No, despite the title, this isn't a self-help book But You Can't Be Serious does lay foundations of hope and help for a civilization that seems bent on losing its purpose. Ranging through disciplines as diverse as science, economics, philosophy, poetry and religion in inimitably informal and conversational fashion, You Can't Be Serious involves the reader in shaping a take on the future that offers fresh coherence, meaning and delight.
"Lots of wisdom ... I will be sharing in my sermons and in worship." --Richard C. Choe, Coordinating Minister, Grace United Church & St. Paul's United Church, Brampton, Ontario
" Paterson's] life as a journalist and an academic outlier ensure lively readability, and with just enough rigour to set the pace for careful response. And that's exactly what he asks of the reader. Careful, considered response. He doesn't propose easy solutions, but he does propose an excellent method for living. From the Introduction this: 'It comes down to a choice far more complicated and difficult than it might seem: a choice between raw fear and unqualified trust. Fear, it seems to me, has botched hope for far too much of human history: unqualified trust has rarely been given a fair go. Trust in what? That's a good question. But I'd also want to ask "fear of what?" My answer to both questions has to be: "I don't know." I do know, though, that fear inhibits while trust liberates. And living in trust is not only more motivating and energizing than living in fear: it's heaps more fun. Curiosity takes me further when I trust.' The later chapters in the book] reflect the author's] personal life as a peripatetic story-teller, an almost gyspy journalist, whose vast range of travels as the editor of an international piping magazine (made in Scotland) pull together streams of influence about culture and story-telling. He is a very, very well-travelled author and it is in this confluence of analysis of culture, religion, and story-telling that Mike Paterson's book becomes readable to the extent I didn't want to put it down." --David Bell, All Things Literary Book Review
FROM THE AUTHOR'S INTRODUCTION:
That the world's not what it was should be no surprise. What is surprising is that human activities now enfold complexities that, even if we don't understand them, seem certain to decide the fate of every living organism. We need to know that the future's now our inescapable responsibility. Not one cubic centimeter of the biosphere, atmosphere or ocean depths remains wholly untouched or unaffected by human interventions of one kind or another. Nuclear power, mass extinctions, the impacts of fertilizers, forestry, fossil fuels, and new materials: the evidence is indelibly laid down, even now, in the geological record. And, as each intervention has rippled through the whole, it's triggered unforeseen changes in places none of us have ever thought to look. Change begets more change, changes interact with each other and permeate things we never meant to mess with. And the tide's rising.
The old crusade to wrest control from nature's whim, one that's long preoccupied Western cultures, has reached its "Jerusalem." And, like all victories, the outcomes, intentional and coincidental, aren't quite what we hoped or expected.
It's a bit embarrassing really. Our bluffs, our boasts of unimpeachable intellect, are all being called into question.
So what's next?