The Inhuman Condition
In The Inhuman Condition Keith Tester explores whether we are capable of coming to terms with the world we have made. He argues that we are not. We are so confused by the wonders and the sights and sounds around us that we all try to build safe little homes in which we can, for a while, be consoled by love which is doomed to fail as soon as it is thought about and by commodities which leave us unsatisfied. We all try to make sense of our humanity by turning elsewhere: to inhuman things. All of us, that is, with enough money.
The book offers a major interpretation of contemporary cultural and social relationships. It is also a major exercise in sociology which encompasses thinkers like Heidegger, Arendt, Benjamin and Simmel. The author opens with Heidegger worrying about photographs of the earth and argues that, contrary to sociological orthodoxy, the world is now more experienced in the finding than the making. Tester then explores aspects of that finding: from the beautiful promises of commodities to the noises and sights of cities, from the search for love to the throbbing gristle painted by Francis Bacon. We can only come to terms with our experiences and our existence if we embrace the inhuman idiot wisdom of kitsch; and perhaps there is no escape from the embrace of stupidity.
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ability able accept action activity actually Adorno animal laborans Aquinas Aragon aspect attitude authenticity Bacon become Benjamin Calinescu categorical agreement commodity aesthetics commodity fetishism concerned Consequently consumption contemplation cultural relationships culture of contentment deconstruction dialectic of reification disenchantment emergence emotional enchantment everything existence existential experience experienced experiential extent fabrication face Firstly Galbraith 1992 Giddens Hannah Arendt Haug Heidegger homesickness homo faber human artifice human condition human fabrication identified implies individual inhuman intimacy kind kitsch Kundera labour live Lukacs Martin Heidegger Marx material means metaphor milieu myth narrative natural artifice noisy objects paintings Palace Pier perhaps photographs plurality of human possible precisely private sphere problem production pure relationship second nature Secondly sense shopping malls Simmel social and cultural society sociology specific stand statistics Surrealists tend tendency terrain things truth un-quiet vita activa vita contemplativa Walter Benjamin Weber word Zygmunt Bauman