Jason (jcreed) wrote,

I do so love wandering into library stacks like trying to lose myself in a forest, and finding interesting books. "Phony Culture" by James Combs is a great example of kids-these-days doom-mongering. "Extremism in America", an annotated collection of primary source documents - position papers, pamhplets, articles by the so-classified extremists - edited by Lyman Tower Sargent, looks really cool. I think I'm going to check it out.

In the meantime I finished Lem's "A Perfect Vacuum" which is, I have no doubts here, a work of a rare and fierce intellectual imagination. The gimmick is reviews of books that don't exist, but these ideas would shine in any medium. Also the translation is great, as english text alone, which is due to Michael Kandel. I'm continually surprised at how rich english is. From Die Kultur als Fehler:

Yes, culture is a mistake! But only in the sense that it is a mistake to shut the eyes to the light, to push away medecine in illness, to call for incense and magic spells when an enlightened doctor is standing by the bed. [...] Culture, defender of Evolution's Causal Imbecilities, shifty pettifogger of a lost cause, shyster mouthpiece of primitivism and somatic slapdashery, must remove itself, since man's case is entering other, higher courts, since the wall of inviolable necessity, inviolable only hitherto, now crumbles. Technological development means the ruin of culture? It provides freedom where hitherto reigned the constraint of biology? But of course it does! And instead of shedding tears over the loss of our captivity, we should hasten our step to leave its dark house.
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