Against Civilization: Readings and Reflections by John Zerzan

By John Zerzan


“Read it and you may by no means consider civilization within the similar manner again.”—Kirkpatrick Sale

This anthology approximately "the pathology of civilization" deals perception into how growth and know-how have ended in vacancy and alienation.

"A provocative anthologypresenting the likes of Freud, Friedrich Schiller, William Morris, and the Unabomber, besides vivid modern thinkersthat increases the query of even if our elaborately based, technology-driven society creates extra difficulties than it alleviates." -- Jay Walljasper; Utne Reader, March/April 1999

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Example text

They didn’t know what work was. J. ” Rousseau’s term should be brought back into common use. It grates on the nerves of those who, in R. Vaneigem’s words, carry cadavers in their mouths. It makes the armor visible. Say “the state of nature” and you’ll see the cadavers peer out. Insist that “freedom” and “the state of nature” are synonyms, and the cadavers will try to bite you. The tame, the domesticated, try to monopolize the word freedom; they’d like to apply it to their own condition. They apply the word “wild” to the free.

Perhaps they followed their dreams. Perhaps their favorite pond dried up. Perhaps their favorite animals wandered away. These people were very fond of animals; they knew the animals as cousins. The wanderers are said to have walked to every woodland, plain and lakeshore of Eurasia. They walked or floated to almost every island. They walked across the land bridge near the northern land of ice to the southernmost tip of the double continent which would be called America. The wanderers went to hot lands and cold, to lands with much rain and lands with little.

Obsessiveness of any sort could distract from the wholistic goodness of the environment. Why are we here? To experience profoundly. Our task, therefore, is to rearrange life (society, the economy) such that profundity is immanent in everyday life. Spirituality represents the specialization and detachment of profundity from everyday life into a disembodied, disconnected, symbolic realm that becomes compensatory for an everyday life whose immanence is banality. It is obvious that we don’t regularly experience wonder, and this is a social-material problem, because the structure of everyday life discourages this.

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