Tuesday, 28 July 2009
Just finished reading John Gray's 2007 book, "Black Mass". He is Professor of European Though at the London School of Economics. I met him briefly at the Sydney Writer's Festival last year. Gray contends that much of the destructive history of the Twentieth Century and beyond can be blamed on our religious and political desire for Utopia - a mythical "perfect" future. At the core is "my willingness to defend to the death my idea of Utopia over yours!" We need to learn to be more realistic, says Gray. Life is inherently uncertain and history can just as likely go backwards as forwards. "Religions are not claims to knowledge but ways of living with what cannot be known", he says. There is no Utopia. "Interacting with the struggle for natural resources" concludes Gray, "the violence of faith looks set to shape the coming century".