Granta Books, 2004 - 216 ページ
Gray sees our faith in progress - "the Prozac of the thinking classes" - as the illusion that underlies the most egregiously mistaken political and social policies of the present day. Certainly there is such a thing as progress, but it is a fact only in the realm of science, while "in ethics and politics it is a superstition". Throughout his work Gray hammers relentlessly against the notion, first advanced in the Renaissance and reified in the Enlightenment, that history moves inexorably in a straight line, and that human nature will necessarily improve as our knowledge accumulates. The prescience of his views on such topics as Iraq and Tony Blair's political career is remarkable. One does wonder what the magazine's readers made of the contention that Donald Rumsfeld's Hobbesian pragmatism is to be preferred to Bill Clinton's impulsiveness, that "in intellectual terms atheism is a Victorian fossil", or the baleful but gracefully expressed reminder that "the human animal is itself only a passing tremor in the life of the planet".