By Pankaj Mishra
Considered one of our most crucial public intellectuals unearths the hidden background of our present international crisis
How do we clarify the origins of the nice wave of paranoid hatreds that appear inescapable in our close-knit world―from American shooters and ISIS to Donald Trump, from an increase in vengeful nationalism the world over to racism and misogyny on social media? In Age of Anger, Pankaj Mishra solutions our bewilderment via casting his gaze again to the eighteenth century ahead of best us to the present.
He indicates that because the global turned smooth, those that have been not able to take pleasure in its promises―of freedom, balance, and prosperity―were more and more vulnerable to demagogues. the numerous who got here overdue to this new world―or have been left, or driven, behind―reacted in horrifyingly related methods: with excessive hatred of invented enemies, makes an attempt to re-create an imaginary golden age, and self-empowerment via mind-blowing violence. It used to be from one of the ranks of the disaffected that the militants of the 19th century arose―angry younger males who turned cultural nationalists in Germany, messianic revolutionaries in Russia, bellicose chauvinists in Italy, and anarchist terrorists internationally.
Today, simply as then, the huge include of mass politics and know-how and the pursuit of wealth and individualism have forged many extra billions adrift in a demoralized global, uprooted from culture yet nonetheless faraway from modernity―with an analogous negative results.
Making startling connections and comparisons, Age of Anger is a publication of mammoth urgency and profound argument. it's a historical past of our current main issue not like the other.
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Extra resources for Age of Anger: A History of the Present
Briskly aestheticizing politics, this predecessor of today’s live-streaming militants outlined a likely endgame for a world in which, as Walter Benjamin wrote, the self-alienation of humankind ‘has reached such a degree that it can experience its own destruction as an aesthetic pleasure of the first order’. It is sobering to realize that when D’Annunzio opened up the prospects for Wagnerian politics as grand spectacle only about 20 per cent of humankind lived in countries that could even claim to be independent.
It is sobering to realize that when D’Annunzio opened up the prospects for Wagnerian politics as grand spectacle only about 20 per cent of humankind lived in countries that could even claim to be independent. In Asia and Africa, traditional religions and philosophies still offered to most people the basic and essential interpretation of the world that can give meaning to life, and create social ties and shared beliefs; there also existed a strong family structure and intermediate professional and religious institutions that defined the common good as well as individual identity.
Rousseau prepared the way, even as he himself withdrew from society altogether, for neo-traditionalist backlashes to the smug bourgeoisie. A counter-tradition developed in Germany in symbiotic opposition to the liberal universalist ideal of the pursuit of individual interests; it insisted on seeking emotional satisfaction through self-education, community, ritual and commemoration. Fuelled by socio-economic discontent and cultural disorientation, militant nationalism and socialism restored the religious ideal of transcendence, making it seem realizable on earth.
Age of Anger: A History of the Present by Pankaj Mishra