Man™s dream of immortality is a foolish, sinister nightmare, argues this gloomy, tendentious meditation on scientific hubris. Gray (Al Qaeda and What It Means to Be Modern), a professor of European thought at the London School of Economics, examines two oddly paired movements of deluded immortalists: the Victorian Society for Psychical Research sought scientific evidence of an afterlife in the œautomatic writing of mediums, and the œGod-builders, an elite circle of Bolsheviks (such as Maxim Gorky) who believed socialism could re-engineer humanity to abolish death. From these studies, Gray distills intriguing insights into Darwinism™s impact on philosophy and the similarities between religion and the scientific worldview; he finishes with a nakedly scornful, fatalistic attack on human efforts to avoid extinction, both individual (cryonic preservation) and collective (anti–global warming initiatives). The historical underpinnings of Gray™s argument are rickety, especially the confused God-builder section, which swirls pointlessly around the story of H.G. Wells and a beautiful Russian spy. His argument that Soviet atrocities flowed from a mad longing to transcend death is free-associated rather than reasoned, and his implicit yoking of dotty British psychics with Stalin™s executioners reveals little. (Apr.)
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AN INTERESTING READ ON THE HISTORICAL QUEST TO CHEAT MORTALITY. ON THE WHOLE VERY ENTERTAINING AND WELL WORTH BUYING AND READINGPublished on December 28, 2012 by LEGENDARY ICON
This book is broken into two main parts. The first covers a period of Victorian England and the paranormal researchers in that period who were trying to prove that something... Read morePublished on December 15, 2012 by Book Fanatic
This book's theme of science as a means to escape mortality provides a very amenable platform for John Gray's ideas, as anyone familiar with him would guess. Read morePublished on April 11, 2012 by D. D.
John Gray once again shows the basic flaws that shape human perception. The consequences of the merciless zeal that guides secularist God makers who want to see in human the very... Read morePublished on June 8, 2011 by R. Kocer
The essence of this book is opinions of later Victorian thinkers (ie 1870-1910) of the possibility and forms of "life after death". It really is not a book but an extended essay. Read morePublished on May 12, 2011 by Kindle Customer