Oh, Walter

Walter Benjamin said "Century by century we are becoming more estranged."
Sounds a bit cynical if you ask me.  Then again, I too would be just a bit cynical if my short life was taken by my own hand at the age of forty-eight while attempting to escape Nazis in my home country during World War II.  
Benjamin was a Marxist philosopher as well as a deeply pained thinker as evidenced by the photo above. The concept of estrangement was surely relevant during his lifetime.  The turn of the century brought the Industrial Revolution which inevitably reduced the individual to a dollar amount to be compared with a simple machine.  Two World Wars and two nuclear attacks later Benjamin felt poopy.  But I happen to disagree with this quote.  I don't think we are more estranged from each other or even to ourselves than we were any number of years ago.  Nor would I argue that we are less estranged thanks to communication accessibilities.  I think we are the same today as we ever were or ever will be.  We are brutes and brains.  Heroes and villains.  Sworn enemies and BFF's.  We cultivate, communicate, ignore, indulge, rape, pillage, pray and play.  We always have and we always will.  No matter what the 21st century brings in terms of technology, be it ipads or iteleport, we will remain the who, how and what we are: human.  

1 comment:

  1. Well put and agree for the most part although I think we still have potential to be more than "we ever were or ever will be", at least if we wanted to and I think his quote has some validity.

    It's interesting that technology has made so many advances over
    the course of our existence and yet, humans are pretty much the same "base" mofos that began it all.

    Guess our own spiritual development (evolvement) just takes longer.

    Love this blog and your writing!