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The Age of Nothing

ebook / ISBN-13: 9780297859857

Price: £14.99

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The closing months of 2008 saw the world’s nations united in financial uncertainty. Amid endless reports of collapsing stock markets, failed banks, fiscal fraud and snowballing unemployment, THE AGE OF NOTHING offers a compelling insight into the demise of capitalism and the beginning of a new era.

Peter Watson’s scintillating thesis argues that the unprecedented credit crunch of 2008 was the result of a fundamental change in the fabric of society – one that became truly visible only as it reached its culmination.

In a commanding narrative, Watson provides a historical perspective on the shift in our attitudes towards capitalism, while exploring the philosophical roots that underpin it. Of central importance in Watson’s theory is Nietzsche’s warning regarding mankind’s responsibility for ‘the death of God’ – and the consequences thereof. Nietzsche’s views on the frailty of human values in a world bereft of religious faith were echoed by writers including Tolstoy, Marx and Kandinsky – and his chilling message went on to resonate with thinkers throughout the 20th century. When Max Weber called the modern world ‘disenchanted’, and argued that society must choose to create a new value system based on knowledge or else surrender and embrace a religious faith, he was the latest in a long line of intellectuals attempting to address the problem Nietzsche had laid bare.

With the arrival of THE AGE OF NOTHING, the line continues. The work fills a crucial gap in our intellectual history and serves as a comprehensive study of society’s current predicament – as well as a timely answer to the question of what to do next.


his erudition is formidable
The beauty of this book is Watson's ability to impose order on a riot of ideas.
This book will appeal to anyone with intellectual curiosity about the human condition and the development of ideas. It will especially appeal to the non-religious reader. This isn't a book about, or even particularly in defence of atheism as a worldview, but it sets out objectively a history of non-religious thought that covers everything from science to poetry, incorporating philosophy, the rise of new age 'spiritualism' and therapy.
I recommend this book to anyone who needs to know what the loss of religious faith has meant to the high culture of our civilsation and what, if anything, we might do about it.... (it) covers a whole century of intellectual endeavour as lightly as it can.
In a vividly engaging conspectus of the formative ideas of the past century, The Age of Nothing shows how Nietzsche's diagnosis evoked responses in may areas of cultural life, including some surprising parts of the political spectrum.
I would not wish to have missed The Age of Nothing by Peter Watson, a brisk 565 pages on the displacement of God from Western Culture.
There is much in this book that I did not know, and I am grateful to have learnt it.
Theodore Dalrymple, THE TIMES