The World Until Yesterday

Modern societies don’t always think as clearly as we should about the dangers that we face.

– Jared Diamond –

In our current global society the most critical mission we all must deal with is the seeking out of truth. Our plight is to grapple with a constant harangue of misinformation designed to cause unwarranted fear, and in turn, mislead us about the real concerns we face as a society.


As Pulitzer Prize winning author, Jared Diamond writes in his book The World Until Yesterday:

We are prone to misestimate risks because we get most of our information second-hand from television and other mass media that emphasize sensational but rare accidents and mass deaths.

My entire conversation with Professor Diamond is posted right below for you to enjoy or CLICK HERE to watch:

There are too many who believe that in some past glorious time life was more civilized and genteel. However, nothing could be further from the truth. One of the most stunning observations, that Dr. Diamond himself found shocking, was throughout history more people were killed with spears, arrows and clubs than all the trench warfare, napalm, machine guns, artillery, torpedoes and atomic bombs combined.

To add to that, the ratio of murder in the most “tranquil” primitive societies far exceeds that in our most brutal modern inner cities. Yet, listen to any of our current political pundits, journalists, columnists and future candidates for the presidency and all exploit the supposed fears in place of the actual issues we need to deal with to improve the quality of life. And, Jared Diamond, considered to be one of America’s most celebrated scholars, knows: “… That denying any other reality for any other laudable political goal is a bad strategy.”

The good news is we can and do battle with the bad strategies that propagate our world view. The way however is not so much to question our media, pundits, politicians and so called intelligentsia, for they will for the most part mislead, divert, and continue to circumvent the main issues for whatever agenda they want to spread. The answer then lies within ourselves.


Yes, as Benjamin Franklin so eloquently stated: “It is the first responsibility of every citizen to question authority.” However, we now know we cannot just depend on the answers the authorities provide. But, we can depend on the questions we need to ask and answer for ourselves. We can look not towards a romanticized past but towards a past filled with lessons that we must glean from sifting through the sands of time. Like a miner panning shallow waters it is there where we will find the gold. Then, we just might be able to heed these few more gems from Professor Diamond.

Some of what yesterday’s world teaches us is to be grateful for our modern societies, and not to bad-mouth them across the board.

Be grateful while still searching for the truth!

Plus, airing this week on most of our PBS stations is my conversation with one of the bestselling and respected mystery writers of our time, the talented Michael Connelly.

Enjoy both episodes and have a great week,





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