11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
This review is from: The Lucifer Principle: A Scientific Expedition into the Forces of History (Paperback)
I can't think of a great many books that have truly changed the way I view and think about the world (Culture Jam by Kalle Lasn being the only other one that springs to mind right now), but this is certainly one of them. In it, Bloom theorises that we all compose the individual components of national social superorganisms, and uses historic examples and scientific evidence to show how these superorganisms are knitted together by a combination of in-built, animalistic, biological urges and the influence of over-riding, virulent ideologies (or 'memes'). He goes on to explain how and why Mother Nature pits us against ourselves and forces us to abide by a 'pecking order', and what happens to those on the various strata. But, he postulates, just as the human body kills over 200 billion red blood cells per day in order to live and progress, so violence, war and evil has been built into each of us as a means by which the indivudual superorganisms can shed the components that no longer serve a purpose within it, so that it may evolve and live better in the future. Bloom ends the book on a positive note by theorising that (though it often seems otherwise) we are today as a race, through the sacrifices of the past, moving closer together and progressing towards a place in which the human race will come together as one superorganism. He also stresses that, if we are to survive as a species, we must learn to overcome, circumnavigate, or maybe 'cure' the animalistic part of our brain that drives us towards violence against one another.
That said, the above explanation really doesn't do the book justice; there is much more to it than that which I've attempted to lay out above, and I found the whole thing to be a completely fascinating read. It is written in a frank, easy-to-understand style, and the frequent historical and scientific references really help you to understand and contextualize the ideas that Bloom is trying to get across.
I would thoroughly recommend the book to anyone who thinks that, from what they've heard about it, they might be even remotely interested in it.