Learn more Shop now Learn more Shop now Shop now Shop now Shop now Shop now Learn More Shop now Shop now Learn more Shop Fire Shop Kindle Amazon Music Unlimited for Family Shop now Fitbit
Customer Review

15 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The progress of "Homo rapiens", 18 July 2005
This review is from: Heresies: Against Progress and Other Illusions (Paperback)
According to Gray, the Enlightenment cast off the shackles of one religion, only to forge replacement fetters. The new religion, based on "humanism" is called "progress". This faith rests on the notion that the human condition can be constantly and continuously improved - forever. Instead of a metaphysical paradise, the new religion proposes one that can be achieved here and now. We act, he says, in the false belief that "science" is the new divinity. With so many problems having been solved through the application of science and technology, we've come to believe ALL obstacles can be overcome. What this faith ignores, Gray warns, is the finite supply of resources our planet has to sustain this programme.
In this collection of thought-provoking essays, Gray closely and critically scrutinises the new "faith" and explains its manifestations. In a trinity of themes, he looks at "progress", "terrorism" and "politics". The "scare quotes" are necessary here, because the reader may discover wholly new definitions of these terms within these pages. With incisive wit and deep insight, he examines the dedication to "progress" - where it came from and what it means now. A careful observer, he explains that "progress" is meaningful in the process of science. In the hands of politicians, industry and modern education, it is but a superstition. The world, he says, is "suffering from disseminated primatemaia - a plague of people." In his view "Homo sapiens" has evolved into "Homo rapiens", stripping the planet of resources with little idea of the impact it's having. The plague must be curtailed like any other infection. The first step in that therapy is shedding the belief that resources are limitless and technology can replace shortfalls.
He is scornful of the "war on terror", knowing that clumsy thinking followed by clumsy action easily creates more terrorists than it eliminates. The "crusade" now under way is simply generating fresh enemies. These antagonists are perhaps even more dedicated to destruction than those who launched the World Trade Center attacks. In "Washington's New Jacobins", Gray demonstrates the fallacies of using authority and military power to impart ideologies. It wasn't successful in the French or Communist revolutions, so there's little reason for thinking it will be accomplished by the Anglo-American Axis. The evangelists of the new faith are the neo-cons in Washington and their acolytes on Downing Street . "Dr Billy Graham has joined forces with Dr Strangelove", forging a bizarre and dangerous alliance.
As a heretic against the new orthodoxy, Gray seems to be standing alone. Heretics can be destructive, but they can also provide constructive pointers. Gray's approach isn't a hysterical rant - he's too knowledgeable for that. Instead of grand, sweeping and futile gestures such as Afghanistan and Iraq, Gray seeks a gradualist approach to issues. His method requires scrutiny and understanding of the underlying conditions of any issue. The approach requires work and people to perform the tasks. Read this and find out where you can make a contribution.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No

Be the first person to comment on this review.

[Add comment]
Post a comment
To insert a product link use the format: [[ASIN:ASIN product-title]] (What's this?)
Amazon will display this name with all your submissions, including reviews and discussion posts. (Learn more)
Name:
Badge:
This badge will be assigned to you and will appear along with your name.
There was an error. Please try again.
Please see the full guidelines here.

Official Comment

As a representative of this product you can post one Official Comment on this review. It will appear immediately below the review wherever it is displayed.   Learn more
The following name and badge will be shown with this comment:
 (edit name)
After clicking on the Post button you will be asked to create your public name, which will be shown with all your contributions.

Is this your product?

If you are the author, artist, manufacturer or an official representative of this product, you can post an Official Comment on this review. It will appear immediately below the review wherever it is displayed.  Learn more
Otherwise, you can still post a regular comment on this review.

Is this your product?

If you are the author, artist, manufacturer or an official representative of this product, you can post an Official Comment on this review. It will appear immediately below the review wherever it is displayed.   Learn more
 
System timed out

We were unable to verify whether you represent the product. Please try again later, or retry now. Otherwise you can post a regular comment.

Since you previously posted an Official Comment, this comment will appear in the comment section below. You also have the option to edit your Official Comment.   Learn more
The maximum number of Official Comments have been posted. This comment will appear in the comment section below.   Learn more
Prompts for sign-in
  [Cancel]


Review Details

Item

Reviewer


Location: Ottawa, Ontario Canada

Top Reviewer Ranking: 122,393