Author: Michael Scott
This book started as an analysis of the heroic fallacy but became several other kinds of story. Primarily, the portrait of a protracted breakdown in the author Michael Scott’s psychological and physical make-up, although he struggles hard not to go under, making his account more useful for others to read. It’s neither pathological, nor self-indulgently self-pitying.
There are useful accounts of coping strategies, particularly appropriate to age-related weakness and physical infirmity, especially when their onset is sudden as it was for Scott.
The book focuses on puzzling features of human behaviour, and whether the species Homo sapiens is anything like the triumphant evolutionary achievement we pretend it to be. We are repeatedly warned about our anthropic megalomania, amply illustrated by unflinching description of the author’s own egotism.
Two other primary considerations in the book are consciousness and love. Scott questions the airy assumptions made about consciousness, arguing that it is fundamentally unknown and unanalysable. He claims that consciousness is part of life itself, and possibly non-living systems too. He evidences Daniel Dennett writing that the human brain creates a “narrative of consciousness”, Scott believes the universe itself is the set of brain-narratives we choose to regard as ‘reality’.
As for love, Scott is a passionate advocate of it as the only saving grace in our collective and individual behaviour: the supreme brain-narrative, but believes that we are superficial and hypocritical in our attempts to give love its full majesty.
In a vivid sense, therefore, The Fifth Revelation becomes a love story. Scott’s deeply cherished wife of sixty years marriage died a short time after the book was finished.