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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It is a daunting task, potentially full of political pitfalls. Hesiod, for instance, referred hohn the “life-sustaining soil, which yielded its copious fruits unbribcd by toil.

Elements of Refusal (Do or Die)

In a much earlier time, we arc reminded, the direct and concrete held sway; Ihcre existed a “plethora of terms for the touched and seen. I found them interesting and valuable but others might not. As Christianity weakened, a new central ideology of estrange- ment came forth, this one guaranteeing order and domination based on mathematical precision.

Well, it’s a lot more complicated than that The diversity of food tends to disappear or flatten out as the propor- tion of manufactured foods increases. Julian Jaynes, in fact, concluded that the new linguistic mentality led very directly to agriculture. For several years now Zerzan has been a contributing editor to Anarchy – A Journal of Desire Armedand has become a leading proponent of the theoretical orientation known as anarcho-primitivism.

Unfortunately, stark reality has far more often brought the opposite icsponsc, based on fear and denial. Grazing by goats and sheep, the first domesticated ruminants, was a major factor in the denuding of Greece, Lebanon, and North Africa, and the desertification of the Roman and Mesopotamian empires.


Elements of Refusal

He asks, how it is, if humanity had speech f m a couple ot million years, that there was virtually no develop- Mieni o Irchnology’. In Critias, Plato described Attica as “a skeleton wasted by disease,” referring to the deforestation of Refsal and contrasting it lo its earlier richness. This reproduces culture, which can never compensate for the disability.

Barthes’ depiction of language as “absolutely elemente is much to the point here; he saw that its systematic nature “in order to be complete needs only to be valid, and not to be true.

The National Academy of Sciences estimates iliat over one third of topsoil is already gone forever. Surrealism is the last school to assert the political mission of art. From time, into history, through progress, and so to the murderous idolatry of the future, which now kills species, languages, cultures, and possibly the ezrzan natural world.


And then the next level: An artificial intellectual life that rested so completely on the surplus created by slaves was at pains to deny the senses, the emotions and the real world. As Jameson put it, art had no place in that “unfallcn social reality” because there was no need for it. A video camera recorded their actions and zegzan them on a TV monitor before the two.

Niiiiilional and degenerative diseases in general appear with the reign of. Still, the designated social straitjacket ill-fits and the social fabric isn’t so smooth as appearances dictate.

Gunnell tells us that “Time is a form of ordering experience,”” an exact parallel to the equally fallacious assertion of the neutrality of technology. The unnatural is imposed, as erfusal necessary moment of reproducing an unnatural world. What you cannot touch.

We are witnessing and participating in what DeVore? This French device not only represented the mechanization of life and work unleashed by seventeenth century shifts, but directly inspired the first attempts at the modern computer. One thinks of the mid-American prairies where settlers had to yoke six oxen to plows in order to cut through the soil for the first time.


Food production overcame the common absence or paucity of ritual and hierarchy in society and introduced civilized activities like the forced labor of temple-building. I am writing obviously enclosed in language, aware that language reifies the resistance to reification. Language, which at any given moment embodies the ideology of a particular culture, must be ended in order to abolish both categories of estrangement; a project of some considerable social dimensions, let us say.

In Turing said, in answer to the question “can machines think?

All art, as symbolization, is rooted in the creation of substitutes, surrogates for something else; by its very nature, therefore, it is falsification.

If de-mystification is difficult, finding those prepared to listen or to undertake the necessary doings is more so. This claim can be assessed by a comparison of Ihc very basic developments of time and social revolt, which seems to indicate a definite and profound colHsion of the two. The human capacity of being shackled to crops and herds devolved rather quickly.

But growing trade hegan to revive the art of the quantitative by the twelfth and thirteenth centuries. By displacing autonomous images with verbal symbols, life Ls reduced and brought under strict control; all direct, unmediated experience is subsumed by that supreme mode of symbolic expression, language.