I have just finished reading “Black Mass – Apocalyptic Religion and the Death of Utopia” by J. Gray. It is, as John Banville of Guardian quote listed on its cover, a “brilliant, frightening, devastating” book. It is also difficult to read due to its peculiar language and style.
Nevertheless, it is very much worth reading. It will open your eyes on reasons for war in Iraq, you will get an interesting (and in my opinion valid) point of view on war on terror, and you will possibly understand more of what is happening and why in today’s very much complicated world.
Humanity, as a word, is included in that book many times. You can also find complicated names of various political or religious trends, along with their explanations. The book – as I understood it – places responsibility for many of today’s conflicts squarely on those trends for a lack of better word. I think though that the responsibility lies on humans, not on humanity. Our leaders, or leaders of countries we live in, create our destiny. Their view of the world is influenced by their mind-set, be it religious, power, or materialistic in nature. Of course after the fact assigning those beliefs to some theory or building a theory around them is easy. Fact remains, that those people – not humans as a whole – contribute greatly to the mess we are in and will be in the future.
The views of Mr Bush and Mr Blair were behind their decisions with regards to war in Iraq. The views of Mr Kaczynski are behind current disaster in Poland. The views of Hitler shaped Nazi Germany. Not the collective views of Americans, British, Germans or Poles. Of course respective peoples have chosen them and through that gave them power to do what they want to do, but in many cases those choices had nothing to do with the result. If those leaders follow their private utopias, we all end up living in a different world. Merge that with climate change and resource scarcity, and the picture is not pretty.
There is very little this book offers in terms of advice, it says that hope of better handling of any political situations may lie in realism, which is difficult to achieve in its pure form, not influenced by world views (religious or otherwise) of the one practicing it.
Difficult book. Scary. But thought provoking and worth reading.