The Fate of Adventure in the Western World paul-zweig Author: Paul Zweig

Links: Lee Siegel’s New York Times essay on Paul Zweig.



“And let us not forget the more recent developments of modernism. Its somnolent, almost voluptuous acceptance of claustrophobia as an essential human condition; its bitter laughter at action and adventure, its conviction that acts are lies, and that prison – the world of No Exit and Nausea, Proust’s cork-lined room, Kafka’s Castle, Joyce’s Dublin – is the only reality: these themes define the weary genius of modernism..” p171


“When Nietzsche wrote that the philosopher should “live dangerously,” he meant by it a number of things. He meant that the philosopher should expect to be out of tune with the reigning conceptions of his time; that he should welcome the hostility which “untimely reflections” inevitably cause. He also meant that the philosopher should accept the internal dangers of self-knowledge, shucking off shallow but comforting notions even when this makes him inwardly vulnerable and puts him in danger. At the same time, the phrase contains a provocation, for it is not normally used to describe the reflective life. Bandits and warriors “live dangerously,” not philosophers, and they seem to be Nietzsche’s model: “Believe me, the secret of the greatest fruitfulness and the greatest enjoyment of existence is: to live dangerously! Build your cities under Vesuvius! Send your ships into uncharted seas! Live at war with your peers and yourselves! Be robbers and conquerors… you lovers of knowledge!”

Passages like these are at the heart of Nietzsche’s idiom. Repeatedly he insists that “knowledge” cannot be obtained through Cartesian detachment. The philosopher who shuts out all of his senses and mediates in the darkness of his intellect may discover that he thinks, and therefore is. Like Kant, he may parlay this cold certainty into a number of speculative conclusions. But how much closer will he then be to understanding the drives of nature, and of human nature?’ p204-205


The Hero with a Thousand Faces joseph-campbell

Author: Joseph Campbell

“Since its release in 1949, The Hero with a Thousand Faces has influenced millions of readers by combining the    insights of modern psychology with Joseph Campbell’s revolutionary understanding of comparative mythology.

In these pages, Campbell outlines the Hero’s Journey, a universal motif of adventure and transformation that runs through virtually all of the world’s mythic traditions.

He also explores the Cosmogonic Cycle, the mythic pattern of world creation and destruction.”

Book Preview Link: A Hero with a Thousand Faces


media-work-mark-deuzemark-deuze Author: Mark Deuze

Mark Deuze’s Blog:




Interview Link:

 Want Media: Why write a book about working in media?

Mark Deuze: The short answer? Because it is fun. Media people are wonderful to hang out with and observe. They’re dynamic, creative, full of ideas, often a little crazy and extremely self-aware. They make for great interviewees.

The long and more scholarly answer? First, the research as reported in “Media Work” aims to help to inform students in media, journalism and related schools exactly what media work means, and hopefully help them to understand how to survive in a complex and chaotic world.

Understanding media work contributes to critical debates about and within the media professions in general and journalism in particular. On perhaps the most abstract level, researching media work is relevant to a critical understanding of the role that media play in our everyday lives.’

IWM: How are some media workers being exploited?

Deuze: “Many, many more people want to get into the industry than there are jobs — and they are willing to do almost anything to gain a foothold, including working practically for free. This offers employers tremendous opportunities for control and, thus, exploitation.

In economic terms, it is possible to interpret the media industry’s recent embrace of “user-generated content” as another way to outsource salaried work to the producing consumer. You do not have to be a business genius to understand the core reason behind corporate co-creative practices: reducing risk by having workers compete with audience for the chance to create content.”

Quote from Media Work

“The worldwide shift towards individualized societies has particular consequences for the way people relate to each other. According to Robert Putnam (2004), since the last few decades of the twentieth century people around the world have started to withdraw from participating in social institutions such as political parties, religious institutions, as well as from subscription-based news media, large-scale voluntary associations and organized group sports. This does not mean people do not vote, worship, read a newspaper, or engage in league bowling anymore. It does suggest that if we do, we tend to do it whenever we feel like it – rather than because of our membership of a certain collective. This makes our behaviour towards such institutions irregular, sporadic, unpredictable, and ultimately dependent on our personal wants and needs.

The individual can thus be seen as the sole reference point for any and all decisions to be made regarding one’s life – and living this life now relies on our ability to work. This disconnection between people as individuals and institutions in society as a collective certainly seems to make our world much smaller. Most people live their lives in this context reflexively, directly responding to whatever is happening at home, work, or play without taking (or getting) the time to think and reflect upon their predicament. This has introduced a distinct element of restlessness in our everyday life.

People tend to make sense of their lifeworld by reacting to the issues  they face on the basis of the know-how of the day, “by what people can do and how they usually go about doing it” (Bauman 2000). As Richard Rorty (1999) suggests, whatever the ruling consensus at any given moment in time – it is generally not the best or the only way to go about doing things. The instantaneity in the way people interact and communicate with the world seems to reduce it to their most intimate, direct, and real-time personal environment.

Yet the same trend also works the other way around. The world as people experience it is not only getting smaller – it also seems to be getting bigger all the time. The experience of life in the “global village” feels like constantly trying to catch up with what Anthony Giddens (2002) considers a “runaway” world, a world constantly on the edge of swerving out of control.

In such a world all the traditional institutions that provided the social cement of modern life – most notably the family, church, the factory or company, mass media, and the state – are nothing but bargaining chips in our individual negotiations with the forces of change that sweep contemporary life. People cannot simply rely on parents, priests, professionals, or presidents for truth anymore – they have to go out and construct their own narrative, to come up with “biographical solutions of systemic contradictions” (Beck 1992).’ p6-7


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