ELEMENTS OF REFUSAL by John Zerzan
"Elements of Refusal is John Zerzan's first book, collecting his best and most foundational essays, which lay out the core of his critique of civilization.
In Part One, Zerzan brilliantly dissects the concepts of Time, Language, Number, and Art. Then in the last essay of the section, he makes the case against Agriculture, agreeing with Jared Diamond that the abandonment of our original hunter-gatherer lifestyle was "a catastrophe from which we have never recovered."
Just as important is Part Two, in which Zerzan offers a radical and devastating critique of the Left, showing how communists, socialists, and unions have all collaborated with big business and industry in the gradual enslavement of human beings to the processes of production and automation."
"Elements of Refusal is the first comprehensive collection of John Zerzan's writings- and long overdue. No less than as they appeared, these essays are provocative and important. Present day "reality", as constituted by those with vested interests in maintaining this domination is touted as the "best' possible reality. Accordingly, history is shaped like a monstrous landfill to legitimize this hoax.
Daily life, with its Intensifying allenations and psychopathology, becomes more spectacular and bizarre. All is not well in Utopla. We grow more dependent on glitter and diversion to fill the void where oll that is human is gutted. Life is reduced to a gore. But there is nowhere to play. Every technological innovation promising to bring us closer together drives us further apart; every revolution promises to liberate us from want. but leaves us more in need. The word " survive* disploces the word "life" in everyday speech- as it they were equivalent. A kind of social terror permeates everything, a commonplace in our llves. Why? Because, says Zerzan this "work-buy-consume-die" paradise teeters on the brink of collapse.
Elements of Refusal spells it all out. Here It is axiomatic that art, language, time; industrialism. number, technology, work and other aspects of our social lives- all haled as the Iiberators of humanity-are, in fact, the co-conspirators of domestication and domination. The overwhelming power of present-day ruling notions and the requirements of sheer survival leave most of us virtually incapable of recognizing how diverse are the real possibilities of life. But today, more than ever-as you will see from this modest collection-they stand exposed.
Elements of Refusal is a book of one person's pursuits musings, concerns, discoveries, possibilitles, researches and clarifications where so little is understood. Elements of Refusal is infused with the spirit of the important Situationist movement and Frankfort School -but more radical and sweeping Zerzan forces us to question everything, forces us into the fray. Indead. it is in this spirit that Left Bank Books presents his essavs-these elements of refusal-as a series of provocations and challenges"