Civilisation at risk: Naipaul

The Nation - Wednesday, April 07, 2004

The 2001 Nobel laureate for literature, Sir VS Naipaul, is back in Thailand – this time to deliver an alarming message.

In an interview with The Nation, the 72-year-old master of the novel and short story said human civilisation faces a heightened threat.

“What concerns me is the strange combination of high technological advance and very low intellectual development. It’s made me feel our civilisation is very fragile,” he said.

“Probably with the touch of some violent finger, it can collapse. Things can collapse. Things can disappear. I feel the art of civilisation can disappear; the Muslim world, for example, has lost it for about 1,000 years.”

Naipaul, who was last here four years ago, will speak on Muslim fundamentalism in non-Arab countries.

Today he will read from his book “Beyond Belief” at the Foreign Correspondents Club at 7.30pm. At 2pm tomorrow he will read at Chulalongkorn University. The readings are part of a series organised by the International Peace Foundation. Our full interview with Naipaul will be published on Sunday.