A new hardcover edition of Zerzan’s first collection of essays, exploring alienation and the (John Zerzan, Author) Goodreads reviews for Elements Of Refusal. John Zerzan: Just today I was talking with a guy from the New York Times, and though I don’t know exactly what his focus is, he’s much more. Elements of Refusal. Review. Elements of Refusal by John Zerzan Second Edition, by CAL Press/Paleo Editions, POB , Columbia, MO , USA.
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Part one is deep and scholarly essays about the alienating effects on natural humanity of the concepts of time, language, mathematics, art, and agriculture.
The deep, powerful break I hat was announced by the birth of language prefigured and overshad- owed the arrival of civilization and history, a mere 10, years ago. Unlike Egyptian or Babylonian society, in Greece, a large slave class performed all productive labor, technical as well as unskilled, such that the ruling class milieu that included mathematicians disdained practical pursuits or applications.
Back to the resistance. But growing trade hegan to revive the art of the quantitative by the twelfth and thirteenth centuries. And then the next level: With language we have already accommodated ourselves to a world of unfrcedom. Twilight of the Machines.
What we were led to accept as necessity, in order to keep ourselves oriented in nature and society, was at base the invention of the symbolic world, the I’ nil of Man. It seems that some of the strongest criticisms of those who are willing to destroy corporate property comes not even from the corporate press, but from other protesters.
Geometry is properly an exercise of disembodied intellect, Plato taught, in character with his view that reality is a world of form from which matter, in every important respect, is banished.
He writes, “The process of transforming all direct experience into the supreme symbolic expression, language, monopolises life Or a scene from the 1 87is in The Octopus by Frank Norris, in which gang-plows were driven like “a great column of field artillery” across the San Joaquin Valley, cutting furrows at once Today the organic, what is left of it, is fully mechanized under the aegis ot a few petrochemical corporations. Surrealism is the last school to assert the political mission of art.
Elements of Refusal: An Interview With John Zerzan | Interviews by Derrick Jensen
It will inspire you to quit your job, turn off the tv and run naked through the woods. You realize that when you look at the rates of alcoholism, suicide, abuse, and so on.
When black clad anarchists from his community in the Pacific Northwest started regularly fighting with cops, engaging in acts of property destruction and then eloquently articulating their opposition to the techno-industrial totality people took notice.
Memories became externalized, akin to property but not even the property of the subject. And there are a lot of people who would agree with it. For Galileo as with Kepler, mathematics was the “root grammar of the 1 1 ixriNP. Remember what the Situationists once said, “Beneath the paving stones, the beach”. Their use of any ridiculous dodge to avoid talking about the pathology of the system, to avoid even scratching the surface, really is criminal.
Hunter-gatherers, with their subsistence strategies geared toward procurement rather than production, living life within the bounds of nature rather than seeking to control it, exhibit egalitarian social relations. Jn the form of the idealization of magnitudes of measures, of numbers, figures,”- to carry this sti Cher This quest for unrestricted spatiality is part and parcel of th abstract march ot mathematics.
John Zerzan: anti-civilization theorist, writer and speaker
One of the would-be UFO voyagers spoke for revusal many others: The decisive mediations of mythology and religion are not, however, t the only profound cultural developments underlydng our modern f estrangement.
Production of goods, as the hunter-gatherer mode is gradually liquidated in favor of agriculture historical production and religion full symbolic productionis also ritual production. As the root ol” a certain kind of logic or method, mathematics is not merely a tool but a rffusal of scientific knowledge: The man’s eyes were riveted to the image on the screen, which was clearly more exciting than the act itself. The neolithic art of farmers and pastoralists, however, stiffens into stylized forms; Franz Bnrkenau typified its pottery as a “narrow, jhon botching of materials and forms.
To him numbers were immutable and eternal.
Idleness had been worse. Richard Arkwright agreed completelywith those who saw the need for consciously spurring consumption, “as to the necessity of arousing and satisfying new wants,” in his phrase. To Descartes the material universe was a machine and nothing more, just as animals “indeede are nothing else but engines, or matter sett into a continual and orderly motion.
Either way, the pressure to dissolve history and the rule of time hasn’t been so strong since the Middle Ages, before that, since the Neolithic revolution establishing agriculture. Well, the brutality of the system was there to see as well as the courage. When we ask, to what sorts of questions is the answer a number, and ifv to focus on the meaning or the reasons for the emergence of the tjuantitative, we are once again looking at a decisive moment of our estrangement from natural being.
As William lames put it, “the intellectual life of man consists almost wholly in his Mihstitution of a conceptual order for the perceptual order in which his i-xficriencc originally comes. I am learning to live in history. Logically, humanity itself will also become a domesticate ol his order as the world of production processes us as much as it degrades and deforms every other natural system.
Amazon Drive Cloud storage from Amazon. The natural world is to be broken and forced to work. Art, with myth closely following, served as the semblance of real memory. Where is their satisfaction?
What would it take to really change things? A non-working class observer Malachy Postlewayt, c. Unsupervised, working for several masters, and with their time their own, a degree of independence was maintained. Further, with Godel’s Theorem not only was or “recognized to be much more abstract and formal than had been traditionally supposed,”””” but it also became clear that “the resources of the human mind have not been, and cannot be, fully formalized.
Mass production itself with its standardized, interchangeable parts and wage- labor to match constitutes a fascism of everyday life long predating the fascist rallies Benjamin had in mind.
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Laslett further noted that enclosure, or the fencing off of lands previously pastured, ploughed, and harvested cooperatively, commenced at this time and “destroyed communality altogether in English rural life.
They smashed open the doors, consumed or. But painting cannot negate painting, nor can sculpture invalidate sculpture, keeping in mind that all symbolic culture is the co-opting of perception, expression and communi- cation. The artificial environment which is agriculture accom- plished this pivotal mediation, with the symbolism of objects manipulated in the construction of relations of dominance.
From Kafka to Pinter silence itself is a fitting voice of our times.