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  • Surviving Progress [DVD] [2011] [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC]
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Surviving Progress [DVD] [2011] [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC]

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Price: £10.78
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Region 1 encoding. (requires a North American or multi-region DVD player and NTSC compatible TV. More about DVD formats)
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Product details

  • Format: NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 1 (US and Canada DVD formats.)
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • ASIN: B008D67N8U
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 127,013 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)

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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Theo TOP 1000 REVIEWER on 28 Sept. 2012
There are two quite different questions we need to ask about this film.

First, does it deliver a vitally important message that the world desperately needs to listen to and act on?

Most definitely yes.

Second, is this a particularly good or interesting film?

On that I'd have to say no.

Simply put, there's nothing new or especially insightful here. It's the same message that pretty well every sane piece on the environment has been giving us for decades: namely, that we're burning our environmental capital to fund current consumption, and that as a result our entire civilization is racing headlong towards its own destruction - just like so many other failed civilizations before us.

On the plus side, "Surviving Progress" does do a good job of explaining how important western economic interests have been in bringing about the destruction of the Amazon rainforest.

On the down side, while the filmmakers do appear to be aware that it is human behaviour that is causing all the problems, their approach to doing something about that behavior seems rather naïve. For example, we are admonished to "reform ourselves, remake ourselves in a way that cuts against the grain of our inner animal nature". But it should be obvious to anyone who believes that we are indeed the products of nature, and not of miracles, just how unproductive this piece of advice is likely to be. How exactly do the filmmakers suggest we achieve this goal of going against our own natures?

Through the power of prayer?
Read more ›
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 19 reviews
22 of 25 people found the following review helpful
World in crisis 101 18 Nov. 2012
By Everyone's_a_critic - Published on
This is one of what has become a genre of films reflecting upon the crossroads looming up for mankind and the beautiful blue marble we call home. This particular entry takes a broad rather than deep approach. It serves as an interesting and thoughtful overture to understanding the slow motion pit of social, financial, and economic quicksand we are sinking deeper into year after year. It also serves as as a refresher course for those who have been educating themselves on this topic through film, reading, and other means. Some of the highlights of this production are:

> That the human brain has not evolved much for the last 50,000 years, and as a result human beings still think in terms of short term needs fulfillment

> That the unending drive toward "progress" can be self-defeating in the end

> The danger posed from further depleting the "capitol" reserves provided by nature (water, air, natural resources, etc.)

> How debt grows more rapidly than people can pay, and how the historical policy of cancelling a nation's debt when it becomes impossible to repay has been circumvented... and the fallout from forcing debt repayment

> The perennial trend of allowing wealth to be concentrated into too few hands, and how this phenomenon exists today in a highly leveraged manner

> How Wall Street used its wealth to shape government regulations to gain more wealth, which in turn was used to further shape policy and create additional wealth... ad infinitum... until the financial system crashes under its own weight.

> How indigenous peoples are getting trapped in unsustainable economies.

> How the bankers are systematically converting the natural resources of countries into personal profit.

In short, a restatement of the simple but inconvenient truth that mankind's accumulation of knowledge, development of technology, and urge to "progress" outweigh the wisdom garnered over the same period. How unchecked greed can destroy an ecosystem, and given today's global reach due to technology, how greed is threatening life on a planet-wide scale.

I recommend you buy this film. Such films make even planet crisis veterans think. Thinking is a precursor to waking up. Waking up is a precursor to taking action. So watch this movie... or give it to a relative or neighbor. It's an imperfect, yet affable and digestible work. It's not agenda laden or off putting. It's a compilation of comments and interjections from a host of smart people who are doing their best to tackle the problem. The interviews are combined with compelling footage making the documentary's 86 minutes go by quickly.

What the film does not address:
`Surviving Progress' opens on the question "What is progress". Several people are then shown pondering that question, but never answering it. To me that's an easy question to answer though. Progress is just the movement toward what we want. What we wish to achieve. Progress is where we, individually, or as a people, are trying to get to. It's the enabler to make us happy. Comfortable. More happy. More comfortable. Progress may involve technology; "Gee, look at what the new iPhones can do!". But progress can simply be the result of hard work; "Gee, I got the foundation footings completely dug today".

Is this a simplistic answer? Perhaps. But I think it directly folds into addressing the larger unanswered question in films of this nature, namely; "How the heck are we going to get out of this mess?". Documentaries such this hint at a variety of solutions; colonizing other worlds once we kill this one, manipulate the genome, use fewer resources, lower the population, carbon credits, and so on. This film, Surviving Progress, demonstrates quite ably that too much progress can be destructive, but it does not really inform how to manage the perpetual urge to progress. Unless we curb this unending desire the above solutions will ultimately fall short!

So how do we manage progress? First, let's rephrase the original question. Rather then ask "What is progress", let's ask "What are we progressing toward?" I believe THAT is the real question to address. As it stands now, we will never be done progressing. There is no final destination for progress. The reason is that the human EGO can never be satiated. On one level the problems of the world can simply be explained as too many people consuming too few resources, but at a deeper level it is the I'm-never-satisfied nature of the ego that accounts for most foibles of the world, including the mother of all foibles; greed. The ego is never full. The pie is never big enough. The other person's pie must be commandeered. Then perhaps the ego will be satisfied.

Except it's not. It's never enough. Every human can introspectively examine their own desires and see that this is true. So it appears to me that the only sustainable solution is for humankind to transcend ego. Evolving our consciousness is the key to survival. Therein lies the real crossroads. Can we as a species raise our consciousness to the point where we can view the pie as large enough for all before we destroy our planet? Can we begin to see that it is not a you-or-me world, and is in fact a you-and-me world?

Can we make this leap before the lights go out? That is why I applaud this film. It's not its technical achievement so much as its high-mindedness. Such works tend to raise not only our awareness, but potentially our consciousness. The pioneers in consciousness research that I've come to respect seem to be telling us that shifting from operating through our minds/egos to instead operating through our hearts is the key. John Lennon may have had it right with the simple lyrics "All you need is love".

Too simple? Has it not been noted that the best answers to complex questions are short and simple enough to be written on a cocktail napkin? As mankind evolves its consciousness in this most auspicious of times, unheard of solutions to seemingly insurmountable problems may well reveal themselves.

Until we evolve past our animal nature we are very much as Agent Smith described us in 'The Matrix';
... You [humans] move to an area, you move to an area and you multiply... and multiply until every natural resource is consumed. The only way you can survive is to spread to another area. There is another organism on this planet that follows the same pattern. Do you know what it is? A virus. Human beings are a disease, a cancer of this planet..."

Let's hope that Agent Smith will be proved as wrong in this world as he was in Neo's world. :>

My favorite books on the subject of consciousness:
The HeartMath Solution: The Institute of HeartMath's Revolutionary Program for Engaging the Power of the Heart's Intelligence
The Bond: How to Fix Your Falling-Down World
Dissolving the Ego, Realizing the Self: Contemplations from the Teachings of David R. Hawkins, M.D., Ph.D. (or any book by this author)
17 of 19 people found the following review helpful
Every Time History Repeats Itself, The Price Goes Up: Interesting Approach, But Very Broad Topic 30 Aug. 2012
By K. Harris - Published on
In the new documentary "Surviving Progress," once again we learn that man is his own worst enemy. It's an oft-told tale, but one that holds true as we look at the results surrounding us every day. With glimpses of social turmoil, economic upheaval, and ecological devastation--the movie (at only 87 minutes) really veers all over the place. In this structure, many interesting topics are introduced but nothing is dissected in much depth. That is both one of the picture's strengths and one of its weaknesses. I absolutely won't fault the ambitious scope of the film which certainly gives one much to ponder. Some of the focal points were quite familiar, while some were not. But all were easily worth revisiting (or visiting for the first time). It's a compelling argument that not all perceived advances are really worth the toll they are taking on the world. And this documentary examines some examples from around the globe.

A number of familiar figures populate "Surviving Progress" with commentary from notable names such as Stephen Hawking, Jane Goodall, and Margaret Atwood. It's interesting to assess the path we, as humans, are on and where that road seems to be leading. It's a bleak portrait, to be sure, but one that serves as a call to action. We don't always take the opportunity to course correct when we have it, this film and its experts suggest that we might need to sooner rather than later. It's an important message presented in a stylish package. "Surviving Progress" is exceedingly well constructed and has a visual flair to make its message even more dynamic.

But as much as I want to rave unequivocally about the film, it may be a little too broad for its own good. With so many diverse topics, the movie feels slightly unfocused. It makes valid points, but shoots on to the next subject before the impact of the last scene has fully hit the viewer. As such, the narrative starts to feel like a laundry list of problems with very little hope of resolution. Perhaps a longer format would have been useful and more specificity when dealing with individual issues couldn't have hurt. Instead of a rallying cry for renewed activism, the movie ends up preaching to those already converted. Worthy and well-meaning, but somehow less than filling, I still recommend "Surviving Progress." I just think it had the potential to be even more impactful. About 3 1/2 stars, I'll round up for a sound message. KGHarris, 8/12.
6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
Very, very eye opening. 19 Jan. 2013
By Amazon Customer - Published on
Verified Purchase
I have been thinking about the topics in this film for several years now, and my brother told me about this movie, he watched it on Netflix I believe.

I wish that everyone in the world could see this movie, and totally understand what rampant consumerism and greed is doing to our planet, then maybe we could force the wall street bankers and economists to change the way we value, but like Vaclav Smil said, what do we do?

"I’m inoculated against any doctrinaire, grand solutions, saying, you know: this is the pattern, this is the master, this is the paradigm which we have to follow..."
-Vaclav Smil global energy expert

How can we reach people and let them know about what WILL happen if things continue as they are now? I have no clue. All I can do is live life here on earth in the most sustainable way possible, I owe it to the future, even though I have no children and hence no real stake in the future, but just for man kind's sake and the sake of all the life here on earth as we know it.

"I read scrawled on a wall somewhere that every time history repeats itself, the price goes up."
– Ronald Wright

Hopefully we can all do something to change the way things are, before the price becomes too high.
2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Troubling and Thought Provoking - We Will Acknowledge the Need for a Balance? 2 Jun. 2013
By Pierre LeBlanc - Published on
Verified Purchase
I first viewed this video on an international flight, and was compelled to buy it to share with friends and family. The facts presented, insights shared by respected professionals, and experiences shared by real people around the world underscore the integrity of the work and its indisputable warning for all of us. I suspect there are very few people who truly understand how small and fragile our precious planet has already become. Understand, and commit yourself to making a difference.
4 of 6 people found the following review helpful
An Important Film based on A Short History of Progress by Ronald Wright 27 Sept. 2012
By close watcher - Published on
What is progress? A hard term to define, even though we use it every day. One of the pleasures of this film is hearing headliner Ronald Wright introduce his concept of "progress traps," developments that at first seem to be beneficial but lead to disastrous outcomes. Many great interviewees squeeze complex concepts into a tightly edited and entertaining film.
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