Free from civilization

Free from civilization

Notes Toward a Radical Critique of Civilization's Foundations: Domination, Culture, Fear Economics, Technology.

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In clear, impassioned prose, Enrico Manicardi analyzes the evils of our age from their genesis.

This or that economic, technological, or cultural model is not to blame for our current crisis; the blame lies with economics, technology, and culture as such. It is the ideology of fear that makes us afraid. It is the mentality of domination that jeopardizes all of our relationships. In short, the problem is civilization. Through its oppressive classes, values, and processes that pervade everyone's lives, civilization domesticates us, weakens our perceptiveness, and distances us from the living world. We must radically change our way of thinking, feeling and behaving before its too latewe must dam the flood of devitalization that is washing over us, and return to our wilder natures, both inside and outside ourselves. Manicardi's appeal is crystal clear: if we are to survive we must begin to search inside ourselves, not to celebrate the distant past as if it were a cult, but to return to ourselves, to grip life with our own two hands, and build upon that earlier ecocentric conscience which once held the place of the egocentric conscience now leading us astray.

Enrico Manicardi was born in 1966 and is a member of La Scintilla, the Society for Libertarian Culture of Modena. A lawyer and founder of the antiauthoritarian media project Infection, he has also played guitar and written music for an eponymous band since the 1980s. His lifelong wish has been to live in a free, radically off-kilter, ecologically sound world, one characterized by warm, spontaneous, non-hierarchical relationships rather than those consecrated by the cult of technology. Troubled by the way people have succumbed to a civilization that estranges, domesticates and regulates everything and everyone, he continues to protest against the modern worlds project to enslave us. This book augurs the rise of an increasingly harmonious chorus loud enough to put an end to that project.

Translated by Will Schutt and Alberto Prunetti, edited by Alice Parman, and prefaced by John Zerzan.

Table of Contents

Preface by John Zerzan


Prologue: What is Civilization?

Part 1: The Mentality of Domination (A critique of domination)

  1. Dominion over Being1. Abomination of Domination2. Alienation, Reification, Domestication3. Order or Harmony: egocentric mentality or egocentric perspectives?4. From Power Over the Earth to Power Over People: Agriculture5. From Power Over the Land to Power Over People: the use and consumption of animals6. From Power Over the Land to Power Over People: social stratification and the end of equality among humans7. From Power Over the Land to Power Over People: male supremacy and patriarchal society8. From Power Over the Land to Power Over People: human slavery and productive work9. From Power Over the Land to Power Over People: socialization and robbed identities10. A Free and Natural Life Without Power
  2. The Dominion of Knowledge

1. Conscious Domination, Unconscious Ideology: knowledge as power

2. The Rebellion Against the Rule of Science

3. Will Civilization Eventually Manage to Put the Stars in Line?

Part 2: The Primacy of Symbolic Culture (A critique of culture)

  1. Emancipation from Abstract Knowledge1. Culture as Programmatic Separation and Isolation2. Culture as Ideology of Civilization3. Life Without Culture?
  1. Symbolic Forms of Culture1. The Symbolic Foundations of Social Control: ritual, art, myth, religion2. Take up art and place the world apart: art as a substitute effect3. In the Shadow of Babel: the birth of language and its meaning4. Civilization as Graphocentric Society5. Mathematics is Not an Opinion: the concept of “numbers" and its absolutizing valence6. From Numerical Absolutism to the Absolutism of Reason: abstract analytical thought as a dogma7. Chronocracy: the tyranny of time in the civilized world

Part 3: The Doctrine of Fear (A critique of fear)

  1. Fear as Psychological Foundation of Civilization1. Fear as Fear, Fear as Terror2. The Security of Insecurity
  1. Civil Terror1. Politics of Terror, Politics as Terror2. Fear of Freedom3. Fear of Diversity
  1. Ethics of Fear, Ethics of Unhappiness1. Fear of Death, Fear of Life: unhappiness in civil society2. Fear, Aggression, Violence: birth of war, disavowal of war

Part 4: The Power of the Economy (A critique of economics)

  1. Economics and Utilitarian Logic1. What is Economics? Economics is Thievery!2. The Lie of Homo Economicus and the Give and Take Attitude
  1. From Gift Exchange to Economic Rule1. Genesis of the Economic Model: from giving freely to demanding reward2. The Doctrine of Exchange3. Money's Silent Conspiracy4. Poverty and Civilization: money as the architect of property5. Criminal Money6. Apologia of Emptiness7. Assault of Production, Resistance to Development
  1. Mercantilism: Dirty Business, Slavish System1. A Case against Economics

Part 5: The Technological Imperative (A critique of technology)

  1. Technological Expropriation1. Means and Ends2. Tools and Technology: the psychological approach to technology
  1. Technological Invasion1. Against so-called neutrality in technology2. Technicist Ethics, Technological Propaganda: technology as a tool of power3. Technology and Totalitarianism4. Cold Comfort: a critique of modern comforts5. Necrophilia and Technology: the dead world of civilization

Epilogue: De-Civilizing the World



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