Reviewed by Ian Mowll
I have not always been a fan of Russell Brand’s comedy; the little I heard did not strike a chord with me. And so I was surprised to read his book Revolution which is both refreshing and insightful.
Rather like the Court Jester of the Middle Ages who had the King’s ear – Russell Brand is the modern day Jester – telling us how things really are and prodding us to change.
For me, there are two main themes that run through the book. The first is the inequalities in the world. He points out that if we have the resources and imagination to do all of the wonderful things that humans have done, surely we have the ability to re-form our society to one of equality and environmental sustainability.
The second is that the answers to the world’s problems have to include a spiritual response. One based on peace and love. And that this starts with ourselves. He is adamant that we need a sense of the sacred so that we can see beyond our own personal (and therefore selfish) situation.
Regarding solutions, one of the key points he makes is that we need to take ownership of what happens in the world. He makes the obvious point that in a small group that is self-governing, no-one would put up with absurd inequality. So why do we let this happen on a big scale in society? It’s time to change the system that is perpetuating such vast disparity.
Russell Brand has read up on key thinkers and his outlook is surprisingly ‘GreenSpirit’. For instance, Joseph Campbell and Noam Chomsky are often quoted. He talks a lot about the need to protect the environment. He mentions evolution. And he talks about the mystical.
Brand’s writing is passionate, heart-felt and deeply honest. He knows that he has his flaws and he has no problem sharing them; including his difficulties with addictions. This, for me, gives the book a grounded feel – he is not talking as an untouchable guru but as a fellow struggler trying to make the world a better place.
I thoroughly enjoyed this book and I feel encouraged that change, practical and spiritual, is being called for from so many different quarters – Russell Brand included.