Christopher Coker

Bella, Horrida Bella

War in Human Civilisation

By

Oxford University Press 848pp £25 order from our bookshop

‘Consider the cattle, grazing as they pass you by,’ Nietzsche asked his readers in his first major essay, ‘On the Uses and Disadvantages of History for Life’: ‘they do not know what is meant by yesterday or today.’ Animals have no history; they only have evolution. We have a history, or, what’s more important, historicity. Our understanding of what it is to be human is tied to our understanding of what we might yet ‘become’. We are not finished, or even perfectible beings. Our interest in ourselves is rooted in our intuitive sense that of all species on the planet we are the only one whose future is still open. 

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