In Making Wonderful, Martin M. Tweedale tells how an ideology in the West energized an economic expansion that has led to ecological disaster. He takes us back to the rise of cities and autocratic rulers, analyzing how respect for custom and tradition gave way to the dominance of top-down rational planning and organization. Then in response came a highly attractive myth of an eventual future rid of all of humankind's ills, one in which life would be “made wonderful.” Originating in Zoroastrianism and, through Jewish apocalyptic works, flowing into early Christianity, this myth produced utopian beliefs that set the West apart from the other civilizations. Tweedale shows how these beliefs became popular among Western elites in the early modern period and eventually resulted in the distinctly Western doctrine of progress. This doctrine, an almost religious faith in the capacity of science and technology to improve human life, released economic expansion from traditional constraints and has led to our current environmental emergency. Exploring sources from philosophy, religion, and the history of ideas, Making Wonderful is for all readers who are intellectually curious about the roots of our eco-catastrophe.
About the author
Martin M. Tweedale holds a BA from Princeton and a PhD from UCLA, where he specialized in medieval and ancient Western philosophy. He has published extensively in these areas as well as metaphysics. Before coming to the University of Alberta, he taught at the University of Pittsburgh, UCLA, and the University of Auckland in New Zealand. A resident of Edmonton, he is a life-long supporter of efforts to preserve the natural environment.
"Making Wonderful stands out both for the breadth of historical scholarship and for the masterful manner in which Martin M. Tweedale shows how a plurality of distinct ideas came together to form an ideational whole whose effects far exceed those of its parts." Philip Rose, University of Windsor
"Making Wonderful is a vast, multi-disciplinary analysis of the ideological roots of the prevailing “eco-catastrophe” that locates it in certain dramatic shifts in the climate of ideas in European and European-colonial cultures. Martin M. Tweedale makes a compelling claim for the power of ideology and its cultural imaginary in his account of the roots of the ecological crisis." Jason M. Wirth, Seattle University