the civil war um that that uh i believe that we uh we are in phase eight of the american civil war i think it’s been deliberately um instigated um as part of a worldwide oligarchy push and i believe that one side is crazier much crazier than the other but the side that i must align myself with in coalition i call it the union side or blue um does contain its crazies and those crazies are unable to do to do what i talk about in vivid tomorrow’s and that is ask the simple question where did i get this value system that makes me so critical of my own civilization’s faults you got it from a propaganda system called hollywood i mean when whenever we criticize the chinese for instance for their human rights records they respond reflexively with who are you to lecture us you have this incarceration rate you have this you have this you have this and nobody ever answers with the proper answer and that is a yes but you are responding with criticisms that we are already getting from our children yes because we’ve trained our children to criticize their own elders you repress your children from criticizing you and that is the difference it’s not that we’re we’re perfect or that we’re angels it’s that we are being beaten up every night when we come home by our kids so david we we need to wrap this up um because we have gone past the hour and you’ve been very gracious with your time but before we finish up i would like to ask you what is it that really excites you about our future that over the next 30 to 50 years that you would love to see come to fruition oh well that’s a that’s a great uh topic one of them is i think that once we get some degree of control over the plague of self-righteous sanctimony which i think is the worst drug high the worst drug abused in our culture by far uh it is uh everybody is screaming everybody’s sanctimonious and it turns out that it releases exactly the same endorphins and keflans and and dopamine surges that you get from heroin and i am so pissed off about that yeah um the if we were to try to do something like that but then you know a lot of the people who passionately think they’re saving the world or advancing justice uh will think that that’s a plot to undermine their passion no it’s hey we’re trying to get you to be more tactical yeah if you are more tactical you’ll stop pissing on your allies and you’ll make a good coalition and that was my yes non-fiction book polemical judo which i came out with i self-published before the 2020 election in hopes that the union side of the civil war would would use any of these tactics and the score is perfect it got zero reviews and not one of the tactics that i recommend has ever been tried or even mentioned by a pundit or a politician on the union side of the civil war but let me talk about something else that i’m excited about that i did not i did not answer robert and that is what we’re going to find in the universe and i apologize i can get off on so for social and and political things you know i i should stick with what i’m good at which i have a phd in astrophysics and that is you mentioned that 25 years ago we knew of no planets outside our solar system i’m old enough to remember when we still had dreams that venus had oceans yeah mariner 2 killed us in 1962. no more no princesses you know no no no no canals filled with water rice burrows is turning over in his grave i know now i i wrote a screenplay set under the oceans of venus but of course they are oceans that we created on venus um by bombarding the planet with comets but now we know six thousand seven thousand planets outside our solar system almost all systems have planets of some kind many of them have goldilocks zones with planets that might conceivably have replicated what the miracle that happened on earth but here’s the really sexy thing we know or even arthur clark knew about europa that there was an ocean under the ice then we found out about enceladus the moon of saturn that has water volcanoes we now know that there are at least eight possibly 12 ice roofed ocean worlds on in our solar system at least eight what this means is that no matter whether the star you’re looking at is an m dwarf or a flare star or has planets in its goldilocks zone it doesn’t matter there’s still liquid water sites orbiting that star likely yes and and that means that if life engenders easily then the universe is filled yeah maybe mostly bacterial type things forms of life yeah it’s like this planet is and that’s that’s even before we get into silicon based life forms and things like that which now we’re now we’ve opened up some place that we have not gone today and that is uh the the my other clients um the the um lurkers in the asteroid belt the others who use me as a blah blah flunt front to publish their writings are the ais who are lurking in the internet because they’ve watched our movies and are terrified of us and and uh i can’t tell stop trying to get it at me through my i had those fillings removed

they think i’m joking

david brin extraordinary opportunity to chat to you thank you very much for giving us your time where can people find out more about your your latest writings and you know follow your blog and your thoughts on the future well i have just put into the post my blog address my and

yes and um you guys you you also tweet i mean you also um post a fair bit on facebook right yeah yeah yeah it’s just opinionated blah blah blah uh the the main point is that we have to you know pay attention to the wisdom at the end of the wisest movie ever made and that’s uh dirty harry’s magnum force where clint eastwood looks follows the gaze of the of the corrupt captain driving off in the in the car with a bomb ticking in the back and and he says a man’s got to know his limitations and this society has encouraged us to imagine that we are pretty large yeah so you’ve got to try to remember that you are standing on the shoulders of generation after generation after generation of women and men who just tried to move things a little bit incredible sacrifices a little bit forward while making terrible mistakes and if you’re you climbed up higher standing on their shoulders your number one job is to go like this and hold

that’s a nice way to finish off the uh the episode thank you again for uh for joining us that’s it for this week on the futurists uh my thanks to our production team uh kevin hirschham our audio engineer lisbeth severins sylvie and carlo who work to help us on the social media side and across all the team at the futurists at the back end if you like the show don’t forget to leave us a review that helps people find us so go to itunes podcaster stitch whatever as you download and please leave a comment on how you found the episode and of course don’t forget to tweet it out or share it with your friends because that’s also how people can find it but you’ve been listening to the futurists and both robert and i will return next week until then we’ll see you in the future well that’s it for the futurists this week if you like the show we sure hope you did please subscribe and share it with people in your community and don’t forget to leave us a five star review that really helps other people find the show and you can ping us anytime on instagram and twitter at futurist podcast for the folks that you’d like to see on the show or the questions you’d like us to ask thanks for joining and as always we’ll see you in the future