The long and short essays (and one mini-anthology) I selected for this volume were carefully re-edited for their inclusion in the collection. Classic type and layout with additional, bottom-of-page footnotes make this definitive edition of these works a pleasure to read.
In addition, an all-new and exclusive 2007 essay written to reassess the idea of human progress fills approximately half the volume. This essay, Rising in Walls, offers the most thorough and unyielding exploration of why—by substantial measures—meaningful and magnificent progress still eludes modern Man.
There have been a million prescriptions of What We Must Do for every thousand ideas of What’s Wrong with the World. Nor do we, collectively, lack for devotion to causes, or attention to studying the problems further. And yet it is quite clear that solutions, when found, remain disappointingly partial. Their full implementation has remained even more impalpable. Of all the theories and all the efforts, a discouraging amount made matters much worse than they had been.
Mustering evidence from history to psychology to complexity, tracing disparate influences from Romantic literature to the rigor of science, Rising in Walls builds a detailed thesis invaluable to all those genuinely concerned about human potential.
Eight earlier works include:
- The Foundation and Principles of Prometheanism
PROMETHEANISM can be expanded to infinite specific detail, unending subtleties, and unbounded complexity, but it can also be identified in very practical or very simple terms. The shortest way to describe Prometheanism may be this definition: whatever advances life belongs to Prometheanism, whatever does not belongs to something else.
- On Conformity
The discriminating task of those who would fulfill the nature and the potential of the human species, as a species whose greatest strength may be individuality, is not a futile attempt to eliminate conformity or harass it at every turn, but to align a society in which conformity can continue to function as safety ballast, yet the rare and exceptional because it is superior, advanced, or beautiful is not held back from becoming known, agitating if need be, and spreading out.
- An Easter Parable
In the case of Easter Island we find the essence of empire, the clearest pattern of unavoided imperial thinking, as could be sniffed out only when trapped into revealing its most terrible, unmitigated price.
- Post Mortem:
Aftershocks and Afterthoughts Following a Day of Death
Death is always death, killing is always killing, and a fully living, really alive being must be biased, quite unreasonably prejudiced towards life, and against killing.
- The Crisis of Unity:
One World, Politicized or Promethean
The individualist philosopher Nietzsche spoke of the need to be ‘good Europeans,’ conscious of the wider world in space and time—Europe was his world. We must be good humans, good worlders, not as citizens of a world government, but as inheritors of the best of all cultures and all pasts. It is in our interests to become guarantors of the future world, not future nations nor a global state.
- The Renewing Dissident’s Notebook
of Antipolitics, Autopoiesis and other Forethoughts
From 2005, short-form philosophy [aphoristic and poetic] and three short essays make up a thematic anthology on social change via personal change—the antidote to politics, authoritarianism, collectivism, orthodoxy, imperialism, oppression and war.
- Our Resource of Dreams and Deceits:
Strategies for Practical Metaphysics in Past, Present, and Future
Those who think they willingly accept the facts of reality and do seem to betray little difficulty, more accurately accept and work with a fairly select and highly manipulated reality, and that is the secret of their supposed ‘realism’. Otherwise, like the rest of us, they could never bear an existence trapped in the here and now, without visions of change.
- The Fall of the Culture of Mind
If a mind really is “open,” it is not finished. It is still open to influence, and to being changed. Who can say what mind plus book becomes? A bookstore, a library, a computer connected to the internet—in farseeing eyes each radiates possibility. Each would seem a repository of frozen, time-bound power of thought, fossilized, concretized, made artifact in printed pages, in screen fonts, ready for unlocking and decoding by new minds, essentially printed in a kind of invisible ink to which old minds had become blind. One never knows what comes with the next page of the book or the website, what dangers, what intoxications, what brilliances, what journeys, what will occur to one, what images will appear unbidden in the mind’s eye.