A journey through the unintended consequences of mankind's greatest ideas and creations
From the first spark of consciousness, we humans have had a unique gift - the gift of ideas.
We've used these ideas to improve the condition of our lives; to elevate ourselves beyond our natural state to supposedly ever greater levels of wisdom and wellbeing. The cumulation of these ideas, spread over thousands of years, is what we call “progress”.
Literacy, agriculture, houses, urbanisation, long-distance travel, microwaves, medicine, careers, alarm clocks, beds and bubblegum - our lives are built on a thick and tangled foundation of such innovation; a foundation which grows more knotted with every passing year.
Never do we question whether any of this is worth it. Never do we question whether progress does, indeed, move us forward.
But what if it’s an illusion?
What if, after thousands of years of striving, our only achievement has been greater suffering, sickliness, and angst than where we began?
This is the provocative idea behind The Human Law. It presents a startlingly simple explanation for why all creations of man’s intellect - no matter how brilliant they may appear on the surface - will by definition produce a web of unintended consequences harmful to both him and the world around him; often setting off a chain reaction that is traceable across thousands of years of human development.
Sometimes the consequences are direct enough for us to discern easily. For example the connection between the unnatural idea of smoking and the potentially resulting cancer. Yet more often the links will be subtle or indirect, such as how the adoption of chairs has gradually crippled our mobility, or how our decision to become the first mammal to voluntarily leave its natural habitat has subjected our bodies and minds to a range of challenges they are ill-adapted to handle. Even obvious “goods” which are universally celebrated, such as literacy or medicine, do not work in quite the benevolent way we assume.
Weaving religion, philosophy, ecology, and science, The Human Law will unravel the world that we take for granted, letting readers see behind the curtain of their own lives; tracing their everyday behaviours all the way back to the dawn of consciousness, and discovering how we now suffer the consequences of every seemingly constructive idea of the past 100,000 years.
On their journey they will find out:
- Why our greatest historical moments of progress were actually acts of regress
- How agriculture has ruined our sex lives
- Why it takes more effort to be unhealthy than healthy
- Why the major religions share a consistent scientific underpinning
- And why many of our everyday actions we consider “natural” are in fact far from it
Beyond this, the book will also outline a strategy for dealing with the consequences of our ideas. A radical and counter-intuitive form of decision making that has the power to transform your wellbeing, and that of the world around you.
Accessible and lucid, The Human Law will extract a truth that runs like a thread through millennia of thinking - from aboriginal origin stories, to the Bible, to the Tao Te Ching, to The Unabomber Manifesto - and will lay it out bare and raw, challenging the dominant orthodoxy of our age: the brilliance of human thinking.
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