The Silence Of Animals

The Silence of Animals, John GrayThe Silence Of Animals

“Whereas silence is for other animals a natural state of rest, for humans silence is an escape from inner commotion. By nature volatile and discordant, the human animal looks to silence for relief from being itself while other creatures enjoy silence as their birthright. Humans seek silence because they seek redemption from themselves, other animals live in silence because they do not need redeeming.”

Gray’s book is subtitled ‘On Progress and Other Modern Myths’. His thesis is that in order to create meaning for our lives, we create fictions. In our own times, the fiction we have created to convince ourselves that life has meaning is the myth of progress, a myth that Gray debunks from any angle you might be sitting comfortably in: Christianity, atheism, humanism – truly nothing is sacred.  In the course of his musings, he draws from works of philosophy, history, memoir, fiction and poetry; writers as varied as Orwell, Freud, Beckett, Schopenhauer, JG Ballard, William Empson and Patrick Leigh Fermor feature. Whether or not you ultimately buy his arguments, there is one thing for which to be thankful to the author. If you are a lover of really fine prose, the extracted passages from J. A. Baker and Llewelyn Powys will have you rushing to discover more about these writers if they were not already familiar to you.

This exhilarating book from John Gray crackles on every page with ideas. Some will resonate, others may infuriate, but all will arrest.

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