What one can do is absorb and act on the insight that events which we’ve been taught are abnormal are in fact normal and that normal collapses, normal breakdowns, normal crises occur within most human lives.
I know that human history is cyclical. So how can I use that in my own life? How can I get practical value from the insight that history consists of a series of cycles in which, although there are new inventions and new types of human knowledge, although those grow cumulatively and perhaps even in an accelerating way phenomena, events, episodes like wars, regime changes, economic crashes recurrently occur - how can I make use of it?
You need to make a decision about how much thought and anxiety you’re going to invest in an attempt to prolong your life, which may be thwarted by the normal contingencies of human history.
I'm not hugely convinced of the possibility of controlling one’s individual life. After all, let me give you an example from the social and political realm. If you are a Central European rather than an American or an English person of a certain age today - let’s say you were 70 or 80 - you have lived not through one political regime, but through three or four or five.
By occupying or inspecting or exploring other views of the world you can potentially identify some of the blind spots in our own views.
Some people will tell you to base your life on the assumption that the future will be like the past, not in the sense that it will really be like the past, that’s to say full of abrupt discontinuities and sudden shifts, but a kind of linear extension of certain trends of growth or improvement in the past. Your best weapon against that is skeptical doubt. It’s really vigilant doubt.
A background in general education enables you to approach what is on the Web and determine that some things are just impossible, pure nonsense.
You can only dig through the junk on the Web if you have a good general education. One of the problems with education now is I think it's too selective to start with. Getting a background in history, a background in human thought, a background in mathematics, a background in basic science, enables you then to approach what is on the Web and determine that some things are just impossible, pure nonsense.
Gray sees volition, and hence morality, as an illusion, and portrays humanity as a ravenous species engaged in wiping out other forms of life. Gray writes that 'humans ... cannot destroy the Earth, but they can easily wreck the environment that sustains them.'