Jonathan Franzen, unafraid to post his own unpopular opinions, wants to bring light to Karl Kraus – a “fin de siècle” thinker, who was also wrote challenging, abrasive opinions about culture and was read by many prominent thinkers at the time. Both writers reflect my own growing fear about modern culture, especially the dark side of the internet.
An excerpt from the article follows – find the entire article here.
In his (Kraus’s) essay “Apocalypse”, a few years earlier, he’d written: “Culture can’t catch its breath, and in the end a dead humanity lies next to its works, whose invention cost us so much of our intellect that we had none left to put them to use. We were complicated enough to build machines and too primitive to make them serve us.” To me the most impressive thing about Kraus as a thinker may be how early and clearly he recognised the divergence of technological progress from moral and spiritual progress. A succeeding century of the former, involving scientific advances that would have seemed miraculous not long ago, has resulted in high-resolution smartphone videos of dudes dropping Mentos into litre bottles of Diet Pepsi and shouting “Whoa!”
A book of Kraus’s essays, “The Kraus Project,” edited by Franzen, is due out October 1.