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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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Somewhat closer to the mark, I believe, is the approach of contempo- rary linguist E.

I want to be clear on something you said a moment ago. Though tools were fashioned with an astonishing economy of effort and perfection of form, the old refuszl about the aesthetic zerzzn as one of the irreducible components of the human mind is invalid, The oldest enduring works of art are hand-prints, produced by pressure or blown pigment — a dramatic token of direct impress on nature. As capitalism proceeded to redefine reality in its own image and become desirous of securing refusall foundations, the “logic” stage of math in late 19th and early 2flth centuries, fresh from new triumphs, sought the same.

Against His-Story, Against Leviathan. The entire image machine urges us to consume all these images of life: He says the real big picture is that civilization is crushing the life out of all of us and that we should take everything personally.

This hypothesis comes closest to plausibility.

Full text of “Elements of Refusal”

I am learning to live in history. Nevertheless, there are valuable lessons to be learned by reading these essays. Or watch them read the cards and Ignore the paintings entirely. He also knew that rwfusal division of labor is as much about the production and allocation of commodities. The independent existence of ideas, which is Plato’s fundamental premise, is directly derived from Pythagoras, just as his whole theory of ideas flows from the special character of mathematics.

It is already a given in our lives, not only because of things like Columbine and Thurston, and not only because the military is essential worldwide to keep resources flowing into the corporate economy, but because there simply is a lot of violence in this culture.

Their artificial fertilizers, jkhn, herbicides and near-monopoly of the world’s seed stock define a total environment that integrates food production from planting to consump- tion. This, of course, was in itself a target of the factory system, “the tendency, so deplored by economists, to work less when food was cheap,” as Christopher Hill put it.

Elements Of Refusal: John Zerzan: : Books

The Benedictines, who ruled 40, monasteries at their luij’Jit, helped crucially to yoke human endeavor to the regular, collective hrai and rhythm of the machine, reminding us that the clock is not nuTcly a means of keeping track of the hours, but of synchronizing In I man action.


As the non-closure and variety of Paleolithic living gave way to the literal enclosure of agriculture, time assumed power and came to take on the character of an enclosed space. As William lames put it, “the intellectual life of man consists almost wholly in his Mihstitution of a conceptual order for the perceptual order in flements his i-xficriencc originally comes.

In a statement that seems as pertinent to language as to ideology, he added that people experience everything only within the conventional frame- work of concepts. The fact that he is able to cite examples of non-articulated verbally represented thought in action, e. It is also a necessary device for holding together a community based on the first symptoms of unequal life.

What would it take to really change things? Returning to animals, one is reminded of the words of Genesis in which God said to Noah, “And the fear of you and the dread of you shall be upon every fowl of the air, upon all that moveth upon refuusal earth, and upon all the fishes of the sea; into your hands are they delivered. Two of number’s seminal figures testily clearly to its alliance with separateness and property: The massive amount of lies—official, commercial and otherwise — is perhaps in itself sufficient to explain why Johnny Can’t Read or Write, why illiteracy is increasing in the zzerzan.

Logos itself as god is involved in the first naming, which represents the domination of the deity. Liinguage, like ideology, mediates the here and now, attacking direct, pojiianeous connections.

The unnatural is imposed, as a necessary moment of reproducing an unnatural world. One person found this helpful.

Elements Of Refusal

We are so locked in mentally and physically to “what is” that we fail to recognize that our kingdom is a prison. I have no problems with anyone who is brave enough to do civil disobedience, to sit there in front of the cops with their gas and refussl rubber bullets. I no longer take it as a given that civilization has this big reservoir of support, and that taking it down will be this endless bloody struggle.

These five essays first appeared as articles in Fifth Estate and are now classics, describing in rich detail how the taken-for-granted attitudes regarding the benefits of these phenomena have insidiously infected our consciousness.

Never one to shy away from a debate, he’s taken on local government, business, industry and reform-minded activists face-to-face in his own community; do-gooder leftists, class war anarchists, union goons, fluffy Earth First! During the industrial age only fairly recently did life span lengthen for the species, and it is now widely recognized that in Paleolithic times humans were long-lived animals, once certain risks were passed.


We witness, rather a mass diffusion of culture dependent on participation for its strength not forgetting that the critique must be of culture itself, not of its allcced control. But it is as the developer of cotton spinning machinery that he deserves a special word here; because he is generally regarded as the most prominent reufsal in the history of the textile industries and zfrzan as “the founder of the factory system.

Culture, now numberized, becomes more firmly bounded and lifeless.

Elements of Refusal

Language, myth, religion and art thus advanced as deeply ”political” conditions of social life, by which the artificial itiedia of symbolic forms replaced fefusal directly-lived quality of life before elejents of labor.

It is easier still to begin to locate language m these terms if. As Jameson put it, art had no place in that “unfallcn social reality” because there was no need for it. Whitrow tells us that ”of all ancient peoples, the Mayan priests developed the most elaborate and accurate astronomical calendar, and thereby gained enormous influence over the masses. The bourgeois way of stating this is the cliche that domination rulers, cities, the state, etc. At first these craftsiiR-ii generally owned their own tools, but later came to rent them.

Refuswl deep, powerful break I hat was announced by the birth of language prefigured and overshad- owed the arrival of civilization and history, a mere 10, years ago. This book will help you learn to measure your life not in minutes, but in moments, moments of deep connection, sensuality and adventure. These historians further recount “unrest and violence in all parts of the country” in the middle to late s, with Manchester and Liverpool frequently in alarm and “panic among the propertied classes.

Considered as the paradigm of ideology, language must also be recognized as the determinant organizer of cognition. I refer to the creation myth, which includes “and whatsoever Adam called every living creature, that was the name thereof.

In the origins essays, Zerzan makes use of a great deal of anthropological and archaeological theory.