Jean-Claude Carrière, one of the most original and influential thinkers of our time, has written screenplays for such renowned filmmakers as Jacques Tati, Luis Buñuel and Nagisa Oshima. He is also a playwright and the author of many successful works, published by Editions Odile Jacob, including Fragilité, Tous en scène, Einstein, s’il vous plaît and L’Argent.
Jean-Claude Carrière’s aim is to understand the world we live in, its fears and idols. Following his earlier enquiry into one of those idols (money), he now analyses the role of belief in the world today.
His conclusion is uncompromising: religious belief is everywhere and all-powerful, while knowledge has retreated and continues to diminish. Scientists are always asking questions, while believers have no doubts. Faced with terrorism and fanaticism, we are defenceless. So many Nobel Prizes, so many triumphs, so many intellectual discussions — and in the end we are engulfed in the blindness and brutality of belief and believers.
How can we explain the march toward darkness, ignorance and violence? According to Jean-Claude Carrière one of the reasons is fear — fear of nature, of the future, of poverty, of solitude and of the multitude. Knowledge seems powerless to combat such fears: humans need to believe in a god and to hope in an afterlife.
• The author’s talent and erudition make this a unique work, backed by numerous philosophical, literary and scientific references.
• Current events (notably terrorism) confirm the author’s analyses.
• Included here is a careful analysis of such overused terms as fanaticism, fundamentalism, secularism, progress, obscurantism.
• A powerful, humanistic work to combat all forms of ignorance.