Many of us who deployed to Iraq naively thought we were doing the right thing.... This feeling was so persuasive that it led to many troops feeling that the Iraqis were somehow ungrateful when they started to shoot at us for invading their country (emphasis added).
The myth of progress was a key theme of Gray’s bestseller Straw Dogs.... There he attacks what he believes is the illusory faith that our species is apart and above the rest of nature, uniquely privileged in the Universe with the gifts of self-consciousness and reason. He attacks the idea of "humanity," saying that "there are only humans, driven by conflicting needs and illusions." Due to the plurality of human needs and illusions, it’s utopian to imagine that any one political system or social order could be universally good for all. For Gray, human nature is an inherent obstacle to advancing ethical or political progress. There’s no end of history as was once proclaimed when the Cold War finished and US hegemony was assured. Instead, our ceaseless attempts to try to find some meaning to life invariably drive us into the embrace of religious belief systems and their secular imitations – and, consequently, to continual conflict. Writing in 2020, Gray highlights that, throughout history "killing and dying for nonsensical ideas is how many human beings have made sense of their lives," and notes the irony of attempting immortality through death.
"All of humanity’s problems stem from man’s inability to sit quietly in a room alone."