Straw Dogs Quotes

Quotes tagged as "straw-dogs" Showing 1-5 of 5
John N. Gray
“Our lives are more like fragmentary dreams than the enactments of conscious selves. We control very little of what we most care about; many of our most fateful decisions are made unbeknownst to ourselves. Yet we insist that mankind can achieve what we cannot: conscious mastery of its existence. This is the creed of those who have given up an irrational belief in God for an irrational faith in mankind.”
John N Gray

John N. Gray
“Today we have made a fetish of choice; but a chosen death is forbidden. Perhaps what distinguishes humans from other animals is that humans have learnt to cling more abjectly to life.”
John Gray, Straw Dogs: Thoughts on Humans and Other Animals

John N. Gray
“If you believe that humans are animals, there can be no such thing as the history of humanity, only the lives of particular humans. If we speak of the history of the species at all, it is only to signify the unknowable sum of these lives. As with other animals, some lives are happy, others wretched. None has a meaning that lies beyond itself.”
John Gray, Straw Dogs: Thoughts on Humans and Other Animals

John N. Gray
“Life was indeed cruel; but it was better to glorify the Will than deny it.”
John Gray

John Gray
“The ancient Greeks were right. The ideal of the chosen life does not square with how we live. We are not authors of our lives; we are not even part-authors of the events that mark us most deeply. Nearly everything that is most important in our lives is unchosen. The time and place we are born, our parents, the first language we speak - these are chance, not choice. It is the casual drift of things that shapes our most fateful relationships. The life of each of us is a chapter of accident.

Personal autonomy is the work of our imagination, not the way we live. Yet we have been thrown into a time in which everything is provisional. New technologies alter our lives daily. The traditions of the past cannot be retrieved. At the same time we have little idea of what the future will bring. We are forced to live as if we were free.

The cult of choice reflects the fact that we must improvise our lives. That we cannot do otherwise is a mark of our unfreedom. Choice has become a fetish; but the mark of a fetish is that it is unchosen.”
John Gray