In Sunday’s New York Times Magazine (free registration required), Deborah Solomon had some questions for Peter Watson, author of the new book, “Ideas: A History of Thought and Invention, from Fire to Freud”. I was taken by his response to this question:
Solomon: On the other hand, not all big ideas are good ideas. In fact, most big ideas are probably terrible ideas. What do you think is the single worst idea in history?
Watson: Without question, ethical monotheism. The idea of one true god. The idea that our life and ethical conduct on earth determines how we will go in the next world. This has been responsible for most of the wars and bigotry in history.
Amazon offers the book as a $7.95 PDF download; I think I’ll sample it that way.