A Hopeful History
By Rutger Bregman
Bloomsbury Publishing – £18.00
In a ‘democracy,’ shamelessness can be positively advantageous. Politicians who aren’t hindered by shame are free to do things others wouldn’t dare. Would you call yourself your country’s most brilliant thinker, or boast about your sexual prowess? Could you get caught in a lie and then tell another without missing a beat? Most people would be consumed by shame – just as most people leave that last cookie on the plate. But the shameless couldn’t care less. And their audacious behaviour pays dividends in our modern mediacracies, because the news spotlights the abnormal and the absurd.
(‘How Power Corrupts’)
Does the above sound familiar?
Does the above not quintessentially underline the division (and hatred) that is currently rampant throughout the UK, which may partially underline the cold, callous murder of the MP David Amess last week?
I say this because there are now two very distinct sides in the UK: those who stand for what is morally decent and correct (those with a conscience). And those who don’t give a fuck (those in government – who do not have a conscience – presided over by the most dishonest, blatantly shameless and greed obsessed Prime Minister to have ever held office).
As such, does the above not depict the soon to be devolved United Kingdom’s current government, almost pristine perfectly?
Surely anyone with a beating heart will already know the answer, which is where this overtly important book comes into psychological power play.
Eye-opening, refreshing, brave, coherent, to the point and altogether socially valuable, Humankind – A Hopeful History, is the sort of read that will hopefully catapult the Dutch author and historian, Rutger Bregman, unto the topper-most annals of acute philosophical acknowledgement. And given where the United Kingdom is socially as well as economically heading (might disaster be the most appropriate term here?), its informed analysis is the only form of sought after hope left:
‘’This is a book about a radical idea.
An idea that’s long been known to make rulers nervous. An idea denied by religions and ideologies, ignored by the news media, and erased from the annals of world history.
At the same time, it’s an idea that is legitimized by virtually every branch of science. One that’s corroborated by evolution and confirmed by everyday life. An idea so intrinsic to human nature that it goes unnoticed and gets overlooked.
So what is this radical idea?
That most people, deep down, are pretty decent’’
(‘A New Realism’).
So there you have it: ‘’most people, deep down, are pretty decent.’’
Good to read, good to hear, and good to decipher by way of Bregman’s thoughtful, well structured and detailed explanation.
A place where science and morality intrinsically collide head-on.
The cathartic result being ‘’when we think the worst of others, it brings out the worst in our politics and economics too.’’ A quality, given Boris Johnson’s recent rancid – vacuous and disgraceful – speech at the Tory conference in Manchester, may well be considered to have been subliminally responsible for the appalling (and totally unnecessary) death of Amess.
Admittedly, this may be understandably hard to bear and assimilate, but it is what it is. Simply because Boris Johnson has no morals, no scruples and no shame.
Qualities which, according to Humankind, one ultimately needs in order to be decent.
Let alone run a country (into the ground).