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T.A.Z. the Temporary Autonomous Zone, Ontological Anarchy, Poetic Terrorism (New Autonomy Series) Paperback – August, 1991

4.9 out of 5 stars 19 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

"Chaos never died," declares this collection of post-postmodern "broadsheets of ontological anarchism." "They lied to you, sold you ideas of good and evil, gave you distrust of your body and shame for your prophethood of chaos, invented words of disgust for your molecular love, mesmerized you with inattention, bored you with civilization and all its usurious emotions." Hakim Bey's calls for a response rooted in "poetic terrorism" are definitely not for the philosophically staid or squeamish, advocating "black magic as revolutionary action" and "a congress of weird religions." But his elaboration of the idea of the Temporary Autonomous Zone, intentional communities that live outside the law, offers a captivating notion of hedonist radicalism for the eve of the 21st century. T.A.Z. is provocative, at times obscene, but it also proves that the avant-garde can entertain as well as challenge. --Ron Hogan

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Product Details

  • Series: New Autonomy Series
  • Paperback: 144 pages
  • Publisher: Autonomedia; Writing in Book edition (August 1991)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0936756764
  • ISBN-13: 978-0936756769
  • Product Dimensions: 0.5 x 4.8 x 7.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,204,438 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By A Customer on August 5, 2000
Format: Paperback
I discovered this book years ago through an ex-marine turned anarchist with drill bits glued to his beard. Wow! What a masterpiece. How can such a tiny book create such havoc in my brain? I now understand the (ir)rationale for the drill bits.
Hakim Bey writes in a beautifully poetic style. The book begins with a series of essays on chaos, art, sorcery, etc. Examples of what he calls poetic terrorism: Break into someone's home and leave a bizzare object behind, kidnap someone and make them happy, put up a commemorative plaque where you've had memorable orgasm, etc. Hillarious! If ever you're feeling down just pick a page at random and I promise you'll never find better medecine.
The final portion of the book consists of a long essay entitled The Temporary Autonomous Zone. A T.A.Z. is a virtual/physical space beyond the reach of the Spectacle where no rules exist. It is temporary and constantly changing because only this way can it avoid absorbtion by the Beast/Empire/Spectacle/Choronzon, whatever you choose to call it. Ultimately though, any attempt to describe what the T.A.Z. "is" becomes a lie, like trying to define God or Tao.
Another great thing about the book is that it is small enough to carry in your pocket. I have it with me everywhere I go, and I always keep a backup copy at home in case I loose it or give it away.
Anyway, if you value your life and (in)sanity forget this garbage review you just read and buy/steal your own copy of T.A.Z.
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Format: Paperback
The work of Hakim Bey is well-known in that other american world, the "underground" society, the one of subculture, silent resistance and anarchy. But slowly it has been bubbling to the surface, often in unexpected places. The novel and film Fight Club, surely shows an affection for poetic terrorism, an idea rooted in Bey's ontological anarchism and closely related to the situationist tactic of detornement. T.A.Z. is not the property of any philosophy but chaos and elegant disorder. Sure, there are aspects of anarchism, chaos thinking, situationist leanings, but that is just a symptom of the spectacle and is such precisely because of it. These essays all point to a way out of this spectacular society, but the first step comes with the mere recognition of it. This is harder than it sounds, or perhaps easier. TV and the media are always easy components to recognize, the real challenge is to recognize how the spectacle, i.e., the prefabricated, artificial, consumerist milieu penetrates, influences and shapes even our most intimate thoughts--which we often mistake for our own desires, wants and needs. In T.A.Z. Bey offers suggestions on how we can extricate ourselves from this structure and start creating our own temporary autonomous zones, within this system of economic, social and cultural oppression. Immediatism, Poetic Terrorism, and the embrace of Chaos are just a few of the strategies that he advises, all of which presuppose a new dialectic with reality.
This is only an outline, a mere review, I leave discerning and interpreting the details to you...Get this book today (also available in spoken word from axiom records).
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Format: Paperback
I am surprised that the sort of people attracted to such a work--to guess from previous reviews--are still apparently apt to want to swallow the thing wholly, assertions that "they lied to you, sold you ideas" and all. Personally i reckon that we are in the midst of a conspiracy, yes...but most likely an unconscious one--the aggregate of fear & complacency & ignorance & such things, that is, resulting insidiously in the effects of a sort of conspiracy. What sort of result, for example, would one really expect from blowing up a transmission tower? A sudden enlightenment of the populace? No: most people would likely become even more reactionary when faced with causes for alarm.
Essentially this book, in spite of its claims to the contrary, seems to me a variety of art movement and not the "ultimate" anything, but as with anything so incendiary and beautiful its value can still hardly be overestimated. Who can resist Poetic Terrorism or Bey's felicity with language (eg. Chaote art)? The language and imagery are colourful and bursting full. Imagine a feast laid out on a table with barely enough room for the feasters' plates--and certainly not enough for their elbows--and everyone seated around it wearing purple plumage or velvet saris or nothing at all & laughing with food in their mouths.
I'll take what i need and leave the rest, as it goes. Implicit in most of the writing is criticism of those who would reject any part of the "freedom" described, but who's afraid of Hakim Bey? I'm glad he wrote even if i won't be taking all of what he wrote to heart.
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Format: Paperback
Hakim Bey borrows from Situationism, dada, the occult, and a few other sources to create Ontological Anarchism. The result is a very strange and very wonderful pattern for a revolution that starts now. Bey is not interested in whether the dialectic has reached its head. This is a personal revolt, an insurrection in everday life.

The first section deals with Poetic Terrorism, an extension of Situationist praxis beyond street theatre. Basically, any action taken against the spectacle fits into this, but especially those aimed at institutions of misinformation. The second part is comosed of broadsheets detailing everything from surrealism to black magick. The third is TAZ proper, or improper as the case may be. Bey includes some fascinating information on pirate utopias and the lost Roanoke colonies that were almost certainly left out of your high school history book.
The book does not so much suggest techniques as it does evoke a spirit of revolt. This is anarchy for those who like their insurrections occult and their politics way outside the mainstream.
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