Work will not set you free - Notes on Günther Anders – Franz Schandl

Work will not set you free - Notes on Günther Anders – Franz Schandl

An annotated synopsis of the views of Günther Anders on the question of “work” or “labor”, including numerous quotations from Anders published here in English for the first time (which the author claims “are undoubtedly among the most radical and best examples of the critique of labor that appeared during the 20th century”), along with many choice selections from his pithy observations regarding conformism, technology, “duty”, “the right to a job”, “the humanization of labor”, consumerism, television, sports, etc., which in many respects anticipate some of the ideas later advocated by Guy Debord and the situationists.

Work Will Not Set You Free: Notes on Günther Anders – Franz Schandl

Anyone who is really determined to do so and who is not completely without any intelligence can almost effortlessly gain access to the universe of this philosopher. The language of Günther Anders is not just magisterial but is also accessible in the best sense of the word, without ever becoming banal. There are many wide open doors in Anders; he never cloaks his observations in an aura of the illustrious and the sublime. His propositions, the themes he addresses, and even the literary forms he utilizes change according to the demands of the moment. His writing style does not fit into any particular genre.1 Anders was not limited, but he is also hard to classify.

Günther Anders was never a systematic thinker, and not just in the sense that he never sought to construct a philosophical system.2 His propositions are roughly sketched rather than analyzed in-depth. His work is not characterized by a lack of brevity, but by the fact that what is expressed briefly is not always expressed fittingly. This must not be understood as a reproach, however. The contradictory can often only be represented in a contradictory form. Yet his readers must pay very close attention to these contradictions, of which there are quite a few. One of them also pertains to our theme: fetishistic and critical passages with reference to labor appear, without any transition, in succession. We shall show that Günther Anders destroyed the myth of labor, on the one hand, but that he never managed to totally free himself of its ethos, on the other.

Considered from the methodological point of view, the category of “labor” therefore does not acquire sufficient differentiation, but just describes various aspects of human activity. This can sometimes create confusion. Hannah Arendt noted this problem in her Vita Activa,3 expressly distinguishing between labor, production and action. From the terminological point of view, this certainly has some advantages, although such a distinction can never be precise and leads to other problems. One must also keep in mind that in German, unlike English (“labor” and “work”), the concept of “Arbeit” includes, in a way, both meanings in everyday speech. The substantive “Werk” [meaning an oeuvre or a work of art, for example—American translator’s note] and the corresponding verb “werken” do exist, but they are almost never used in everyday speech.


We shall begin with Anders, the preserver of values. For this Anders, labor is the elementary and inevitable human activity, by definition. Only thus can the philosopher bring himself to say in the second volume of Die Antiquiertheit des Menschen (“The Obsolescence of Man”) that an “existence (Existenz) without labor” would be “a hellish existence (Dasein)”.4 The prospect of being restricted to leisurely inactivity is, for him, a terrible nightmare: “You would just sit on your ass with your mouth open watching television the rest of your life.”5 “But what I think is that man cannot live without labor, a circumstance to which he will soon be condemned, he is incapable of enduring around-the-clock entertainment …. The question is no longer how to equitably share the fruits of labor, but how to make the consequences of not working [Nichtarbeit] endurable.”6 Here Anders succumbed to the renowned affirmation of labor, and did so in a way that could not be more conventional. He unhesitatingly expounds Husserl’s views concerning the notion that man is “essentially” made for labor [“wesensmäßig” für das Arbeiten].7 Or, as it is expressed in everyday language: without work, man cannot live. Here, in fact, non-working [Nichtarbeit] is identified with inactivity [Nichttätigkeit].

Why? Is it not possible, instead, to be busy in a way that creates many things and to participate in practical activity, without being forced to perform a particular job? Does not the free disposal of one’s time begin precisely where the obligation to perform a certain activity ends? Does one have to represent not-working only as unemployment, can one not also think of it as a liberation from work? The formulations of Anders give the impression of myopia.

So Anders complains that nowadays “industriousness” is obsolete as a virtue.8 Industriousness (in Latin, industria), however, cannot be considered independently of the purpose for which it is mobilized. As an abstract standard of measurement, it has become one of those secondary virtues of such ill repute, and as a principle it is almost a public enemy. That industriousness should no longer be universally recognized is not a disadvantage. But that was not all: these days, they have robbed us of “the pleasure of effort”, the inescapable voluptas laborandi. We are deprived of the proof of existence that had previously been provided by labor: “I sweat, therefore I am”.9 Sports would therefore be the consequence of labor that was not heavy enough.10 In response to Anders we must say: I only want to be industrious if it appeals to me, if the purpose is not an end in itself. And I only want to sweat if I want to sweat. I also exist when I do not sweat. Everything that reeks of “the sweat of one’s brow” emanates a terrible odor.

The descriptions of Anders here assume the cast of hostility against pleasure. Thus, the philosopher also quite categorically expresses his animosity against “runners, swimmers and skiers”;11 he perceives them exclusively from the point of view of competition and standardization. He does not want to know anything about the fact that here certain reified moments may converge with non-reified ones. In sports, too, outside of the cult and mad quest for the perfect body [Fitnesswahn], if they are practiced in moderation and reasonably, the body obtains well being, while labor, due to the unilateral nature of its demands, is the primary cause of illness in the human organism. Not even mass sports can be reduced to the competitive dimension (which they undoubtedly possess). Nor should we view their character as a substitute exclusively as a prelude to war and annihilation. Such compensatory satisfactions cannot be sufficiently evaluated. Therefore, they do not have a merely destructive character. This applies to “sports” activities themselves as well as to their contemplation or viewing. One cannot even imagine what things would be like if human beings simply stopped doing all these things.

Up until this point, everything he says seems to be quite traditional. The biased cultural conservative cannot be ignored, but we must not just dismiss Anders as being anchored to these points. What the artist of exaggeration is exaggerating here is an aspect of a particular stage of development. His predilection for displaying the most regressive aspects clouds his vision of the whole. The method of illuminating individual aspects always leaves others submerged in darkness. This is problematic, above all, when a particular text is perceived as a rigid interpretation of a theme. Furthermore, it is also a disadvantage for any hermeneutic phenomenology. Its advantage, on the other hand, is based on the fact that, without very involved consideration or too-damning objections, he knows how to focus on certain aspects and can therefore achieve, amidst such a lack of balance, a high degree of clarity and “therefore” produce a high degree of meaningfulness.

Anyone who is familiar with the Andersian oeuvre beyond a few isolated passages knows, however, that for Anders it is always a matter of a life that can be lived, and by no means of the abolition of pleasures. “Rejoice”, “Rejoice because you are you”,12 we read in Gutenachtgeschichte für Liebende [“A Bedtime Story for Lovers”]. Against the Heideggerian Geworfenheit, Anders says in a totally optimistic tone: “What undeserved desserts, that the ‘throw’ [der Wurf] should have been aimed in this direction, and we should be what we have been!”. This gratitude is of even more value for our possibility of being free in our love; to be able to love whenever we want, that is, “not only when the duty of general service [Dienstpflicht] calls our generation to the ranks”.13


Günther Anders was, above all else, a meticulous observer: “My observations are always based on very concrete individual phenomena of our everyday life.”14 There was no detail that he could not subject to a meaningful interpretation. In this way he derived much from day-to-day events that had hardly even been theoretically conceived by others. “The window-washer is washing my windows—what do my windows matter to him? And those of his other customers, that he will wash tomorrow and the day after, content with not being unemployed? What could my suit mean to the dry-cleaner? And the suits of his customers, tomorrow and the day after? When I think that the majority of the population does not want to have any other kind of job, and that not only do they forbid themselves to even desire such a thing but they are even incapable of such a desire! And that not only are they all satisfied with having these jobs, because they mean non-unemployment [nicht-arbeitlosigkeit], but many of these people even strive with all their might to perform these jobs as well as they can, these jobs that do not concern them, that is, with that ‘waste of time’, in the most ‘loyal’ and ‘cheerful’ way possible, and therefore just as if the work they did on these jobs was ‘their’ labor.”15

After all, even though it does not really concern him, it is his job. The workers must identify with their jobs, since they need them to survive. In their nature as workers they remain indifferent: “The product of our labor is none of our business.”16 They do not have to think about their jobs, that is not the reason why their labor power was purchased. What matters, is that they work efficiently, and that the windows are clean, the suits are pressed and the tactical missiles are built. As persons who work they do not have to make any decisions about these matters. What they do on their jobs is, above all else, a means to make a living, and to make a living any means is justified.

In the Ketzereien [Heresies], on the so-called “blacklist”17 of trite concepts and clichés (“values”, “being”, “meaning”, “aura”, “truly”, “the intrinsic”, etc.) one also finds the “right to a job”. Anders observes: “If, despite the fact that I have been correctly called an ultra-leftist, I should be sceptical of this phrase, a phrase that is so easily accepted, do not dare to label me a ‘reactionary class enemy’. Only in the capacity of philosopher, I ask myself: where did we get this demand, this right? What is the nature of this ‘alleged right’?”18 This alleged right is rapidly revealed to be a duty. Today many socialists do not want to face the fact that socialism is something very different from a workplace with a responsibility to work where this work is also a duty. The left and the right both indulge in the apologetics of labor, and the left is no less fanatical with regard to this issue than the right. Only a handful such as Paul Lafargue and the Austro-Marxist Max Adler (1873-1937)19 can be mentioned as critics of labor. In this respect, Marx’s point of view is absolutely ambivalent, but we must keep in mind that his most well known statements on labor are those passages from the first volume of Capital, in which Marx presents labor as “an eternal nature-imposed necessity”.20 Marxism has also followed in the footsteps of this tradition. There are nonetheless many elements in Marx’s works that contradict this way of looking at labor. Moishe Postone has carefully examined this question in his book, Time, Labor and Social Domination.21

The quotations we presented above, however, show that Anders maintained throughout his life an inclination towards the heretical view of labor. His mission was not to defend labor, but to attack it. “When in the presence of G., a devotee of the work ethic, I mentioned in passing that work, compared to how long humanity has existed, has only existed for a relatively short time, this left him speechless.”22 Nor is this the only reason why labor cannot by any means be the determining factor of human nature, and that labor must instead be historically re-contextualized and cannot be considered as an anthropological constant. Nor did Anders foresee a prosperous future. The picture he paints is of the most somber nature: “For the levels of unemployment that are heading our way now, will make that other spell of unemployment that swept over us some fifty years ago look like child’s play. If you think about the fact that the unemployment of that time was one of the main causes of national socialism, then you might lack the courage to imagine what the next wave of unemployment has in store for us. It is not impossible that the gas chambers of Auschwitz (economically absurd in that period) might serve as models for the ‘solution’ of the problem posed by the fact that, compared with the number of jobs, ‘there are too many men’.”23

Anders writes: “Therefore, the postulate of full employment is all the less realizable as the technological level of a society rises.”24 “Today’s dialectic consists in this contradiction between rationalization and full employment. To say this openly will not make any politician renounce his avid devotion to this concept.”25 “Indeed, the products that we call ‘jobs’ are so important that the politicians, who never invent or organize anything, can just as well resign. There is no politician who has not promised something. Of course, it is also true that there are no politicians who can respond to the current dialectic, to the normalcy of a technology that is booming and a shrinking demand for workers, that is, for jobs.”26

Anders says here that there is a very close relation between labor and politics: labor as the constitutive element of capital and politics as its result proceed in tandem. To do so they only need approval. The task of politics and its personnel is to repeatedly renew the promise of or commitment to jobs [...]. The fact that it is becoming less and less possible to fulfill this promise is becoming more and more obvious every day, more obvious than it was 25 years ago, when Günther Anders published these lines. Thus, the fact that wage labor would become precarious, is something that the philosopher had already discerned during the years of full employment.


Language was very important to Günther Anders.27 Not only did he seek to write in a readable way, but for him writing also required using the correct terms or inventing new ones, and pointing out the false ones, that is, putting them on his blacklist.28 “Instead of availing themselves of the old and reliable word, ‘worker’ [‘Arbeiter’], they systematically say ‘employee’ [‘Arbeitnehmer’].29 Few current expressions are as starkly revealing as the expression ‘employee’ [‘Arbeitnehmer’]. Of course, the expression comes from the ‘employers’ [‘Arbeitgeber’]. And since it is more blessed to ‘give’ than to ‘receive’, we may observe that the expression ‘employer’ [‘Arbeitgeber’], which corresponds with the expression ‘employee’, even obtains something of a religious aura. In my youth there were only workers. They knew what they were worth, how they sold themselves and what was taken from them. And the war cry: ‘Employees [‘Arbeitnehmer’] of All Countries, Unite!’ would have resounded without being heard. Naturally, the workers, too, thought about ‘receiving’ (‘taking’), that is, they proposed to receive (take) the highest possible wage; and the socialists among them even proposed to do the same with the means of production. But the idea of taking the job, which in any event they already had (insofar as they were not unemployed), that is, a job that they already possessed, of course, such a thought never would have occurred to anybody. To the contrary, today many workers think it is honorable to work for one or another enterprise under contractual conditions that, falsely presented as something that is worth the trouble to ‘accept’, constitutes a total repudiation of the goals mentioned above. Due to this new label it is obvious that they have a feeling of pride, for having really ‘received’ something and of having really reached a summit: that is, the summit of social partnership [Sozialpartnerschaft]. The fact that this is the miserable summit of Mount Godes rather than the summit that their grandparents were aiming for one hundred years ago, not only do they not sense this, but they do not even want to sense it.”30

Here we may mention in passing that Frederick Engels had already protested, in the preface to Marx’s Capital, against “that gibberish in which, for instance, one who for cash has others give him their labour is called a labour-giver (Arbeitgeber) and one whose labour is taken away from him for wages is called a labour-taker (Arbeitnehmer)”.31

Since then, this elementary knowledge has been completely lost and is no longer the object of reflection, either in the workers movement or anywhere else. Günther Anders demonstrated, by means of a single false word, the intellectual bankruptcy of a whole perspective. With respect to this question he was implacable.

As precise and as radical as was his deconstruction of the monstrous concept of ‘employee’ [‘Arbeitnehmer’], his concept of the proletariat would be woefully vague and imprecise. According to his thesis, the proletarians will always be the most numerous class,32 which must reassure them in their struggle for liberty:33 Anders defines five non-freedoms [Unfreiheiten] in the original text of the third volume of Die Antiquiertheit des Proletariats [The Obsolescence of the Proletariat]. Besides the fact that the proletarians “do not possess their means of production”,34 they are also deprived of: “1) the decision-making power over what products should be produced; 2) the use of the final products; 3) the decision concerning their use; 4) their own opinion (even of any interest in having their own opinion) about the respective uses of their products; and 5) of labor (since this has been transformed into an activity that does not deserve this name).”35

The proletariat has been negatively determined: “Its lack of solidarity does not demonstrate the non-existence of the proletariat, but to the contrary defines its existence. A proletarian is someone who is prevented by his existence [Dasein] from conceiving the thought of solidarity.”36 Anders explicitly denounced the “imposed way of life, the obligation to consumerism, the solitude of the television”.37 He called those who led this kind of life “the proletarians who vegetate”.38 At one point in this text he even claimed: “Today’s worker is not free because he has too much time on his hands.”39 Ultimately, anyone who is obliged to consume is a proletarian.40 Does this rather excessive scope attributed to the concept of the proletariat, which was originally associated with private property in the means of production, and which at one time evoked classes and the class struggle, still retain any specific meaning? In this connection we must also consider the fact that Anders viewed class and the class struggle as obsolete.41 “There is no class consciousness of the endangered”, he wrote in Endzeit und Zeitenende [The Final Hours and the End of All Time].42


“To the extent that machine labor proceeds smoothly, this means: that it takes place without any friction between man and machine; to the extent that the man who works does so with the enthusiasm of a ‘convert’ and behaves like a ‘cog’ in the machine, to that same extent the ‘ego’ will never be there with him, and to this same extent the ego will never ‘be’, in principle, any kind of (an) ego. At the precise moment when conformism ceases to be satisfying, or when the pace of work slackens, the ego becomes ‘in itself’, only then does it find itself: that is, as something repugnant: as a ‘bothersome’ disturbance.”43 The encounter with himself seems here more like a disruption than like a functional dissonance. The worker is described here as a mask and not as a real individual: in labor man is literally outside of himself, he is a piece of the machinery of the enterprise [Betrieb] to which he belongs. With respect to the division of labor, we read: “That the style of our actual activity, that is, of our labor, has been radically transformed, concerning this there are no divergences of opinion. Except for a few forms of labor from the past that no longer really have any importance, the labor of today has been transformed into a form of ‘co-operating’ organized and implemented by the enterprise.”44 Activity has been transformed into operating and operating into co-operating. As a result each specialized worker is responsible only for the formal result of the task to which he has been assigned, while the process of production as a whole is not his responsibility. “The accentuation of the current division of labor no longer means anything but this: we as persons who labor and who act, are condemned to concentrate ourselves into small parts of the complete process: we are just as imprisoned in the phases of labor, to which we have been assigned, as are the prisoners in their cells.”45 Or, expressed more economically: “The division of labor makes people stupid.”46

“Thus, the enterprise is the place where the ‘media-saturated man without a moral conscience’ is produced; it is the place where conformists are born. It is only necessary for a man with these characteristics to be placed in another job, in another ‘enterprise’, in order to suddenly, without undergoing a total transformation, to become a monster; suddenly he fills us with horror; suddenly the suspension of his moral conscience, which was already a fait accompli, takes on the appearance of naked unscrupulousness, and the suspension of his sense of responsibility takes on the appearance of naked ‘moral insanity’. As long as we fail to recognize this, that is, as long as we do not recognize that today’s enterprise is the place that forges this kind of man and that the method of labor is the model of clockwork, we shall continue to be incapable of understanding the figure of the contemporary conformist; that is, we shall continue to be incapable of understanding what is happening to those ‘obstinate’ men who refuse to feel any sense of shame for participating in the above-mentioned processes or even to accept responsibility for the crimes in which they effectively ‘co-operate’.”47

Of course, the collaborator is the type of sympathizer who knows how to exculpate himself of all blame:48 “What should we have done?”, stammers common sense in the most diverse situations of life. Fascism, for example, was characterized by the fact that people accepted, even cheerfully, what was done to them, blindly and exaggeratedly identifying with it.

Suffering was perfected in such a manner that the victim would live without consciousness, yet enthusiastically, as if he were the executioner: “Total submission is enjoyed as total belongingness. The totally negative is enjoyed as the totally positive.”49 This is how Günther Anders characterizes national socialism in other texts.

Speaking of national socialism, who is not familiar with that phrase of such ill-repute: “I was only doing my duty!”? It does not matter what, it does not matter how, it does not matter for what purpose. There were some who did indeed “only” do their duty, not all criminals were criminals by conviction; some were in reality “only” office criminals. “The employee in the extermination camp did not ‘act’ but, however horrible this may sound, he worked.”50 “Since he is accustomed to activities in which a moral conscience is not required and given the fact that such a conscience is not wanted, either, he has no moral conscience. And this with the best conscience in the world.”51 The absence of moral conscience is a constitutive element of the job. Something has to be done, it does not matter what, or how, or for what reason. And when things get dangerous, one presents oneself as a subordinate and claims that one could not have acted in any other way, even if one had wanted to do so. The vicious circle of labor is closed.

“While it is the case today that there is a recognized equality, it resides precisely in the fact that all jobs have the same rights and as such are equal, and therefore they have the same value. Formulated in a moralistic way: this means that this equality is due to the fact that no job makes the worker more culpable than another, because no job can make anyone culpable.”52 “No job, no matter how evil its purpose, can taint the worker.”53 The job takes on the aspect of Edenic innocence. It is the conformist activity of the subject, an arbitrarily interchangeable activity, and not just in the obligatory transactions of the market where one buys and sells, but it is also the profound principle that pertains to all the actions, concepts and situations of life. “The world of the apparatus synchronizes in the most dictatorial manner, more irresistibly and more inexorably than terror, or the worldview of a dictator that presupposes terror, has ever been or ever will be able to do.”54

For Anders it was always obvious that he should think the same way about the employee of the extermination camps and the petty bourgeois of the technocratic era.55 The specific site of horror is, in its basic structure, a familiar place. The common feature shared by both the employee of the extermination camp and the worker of the technocratic era is the enterprise, or perhaps, to express it in the terminology of the digital age, the operating system [Betriebssystem].

As a result, for Anders it was almost a duty to oppose duty and not to submit to the pressures of circumstances. “He who, to the contrary, falls back upon the alleged duty to ‘do his job’, to focus on his job, in order to so narrow his gaze that he ‘looks neither right nor left’, is not only immoral, but is immoral as a matter of principle. To be moral means: to concern oneself with those things that, although they may be outside my purposes or the purposes established by others and even if they go beyond the job description as defined by the division of labor, are part of the sphere of my personal influence. To be moral means: to break through the frontiers or limits defined by the administration or division of labor; to concern oneself with something that ‘is not my affair’, even though this business that ‘is not my affair’ does not pose a threat to me nor is it harming me directly.”56 “You tell me what ‘you must do’, and I am going to tell you, what […] you must not do”,57 he says in his draft manuscript for the third volume of Die Antiquiertheit des Proletariats.

Although it may not be apparent at first sight, Günther Anders implicitly supports the analyses of Karl Marx: “The life-long speciality of handling one and the same tool, now becomes the life-long speciality of serving one and the same machine,”58 Marx wrote. “In handicrafts and manufacture, the workman makes use of a tool, in the factory, the machine makes use of him. There the movements of the instrument of labour proceed from him, here it is the movements of the machine that he must follow. In manufacture the workmen are parts of a living mechanism. In the factory we have a lifeless mechanism independent of the workman, who becomes its mere living appendage.”59 Men conceived as parts appurtenant to the machine and repetitive processes is also precisely the theme addressed by Anders. In Marx value determines itself as “automatic subject”.60 This also means, however, that the value of the commodity known as “labor power” creates automatic subjects in the form of men.

The reflections of Günther Anders presented in this article are undoubtedly among the most radical and best examples of the critique of labor that appeared during the 20th century. The essence of moral conformism, of the reduction of human existence to a function and a mask, originated in the monstrosity of labor. In the second volume of Die Antiquiertheit des Menschen, Anders speaks of the “intentional-negative structure of our current way of working”.61

“The universally popular discourse that proclaims the necessity for the ‘humanization of labor’ is thus dishonest, a contradictio in adjecto. Such humanization is no more possible than a humanization of war, since what such a demand presupposes would have to be humanized, here and everywhere else, includes a priori the principle of inhumanity.”62

Thus, the goal of labor is not defined by its decisive role in the “transition from ape to man” (Frederick Engels)63, but must be understood in a totally different way. Social liberation does not mean the liberation of labor itself, but the liberation from labor. In spite of all indications to the contrary: Work will not set you free.

Franz Schandl
December 31, 2007

Originally title: “Arbeit macht nicht frei. Eine kommentierte Zusammenschau zu Günther Anders”.

Translated in January 2014 from the Spanish translation available online at:

Spanish translation by Gerlinde Kössler; revised by Maria C. Maomed.

  • 1. Günther Anders, Philosophische Stenogramme (1965), Munich, 2002, pp. 132-133.
  • 2. Günther Anders, Die Antiquiertheit des Menschen. Über die Zerstörung des Lebens im Zeitalter der dritten industriellen Revolution, Munich, 1980, Vol. II, pp. 411 et seq. (Henceforth cited as “Vol. II”.)
  • 3. Hannah Arendt, Vita Activa (1958), Munich, 1981.
  • 4. Vol. II, p. 27.
  • 5. Ibid., p. 28.
  • 6. Ibid., p. 98.
  • 7. Ibid., p. 103.
  • 8. Ibid., p. 101.
  • 9. Ibid., p. 102.
  • 10. Ibid., p. 103.
  • 11. Ibid., p. 104.
  • 12. Günther Anders, Mariechen. Eine Gutenachtgeschichte für Liebende, Philosophen und Angehörige anderer Berufsgruppen, Munich, 1987, p. 79.
  • 13. Ibid., p. 36.
  • 14. Vol. II, p. 414.
  • 15. Günther Anders, Ketzereien (1982), Munich, 1991, p. 92.
  • 16. Vol. II, p. 364.
  • 17. Günther Anders, Ketzereien, pp. 130 et seq.
  • 18. Ibid., p. 134.
  • 19. Max Adler, Wegweiser. Studien zur Geistesgeschichte des Sozialismus (1914), Vienna, 1965, p. 202.
  • 20. Karl Marx, Capital, Volume I (1867), Chapter One, Section 2; see:
  • 21. Moishe Postone, Time, Labor and Social Domination. A Reinterpretation of Marx’s Critical Theory, Cambridge University Press, New York, 1993.
  • 22. Günther Anders, Ketzereien, p. 230.
  • 23. Vol. II, pp. 98-99.
  • 24. Ibid., p. 99.
  • 25. Ibid., pp. 99-100.
  • 26. Günther Anders, Sprache und Endzeit, IV, in FORVM, Vienna, October/November 1989, p. 41. [This is the text of the original manuscript for the third volume of Die Antiquiertheit des Proletariats (The Obsolescence of the Proletariat)].
  • 27. Günther Anders, Stenogramme, pp. 126, 131, 137-140.
  • 28. Günther Anders, Ketzereien, pp. 95 et seq., p. 107 et seq., p. 130 et seq. That Anders himself sometimes fell short of his goals in this respect can hardly be held against him. We cannot always extract ourselves from our customary use of language. For him, in any event, it was clear that we have to “distrust language” (p. 136).
  • 29. Günther Anders, Ketzereien, p. 262.
  • 30. Günther Anders, Visit Beautiful Vietnam, Cologne, 1968, pp. 130-131.
  • 31. Frederick Engels, Preface to the Third German Edition of Capital (1883); see:
  • 32. Vol. II, p. 93.
  • 33. Vol. II, p. 91; see also p. 174.
  • 34. Günther Anders, Die Antiquiertheit des Proletariats, FORVM, July 1992, p. 10. [This text is the original manuscript of the third volume of Die Antiquiertheit des Proletariats.]
  • 35. Ibid.
  • 36. Ibid., p. 7.
  • 37. Ibid.
  • 38. Ibid., p. 10.
  • 39. Ibid.
  • 40. Ibid.
  • 41. Ibid., p. 11.
  • 42. Günther Anders, Die atomare Drohung. Radikale Überlegungen (published in 1972 as Endzeit und Zeitenende), Munich, 1986, p. 61.
  • 43. Günther Anders, Die Antiquierheit des Menschen. Über die Seele im Zeitalter der zweiten industriellen Revolution, Munich, 1956, Vol. I, p. 91. (Henceforth referred to in the footnotes as Vol. I.)
  • 44. Vol. I, p. 286.
  • 45. Günther Anders, Wir Eichmannsöhne (1964), Munich, 1988, p. 48.
  • 46. Günther Anders, Sprache und Endzeit, III, FORVM, August/September 1989, p. 50. [This text is the original manuscript of the third volume of Die Antiquiertheit des Proletariats.]
  • 47. Vol. I, pp. 289-290.
  • 48. Vol. I, pp. 287-288.
  • 49. Günther Anders, Notstand und Notwehr. Das Ende des Pazifismus, FORVM, January/February 1987, p. 28.
  • 50. Vol. I, p. 291.
  • 51. Vol. I, p. 294.
  • 52. Günther Anders, Sprache und Endzeit, IV, p. 40.
  • 53. Günther Anders, Die atomare Drohung, p. 101.
  • 54. Vol. II, p. 205.
  • 55. Vol. II, p. 178.
  • 56. Günther Anders, Notizen aus dem Tagebuch. Heiratsannoncen, FORVM, April/June 1990, pp. 58-59.
  • 57. Günther Anders, Sprache und Endzeit, III, p. 51.
  • 58. Karl Marx, Capital, Volume I (1867), Chapter 15; see:
  • 59. Ibid.
  • 60. Karl Marx, Das Kapital. Zur Kritik der politischen Ökonomie, Volume I (1867), MEW, Vol. 23, p. 169. [This particular expression does not appear in the English translations of Capital; see, however, Volume I, Part II, Chapter Four, The General Formula for Capital (available online at:, where value is described as having “an automatically active character”, and as being “an end-in-itself” and “self-expanding value”, and that its “movement” is “automatic expansion”—American Translator’s note.]
  • 61. Vol. II, p. 362.
  • 62. Vol. II, p. 363.
  • 63. Frederick Engels, “The Part played by Labour in the Transition from Ape to Man” (1876), included in The Dialectics of Nature (first published in English in 1934); English translation available online at: