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Heresies: Against Progress and Other Illusions

3.64 of 5 stars 3.64  ·  rating details  ·  137 ratings  ·  11 reviews
By the author of the best-selling Straw Dogs, this book is a characteristically trenchant and unflinchingly clear-sighted collection of reflections on our contemporary lot. Whether writing about the future of our species on this planet, the folly of our faith in technological progress, or the self-deceptions of the liberal establishment, John Gray dares to be heretical lik ...more
Paperback, 224 pages
Published September 1st 2004 by Granta UK (first published January 1st 2004)
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Russell Warfield
A really thought provoking writer. A range of essays on subjects as diverse as religion, technology, animals (love the stuff on animals), Iraq, British politics and celebrity - all stemming from the notion that universal peace and prosperity will never be attained through human ingenuity, and that a utopian global civilisation is an inherently unrealistic prospect. In his arrival at this conclusion, he postulates atheism to be a form of Freudian repression, comparing present day secularism to Vi ...more
John Hodson
A collection of essays grouped into three categories: The Illusion of Progress, The War on Terror/Iraq and Politics without Illusion. Gray's views on progress reminded me of Postman and his scorn for the liberal elite is amusing and well developed (Black Mass and Strawdogs elaborate on this theme further). Although I don't agree with Gray entirely on Green issues, it is hard to dismiss his concerns concerning population growth, the fallacy that technology will alleviate the problems caused by it ...more
Treamo
John Gray is much like a modern day Nietzsche raging against the delusions and hypocrisies of our modern age. In this slim and easy to read volume many of the ideas become repetitive, it’s easy to spot this collection of essays was taken from numerous sources the editor should have culled some of the ideas that pop up continuously.

Liberals, Conservatives, Marxists, Neo-Cons, believer and non-believer alike, no escapes his vitriol in these essays. Although the chapters about Bush and Blair alrea
...more
Daniel Cunningham
As always with Gray, keen observation, a realistic/pessimistic outlook, and a consistent, convincing synthesis. But many of the essays, taken together in book form, are heavily repetitive. And since this is a time-slice of essays, a first time reader (which I am not) of Gray would likely not get the development of the ideas; they would just come from nowhere, as mere assertions.

The narrowness of the time, too, from 1999 to 2004, also makes for a bit of repetition; though the number of unresolved
...more
Steph Bennion
The pieces on the Iraq war, though written much closer to the time, still seem very fresh and poignant today. As for the rest, I liked the idea that Europe has a destiny to become the world power needed to balance US 'imperialism', though I suspect that honour may well eventually go to China or India. The last few chapters on the fate of the Labour and Conservative parties however have not dated well, written as they were when Blair was still in power and Howard had just become leader of the Tor ...more
Andrew
Much of the thoughts found in this collection are to be found in "Straw Dogs". It seems that Gray stitched together these different pieces from the New Statesman for the creation of the further fleshed out and unified piece that is "Straw Dogs". The repetition of these ideas does not make them any less potent though it does make this collection a little superfluous if you have already read his previous magnum opus. There are a few interesting scraps here and there that were not incorporated into ...more
Nic Brisbourne
This is a very interesting read, even if I don't agree fully with Gray's opinions. His idea that our faith in (technological) progress is a secular reshaping of christian ideas is instructive, and his later essays on UK government have left me thinking Blair achieved less than I had previously thought.
Gerard Walsh
A series of political essays that are thought provoking in the sense that that provoke thought rather that just irritate or act as an echo chamber.
Jon Beech
toilet fodder really. collected from the new statesman. when he stopped columnizing, i let my subscription lapse
Mary
Super interesting thoughts on society, esp atheism and liberalism, and such themes.
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John Nicholas Gray (born 17 April 1948, in South Shields, then in County Durham) is an English political philosopher with interests in analytic philosophy and the history of ideas.[1] He is formerly School Professor of European Thought at the London School of Economics and Political Science.

Gray contributes regularly to The Guardian, The Times Literary Supplement and the New Statesman, where he is
...more
More about John Nicholas Gray...
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