In the two decades since his masterpiece Straw Dogs urged us to radically rethink our understanding of human nature, John Gray has proven time and again that political philosophy has a far more important role to play than simply shoring up our existing ideals and beliefs, revealing a radically new, iconoclastic, and profound vision of the world in our time.
Now he joins David Baddiel live on stage and via livestream to share a new understanding of the 2020s: with all its contradictions, moral horrors, and disappointments.
Inspired by and building upon the work of Thomas Hobbes – another iconoclastic philosopher who unsettles and challenges our world view, coldly exposing our political and ethical vanities – Gray will offer a powerful meditation on historical and current folly.
The collapse of the USSR ushered in an era of near-apoplectic triumphalism in the West: a genuine belief that a rational, liberal, well-managed future now awaited humankind and that tyranny, nationalism and unreason lay in the past. Since then, so many terrible events have occurred and so many poisonous ideas flourished, and yet still our liberal certainties treat them as aberrations which will somehow dissolve away. Hobbes would not be so confident.
As a species we always seem to be struggling to face the reality of base and delusive human instincts. Might a more self-aware, realistic and disabused ethics help us all?