a burden which has afflicted two hundred generations. Does it not weary you?
Though you lay it down in death, our children will have shouldered it from the moment we
led them by the hand out into the world. Shall we leave them in servitude to futility?
The Mechanism; an ill force, more powerful than you could begin to imagine;
more pervasive, more dangerous than you could dream. It is why a religion as gentle as
Christianity impaled babes on the lances of the crusades and burned tens of thousands at the stake;
it brought forth the final solution and the gulag; it is why so many people in our time are dispossessed,
warring, hungry, or, in the midst of plenty and esteem, without purpose or true happiness;
it is why the tides of alcoholism, drug abuse and crime are rising about us;
it insinuates itself into all of our relationships, sometimes subtly poisoning them.
When forty years ago leaders and thinkers worried what we should do with all the
leisure and ease which advancing technology would bring, now, we many toil harder,
longer, less rewarding hours, often in ignoble work.
There are many perspectives on the modern world and if yours is privileged and content it is not my
mission to diminish yet the sum of human happiness and well being by disturbing you.
This book is best consumed in hunger: for an understanding of all the dysfunction, injustice, strife,
servitude, lack of meaning and the danger which afflicts humanity at every level of society throughout
We offer £10,000 to the first person to refute the claim that The Mechanism is the most important idea
in the world. Do not buy the book hoping for this material gain. The claim is probably incontestable.
It is a guarantee rather than an offer; an encouragement to read the book both receptively and critically.
Any refutation must start out from the sole premiss that human happiness and well being is fundamentally
important (this requirement would exclude, for example, arguments founded in religious faith, which,
whatever their merits, would involve additional premisses).
You are offered no new empirical knowledge; but the key to assemble the components of a certainty
which already lie within you, as they have lain unconstructed in the minds of every generation of
questing intellect for the last five thousand years. We, like the billion children in our world who are
at risk from conflict, hunger and poverty, are the cheated heirs to five thousand years of progress.
Herein lie the seeds of our remedy and boundless hope for our future.