Heresies

Front Cover
Granta Books, 2004 - Political Science - 216 pages
9 Reviews
Gray sees our faith in progress - "the Prozac of the thinking classes" - as the illusion that underlies the most egregiously mistaken political and social policies of the present day. Certainly there is such a thing as progress, but it is a fact only in the realm of science, while "in ethics and politics it is a superstition". Throughout his work Gray hammers relentlessly against the notion, first advanced in the Renaissance and reified in the Enlightenment, that history moves inexorably in a straight line, and that human nature will necessarily improve as our knowledge accumulates. The prescience of his views on such topics as Iraq and Tony Blair's political career is remarkable. One does wonder what the magazine's readers made of the contention that Donald Rumsfeld's Hobbesian pragmatism is to be preferred to Bill Clinton's impulsiveness, that "in intellectual terms atheism is a Victorian fossil", or the baleful but gracefully expressed reminder that "the human animal is itself only a passing tremor in the life of the planet".
  

What people are saying - Write a review

User ratings

5 stars
0
4 stars
6
3 stars
3
2 stars
0
1 star
0

Review: Heresies: Against Progress and Other Illusions

User Review  - Daniel Cunningham - Goodreads

As always with Gray, keen observation, a realistic/pessimistic outlook, and a consistent, convincing synthesis. But many of the essays, taken together in book form, are heavily repetitive. And since ... Read full review

Review: Heresies: Against Progress and Other Illusions

User Review  - John Hodson - Goodreads

A collection of essays grouped into three categories: The Illusion of Progress, The War on Terror/Iraq and Politics without Illusion. Gray's views on progress reminded me of Postman and his scorn for ... Read full review

Contents

Introduction
1
Progress the motheaten musical brocade
17
Biotechnology and the posthuman future
24
an
32
Sex atheism and piano legs
41
Faith in the matrix
49
When the machine stops
57
Science as a vehicle for myth
64
Americas war on evil
124
a modest proposal
132
American power
139
Washingtons new Jacobins
145
The mirage of American empire
152
Iraq and the illusions of global governance
159
Europes
169
For Europes sake Britain must stay out
179

A report to the academy
72
The decadence of market power
92
Joseph Conrad our contemporary
100
BacktoHobbes
109
The new wars of scarcity
115
Blair in retrospect
187
Laying Thatchers ghost
194
The society of the spectacle revisited
202
Index
210
Copyright

Common terms and phrases

About the author (2004)

John Gray is Professor of European Thought at the London School of Economics.

Bibliographic information