Everyone thinks they want to be free – or do they?
John Gray’s thought-stirring new book on freedom draws together insights from Gnosticism, science fiction, ancient sacrifice and the occult to show that freedom is an illusion and that, like fairground puppets, humans dream of escaping the burden of choice altogether.
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.