Straw Dogs: Thoughts on Humans and Other Animals Paperback – 16 Oct 2007
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“Nothing will get you thinking as much as this brilliant book.” ―George Walden, The Sunday Telegraph
“There is unlikely to be a more provocative or more compelling book published this year than Straw Dogs . . . Gray is one of the most consistently interesting and unpredictable thinkers in Britain.” ―Jason Cowley, The Observer (London)
“One of the most important books published this year, and will probably prove to be one of the most important this century. An attempt to suggest new ways of thinking and feeling . . . nobody can hope to understand the times in which we live unless they have read Straw Dogs.” ―Sue Corrigan, Mail on Sunday
“At once daunting and enthralling, Gray's remarkable new book shows us what it would be like to live without the distraction of consolations.” ―Adam Phillips
“This powerful and brilliant book is an essential guide to the new Millennium. Straw Dogs challenges all our assumptions about what it is to be human, and convincingly shows that most of them are delusions.” ―J.G. Ballard
About the Author
A regular contributor to The New York Review of Books, John Gray is the author of Black Mass, among other books. He is currently a professor of European thought at the London School of Economics.
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But reading the book once is not enough: you will have to re-read it and then, perhaps, read it one more time and check out at least some of the references and sources recommended by Prof. Gray. His philosophical analysis may be overwhelming, I am afraid, for an average reader, who most likely has never been exposed to such a vast array of names, sources, quotes, philosophical ideas in just one book.
Anybody who knows anything about human history cannot possibly disagree with Gray that we are a very violent species, although not as dangerous as the religions we have created, particularly the monotheistic religions such as Christianity. But perhaps the most destructive ideology we have developed is the idea of social progress buttressed by technological advancement, no doubt. Except that technological progress doesn't guarantee any other progress and may result in our annihilation. Those who, like the Fascists and the Communists, have tried to impose their idea of progress have left the planet devastated by mutilated lands and littered by millions of corpses. Unfortunately, the current worship of the “free market economy” and globalization may not be far off from a similar course.
Another devastating critique of our civilization is the way we have treated animals, of whom we are but one species but from whom we have usually tried to separate. The role of Christianity in this endless tragedy of torture and unspeakable murder is appalling, but the consequences are even worse. (This argument is so important in Gray’s philosophy that he discusses it in more detail in another excellent book “The Silence of Animals.”)
Love John Gray writing. Let's stop pretending a lot of stuff.