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book review – literature

MODERN TIMES is as a commentary at the same time a book review with around 40 books mentioned in each issue (March, June, September, December). We discuss (preferably in an essayistic way) nonfiction Interior political, ecological and philosophical literature, but also literature in our time "big tech".
The newspaper with its rich full format also includes the theme supplement ORIENTERING and / or the documentary film magazine MODERN TIMES REVIEW.
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The human planet

ESSAY: What actually lies in the term 'anthropocene' as the term for the era we now find ourselves in? The Anthropocene refers to the many ways in which we humans have transformed the world and recreated it in our image. But there has been a discussion between biologists, anthropologists, geologists and other disciplines about what the term actually entails.

Desire, according to Lacan, is impossible to grasp

PSYCHOLOGY: Blaise Pascal was a contradictory figure: He was one of the most important mathematicians and scientists of all time, but at the same time a rather strict and dogmatic Catholic. By dogmatic is mainly meant that he emphasized a clear distinction between faith and knowledge. And ask yourself: Is there a difference between 'idiocy's truth' and 'truth's idiocy'?

The private is political

activism: One of the main goals of the Iranian clergy, the politicians and the people who support the clergy is to keep women and everything related to them out of the public sphere. But Nobel Prize nominee Masih Alinejad is giving voice to Iran's oppressed women through social and global media. Honesty, without pretensions, is an important part of Alinejad's life and writing.

Progress in dark times

FUTURE: With crises on all sides, it has become difficult to claim that the world is moving forward progressively. In her new book Fortschritt und Regression, Rahel Jaeggi will nevertheless stick to the idea of ​​progress. Society does not aim at inherent goals – they primarily solve problems, she claims.

A renewal of the critique of ideology

ALIENATION: This little book by Rahel Jaeggi is stimulating and useful – at a time when ideology criticism and the hermeneutics of suspicion have come under pressure, among other things from people who cultivate 'presence' and the everyday. And what if our actions and institutions are emptied of meaning and go on autopilot – will we be perceived as alienated?

The biopolitical foundations of modern society

PHILOSOPHY: An immune body is understood as protected against outside invaders. But as Esposito has touched on, biological immunity has also had political and military historical significance.

Politician bureaucracy and investor capital

DETROIT: When the financial crisis rolled over the United States in 2008 and since then the rest of the world, Detroit was already winding down as the proud industrial city it had once been. While investor vultures gathered like dark clouds and politicians arranged for the great grave robbery, the city's remaining inhabitants also gathered for a different way of thinking about the city and property.

The nihilism of Western values

MILITARISM: The Ukraine war risks becoming the prelude to an inevitable decline for the West. The Nordic countries are now among the largest suppliers of weapons to Ukraine. This book is a quantitative visualization of the decline of the West and of growing distrust of institutions among large sections of the population in Western societies. The West can no longer aspire to moral leadership in the world.

The history of the notebook

WRITING: Roland Allen's book A History of Thinking on Paper is a history of the intellectual journey from the thought to the writing hand.

The breakdown of technological systems

DISASTERS: Georgina Voss reveals how our modern society is often trapped by an ideological belief in technology.

The relationship between anthropology and moving images

ANTHROPOLOGY: Arnd Schneider from the University of Oslo prescribes a new, participatory, inclusive, artistic anthropology. We choose here to present insights from the book's chapters on the interesting use of documentary for observation and interpretation in today's society.

Truth has no nationality

UKRAINE: The country has always been more complex than these stirring Manichean explanations of a battle between the forces of good and absolute evil suggest. Diana Panchenko tells the story of a Ukraine that was seduced into becoming a kind of Anti-Russia. The Western narrative is simple and seductive: Putin is a bloodthirsty madman, Stalin's real heir, never satisfied with new conquests, and he attacked Ukraine only because the country wanted to be free and democratic.

Misleading view of China

GEOPOLITICS: In The Battle for World Power, Tunsjø is guilty of 'mirror imaging'. In recent decades, the United States has started a large number of wars and supported a large number of coup d'états, while in the same period China has actually built up trust in various states in the Third World.

Hegel's relevance – an attempt to show his relevance today

PHILOSOPHY: Sigurd Hverven emphasizes the procedural aspects of Hegel and draws the conclusion that philosophy is "to grasp one's own time in thought". His book about the German philosopher has gone a long way to becoming a self-help book for young adults and also provides examples of the philosophical consequences of smartphone use, child rearing and love relationships.

Dommer Giovanni Falcone – Cosa Nostras nemesis

MAFIA: Giovanni Falcone, this inspiration with the dark mustache and the winning smile, lived to be only 53 years old. He is a stalwart in the fight for the values ​​most people say they stand for. Perhaps Roberto Saviano writes about him precisely to recall the extent of the sacrifice, its motive, its achievements, and what qualities are required. He should know this himself.

The freedom struggle, in all its forms

USA: According to OECD statistics, less than a third of the American population has confidence in their government. From ethnic conflicts, a recently amended abortion law and widespread violence – the gun lobby is still fighting for the freedom to kill, even though the majority in the US wants more restrictive gun laws. Is the trade-off between freedom and security a failure?