But all this is really only scratching the surface with Bloom’s books. I’ve isolated but a single strand in an intricately woven blanket for the brain. Bloom’s mind goes all over the place in his three tomes. He incorporates biology, anthropology, physics, history, economics, religion and philosophy, popular culture, and also personal memoir. And each read allows for new connections to be made. Bloom’s background is a whole other bizarre tale unlike any other science or nonfiction author:
“After graduating magna cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa from New York University, Bloom turned down four graduate fellowships and embarked on a 20-year-long urban anthropology expedition to penetrate what he calls “society’s myth-making machinery”–the inner sanctums of politics and the media. During his foray into “the dark underbelly of mass emotion” he edited a magazine which won two National Academy of Poets prizes, founded the leading avant-garde art studio on the East Coast, was featured on the cover of Art Direction Magazine, then gave up listening to Beethoven, Bartok, and Mozart to become editor of a rock magazine. Using correlational studies, focus groups, empirical surveys, ethnographic expeditions into suburban teen subcultures, and other scientific techniques, Bloom more than doubled the publication’s sales, and was credited by Rolling Stones’ Chet Flippo with having founded a new genre–the heavy metal magazine. Seeking still further ways to infiltrate modernity’s mass mind, Bloom formed a public relations firm in the music and film industry and won the confidence of those whose territory he’d invaded. The payoff in knowledge proved invaluable.
Bloom worked with Michael Jackson, Prince, John Cougar Mellencamp, Kiss, Queen, Bette Midler, Billy Joel, Joan Jett, Diana Ross, Simon & Garfunkel, The Talking Heads, AC/DC, Billy Idol, Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five, Run D.M.C., Simply Red, and the heads of many a media conglomerate. He was adept at spotting new subcultures, entering them, and helping their members achieve their goals…a skill which gave him an inside role in the rise of rap, disco, and punk rock.”
This entertainment-oriented background manifests in Bloom’s vibrant prose style. He writes more like my most exciting bloggers at NewsReal Blog – interweaving colorful language, metaphors, a sometimes casual voice, and artistic references – rather than a dry science author. With this combination of lively writing and groundbreaking ideas his books become addictive. As soon as I finished Beast my initial impulse was to just start at the beginning and read it again. The only reason I didn’t is because Lucifer Principle and Global Brain awaited. (But once I finished Global Brain I returned to the beginning of Beast again.)
Hanson’s dictums about war and human nature are entirely correct – but they are tragic and cannot win over America to defend itself. If we embrace them but dig deeper to their true root then we can unmask the natural forces that truly drive us. And in revealing them – and celebrating them — we can electrify a people to understand themselves and their potential for evolution. The path to a greater world lies not in the delusions of “progressive” utopianism but in the mandates of messianic capitalism. When a people can understand themselves and their civilization as the highest point of evolution then they can be energized to action.
Picking up Bloom’s map is the first step in that vital project.