Knowledge, the Enlightenment believed, could protect us from the follies of ideology. But John Ralston Saul maintains that "knowing" has not made us "conscious." Instead we have become increasingly passive, our society increasingly conformist. There are no easy solutions to this problem, Saul says, but change is still possible.

John Ralston Saul is the author of the bestselling Voltaire's Bastards, The Doubter's Companion, Reflections of a Siamese Twin, and On Equilibrium.

The Unconscious Civilization is published by House of Anansi .