A short but comprehensive plan for a sustainable future.
This latest book from Taylor (Embracing Reality, 2017, etc.) begins with an arresting big-picture view of the difficulty of addressing major societal problems: Humanity is, for the most part, technologically progressive and always striving to go from one mechanical advancement to the next, but it’s also often socially conservative and unwilling to embrace wholesale ideological change: “Nearly every problem that threatens civilization today,” Taylor writes, “from suicide bombings and wars—to pollution and overpopulation, can be traced directly or indirectly back to the disparity that exists between progressive technological development and conservative social behavior.” Taylor stresses that many of the world’s current difficulties, from violence to rampant environmental degradation, demand a change to the latter, or “comprehensive global interdependency and cooperation.” Over the course of this book, the author identifies organized religion as the foremost proponent of conservative social behavior. He concentrates his analysis on the three major Abrahamic religions and spends the bulk of his book providing a rational, and highly readable, logical deconstruction of such things as the Old Testament story of Noah’s flood. Taylor effectively relates his ideas with compassion; his goal doesn’t appear to be to antagonize the religious, but to convince them, and other readers, that progressive social behavior is necessary if humanity is to survive long-term. Only by embracing reason, he asserts, can humanity embrace commonality, which it must in order to face its many problems. On the whole, Taylor shows himself to be an engagingly passionate writer. However, the balance of his book feels a bit off; he does clearly address some major issues, such as overpopulation and unsustainable production of factory-farmed meat. However, because he devotes so much space to religious analysis, these and other discussions feel somewhat cursory, and thus unsatisfying.
An empathetic but awkwardly organized call for humanity to overcome an overly conservative mindset.