Straw Dogs Thoughts on Humans and Other Animals Epub

Straw Dogs Thoughts on Humans and Other Animals Epub

Straw Dogs Thoughts on Humans and Other Animals ❰PDF / Epub❯ ☀ Straw Dogs Thoughts on Humans and Other Animals Author John N. Gray – Larringtonlifecoaching.co.uk Straw Dogs Thoughts on Humans and Other Straw Dogs Thoughts on Humans and Other Animals John Gray A radical work of philosophy which sets out to challenge our most cherished assumptions about what it Thoughts on ePUB ´ Straw Dogs Thoughts on Humans and Other Straw Dogs Thoughts on Humans and Other Animals John Gray A radical work of philosophy which sets out to challenge our most cherished assumptions about what Straw Dogs eBook ´ it means to be human From Plato to Christianity from the Enlightenment to Nietzsche and Marx the Western tradition has Dogs Thoughts on Humans and MOBI :å been based on arrogant and erroneous beliefs about human beings and their place in Dogs Thoughts on PDF/EPUB ¶ the world Philosophies such as Straw Dogs Thoughts on Humans and Other Animals John Straw Dogs Thoughts on Humans and Other Animals par John Gray aux ditions Granta books Thoughts on Humans and Other Dogs Thoughts on Humans and MOBI :å Animals Straw Dogs Thoughts on Humans and Other Straw Dogs Thoughts on Humans and Other Animals John Gray Snippet view View all References to this book The Unmanageable Consumer Yiannis Gabriel Tim Lang Limited preview An Introduction to Literature Criticism and Theory Andrew Bennett Nicholas Royle No preview available All Book Search results rauo; About the author A regular contributor to The New PDF Straw Dogs Thoughts On Humans And Other His books include False Dawn The Delusions of Global Capitalism Straw Dogs Thoughts on Humans and Other Animals and The Immortalization Commission The Strange uest to Cheat Death His selected writings Gray's Anatomy was published in Liberalism Release on | by John Gray In this new edition John Gray argues that whereas liberalism was the political theory of modernity it John Gray Straw Dogs Thoughts on Humans and Straw Dogs Thoughts on Humans and Other Animals John Gray Farrar Straus and Giroux Abstract The British bestseller Straw Dogs is an exciting radical work of philosophy which sets out to challenge our most cherished assumptions about what it means to be human From Plato to Christianity from the Enlightenment to Nietzsche and Marx the Western tradition has been based on arrogant Gray J Straw Dogs Thoughts on Humans and Straw Dogs is a radical work of philosophy that sets out to challenge our most cherished assumptions about what it means to be human From Plato to Christianity from the Enlightenment to Nietzsche and Marx the Western tradition has been based on arrogant and erroneous beliefs about human beings and their place in the world Philosophies such as liberalism and Marxism enthrone humankind as a uotes from book Straw Dogs Thoughts on Straw Dogs Thoughts on Humans and Other Animals „In the Greek world in which Homer's songs were sung it was taken for granted that everyone's life is ruled by fate and chance For Homer human life is a succession of contingencies all good things are vulnerable to fortune Socrates could not accept this archaic tragic vision He believed that virtue and happiness were one and the Straw Dogs Thoughts on Humans and Other Straw Dogs Thoughts on Humans and Other AnimalsPaperback Edition John Gray on com FREE shipping on ualifying offers New Review Straw Dogs by John Gray | books | The MLPOL John Gray is Professor of European Thought at the London School of Economics He is the author of over a dozen books including False Dawn Granta books which has been translated Straw Dogs Thoughts on Humans and Other Animals John Straw Dogs Thoughts on Humans and Other Animals par John Gray aux ditions Granta books Thoughts on Humans and Other Animals Straw Dogs Thoughts On Humans And Other Straw Dogs Thoughts on Humans and Other Animals by John Gray Straw Dogs is an attack on the unthinking beliefs of thinking people Today liberal humanism has the pervasive power that was once possessed by revealed religion Humanists like to think they have a rational view of the world; but their core belief in progress is a superstition further from the truth about the human animal than Straw Dogs Thoughts on Humans and Other Straw Dogs Thoughts on Humans and Other Animals John Gray Snippet view View all References to this book The Unmanageable Consumer Yiannis Gabriel Tim Lang Limited preview An Introduction to Literature Criticism and Theory Andrew Bennett Nicholas Royle No preview available All Book Search results rauo; About the author A regular contributor to The New PDF Straw Dogs Thoughts On Humans And Other His books include False Dawn The Delusions of Global Capitalism Straw Dogs Thoughts on Humans and Other Animals and The Immortalization Commission The Strange uest to Cheat Death His selected writings Gray's Anatomy was published in Liberalism Release on | by John Gray In this new edition John Gray argues that whereas liberalism was the political theory of modernity it John Gray Straw Dogs Thoughts on Humans and Straw Dogs Thoughts on Humans and Other Animals John Gray Farrar Straus and Giroux Abstract The British bestseller Straw Dogs is an exciting radical work of philosophy which sets out to challenge our most cherished assumptions about what it means to be human From Plato to Christianity from the Enlightenment to Nietzsche and Marx the Western tradition has been based on arrogant Gray J Straw Dogs Thoughts on Humans and Straw Dogs is a radical work of philosophy that sets out to challenge our most cherished assumptions about what it means to be human From Plato to Christianity from the Enlightenment to Nietzsche and Marx the Western tradition has been based on arrogant and erroneous beliefs about human beings and their place in the world Philosophies such as liberalism and Marxism enthrone humankind as a uotes from book Straw Dogs Thoughts on Straw Dogs Thoughts on Humans and Other Animals „In the Greek world in which Homer's songs were sung it was taken for granted that everyone's life is ruled by fate and chance For Homer human life is a succession of contingencies all good things are vulnerable to fortune Socrates could not accept this archaic tragic vision He believed that virtue and happiness were one and the Review Straw Dogs by John Gray | books | The Straw Dogs Thoughts on Humans and Other Straw Dogs Thoughts on Humans and Other AnimalsPaperback Edition John Gray on com FREE shipping on ualifying offers New MLPOL John Gray is Professor of European Thought at the London School of Economics He is the author of over a dozen books including False Dawn Granta books which has been translated Straw Dogs uotes by John N Gray goodreadscom ― John Gray Straw Dogs Thoughts on Humans and Other Animals likes Like “Long after the traces of the human animal have disappeared many of the species it is bent on destroying will still be around along with others that have yet to spring up The Earth will forget mankind The play of life will go on” ― John Gray Straw Dogs Thoughts on Humans and Other Animals tags animal Straw Dogs Thoughts on Humans and Other Animals Vite Dcouvrez Straw Dogs Thoughts on Humans and Other Animals ainsi ue les autres livres de au meilleur prix sur Cdiscount Livraison rapide Straw Dogs Thoughts on Humans and Other Straw Dogs Thoughts on Humans and Other Animals John Gray A radical work of philosophy which sets out to challenge our most cherished assumptions about what it means to be human From Plato to Christianity from the Enlightenment to Nietzsche and Marx the Western tradition has been based on arrogant and erroneous beliefs about human beings and their place in the world Philosophies such as Straw Dogs Thoughts on Humans and Other Straw Dogs Thoughts on Humans and Other Animals John Gray Limited preview Straw Dogs Thoughts on Humans and Other Animals John Gray No preview available View all Common terms and phrases accept action ancient animals authority awareness become believe better books century Christianity Chuang Tzu claimed comes communities conscious countries created death Straw Dogs Thoughts on Humans and Other Straw Dogs Thoughts on Humans and Other Animals Author John Gray Edition illustrated reprint Publisher Macmillan ISBN Length pages Subjects Philosophy › Movements › Humanism Philosophy Movements Humanism Philosophy Political Political Science Political Ideologies General Export Citation BiBTeX EndNote RefMan About Straw Dogs Thoughts On Humans And Other Buy Straw Dogs Thoughts on Humans and Other Animals New Ed by Gray John ISBN from 's Book Store Everyday low prices and free delivery on eligible orders Select Your Cookie Preferences We use cookies and similar tools to enhance your shopping experience to provide our services understand how customers use our services so we can make improvements and display ads Review Straw Dogs by John Gray | books | The Review Straw Dogs by John Gray | books | The John Gray Straw Dogs Part of YouTube John Gray's book 'Straw Dogs' offers a profound assessment of what it means to be human challenging our long held assumptions about our place as humans Straw dog Wikipedia Straw dogs simplified Chinese 刍狗; traditional Chinese 芻狗; pinyin ch gǒu a figure of a dog made out of straw were used as ceremonial objects in ancient China but often thrown away after their usage In one translation Chapter of the Tao Te Ching begins with the lines Heaven and Earth are heartless treating creatures like straw dogs.


10 thoughts on “Straw Dogs Thoughts on Humans and Other Animals

  1. Bill Kerwin Bill Kerwin says:

    If you are an agnostic with few illusions who seeks the consolations of philosophy; if you are fortified by Ligotti’s bleak analysis A Conspiracy Against the Human Race and sustained by Cioran’s grim maxims A Short History of Decay; if the fiction of JG Ballard Will Self and Jim Crace is congruent with your assumptions congenial with your attitudes; then John Gray’s Straw Dogs may be the book for youThe atheist Gray who rejects the assumptions of Christianity here targets the contemporary consensus of humanism In ridding itself of theistic illusions Gray believes secular humanism didn’t go nearly far enough For Gray Utopianism is a variant of the Kingdom of God progress a non theistic version of salvation history the exaltation of human consciousness and the celebration of free will little than the vestiges of a repressed belief in the integrity and persistence of the immortal soul Gray argues that there is no real evidence for any of these commonly accepted beliefs human consciousness is fitful free will illusory progress a fiction history is cyclical not forward looking and ”utopia”—given the contrary nature of man—will be at best the occasional result of autocratic repressive regimesAlthough Gray’s book challenges our comfortable assumptions it also offers its own severe form of consolation If we cease to believe in progress to yearn for utopia we may save ourselves from continual disappointment; if we cease to believe in a unitary self in command of fictive choices we may easily immerse ourselves—as the Daoist and Zen Buddhist do—in the successive ebb and flow of time the lucid dream which constitutes humankind’s richest simulacrum of realityAlthough Gray’s laconic style lacks Cioran’s witty ironies and Ligotti’s deadpan humor he makes up for it with his wide ranging scholarship and the concentrated power of his thought There is much in this book to ponder much to which a thoughtful reader may return again and againHere are eight of my favorite passages The destruction of the natural world is not the result of global capitalism industrialisation 'Western civilisation' or any flaw in human institutions It is a conseuence of the evolutionary success of an exceptionally rapacious primate Throughout all of history and prehistory human advance has coincided with ecological devastation Cities are no artificial than the hives of bees The internet is as natural as a spider's web As Margulis and Sagan have written we are ourselves technological devices invented by ancient bacterial communities as means of genetic survival 'We are a part of an intricate network that comes from the original bacterial takeover of the Earth Our powers and intelligence do not belong specifically to us but to all life' Among us science serves two needs for hope and censorship Today only science supports the myth of progress If people cling to the hope of progress it is not so much from genuine belief as from fear of what may come if they give it up Over the past 200 years philosophy has shaken off Christian faith It has not given up Christianity's cardinal error — the belief that humans are radically different from all other animals Postmodernists parade their relativism as a superior kind of humility — the modest acceptance that we cannot claim to have the truth In fact the postmodern denial of truth is the worst kind of arrogance In denying that the natural world exists independently of our beliefs about it postmodernists are implicitly rejecting any limit on human ambitions By making human beliefs the final arbiter of reality they are in effect claiming that nothing exists unless it appears in human consciousness Even the deepest contemplation only recalls us to our unreality Seeing that the self we take ourselves to be is illusory does not mean seeing through it to something else It is like surrendering to a dream To see ourselves as figments is to awake not to reality but to a lucid dream a false awakening that has no end Action preserves a sense of self identity that reflection dispels When we are at work in the world we have a seeming solidity Action gives us consolation for our inexistence It is not the idle dreamer who escapes from reality It is practical men and women who turn to a life of action as a refuge from insignificance Other animals do not need a purpose in life A contradiction to itself the human animal cannot do without one Can we not think of the aim of life as being simply to see?


  2. Warwick Warwick says:

    This smallish book is one of the most depressing and pessimistic 200 pages I have read in a long time John Gray has been getting darker and darker in his vision of the world and Straw Dogs finally brings him round to bleak nihilismThe book has many virtues It is written in an admirably simple and clear way with thoughts broken down and laid out in Pascalian pensées some of them only a sentence or two long The content is never less than thought provoking In six broad chapters he outlines his theory that humans are mere animals that faith in science is no rational than faith in religion free will is a myth progress an illusion and morality a sickness peculiar to humans His vision of the future is one of wars which are certain to be hugely destructive and in which humans will probably die by the billion ultimately to be replaced by machines Not only is this inevitable it is not even particularly undesirable humans are not obviously worth preserving It takes a kind of heroic cynicism to be uite so relentlessly negative and that alone tells you that Gray must be overlooking uite a lot But at any rate the book though rather fascinating is a mass of inconsistencies On the one hand he spends a lot of time trying to demonstrate that humans should become less obsessed with action and content with simply being But on the other hand he insists that humans cannot change and any attempt to alter human nature is doomed to failure Similarly he bangs on about how pointless the concept of truth is – the worship of truth is a Christian cult – yet what is this book if not an attempt to put forward his own view of truth and overturn the untruths of others? If this book does not offer a kind of truth it offers nothingHis criticism of science is too extreme to be valuable Gray views it as a kind of modern mystical religion an object of faith every bit as irrational as its religious ancestors This allows him to make some pretty silly statements Yet after all the work of Plato and Spinoza Descartes and Bertrand Russell we have no reason than other animals do for believing that the sun will rise tomorrowCall me a bluff old traditionalist but I feel that Copernicus Galileo Newton and so on have given me a much firmer basis for that belief than simply past evidence Gray's failure to recognise progress is perverse Of course people will always feel unhappy and will always suffer but there can be no denying that modern civilisations have raised the general standard of living demonised ineuality established systems of justice and law enforcement produced great works of art and so on and so forth Gray when he acknowledges such things at all merely suggests that this is a blip which will soon be followed by misery and extinctionYes there is a danger in blind faith in progress or undue veneration of science But all Gray has to offer as an alternative seems to be an even unreliable amalgam of Eastern philosophy and Gaia theory It's not enough The apocalyptic romance of his vision is itself akin to mysticism than rationality And so the leaps in logic pile up It is worth stressing though hardly a new idea that we are animals like any other species But it takes some effort to go on to say that we are therefore in no way unusual in our accomplishments both good and bad Similarly Gray is right to show that morality breaks down in extreme circumstances But he is wrong to conclude from this that it has no valueLiberal humanism has had so many demonstrable benefits that any attack on it has to offer some comparable alternative Straw Dogs sidesteps this competition by arguing that belief in progress or development is silly and we should rather simply accept that we are ultimately heading for annihilation both personally and as a species That may be so but this book fails to prove that bleak resignation is the most appropriate response either for personal happiness or for social stability


  3. BlackOxford BlackOxford says:

    Hemlock for the Masses Straw Dogs is an intellectual meal and a half to digest And it’s a fusion of styles and subjects that makes it a cuisine awkward to classify classical philosophy sociology technological analysis and forecasting with a soupçon of New Age mysticism Having just had another substantial meal in Terry Eagleton’s Culture and the Death of God which uses some of the same ingredients with an extra helping of philosophy and hold the New Age I feel compelled to compare the twoBoth books cover the same ground the 18th century Enlightenment and its effects on modern culture And both books reach similar conclusions that the rationalism of the Enlightenment project has reached a philosophical as well as practical dead end in the 21st century And they appear to provide similarly vague suggestions about what to do about the intellectual situation Gray retreating from his youthful right wing free market liberalism and Eagleton from his left wing dogmatic Marxism They seem to have met at some mid point around the idea of classical tragedy as an expression of our current intellectual state Not that either author would acknowledge their commonalities Gray thinks Eagleton is a closet religious fundamentalist Eagleton thinks Gray is an ill educated nihilistGray looks forward pessimistically into a world of technological chaos and environmental ruin His subject is homo rapiens that species of animal which doesn’t think it’s an animal This species us has come to dominate the planet and in all likelihood will destroy itself through its inveterate penchant for self delusion “Humans cannot live without illusion For the men and women of today an irrational faith in progress may be the only antidote to nihilism” According to Gray homo rapiens literally has bet its collective farm on a variety of illusory ideas God Truth Progress Morality Science Purpose and Meaning to name just a few However none of these have proven either permanent or functional The reason for their failure is not merely that they have all been the result of a misguided species hubris but also that they do not conform to the demands of Nature that ultimate arbiter of intellectual taste Gaia the living soul of the planet will not be mockedEagleton on the other hand looks backwards with an implicit optimism even in the throes of his freuent sarcasm He has a lot less to say about anthropology than Gray and a lot to say about the seuence of intellectual developments in and after the Enlightenment He perceives a trajectory which has gone awry but which is correctable Eagleton agrees with Gray about both the incompleteness of the Enlightenment as well as the resulting problem of fideistic humanism He even recognizes the same human flaw which is its source “Man is a fetish filling the frightful abyss which is himself He is a true image of the God he denies”Stylistically the two writers depart radically Eagleton writes with elegance and wit packing every paragraph with philosophical allusions and subtle ualifications He is a careful writer who understands the complexities of his subject ‘on the one hand on the other on the sixteenth hand’ Gray doesn’t write that way or as well He is austerely managerial ‘point one point two point ninety six’ making his case brick by intellectual brick without hesitation or ualification Gray is not therefore nearly as academic as Eagleton but he’s a far effective arguer of his case The reader knows his point of view and can follow it step by step Even important Gray doesn’t disintegrate into Eagleton’s anemic spiritual nostalgia For Gray the situation is as bad as it appears There is absolutely nothing to have faith in not in organized religion certainly but neither in reason nor art nor pleasure nor justice nor least of all some inner voice which suggests some other reality across a metaphysical divide Salvation for Gray is one of those illusions that nostalgic intellectuals crave Eagleton’s hints that there is something we don’t yet have sight of that could pull us out of the fireUltimately however it is clear that Gray is an exponent of Natural Law This is a highly dangerous intellectual stance since it allows conclusions based on whatever presumptions one makes about what is natural See for some of the history and conseuences of these presumptions For example by relegating morality to the realm of the unnatural Gray is implicitly promoting violence While an ethic of civilized justice may well be nothing than a shared fiction and convention I think it’s clear that it is also far life affirming than the alternatives Morality is indeed an invention of human society And it may well be unnatural although this is difficult to prove since it arises from natural human creatures Perhaps moral civilization is what the religious minded call a state of graceSo you choose your poison Eagleton the philosopher of culture who uses cultural analysis to demonstrate the deficiencies of culture without a divine presence; or Gray the philosopher of nature who uses a decidedly religious concept of nature to demonstrate its brutal disregard for its creatures It seems to me that it would reuire a considerable faith to drink hemlock on the basis of either one


  4. Jon Stout Jon Stout says:

    The irony is that I agree with John Gray on most of his large points that we have reason for pessimism that mankind will fail to handle some of the larger crises of our day such as population growth that human history is replete with gratuitous savagery and violence in the name of religion andor humanistic ideals that we would do better to be aware of our animal natures and so forthBut there is something about the way he does it that turns me off He wants to survey the history of ideas as well as every new age movement on the horizon and say “See where that got us? What’s the point of doing that?” He’s down on secular humanism as well as traditional religions and he seems opposed to anyone who ever had an original thought in the history of philosophy “Vanity of vanities All is vanity” What’s the point of even trying? Better to be like the other animals and passively accept whatever comes our wayHe does have his favorites He likes Taoism and Schopenhauer But with most other thinkers he takes a two sentence shot and dismisses them without trying to understand It’s as though he’s saying “So much for that one I don’t have to think about him any There goes another one” Potshots are fun but they are no substitute for engagementHe says “According to the most influential twentieth century philosopher of science Karl Popper a theory is scientific only in so far as it is falsifiable and should be given up as soon as it is falsified By this standard the theories of Darwin and Einstein should never have been accepted” p 22 No kidding I guess I missed that the theories of evolution and relativity had been falsified The hard part was finding circumstances in which they could be falsified Anyhow the most influential twentieth century philosopher of science is Thomas Kuhn even though he’s a historian who might have buttressed Gray’s arguments if Gray were interestedGray says “Wittgenstein believed that his later thought had transcended traditional philosophy but at bottom it is not much than another version of the oldest of philosophies – Idealism” p 53 To that I ask How can behaviorism be idealism? Wittgenstein discusses where he stands with respect to realism and idealism Gray should have checked it outHe says “It is scarcely possible to imagine a philosophy such as Platonism emerging in an oral culture” p 57 Hello What we know of Plato’s philosophy comes from dialogues an oral medium and art form It’s not hard to imagine; Plato makes it completely explicitOn a substantive point Gray bashes Socrates for using his mind to discern values the same idea for which he praises Taoism With regard to Socrates he says“ reason cannot be the guide of life Euripides rejected the belief that Socrates made the basis of philosophy that As Dodds puts it ‘moral like intellectual error can arise only from a failure to use the reason we possess; and that when it does arise it must like intellectual error be curable by intellectual process’” p 98But then he uotes AC Graham on the Taoist as saying“He does not have to make decisions based on standards of good and bad because granted only that enlightenment is better than ignorance it is self evident that among spontaneous inclinations the one prevailing in greatest clarity of mind other things being eual will be best the one in accord with the Way” p 114I could go on and on but I would just take up space on rebutting things that annoy me If John Gray wants to sit passively and appreciate the pleasures of the senses power to him Just give some respect to those of us who may at some point prefer thinking or acting


  5. brian brian says:

    1 although this does happen to crystallize and articulate much of what i believe that's largely irrelevant i recommend reading this wonderful nuthouse as the extended essay read rant thomas bernhard never wrote plus it lays out the meaning of life and explains the secrets of the universe 2 a terrific antidote to all that 'everything happens for a reason' nonsense3 makes me happy to imagine people who bought this wanting something else by the guy who wrote men are from mars women are from venus BOB SLYDELLLet's see You're Michael Bolton?BOB PORTERIs that your real name?MICHAELYeahBOB PORTERAre you in any relation to the pop singer?MICHAELIt's just a coincidenceBOB SLYDELLlaughsTo be honest with you I love his music I do I am a Michael Bolton fan For my money I don't think it gets any better than when he sings 'When a Man Loves a Woman' BOB PORTERI mean you must really love his musicMICHAELYeah Yeahhe he he's pretty he's pretty good I guessBOB SLYDELLYou're GODDAMN right he isThey laughBOB PORTERSo tell me What's your favorite song of his?MICHAELHmm I I I don't know I mean I guess I sorta like 'em allThe Bobs laughBOB SLYDELLHa I feel the exact same way but it must be hard for you I mean having the same name as him I celebrate the guy's entire catalogue But anyway let's get down to business MichaelMICHAELYou you know you can just call me Mike there ain't none; there aren't any


  6. Tim Tim says:

    Potentially life changing I say potentially because this is not a book for someone who is scared of facing their fears and doubts about what they have believed about mankind and their life For me he has blown me away I can't help jumping up and wanting to tell someone about so many particular sections that i read that are so striking I will warn you though be prepared to experience depression or despair if what he writes does speak to you deeply I feel both liberated and utterly despairing now which speaks volumes about the importance of what the author has in many ways set out to doThis book is laid out in easy to assimilate short sections where the author presents arguments for or against aspects of thoughts beliefs myths and faiths that mankind is prone to haveEssentially he deals with the uestion of meaning for humankind How are we different from the rest of the animal world? Whether you are a Christian Buddhist Nihilist or Humanist be prepared to hear some frank well considered and relevant uestions and propositions This is the sort of book that could merit many readings and is one that makes me think i need to keep a notebook beside me as i read itAlmost every time i read a section i am left pondering what he has said and find myself engaging in debate with him and myself This is a very stimulating series of thoughts I must say that he has written some things that really have made me reconsider what I thought of and how I thought about some aspects of human lifeNot a book for those who are not willing to consider anything outside their own dogmas If you are keen to uestion your core beliefs about mankind then i heartily recommend this book which i will read again and no doubt find many uotes from


  7. Rob Rob says:

    Just awful A rambling unconvincing argument by a terribly self satisfied misanthropePretty disappointing as I picked up the book hoping for a decent discussion on many of the ideas presented The non separateness of humans from the natural world the illusory nature of the self and consciousness these are ideas I care about Indeed if you have never spent time thinking about them this book may serve valuable as a devil's advocate and catalyst That's about the only value I found in itGray's book is set up as a series of tiny attacks on much of present day thinking However instead of attacking arguments head on Gray prefers to simplify the complexity of whatever argument he approaches After this reduction he then proceeds to refute the simplification If that is not enough he will then make several unsubstantiated declarative statements presenting them as either time tested truths or as being so obvious they should go without saying You think by naming his book Straw Dogs Gray would have gone to greater lengths to avoid making such transparent straw man argumentsThe research Gray put into his arguments is also pretty suspect His understanding of the psychology and neuroscience of self seems pretty cursory He comes across as not having a too firm grasp of any of it His discussion of hunter gatherer societies and their transition to agriculture is also very poor I suspect he read a few books and then jammed both of those cultures into the pre formed mental model he had been working withI think Gray should probably spend less time reading his own arguments and spend time talking with those who actually work in the areas he so casually dismisses His ideas are not new and have been discussed ad nauseum in any journal worth its saltAt the very least Gray should have shown his book to at least a few people who disagree with it He might have at least noticed a few of the instances of cognitive dissonance he had written out If humans are not separate from other species why does Gray give them such special accord? Animals that lack consciousness as Gray defines it can not be anything else other than what they are However Gray argues that humans also lack this consciousness and yet they are still to be excoriated?Like I said I care about many of the ideas Gray presents in Straw Dogs it's just that Gray is so ineffective and unlikable Rather than coming across as an innovative thinker he clumsily attacks the page with an imperiousness he has not earned This is the book one would expect from a angry teenager who is discovering for the first time that the world may be surprise somewhat hypocritical


  8. Szplug Szplug says:

    Humans think they are free conscious beings when in truth they are deluded animals At the same time they never cease trying to escape from what they imagine themselves to be Their religions are attempts to be rid of a freedom they have never possessed In the twentieth century the utopias of Right and Left served the same function Today when politics is unconvincing even as entertainment science has taken on the role of mankind's delivererThe above uote from Straw Dogs serves as a decent summary of John Gray's disturbing unpredictable and relentless look at human folly at the dawn of the new century Another Goodreads member advised me that Gray was like a man walking through a balloon store with a long pin and the description is apt the Englishman wields his pleasing bracing prose like a semantic sledgehammer in shattering one edifice of conventional wisdom after another Philosophy religion totalitarianism the modern Right and Left wings of capitalist democracies the War on Terrorism the globalization of free markets man's contingency all are fair game for the one man demolition crew Gray uestions how conscious and rational humans actually are and are capable of being; he paints in clear strokes a picture of how mythology and utopianism focussed through the prism of Christianity have underpinned virtually all of the political movements of the past three centuries all in the name of perfervid belief in the chimera called ProgressGray tackles so many cherished truths that he occasionally ends up contradicting himself such as exploding the belief that man is free only to base subseuent criticisms upon progress reducing man's freedom It also brings one to uestion where Gray believes his ubersceptical route will lead despite his summational plea to humanity to abandon its endless need for purpose Can we not think of the aim of life as being simply to see? it is difficult to envision such illusion free existence driving the masses towards aught but despair Nevertheless the book is a brisk wonderful and eye opening read casting enough doubts upon the solidity of perceived wisdom to keep the reader uestioning and ruminating for days afterwards Working from the same vein of thoughtful polemic as that other great doubter of progress Christopher Lasch see the brilliant The True and Only Heaven for the definitive summation of the latter's critiue Straw Dogs is a cogent and illuminating if uncomfortable read


  9. Murtaza Murtaza says:

    The central tenet of this book is that secular humanism is built off a worldview that despite its protestations comes entirely from religion Darwinism suggests that we are animals and while tendentiously accepting this humanists nonetheless insist on a special place and dispensation for humans The idea of progress entirely a superstition is in fact based on the Christian concept of salvation which has been transmuted into a secular worldview Secular humanism as it has been created in the West is really better described as post Christianity; dependent for its coherence on Christian concepts which are in fact fundamentally at odds with DarwinismHumans may be a advanced animal but as per the hypothesis argued here they are an animal nonetheless They forage for food seek warmth attempt to procreate communicate using sounds and markings with one another; and inevitably expire just as animals do The secular humanist idea that we are fully in control of our lives and the decisions we make in it is entirely a religious one We don't speak of whales gorillas or birds having a higher purpose mission or direction but we inexplicably insist that we ourselves do while simultaneously agreeing with Darwinism and its philosophic conclusionsDue to my own background I am compelled to examine this work from an Islamic viewpoint In Islam there is a belief that all animals are Muslim by which it means they follow the natural behaviors which God has dictated for them Gray argues that humans alone try to deny their animal nature and attempt to define themselves as separate from the natural world Islam as I understand it heavily draws upon naturalism in its exhortations to look to nature for its signs of creation It is further built upon the idea of fitra; the essential human nature which is God consciousness and is similarly expressed by animals and other parts of the natural world In Islam the difference is we humans alone have the ability to deny and resist our fitra and it is our duty to overcome this and embrace it Gray is of course an atheist and this book is not an attempt to validate religious beliefs but I could not help to be struck by the congruence especially as it has tied into arguments made in the past by Islamic scholars like Fazlur RahmanGray suggests that we truly return to ourselves not when we are alone in our thoughts but when we attempt to reconnect and interact with other animals I'm inclined to agree; the mystery and negative space that animals seem to take in our minds is important than it seems without reflection This book also contains many ruminations on the nature of man's interaction with technology politics capitalism and Gray's prognostications for the future This is really a devastating critiue of the prevailing orthodoxies of our time Gray has the courage of his convictions in taking the beliefs of Darwinism to their logical endpoint He also ably excoriates those among secularists who take pride in their ignorance of the theology If they did not turn ignorance into a virtue they'd see that their beliefs about progress humanity and the reality of the world are in fact built wholly on religious ideas This is a book which is a useful corrective to the unthinking beliefs dogmas of those who claim to hold the truth today Gray even provocatively claims that it is religious people who have a better picture of human nature because by their marginalization they've been forced to cultivate a capacity for doubt and uestioning greater than the proud standard bearers of secular humanism of our present age


  10. Alexander Alexander says:

    A bit too breezily aphoristic and dismissive at times Gray's book is still an impressive nail bomb of neo Schopenhauerian polemic veering between scorched earth and Taoist serenity stoic good humor under reddening skiesSTRAW DOGS is a brazen remix of many familiar memes but woven so artfully in barbed wire fashion covering so many rich topics and controversies that it does what the best philosophical commentary does provokes and stimulates both sympathizers and antagonists into enriching psychic combatGray leans heavily on his Bibliography and seems at times to presuppose a reader who's read most of what he's read This is not a book of careful incisive incremental argument he's working in the Cioran mode of stiletto epigrams and relies on the reader to fill the gaps and open vistas with hisher own stormy fulminating meditations It recalls Nietzsche's allegory of the uiver of arrows shot into a dark wood to be scavenged and re shot by the pathfinder into new directions of thought It encourages the constant weighing and re weighing of thorny complex unwieldy themesIf I ever taught a course in Intro to Western Civ I would happily assign the text as lighter fluid for class discussion and would likely get sacked by the Dean after the student complaints came avalanching in ; STRAW DOGS is a firestarter


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *