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Prospects For Tomorrow Between Security And Insecurity [Paperback]

Ivan Klima


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Book Description

Nov. 18 1999 Prospects for Tomorrow
The dimensions of space and time defy the human imagination: they inevitably undermine traditional beliefs, while giving rise to the sort of substitute faiths that caused catastrophic wars in our century and are now behind attempts to create a new, artificial world of entertainment, games, and virtual reality. The eminent Czech writer Ivan Klima discusses here the changes in thinking and behavior at the turn of the millennium. He considers the main values in human society that must be preserved, and he tries to identify those people in today's world who are seeking to transform generally accepted consumer values into genuine values based on mutual human relations, moderation, and an understanding of the place of humans in nature.

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From Publishers Weekly

In 19 short, interlinked meditations, Klima, the eminent Czech novelist, playwright and essayist, takes a humanist's stroll through our inhumane century and ponders our millennial prospects. A survivor of a Nazi concentration camp, Klima fathoms the lure of "substitute faiths" like communism, fascism and Nazism, which appealed to their adherents' deep hunger for belief and order. Defining existential emptiness as the chief malady of our time, he makes the familiar argument that new forms of escapism-including the mass media culture of sports, movies, TV and pop music and the online world-have partly filled the spiritual vacuum left by the decline of traditional religion and of discredited political creeds. With broad strokes, Klima offers philosophically informed diagnoses of current ills: family and marital breakdown; the worship and quick discarding of the new; drifting, alienated youth; the marginalization of serious art; apathy to environmental destruction and to the misfortune or pain of others. Excoriating Western materialist civilization, which, he says, overemphasizes consumption and productivity while neglecting values such as solidarity, love and community, he finds hopeful signs in ecology movements like the Greens and in women's growing participation at all levels of society. Written for the publisher's Prospects for Tomorrow series, this extended essay is at times morally incisive and fluent, but comes off as hastily written and oddly bland. (Jan.)
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc.

About the Author

Ivan Klima's books and plays have been translated into thirty languages. Concerned with personal and political freedoms, Klima's writing was blacklisted under Communism. He was deeply involved in the triumphant Velvet Revolution of 1989 with other dissident writers such as Vaclav Havel.

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