Now, for the first time in English translation, The Obsolescence of Man, Volume II, in its entirety, by Günther Anders, first published in Germany in 1980, an indispensable “philosophy of technology” by one of the most insightful philosophers and social critics of the 20th century, more relevant now than ever, the result of over twenty years of considerations “On the Destruction of Life in the Epoch of the Third Industrial Revolution”, featuring essays on consumerism, automation, work, leisure, “meaning”, totalitarianism, conformism, mass culture, sports, religion, surveillance, fascism, ideology, history, science fiction, art, “happenings”, psychotherapy, drugs, and more.
A relentless denunciation of the concept of “progress”, tracing its ideological roots to Saint Augustine and then to Turgot, its use in the Enlightenment as a two-edged weapon of the rising bourgeoisie against the Ancien Régime, its golden age in the time of Comte, Darwin and Marx (reminding us that it was Marx who said, “every development in the means of new productive forces is at the same time a weapon against the workers”), its temporary eclipse amidst the world wars and genocide in the first half of the 20th century, and documenting its culmination as a philistine “password”, “myth” and “alibi” for generating conformist submission to technological disaster.
“The very notion of the domination of nature by man stems from the very real domination of human by human.” With this succinct formulation, Murray Bookchin launches his most ambitious work, The Ecology of Freedom. An engaging and extremely readable book of breathtaking scope, its inspired synthesis of ecology, anthropology and political theory traces our conflicting legacies of hierarchy and freedom from the first emergence of human culture to today’s globalized capitalism, constantly pointing the way to a sane, sustainable ecological future.
Amadeo Bordiga examines the significance of sea power in modern imperialism after the decline of the land-based feudal empires of Europe, the rise of Portuguese imperialism with the conquest of the Indian Ocean trade routes in the 15th and 16th centuries, the decisive role played by naval supremacy in the World Wars, and its culmination in the contemporary nuclear aircraft carrier strike force, “the terror of the world”, as the global spearhead of the long reach of American imperialism, in this 1957 installment of “The Thread of Time” series.
In this revised and expanded version of a 2010 talk, Robert Kurz examines the continuing relevance, and the limitations, of the concept formulated by Adorno and Horkheimer in 1944—the “Culture Industry”—with discussions of “cultural pessimism”, the postmodern “cult of superficiality”, the role of technology in cultural change, the “abstract individual”, advertising, the Internet, “virtualization”, “interactive” media, exhibitionism and narcissistic self-promotion, the pseudo-“gift economy” of the Net, the impact of the current economic crisis on the culture industry, the “depletion of cultural reserves”, “estheticization”, and the impossibility of a separate “cultural revolution”.
Notes on technological domination and the myth of the citizen - Some Enemies of the Best of All Transgenic Worlds
Published in Spain in 2000, this withering critique of biotechnology—composed in the situationist style—characterizes the production of GMOs as the latest “enclosure”, this time affecting the genome, “the most intimate commons of all” (Rifkin), and as an industrial offensive to create a “point of no return” by monopolizing patents on life itself and “substituting technical solutions for choices of a political nature”, for which purpose the miserable “citizen” and “civil society” movement were invented, to “modernize” the “methods of political management” so that the population can be more easily enlisted to support this “mode of production” that is “radically hostile to life”.
In this book first published in France in 2006, Michel Bounan recounts the history of the world according to a developmental schema defined not by modes of production, but by modes of “collective mental disorders”, specifically “socio-neuroses” corresponding to particular stages of human history (sedentary agricultural imperial civilization/phobia, classical capitalism/obsession, and the “society of the spectacle”/hysteria), and speculates that the catastrophic collapse of industrial society will result in a “true catharsis in which all particular neuroses are dissolved” and humanity will rediscover the lost “unitary consciousness” of our primitive ancestors.