Ancient Medieval Literature

Black Mass: How Religion Led The World Into Crisis by John Gray

By John Gray

Interesting, enlightening, and epic in scope, Black Mass appears to be like on the ancient and glossy faces of Utopian ideology: Society’s Holy Grail, yet at what price?

During the final century worldwide politics was once formed via Utopian tasks. Pursuing a dream of an international with no evil, strong states waged conflict and practised terror on an unparalleled scale. From Germany to Russia to China to Afghanistan, complete societies have been destroyed.

Utopian ideologies rejected conventional faiths and claimed to be dependent in technology. They have been really secular types of the parable of Apocalypse–the trust in a world-changing occasion that brings heritage, with all its conflicts, to an finish. The conflict in Iraq used to be the final of those makes an attempt at making a secular Utopia, promising a brand new period of democracy and generating blood-soaked anarchy and an rising theocracy instead.

John Gray’s robust and scary new publication argues that the loss of life of Utopia doesn't suggest peace. as a substitute it portends the resurgence of historic myths, now in overtly fundamentalist types. Obscurely combined with geo-political struggles for the keep an eye on of ordinary assets, apocalyptic faith has lower back as an incredible strength in international conflict.

From the Hardcover edition.

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All money, gold and silver had to be handed over. The doors of houses had to be left open at all times. Under the leadership of a former apprentice tailor Jan Bockelson (otherwise known as John of Leyden) these measures were taken further. Private ownership was forbidden and direction of labour introduced along with capital punishment for a wide range of offences. Wives who refused to obey their husbands could be put to death – as could adulterers, who included anyone who married outside the Anabaptist community.

These claims were fraudulent but the use of pseudo-science did not stop with the collapse of totalitarianism that culminated with the dissolution of the USSR in December 1991. It continued in neo-conservative theories that claimed the world is converging on a single type of government and economic system – universal democracy, or a global free market. Despite the fact that it was presented in the trappings of social science, this belief that humanity was on the brink of a new era was only the most recent version of apocalyptic beliefs that go back to the most ancient times.

Utopianism was a movement of withdrawal from the world before it was an attempt to remake the world by force. In the nineteenth century, utopian communities were established by a number of religious reformers and ethical socialists. John Humphrey Noyes (1811–86)– an ordained minister who believed he had reached a condition of sinless union with God – set up the Oneida community in upstate New York in 1848 to embody the principles of ‘Christian perfectionism’, ‘Bible communism’ and ‘complex marriage’.

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