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Comment: clean unmarked pages, tight spine, light wear to edges and corners, very nice condition overall
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Running on Emptiness: The Pathology of Civilization Paperback – April 1, 2008

3.5 out of 5 stars 14 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 214 pages
  • Publisher: Feral House; First Edition edition (April 1, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 092291575X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0922915750
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.5 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #345,281 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
What a wonderful book! After reading it, I had so many question, I felt the need to talk with the author in person. After tracking down his number, I gave him a call (noting how odd it was to be talking with an "anarcho-primitivist" on the phone) and we arranged to meet the following week.

Within no time, I was down in Eugene, Oregon, walking through the infamous Whitaker district, known for it's vagrants and black-block anarchists, searching for Zerzan's co-op.

After spotting him on the porch, he greated me and invited me into his small, box-shaped house. Asside from a desk and a giant bookcase filled to the brim with old ragtag books and zines, his little house was empty and austere.

Sitting on an old, cleary-secondhand softa, we talked for over an hour about anarchism, ecology, history, technology, society, permaculture, natural farming and ecovillages. Then we took a walk to a local, independent coffee house to chat some more.

What struck me about Zerzan was his humility, patience, kindness, and penchent for critical thought. I mentioned my suprise that he had a telephone, and he agreed, in an ideal world one would not need a telephone. But, he said, he does not have a watch, or any of the other things that weigh us down and distract more than they help. Despite his revolutionary prose, I realized that a certain degree of compromise must be made for those who wish to stay inside civil society and reform it.

Sure, one could pack up and go live in a commune, but how would that help? The global economy would still spin out of control, and people would continue to live in ways that destroy the planet.
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Format: Paperback
John Zerazan has put together a philosophy that enables us to understand and connect the insanitiy that is playing out before our very lifetimes. Civilizations have been the root foundation for the development of domestication of the human race, turning us into complacent, obediant non-connected beings. Zerzan's references will lead you to greater depths of research drawing you to your own conclusions. As for my own, I fear the worst is yet to come. Welcome to the revolution in reclaming your TRUE freedom. I would love to see a joint project with Derrick Jensen, perhaps reaching out to an even broader audience!
"If the doors of perception were cleansed, everything would appear to man as it is, infinite. For man has closed himself up, till he sees of things through narrow chinks of his cavern" (William Blake)
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....and for presenting some very provocative challenges to our usual ways of thinking. I'm going to spend some time giving more consideration, for example, to the neo-Luddite insistence that technology is NOT neutral and that technologies based on a division of labor are inherently fragmenting. Hm.
What made this book hard reading for me was its steady tone of blaming: technocrats are idiots, compromisers are cowards, etc. Unfortunately, this judgmental tone, with us since the admirable Muir and perhaps before, is one of the least effective things about anarchistic OR ecological thought. A good example is the author's letter to Marvin Minsky, whom he calls "vermin" and to whom he delivers several other personal insults. This kind of rhetoric precludes all chance at dialog and makes one look to those still on the fence like a well-schooled loudmouth. (I find Minsky's thoughts about the fusion of machine with human downright frightening, extraordinarily arrogant, even apocalyptic....but I've never met the man and would not presume to call him any names until I did....)
By all means let us launch uncompromising and openly outraged attacks on the denial that excuses behaviors and attitudes that clearly harm self, community, and world--but can't we do it without all the self-defeating shaming, finger-pointing, and personal attacks that make us sound more petulant than earnest in our concerns?
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Format: Paperback
As we continue down the numbing path of modern "civilization," the anarcho-primitivist critique becomes more obviously true. As I made my way through Zerzan's essays, a radical split emerged in my consciousness. On the one hand, we're enmeshed in day-to-day struggles and anxieties, the all-consuming attention required just to scrape by and maintain some sense of sanity (and this in one of the more affluent societies on the planet). But Zerzan's stance is like a slap in the face. I began to see just how ridiculous and dehumanizing the entire modern system is. This dissonance between civilization's maximum-seriousness demands and our personal awareness that it's all a huge sham is essentially the substance of alienation, a theme which most liberals have abandoned, but which Zerzan always keeps central. Alienation is still the most explosive analytical tool for confronting our current situation.
Anarcho-primitivism may not have the most useful prescriptive program, but its descriptive power is unparalleled. The anarcho-primitvist goal is certainly utopian, but that is a good thing. Without utopian goals, we can have no transcendent position from which to challenge the present order. The intermediate mechanisms of change, through which we must work toward the utopian anarcho-primitivist future, should be the true program of liberalism. The left has condemned itself to irrelevancy by ignoring its utopian strand in favor of technical tinkering. We must recover our utopian roots in order to bear anarcho-primitivist fruit.
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