Saturday, May 31, 2008

More Zygmunt Bauman

After being completely floored by Bauman's Modernity and the Holocaust, I have been trying to find some of his other works but so far haven't been able to. I specially want to read his book "Liquid Modernity". In the meanwhile I found this short book (actually an essay) by him titled Alone Again: Ethics After Certainty. Most of his ideas aren't particularly new or original, specially to those who are already familiar with writings of, say, Max Weber, Kafka or Hannah Arendt - ideas like the dangers of instrumental and procedural rationality, destruction of identity in rationalized societies, morality as rule following - but still, reading him made me think of all these things in a new way, specially in the way he argues that these have become even more relevant in our times, in fact things have become far worse. His pessimism for the future actually verges on apocalyptic.

There was also a review of a biography of Theodor Adorno, another guru of gloom and despair and a precursor of Bauman, in the latest bookforum. Earlier, Adam Kirsch also wrote a nice review of the same book in new york sun. Bauman is much easier to read, may be it has something to do with his not being German.

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