In his philosophical reflections on the art of lingering, acclaimed cultural theorist Byung-Chul Han argues that the value we attach today to the vita activa is producing a crisis in our sense of time. Our attachment to the vita activa creates an imperative to work which degrades the human being into a labouring animal, an animal laborans. At the same time, the hyperactivity which characterizes our daily routines robs human beings of the capacity to linger and the faculty of contemplation. It therefore becomes impossible to experience time as fulfilling. Drawing on a range of thinkers including Heidegger, Nietzsche and Arendt, Han argues that we can overcome this temporal crisis only by revitalizing the vita contemplativa and relearning the art of lingering. For what distinguishes humans from other animals is the capacity for reflection and contemplation, and when life regains this capacity, this art of lingering, it gains in time and space, in duration and vastness.
In his philosophical reflections on the art of lingering, acclaimed cultural theorist Byung-Chul Han argues that the value we attach today to the vita activa is producing a crisis in our sense of time. Our attachment to the vita activa creates an imperative to work which degrades the human being into a labouring animal, an animal laborans. At the same time, the hyperactivity which characterizes our daily routines robs human beings of the capacity to linger and the faculty of contemplation. It therefore becomes impossible to experience time as fulfilling. Drawing on a range of thinkers including Heidegger, Nietzsche and Arendt, Han argues that we can overcome this temporal crisis only by revitalizing the vita contemplativa and relearning the art of lingering. For what distinguishes humans from other animals is the capacity for reflection and contemplation, and when life regains this capacity, this art of lingering, it gains in time and space, in duration and vastness.
In his philosophical reflections on the art of lingering, acclaimed cultural theorist Byung-Chul Han argues that the value we attach today to the vita activa is producing a crisis in our sense of time. Our attachment to the vita activa creates an imperative to work which degrades the human being into a labouring animal, an animal laborans. At the same time, the hyperactivity which characterizes our daily routines robs human beings of the capacity to linger and the faculty of contemplation. It therefore becomes impossible to experience time as fulfilling. Drawing on a range of thinkers including Heidegger, Nietzsche and Arendt, Han argues that we can overcome this temporal crisis only by revitalizing the vita contemplativa and relearning the art of lingering. For what distinguishes humans from other animals is the capacity for reflection and contemplation, and when life regains this capacity, this art of lingering, it gains in time and space, in duration and vastness.
An argument that love requires the courage to accept self-negation for the sake of discovering the Other. Byung-Chul Han is one of the most widely read philosophers in Europe today, a member of the new generation of German thinkers that includes Markus Gabriel and Armen Avanessian. In The Agony of Eros, a bestseller in Germany, Han considers the threat to love and desire in today's society. For Han, love requires the courage to accept self-negation for the sake of discovering the Other. In a world of fetishized individualism and technologically mediated social interaction, it is the Other that is eradicated, not the self. In today's increasingly narcissistic society, we have come to look for love and desire within the “inferno of the same.” Han offers a survey of the threats to Eros, drawing on a wide range of sources—Lars von Trier's film Melancholia, Wagner's Tristan und Isolde,Fifty Shades of Grey, Michel Foucault (providing a scathing critique of Foucault's valorization of power), Martin Buber, Hegel, Baudrillard, Flaubert, Barthes, Plato, and others. Han considers the “pornographication” of society, and shows how pornography profanes eros; addresses capitalism's leveling of essential differences; and discusses the politics of eros in today's “burnout society.” To be dead to love, Han argues, is to be dead to thought itself. Concise in its expression but unsparing in its insight, The Agony of Eros is an important and provocative entry in Han's ongoing analysis of contemporary society. This remarkable essay, an intellectual experience of the first order, affords one of the best ways to gain full awareness of and join in one of the most pressing struggles of the day: the defense, that is to say—as Rimbaud desired it—the “reinvention” of love. —from the foreword by Alain Badiou
Our competitive, service-oriented societies are taking a toll on the late-modern individual. Rather than improving life, multitasking, "user-friendly" technology, and the culture of convenience are producing disorders that range from depression to attention deficit disorder to borderline personality disorder. Byung-Chul Han interprets the spreading malaise as an inability to manage negative experiences in an age characterized by excessive positivity and the universal availability of people and goods. Stress and exhaustion are not just personal experiences, but social and historical phenomena as well. Denouncing a world in which every against-the-grain response can lead to further disempowerment, he draws on literature, philosophy, and the social and natural sciences to explore the stakes of sacrificing intermittent intellectual reflection for constant neural connection.
Transparency is the order of the day. It is a term, a slogan, that dominates public discourse about corruption and freedom of information. Considered crucial to democracy, it touches our political and economic lives as well as our private lives. Anyone can obtain information about anything. Everything—and everyone—has become transparent: unveiled or exposed by the apparatuses that exert a kind of collective control over the post-capitalist world. Yet, transparency has a dark side that, ironically, has everything to do with a lack of mystery, shadow, and nuance. Behind the apparent accessibility of knowledge lies the disappearance of privacy, homogenization, and the collapse of trust. The anxiety to accumulate ever more information does not necessarily produce more knowledge or faith. Technology creates the illusion of total containment and the constant monitoring of information, but what we lack is adequate interpretation of the information. In this manifesto, Byung-Chul Han denounces transparency as a false ideal, the strongest and most pernicious of our contemporary mythologies.
"The translation of this work was supported by a grant from the Goethe-Institut which is funded by the German Ministry of Foreign Affairs."--Title page verso.
Beauty today is a paradox. The cult of beauty is ubiquitous but it has lost its transcendence and become little more than an aspect of consumerism, the aesthetic dimension of capitalism. The sublime and unsettling aspects of beauty have given way to corporeal pleasures and 'likes', resulting in a kind of 'pornography' of beauty. In this book, cultural theorist Byung-Chul Han reinvigorates aesthetic theory for our digital age. He interrogates our preoccupation with all things slick and smooth, from Jeff Koon's sculptures and the iPhone to Brazilian waxing. Reaching far deeper than our superficial reactions to viral videos and memes, Han reclaims beauty, showing how it manifests itself as truth, temptation and even disaster. This wide-ranging and profound exploration of beauty, encompassing ethical and political considerations as well as aesthetic, will appeal to all those interested in cultural and aesthetic theory, philosophy and digital media.
“Lyrical and haunting . . . A beautiful portrait of urban loneliness, and the pursuit of meaning amid the barbed comforts of solitude.” —The Economist Marie’s job as a security guard at the National Gallery in London offers her the life she always wanted, one of invisibility and quiet contemplation. But through the hushed corridors of England’s largest art museum surge currents of history and violence. For in this hall filled with paintings whose power belies their own fragility, there also lingers the legacy of Marie’s great-grandfather Ted, himself a museum guard. Decades earlier, he slipped and fell moments before reaching the suffragette Mary Richardson as she took a blade to one of the gallery’s masterpieces on the eve of the First World War. After nine years on the job, Marie begins to feel the tug of restlessness. A decisive change comes in the form of a winter trip to Paris—where, with the arrival of an uninvited guest and an unexpected encounter, her carefully contained world will be torn open . . . The follow-up to Chloe Aridjis’s “charming and unconventional debut, Book of Clouds” (The Independent), Asunder is a “captivating, cerebral novel” (Booklist) of beguiling depths and beautiful strangeness, exploring the delicate balance between creation and destruction, control and surrender. “[An] oddly compelling tale . . . Dark and peculiar, simultaneously sinister and playful, Aridjis’ modern gothic vision will charm those prepared to linger in her cabinet of curiosities.” —Kirkus Reviews, starred review “Dramatic and affecting, completely coherent and oddly irresistible. It is a brilliant book.” —Publishers Weekly, starred review
Shanzhai is a Chinese neologism that means "fake," originally coined to describe knock-off cell phones marketed under such names as Nokir and Samsing. These cell phones were not crude forgeries but multifunctional, stylish, and as good as or better than the originals. Shanzhai has since spread into other parts of Chinese life, with shanzhai books, shanzhai politicians, shanzhai stars. There is a shanzhai Harry Potter: Harry Potter and the Porcelain Doll, in which Harry takes on his nemesis Yandomort. In the West, this would be seen as piracy, or even desecration, but in Chinese culture, originals are continually transformed -- deconstructed. In this volume in the Untimely Meditations series, Byung-Chul Han traces the thread of deconstruction, or "decreation," in Chinese thought, from ancient masterpieces that invite inscription and transcription to Maoism -- "a kind a shanzhai Marxism," Han writes. Han discusses the Chinese concepts of quan, or law, which literally means the weight that slides back and forth on a scale, radically different from Western notions of absoluteness; zhen ji, or original, determined not by an act of creation but by unending process; xian zhan, or seals of leisure, affixed by collectors and part of the picture's composition; fuzhi, or copy, a replica of equal value to the original; and shanzhai. The Far East, Han writes, is not familiar with such "pre-deconstructive" factors as original or identity. Far Eastern thought begins with deconstruction.
A prominent German thinker argues that -- contrary to "Twitter Revolution" cheerleading -- digital communication is destroying political discourse and political action.
Pan, the Greek god of forests, shepherds and fertility, has long represented the pagan gods in general. With the advent of the Christian church communication with the pagan gods was very heavily suppressed by priests who have a vested interest in eliminating religious competition, by any means required, including, but not limited to lying, stealing, cheating, murder, mayhem, extortion, torture and blackmail. As a result, general public attention to the pagan gods disappeared about 2,000 years ago. PAN-God of the Woods assumes that the pagan gods may still be active, living beings. If any of the ancient gods are still around in the 21st century, what are they doing now? If they are here now -- still watching, still powerful, still immortal -- where or how might we contact them? If Pan is still around which of us mortals could not use the helping hand of a friendly god once in awhile? -- Lawrence R. Spencer
In Look Both Ways, respected branding consultant and design community leader Debbie Millman has constructed a series of essays that examine the close relationship between design and everyday life. You'll find inspiration on every page as you meander through illuminating observations that are both personal and universal. Each beautifully illustrated essay reveals the magic - and wonder - of the often unseen world around us. Excerpt from "Look Both Ways" It occurred to me, as I stood there, that I could simultaneously, vividly look both ways - backward and forward, in time - at once. I remembered longing to know what was coming, who I would become and how. And I suddenly saw it all over again in front of me. The light was exactly the same, and as the sun fell and the summer shadows slivered against the elegant, lean, concrete towers in the distance, I recognized the smell of the warm air, the precise pink and grey of the coming dusk and the mysterious melancholy and joy of both knowing and not-knowing, and the continuity that occurs when both collide.—Debbie Millman
An intimate exploration of inspiration and creativity, from the "parfumeur exclusif" of the house of Hermès. A scent has incantatory powers, capable of transporting you to your past, of kindling fantasies, of creating a vivid mise en scène—literally out of thin air. In the hands of the truly great, perfume creation is a kind of alchemy. Where does inspiration for this visceral art come from? How does one capture the essence of emotions, of desire? Jean-Claude Ellena has a sublime gift. As "parfumeur exclusif" (or "the nose") for Hermès, he elevates fragrance to an art form. A "writer of perfume," his concoctions are as finely composed and evocative as a haiku. He is also a conjurer of sorts: "I create an illusion that is actually stronger than reality . . . you enter the scent and follow the path." The Diary of a Nose is a collection of Ellena’s meditations on the world of scents, and what stirs his creation of some of the world’s most desired fragrances. Inspiration can come from anywhere—a market stall, a landscape, or even the movement of calligraphy. Though each smell has its own distinct character, a gifted perfumer creates olfactory experiences that are intensely personal and unique, that blossom on the body and leave a trace of us lingering after we have left a room. Seductive, delicate, and elegant as any of Ellena’s creations, The Diary of a Nose seeks to capture the most elusive facets of this rarefied and mysterious art.
Kissing Architecture explores the mutual attraction between architecture and other forms of contemporary art. In this fresh, insightful, and beautifully illustrated book, renowned architectural critic and scholar Sylvia Lavin develops the concept of "kissing" to describe the growing intimacy between architecture and new types of art--particularly multimedia installations that take place in and on the surfaces of buildings--and to capture the sensual charge that is being designed and built into architectural surfaces and interior spaces today. Initiating readers into the guilty pleasures of architecture that abandons the narrow focus on function, Lavin looks at recent work by Pipilotti Rist, Doug Aitken, the firm Diller Scofidio + Renfro, and others who choose instead to embrace the viewer in powerful affects and visual and sensory atmospheres. Kissing Architecture is the first book in a cutting-edge new series of short, focused arguments written by leading critics, historians, theorists, and practitioners from the world of urban development and contemporary architecture and design. These books are intended to spark vigorous debate. They stake out the positions that will help shape the architecture and urbanism of tomorrow. Addressing one of the most spectacular and significant developments in the current cultural scene, Kissing Architecture is an entertainingly irreverent and disarmingly incisive book that offers an entirely new way of seeing--and experiencing--architecture in the age after representation.
Winner of the 2011 Man Booker Prize By an acclaimed writer at the height of his powers, The Sense of an Ending extends a streak of extraordinary books that began with the best-selling Arthur & George and continued with Nothing to Be Frightened Of and, most recently, Pulse. This intense new novel follows a middle-aged man as he contends with a past he has never much thought about—until his closest childhood friends return with a vengeance, one of them from the grave, another maddeningly present. Tony Webster thought he’d left all this behind as he built a life for himself, and by now his marriage and family and career have fallen into an amicable divorce and retirement. But he is then presented with a mysterious legacy that obliges him to reconsider a variety of things he thought he’d understood all along, and to revise his estimation of his own nature and place in the world. A novel so compelling that it begs to be read in a single sitting, with stunning psychological and emotional depth and sophistication, The Sense of an Ending is a brilliant new chapter in Julian Barnes’s oeuvre.
The Perfume Lover is a candid personal account of the process of composing a fragrance, filled with sensual scent descriptions, sexy tidbits, and historical vignettes. What if the most beautiful night in your life inspired a perfume? When Denyse Beaulieu was growing up near Montreal, perfume was forbidden in her house, spurring a childhood curiosity that became an intellectual and sensual passion. It is this passion she pursued all the way to Paris, where she now lives, and which led her to become a respected fragrance writer. But little did she know that it would also lead her to achieve a perfume lover's wildest dream: When Denyse tells famous perfumer Betrand Duchaufour at L'Artisan Parfumeur of a sensual night spent in Seville under a blossoming orange tree, wrapped in the arms of a beautiful man, the story stirs his imagination and together they create a scent that captures the essence of that night. As their unique creative collaboration unfolds, the perfume-in-progress conjures intimate memories, leading Beaulieu to make sense of her life through scents. Throughout the book, she weaves the evocative history of perfumery into her personal journey, in an intensely passionate voice: the masters and the masterpieces, the myths and the myth-busting, down to the molecular mysteries that weld our flesh to flowers. Now, just to set your nostrils aquiver: Séville à l'aube is an orange blossom oriental with zesty, green and balsamic effects, with notes of petitgrain, petitgrain citronnier, orange blossom, beeswax, incense, and lavender, and is now available at fragrance outlets in the U.S.
Which sort of seducer could you be? Siren? Rake? Cold Coquette? Star? Comedian? Charismatic? Or Saint? This book will show you which. Charm, persuasion, the ability to create illusions: these are some of the many dazzling gifts of the Seducer, the compelling figure who is able to manipulate, mislead and give pleasure all at once. When raised to the level of art, seduction, an indirect and subtle form of power, has toppled empires, won elections and enslaved great minds. In this beautiful, sensually designed book, Greene unearths the two sides of seduction: the characters and the process. Discover who you, or your pursuer, most resembles. Learn, too, the pitfalls of the anti-Seducer. Immerse yourself in the twenty-four manoeuvres and strategies of the seductive process, the ritual by which a seducer gains mastery over their target. Understand how to 'Choose the Right Victim', 'Appear to Be an Object of Desire' and 'Confuse Desire and Reality'. In addition, Greene provides instruction on how to identify victims by type. Each fascinating character and each cunning tactic demonstrates a fundamental truth about who we are, and the targets we've become - or hope to win over. The Art of Seduction is an indispensable primer on the essence of one of history's greatest weapons and the ultimate power trip. From the internationally bestselling author of The 48 Laws of Power, Mastery, and The 33 Strategies Of War.
"Across America, people are escaping fluorescent-lit grocery store aisles to rediscover the fresh, seasonal offerings of the farmers' market. A new and thriving culture has sprung up as thousands gather each weekend to pinch, poke, smell, and probe the produce, and at times each other. With a Chekhovian eye for detail, Mike Madison, has assembled a fascinating group portrait of the the fellow growers, endangered individualists all, eccentrics, recluses, dreamers, anarchists, who work the land of his extended neighborhood"--Back cover.
From the #1 bestselling author of Inside of a Dog—“an incredible journey into the olfactory world of man’s best friend” (O, The Oprah Magazine), Alexandra Horowitz’s follow-up to her New York Times bestseller explains how dogs experience the world through their most spectacular organ—the nose. In her “fascinating book…Horowitz combines the expertise of a scientist with an easy, lively writing style” (The New York Times Book Review) as she imagines what it is like to be a dog. Guided by her own dogs, Finnegan and Upton, Horowitz sets off on a quest through the cutting-edge science behind the olfactory abilities of the dog. In addition to speaking to cognitive researchers and smell experts, Horowitz visits detection-dog trainers and training centers; she meets researchers working with dogs to detect cancerous cells and anticipate epileptic seizure or diabetic shock; and she even attempts to smell-train her own nose. As we come to understand how rich, complex, and exciting the world around us is to the canine nose, Horowitz changes our perspective on dogs forever. Readers will finish this book feeling that they have broken free of their human constraints and understanding smell as never before; that they have, for however fleetingly, been a dog. And, as The Boston Globe says about Being a Dog, “becoming more doglike, not surprisingly, can make anyone’s life a little more vivid.”

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