I found this book hard to read and hard to follow. I felt like he would make a point and them talk so much about it that he either lost his point or wound up disagreeing with himself by the end of it.
- On page 28 Bruckner talks about how inaction when faced with other people’s misery is as bad as personally causing that person misery. Admittedly, when one community has the ability to help another in need, then I would say there is a moral obligation to do so, but I’m not sure how well this applies on a personal level. He’s talking about people in first world countries and people in third world countries I’m assuming, but on an individual level, people from a first world country are still pretty limited in what they can personally offer to people in other countries.
- On page 42 he makes a good point in saying that ‘the goal is to alarm us, but we are merely disarmed’. When the predictions for the future are so pessimistic, it leads to despair rather than invigorating action. However, he doesn’t offer any solutions to the problem other than ‘be more afraid, but the right kind of afraid’ (as long as I’m understanding his right and I’m not sure I am). I think in order for people to become active they need to be given hope so that they can know that any action they take does matter and the apocalypse isn’t totally inevitable.
- On page 83, I like the quote ‘it obeys its own laws and we would be wise to learn them, the better to avoid succumbing to them’. This does go against the idea that nature is described with sorcery nowadays that he had argued earlier and dismisses any idea that nature has a vendetta or agenda. However, the idea that we need to learn the laws of nature is already being applied. It’s called science.