Being a Human: Adventures in 40,000 Years of Consciousness by Charles Foster - review by Tom Whyman

Tom Whyman

Roadkill for Tea

Being a Human: Adventures in 40,000 Years of Consciousness


Profile Books 400pp £16.99

There is a sketch in Chris Morris’s monstrously unsettling 2000 series Jam in which Morris plays a very posh man who has decided to live outside. The man stands wistful and weather-beaten, deriding the useless comforts of beds and central heating as he describes skinning dead blackbirds and fighting cats for food. Sometimes, he tells us, he thinks he might just come in at any point, have a nice warm bath and a ‘plate of eggs’. But ‘one can’t really indulge that sort of thought, it’s dangerously persuasive’. At least, he reasons, he won’t have to live like this for very long: ‘I imagine being picked off by a sharp frost in the winter.’

If that Morris sketch hadn’t been comedic but instead the starting point for a serious philosophical enquiry, then the finished product would probably have ended up being something like Being a Human by the writer, veterinarian, barrister and philosopher Charles Foster. Being a Human is a ‘travel book’

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