Straw Dogs: Thoughts on Humans and Other Animals  

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Human life has no more meaning than the life of slime mould.”--Straw Dogs: Thoughts on Humans and Other Animals (2002) by John Gray


"All religions, nearly all philosophies, and even a part of science testify to the unwearying, heroic effort of mankind desperately denying its own contingency." --Jacques Monod, Chance and Necessity


"Humans on the Earth behave in some ways like a pathogenic organism, or like the cells of a tumour or neoplasm. We have grown in numbers and disturbance to Gaia, to the point where our presence is perceptibly disturbing ... the human species is now so numerous as to constitute a serious planetary malady. Gaia is suffering from Disseminated Primatemaia, a plague of people." --Healing Gaia: Practical Medicine for the Planet, James Lovelock


"Humanism is a secular religion thrown together from the decaying scraps of Christian myth."


"The proof that man is the noblest of all creatures is that no other creature has ever denied it." --Lichtenberg


"In any case, only someone miraculously innocent of history could believe that competition among ideas could result in the triumph of truth. Certainly ideas compete with one another, but the winners are normally those with power and human folly on their side. When the medieval Church exterminated the Cathars, did Catholic memes prevail over the memes of heretics? If the Final Solution had been carried to a conclusion, would that have demonstrated the inferiority of Hebrew memes?"

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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.

Straw Dogs: Thoughts on Humans and Other Animals (2002) is a critique of humanism, a medieval ideal, by the British philosopher John N. Gray.

From the publisher:

From Plato to Christianity, from the Enlightenment to Nietzsche, the Western tradition has been based on the belief that humans are radically different from other animals. Straw Dogs is an exhilarating, sometimes disturbing book that explores how the world and human life look once humanism has been finally abandoned. Taking inspiration from art, poetry, the frontiers of science, and philosophy itself, John Gray argues that the belief in human difference is an illusion and offers instead a posthumanist view of the world.
John Gray upholds Schopenhauer as one of the few philosophers who has dedicated himself to studying Eastern philosophy as well as Western philosophy. The book argues against free will, and states that humans have much more in common with animals than is commonly admitted in the West. Schopenhauer is praised for his attitude towards animals, and for having addressed the brutality of much of human life.

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