At least some autonomy

In his brilliant and demented new book, Being a Beast, Charles Foster writes:

The fact that we have at least some autonomy is awesome and intimidating. We’re used to thinking that autonomy is most critically on trial in dramatic, occasional situations — such as choosing the right to assisted suicide. But surely it’s the day-to-day choices that are the most terrifying and repercussive. Listen: you can choose whether to get up early, run round a field, have a cold bath and then read Middlemarch. Or stay in bed and watch Shopping TV. That’s astonishing. I can never get over it.

This is Escapological. It’s amazing that we can choose left or right all on our own, that this is simply part of our inheritance of evolution. It’s even crazier that we don’t appreciate it in the quotidian way he describes. I think it’s part of what keeps us going to work and ironing shirts instead of doing interesting things like, as in Foster’s case, digging a hole and living as a badger.

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Robert Wringham is the editor of New Escapologist. He also writes books and articles. Read more at

2 Responses to “At least some autonomy”

  1. Reggie says:

    Rob, I was reading this very extract on the train the other day, as it appears in the latest Fortean Times, and I thought I must send it through to himself.

  2. It was a really fun book. He didn’t really achieve what he set out to do, but it was a noble failure and he was such good company as an author. Millions of ideas.

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