The Soul of the Marionette - A Short Enquiry into Human Freedom
In The Soul of the Marionette, John Gray draws together the religious, philosophic and fantastical traditions that question the very idea of human freedom. We flatter ourselves about the nature of free will and yet the most enormous forces - biological, physical, metaphysical - constrain our every action. Many writers and intellectuals have always understood this, but instead of embracing our condition we battle against it, with everyone from world conquerors to modern scientists dreaming of a 'human dominion' almost comically at odds with our true state. This is a stimulating and enraging meditation on everything from cybernetics to the fairground marionettes of the title.
A generous and energising tumble of ideas...he is inventive and penetrating -- Galen Strawson Financial Times Like Isaiah Berlin with a thing for sci-fi -- Tibor Fischer The Spectator We might believe that we are on a voyage towards a future of perfect freedom, but Gray is here to tell us that we are really only going round in circles, repeating ancient heresies, and retelling old myths in modern cant -- Stephen Cave Literary Review Gray must be one of the best read of contemporary philosophers, trawling insouciantly through high-, middle- and low-brow literature with the sharp-eyed eclecticism of a magpie of genius -- John Banville The Guardian A brain-twisting meditation on freedom...a brief, elliptical inquiry designed to raise more questions than anyone could answer Kirkus Reviews
John Gray is the author of a number of highly regarded and controversial books, including False Dawn, Straw Dogs and, most recently, The Silence of Animals. He has taught at Oxford, Harvard, Yale and the LSE. John Banville described The Silence of Animals as 'a marvellous statement of what it is to be both an animal and a human in the strange, terrifying and exquisite world in which we straw dogs find ourselves'.