"Then it is dark; a night where kings in golden suits ride elephants over the mountains." - John Cheever

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

John Gray - a Fitz thinker?


Read this book of essays the other week. I'd always been suspicious of John Gray, since his philosophy is largely based around attacking liberalism and the enlightenment. It's actually one of the most provocative (in a good way) things I've read for ages. It genuinely troubled me, and one has to acknowledge that his essays from the late 90s have, so far, proved to be far far better predictors of the 21st century than any of the new economy/end of history guff that was so fashionable at the time.

5 comments:

phaemon said...

I haven't read anything by him, but I definitely intend to now....not just for your recommendation though :-) When I was Googling for him, one of the things I came across was a sermon reflecting on his writings!

A very odd mix indeed...

john said...

I'd like to read this too (Fitzrovian Bookclub anyone?). Maybe we could buy a single copy of the book and mail it round...

Not that surprised to read a sermon referencing a work like this - as far as I can make out sermons are often written by thoughtful and sophisticated people.

Tom said...

Yes, that's a very interesting sermon, which well captures the peculiarities of Gray's thinking. He is an atheist and passionate Darwinist, but (dramatically unlike most intellectuals) actually thinks Christian faith is a more 'true' and useful account of human existence than liberal secularism. I can see why the sermon writer (ie an intelligent and sophisticated anglican) is to taken with Gray's book.

john said...

Is Gray an atheist or a committed agnostic? I increasingly find militant atheism (ie Dawkins) simplistic and liable to stick in the craw.

Tom said...

Yes, I used to love Dawkins but find it a bit of a turn off now.

On that note, check out this massive attack on his latest book in the LRB by Eagleton.