Ten years after his death, Vilém Flusser’s reputation as one of Europe’s most original modern philosophers continues to grow. Increasingly influential in Europe and Latin America, the Prague-born intellectual’s thought has until now remained largely unknown in the English-speaking world. His innovative writings theorize—and ultimately embrace—the epochal shift that humanitTen years after his death, Vilém Flusser’s reputation as one of Europe’s most original modern philosophers continues to grow. Increasingly influential in Europe and Latin America, the Prague-born intellectual’s thought has until now remained largely unknown in the English-speaking world. His innovative writings theorize—and ultimately embrace—the epochal shift that humanity is undergoing from what he termed "linear thinking" (based on writing) toward a new form of multidimensional, visual thinking embodied by digital culture. For Flusser, these new modes and technologies of communication make possible a society (the "telematic" society) in which dialogue between people becomes the supreme value.The first English-language anthology of Flusser’s work, this volume displays the extraordinary range and subtlety of his intellect. A number of the essays collected here introduce and elaborate his theory of communication, influenced by thinkers as diverse as Martin Buber, Edmund Husserl, and Thomas Kuhn. While taking dystopian, posthuman visions of communication technologies into account, Flusser celebrates their liberatory and humanizing aspects. For Flusser, existence was akin to being thrown into an abyss of absurd experience or "bottomlessness"; becoming human required creating meaning out of this painful event by consciously connecting with others, in part through such technologies. Other essays present Flusser’s thoughts on the future of writing, the revolutionary nature of photography, the relationship between exile and creativity, and his unconventional concept of posthistory. Taken together, these essays confirm Flusser’s importance and prescience within contemporary philosophy.Vilém Flusser (1920–1991) was born in Prague and taught philosophy in Brazil. Andreas Ströhl is director of the film department at the Goethe-Institut Inter Nationes in Munich. Erik Eisel works for a software technology company in Southern California....
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Having studied the cinema in academia, I was naturally introduced to theory relating to New Media, and came across references to Flusser, though I never read him. I now count him, at this late date, a major discovery. The first thing to note is that Flusser is a philosopher, but one more of the essayistic type than of the academic type (to crib his distinction). This means basically that he is erudite but eminently digestible, and that in his encounters w/ ideas and their metasystems, he as a thinking individual is inextricably bound-up. His principal interest is w/ a kind of commanding paradigm shift that he sees as marking the transition from the historical era into the posthistoric era. He sees posthistory as represented by the movement from sequential, durational thinking impossible to divorce from writing, into an era of images, surfaces, and networked technocracy. It was at first difficult for me to swallow this idea of a posthistory that suspends the constriction of written discourse. At times it seemed like I was reading some kind of wild utopian speculation (a complaint that Flusser preemptively engages time and again). When I finally came to the essay "Mythical, Historical, and Posthistorical Existence," everything fell properly into place - it is in this essay that Flusser most concretely anatomizes the theoretical zone in question. There is so much of value in this book, and so much that in hindsight seems jaw-droppingly prescient. But I cannot overstate how much pleasure there is to be found here in variations of tone and form. This is a philosopher w/ a robust toolkit, and he is sometimes very funny. "Huminizations" has the distinction of being one of the most brazenly hilarious pieces of philosophical writing I have ever encountered. "A Historiography Revised" is also funny, and could be mistaken for a great work of postmodern short fiction. Flusser is a serious pleasure to read. He calls Rilke, one of his Gods, "inebriating." The same could very much be said of Flusser himself.
Surprised this has no reviews. Flusser's writings are beyond excellent. Like Borges meets Marshall McLuhan, then simplified for ease of understanding. Most philosophical books are full of, well, bullshit. Guys pontificating trying to make themselves sound smart. Flusser doesn't do that. He uses simple grammar and short narratives to convey wildly ambitious theoretical ideas. I can't overstate how excellent this is.