An obsession with the nature of death lies at the heart of the human experience. Throughout most of human history, religion provided a clear explanation for life and the afterlife. But in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, this framework came under relentless pressure as new ideas—from psychiatry to evolution to Communism—seemed to suggest that our fate was now in our own hands. We would ourselves become God. Philosopher and bestselling author John Gray raises a host of fascinating questions about what it means to be human.
The great and terrible implication of Darwin’s ideas was that natural selection made humans into animals like any other, doomed some day to disappear from the face of an uncaring Earth. The refusal to follow this logic and to insist instead on our immortality resulted in a series of experiments that carry on to the present day, some of which ravaged whole countries and some of which generated more private forms of pain. Don’t miss this compelling look at what it means to be human.