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Victor E. Frankl —

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Viktor Frankl on Meaning

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MAN’S SEARCH FOR MEANING BY VIKTOR FRANKL – MY FAVORITE IDEAS ANIMATED

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Viktor Frankl

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Viktor Frankl
Viktor Frankl2.jpg
Born
Viktor Emil Frankl

26 March 1905

Died 2 September 1997 (aged 92)

Vienna, Austria
Resting place Zentralfriedhof, Vienna, Austria, Old Jewish Section
Nationality Austrian
Education Doctorate in Medicine, 1925, Doctorate in Philosophy, 1948
Alma mater University of Vienna
Occupation Neurologist, psychiatrist
Known for Logotherapy
Existential analysis
Spouse(s) Tilly Grosser, m. 1941
Eleonore Katharina Schwindt, m. 1947
Children Gabriele Frankl-Vesely
Parent(s) Gabriel Frankl and Elsa Frankl

Viktor Emil Frankl (26 March 1905 – 2 September 1997)[1][2] was an Austrian neurologist and psychiatrist as well as a Holocaust survivor. He survived TheresienstadtAuschwitzKaufering and Türkheim. Frankl was the founder of logotherapy, which is a form of existential analysis, the “Third Viennese School of Psychotherapy“. His best-selling book Man’s Search for Meaning (published under a different title in 1959: From Death-Camp to Existentialism, and originally published in 1946 as Trotzdem Ja Zum Leben Sagen: Ein Psychologe erlebt das Konzentrationslager, meaning Nevertheless, Say “Yes” to Life: A Psychologist Experiences the Concentration Camp) chronicles his experiences as a concentration camp inmate, which led him to discover the importance of finding meaning in all forms of existence, even the most brutal ones, and thus, a reason to continue living. Man’s Search for Meaning has sold over 12 million copies and has been translated into 24 different languages.[3] Frankl became one of the key figures in existential therapy and a prominent source of inspiration for humanistic psychologists.[4]

Frankl has been the subject of criticism from several holocaust analysts[5][6] who questioned the levels of Nazi accommodation that the ideology of logotherapy has and Frankl personally willingly pursued in the time periods before Frankl’s internment, when Frankl voluntarily requested to perform unskilled lobotomy experiments approved by the Nazis on Jews,[7] to the time period of his internment, in what is hinted upon in Frankl’s own autobiographical account and later under the investigative light of biographical research.[8][9]

Contents

Life before 1945

Frankl was born in Vienna into a Jewish family of civil servants (Beamtenfamilie). His interest in psychology surfaced early. For the final exam (Matura) in Gymnasium, he wrote a paper on the psychology of philosophical thinking. After graduation from Gymnasium in 1923, he studied medicine at the University of Vienna. In practice he specialized in neurology and psychiatry, concentrating on the topics of depression and suicide. His early development was influenced by his contacts with Sigmund Freud and Alfred Adler, although he would diverge from their teachings.[3][4]

Physician, therapist

During part of 1924 he became the president of the Sozialistische Mittelschüler Österreich, a Social Democratic youth movement for high school students throughout Austria.[1]:59

Between 1928 and 1930, while still a medical student, he organized and offered a special program to counsel high school students free of charge. The program involved the participation of psychologists such as Charlotte Bühler, and it paid special attention to students at the time when they received their report cards. In 1931, not a single Viennese student committed suicide. The success of this program grabbed the attention of the likes of Wilhelm Reich who invited him to Berlin.[2][10][promotional source?][11][non-primary source needed]

From 1933 to 1937, Frankl completed his residency in neurology and psychiatry at the Steinhof Psychiatric Hospital in Vienna. He was responsible for the so-called Selbstmörderpavillon, or “suicide pavilion”. Here, he treated more than 3000 women who had suicidal tendencies.[2][unreliable medical source?] In 1937, he established an independent private practice in neurology and psychiatry at Alser Strasse 32/12 in Vienna.[2]

Beginning with the Nazi takeover of Austria in 1938, he was prohibited from treating “Aryan” patients due to his Jewish identity. In 1940 he started working at the Rothschild Hospital, where he headed its neurological department. This hospital was the only one in Vienna to which Jews were still admitted. His medical opinions (including deliberately false diagnoses[12][better source needed]) saved several patients[example needed] from being euthanised via the Nazi euthanasia program.[citation needed] In December 1941 he married Tilly Grosser.[2][4]

Prisoner, therapist

On 25 September 1942, Frankl, his wife, and his parents were deported to the Nazi Theresienstadt Ghetto in Occupied Czechoslovakia. This Ghetto which housed many of the Jewish middle class, as a “model community” was set up by the Schutzstaffel (SS) with the expressed purpose of fooling Red Cross representatives about the ongoing slave labor, the Holocaust, and, later, the Nazi plan to murder all Jews.[13] There, within the Cultural life of the Theresienstadt ghetto, Frankl worked as a general practitioner in a clinic and wrote and gave lectures. When his skills in psychiatry were noticed by the Nazis, he was assigned to the psychiatric care ward in Block B IV, establishing a camp service of “psychohygiene” or mental health care. He organized a unit to help camp newcomers to overcome shockand grief. Later he set up a suicide watch, assisted by Regina Jonas.[2][14]

On 29 July 1943, Frankl organized a closed event for the Scientific Society in the Theresienstadt Ghetto, and with the help of the equally controversial Judenrat/Jewish collaborator Leo Baeck,[15][16] Frankl offered a series of lectures, including “Sleep and Sleep Disturbances”, “Body and Soul”, “Medical Care of the Soul”, “Psychology of Mountaineering”, “How to keep my nerves healthy?”, “Medical ministry”, “Existential Problems in Psychotherapy”, and “Social Psychotherapy”.[14] Biographers state that Frankl’s father Gabriel, starved to death at Theresienstadt,[17] by Frankl’s account he died of pulmonary edema and pneumonia.[2][4][14]

On 19 October 1944, Frankl, his wife Tilly, Regina Jonas and many others from the Theresienstadt Ghetto, were transported to the Auschwitz death camp in occupied Poland, where he was processed.[citation needed] On 25 October, Frankl is listed as arriving in the southern German Kaufering III, of XI labor camp,[17] which held up to 2,000 male prisoners in earthen huts, who upon its opening in June of that year, the prisoners were required to construct a transport route to connect underground aircraft factories, laying the infrastructure for the mass production of the world’s first jet-powered Messerschmitt Me 262 bomber destroyer, the Nazi response, to regain vital air supremacy, under the growingly unopposed effectiveness of Allied bombing upon the Nazi armament industry.[18][19][20]According to Frankl, his feats of physical initiative at this work camp were such that they did not go unnoticed and he was gifted “premium coupons” in late 1944.[17] According to Frankl’s autobiography, when infected with the ubiquitous typhoid,[2][4] he was allowed to leave the work camp and was offered a move to the so-called rest camp of Türkheim, prison records list his departure from Kaufering as 8 March 1945.[17] Frankl states that in Turkheim he was placed in charge of fifty men with typhus, it was here he rose to the position of “senior block warden” and began writing his book anew, until 27 April 1945, when the camp was liberated by American soldiers.[17]

Frankl’s mother Elsa and brother Walter were murdered at Auschwitz. Frankl’s wife was similarly transported out of Auschwitz and moved to Bergen-Belsen, a facility that housed a considerable number of women and minors, including Anne Frank, where they were forced to work in the shoe recycling labor camp; she would similarly be murdered, from the brutal conditions sometime close to the time of its liberation in 1945.[17] The only survivor of the Holocaust among Frankl’s immediate family was his sister, Stella, who had emigrated from Austria to Australia.[2][4]

Life after 1945

Liberated after several months in concentration camps, Frankl returned to Vienna, where he dictated to stenographer-typists his well known work, “the flood gates had opened”, completing the book, by 1946.[17] Frankl then published his world-famous book entitled, Trotzdem Ja Zum Leben Sagen: Ein Psychologe Erlebt das Konzentrationslager (“Saying Yes to Life in Spite of Everything: A Psychologist Experiences the Concentration Camp”), known in English by the title Man’s Search for Meaning (1959 title: From Death-Camp to Existentialism).[21] In this book, he described the life of an ordinary concentration camp inmate from the objective perspective of a psychiatrist.[4][22] Frankl believed that people are primarily driven by a “striving to find meaning in one’s life,” and that it is this sense of meaning that enables people to overcome painful experiences.

After enduring the suffering in these camps, Frankl concluded that even in the most absurd, painful, and dehumanized situation, life has potential meaning and that, therefore, even suffering is meaningful. This conclusion served as a basis for his logotherapy and existential analysis, which Frankl had described before World War II. He said, “What is to give light must endure burning.”[23]

Frankl’s concentration camp experiences shaped both his therapeutic approach and philosophical outlook, as reflected in his seminal publications.

He often said that even within the narrow boundaries of the concentration camps he found only two races of Men to exist: decent ones and unprincipled ones. These were to be found in all classes, ethnicities, and groups. “Under such conditions, who could blame them for trying to dope themselves?” “These were the men who were employed in the gas chambers and crematoriums, and who knew very well that one day they would have to leave their enforced role of executioner and become victims themselves.”[22]

In 1946, he was appointed to run the Vienna Polyclinic of Neurology. He remained there until 1971. In 1947 he married his second wife Eleonore Katharina Schwindt. She was a practicing Catholic and the couple respected each other’s religious backgrounds, going to both church and synagogue, and celebrating Christmas and Hanukah. They had one daughter, Gabriele, who went on to become a child psychologist.[2][4][24]

In 1948, Frankl earned a Ph.D. in philosophy. His dissertation, The Unconscious God, is an examination of the relation of psychology and religion.[25]

Grave of Viktor Frankl in Vienna

In 1955, he was awarded a professorship of neurology and psychiatry at the University of Vienna, and as visiting professor, he resided at Harvard University (1961), at Southern Methodist University, Dallas (1966), and at Duquesne University, Pittsburgh (1972). Frankl published 39 books, which were translated into as many as 49 languages.[26][promotional source?] He lectured and taught seminars all over the world and received 29 honorary doctoral degrees.[24]

The American Psychiatric Association awarded Frankl the 1985 Oskar Pfister Award for important contributions to religion and psychiatry.[27]

Frankl died of heart failure on 2 September 1997. He was survived by his wife Eleonore, one daughter, two grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.[28]

Controversy

In The Missing Pieces of the Puzzle: A Reflection on the Odd Career of Viktor Frankl, Timothy Pytell of California State University, San Bernardino,[29] conveys the numerous discrepancies and omissions in Frankl’s “Auschwitz survivor” account and later autobiography, which many of his contemporaries, such as Thomas Szasz, similarly have raised.[8] In Frankl’s Search for meaning the book devotes approximately half its contents to describing Auschwitz and the psychology of its prisoners, suggesting a long stay at the death camp, however his wording is contradictory and to Pytell, “profoundly deceptive”, when rather the impression of staying for months, Frankl was held close to the train, in the “depot prisoner” area of Auschwitz and for no more than a few days, he was neither registered there, nor assigned a number before being sent on to a subsidiary work camp of Dachau, known as Kaufering III, the true setting of much of what is described in his book.[30][20][31]

On Frankl’s doctrine that one must instill meaning in the events in one’s life that work and suffering to find meaning, will ultimately lead to fulfillment and happiness. In 1982 the highly cited scholar and holocaust analyst Lawrence L. Langer, who while also critical of Frankl’s distortions on the true experience of those at Auschwitz,[32] and Frankl’s amoral focus on “meaning” that could just as equally be applied to Nazis “finding meaning in making the world free from Jews”,[33] would go on to write “if this [logotherapy] doctrine had been more succinctly worded, the Nazis might have substituted it for the cruel mockery of Arbeit Macht Frei“[“work sets free”, read by those entering Auschwitz].[34] With, in professor Pytell’s view, Langer also penetrating through Frankl’s disturbed subtext that Holocaust “survival [was] a matter of mental health.” Noting Frankl’s tone as almost self-congratulatory and promotional throughout, that “it comes as no surprise to the reader, as he closes the volume, that the real hero of Man’s Search for Meaning is not man, but Viktor Frankl” by the continuation of the very same distortions of reality and the fantasy of world-view meaning-making, that were so disturbingly, precisely what had preturbed civilization into the holocaust-genocide of this era and others, to begin with.[35]

Pytell later would remark on the particularly sharp insight of Langer’s reading of Frankl’s holocaust testimony, noting that with Langer’s criticism published in 1982 before Pytell’s biography, the former had thus drawn the controversial parallels, or accommodations in ideology without the knowledge that Victor Frankl was an advocate/”embraced”[36] the key ideas of the Nazi psychotherapy movement (“will and responsibility”[37]) as a form of therapy in the late 1930s. When at that time Frankl would submit a paper and contributed to the Göring institute in Vienna 1937 and again in early 1938 connecting the logotherapy focus on “world-view” to the “work of some of the leading Nazi psychotherapists”,[38] both at a time before Austria was annexed by Nazi Germany in 1938.[39][40]

The origins of logotherapy, as described by Frankl, were therefore a major issue of continuity that Biographer Pytell argues were potentially problematic for Frankl because he had laid out the main elements of logotherapy while working for/contributing to the Nazi-affiliated Göring Institute. Principally Frankl’s 1937 paper, that was published by the institute.[40] This association, as a source of controversy, that logotherapy was palatable to National Socialism is the reason Pytell suggests, Frankl took two different stances on how the concentration-camp experience affected the course of his psychotherapy theory. Namely, that within the original English edition of Frankl’s most well known book, Man’s Search for Meaning, the suggestion is made and still largely held that logotherapy was itself derived from his camp experience, with the claim as it appears in the original edition, that this form of psychotherapy was “not concocted in the philosopher’s armchair nor at the analyst’s couch; it took shape in the hard school of air-raid shelters and bomb craters; in concentration camps and prisoner of war camps.” Frankl’s statements however to this effect would be deleted from later editions, though in the 1963 edition, a similar statement again appeared on the back of the book jacket of Man’s Search for Meaning.

Frankl over the years would with these widely read statements and others, switch between the claim that logotherapy took shape in the camps to the claim that the camps merely were a testing ground of his already preconceived theories. An uncovering of the matter would occur in 1977 with Frankl revealing on this controversy, though compounding another, stating “People think I came out of Auschwitz with a brand-new psychotherapy. This is not the case.”[17]

In the post war years, Frankl’s attitude towards not pursuing justice nor assigning collective guilt to the Austrian people for collaborating with or acquiescing in the face of Nazism, led to “frayed” relationships between Frankl, many Viennese and the larger American Jewish community, such that in 1978 when attempting to give a lecture at the institute of Adult Jewish Studies in New York, Frankl was confronted with an outburst of boos from the audience and was called a “nazi pig”.[39]

In 1988 Frankl would further “stir up sentiment against him” by being photographed next to and in accepting the Great Silver Medal with Star for Services to the Republic of Austria as a holocaust survivor, from President Waldheim, a controversial president of Austria who concurrent with the medal ceremony, was gripped by revelations that he had lied about his WWII military record and was under investigation for complicity in Nazi War crimes. Frankl’s acceptance of the medal was viewed by a large segment of the international Jewish community as a betrayal and by a disparate group of commentators, that its timing was politically motivated, an attempt to rehabilitate Waldheim’s reputation on the world stage.[41]

None of Frankl’s obituaries mention the unqualified and unskilled brain lobotomy and trepanation medical experiments approved by the Nazis that Frankl performed on Jews who had committed suicide with an overdose of sedatives, in resistance to their impending arrest, imprisonment and enforced labour in the concentration camp system. Operating without any training as a surgeon, Frankl would publish some of the details on his experiments, the methods of insertion of his chosen amphetamine drugs into the brains of these individuals, resulting in at times an alleged partial resuscitation, in 1942, prior to his own internment at Theresienstadt ghetto in September later in that year. Historian Günter Bischof of Harvard University, suggests Frankl’s voluntary request to perform lobotomy experiments could be seen as a way to “ingratiate” himself amongst the Nazis, as the latter were not appreciative of suicide being on arrest records.[17][9][32]

Legacy

Frankl’s logotherapy and existential analysis is considered the third Viennese School of Psychotherapy,[26][promotional source?] among the broad category that comprises existentialists.[42] For Irvin Yalom, Frankl, “who has devoted his career to a study of an existential approach to therapy, has apparently concluded that the lack of meaning is the paramount existential stress. To him, existential neurosis is synonymous with a crisis of meaninglessness”.[42]

He has coined the term noogenic neurosis, and illustrated it with the example of Sunday neurosis. It refers to a form of anxiety resulting from an awareness in some people of the emptiness of their lives once the working week is over.[43] Some complain of a void and a vague discontent.[42] This arises from an existential vacuum, or feeling of meaninglessness, which is a common phenomenon and is characterised by the subjective state of boredom, apathy, and emptiness. One feels cynical, lacks direction, and questions the point of most of life’s activities.[42]

People without a meaning in their life are exposed to aggression, depression and addiction.[22]

Viktor Frankl once recommended that the Statue of Liberty on the East Coast of the United States be complemented by a Statue of Responsibility on the West Coast:

Freedom, however, is not the last word. Freedom is only part of the story and half of the truth. Freedom is but the negative aspect of the whole phenomenon whose positive aspect is responsibleness. In fact, freedom is in danger of degenerating into mere arbitrariness unless it is lived in terms of responsibleness. That is why I recommend that the Statue of Liberty on the East Coast be supplemented by a Statue of Responsibility on the West Coast.[44][45]

Decorations and awards

Bibliography

His books in English are:

See also

References …

External links[edit]

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Viktor_Frankl

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Dinesh D’Souza — The Big Lie: Exposing The Nazi Roots of The American Left — Videos

Posted on June 8, 2019. Filed under: American History, Blogroll, Books, Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), Comedy, Communications, Congress, conservatives, Constitution, Corruption, Documentary, Education, Employment, Energy, Faith, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Foreign Policy, Freedom, government spending, history, Journalism, Law, liberty, Links, Literacy, Mastery, National Security Agency (NSA), National Security Agency (NSA_, Newspapers, Non-Fiction, People, Philosophy, Photos, Political Correctness, Politics, Psychology, Radio, Raymond Thomas Pronk, Security, Sociology, Spying, State, Strategy, Success, Talk Radio, Taxation, Unemployment, Video, War, Wealth, Weapons, Welfare, Wisdom, Work, Writing | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

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Fascism

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Benito Mussolini (left) and Adolf Hitler(right), the fascist leaders of Italy and Nazi Germany, respectively

Fascism (/ˈfæʃɪzəm/) is a form of radical, right-wingauthoritarian ultranationalism,[1][2][3][4] characterized by dictatorial power, forcible suppression of opposition, and strong regimentation of society and of the economy,[5] which came to prominence in early 20th-century Europe.[6] The first fascist movements emerged in Italy during World War I before it spread to other European countries.[6] Opposed to liberalismMarxism, and anarchism, fascism is placed on the far-right within the traditional left–right spectrum.[6][7][8][9][10][11]

Fascists saw World War I as a revolution that brought massive changes to the nature of war, society, the state, and technology. The advent of total war and the total mass mobilization of society had broken down the distinction between civilians and combatants. A “military citizenship” arose in which all citizens were involved with the military in some manner during the war.[12][13] The war had resulted in the rise of a powerful state capable of mobilizing millions of people to serve on the front lines and providing economic production and logistics to support them, as well as having unprecedented authority to intervene in the lives of citizens.[12][13]

Fascists believe that liberal democracy is obsolete and regard the complete mobilization of society under a totalitarian one-party state as necessary to prepare a nation for armed conflict and to respond effectively to economic difficulties.[14] Such a state is led by a strong leader—such as a dictator and a martial government composed of the members of the governing fascist party—to forge national unity and maintain a stable and orderly society.[14] Fascism rejects assertions that violence is automatically negative in nature and views political violence, war, and imperialism as means that can achieve national rejuvenation.[15][16][17][18] Fascists advocate a mixed economy, with the principal goal of achieving autarky(national economic self-sufficiency) through protectionist and interventionist economic policies.[19]

Since the end of World War II in 1945, few parties have openly described themselves as fascist, and the term is instead now usually used pejoratively by political opponents. The descriptions neo-fascist or post-fascist are sometimes applied more formally to describe parties of the far-right with ideologies similar to, or rooted in, 20th-century fascist movements.[6][20]

Contents

Etymology

The Italian term fascismo is derived from fascio meaning “a bundle of sticks”, ultimately from the Latin word fasces.[21] This was the name given to political organizations in Italy known as fasci, groups similar to guilds or syndicates. According to Mussolini‘s own account, the Fascist Revolutionary Party (Partito Fascista Rivoluzionario or PFR) was founded in Italy in 1915.[22] In 1919, Mussolini founded the Fasci Italiani di Combattimento in Milan, which became the Partito Nazionale Fascista (National Fascist Party) two years later. The Fascists came to associate the term with the ancient Roman fasces or fascio littorio[23]—a bundle of rods tied around an axe,[24] an ancient Roman symbol of the authority of the civic magistrate[25] carried by his lictors, which could be used for corporal and capital punishment at his command.[26][27]

The symbolism of the fasces suggested strength through unity: a single rod is easily broken, while the bundle is difficult to break.[28] Similar symbols were developed by different fascist movements: for example, the Falange symbol is five arrows joined together by a yoke.[29]

Definitions

Historians, political scientists, and other scholars have long debated the exact nature of fascism.[30] Each group described as fascist has at least some unique elements, and many definitions of fascism have been criticized as either too wide or narrow.[31][32]

One common definition of the term focuses on three concepts:

  1. the fascist negations (anti-liberalismanti-communism, and anti-conservatism);
  2. nationalist authoritarian goals of creating a regulated economic structure to transform social relations within a modern, self-determined culture; and
  3. a political aesthetic of romantic symbolism, mass mobilization, a positive view of violence, and promotion of masculinity, youth, and charismatic leadership.[33][34][35]

According to many scholars, fascism—especially once in power—has historically attacked communism, conservatism, and parliamentary liberalism, attracting support primarily from the far-right.[36]

Historian Stanley Payne identifies three main strands in fascism. His typology is regularly cited by reliable sources as a standard definition. First, Payne’s “fascist negations” refers to such typical policies as anti-communism and anti-liberalism. Second, “fascist goals” include a nationalist dictatorship and an expanded empire. Third, “fascist style” is seen in its emphasis on violence and authoritarianism and its exultation of men above women and young against old.[37]

Roger Griffin describes fascism as “a genus of political ideology whose mythic core in its various permutations is a palingenetic form of populistultranationalism“.[38] Griffin describes the ideology as having three core components: “(i) the rebirth myth, (ii) populist ultra-nationalism, and (iii) the myth of decadence”.[39] Fascism is “a genuinely revolutionary, trans-class form of anti-liberal, and in the last analysis, anti-conservative nationalism” built on a complex range of theoretical and cultural influences. He distinguishes an inter-war period in which it manifested itself in elite-led but populist “armed party” politics opposing socialism and liberalism and promising radical politics to rescue the nation from decadence.[40]

Robert Paxton says that fascism is “a form of political behavior marked by obsessive preoccupation with community decline, humiliation, or victimhood and by compensatory cults of unity, energy, and purity, in which a mass-based party of committed nationalist militants, working in uneasy but effective collaboration with traditional elites, abandons democratic liberties and pursues with redemptive violence and without ethical or legal restraints goals of internal cleansing and external expansion”.[41]

Racism was a key feature of German fascism, as they made the Holocaust a high priority. According to the historiography of genocide, “In dealing with the Holocaust, it is the consensus of historians that Nazi Germany targeted Jews as a race, not as a religious group.”[42] Umberto Eco,[43]Kevin Passmore,[44] John Weiss,[45] Ian Adams,[46] and Moyra Grant[47] stress racism as a characteristic component of German fascism. The Encyclopedia Britannica says, “Hitler envisioned the ideal German society as a Volksgemeinschaft, a racially unified and hierarchically organized body in which the interests of individuals would be strictly subordinate to those of the nation, or Volk.”[48] Fascist philosophies vary by application, but remain distinct by one theoretic commonality. All traditionally fall into the far-right sector of any political spectrum, catalyzed by afflicted class identities over conventional social inequities[6]

Historian John Lukacs argues that there is no such thing as generic fascism. He claims that National Socialism and communism are essentially manifestations of populism and that states such as National Socialist Germany and Fascist Italy are more different than similar.[49]

Position in the political spectrum

Most scholars place fascism on the far right of the political spectrum.[6][7][8][9][10][11] Such scholarship focuses on its social conservatism and its authoritarian means of opposing egalitarianism.[50][51] Roderick Stackelberg places fascism—including Nazism, which he says is “a radical variant of fascism”—on the political right by explaining: “The more a person deems absolute equality among all people to be a desirable condition, the further left he or she will be on the ideological spectrum. The more a person considers inequality to be unavoidable or even desirable, the further to the right he or she will be”.[52]

Fascism’s origins, however, are complex and include many seemingly contradictory viewpoints, ultimately centered around a myth of national rebirth from decadence.[53] Fascism was founded during World War I by Italian national syndicalists who drew upon both left-wing organizational tactics and right-wing political views.[54]

Italian Fascism gravitated to the right in the early 1920s.[55][56] A major element of fascist ideology that has been deemed to be far-right is its stated goal to promote the right of a supposedly superior people to dominate, while purging society of supposedly inferior elements.[57]

In the 1920s, the Italian Fascists described their ideology as right-wing in the political program The Doctrine of Fascism, stating: “We are free to believe that this is the century of authority, a century tending to the ‘right,’ a fascist century”.[58][59] Mussolini stated that fascism’s position on the political spectrum was not a serious issue for fascists: “Fascism, sitting on the right, could also have sat on the mountain of the center … These words in any case do not have a fixed and unchanged meaning: they do have a variable subject to location, time and spirit. We don’t give a damn about these empty terminologies and we despise those who are terrorized by these words”.[60]

Major Italian groups politically on the right, especially rich landowners and big business, feared an uprising by groups on the left such as sharecroppers and labour unions.[61] They welcomed Fascism and supported its violent suppression of opponents on the left.[62] The accommodation of the political right into the Italian Fascist movement in the early 1920s created internal factions within the movement. The “Fascist left” included Michele BianchiGiuseppe BottaiAngelo Oliviero OlivettiSergio Panunzio, and Edmondo Rossoni, who were committed to advancing national syndicalism as a replacement for parliamentary liberalism in order to modernize the economy and advance the interests of workers and common people.[63] The “Fascist right” included members of the paramilitary Squadristi and former members of the Italian Nationalist Association (ANI).[63] The Squadristi wanted to establish Fascism as a complete dictatorship, while the former ANI members, including Alfredo Rocco, sought to institute an authoritarian corporatist state to replace the liberal state in Italy while retaining the existing elites.[63] Upon accommodating the political right, there arose a group of monarchist fascists who sought to use fascism to create an absolute monarchy under King Victor Emmanuel III of Italy.[63]

After King Victor Emmanuel III forced Mussolini to resign as head of government and placed him under arrest in 1943, Mussolini was rescued by German forces. While continuing to rely on Germany for support, Mussolini and the remaining loyal Fascists founded the Italian Social Republic with Mussolini as head of state. Mussolini sought to re-radicalize Italian Fascism, declaring that the Fascist state had been overthrown because Italian Fascism had been subverted by Italian conservatives and the bourgeoisie.[64] Then the new Fascist government proposed the creation of workers’ councils and profit-sharing in industry, although the German authorities, who effectively controlled northern Italy at this point, ignored these measures and did not seek to enforce them.[64]

A number of post-World War II fascist movements described themselves as a “third position” outside the traditional political spectrum.[65] Spanish Falangist leader José Antonio Primo de Rivera said: “[B]asically the Right stands for the maintenance of an economic structure, albeit an unjust one, while the Left stands for the attempt to subvert that economic structure, even though the subversion thereof would entail the destruction of much that was worthwhile”.[66]

“Fascist” as a pejorative

The term “fascist” has been used as a pejorative,[67] regarding varying movements across the far right of the political spectrum.[68] George Orwell wrote in 1944 that “the word ‘Fascism’ is almost entirely meaningless … almost any English person would accept ‘bully’ as a synonym for ‘Fascist'”.[68]

Communist states have sometimes been referred to as “fascist”, typically as an insult. For example, it has been applied to Marxist regimes in Cuba under Fidel Castro and Vietnam under Ho Chi Minh.[69] Chinese Marxists used the term to denounce the Soviet Union during the Sino-Soviet Split, and likewise the Soviets used the term to denounce Chinese Marxists[70] and social democracy (coining a new term in “social fascism“).

In the United States, Herbert Matthews of The New York Times asked in 1946: “Should we now place Stalinist Russia in the same category as Hitlerite Germany? Should we say that she is Fascist?”.[71] J. Edgar Hoover, longtime FBI director and ardent anti-communist, wrote extensively of “Red Fascism”.[72] The Ku Klux Klan in the 1920s was sometimes called “fascist”. Historian Peter Amann states that, “Undeniably, the Klan had some traits in common with European fascism—chauvinism, racism, a mystique of violence, an affirmation of a certain kind of archaic traditionalism—yet their differences were fundamental….[the KKK] never envisioned a change of political or economic system.”[73]

Professor Richard Griffiths of the University of Wales[74] wrote in 2005 that “fascism” is the “most misused, and over-used word, of our times”.[32] “Fascist” is sometimes applied to post-World War II organizations and ways of thinking that academics more commonly term “neo-fascist“.[75]

History

Nineteenth-century roots

According to Encyclopædia Britannica[better source needed] the roots of fascism are either tied to the Jacobin movement or a 19th-century backlash against the Enlightenment.[76] Historians such as Irene Collins and Howard C Payne see Napoleon III, who ran a ‘police state’ and suppressed the media, as a forerunner of fascism.[77] According to David Thomson,[78] the Italian Risorgimento of 1871 led to the ‘nemesis of fascism’. William L Shirer[79] sees a continuity from the views of Fichte and Hegel, through Bismarck, to Hitler; Robert Gerwarth speaks of a ‘direct line’ from Bismarck to Hitler.[80] Julian Dierkes sees fascism as a ‘particularly violent form of Imperialism‘.[81]

Fin de siècle era and the fusion of Maurrasism with Sorelianism (1880–1914)

The historian Zeev Sternhell has traced the ideological roots of fascism back to the 1880s and in particular to the fin de siècle theme of that time.[82][83] The theme was based on a revolt against materialismrationalismpositivism, bourgeois society and democracy.[84] The fin-de-siècle generation supported emotionalismirrationalismsubjectivism and vitalism.[85] The fin-de-sièclemindset saw civilization as being in a crisis that required a massive and total solution.[84] The fin-de-siècle intellectual school considered the individual only one part of the larger collectivity, which should not be viewed as an atomized numerical sum of individuals.[84] They condemned the rationalistic individualism of liberal society and the dissolution of social links in bourgeois society.[84]

The fin-de-siècle outlook was influenced by various intellectual developments, including Darwinian biologyWagnerian aestheticsArthur de Gobineau‘s racialismGustave Le Bon‘s psychology; and the philosophies of Friedrich NietzscheFyodor Dostoyevsky and Henri Bergson.[86] Social Darwinism, which gained widespread acceptance, made no distinction between physical and social life, and viewed the human condition as being an unceasing struggle to achieve the survival of the fittest.[86] Social Darwinism challenged positivism’s claim of deliberate and rational choice as the determining behaviour of humans, with social Darwinism focusing on heredity, race, and environment.[86] Social Darwinism’s emphasis on biogroup identity and the role of organic relations within societies fostered legitimacy and appeal for nationalism.[87] New theories of social and political psychology also rejected the notion of human behaviour being governed by rational choice and instead claimed that emotion was more influential in political issues than reason.[86] Nietzsche’s argument that “God is dead” coincided with his attack on the “herd mentality” of Christianity, democracy and modern collectivism; his concept of the übermensch; and his advocacy of the will to power as a primordial instinct, were major influences upon many of the fin-de-siècle generation.[88] Bergson’s claim of the existence of an “élan vital” or vital instinct centred upon free choice and rejected the processes of materialism and determinism; this challenged Marxism.[89]

Gaetano Mosca in his work The Ruling Class (1896) developed the theory that claims that in all societies an “organized minority” will dominate and rule over the “disorganized majority”.[90][91]Mosca claims that there are only two classes in society, “the governing” (the organized minority) and “the governed” (the disorganized majority).[92] He claims that the organized nature of the organized minority makes it irresistible to any individual of the disorganized majority.[92]

French nationalist and reactionary monarchist Charles Maurras influenced fascism.[93] Maurras promoted what he called integral nationalism, which called for the organic unity of a nation and Maurras insisted that a powerful monarch was an ideal leader of a nation. Maurras distrusted what he considered the democratic mystification of the popular will that created an impersonal collective subject.[93] He claimed that a powerful monarch was a personified sovereign who could exercise authority to unite a nation’s people.[93] Maurras’ integral nationalism was idealized by fascists, but modified into a modernized revolutionary form that was devoid of Maurras’ monarchism.[93]

French revolutionary syndicalist Georges Sorel promoted the legitimacy of political violence in his work Reflections on Violence (1908) and other works in which he advocated radical syndicalist action to achieve a revolution to overthrow capitalism and the bourgeoisie through a general strike.[94]In Reflections on Violence, Sorel emphasized need for a revolutionary political religion.[95] Also in his work The Illusions of Progress, Sorel denounced democracy as reactionary, saying “nothing is more aristocratic than democracy”.[96] By 1909 after the failure of a syndicalist general strike in France, Sorel and his supporters left the radical left and went to the radical right, where they sought to merge militant Catholicism and French patriotism with their views—advocating anti-republican Christian French patriots as ideal revolutionaries.[97] Initially Sorel had officially been a revisionist of Marxism, but by 1910 announced his abandonment of socialist literature and claimed in 1914, using an aphorism of Benedetto Croce that “socialism is dead” because of the “decomposition of Marxism”.[98] Sorel became a supporter of reactionary Maurrassian nationalism beginning in 1909 that influenced his works.[98] Maurras held interest in merging his nationalist ideals with Sorelian syndicalism as a means to confront democracy.[99]Maurras stated “a socialism liberated from the democratic and cosmopolitan element fits nationalism well as a well made glove fits a beautiful hand”.[100]

The fusion of Maurrassian nationalism and Sorelian syndicalism influenced radical Italian nationalist Enrico Corradini.[101] Corradini spoke of the need for a nationalist-syndicalist movement, led by elitist aristocrats and anti-democrats who shared a revolutionary syndicalist commitment to direct action and a willingness to fight.[101] Corradini spoke of Italy as being a “proletarian nation” that needed to pursue imperialism in order to challenge the “plutocratic” French and British.[102] Corradini’s views were part of a wider set of perceptions within the right-wing Italian Nationalist Association (ANI), which claimed that Italy’s economic backwardness was caused by corruption in its political class, liberalism, and division caused by “ignoble socialism”.[102] The ANI held ties and influence among conservatives, Catholics and the business community.[102] Italian national syndicalists held a common set of principles: the rejection of bourgeois values, democracy, liberalism, Marxisminternationalism and pacifism; and the promotion of heroismvitalism and violence.[103] The ANI claimed that liberal democracy was no longer compatible with the modern world, and advocated a strong state and imperialism, claiming that humans are naturally predatory and that nations were in a constant struggle, in which only the strongest could survive.[104]

Filippo Tommaso Marinetti, Italian modernist author of the Futurist Manifesto (1909) and later the co-author of the Fascist Manifesto (1919)

Futurism was both an artistic-cultural movement and initially a political movement in Italy led by Filippo Tommaso Marinetti who founded the Futurist Manifesto (1908), that championed the causes of modernism, action, and political violence as necessary elements of politics while denouncing liberalism and parliamentary politics. Marinetti rejected conventional democracy based on majority rule and egalitarianism, for a new form of democracy, promoting what he described in his work “The Futurist Conception of Democracy” as the following: “We are therefore able to give the directions to create and to dismantle to numbers, to quantity, to the mass, for with us number, quantity and mass will never be—as they are in Germany and Russia—the number, quantity and mass of mediocre men, incapable and indecisive”.[105]

Futurism influenced fascism in its emphasis on recognizing the virile nature of violent action and war as being necessities of modern civilization.[106] Marinetti promoted the need of physical training of young men, saying that in male education, gymnastics should take precedence over books, and he advocated segregation of the genders on this matter, in that womanly sensibility must not enter men’s education whom Marinetti claimed must be “lively, bellicose, muscular and violently dynamic”.[107]

Benito Mussolini (here in 1917 as a soldier in World War I), who in 1914 founded and led the Fasci d’Azione Rivoluzionaria to promote the Italian intervention in the war as a revolutionary nationalistaction to liberate Italian-claimed lands from Austria-Hungary

World War I and its aftermath (1914–1929)

At the outbreak of World War I in August 1914, the Italian political left became severely split over its position on the war. The Italian Socialist Party (PSI) opposed the war but a number of Italian revolutionary syndicalists supported war against Germany and Austria-Hungary on the grounds that their reactionary regimes had to be defeated to ensure the success of socialism.[108] Angelo Oliviero Olivetti formed a pro-interventionist fascio called the Fasci of International Action in October 1914.[108] Benito Mussolini upon being expelled from his position as chief editor of the PSI’s newspaper Avanti! for his anti-German stance, joined the interventionist cause in a separate fascio.[109] The term “Fascism” was first used in 1915 by members of Mussolini’s movement, the Fasci of Revolutionary Action.[110]

The first meeting of the Fasci of Revolutionary Action was held on 24 January 1915[111] when Mussolini declared that it was necessary for Europe to resolve its national problems—including national borders—of Italy and elsewhere “for the ideals of justice and liberty for which oppressed peoples must acquire the right to belong to those national communities from which they descended”.[111] Attempts to hold mass meetings were ineffective and the organization was regularly harassed by government authorities and socialists.[112]

German soldiers parading through Lübeck in the days leading up to World War I. Johann Plenge‘s concept of the “Spirit of 1914” identified the outbreak of war as a moment that forged nationalistic German solidarity

Similar political ideas arose in Germany after the outbreak of the war. German sociologist Johann Plenge spoke of the rise of a “National Socialism” in Germany within what he termed the “ideas of 1914” that were a declaration of war against the “ideas of 1789” (the French Revolution).[113]According to Plenge, the “ideas of 1789” that included rights of man, democracy, individualism and liberalism were being rejected in favor of “the ideas of 1914” that included “German values” of duty, discipline, law and order.[113] Plenge believed that racial solidarity (Volksgemeinschaft) would replace class division and that “racial comrades” would unite to create a socialist society in the struggle of “proletarian” Germany against “capitalist” Britain.[113] He believed that the “Spirit of 1914” manifested itself in the concept of the “People’s League of National Socialism”.[114] This National Socialism was a form of state socialism that rejected the “idea of boundless freedom” and promoted an economy that would serve the whole of Germany under the leadership of the state.[114] This National Socialism was opposed to capitalism because of the components that were against “the national interest” of Germany, but insisted that National Socialism would strive for greater efficiency in the economy.[114][115] Plenge advocated an authoritarian rational ruling elite to develop National Socialism through a hierarchical technocratic state.[116]

Impact of World War I

Fascists viewed World War I as bringing revolutionary changes in the nature of war, society, the state and technology, as the advent of total war and mass mobilization had broken down the distinction between civilian and combatant, as civilians had become a critical part in economic production for the war effort and thus arose a “military citizenship” in which all citizens were involved to the military in some manner during the war.[12][13] World War I had resulted in the rise of a powerful state capable of mobilizing millions of people to serve on the front lines or provide economic production and logistics to support those on the front lines, as well as having unprecedented authority to intervene in the lives of citizens.[12][13] Fascists viewed technological developments of weaponry and the state’s total mobilization of its population in the war as symbolizing the beginning of a new era fusing state power with mass politics, technology and particularly the mobilizing myth that they contended had triumphed over the myth of progress and the era of liberalism.[12]

Members of Italy’s Arditi corps (here in 1918 holding daggers, a symbol of their group), which was formed in 1917 as groups of soldiers trained for dangerous missions, characterized by refusal to surrender and willingness to fight to the death. Their black uniforms inspired those of the Italian Fascist movement.

Impact of the Bolshevik Revolution

The October Revolution of 1917—in which Bolshevik communists led by Vladimir Lenin seized power in Russia—greatly influenced the development of fascism.[117] In 1917, Mussolini, as leader of the Fasci of Revolutionary Action, praised the October Revolution, but later he became unimpressed with Lenin, regarding him as merely a new version of Tsar Nicholas.[118] After World War I, fascists have commonly campaigned on anti-Marxist agendas.[117]

Liberal opponents of both fascism and the Bolsheviks argue that there are various similarities between the two, including that they believed in the necessity of a vanguard leadership, had disdain for bourgeois values and it is argued had totalitarian ambitions.[117] In practice, both have commonly emphasized revolutionary action, proletarian nation theories, one-party states and party-armies.[117] However, both draw clear distinctions from each other both in aims and tactics, with the Bolsheviks emphasizing the need for an organized participatory democracy and an egalitarian, internationalist vision for society while the fascists emphasize hyper-nationalism and open hostility towards democracy, envisioning a hierarchical social structure as essential to their aims.

With the antagonism between anti-interventionist Marxists and pro-interventionist Fascists complete by the end of the war, the two sides became irreconcilable. The Fascists presented themselves as anti-Marxists and as opposed to the Marxists.[119] Mussolini consolidated control over the Fascist movement, known as Sansepolcrismo, in 1919 with the founding of the Fasci italiani di combattimento.

The Fascist Manifesto of 1919

In 1919, Alceste De Ambris and Futurist movement leader Filippo Tommaso Marinetti created The Manifesto of the Italian Fasci of Combat (the Fascist Manifesto).[120] The Manifesto was presented on 6 June 1919 in the Fascist newspaper Il Popolo d’Italia. The Manifesto supported the creation of universal suffrage for both men and women (the latter being realized only partly in late 1925, with all opposition parties banned or disbanded);[121] proportional representation on a regional basis; government representation through a corporatist system of “National Councils” of experts, selected from professionals and tradespeople, elected to represent and hold legislative power over their respective areas, including labour, industry, transportation, public health, communications, etc.; and the abolition of the Italian Senate.[122] The Manifesto supported the creation of an eight-hour work day for all workers, a minimum wage, worker representation in industrial management, equal confidence in labour unions as in industrial executives and public servants, reorganization of the transportation sector, revision of the draft law on invalidity insurance, reduction of the retirement age from 65 to 55, a strong progressive tax on capital, confiscation of the property of religious institutions and abolishment of bishoprics, and revision of military contracts to allow the government to seize 85% of profits.[123] It also called for the fulfillment of expansionist aims in the Balkans and other parts of the Mediterranean,[124] the creation of a short-service national militia to serve defensive duties, nationalization of the armaments industry and a foreign policy designed to be peaceful but also competitive.[125]

Residents of Fiume cheer the arrival of Gabriele d’Annunzio and his blackshirt-wearing nationalist raiders, as D’Annunzio and Fascist Alceste De Ambrisdeveloped the quasi-fascist Italian Regency of Carnaro (a city-state in Fiume) from 1919 to 1920 and whose actions by D’Annunzio in Fiume inspired the Italian Fascist movement

The next events that influenced the Fascists in Italy was the raid of Fiume by Italian nationalist Gabriele d’Annunzio and the founding of the Charter of Carnaro in 1920.[126] D’Annunzio and De Ambris designed the Charter, which advocated national-syndicalist corporatistproductionism alongside D’Annunzio’s political views.[127] Many Fascists saw the Charter of Carnaro as an ideal constitution for a Fascist Italy.[128] This behaviour of aggression towards Yugoslavia and South Slavs was pursued by Italian Fascists with their persecution of South Slavs—especially Slovenes and Croats.

Italian Fascists in 1920

In 1920, militant strike activity by industrial workers reached its peak in Italy and 1919 and 1920 were known as the “Red Years”.[129]Mussolini and the Fascists took advantage of the situation by allying with industrial businesses and attacking workers and peasants in the name of preserving order and internal peace in Italy.[130]

Fascists identified their primary opponents as the majority of socialists on the left who had opposed intervention in World War I.[128] The Fascists and the Italian political right held common ground: both held Marxism in contempt, discounted class consciousness and believed in the rule of elites.[131] The Fascists assisted the anti-socialist campaign by allying with the other parties and the conservative right in a mutual effort to destroy the Italian Socialist Party and labour organizations committed to class identity above national identity.[131]

Fascism sought to accommodate Italian conservatives by making major alterations to its political agenda—abandoning its previous populismrepublicanism and anticlericalism, adopting policies in support of free enterprise and accepting the Catholic Church and the monarchy as institutions in Italy.[132] To appeal to Italian conservatives, Fascism adopted policies such as promoting family values, including promotion policies designed to reduce the number of women in the workforce limiting the woman’s role to that of a mother. The fascists banned literature on birth control and increased penalties for abortion in 1926, declaring both crimes against the state.[133] Though Fascism adopted a number of anti-modern positions designed to appeal to people upset with the new trends in sexuality and women’s rights—especially those with a reactionary point of view—the Fascists sought to maintain Fascism’s revolutionary character, with Angelo Oliviero Olivetti saying: “Fascism would like to be conservative, but it will [be] by being revolutionary”.[134] The Fascists supported revolutionary action and committed to secure law and order to appeal to both conservatives and syndicalists.[135]

Prior to Fascism’s accommodations to the political right, Fascism was a small, urban, northern Italian movement that had about a thousand members.[136] After Fascism’s accommodation of the political right, the Fascist movement’s membership soared to approximately 250,000 by 1921.[137]

Fascist violence in 1922

Beginning in 1922, Fascist paramilitaries escalated their strategy from one of attacking socialist offices and homes of socialist leadership figures to one of violent occupation of cities. The Fascists met little serious resistance from authorities and proceeded to take over several northern Italian cities.[138] The Fascists attacked the headquarters of socialist and Catholic labour unions in Cremona and imposed forced Italianization upon the German-speaking population of Trent and Bolzano.[138] After seizing these cities, the Fascists made plans to take Rome.[138]

Benito Mussolini with three of the four quadrumvirsduring the March on Rome (from left to right: unknown, de Bono, Mussolini, Balbo and de Vecchi)

On 24 October 1922, the Fascist party held its annual congress in Naples, where Mussolini ordered Blackshirts to take control of public buildings and trains and to converge on three points around Rome.[138] The Fascists managed to seize control of several post offices and trains in northern Italy while the Italian government, led by a left-wing coalition, was internally divided and unable to respond to the Fascist advances.[139] King Victor Emmanuel III of Italy perceived the risk of bloodshed in Rome in response to attempting to disperse the Fascists to be too high.[140] Victor Emmanuel III decided to appoint Mussolini as Prime Minister of Italy and Mussolini arrived in Rome on 30 October to accept the appointment.[140] Fascist propaganda aggrandized this event, known as “March on Rome“, as a “seizure” of power because of Fascists’ heroic exploits.[138]

Fascist Italy

Historian Stanley G. Payne says Fascism in Italy was:

A primarily political dictatorship….The Fascist Party itself had become almost completely bureaucratized and subservient to, not dominant over, the state itself. Big business, industry, and finance retained extensive autonomy, particularly in the early years. The armed forces also enjoyed considerable autonomy….The Fascist militia was placed under military control….The judicial system was left largely intact and relatively autonomous as well. The police continued to be directed by state officials and were not taken over by party leaders…nor was a major new police elite created….There was never any question of bringing the Church under overall subservience…. Sizable sectors of Italian cultural life retained extensive autonomy, and no major state propaganda-and-culture ministry existed….The Mussolini regime was neither especially sanguinary nor particularly repressive.[141]

Mussolini in power

Upon being appointed Prime Minister of Italy, Mussolini had to form a coalition government because the Fascists did not have control over the Italian parliament.[142] Mussolini’s coalition government initially pursued economically liberal policies under the direction of liberal finance minister Alberto De Stefani, a member of the Center Party, including balancing the budget through deep cuts to the civil service.[142] Initially, little drastic change in government policy had occurred and repressive police actions were limited.[142]

The Fascists began their attempt to entrench Fascism in Italy with the Acerbo Law, which guaranteed a plurality of the seats in parliament to any party or coalition list in an election that received 25% or more of the vote.[143] Through considerable Fascist violence and intimidation, the list won a majority of the vote, allowing many seats to go to the Fascists.[143] In the aftermath of the election, a crisis and political scandal erupted after Socialist Party deputy Giacomo Matteotti was kidnapped and murdered by a Fascist.[143] The liberals and the leftist minority in parliament walked out in protest in what became known as the Aventine Secession.[144] On 3 January 1925, Mussolini addressed the Fascist-dominated Italian parliament and declared that he was personally responsible for what happened, but insisted that he had done nothing wrong. Mussolini proclaimed himself dictator of Italy, assuming full responsibility over the government and announcing the dismissal of parliament.[144] From 1925 to 1929, Fascism steadily became entrenched in power: opposition deputies were denied access to parliament, censorship was introduced and a December 1925 decree made Mussolini solely responsible to the King.[145]

Catholic Church

In 1929, the Fascist regime briefly gained what was in effect a blessing of the Catholic Church after the regime signed a concordat with the Church, known as the Lateran Treaty, which gave the papacy state sovereignty and financial compensation for the seizure of Church lands by the liberal state in the nineteenth century, but within two years the Church had renounced Fascism in the Encyclical Non Abbiamo Bisogno as a “pagan idolotry of the state” which teaches “hatred, violence and irreverence”.[146] Not long after signing the agreement, by Mussolini’s own confession the Church had threatened to have him “excommunicated”, in part because of his intractable nature and that he had “confiscated more issues of Catholic newspapers in the next three months than in the previous seven years”.[147] By the late 1930s, Mussolini became more vocal in his anti-clerical rhetoric, repeatedly denouncing the Catholic Church and discussing ways to depose the pope. He took the position that the “papacy was a malignant tumor in the body of Italy and must ‘be rooted out once and for all,’ because there was no room in Rome for both the Pope and himself”.[148] In her 1974 book, Mussolini’s widow Rachele stated that her husband had always been an atheist until near the end of his life, writing that her husband was “basically irreligious until the later years of his life”.[149]

The National Socialists of Germany employed similar anti-clerical policies. The Gestapo confiscated hundreds of monasteries in Austria and Germany, evicted clergymen and laymen alike and often replaced crosses with a swastikas.[150] Referring to the swastika as the “Devil’s Cross”, church leaders found their youth organizations banned, their meetings limited and various Catholic periodicals censored or banned. Government officials eventually found it necessary to place “Nazis into editorial positions in the Catholic press”.[151] Up to 2,720 clerics, mostly Catholics, were arrested by the Gestapo and imprisoned inside of Germany’s Dachau concentration camp, resulting in over 1,000 deaths.[152]

Corporatist economic system

The Fascist regime created a corporatist economic system in 1925 with creation of the Palazzo Vidioni Pact, in which the Italian employers’ association Confindustria and Fascist trade unions agreed to recognize each other as the sole representatives of Italy’s employers and employees, excluding non-Fascist trade unions.[153] The Fascist regime first created a Ministry of Corporations that organized the Italian economy into 22 sectoral corporations, banned workers’ strikes and lock-outs and in 1927 created the Charter of Labour, which established workers’ rights and duties and created labour tribunals to arbitrate employer-employee disputes.[153] In practice, the sectoral corporations exercised little independence and were largely controlled by the regime and employee organizations were rarely led by employees themselves, but instead by appointed Fascist party members.[153]

Aggressive foreign policy

In the 1920s, Fascist Italy pursued an aggressive foreign policy that included an attack on the Greek island of Corfu, aims to expand Italian territory in the Balkans, plans to wage war against Turkey and Yugoslavia, attempts to bring Yugoslavia into civil war by supporting Croat and Macedonian separatists to legitimize Italian intervention and making Albania a de facto protectorate of Italy, which was achieved through diplomatic means by 1927.[154] In response to revolt in the Italian colony of Libya, Fascist Italy abandoned previous liberal-era colonial policy of cooperation with local leaders. Instead, claiming that Italians were a superior race to African races and thereby had the right to colonize the “inferior” Africans, it sought to settle 10 to 15 million Italians in Libya.[155] This resulted in an aggressive military campaign known as the Pacification of Libya against natives in Libya, including mass killings, the use of concentration camps and the forced starvation of thousands of people.[155] Italian authorities committed ethnic cleansing by forcibly expelling 100,000 Bedouin Cyrenaicans, half the population of Cyrenaica in Libya, from their settlements that was slated to be given to Italian settlers.[156][157]

Hitler adopts Italian model

Nazis in Munich during the Beer Hall Putsch

The March on Rome brought Fascism international attention. One early admirer of the Italian Fascists was Adolf Hitler, who less than a month after the March had begun to model himself and the Nazi Party upon Mussolini and the Fascists.[158] The Nazis, led by Hitler and the German war hero Erich Ludendorff, attempted a “March on Berlin” modeled upon the March on Rome, which resulted in the failed Beer Hall Putsch in Munich in November 1923.[159]

International impact of the Great Depression and the buildup to World War II

Benito Mussolini (left) and Adolf Hitler (right)

The conditions of economic hardship caused by the Great Depression brought about an international surge of social unrest. According to historian Philip Morgan, “the onset of the Great Depression…was the greatest stimulus yet to the diffusion and expansion of fascism outside Italy”.[160] Fascist propaganda blamed the problems of the long depression of the 1930s on minorities and scapegoats: “JudeoMasonicbolshevik” conspiracies, left-wing internationalism and the presence of immigrants.

In Germany, it contributed to the rise of the National Socialist German Workers’ Party, which resulted in the demise of the Weimar Republic and the establishment of the fascist regime, Nazi Germany, under the leadership of Adolf Hitler. With the rise of Hitler and the Nazis to power in 1933, liberal democracy was dissolved in Germany and the Nazis mobilized the country for war, with expansionist territorial aims against several countries. In the 1930s, the Nazis implemented racial laws that deliberately discriminated against, disenfranchised and persecuted Jews and other racial and minority groups.

Fascist movements grew in strength elsewhere in Europe. Hungarian fascist Gyula Gömbös rose to power as Prime Minister of Hungary in 1932 and attempted to entrench his Party of National Unity throughout the country. He created an eight-hour work day, a forty-eight-hour work week in industry and sought to entrench a corporatist economy; and pursued irredentist claims on Hungary’s neighbors.[161] The fascist Iron Guard movement in Romaniasoared in political support after 1933, gaining representation in the Romanian government and an Iron Guard member assassinated Romanian prime minister Ion Duca.[162] During the 6 February 1934 crisisFrance faced the greatest domestic political turmoil since the Dreyfus Affair when the fascist Francist Movement and multiple far-right movements rioted en masse in Paris against the French government resulting in major political violence.[163] A variety of para-fascist governments that borrowed elements from fascism were formed during the Great Depression, including those of GreeceLithuaniaPoland and Yugoslavia.[164]

Integralists marching in Brazil

In the Americas, the Brazilian Integralists led by Plínio Salgado claimed as many as 200,000 members although following coup attempts it faced a crackdown from the Estado Novo of Getúlio Vargas in 1937.[165] In the 1930s, the National Socialist Movement of Chile gained seats in Chile‘s parliament and attempted a coup d’état that resulted in the Seguro Obrero massacre of 1938.[166]

During the Great Depression, Mussolini promoted active state intervention in the economy. He denounced the contemporary “supercapitalism” that he claimed began in 1914 as a failure because of its alleged decadence, its support for unlimited consumerism and its intention to create the “standardization of humankind”.[167] Fascist Italy created the Institute for Industrial Reconstruction (IRI), a giant state-owned firm and holding company that provided state funding to failing private enterprises.[168] The IRI was made a permanent institution in Fascist Italy in 1937, pursued Fascist policies to create national autarky and had the power to take over private firms to maximize war production.[168] While Hitler’s regime only nationalized 500 companies in key industries by the early 1940s,[169] Mussolini declared in 1934 that “[t]hree-fourths of Italian economy, industrial and agricultural, is in the hands of the state”.[170] Due to the worldwide depression, Mussolini’s government was able to take over most of Italy’s largest failing banks, who held controlling interest in many Italian businesses. The Institute for Industrial Reconstruction, a state-operated holding company in charge of bankrupt banks and companies, reported in early 1934 that they held assets of “48.5 percent of the share capital of Italy”, which later included the capital of the banks themselves.[171] Political historian Martin Blinkhorn estimated Italy’s scope of state intervention and ownership “greatly surpassed that in Nazi Germany, giving Italy a public sector second only to that of Stalin’s Russia”.[172] In the late 1930s, Italy enacted manufacturing cartels, tariff barriers, currency restrictions and massive regulation of the economy to attempt to balance payments.[173] Italy’s policy of autarky failed to achieve effective economic autonomy.[173] Nazi Germany similarly pursued an economic agenda with the aims of autarky and rearmament and imposed protectionist policies, including forcing the German steel industry to use lower-quality German iron ore rather than superior-quality imported iron.[174]

World War II (1939–1945)

In Fascist Italy and Nazi Germany, both Mussolini and Hitler pursued territorial expansionist and interventionist foreign policy agendas from the 1930s through the 1940s culminating in World War II. Mussolini called for irredentist Italian claims to be reclaimed, establishing Italian domination of the Mediterranean Sea and securing Italian access to the Atlantic Ocean and the creation of Italian spazio vitale (“vital space”) in the Mediterranean and Red Sea regions.[175] Hitler called for irredentist German claims to be reclaimed along with the creation of German Lebensraum(“living space”) in Eastern Europe, including territories held by the Soviet Union, that would be colonized by Germans.[176]

Emaciated male inmate at the Italian Rab concentration camp

From 1935 to 1939, Germany and Italy escalated their demands for territorial claims and greater influence in world affairs. Italy invaded Ethiopia in 1935resulting in its condemnation by the League of Nations and its widespread diplomatic isolation. In 1936, Germany remilitarized the industrial Rhineland, a region that had been ordered demilitarized by the Treaty of Versailles. In 1938, Germany annexed Austria and Italy assisted Germany in resolving the diplomatic crisis between Germany versus Britain and France over claims on Czechoslovakia by arranging the Munich Agreement that gave Germany the Sudetenland and was perceived at the time to have averted a European war. These hopes faded when Hitler violated the Munich Agreement by ordering the invasion and partition of Czechoslovakia between Germany and a client state of Slovakia in 1939. At the same time from 1938 to 1939, Italy was demanding territorial and colonial concessions from France and Britain.[177] In 1939, Germany prepared for war with Poland, but attempted to gain territorial concessions from Poland through diplomatic means.[178] The Polish government did not trust Hitler’s promises and refused to accept Germany’s demands.[178]

The invasion of Poland by Germany was deemed unacceptable by Britain, France and their allies, resulting in their mutual declaration of war against Germany that was deemed the aggressor in the war in Poland, resulting in the outbreak of World War II. In 1940, Mussolini led Italy into World War II on the side of the Axis. Mussolini was aware that Italy did not have the military capacity to carry out a long war with France or the United Kingdom and waited until France was on the verge of imminent collapse and surrender from the German invasion before declaring war on France and the United Kingdom on 10 June 1940 on the assumption that the war would be short-lived following France’s collapse.[179] Mussolini believed that following a brief entry of Italy into war with France, followed by the imminent French surrender, Italy could gain some territorial concessions from France and then concentrate its forces on a major offensive in Egypt where British and Commonwealth forces were outnumbered by Italian forces.[180] Plans by Germany to invade the United Kingdom in 1940 failed after Germany lost the aerial warfare campaign in the Battle of Britain. In 1941, the Axis campaign spread to the Soviet Union after Hitler launched Operation Barbarossa. Axis forces at the height of their power controlled almost all of continental Europe. The war became prolonged—contrary to Mussolini’s plans—resulting in Italy losing battles on multiple fronts and requiring German assistance.

Corpses of victims of the German Buchenwald concentration camp

During World War II, the Axis Powers in Europe led by Nazi Germany participated in the extermination of millions of Poles, Jews, Gypsies and others in the genocide known as the Holocaust.

After 1942, Axis forces began to falter. In 1943, after Italy faced multiple military failures, the complete reliance and subordination of Italy to Germany, the Allied invasion of Italy and the corresponding international humiliation, Mussolini was removed as head of government and arrested on the order of King Victor Emmanuel III, who proceeded to dismantle the Fascist state and declared Italy’s switching of allegiance to the Allied side. Mussolini was rescued from arrest by German forces and led the German client state, the Italian Social Republic from 1943 to 1945. Nazi Germany faced multiple losses and steady Soviet and Western Allied offensives from 1943 to 1945.

On 28 April 1945, Mussolini was captured and executed by Italian communist partisans. On 30 April 1945, Hitler committed suicide. Shortly afterwards, Germany surrendered and the Nazi regime was systematically dismantled by the occupying Allied powers. An International Military Tribunal was subsequently convened in Nuremberg. Beginning in November 1945 and lasting through 1949, numerous Nazi political, military and economic leaders were tried and convicted of war crimes, with many of the worst offenders receiving the death penalty.

Post-World War II (1945–present)

Juan PerónPresident of Argentina from 1946 to 1955 and 1973 to 1974, admired Italian Fascism and modelled his economic policies on those pursued by Fascist Italy

The victory of the Allies over the Axis powers in World War II led to the collapse of many fascist regimes in Europe. The Nuremberg Trials convicted several Nazi leaders of crimes against humanity involving the Holocaust. However, there remained several movements and governments that were ideologically related to fascism.

Francisco Franco‘s Falangist one-party state in Spain was officially neutral during World War II and it survived the collapse of the Axis Powers. Franco’s rise to power had been directly assisted by the militaries of Fascist Italy and Nazi Germany during the Spanish Civil War and Franco had sent volunteers to fight on the side of Nazi Germany against the Soviet Union during World War II. The first years were characterized by a repression against the anti-fascist ideologies, a deep censorship and the suppression of democratic institutions (elected Parliament, Constitution of 1931, Regional Statutes of Autonomy). After World War II and a period of international isolation, Franco’s regime normalized relations with the Western powers during the Cold War, until Franco’s death in 1975 and the transformation of Spain into a liberal democracy.

Giorgio Almirante, leader of the Italian Social Movement from 1969 to 1987

Historian Robert Paxton observes that one of the main problems in defining fascism is that it was widely mimicked. Paxton says: “In fascism’s heyday, in the 1930s, many regimes that were not functionally fascist borrowed elements of fascist decor in order to lend themselves an aura of force, vitality, and mass mobilization”. He goes on to observe that Salazar “crushed Portuguese fascism after he had copied some of its techniques of popular mobilization”. [181] Paxton says that: “Where Franco subjected Spain’s fascist party to his personal control, Salazar abolished outright in July 1934 the nearest thing Portugal had to an authentic fascist movement, Rolão Preto’s blue-shirted National Syndicalists […] Salazar preferred to control his population through such “organic” institutions traditionally powerful in Portugal as the Church. Salazar’s regime was not only non-fascist, but “voluntarily non-totalitarian,” preferring to let those of its citizens who kept out of politics “live by habit”.[182] Historians tend to view the Estado Novo as para-fascist in nature,[183]possessing minimal fascist tendencies.[184] In Argentina, Peronism, associated with the regime of Juan Perón from 1946 to 1955 and 1973 to 1974, was influenced by fascism.[185] Between 1939 and 1941, prior to his rise to power, Perón had developed a deep admiration of Italian Fascism and modelled his economic policies on Italian Fascist policies.[185]

The term neo-fascism refers to fascist movements after World War II. In Italy, the Italian Social Movement led by Giorgio Almirante was a major neo-fascist movement that transformed itself into a self-described “post-fascist” movement called the National Alliance (AN), which has been an ally of Silvio Berlusconi‘s Forza Italia for a decade. In 2008, AN joined Forza Italia in Berlusconi’s new party The People of Freedom, but in 2012 a group of politicians split from The People of Freedom, refounding the party with the name Brothers of Italy. In Germany, various neo-Nazi movements have been formed and banned in accordance with Germany’s constitutional law which forbids Nazism. The National Democratic Party of Germany (NPD) is widely considered a neo-Nazi party, although the party does not publicly identify itself as such.

Golden Dawn demonstration in Greece in 2012

After the onset of the Great Recession and economic crisis in Greece, a movement known as the Golden Dawn, widely considered a neo-Nazi party, soared in support out of obscurity and won seats in Greece‘s parliament, espousing a staunch hostility towards minorities, illegal immigrants and refugees. In 2013, after the murder of an anti-fascist musician by a person with links to Golden Dawn, the Greek government ordered the arrest of Golden Dawn’s leader Nikolaos Michaloliakos and other Golden Dawn members on charges related to being associated with a criminal organization.

Tenets

Robert O. Paxton finds that the transformations undertaken by fascists in power were “profound enough to be called ‘revolutionary.'” They “often set fascists into conflict with conservatives rooted in families, churches, social rank, and property.” Paxton argues:

[F]ascism redrew the frontiers between private and public, sharply diminishing what had once been untouchably private. It changed the practice of citizenship from the enjoyment of constitutional rights and duties to participation in mass ceremonies of affirmation and conformity. It reconfigured relations between the individual and the collectivity, so that an individual had no rights outside community interest. It expanded the powers of the executive—party and state—in a bid for total control. Finally, it unleashed aggressive emotions hitherto known in Europe only during war or social revolution.[186]

Nationalism

Ultranationalism combined with the myth of national rebirth is a key foundation of fascism.[187] Dylan Riley argues that in Italy in the early 1920s:

Neither organized socialism nor the Italian liberals championed the democratic demands of the left nationalists. Fascism stepped into this vacuum, constituting itself as an antisocialist and antiliberal civil society movement. It was the failure of this counterhegemonic movement that would lead to the fascist seizure of power. Veterans’ organizations are the clearest manifestation of civic mobilization in postwar Italy.[188]

The fascist view of a nation is of a single organic entity that binds people together by their ancestry and is a natural unifying force of people.[189]Fascism seeks to solve economic, political and social problems by achieving a millenarian national rebirth, exalting the nation or race above all else and promoting cults of unity, strength and purity.[41][190][191][192][193] European fascist movements typically espouse a racist conception of non-Europeans being inferior to Europeans.[194] Beyond this, fascists in Europe have not held a unified set of racial views.[194] Historically, most fascists promoted imperialism, although there have been several fascist movements that were uninterested in the pursuit of new imperial ambitions.[194]

Totalitarianism

Fascism promotes the establishment of a totalitarian state.[195] It opposes liberal democracy, rejects multi-party systems and supports a one-party state. Mussolini’s The Doctrine of Fascism (1932) – partly ghostwritten by philosopher Giovanni Gentile,[196] who Mussolini described as “the philosopher of Fascism” – states: “The Fascist conception of the State is all-embracing; outside of it no human or spiritual values can exist, much less have value. Thus understood, Fascism is totalitarian, and the Fascist State—a synthesis and a unit inclusive of all values—interprets, develops, and potentiates the whole life of a people”.[197] In The Legal Basis of the Total State, Nazi political theorist Carl Schmitt described the Nazi intention to form a “strong state which guarantees a totality of political unity transcending all diversity” in order to avoid a “disastrous pluralism tearing the German people apart”.[198]

Fascist states pursued policies of social indoctrination through propaganda in education and the media and regulation of the production of educational and media materials.[199][200] Education was designed to glorify the fascist movement and inform students of its historical and political importance to the nation. It attempted to purge ideas that were not consistent with the beliefs of the fascist movement and to teach students to be obedient to the state.[201]

Economy

Fascism presented itself as a third position,[when?] alternative to both international socialism and free market capitalism.[202] While fascism opposed mainstream socialism, it sometimes regarded itself as a type of nationalist “socialism” to highlight their commitment to national solidarity and unity.[203][204] Fascists opposed international free market capitalism, but supported a type of productive capitalism.[115][205] Economic self-sufficiency, known as autarky, was a major goal of most fascist governments.[206]

Fascist governments advocated resolution of domestic class conflict within a nation in order to secure national solidarity.[207] This would be done through the state mediating relations between the classes (contrary to the views of classical liberal-inspired capitalists).[208] While fascism was opposed to domestic class conflict, it was held that bourgeois-proletarian conflict existed primarily in national conflict between proletarian nations versus bourgeois nations.[209] Fascism condemned what it viewed as widespread character traits that it associated as the typical bourgeois mentality that it opposed, such as materialism, crassness, cowardice, inability to comprehend the heroic ideal of the fascist “warrior”; and associations with liberalism, individualism and parliamentarianism.[210] In 1918, Mussolini defined what he viewed as the proletarian character, defining proletarian as being one and the same with producers, a productivist perspective that associated all people deemed productive, including entrepreneurs, technicians, workers and soldiers as being proletarian.[211] He acknowledged the historical existence of both bourgeois and proletarian producers, but declared the need for bourgeois producers to merge with proletarian producers.[211]

While fascism denounced the mainstream internationalist and Marxist socialisms, it claimed to economically represent a type of nationalist productivist socialism that while condemning parasitical capitalism, it was willing to accommodate productivist capitalism within it.[205] This was derived from Henri de Saint Simon, whose ideas inspired the creation of utopian socialism and influenced other ideologies, that stressed solidarity rather than class war and whose conception of productive people in the economy included both productive workers and productive bosses to challenge the influence of the aristocracy and unproductive financial speculators.[212] Saint Simon’s vision combined the traditionalist right-wing criticisms of the French Revolution combined with a left-wing belief in the need for association or collaboration of productive people in society.[212] Whereas Marxism condemned capitalism as a system of exploitative property relations, fascism saw the nature of the control of credit and money in the contemporary capitalist system as abusive.[205] Unlike Marxism, fascism did not see class conflict between the Marxist-defined proletariat and the bourgeoisie as a given or as an engine of historical materialism.[205] Instead, it viewed workers and productive capitalists in common as productive people who were in conflict with parasitic elements in society including: corrupt political parties, corrupt financial capital and feeble people.[205] Fascist leaders such as Mussolini and Hitler spoke of the need to create a new managerial elite led by engineers and captains of industry—but free from the parasitic leadership of industries.[205] Hitler stated that the Nazi Party supported bodenständigen Kapitalismus(“productive capitalism”) that was based upon profit earned from one’s own labour, but condemned unproductive capitalism or loan capitalism, which derived profit from speculation.[213]

Fascist economics supported a state-controlled economy that accepted a mix of private and public ownership over the means of production.[214] Economic planning was applied to both the public and private sector and the prosperity of private enterprise depended on its acceptance of synchronizing itself with the economic goals of the state.[215] Fascist economic ideology supported the profit motive, but emphasized that industries must uphold the national interest as superior to private profit.[215]

While fascism accepted the importance of material wealth and power, it condemned materialism which identified as being present in both communism and capitalism and criticized materialism for lacking acknowledgement of the role of the spirit.[216] In particular, fascists criticized capitalism not because of its competitive nature nor support of private property, which fascists supported—but due to its materialism, individualism, alleged bourgeois decadence and alleged indifference to the nation.[217] Fascism denounced Marxism for its advocacy of materialist internationalist class identity, which fascists regarded as an attack upon the emotional and spiritual bonds of the nation and a threat to the achievement of genuine national solidarity.[218]

In discussing the spread of fascism beyond Italy, historian Philip Morgan states:

Since the Depression was a crisis of laissez-faire capitalism and its political counterpart, parliamentary democracy, fascism could pose as the ‘third-way’ alternative between capitalism and Bolshevism, the model of a new European ‘civilization’. As Mussolini typically put it in early 1934, “from 1929…fascism has become a universal phenomenon… The dominant forces of the 19th century, democracy, socialism, liberalism have been exhausted…the new political and economic forms of the twentieth-century are fascist'(Mussolini 1935: 32).[160]

Fascists criticized egalitarianism as preserving the weak, and they instead promoted social Darwinist views and policies.[219][220] They were in principle opposed to the idea of social welfare, arguing that it “encouraged the preservation of the degenerate and the feeble.”[221] The Nazi Party condemned the welfare system of the Weimar Republic, as well as private charity and philanthropy, for supporting people whom they regarded as racially inferior and weak, and who should have been weeded out in the process of natural selection.[222] Nevertheless, faced with the mass unemployment and poverty of the Great Depression, the Nazis found it necessary to set up charitable institutions to help racially-pure Germans in order to maintain popular support, while arguing that this represented “racial self-help” and not indiscriminate charity or universal social welfare.[223] Thus, Nazi programs such as the Winter Relief of the German People and the broader National Socialist People’s Welfare (NSV) were organized as quasi-private institutions, officially relying on private donations from Germans to help others of their race—although in practice those who refused to donate could face severe consequences.[224] Unlike the social welfare institutions of the Weimar Republic and the Christian charities, the NSV distributed assistance on explicitly racial grounds. It provided support only to those who were “racially sound, capable of and willing to work, politically reliable, and willing and able to reproduce.” Non-Aryans were excluded, as well as the “work-shy”, “asocials” and the “hereditarily ill.”[225] Under these conditions, by 1939, over 17 million Germans had obtained assistance from the NSV, and the agency “projected a powerful image of caring and support” for “those who were judged to have got into difficulties through no fault of their own.”[225] Yet the organization was “feared and disliked among society’s poorest” because it resorted to intrusive questioning and monitoring to judge who was worthy of support.[226]

Action

Fascism emphasizes direct action, including supporting the legitimacy of political violence, as a core part of its politics.[17][227] Fascism views violent action as a necessity in politics that fascism identifies as being an “endless struggle”.[228] This emphasis on the use of political violence means that most fascist parties have also created their own private militias (e.g. the Nazi Party’s Brown shirts and Fascist Italy’s Blackshirts).

The basis of fascism’s support of violent action in politics is connected to social Darwinism.[228] Fascist movements have commonly held social Darwinist views of nations, races and societies.[229] They say that nations and races must purge themselves of socially and biologically weak or degenerate people, while simultaneously promoting the creation of strong people, in order to survive in a world defined by perpetual national and racial conflict.[230]

Age and gender roles

Members of the Piccole Italiane, an organization for girls within the National Fascist Party in Italy

Members of the League of German Girls, an organization for girls within the Nazi Party in Germany

Fascism emphasizes youth both in a physical sense of age and in a spiritual sense as related to virility and commitment to action.[231] The Italian Fascists’ political anthem was called Giovinezza (“The Youth”).[231] Fascism identifies the physical age period of youth as a critical time for the moral development of people who will affect society.[232]

Walter Laqueur argues that:

The corollaries of the cult of war and physical danger were the cult of brutality, strength, and sexuality….[fascism is] a true counter-civilization: rejecting the sophisticated rationalist humanism of Old Europe, fascism sets up as its ideal the primitive instincts and primal emotions of the barbarian.[233]

Italian Fascism pursued what it called “moral hygiene” of youth, particularly regarding sexuality.[234] Fascist Italy promoted what it considered normal sexual behaviour in youth while denouncing what it considered deviant sexual behaviour.[234] It condemned pornography, most forms of birth control and contraceptive devices (with the exception of the condom), homosexuality and prostitution as deviant sexual behaviour, although enforcement of laws opposed to such practices was erratic and authorities often turned a blind eye.[234] Fascist Italy regarded the promotion of male sexual excitation before puberty as the cause of criminality amongst male youth, declared homosexuality a social disease and pursued an aggressive campaign to reduce prostitution of young women.[234]

Mussolini perceived women’s primary role as primarily child bearers and men, warriors—once saying: “War is to man what maternity is to the woman”.[235] In an effort to increase birthrates, the Italian Fascist government gave financial incentives to women who raised large families and initiated policies intended to reduce the number of women employed.[236] Italian Fascism called for women to be honoured as “reproducers of the nation” and the Italian Fascist government held ritual ceremonies to honour women’s role within the Italian nation.[237] In 1934, Mussolini declared that employment of women was a “major aspect of the thorny problem of unemployment” and that for women, working was “incompatible with childbearing”. Mussolini went on to say that the solution to unemployment for men was the “exodus of women from the work force”.[238]

The German Nazi government strongly encouraged women to stay at home to bear children and keep house.[239] This policy was reinforced by bestowing the Cross of Honor of the German Mother on women bearing four or more children. The unemployment rate was cut substantially, mostly through arms production and sending women home so that men could take their jobs. Nazi propaganda sometimes promoted premarital and extramarital sexual relations, unwed motherhood and divorce, but at other times the Nazis opposed such behaviour.[240]

The Nazis decriminalized abortion in cases where fetuses had hereditary defects or were of a race the government disapproved of, while the abortion of healthy pure German, Aryan fetuses remained strictly forbidden.[241] For non-Aryans, abortion was often compulsory. Their eugenics program also stemmed from the “progressive biomedical model” of Weimar Germany.[242] In 1935, Nazi Germany expanded the legality of abortion by amending its eugenics law, to promote abortion for women with hereditary disorders.[241] The law allowed abortion if a woman gave her permission and the fetus was not yet viable[243][244] and for purposes of so-called racial hygiene.[245][246]

The Nazis said that homosexuality was degenerate, effeminate, perverted and undermined masculinity because it did not produce children.[247] They considered homosexuality curable through therapy, citing modern scientism and the study of sexology, which said that homosexuality could be felt by “normal” people and not just an abnormal minority.[248] Open homosexuals were interned in Nazi concentration camps.[249]

Palingenesis and modernism

Fascism emphasizes both palingenesis (national rebirth or re-creation) and modernism.[250] In particular, fascism’s nationalism has been identified as having a palingenetic character.[187]Fascism promotes the regeneration of the nation and purging it of decadence.[250] Fascism accepts forms of modernism that it deems promotes national regeneration while rejecting forms of modernism that are regarded as antithetical to national regeneration.[251] Fascism aestheticized modern technology and its association with speed, power and violence.[252] Fascism admired advances in the economy in the early 20th century, particularly Fordism and scientific management.[253] Fascist modernism has been recognized as inspired or developed by various figures—such as Filippo Tommaso MarinettiErnst JüngerGottfried BennLouis-Ferdinand CélineKnut HamsunEzra Pound and Wyndham Lewis.[254]

In Italy, such modernist influence was exemplified by Marinetti who advocated a palingenetic modernist society that condemned liberal-bourgeois values of tradition and psychology, while promoting a technological-martial religion of national renewal that emphasized militant nationalism.[255] In Germany, it was exemplified by Jünger who was influenced by his observation of the technological warfare during World War I and claimed that a new social class had been created that he described as the “warrior-worker”.[256] Jünger like Marinetti emphasized the revolutionary capacities of technology and emphasized an “organic construction” between human and machine as a liberating and regenerative force in that challenged liberal democracy, conceptions of individual autonomy, bourgeois nihilism and decadence.[256] He conceived of a society based on a totalitarian concept of “total mobilization” of such disciplined warrior-workers.[256]

Criticism

Fascism has been widely criticized and condemned in modern times since the defeat of the Axis Powers in World War II.

Anti-democratic and tyrannical

Hitler and Spanish dictator Francisco Franco in Meeting at Hendaye, on 23 October 1940

One of the most common and strongest criticisms of fascism is that it is a tyranny.[257] Fascism is deliberately and entirely non-democratic and anti-democratic.[258][259][260]

Unprincipled opportunism

Some critics of Italian fascism have said that much of the ideology was merely a by-product of unprincipled opportunism by Mussolini and that he changed his political stances merely to bolster his personal ambitions while he disguised them as being purposeful to the public.[261] Richard Washburn Child, the American ambassador to Italy who worked with Mussolini and became his friend and admirer, defended Mussolini’s opportunistic behaviour by writing: “Opportunist is a term of reproach used to brand men who fit themselves to conditions for the reasons of self-interest. Mussolini, as I have learned to know him, is an opportunist in the sense that he believed that mankind itself must be fitted to changing conditions rather than to fixed theories, no matter how many hopes and prayers have been expended on theories and programmes”.[262] Child quoted Mussolini as saying: “The sanctity of an ism is not in the ism; it has no sanctity beyond its power to do, to work, to succeed in practice. It may have succeeded yesterday and fail to-morrow. Failed yesterday and succeed to-morrow. The machine first of all must run!”.[262]

Some have criticized Mussolini’s actions during the outbreak of World War I as opportunist for seeming to suddenly abandon Marxist egalitarianinternationalism for non-egalitarian nationalism and note to that effect that upon Mussolini endorsing Italy’s intervention in the war against Germany and Austria-Hungary, he and the new fascist movement received financial support from foreign sources, such as Ansaldo (an armaments firm) and other companies[263] as well as the British Security Service MI5.[264] Some, including Mussolini’s socialist opponents at the time, have noted that regardless of the financial support he accepted for his pro-interventionist stance, Mussolini was free to write whatever he wished in his newspaper Il Popolo d’Italia without prior sanctioning from his financial backers.[265] Furthermore, the major source of financial support that Mussolini and the fascist movement received in World War I was from France and is widely believed to have been French socialists who supported the French government’s war against Germany and who sent support to Italian socialists who wanted Italian intervention on France’s side.[266]

Mussolini’s transformation away from Marxism into what eventually became fascism began prior to World War I, as Mussolini had grown increasingly pessimistic about Marxism and egalitarianism while becoming increasingly supportive of figures who opposed egalitarianism, such as Friedrich Nietzsche.[267] By 1902, Mussolini was studying Georges Sorel, Nietzsche and Vilfredo Pareto.[268] Sorel’s emphasis on the need for overthrowing decadent liberal democracy and capitalism by the use of violence, direct actiongeneral strikes and neo-Machiavellianappeals to emotion impressed Mussolini deeply.[269] Mussolini’s use of Nietzsche made him a highly unorthodox socialist, due to Nietzsche’s promotion of elitism and anti-egalitarian views.[267]Prior to World War I, Mussolini’s writings over time indicated that he had abandoned the Marxism and egalitarianism that he had previously supported in favour of Nietzsche’s übermenschconcept and anti-egalitarianism.[267] In 1908, Mussolini wrote a short essay called “Philosophy of Strength” based on his Nietzschean influence, in which Mussolini openly spoke fondly of the ramifications of an impending war in Europe in challenging both religion and nihilism: “[A] new kind of free spirit will come, strengthened by the war, … a spirit equipped with a kind of sublime perversity, … a new free spirit will triumph over God and over Nothing”.[106]

Ideological dishonesty

Fascism has been criticized for being ideologically dishonest. Major examples of ideological dishonesty have been identified in Italian fascism’s changing relationship with German Nazism.[270][271] Fascist Italy’s official foreign policy positions were known to commonly utilize rhetorical ideological hyperbole to justify its actions, although during Dino Grandi‘s tenure as Italy’s foreign minister the country engaged in realpolitik free of such fascist hyperbole.[272] Italian fascism’s stance towards German Nazism fluctuated from support from the late 1920s to 1934, when it celebrated Hitler’s rise to power and meeting with Hitler in 1934; to opposition from 1934 to 1936 after the assassination of Italy’s allied leader in AustriaEngelbert Dollfuss, by Austrian Nazis; and again back to support after 1936, when Germany was the only significant power that did not denounce Italy’s invasion and occupation of Ethiopia.

After antagonism exploded between Nazi Germany and Fascist Italy over the assassination of Austrian Chancellor Dollfuss in 1934, Mussolini and Italian fascists denounced and ridiculed Nazism’s racial theories, particularly by denouncing its Nordicism, while promoting Mediterraneanism.[271] Mussolini himself responded to Nordicists’ claims of Italy being divided into Nordic and Mediterranean racial areas due to Germanic invasions of Northern Italy by claiming that while Germanic tribes such as the Lombards took control of Italy after the fall of Ancient Rome, they arrived in small numbers (about 8,000) and quickly assimilated into Roman culture and spoke the Latin language within fifty years.[273] Italian fascism was influenced by the tradition of Italian nationalists scornfully looking down upon Nordicists’ claims and taking pride in comparing the age and sophistication of ancient Roman civilization as well as the classical revival in the Renaissance to that of Nordic societies that Italian nationalists described as “newcomers” to civilization in comparison.[270] At the height of antagonism between the Nazis and Italian fascists over race, Mussolini claimed that the Germans themselves were not a pure race and noted with irony that the Nazi theory of German racial superiority was based on the theories of non-German foreigners, such as Frenchman Arthur de Gobineau.[274] After the tension in German-Italian relations diminished during the late 1930s, Italian fascism sought to harmonize its ideology with German Nazism and combined Nordicist and Mediterranean racial theories, noting that Italians were members of the Aryan Race, composed of a mixed Nordic-Mediterranean subtype.[271]

In 1938, Mussolini declared upon Italy’s adoption of antisemitic laws that Italian fascism had always been antisemitic,[271] In fact, Italian fascism did not endorse antisemitism until the late 1930s when Mussolini feared alienating antisemitic Nazi Germany, whose power and influence were growing in Europe. Prior to that period there had been notable Jewish Italians who had been senior Italian fascist officials, including Margherita Sarfatti, who had also been Mussolini’s mistress.[271] Also contrary to Mussolini’s claim in 1938, only a small number of Italian fascists were staunchly antisemitic (such as Roberto Farinacci and Giuseppe Preziosi), while others such as Italo Balbo, who came from Ferrara which had one of Italy’s largest Jewish communities, were disgusted by the antisemitic laws and opposed them.[271] Fascism scholar Mark Neocleous notes that while Italian fascism did not have a clear commitment to antisemitism, there were occasional antisemitic statements issued prior to 1938, such as Mussolini in 1919 declaring that the Jewish bankers in London and New York were connected by race to the Russian Bolsheviks and that eight percent of the Russian Bolsheviks were Jews.[275]

See also

References …

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fascism

 

 

 

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Steven Pinker – Enlightenment Now: The Case for Reason, Science, Humanism, and Progress — The Better Angels of Our Nature: Why Violence Has Declined — The Blank Slate: The Modern Denial of Human Nature — Videos

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Enlightenment Now: The Case for Reason, Science, Humanism, and Progress featuring Steven Pinker

STEVEN PINKER: ENLIGHTENMENT NOW

Stephen Fry & Steven Pinker on the Enlightenment Today

Enlightenment Now | Steven Pinker | RSA Replay

Dr. Steven Pinker, Harvard University – Collective Impact

The Personal Philosophy of Steven Pinker

Steven Pinker & Charlie Rose – “The Better Angels of Our Nature”

Prof. Steven Pinker – The Better Angels of Our Nature: A History of Violence and Humanity

A History of Violence: Steven Pinker at TEDxNewEngland

The Great Debate: ORIGINS OF VIOLENCE (OFFICIAL) – (Part 1/2)

The Great Debate: ORIGINS OF VIOLENCE (OFFICIAL) – (Part 2/2)

Steven Pinker on Human Nature

Understanding Human Nature with Steven Pinker – Conversations with History

Steven Pinker – The Blank Slate: The Modern Denial of Human Nature

Steven Pinker – The Blank Slate: The Modern Denial of Human Nature

Steven Pinker: Human nature and the blank slate

Steven Pinker – The Genius of Charles Darwin: The Uncut Interviews

Steven Pinker — On psychology and human nature

 

Steven Pinker Books

https://www.amazon.com/s/?ie=UTF8&keywords=steve+pinker+books&tag=googhydr-20&index=aps&hvadid=194752538360&hvpos=1o1&hvnetw=g&hvrand=18360483831547681179&hvpone=&hvptwo=&hvqmt=b&hvdev=c&hvdvcmdl=&hvlocint=&hvlocphy=9060114&hvtargid=kwd-313239828936&ref=pd_sl_oakl91e0m_b

 

My new favorite book of all time

For years, I’ve been saying Steven Pinker’s The Better Angels of Our Nature was the best book I’d read in a decade. If I could recommend just one book for anyone to pick up, that was it. Pinker uses meticulous research to argue that we are living in the most peaceful time in human history. I’d never seen such a clear explanation of progress.

I’m going to stop talking up Better Angels so much, because Pinker has managed to top himself. His new book, Enlightenment Now, is even better.

Enlightenment Now takes the approach he uses in Better Angels to track violence throughout history and applies it to 15 different measures of progress (like quality of life, knowledge, and safety). The result is a holistic picture of how and why the world is getting better. It’s like Better Angels on steroids.

Pinker was generous enough to send me an early copy, even though Enlightenment Now won’t be released until the end of February. I read the book slowly since I loved it so much, but I think most people will find it a quick and accessible read. He manages to share a ton of information in a way that’s compelling, memorable, and easy to digest.

It opens with an argument in favor of returning to the ideals of the Enlightenment—an era when reason, science, and humanism were touted as the highest virtues. (Gates Notes Insiders can get a preview of this section of the book.)

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I’m all for more reason, science, and humanism, but what I found most interesting were the 15 chapters exploring each measure of progress. Pinker is at his best when he analyzes historic trends and uses data to put the past into context. I was already familiar with a lot of the information he shares—especially about health and energy—but he understands each subject so deeply that he’s able to articulate his case in a way that feels fresh and new.

I love how he’s willing to dive deep into primary data sources and pull out unexpected signs of progress. I tend to point to things like dramatic reductions in poverty and childhood deaths, because I think they’re such a good measure of how we’re doing as a society. Pinker covers those areas, but he also looks at more obscure topics.

Here are five of my favorite facts from the book that show how the world is improving:

  1. You’re 37 times less likely to be killed by a bolt of lightning than you were at the turn of the century—and that’s not because there are fewer thunderstorms today. It’s because we have better weather prediction capabilities, improved safety education, and more people living in cities.
  2. Time spent doing laundry fell from 11.5 hours a week in 1920 to an hour and a half in 2014.This might sound trivial in the grand scheme of progress. But the rise of the washing machine has improved quality of life by freeing up time for people—mostly women—to enjoy other pursuits. That time represents nearly half a day every week that could be used for everything from binge-watching Ozark or reading a book to starting a new business.
  3. You’re way less likely to die on the job. Every year, 5,000 people die from occupational accidents in the U.S. But in 1929—when our population was less than two-fifths the size it is today—20,000 people died on the job. People back then viewed deadly workplace accidents as part of the cost of doing business. Today, we know better, and we’ve engineered ways to build things without putting nearly as many lives at risk.
  4. The global average IQ score is rising by about 3 IQ points every decade. Kids’ brains are developing more fully thanks to improved nutrition and a cleaner environment. Pinker also credits more analytical thinking in and out of the classroom. Think about how many symbols you interpret every time you check your phone’s home screen or look at a subway map. Our world today encourages abstract thought from a young age, and it’s making us smarter.
  5. War is illegal. This idea seems obvious. But before the creation of the United Nations in 1945, no institution had the power to stop countries from going to war with each other. Although there have been some exceptions, the threat of international sanctions and intervention has proven to be an effective deterrent to wars between nations.

Pinker also tackles the disconnect between actual progress and the perception of progress—something I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about. People all over the world are living longer, healthier, and happier lives, so why do so many think things are getting worse? Why do we gloss over positive news stories and fixate on the negative ones? He does a good job explaining why we’re drawn to pessimism and how that instinct influences our approach to the world, although I wish he went more in depth about the psychology (especially since he’s a psychologist by training). The late Hans Rosling explains this more fully in his excellent new book Factfulness, which I plan to review soon.

I agree with Pinker on most areas, but I think he’s a bit too optimistic about artificial intelligence. He’s quick to dismiss the idea of robots overthrowing their human creators. While I don’t think we’re in danger of a Terminator-style scenario, the question underlying that fear—who exactly controls the robots?—is a valid one. We’re not there yet, but at some point, who has AI and who controls it will be an important issue for global institutions to address.

The big questions surrounding automation are proof that progress can be a messy, sticky thing—but that doesn’t mean we’re headed in the wrong direction. At the end of Enlightenment Now, Pinker argues that “we will never have a perfect world, and it would be dangerous to seek one. But there is no limit to the betterments we can attain if we continue to apply knowledge to enhance human flourishing.”

The world is getting better, even if it doesn’t always feel that way. I’m glad we have brilliant thinkers like Steven Pinker to help us see the big picture. Enlightenment Now is not only the best book Pinker’s ever written. It’s my new favorite book of all time.

https://www.gatesnotes.com/Books/Enlightenment-Now

5 books I loved in 2018

If you’re like me, you love giving—or getting!—books during the holidays. A great read is the perfect gift: thoughtful and easy to wrap (with no batteries or assembly required). Plus, I think everyone could use a few more books in their lives. I usually don’t consider whether something would make a good present when I’m putting together my end of year book list—but this year’s selections are highly giftable.

My list is pretty eclectic this year. From a how-to guide about meditation to a deep dive on autonomous weapons to a thriller about the fall of a once-promising company, there’s something for everyone. If you’re looking for a fool-proof gift for your friends and family, you can’t go wrong with one of these.

Educated, by Tara Westover. Tara never went to school or visited a doctor until she left home at 17. I never thought I’d relate to a story about growing up in a Mormon survivalist household, but she’s such a good writer that she got me to reflect on my own life while reading about her extreme childhood. Melinda and I loved this memoir of a young woman whose thirst for learning was so strong that she ended up getting a Ph.D. from Cambridge University.

Army of None, by Paul Scharre. Autonomous weapons aren’t exactly top of mind for most around the holidays, but this thought-provoking look at A.I. in warfare is hard to put down. It’s an immensely complicated topic, but Scharre offers clear explanations and presents both the pros and cons of machine-driven warfare. His fluency with the subject should come as no surprise: he’s a veteran who helped draft the U.S. government’s policy on autonomous weapons.

Bad Blood, by John Carreyrou. A bunch of my friends recommended this one to me. Carreyrou gives you the definitive insider’s look at the rise and fall of Theranos. The story is even crazier than I expected, and I found myself unable to put it down once I started. This book has everything: elaborate scams, corporate intrigue, magazine cover stories, ruined family relationships, and the demise of a company once valued at nearly $10 billion.

21 Lessons for the 21st Century, by Yuval Noah Harari. I’m a big fan of everything Harari has written, and his latest is no exception. While Sapiens and Homo Deus covered the past and future respectively, this one is all about the present. If 2018 has left you overwhelmed by the state of the world, 21 Lessonsoffers a helpful framework for processing the news and thinking about the challenges we face.

The Headspace Guide to Meditation and Mindfulness, by Andy Puddicombe. I’m sure 25-year-old me would scoff at this one, but Melinda and I have gotten really into meditation lately. The book starts with Puddicombe’s personal journey from a university student to a Buddhist monk and then becomes an entertaining explainer on how to meditate. If you’re thinking about trying mindfulness, this is the perfect introduction.

https://www.gatesnotes.com/About-Bill-Gates/Best-Books-2018

Wrapping up 2018

What I learned at work this year

Every Christmas when I was a kid, my parents would send out a card with an update on what the family was up to. Dad’s law firm is growing, Mom’s volunteer work is going strong, the girls are doing well in school, Bill is a handful.

Some people think it is corny, but I like the tradition. These days, at the end of each year, I still enjoy taking stock of my work and personal life. What was I excited about? What could I have done better?

I thought I would share a few of these thoughts as 2018 concludes.

One thing that occurs to me is that the questions I am asking myself at age 63 are very different from the ones I would have asked when I was in my 20s.

Back then, an end-of-year assessment would amount to just one question: Is Microsoft software making the personal-computing dream come true?

Today of course I still assess the quality of my work. But I also ask myself a whole other set of questions about my life. Did I devote enough time to my family? Did I learn enough new things? Did I develop new friendships and deepen old ones? These would have been laughable to me when I was 25, but as I get older, they are much more meaningful.

Melinda has helped broaden my thinking on this point. So has Warren Buffett, who says his measure of success is, “Do the people you care about love you back?” I think that is about as good a metric as you will find.

It may sound grand, but I think the world is slowly going through a similar transition to a broader understanding of well-being. For most of human history, we have been focused on living longer by fighting disease and trying to grow enough food for everyone. As a result, life spans have gone up dramatically. Technology has played a key role in that through vaccines, medicines, and improved sanitation.

We still need a lot of innovation to solve problems like malaria or obesity, but we are also going to be focusing more on improving the quality of life. I think this will be the thrust of many big breakthroughs of the future. For example, software will be able to notice when you’re feeling down, connect you with your friends, give you personalized tips for sleeping and eating better, and help you use your time more efficiently.

There are not the same clear measures of these things as there are for diseases, and there may never be. But there is nascent work in this field and I think it is going to accelerate.

As I look back on the year, I am also thinking about the specific areas I work on. Some of this is done through our foundation but a lot of it (such as my work on energy and Alzheimer’s work) is not. What connects it all is my belief that innovation can save lives and improve everyone’s well-being. A lot of people underestimate just how much innovation will make life better.

Here are a few updates on what’s going well and what isn’t with innovation in some areas where I work.

Alzheimer’s disease

 I saw two positive trends in Alzheimer’s research in 2018.

I saw two positive trends in Alzheimer’s research in 2018.

One is that researchers focused on a new set of ideas about how to stop Alzheimer’s.

The first generation of theories, which dominated the field for years, emphasized two proteins called amyloid and tau. These proteins cause plaques and tangles in the brain, clogging up and killing brain cells. The idea was to stop the plaques and tangles from forming. I hope these approaches pay off, but we have not seen much evidence that they will.

In the past year, researchers have doubled down on a second generation of hypotheses. One theory is that a patient’s brain cells break down because their energy producers (called mitochondria) wear out. Another is that brain cells break down because part of the immune system gets overactivated and attacks them.

This is a great example of how improving our understanding of biology will reduce both medical costs and human suffering.

The other trend this year is that the Alzheimer’s community focused on getting more and better access to data. We’re working with researchers to make it easier for them to share information from their studies broadly so that we can better understand questions like how the disease progresses.

Over the past few years, the U.S. government has dramatically stepped up funding for Alzheimer’s research, from $400 million a year to over $2 billion a year. There is also a big push to create better diagnostics.

The only problem where I don’t yet see a clear path forward yet is how to develop more efficient ways to recruit patients for clinical trials. Without a simple and reliable diagnostic for Alzheimer’s, it’s hard to find eligible people early enough in the disease’s progression who can participate in trials. It can take years to enroll enough patients. If we could find a way to pre-screen participants, we could start new trials more quickly.

But there is so much momentum in other areas—scientific tools, better diagnostics, improved access to data—that as long as we can solve the recruitment problem, I am confident that we will make substantial progress in the next decade or two.

Polio

 I thought we would be closer to eradicating polio today than we are.

I thought we would be closer to eradicating polio today than we are. Unfortunately, there were more cases in 2018 than in 2017 (29 versus 22).

I underestimated how hard it would be to vaccinate children in places where there’s political violence and war. Families move around to escape fighting, which makes it hard to keep track of children and make sure they get all the doses of the vaccine. Or sewage systems get destroyed, allowing the virus to spread as children come into contact with an infected person’s excrement.

This is a key reason why Afghanistan and Pakistan have never been free of polio—in fact they are the only two countries that have never been free of polio.

I spend a lot of time on polio, part of it talking to the funders to make sure they continue their commitment even though eradication is taking longer than any of us would like. I remind them of the huge benefits of success, and the risk that the disease will return in a big way if we don’t finish the job.

I also remind them what a difference innovation is making. We’re now able to test sewage samples to track the virus and find the source before an outbreak starts. And the global health community is finding creative ways to work in war zones, having stopped outbreaks in Syria and Somalia in recent years.

Finally, I am hopeful about a new oral vaccine being tested in Belgium and Panama. The results should be out in 2019, and if this one proves effective, it would overcome some of the problems with previous oral vaccines when they’re used in places where few children are immunized. The new vaccine could be in use as soon as 2020.

Despite all the challenges, I am still optimistic that we can eradicate polio soon.

Energy

Global emissions of greenhouse gases went up in 2018. For me, that just reinforces the fact that the only way to prevent the worst climate-change scenarios is to get some breakthroughs in clean energy.

Some people think we have all the tools we need, and that driving down the cost of renewables like solar and wind solves the problem. I am glad to see solar and wind getting cheaper and we should be deploying them wherever it makes sense.

But solar and wind are intermittent sources of energy, and we are unlikely to have super-cheap batteries anytime soon that would allow us to store sufficient energy for when the sun isn’t shining or the wind isn’t blowing. Besides, electricity accounts for only 25% of all emissions. We need to solve the other 75% too.

This year Breakthrough Energy Ventures, the clean-energy investment fund I’m involved with, announced the first companies we’re putting money into. You can see the list at http://www.b-t.energy/ventures/our-investment-portfolio/. We are looking at all the major drivers of climate change. The companies we chose are run by brilliant people and show a lot of promise for taking innovative clean-energy ideas out of the lab and getting them to market.

Next year I will speak out more about how the U.S. needs to regain its leading role in nuclear power research. (This is unrelated to my work with the foundation.)

Nuclear is ideal for dealing with climate change, because it is the only carbon-free, scalable energy source that’s available 24 hours a day. The problems with today’s reactors, such as the risk of accidents, can be solved through innovation.

The United States is uniquely suited to create these advances with its world-class scientists, entrepreneurs, and investment capital.

 Unfortunately, America is no longer the global leader on nuclear energy that it was 50 years ago.

Unfortunately, America is no longer the global leader on nuclear energy that it was 50 years ago. To regain this position, it will need to commit new funding, update regulations, and show investors that it’s serious.

There are several promising ideas in advanced nuclear that should be explored if we get over these obstacles. TerraPower, the company I started 10 years ago, uses an approach called a traveling wave reactor that is safe, prevents proliferation, and produces very little waste. We had hoped to build a pilot project in China, but recent policy changes here in the U.S. have made that unlikely. We may be able to build it in the United States if the funding and regulatory changes that I mentioned earlier happen.

The world needs to be working on lots of solutions to stop climate change. Advanced nuclear is one, and I hope to persuade U.S. leaders to get into the game.

The next epidemic

In 1918, the Spanish flu killed 50 million people worldwide. It still ranks as one of the deadliest natural disasters ever.

I had hoped that hitting the 100th anniversary of this epidemic would spark a lot of discussion about whether we’re ready for the next global epidemic. Unfortunately, it didn’t, and we still are not ready.

People rightly worry about dangers like terrorism and climate change (and, more remotely, an asteroid hitting the Earth). But if anything is going to kill tens of millions of people in a short time, it will probably be a global epidemic. And the disease would most likely be a form of the flu, because the flu virus spreads easily through the air. Today a flu as contagious and lethal as the 1918 one would kill nearly 33 million people in just six months.

I have been studying this for several years. To be prepared, we need a plan for national governments to work together. We need to think through how to handle quarantines, make sure supply chains will reach affected areas, decide how to involve the military, and so on. There was not much progress on these questions in 2018.

 There has been progress toward a vaccine that would protect you from every strain of the flu.

The good news is that there has been progress toward a vaccine that would protect you from every strain of the flu. This year I visited the U.S. National Institutes of Health in Maryland and got an update from some of the people leading this work.

The challenges of making a universal flu vaccine are fascinating. All strains of the virus have certain structures in common. If you’ve never been exposed to the flu, it’s possible to make a vaccine that teaches your immune system to look for those structures and attack them. But once you’ve had the flu, your body obsesses over the strain that got you sick. That makes it really hard to get your immune system to look for the common structures.

So it is clear how we could make a universal vaccine that would protect anyone (such as the very young) who has never been exposed to the flu before. But for anyone who has already had the virus, it is a lot harder. The problem is a long way from being solved, but new research money is coming in and more scientists are working on it.

To make the most of these scientific efforts (some of which our foundation is funding), the world needs to develop a global system for monitoring and responding to epidemics. That is a political matter that requires international cooperation among government leaders. This issue deserves a lot more focus.

Gene editing

Gene editing made the news in November when a Chinese scientist announced that he had altered the genes of two baby girls when they were embryos. What is unprecedented about his work is that he edited their germline cells, meaning the changes will be passed down to their children. (The other, less controversial type of gene editing involves somatic cells, which aren’t inherited by future generations.)

I agree with those who say this scientist went too far. But something good can come from his work if it encourages more people to learn and talk about gene editing. This might be the most important public debate we haven’t been having widely enough.

The ethical questions are enormous. Gene editing is generating a ton of optimism for treating and curing diseases, including some that our foundation works on (though we fund work on altering crops and insects, not humans). But the technology could make inequity worse, especially if it is available only for wealthy people.

I am surprised that these issues haven’t generated more attention from the general public. Today, artificial intelligence is the subject of vigorous debate. Gene editing deserves at least as much of the spotlight as AI.

I encourage you to read up on it whenever you have a chance. Keep an eye out for articles in your news feed. If you are willing to read a whole book, The Gene by Siddhartha Mukherjee is very well done. This story is one to follow, because big breakthroughs—some good, some worrisome—are coming.

Looking ahead

 I am making a resolution for 2019.

Although I have never been one for New Year’s resolutions, I have always been committed to setting clear goals and making plans to achieve them. As I get older, these two things look more and more like the same exercise. So I am making a resolution for 2019. I am committing to learn and think about two key areas where technology has the potential to make an enormous impact on the quality of our lives, but also raises complex ethical and social considerations.

One is the balance between privacy and innovation. How can we use data to gain insights into education (like which schools do the best job of teaching low-income students) or health (like which doctors provide the best care for a reasonable price) while protecting people’s privacy?

The other is the use of technology in education. How much can software improve students’ learning? For years we have been hearing overheated claims about the huge impact that technology would have on education. People have been right to be skeptical. But I think things are finally coming together in a way that will deliver on the promises.

I will be posting updates on these and other issues on the Gates Notes.

In the meantime, Melinda and I are working on our next Annual Letter. The theme is a surprise, though it is safe to say we’ll be sharing some positive trends that make us optimistic about the future. We’ll send the letter out in February.

I hope you have a happy and healthy start to 2019.

https://www.gatesnotes.com/About-Bill-Gates/Year-in-Review-2018

A Failed Quest for Meaning

Enlightenment Now: The Case for Reason, Science, Humanism, and Progress, by Steven Pinker (Viking, 576 pp., $35)Professor Steven Pinker of Harvard has written a 500-plus-page advertising pamphlet for the Enlightenment. He doesn’t quite make the sale, in spite of his having the good fortune to be pitching the best product . . . ever, really.

Good Steven Pinker argues that the Enlightenment represented an escape from dogma, one in which the emerging combination of the scientific method and political liberalism put every claim and creed to the test of reason. Bad Steven Pinker believes — and believes hard — that the Enlightenment is itself a dogma and a tribe and a scripture. Case in point: Countering the argument that Enlightenment ideals fail because people are not perfectly rational actors, Pinker writes, in emphatic italics: “No Enlightenment thinker ever claimed that humans were consistently rational.” Throughout his new book, Enlightenment Now, he offers that same observation repeatedly, as though it were not only dispositive but self-evidently so. From Spinoza to Laplace to Pinker: There is no escaping apostolic succession, after all.

Professor Pinker, like Saint Paul, has a great talent for making the good news sound positively dreadful — unbearable, even. Which is a shame, because there is so much good news in his book. And charts! Goodness, are there charts, charts and charts and charts charting the rise of human flourishing on every axis from educational attainment in India to female literacy in Pakistan to anti-black hate crimes in the United States. Hooray, and well done, humanity. If those are the charts, then bring on the charts!

But this isn’t a book about charts, really. This is a book about the Meaning of Life.

Professor Pinker begins with an anecdote about a student who, after a lecture, asked him, “Why should I live?” After satisfying himself that this was not a case of suicidal ideation or mere smart-assery, he answers:

As a sentient being, you have the potential to flourish. You can refine your faculty of reason itself by learning and debating. You can seek explanations of the natural world through science, and insight into the human condition through the arts and humanities. You can make the most of your capacity for pleasure and satisfaction, which allowed your ancestors to thrive and thereby allowed you to exist. You can appreciate the beauty and richness of the natural and cultural world. As the heir to billions of years of life perpetuating itself, you can perpetuate life in return.

He goes on in that mode for a while, and even the most casual reader will notice that he offers a great deal of “You can” but no “You should.” Which is to say: He does not answer the question. As it turns out, he answers the question neither in short nor at length. “Explaining the meaning of life is not in the usual job description of a professor of cognitive science,” he writes, “and I would not have had the gall to take up her question if the answer depended on my arcane technical knowledge or my dubious personal wisdom.” No, he appeals to a higher power: “But I knew I was channeling a body of beliefs and values that had taken shape more than two centuries before me and that are now more relevant than ever: the ideals of the Enlightenment.”

It was reason that led most of the Enlightenment thinkers to repudiate a belief in an anthropomorphic God who took an interest in human affairs. The application of reason revealed that reports of miracles were dubious, that the authors of holy books were all too human, that natural events unfolded with no regard to human welfare, and that different cultures believed in mutually incompatible deities, none of them less likely than the others to be products of the imagination.

That is fairly sloppy stuff: There is the fallacious appeal to authority (“most of the Enlightenment thinkers”), the failure to understand the claims of the other side (of course reports of miracles are dubious: miracles are unlikely — that is what makes them miracles), the ad hominem (it would hardly come as a shock to any Christian familiar with the biography of Saint Peter that he was “all too human” — accompanying the Prince of Peace in His last days, Peter got into a knife fight), the juvenile (as a matter of logic, it simply is not the case that if not all religious claims can be true simultaneously, then all of them must be false), etc. None of this stuff is very much germane to Professor Pinker’s argument; he simply cannot help himself. If you doubt that this is base, tribal, googly-eyed, us-vs.-them stuff, consider this bit: “Early governments pacified the people they ruled, reducing internecine violence, but imposed a reign of terror that included slavery, harems, human sacrifice, summary executions, and the torture and mutilation of dissidents and deviants. (The Bible has no shortage of examples.)” This appears a few sentences above mentions of the Chinese civil war and Idi Amin. Of course it is the case that accounts of violent episodes can be found in the Bible, but that is not why the Bible appears in that sentence. It appears as a tribal signifier. Us ain’t Them.

Better that Professor Pinker should have taken the advice of A. J. Ayer and eliminated the metaphysics altogether. It isn’t as though the real-world problems of fanaticism and primitivism would have left his volume too slender: The Islamic State exists, and, if it’s explicit anti-intellectualism you’re looking for, consider the etymology of “Boko Haram” — literally, “Books are forbidden.”

In metaphysics as in politics and poker, it is hard to beat something with nothing, and, as ethics go, “The universe is headed for heat death, eventually” isn’t exactly compelling. Marcus Aurelius advised his reader not to worry too much about life, death, or reputation, because, soon enough, we’ll be dead, everybody who knew us will be dead, everybody who might have remembered us will be dead, etc. “‘This man was the last of his house’ is not uncommon upon a monument,” the emperor-philosopher wrote. “How solicitous were the ancestors of these men about an heir! Yet someone must, of necessity, be the last.” Which is sunshine in a glass compared with maximum entropy.

The problem for Professor Pinker is that there isn’t any really good way to get from just the facts to an ethical creed, from the reason and science of his subtitle to the humanism. He tries to get around this with rarity: Humans and human institutions (along with sentient beings and life in general) are examples of low-entropy situations, which are very rare in the universe. Professor Pinker in fact follows the rhetoric of the creationists and intelligent-design cranks (he must shudder to do so) when he explains the Law of Entropy: “If you walk away from a sandcastle, it won’t be there tomorrow, because as the wind, waves, seagulls, and small children push the grains of sand around, they’re more likely to arrange them into one of the vast number of configurations that don’t look like a castle than into one of the tiny few that do.”

The echo of the Reverend William Paley’s Divine Watchmaker is unmistakable. Professor Pinker uses his story for a different purpose, of course: While those who would seek to discredit evolution argue that the fact of the universe argues for a creator in the same way that the existence of a watch implies the existence of a watchmaker, Professor Pinker argues that the rarity of the orderly bits of the universe makes them special, valuable, interesting. But: To whom? And: Says who? There isn’t anything about the Second Law of Thermodynamics that says, or even implies, that we should prefer thermodynamic disequilibrium over thermodynamic equilibrium. It’s only temporary, anyway. There isn’t any scientific reason to prefer a world with humans in it to one without, or a world with happy humans in it to one with unhappy humans in it. (“And what if God prefers your tears to your studying?” asked Rabbi Mendel, no relation to the Right Reverend Gregor Mendel, who laid the foundations of genetics when he wasn’t running the abbey in Brno.) If you want to get from thermodynamics to politics and ethics, there’s a bit more work involved than Professor Pinker has here done. “We’re the Enlightenment, we’re the good guys, follow us!” won’t do it.

This is unfortunate, because Professor Pinker believes that the ideals of the Enlightenment “are now more relevant than ever”: There are challenges to the Enlightenment, to liberalism, and to material progress. Tribalism is, at the moment, resurgent, no less here in the United States than abroad: President Trump is being joined at this year’s Conservative Political Action Conference by Marion Maréchal–Le Pen. The new tribalists of the West are not very much impressed by the low prices at Walmart, the improving quality of life in urban China, or the rising literacy rate among Afghan girls. Neither is Boko Haram. Neither is the Islamic State.

And that is what makes the author’s failure here all the more dismaying. Professor Pinker, and many others like him, understand the Enlightenment as a force of oppositionto the civilization that produced it, the civilization we used to call “Christendom.” Professor Pinker’s account has the new gospel of Enlightenment arising from the muck of Christian civilization, with its witch hunts and inquisitions, protected by a few true believers toward whom we still look today for guidance. But the actual Enlightenment happened in the Christian world. They had gunpowder in ancient China, but the Enlightenment and the Industrial Revolution happened where they happened, and when they happened, for a reason. To properly defend the Enlightenment and its ideals requires grounding the Enlightenment in the culture that produced it, which offends Professor Pinker’s cosmopolitan instincts, to say nothing of his instinct for sneering at Christianity.

“Cult” is the first syllable in “culture,” and Professor Pinker’s professed humanism is a creed, not a scientific deduction. A creed grounded in what? Being nice? The scientific method? Please. It’s grounded in a tribal identity, a little tribe comprising Professor Pinker, Sam Harris, and the ghost of Christopher Hitchens. That sounds like a fun dinner party, but it’s hardly the basis for a civilization. Pinker is dead-on about much — and much that is important — but he remains limited by what must be described as intellectual pettiness, which isn’t what you want in a book professing to lay out the meaning of life.

https://www.nationalreview.com/magazine/2018/03/19/steven-pinker-enlightenment-now-review-failed-quest-meaning/

Books by Steven Pinker

https://www.thriftbooks.com/a/steven-pinker/202210/?mkwid=s|dc&pcrid=301999411142&pkw=&pmt=b&plc=&pgrid=34947186125&ptaid=dsa-266516562683&gclid=EAIaIQobChMIh_6j9OXS3wIVy7fACh0oCAC1EAMYASAAEgLbO_D_BwE

 

Steven Pinker

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Steven Pinker
102111 Pinker 344.jpg
Born
Steven Arthur Pinker

September 18, 1954 (age 64)

MontrealQuebec, Canada
Nationality Canadian
American
Notable work
Spouse(s)
  • Nancy Etcoff
    (m. 1980; div. 1992)
  • Ilavenil Subbiah
    (m. 1995; div. 2006)
  • Rebecca Goldstein (m. 2007)
Alma mater
Awards Troland Award (1993, National Academy of Sciences),
Henry Dale Prize (2004, Royal Institution),
Walter P. Kistler Book Award (2005),
Humanist of the Year award (2006, issued by the AHA),
George Miller Prize (2010, Cognitive Neuroscience Society), Richard Dawkins Award (2013)
Scientific career
Fields Evolutionary psychologyexperimental psychologycognitive sciencepsycholinguisticsvisual cognition
Thesis The Representation of Three-dimensional Space in Mental Images (1979)
Doctoral advisor Stephen Kosslyn
Influences Noam Chomsky[1]
Website www.stevenpinker.com

Steven Arthur Pinker (born September 18, 1954) is a Canadian-American cognitive psychologistlinguist, and popular science author. He is Johnstone Family Professor in the Department of Psychology at Harvard University, and is known for his advocacy of evolutionary psychology and the computational theory of mind.

Pinker’s academic specializations are visual cognition and psycholinguistics. His experimental subjects include mental imagery, shape recognition, visual attention, children’s language development, regular and irregular phenomena in language, the neural bases of words and grammar, and the psychology of cooperation and communication, including euphemisminnuendo, emotional expression, and common knowledge. He has written two technical books that proposed a general theory of language acquisition and applied it to children’s learning of verbs. In particular, his work with Alan Prince published in 1989 critiqued the connectionist model of how children acquire the past tense of English verbs, arguing instead that children use default rules such as adding “-ed” to make regular forms, sometimes in error, but are obliged to learn irregular forms one by one.

In his popular books, he has argued that the human faculty for language is an instinct, an innate behavior shaped by natural selection and adapted to our communication needs. He is the author of eight books for a general audience. Five of these, The Language Instinct (1994), How the Mind Works (1997), Words and Rules (2000), The Blank Slate (2002), and The Stuff of Thought (2007), describe aspects of the field of psycholinguistics and cognitive science, and include accounts of his own research. In the sixth book, The Better Angels of Our Nature (2011), Pinker makes the case that violence in human societies has, in general, steadily declined with time, and identifies six major causes of this decline.

His seventh book, The Sense of Style (2014), is intended as a general style guide that is informed by modern science and psychology, offering advice on how to produce more comprehensible and unambiguous writing in nonfiction contexts and explaining why so much of today’s academic and popular writing is difficult for readers to understand. His eighth book, Enlightenment Now (2018), continues the optimistic thesis of The Better Angels of Our Nature by using social science data from various sources to argue for a general improvement of the human condition over recent history.

Pinker has been named as one of the world’s most influential intellectuals by various magazines. He has won awards from the American Psychological Association, the National Academy of Sciences, the Royal Institution, the Cognitive Neuroscience Society and the American Humanist Association. He delivered the Gifford Lectures at the University of Edinburgh in 2013. He has served on the editorial boards of a variety of journals, and on the advisory boards of several institutions. He has frequently participated in public debates on science and society.

Biography[edit]

Pinker was born in MontrealQuebec, in 1954, to a middle-class Jewish family. His parents were Roslyn (Wiesenfeld) and Harry Pinker.[3][4] His grandparents emigrated to Canada from Poland and Romania in 1926,[5][6] and owned a small necktie factory in Montreal.[7] His father, a lawyer, first worked as a manufacturer’s representative, while his mother was first a home-maker then a guidance counselor and high-school vice-principal. He has two younger siblings. His brother Robert is a policy analyst for the Canadian government, while his sister, Susan Pinker, is a psychologist and writer who authored The Sexual Paradox and The Village Effect.[8][9]

Pinker married Nancy Etcoff in 1980 and they divorced in 1992; he married Ilavenil Subbiah in 1995 and they too divorced.[10] His third wife, whom he married in 2007, is the novelist and philosopher Rebecca Goldstein.[11] He has two stepdaughters: the novelist Yael Goldstein Love and the poet Danielle Blau.

Pinker graduated from Dawson College in 1973. He received a Bachelor of Arts in psychology from McGill University in 1976, and earned his Doctorate of Philosophy in experimental psychology at Harvard University in 1979 under Stephen Kosslyn. He did research at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) for a year, after which he became an assistant professor at Harvard and then Stanford University.

From 1982 until 2003, Pinker taught at the Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences at MIT, was the co-director of the Center for Cognitive science (1985–1994), and eventually became the director of the Center for Cognitive neuroscience (1994–1999),[12] taking a one-year sabbatical at the University of California, Santa Barbara, in 1995–96. As of 2003, he is the Johnstone Family Professor of Psychology at Harvard; from 2008 to 2013 he also held the title of Harvard College Professor in recognition of his dedication to teaching.[13] He currently gives lectures as a visiting professor at the New College of the Humanities, a private college in London.[14][15]

About his Jewish background Pinker has said, “I was never religious in the theological sense … I never outgrew my conversion to atheism at 13, but at various times was a serious cultural Jew.”[16] As a teenager, he says he considered himself an anarchist until he witnessed civil unrest following a police strike in 1969, when:

As a young teenager in proudly peaceable Canada during the romantic 1960s, I was a true believer in Bakunin’s anarchism. I laughed off my parents’ argument that if the government ever laid down its arms all hell would break loose. Our competing predictions were put to the test at 8:00 A.M. on October 17, 1969, when the Montreal police went on strike … This decisive empirical test left my politics in tatters (and offered a foretaste of life as a scientist).[17]

Pinker identifies himself as an equity feminist, which he defines as “a moral doctrine about equal treatment that makes no commitments regarding open empirical issues in psychology or biology”.[18] He reported the result of a test of his political orientation that characterized him as “neither leftist nor rightist, more libertarian than authoritarian.”[19] He describes himself as having “experienced a primitive tribal stirring” after his genes were shown to trace back to the Middle East, noting that he “found it just as thrilling to zoom outward in the diagrams of my genetic lineage and see my place in a family tree that embraces all of humanity”.[20]

Pinker also identifies himself as an atheist. In the 2007 interview with the Point of Inquiry podcast, Pinker states that he would “defend atheism as an empirically supported view.” He sees theism and atheism as competing empirical hypotheses, and states that “we’re learning more and more about what makes us tick, including our moral sense, without needing the assumption of a deity or a soul. It’s naturally getting crowded out by the successive naturalistic explanations.”[21]

Research and theory[edit]

Pinker in 2007.

Pinker’s research on visual cognition, begun in collaboration with his thesis adviser, Stephen Kosslyn, showed that mental images represent scenes and objects as they appear from a specific vantage point (rather than capturing their intrinsic three-dimensional structure), and thus correspond to the neuroscientist David Marr‘s theory of a “two-and-a-half-dimensional sketch.”[22] He also showed that this level of representation is used in visual attention, and in object recognition (at least for asymmetrical shapes), contrary to Marr’s theory that recognition uses viewpoint-independent representations.

In psycholinguistics, Pinker became known early in his career for promoting computational learning theory as a way to understand language acquisition in children. He wrote a tutorial review of the field followed by two books that advanced his own theory of language acquisition, and a series of experiments on how children acquire the passive, dative, and locative constructions. These books were Language Learnability and Language Development (1984), in Pinker’s words “outlin[ing] a theory of how children acquire the words and grammatical structures of their mother tongue”,[23] and Learnability and Cognition: The Acquisition of Argument Structure (1989), in Pinker’s words “focus[ing] on one aspect of this process, the ability to use different kinds of verbs in appropriate sentences, such as intransitive verbs, transitive verbs, and verbs taking different combinations of complements and indirect objects”.[23] He then focused on verbs of two kinds that illustrate what he considers to be the processes required for human language: retrieving whole words from memory, like the past form of the irregular verb[24] “bring”, namely “brought”; and using rules to combine (parts of) words, like the past form of the regular verb “walk”, namely “walked”.[23]

In 1988 Pinker and Alan Prince published an influential critique of a connectionist model of the acquisition of the past tense (a textbook problem in language acquisition), followed by a series of studies of how people use and acquire the past tense. This included a monograph on children’s regularization of irregular forms and his popular 1999 book, Words and Rules: The Ingredients of Language. Pinker argued that language depends on two things, the associative remembering of sounds and their meanings in words, and the use of rules to manipulate symbols for grammar. He presented evidence against connectionism, where a child would have to learn all forms of all words and would simply retrieve each needed form from memory, in favour of the older alternative theory, the use of words and rules combined by generative phonology. He showed that mistakes made by children indicate the use of default rules to add suffixes such as “-ed”: for instance ‘breaked’ and ‘comed’ for ‘broke’ and ‘came’. He argued that this shows that irregular verb-forms in English have to be learnt and retrieved from memory individually, and that the children making these errors were predicting the regular “-ed” ending in an open-ended way by applying a mental rule. This rule for combining verb stems and the usual suffix can be expressed as[25]

Vpast → Vstem + d

where V is a verb and d is the regular ending. Pinker further argued that since the ten most frequently occurring English verbs (be, have, do, say, make … ) are all irregular, while 98.2% of the thousand least common verbs are regular, there is a “massive correlation” of frequency and irregularity. He explains this by arguing that every irregular form, such as ‘took’, ‘came’ and ‘got’, has to be committed to memory by the children in each generation, or else lost, and that the common forms are the most easily memorized. Any irregular verb that falls in popularity past a certain point is lost, and all future generations will treat it as a regular verb instead.[25]

In 1990, Pinker, with Paul Bloom, published the paper “Natural Language and Natural Selection”, arguing that the human language faculty must have evolved through natural selection.[26] The article provided arguments for a continuity based view of language evolution, contrary to then current discontinuity based theories that see language as suddenly appearing with the advent of Homo sapiens as a kind of evolutionary accident. This discontinuity based view was prominently argued by two of the main authorities, linguist Noam Chomsky and Stephen Jay Gould.[27] The paper became widely cited and created renewed interest in the evolutionary prehistory of language, and has been credited with shifting the central question of the debate from “did language evolve?” to “how did language evolve”.[27][28] The article also presaged Pinker’s argument in The Language Instinct.

Pinker’s research includes delving into human nature and what science says about it. In his interview on the Point of Inquiry podcast in 2007, he provides the following examples of what he considers defensible conclusions of what science says human nature is:

  • The sexes are not statistically identical; “their interests and talents form two overlapping distributions”. Any policy that wants to provide equal outcomes for both men and women will have to discriminate against one or the other.
  • “Individuals differ in personality and intelligence.”
  • “People favor themselves and their families over an abstraction called society.”
  • Humans are “systematically self deceived. Each one of us thinks of ourselves as more competent and benevolent than we are.”
  • “People crave status and power”

He informs the listeners that one can read more about human nature in his book, Blank Slate.

Pinker also speaks about evolutionary psychology in the podcast and believes that this area of science is going to pay off. He cites the fact that there are many areas of study, such as beauty, religion, play, and sexuality, that were not studied 15 years ago. It is thanks to evolutionary psychology that these areas are being studied.[21]

Popularization of science[edit]

Pinker in 2011.

Human cognition and natural language[edit]

Pinker’s 1994 The Language Instinct was the first of several books to combine cognitive science with behavioral genetics and evolutionary psychology. It introduces the science of language and popularizes Noam Chomsky‘s theory that language is an innate faculty of mind, with the controversial twist that the faculty for language evolved by natural selection as an adaptation for communication. Pinker criticizes several widely held ideas about language – that it needs to be taught, that people’s grammar is poor and getting worse with new ways of speaking, the Sapir–Whorf hypothesis that language limits the kinds of thoughts a person can have, and that other great apes can learn languages. Pinker sees language as unique to humans, evolved to solve the specific problem of communication among social hunter-gatherers. He argues that it is as much an instinct as specialized adaptative behavior in other species, such as a spider‘s web-weaving or a beaver‘s dam-building.

Pinker states in his introduction that his ideas are “deeply influenced”[29] by Chomsky; he also lists scientists whom Chomsky influenced to “open up whole new areas of language study, from child development and speech perception to neurology and genetics”[29] — Eric LennebergGeorge MillerRoger BrownMorris Halle and Alvin Liberman.[29] Brown mentored Pinker through his thesis; Pinker stated that Brown’s “funny and instructive”[30] book Words and Things (1958) was one of the inspirations for The Language Instinct.[30][31]

The reality of Pinker’s proposed language instinct, and the related claim that grammar is innate and genetically based, has been contested by many linguists. One prominent opponent of Pinker’s view is Geoffrey Sampson whose 1997 book, Educating Eve: The ‘Language Instinct’ Debate has been described as the “definitive response” to Pinker’s book.[32][33] Sampson argues that while it may seem attractive to argue the nature side of the ‘nature versus nurture’ debate, the nurture side may better support the creativity and nobility of the human mind. Sampson denies there is a language instinct, and argues that children can learn language because people can learn anything.[33] Others have sought a middle ground between Pinker’s nativism and Sampson’s culturalism.[34]

The assumptions underlying the nativist view have also been criticised in Jeffrey Elman‘s Rethinking Innateness: A Connectionist Perspective on Development, which defends the connectionist approach that Pinker attacked. In his 1996 book Impossible Minds, the machine intelligence researcher Igor Aleksander calls The Language Instinct excellent, and argues that Pinker presents a relatively soft claim for innatism, accompanied by a strong dislike of the ‘Standard Social Sciences Model’ or SSSM (Pinker’s term), which supposes that development is purely dependent on culture. Further, Aleksander writes that while Pinker criticises some attempts to explain language processing with neural nets, Pinker later makes use of a neural net to create past tense verb forms correctly. Aleksander concludes that while he doesn’t support the SSSM, “a cultural repository of language just seems the easy trick for an efficient evolutionary system armed with an iconic state machine to play.”[35]

Two other books, How the Mind Works (1997) and The Blank Slate (2002), broadly surveyed the mind and defended the idea of a complex human nature with many mental faculties that are adaptive (Pinker is an ally of Daniel Dennett and Richard Dawkins in many disputes surrounding adaptationism). Another major theme in Pinker’s theories is that human cognition works, in part, by combinatorial symbol-manipulation, not just associations among sensory features, as in many connectionist models. On the debate around The Blank Slate, Pinker called Thomas Sowell‘s book A Conflict of Visions “wonderful”,[36] and explained that “The Tragic Vision” and the “Utopian Vision” are the views of human nature behind right- and left-wing ideologies.[36]

In Words and Rules: the Ingredients of Language (1999), Pinker argues from his own research that regular and irregular phenomena are products of computation and memory lookup, respectively, and that language can be understood as an interaction between the two.[37] “Words and Rules” is also the title of an essay by Pinker outlining many of the topics discussed in the book.[25] Critiqueing the book from the perspective of generative linguistics Charles Yang, in the London Review of Books, writes that “this book never runs low on hubris or hyperbole“.[38] The book’s topic, the English past tense, is in Yang’s view unglamorous, and Pinker’s attempts at compromise risk being in no man’s land between rival theories. Giving the example of German, Yang argues that irregular nouns in that language at least all belong to classes, governed by rules, and that things get even worse in languages that attach prefixes and suffixes to make up long ‘words’: they can’t be learnt individually, as there are untold numbers of combinations. “All Pinker (and the connectionists) are doing is turning over the rocks at the base of the intellectual landslide caused by the Chomskian revolution.”[38]

In The Stuff of Thought (2007), Pinker looks at a wide range of issues around the way words related to thoughts on the one hand, and to the world outside ourselves on the other. Given his evolutionary perspective, a central question is how an intelligent mind capable of abstract thought evolved: how a mind adapted to Stone Age life could work in the modern world. Many quirks of language are the result.[39]

Pinker is critical of theories about the evolutionary origins of language that argue that linguistic cognition might have evolved from earlier musical cognition. He sees language as being tied primarily to the capacity for logical reasoning, and speculates that human proclivity for music may be a spandrel — a feature not adaptive in its own right, but that has persisted through other traits that are more broadly practical, and thus selected for. In How the Mind Works, Pinker reiterates Immanuel Kant‘s view that music is not in itself an important cognitive phenomenon, but that it happens to stimulate important auditory and spatio-motor cognitive functions. Pinker compares music to “auditory cheesecake”, stating that “As far as biological cause and effect is concerned, music is useless”. This argument has been rejected by Daniel Levitin and Joseph Carroll, experts in music cognition, who argue that music has had an important role in the evolution of human cognition.[40][41][42][43][44][45] In his book This Is Your Brain On Music, Levitin argues that music could provide adaptive advantage through sexual selectionsocial bonding, and cognitive development; he questions the assumption that music is the antecedent to language, as opposed to its progenitor, noting that many species display music-like habits that could be seen as precursors to human music.[46]

Pinker has also been critical of “whole language” reading instruction techniques, stating in How the Mind Works, “… the dominant technique, called ‘whole language,’ the insight that [spoken] language is a naturally developing human instinct has been garbled into the evolutionarily improbable claim that reading is a naturally developing human instinct.”[47] In the appendix to the 2007 reprinted edition of The Language Instinct, Pinker cited Why Our Children Can’t Read by cognitive psychologist Diane McGuinness as his favorite book on the subject and noted:

One raging public debate involving language went unmentioned in The Language Instinct: the “reading wars,” or dispute over whether children should be explicitly taught to read by decoding the sounds of words from their spelling (loosely known as “phonics“) or whether they can develop it instinctively by being immersed in a text-rich environment (often called “whole language”). I tipped my hand in the paragraph in [the sixth chapter of the book] which said that language is an instinct but reading is not.[48] Like most psycholinguists (but apparently unlike many school boards), I think it’s essential for children to be taught to become aware of speech sounds and how they are coded in strings of letters.[49]

The Better Angels of Our Nature[edit]

Violence in the middle ages: detail from “Mars” in Das Mittelalterliche Hausbuch, c. 1475 – 1480. The image is used by Pinker in The Better Angels of Our Nature, with the comment “as the Housebook illustrations suggest, [the knights] did not restrict their killing to other knights”.[50]

In The Better Angels of Our Nature, published in 2011, Pinker argues that violence, including tribal warfare, homicide, cruel punishments, child abuse, animal cruelty, domestic violence, lynching, pogroms, and international and civil wars, has decreased over multiple scales of time and magnitude. Pinker considers it unlikely that human nature has changed. In his view, it is more likely that human nature comprises inclinations toward violence and those that counteract them, the “better angels of our nature”. He outlines six ‘major historical declines of violence’ that all have their own socio/cultural/economic causes:[51]

  1. “The Pacification Process” – The rise of organized systems of government has a correlative relationship with the decline in violent deaths. As states expand they prevent tribal feuding, reducing losses.
  2. “The Civilizing Process” – Consolidation of centralized states and kingdoms throughout Europe results in the rise of criminal justice and commercial infrastructure, organizing previously chaotic systems that could lead to raiding and mass violence.
  3. “The Humanitarian Revolution” – The 18th – 20th century abandonment of institutionalized violence by the state (breaking on the wheel, burning at the stake). Suggests this is likely due to the spike in literacy after the invention of the printing press thereby allowing the proletariat to question conventional wisdom.
  4. “The Long Peace” – The powers of 20th Century believed that period of time to be the bloodiest in history. This to a largely peaceful 65-year period post World War I and World War II. Developed countries have stopped warring (against each other and colonially), adopted democracy, and this has led a massive decline (on average) of deaths.
  5. “The New Peace” – The decline in organized conflicts of all kinds since the end of the Cold War.
  6. “The Rights Revolutions” – The reduction of systemic violence at smaller scales against vulnerable populations (racial minorities, women, children, homosexuals, animals).

The book was welcomed by many critics and reviewers, who found its arguments convincing and its synthesis of a large volume of historical evidence compelling.[52][53][54][55][56] It also aroused criticism on a variety of grounds, such as whether deaths per capita was an appropriate metric, Pinker’s atheism, lack of moral leadership, excessive focus on Europe (though the book covers other areas), the interpretation of historical data, and its image of indigenous people.[57][58][59][60][61][62][63][64][65][66][67]

English writing style in the 21st century[edit]

In his seventh popular book, The Sense of Style: The Thinking Person’s Guide to Writing in the 21st Century (2014), Pinker attempts to provide a writing style guide that is informed by modern science and psychology, offering advice on how to produce more comprehensible and unambiguous writing in nonfiction contexts and explaining why so much of today’s academic and popular writing is difficult for readers to understand.

In a November 2014 episode of the Point of Inquiry podcast, host Lindsay Beyerstein, asked Pinker how his style guide was different from the many guides that already exist. His answer,

The Thinking Person’s Guide because I don’t issue dictates from on high as most manuals do but explain why the various guidelines will improve writing, what they do for language, what they do for the reader’s experience, in the hope that the users will apply the rules judiciously knowing what they are designed to accomplish, rather than robotically.[68]

He also indicated that the 21st century was applicable because language and usage change over time and it has been a long time since William Strunk wrote Elements of Style.[68]

Public debate[edit]

Pinker is a frequent participant in public debates surrounding the contributions of science to contemporary society. Social commentators such as Ed West, author of The Diversity Illusion, consider Pinker important and daring in his willingness to confront taboos, as in The Blank Slate. This doctrine (the tabula rasa), writes West, remained accepted “as fact, rather than fantasy”[69] a decade after the book’s publication. West describes Pinker as “no polemicist, and he leaves readers to draw their own conclusions”.[69]

In January 2005, Pinker defended Lawrence Summers, president of Harvard University, whose comments about a gender gap in mathematics and science angered much of the faculty. Pinker noted that Summers’s remarks, properly understood, were hypotheses about overlapping statistical distributions of men’s and women’s talents and tastes, and that in a university such hypotheses ought to be the subject of empirical testing rather than dogma and outrage.[70] Edge.org ran a debate between Pinker and Elizabeth Spelke on gender and science.[71]

In 2009, Pinker wrote a mixed review of Malcolm Gladwell‘s essays in The New York Times criticizing his analytical methods.[72] Gladwell replied, disputing Pinker’s comments about the importance of IQ on teaching performance and by analogy, the effect, if any, of draft order on quarterback performance in the National Football League.[73] Advanced NFL Stats addressed the issue statistically, siding with Pinker and showing that differences in methodology could explain the two men’s differing opinions.[74]

In 2009, David Shenk criticized Pinker for siding with the “nature” argument and for “never once acknowledg[ing] gene-environment interaction or epigenetics” in an article on nature versus nurture in The New York Times.[75] Pinker responded to a question about epigenetics as a possibility for the decline in violence in a lecture for the BBC World Service. Pinker said it was unlikely since the decline in violence happened too rapidly to be explained by genetic changes.[76] Helga Vierich and Cathryn Townsend wrote a critical review of Pinker’s sweeping “Civilizational” explanations for patterns of human violence and warfare in response to a lecture he gave at Cambridge University in September 2015.[77]

Steven Pinker is also noted for having identified the rename of Phillip Morris to Altria as an “egregious example” of phonesthesia, with the company attempting to “switch its image from bad people who sell addictive carcinogens to a place or state marked by altruism and other lofty values”.[78]

Pinker continued to court controversy through his 2018 book Enlightenment Now, in which he argues that enlightenment rationality has driven tremendous progress and should be defended against attacks from both the left and right. The Guardian criticized the book as a “triumphalist” work that has a “curious relationship to intellectual history” and overestimates the role of campus activists in mainstream discourse.[79] While promoting the book on the NPR show 1A, Pinker caused a minor social media backlash when he said that “I don’t think Malcolm X did the world much good.”[80][81][82]

In a debate with Pinker, post-colonial theorist Homi Bhabha argued that Enlightenment Now sees the perils of the modern age such as slavery, imperialism, world wars, genocide, inequality etc as glitches rather than costs for enlightenment’s gifts. But Pinker responded that the natural state of humanity has been poverty and disease, and knowledge has improved human welfare.[83]

Awards and distinctions[edit]

Pinker in Göttingen, 2010

Pinker was named one of Time‘s 100 most influential people in the world in 2004[84] and one of Prospect and Foreign Policy100 top public intellectuals in both years the poll was carried out, 2005[85] and 2008;[86] in 2010 and 2011 he was named by Foreign Policy to its list of top global thinkers.[87][88] In 2016, he was elected to the National Academy of Sciences.[89]

His research in cognitive psychology has won the Early Career Award (1984) and Boyd McCandless Award (1986) from the American Psychological Association, the Troland Research Award (1993) from the National Academy of Sciences, the Henry Dale Prize (2004) from the Royal Institution of Great Britain, and the George Miller Prize (2010) from the Cognitive Neuroscience Society. He has also received honorary doctorates from the universities of NewcastleSurreyTel AvivMcGillSimon Fraser University and the University of Tromsø. He was twice a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize, in 1998 and in 2003. On May 13, 2006, he received the American Humanist Association‘s Humanist of the Year award for his contributions to public understanding of human evolution.[90]

Pinker has served on the editorial boards of journals such as Cognition, Daedalus, and PLOS One, and on the advisory boards of institutions for scientific research (e.g., the Allen Institute for Brain Science), free speech (e.g., the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education), the popularization of science (e.g., the World Science Festival and the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry), peace (e.g., the Peace Research Endowment), and secular humanism (e.g., the Freedom from Religion Foundation and the Secular Coalition for America).

Since 2008, he has chaired the Usage Panel of the American Heritage Dictionary, and wrote the essay on usage for the fifth edition of the Dictionary, which was published in 2011.

In February 2001 Steven Pinker, “whose hair has long been the object of admiration, and envy, and intense study”,[91] was nominated by acclamation as the first member of the Luxuriant Flowing Hair Club for Scientists (LFHCfS) organized by the Annals of Improbable Research.

Bibliography[edit]

Books[edit]

Articles and essays[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ C-SPAN | BookTV “In Depth with Steven Pinker” November 2nd 2008
  2. ^ “Steven Pinker”Desert Island Discs. 30 June 2013. BBC Radio 4. Retrieved 18 January 2014.
  3. ^ Pinker, S. (2009). Language Learnability and Language Development, With New Commentary by the Author. Harvard University Press. ISBN 9780674042179. Retrieved 10 October 2014.
  4. ^ https://mobile.twitter.com/sapinker/status/990944371578109952
  5. ^ Annie Maccoby Berglof «At home: Steven Pinker»
  6. ^ Curious Minds: How a Child Becomes a Scientist
  7. ^ Pinker, Steven (June 26, 2006). “Groups and Genes”The New Republic. Retrieved October 25, 2017.
  8. ^ Shermer, Michael (2001-03-01). The Pinker Instinct. Altadena, CA: Skeptics Society & Skeptic Magazine. Retrieved 11 September 2007.
  9. ^ Steven Pinker: the mind reader The Guardian Accessed 25 November 2006.
  10. ^ Biography for Steven Pinker at imdb. Retrieved 12 September 2007.
  11. ^ “How Steven Pinker Works” by Kristin E. Blagg Archived 2014-10-17 at the Wayback MachineThe Harvard Crimson Accessed 3 February 2006.
  12. ^ Curriculum Vitae (PDF)Harvard University, retrieved June 23, 2017
  13. ^ Pinker, Steven. “Official Biography. Harvard University”. Pinker.wjh.harvard.edu. Archived from the original on 29 December 2005. Retrieved 20 January 2012.
  14. ^ “The professoriate” Archived June 8, 2011, at the Wayback Machine., New College of the Humanities. Retrieved 8 June 2011.
  15. ^ “Professor Stephen Pinker”, New College of the Humanities. Retrieved 4 November 2014.
  16. ^ “Steven Pinker: the mind reader” by Ed Douglas The Guardian Accessed 3 February 2006.
  17. ^ Pinker, Steven (2002), The Blank Slate: The Modern Denial of Human NaturePenguin PutnamISBN 0-670-03151-8.
  18. ^ Pinker, Steven, The Blank Slate: The Modern Denial of Human Nature (Viking, 2002), p. 341
  19. ^ “My Genome, My Self” by Steven Pinker The New York Times Sunday MagazineAccessed 10 April 2010.
  20. ^ “DNA and You – Personalized Genomics Goes Jewish”The Forward. 12 August 2011. Retrieved 13 August 2011.
  21. Jump up to:a b Grothe, D.J. (23 February 2007). “Podcast:Steven Pinker – Evolutionary Psychology and Human Nature”. Point of Inquiry with D.J. Grothe. Retrieved 29 December 2014.
  22. ^ The nature of the language faculty and its implications for evolution of language
  23. Jump up to:a b c Pinker, Steven. “Steven Pinker: Long Biography”. Harvard University. Archived from the original on 29 December 2005. Retrieved 18 May 2014.
  24. ^ Pinker has written a piece on The Irregular Verbs Archived 2014-06-06 at the Wayback Machine., stating that “I like the Irregular verbs of English, all 180 of them, because of what they tell us about the history of the language and the human minds that have perpetuated it.
  25. Jump up to:a b c Pinker, Steven. “Words and rules (essay)” (PDF). Harvard University. Archived from the original (PDF) on 30 August 2014. Retrieved 24 May 2014.
  26. ^ Pinker, S. & Bloom, P. (1990). Natural language and natural selection. Behavioral and Brain Sciences 13 (4): 707‐784
  27. Jump up to:a b Christine Kenneally“Language Development:The First Word. The Search for the Origins of Language”. Archived from the original on 2014-07-14.
  28. ^ “The 20th Anniversary of Steven Pinker & Paul Bloom: Natural Language and Natural Selection (1990)”. Replicatedtypo.com.
  29. Jump up to:a b c Pinker, Steven (1994). The Language Instinct. Penguin. pp. 23–24.
  30. Jump up to:a b Pinker, Steven (1998). “Obituary: Roger Brown” (PDF)Cognition66: 199–213 (see page 205). doi:10.1016/s0010-0277(98)00027-4. Archived from the original(PDF) on 2015-05-18.
  31. ^ Kagan, Jerome (1999). “Roger William Brown 1925-1997” (PDF)Biographical Memoirs77: 7.
  32. ^ “The ‘Language Instinct’ Debate”. University of Sussex.
  33. Jump up to:a b “Empiricism v. Nativism: Nature or Nurture?”. GRSampson.net. Retrieved 8 June2014.. More at The ‘Language Instinct’ Debate
  34. ^ Cowley, S. J. (2001). The baby, the bathwater and the “language instinct” debate. Language Sciences, 23(1), 69-91.
  35. ^ Aleksander, Igor (1996). Impossible Minds. pp. 228–234. ISBN 1-86094-030-7.
  36. Jump up to:a b Sailer, Steve (30 October 2002). “Q&A: Steven Pinker of ‘Blank Slate. United Press International. Retrieved 10 May 2014.
  37. ^ Pinker, Steven. “Words and Rules (book)”. Harvard University. Archived from the original on March 30, 2014. Retrieved 24 May 2014.
  38. Jump up to:a b Yang, Charles (24 August 2000). “Dig-dug, think-thunk (review of Words and Rules by Steven Pinker)”London Review of Books22 (6): 33.
  39. ^ Pinker, Steven. “The Stuff of Thought”. Harvard University. Archived from the originalon 9 May 2008. Retrieved 30 May 2014.
  40. ^ Levitin, D. J.; Tirovolas, A. K. (2009). “Current Advances in the Cognitive Neuroscience of Music”. Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences1156: 211–231. doi:10.1111/j.1749-6632.2009.04417.xPMID 19338510.
  41. ^ Perlovsky L. Music. Cognitive Function, Origin, And Evolution Of Musical Emotions. WebmedCentral PSYCHOLOGY 2011;2(2):WMC001494
  42. ^ Abbott, Alison (2002). “Neurobiology: Music, maestro, please!”. Nature416: 12–14. doi:10.1038/416012a.
  43. ^ Cross, I. (1999). Is music the most important thing we ever did? Music, development and evolution. [preprint (html)] [preprint (pdf)] In Suk Won Yi (Ed.), Music, mind and science (pp 10–39), Seoul: Seoul National University Press.
  44. ^ “Interview with Daniel Levitin”. Pbs.org. May 20, 2009. Retrieved 29 December 2012.
  45. ^ Carroll, Joseph (1998). “Steven Pinker’s Cheesecake For The Mind”. Cogweb.ucla.edu. Retrieved 29 December 2012.
  46. ^ Levitin, Daniel. 2006. This Is Your Brain On Music: The Science of a Human Obsession, New York: Dutton/Penguin.
  47. ^ Pinker, Steven (1997), How the Mind Works, New York: W. W. Norton & Company, p. 342
  48. ^ Pinker, Steven (2007), The Language Instinct (3rd ed.), New York: Harper Perennial, p. 186
  49. ^ Pinker, Steven (2007), The Language Instinct (3rd ed.), New York: Harper Perennial, pp. PS14
  50. ^ Pinker, Steven (2011). The Better Angels of Our Nature. Allen Lane. p66
  51. ^ Pinker, Steven. “The Decline of Violence”. IAI. Retrieved 3 January 2014.
  52. ^ Horgan, John (October 3, 2011). “Will War Ever End? Steven Pinker’s new book reveals an ever more peaceable species: humankind”Slate.
  53. ^ Boyd, Neil (January 4, 2012). “The Empirical Evidence for Declining Violence”HuffPost.
  54. ^ Brittan, Samuel (22 October 2011). “The Better Angels of Our Nature: The Decline of Violence in History and its Causes by Stephen Pinker”The Spectator.
  55. ^ Coffman, Scott (28 September 2012). “Book Review: ‘The Better Angels of Our NatureCourier Journal. Archived from the original on 19 January 2013.
  56. ^ Kohn, Marek (7 October 2011). “Book Review: ‘The Better Angels of Our Nature: The Decline of Violence in History and its Causes’, By Steven Pinker”The Independent. UK.
  57. ^ Epstein, R. (October 2011). “Book Review”Scientific American.
  58. ^ Boyd, Neil (January 4, 2012). “The Empirical Evidence for Declining Violence”HuffPost.
  59. ^ Gray, John (21 September 2011). “Delusions of peace”Prospect Magazine. UK.
  60. ^ “Correspondence”. Claremont Review of Books. 2012-05-02. Archived from the original on 20 December 2012. Retrieved 22 January 2013.
  61. ^ Herman, Edward S.; Peterson, David. “Steven Pinker on the alleged decline of violence”International Socialist Review.
  62. ^ Edward S. Herman and David Peterson (2012-09-13). “Reality Denial: Steven Pinker’s Apologetics for Western-Imperial Volence”. Retrieved 2014-12-30.
  63. ^ Kolbert, Elizabeth (3 October 2011). “Peace In Our Time: Steven Pinker’s History of Violence in Decline”The New Yorker.
  64. ^ Pinker, Steven (November 2011). “Frequently Asked Questions about The Better Angels of Our Nature: Why Violence Has Declined”.
  65. ^ Laws, Ben (21 March 2012). “Against Pinker’s Violence”Ctheory.
  66. ^ “The Big Kill – By John Arquilla”Foreign Policy. 2012-12-03. Retrieved 22 January2013.
  67. ^ Corry, Stephen. “The case of the ‘Brutal Savage’: Poirot or Clouseau?: Why Steven Pinker, like Jared Diamond, is wrong” (PDF). Survival International. Retrieved 30 May2014. (Summary at The myth of the ‘Brutal Savage’)
  68. Jump up to:a b “Steven Pinker: Using Grammar as a Tool, Not as a Weapon”Point of InquiryCenter for Inquiry. 10 November 2014. Retrieved 9 January 2017.
  69. Jump up to:a b West, Ed (17 August 2012). “A decade after Steven Pinker’s The Blank Slate, why is human nature still taboo?”The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 30 May 2014.
  70. ^ “PSYCHOANALYSIS Q-and-A: Steven Pinker” The Harvard Crimson Accessed 8 February 2006.
  71. ^ “The Science of Gender and Science: Pinker Vs. Spelke, A Debate”. Edge.org. 16 May 2005. Retrieved 10 May 2014.
  72. ^ Pinker, Steven (2009-11-15). “Malcolm Gladwell, Eclectic Detective”The New York Times.
  73. ^ “Let’s Go to the Tape”The New York Times. 2009-11-29.
  74. ^ Burke, Brian (2010-04-22). “Steven Pinker vs. Malcolm Gladwell and Drafting QBs”. Advanced NFL Stats. Retrieved 20 January 2012.
  75. ^ Steven Pinker’s “probabilistic” genes, David Shenk
  76. ^ Exchanges At The Frontier 2011“, BBC.
  77. ^ Human violence and morality http://online.liverpooluniversitypress.co.uk/doi/pdf/10.3828/hgr.2015.7
  78. ^ Pinker, Steven (2007). The Stuff of Thought. Penguin Books. p. 304.
  79. ^ Davies, William (2018-02-14). “Enlightenment Now by Steven Pinker review – life is getting better”The Guardian. Retrieved 2018-05-12.
  80. ^ “Steven Pinker Looks At The Bright Side”1A. Feb 14, 2018. Retrieved 2018-05-12.
  81. ^ “Paloma Saenz on Twitter”Twitter. Retrieved 2018-05-12.[non-primary source needed]
  82. ^ “David on Twitter”Twitter. Retrieved 2018-05-12.[non-primary source needed]
  83. ^ “Does the Enlightenment Need Defending?”IAI TV – Philosophy for our times: cutting edge debates and talks from the world’s leading thinkers. 2018-09-13. Retrieved 2018-12-04.
  84. ^ “Steven Pinker: How Our Minds Evolved” by Robert Wright Archived 2005-12-30 at the Wayback MachineTime Accessed 8 February 2006.
  85. ^ “The Prospect/FP Top 100 Public Intellectuals” Archived 2009-12-01 at the Wayback MachineForeign Policy (free registration required) Accessed 2006-082-08
  86. ^ “Intellectuals”Prospect. 2009. Archived from the original on September 30, 2009.
  87. ^ “The FP Top 100 Global Thinkers (2010)”Foreign Policy. Foreignpolicy.com. 2010. Archived from the original on 2010-12-03. 69. Steven Pinker
  88. ^ “The FP Top 100 Global Thinkers (2011)”Foreign Policy. Foreignpolicy.com. 2011. Archived from the original on 2012-01-30. 48. Steven Pinker: For Looking on Bright Side
  89. ^ National Academy of Sciences Members and Foreign Associates Elected, News from the National Academy of Sciences, National Academy of Sciences, May 3, 2016, retrieved 2016-05-14.
  90. ^ “Steven Pinker Receives Humanist of the Year Award”American Humanist Association. May 12, 2006. Archived from the original on June 15, 2006.
  91. ^ “The Luxuriant Flowing Hair Club for Scientists”Annals of Improbable Research. Retrieved 2018-01-14.

External links[edit]

Interviews[edit]

Filmed talks[edit]

Debates[edit]

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Steven_Pinker

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Philip K. Dick — Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? — Ridley Scott — Blade Runner — Videos

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Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?

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Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?
DoAndroidsDream.png

Cover of first hardback edition
Author Philip K. Dick
Country United States
Language English
Genre Science fictionphilosophical fiction
Publisher Doubleday
Publication date
1968
Media type Print (hardback & paperback)
Pages 210
61,237 words[1]
OCLC 34818133
Followed by Blade Runner 2: The Edge of Human

Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? (retitled Blade Runner: Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? in some later printings) is a science fiction novel by American writer Philip K. Dick, first published in 1968. The novel is set in a post-apocalyptic San Francisco, where Earth’s life has been greatly damaged by nuclear global war. Most animal species are endangered or extinct from extreme radiation poisoning, so that owning an animal is now a sign of status and empathy, an attitude encouraged towards animals. The book served as the primary basis for the 1982 film Blade Runner, and many elements and themes from it were used in its 2017 sequel Blade Runner 2049.

The main plot follows Rick Deckard, a bounty hunter who is tasked with “retiring” (i.e. killing) six escaped Nexus-6 model androids, while a secondary plot follows John Isidore, a man of sub-par IQ who aids the fugitive androids. In connection with Deckard’s mission, the novel explores the issue of what it is to be human and whether empathy is a purely human ability.

Synopsis

Background

In post-apocalyptic 1992 (2021 in later editions),[2] after “World War Terminus”, the Earth’s radioactively polluted atmosphere leads the United Nations to encourage mass emigrations to off-world colonies to preserve humanity’s genetic integrity. This comes with the incentive of free personal androids: robot servants identical to humans. On Earth, owning real live animals has become a fashionable status symbol, because of mass extinctions and the accompanying cultural push for greater empathy, which has coincidentally motivated a new technology-based religion called Mercerism. Mercerism uses “empathy boxes” to link users simultaneously to a virtual reality of collective suffering, centered on a martyr-like character, Wilbur Mercer, who eternally climbs up a hill while being hit with crashing stones. In terms of the owning of live animals, poor people can only afford realistic-looking electric imitations of animals. Rick Deckard, for example, owns a robotic black-faced sheep. The story also contains passing mention of “Penfield mood organs”, similar to mind-altering drugs in other Dick stories, and used as a technology for inducing any desired mood among people in its vicinity.

Plot summary

Bounty hunter Rick Deckard signs on to a new police mission in order to earn enough money to buy a live animal to replace his lone electric sheep, seeking greater existential fulfillment for himself and his depressed wife, Iran. The mission involves hunting down (“retiring”) six Nexus-6 androids that violently went rogue after their creation by the Rosen Association and fled Mars for Earth. Deckard visits the Rosen headquarters in Seattle to confirm the validity of a question-and-answer empathy test: the typical method for identifying any androids posing as humans. Deckard is greeted by Rachael Rosen, who quickly fails his test. Rachael herself attempts to bribe Deckard into silence, but he verifies that she is indeed a Nexus-6 model used by Rosen to attempt to discredit the test.

Deckard soon meets a Soviet police contact who turns out to be one of the Nexus-6 renegades in disguise. Deckard retires the android, then flies off to retire his next target: an opera singer android. However, he is suddenly arrested and detained at a police department he has never heard of by a police officer whom he is surprised never to have met. At this strange station, Deckard’s worldview is shaken when an official named Garland accuses Deckard himself of being an android. After a series of mysterious revelations at the station, Deckard ponders the ethical and philosophical questions his line of work raises regarding android intelligence, empathy, and what it means to be human. Phil Resch, the station’s resident bounty hunter, retrieves testing equipment to determine if his coworkers—including Deckard and Resch himself—are androids or humans. Garland subsequently reveals that the entire station is a sham, staffed entirely by androids, including Garland himself. Resch shoots Garland in the head, allowing him and Deckard to escape; together, they find the opera singer, whom Resch brutally retires in cold blood. Although Resch and Deckard are now collaborators, each still worries that he (or the other) might be an android. Deckard administers the empathy test to himself and to Resch, which confirms that Resch is a human being—simply a particularly ruthless one—and that Deckard is also human, but with a sense of empathy for the androids.

Only three of the Nexus-6 android fugitives remain, and one, Pris Stratton, moves into an apartment building whose only other inhabitant is John R. Isidore, a radioactively damaged, intellectually below-average human classified as a “special.” The lonely Isidore attempts to befriend her. Roy and Irmgard Baty, the final two rogue androids, visit the building, and together they all plan how to survive. Meanwhile, Deckard buys Iran an authentic Nubian goat with his reward money. After quitting, Deckard is pulled back in after being notified of a new lead and experiencing a vision of the prophet-like Mercer confusingly telling him to proceed, despite the immorality of the mission. Deckard calls on Rachael Rosen again, since her own knowledge as an android will aid his investigation. Rachael reveals that she and Pris are the same exact model, meaning that he will have to shoot down an android that looks just like her. Rachael coaxes Deckard into sex, after which they confess their love for one another. However, she reveals she has slept with many bounty hunters, having been programmed to do so in order to dissuade them from their missions. He threatens to kill her, but instead he abruptly leaves.

Isidore develops friendships with the three android fugitives, and they all watch a television program giving definitive evidence that Mercerism is a hoax. Roy Baty tells Isidore that the show was produced by androids to discredit Mercerism and blur the distinction with humans. Suddenly Deckard enters the building, with strange, supernatural premonitions of Mercer appearing to both him and Isidore. Since they attack him first, Deckard is legally justified as he shoots down all three androids without previously testing them. Isidore is devastated, and Deckard is soon rewarded for a record number of Nexus-6 kills in a single day. When Deckard returns home, he finds Iran grieving because Rachael Rosen recently showed up and killed their goat.

Deckard goes to an uninhabited, obliterated region of Oregon to reflect. He climbs a hill when he is hit by falling rocks and realizes this is an experience eerily similar to Mercer’s martyrdom. Rushing back to his car, he stumbles abruptly upon a toad, an animal previously thought to be extinct, and one of the animals sacred to Mercer. With newfound joy, Deckard brings the toad home, where Iran quickly discovers it is just a robot. While Deckard is unhappy, he decides that he at least prefers to know the truth, making the remark that “the electrical things have their lives too, paltry as those lives are”.

Adaptations

Film

In 1982, Hampton Fancher and David Peoples wrote a loose cinematic adaptation that became the film Blade Runner, featuring several of the novel’s characters. It was directed by Ridley Scott. Following the international success of the film,[3] the title Blade Runner was adopted for some later editions of the novel, although the term itself was not used in the original.

Radio

As part of their Dangerous Visions dystopia series in 2014, BBC Radio 4 broadcast a two-part adaptation of the novel. It was produced and directed by Sasha Yevtushenko from an adaption by Jonathan Holloway. It stars James Purefoy as Rick Deckard and Jessica Raine as Rachael Rosen.[4] The episodes were originally broadcast on Sunday 15 June and 22 June 2014.

Audiobook

The novel has been released in audiobook form at least twice. A version was released in 1994 that featured Matthew Modine and Calista Flockhart.

A new audiobook version was released in 2007 by Random House Audio to coincide with the release of Blade Runner: The Final Cut. This version, read by Scott Brick, is unabridged and runs approximately 9.5 hours over eight CDs. This version is a tie-in, using the Blade Runner: The Final Cut film poster and Blade Runner title.[5]

Theater

A stage adaptation of the book, written by Edward Einhorn, ran from November 18 to December 10, 2010 at the 3LD Art & Technology Center in New York[6] and made its West Coast Premiere on September 13, playing until October 10, 2013 at the Sacred Fools Theater Company in Los Angeles.[7]

Comic books

BOOM! Studios published a 24-issue comic book limited series based on Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? containing the full text of the novel illustrated by artist Tony Parker.[8] The comic garnered a nomination for “Best New Series” from the 2010 Eisner Awards.[9]In May 2010 BOOM! Studios began serializing an eight issue prequel subtitled Dust To Dust and written by Chris Roberson and drawn by Robert Adler.[10] The story took place in the days immediately after World War Terminus.[11]

Sequels

Three novels intended to serve as sequels to both Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? and Blade Runner have been published:

These official and authorized sequels were written by Dick’s friend K. W. Jeter.[12] They continue the story of Rick Deckard and attempt to reconcile many of the differences between the novel and the 1982 film.

Critical reception

Critical reception of Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? has been overshadowed by the popularity of its 1982 film adaptation, Blade Runner. Of those critics who focus on the novel, several nest it predominantly in the history of Philip K. Dick‘s body of work. In particular, Dick’s 1972 speech “The Human and the Android” is cited in this connection. Jill Galvan[13] calls attention to the correspondence between Dick’s portrayal of the narrative’s dystopian, polluted, man-made setting and the description Dick gives in his speech of the increasingly artificial and potentially sentient or “quasi-alive” environment of his present. Summarizing the essential point of Dick’s speech, Galvan argues,”[o]nly by recognizing how [technology] has encroached upon our understanding of ‘life’ can we come to full terms with the technologies we have produced” (414). As a “bildungsroman of the cybernetic age,” Galvan maintains, Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? follows one person’s gradual acceptance of the new reality. Christopher Palmer[14] emphasizes Dick’s speech to bring to attention the increasingly dangerous risk of humans becoming “mechanical”.[15] “Androids threaten reduction of what makes life valuable, yet promise expansion or redefinition of it, and so do aliens and gods”.[15] Gregg Rickman[16] cites another, earlier and lesser known Dick novel that also deals with androids, We Can Build You, asserting that Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? can be read as a sequel.

In a departure from the tendency among most critics to examine the novel in relation to Dick’s other texts, Klaus Benesch[17] examined Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? primarily in connection with Lacan’s essay on the mirror stage. There, Lacan claims that the formation and reassurance of the self depends on the construction of an Other through imagery, beginning with a double as seen in the mirror. The androids, Benesch argues, perform a doubling function similar to the mirror image of the self, but they do this on a social, not individual, scale. Therefore, human anxiety about androids expresses uncertainty about human identity and society. Benesch draws on Kathleen Woodward’s[18] emphasis on the body to illustrate the shape of human anxiety about an android Other. Woodward asserts that the debate over distinctions between human and machine usually fails to acknowledge the presence of the body. “If machines are invariably contrived as technological prostheses that are designed to amplify the physical faculties of the body, they are also built, according to this logic, to outdo, to surpass the human in the sphere of physicality altogether”.[19]

Awards and honors

See also

References

  1. Jump up^ “Text Stats”Amazon.com. Retrieved 28 November 2016.
  2. Jump up^ Note: This change counteracts a problem common to near-future stories, where the passage of time overtakes the period in which the story is set; for a list of other works that have fallen prey to this phenomenon, see the List of stories set in a future now past.
  3. Jump up^ Sammon, Paul M (1996). Future Noir: the Making of Blade Runner. London: Orion Media. pp. 318–329. ISBN 0-06-105314-7.
  4. Jump up^ “BBC Radio 4 – Dangerous Visions, Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?, Episode 2”bbc.co.ukBBC Radio 4. 28 Jun 2014. Retrieved 11 May 2015.
  5. Jump up^ Blade Runner (Movie-Tie-In Edition) by Philip K. Dick – Unabridged Compact Disc Random House, November 27, 2007, ISBN 978-0-7393-4275-6 (0-7393-4275-4).
  6. Jump up^ “Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?”. Untitled Theater Company #61. Retrieved 1 January 2014.
  7. Jump up^ “Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?”Sacred Fools Theater Company. Retrieved 1 January 2014.
  8. Jump up^ Philip K. Dick Press Release – BOOM! ANNOUNCES DO ANDROIDS DREAM OF ELECTRIC SHEEP? ArchivedSeptember 20, 2012, at the Wayback Machine.
  9. Jump up^ Heller, Jason (April 9, 2010). “Eisner Award nominees announced”. The A.V. Club. Retrieved July 24, 2013.
  10. Jump up^ Langshaw, Mark. “BOOM! expands on ‘Blade Runner’ universe”. Digital Spy.
  11. Jump up^ “BOOM! Studios publishes ‘Electric Sheep’ prequel”. Tyrell-corporation.pp.se. Retrieved July 24, 2013.
  12. Jump up^ Jeter, K. W. “Summary Bibliography: K. W. Jeter”.
  13. Jump up^ Galvan, Jill (1997). “Entering the Postman Collective: Philip K. Dick’s Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?”. Science Fiction Studies24 (3): 413–429.
  14. Jump up^ Palmer, Christopher (2003). Philip K. Dick: Exhilaration and Terror of the Postmodern. Liverpool: University of Liverpool Press. p. 259.
  15. Jump up to:a b Palmer, Christopher (2003). Philip K. Dick: Exhilaration and Terror of the Postmodern. Liverpool: University of Liverpool Press. p. 225.
  16. Jump up^ Rickman, Gregg (1995). “What Is This Sickness?”: “Schizophrenia” and We Can Build You. Westport, Connecticut: Greenwood Press. pp. 143–157.
  17. Jump up^ Benesch, Klaus (1999). “Technology, Art, and the Cybernetic Body: The Cyborg as Cultural Other in Fritz Lang’s “Metropolis” and Philip K. Dick’s “Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?“. Amerikastudien/American Studies44 (3 Body/Art): 379–392.
  18. Jump up^ Woodward, Kathleen (1997). “Prosthetic Emotions”. In Hoffman, Gerhard. Emotions in the Postmodern. Heidelberg: Alfred Hornung. pp. 75–107.
  19. Jump up^ Woodward, Kathleen (1997). “Prosthetic Emotions”. In Hoffman, Gerhard. Emotions in the Postmodern. Heidelberg: Alfred Hornung. p. 391.
  20. Jump up^ “1968 Award Winners & Nominees”Worlds Without End. Retrieved 2009-09-27.

Further reading

Criticism
  • Benesch, Klaus (1999). “Technology, Art, and the Cybernetic Body: The Cyborg As Cultural Other in Fritz Lang’s Metropolis and Philip K. Dick’s Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep“. Amerikastudien/American Studies44 (3): 379–392. JSTOR 41157479.
  • Butler, Andrew M. (1991). “Reality versus Transience: An Examination of Philip K. Dick’s Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? and Ridley Scott’s Blade Runner“. In Merrifield, Jeff. Philip K. Dick: A Celebration (Programme Book). Epping Forest College, Loughton: Connections.
  • Gallo, Domenico (2002). “Avvampando gli angeli caddero: Blade Runner, Philip K. Dick e il cyberpunk”. In Bertetti; Scolari. Lo sguardo degli angeli: Intorno e oltre Blade Runner (in Italian). Torino: Testo & Immagine. pp. 206–218. ISBN 88-8382-075-4.
  • Galvan, Jill (1997). “Entering the Posthuman Collective in Philip K. Dick’s Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?“. Science-Fiction Studies24 (3): 413–429. JSTOR 4240644.
  • McCarthy, Patrick A. (1999–2000). “Do Androids Dream of Magic Flutes?”. Paradoxa5 (13–14): 344–352.
  • Niv, Tal (2014). “The Return of a Terrifying and Wonderful Creation On Our Future and Our Present”Haaretz. (Hebrew) Critical analysis of the 2014 edition of Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?

External links

 

Philip K. Dick

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Philip K. Dick
PhilipDick.jpg
Born Philip Kindred Dick
December 16, 1928
ChicagoIllinois, United States
Died March 2, 1982 (aged 53)
Santa Ana, California, United States
Pen name
  • Richard Phillipps
  • Jack Dowland
Occupation Novelist, short story writer, essayist
Nationality US
Period 1952–1982
Genre Science fictionparanoid fictionphilosophical fiction
Literary movement Postmodernism
Notable works
Children 3

Signature

Philip Kindred Dick (December 16, 1928 – March 2, 1982) was an American writer known for his work in science fiction. His work explored philosophical, social, and political themes, with stories dominated by monopolisticcorporations, alternative universesauthoritarian governments, and altered states of consciousness. His writing also reflected his interest in metaphysics and theology, and often drew upon his life experiences in addressing the nature of realityidentitydrug abuseschizophrenia, and transcendental experiences.

Born in Illinois, he eventually moved to California and began publishing science fiction stories in the 1950s. His stories initially found little commercial success.[1] His 1962 alternative history novel The Man in the High Castleearned Dick early acclaim, including a Hugo Award for Best Novel.[2] He followed with science fiction novels such as Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? (1968) and Ubik (1969). His 1974 novel Flow My Tears, the Policeman Said won the John W. Campbell Memorial Award for best novel.[3] Following a series of religious experiences in February 1974, Dick’s work engaged more explicitly with issues of theology, philosophy, and the nature of reality, as in such novels as A Scanner Darkly (1977) and VALIS (1981).[4] A collection of his non-fiction writing on these themes was published posthumously as The Exegesis of Philip K. Dick (2011). He died in 1982, at age 53, due to complications from a stroke.

Dick’s writing produced 44 published novels and approximately 121 short stories, most of which appeared in science fiction magazines during his lifetime.[5]

A variety of popular films based on Dick’s works have been produced, including Blade Runner (1982), Total Recall (adapted twice: in 1990 and in 2012), Minority Report (2002), A Scanner Darkly (2006), The Adjustment Bureau (2011), and Blade Runner 2049 (2017).

In 2005, Time named Ubik one of the hundred greatest English-language novels published since 1923.[6] In 2007, Dick became the first science fiction writer to be included in The Library of America series.[7][8][9][10]

Early life

Philip Kindred Dick and his twin sister, Jane Charlotte Dick, were born six weeks prematurely on December 16, 1928, in Chicago, Illinois, to Dorothy (née Kindred; 1900–1978) and Joseph Edgar Dick (1899–1985), who worked for the United States Department of Agriculture.[11][12] His paternal grandparents were Irish.[13] The death of Jane six weeks later, on January 26, 1929, profoundly affected Philip’s life, leading to the recurrent motif of the “phantom twin” in his books.[11]

His family later moved to the San Francisco Bay Area. When Philip was five, his father was transferred to Reno, Nevada; when Dorothy refused to move, she and Joseph divorced. Both parents fought for custody of Philip, which was awarded to the mother. Dorothy, determined to raise Philip alone, took a job in Washington, D.C., and moved there with her son. Philip was enrolled at John Eaton Elementary School (1936–1938), completing the second through fourth grades. His lowest grade was a “C” in Written Composition, although a teacher remarked that he “shows interest and ability in story telling”. He was educated in Quaker schools.[14] In June 1938, Dorothy and Philip returned to California, and it was around this time that he became interested in science fiction.[15] Dick stated that he read his first science fiction magazine, Stirring Science Stories in 1940 at the age of 12.[15]

Dick attended Berkeley High School in Berkeley, California. He and fellow science fiction author Ursula K. Le Guin were members of the same graduating class (1947) but did not know each other at the time. After graduation, he briefly attended the University of California, Berkeley, (September 1949 to November 11, 1949) with an honorable dismissal granted January 1, 1950. Dick did not declare a major and took classes in history, psychology, philosophy, and zoology. Through his studies in philosophy, he believed that existence is based on internal human perception, which does not necessarily correspond to external reality; he described himself as “an acosmic panentheist,” believing in the universe only as an extension of God.[16] After reading the works of Plato and pondering the possibilities of metaphysical realms, Dick came to the conclusion that, in a certain sense, the world is not entirely real and there is no way to confirm whether it is truly there. This question from his early studies persisted as a theme in many of his novels. Dick dropped out because of ongoing anxiety problems, according to his third wife Anne’s memoir. She also says he disliked the mandatory ROTC training. At Berkeley, Dick befriended poet Robert Duncan and poet and linguist Jack Spicer, who gave Dick ideas for a Martian language. Dick claimed to have hosted a classical music program on KSMO Radio in 1947.[17] From 1948 to 1952, Dick worked at Art Music Company, a record store on Telegraph Avenue.

Career

Early writing

Dick’s novelette “The Defenders” was the cover story for the January 1953 issue of Galaxy Science Fiction, illustrated by Ed Emshwiller

Dick’s short story “The World She Wanted” took the cover of the May 1953 issue of Science Fiction Quarterly

Dick’s novel The Cosmic Puppetsoriginally appeared in the December 1956 issue of Satellite Science Fictionas “A Glass of Darkness”

Dick sold his first story in 1951, and from then on wrote full-time. During 1952 his first speculative fiction publications appeared in July and September numbers of Planet Stories, edited by Jack O’Sullivan, and in If and The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction that year.[18] His debut novel was Solar Lottery, published in 1955 as half of Ace Double #D-103 alongside The Big Jump by Leigh Brackett.[18] The 1950s were a difficult and impoverished time for Dick, who once lamented, “We couldn’t even pay the late fees on a library book.” He published almost exclusively within the science fiction genre, but dreamed of a career in mainstream fiction.[19] During the 1950s he produced a series of non-genre, relatively conventional novels. In 1960 he wrote that he was willing to “take twenty to thirty years to succeed as a literary writer”. The dream of mainstream success formally died in January 1963 when the Scott Meredith Literary Agency returned all of his unsold mainstream novels. Only one of these works, Confessions of a Crap Artist, was published during Dick’s lifetime.

In 1963, Dick won the Hugo Award for The Man in the High Castle.[2] Although he was hailed as a genius in the science fiction world, the mainstream literary world was unappreciative, and he could publish books only through low-paying science fiction publishers such as Ace. Even in his later years, he continued to have financial troubles. In the introduction to the 1980 short story collection The Golden Man, Dick wrote:

Several years ago, when I was ill, Heinlein offered his help, anything he could do, and we had never met; he would phone me to cheer me up and see how I was doing. He wanted to buy me an electric typewriter, God bless him—one of the few true gentlemen in this world. I don’t agree with any ideas he puts forth in his writing, but that is neither here nor there. One time when I owed the IRS a lot of money and couldn’t raise it, Heinlein loaned the money to me. I think a great deal of him and his wife; I dedicated a book to them in appreciation. Robert Heinlein is a fine-looking man, very impressive and very military in stance; you can tell he has a military background, even to the haircut. He knows I’m a flipped-out freak and still he helped me and my wife when we were in trouble. That is the best in humanity, there; that is who and what I love.

Flight to Canada and suicide attempt

In 1971, Dick’s marriage to Nancy Hackett broke down, and she moved out of their house in Santa Venetia, California. Having struggled with amphetamine abuse for much of the past decade (stemming in part from his need to maintain a prolific writing regimen due to the financial exigencies of the science fiction field), he allowed other drug users to move into the house. Following the release of 21 novels between 1960 and 1970, these developments were exacerbated by unprecedented periods of writer’s block, with Dick ultimately failing to publish new fiction until 1974.[20]

One day in November, Dick returned to his home to discover that it had been burglarized, with his safe blown open and personal papers missing. The police were unable to determine the culprit, and even suspected Dick of having done it himself.[21] Shortly afterwards, he was invited to be guest of honor at the Vancouver Science Fiction Convention in February 1972. Within a day of arriving at the conference and giving his speech The Android and the Human, he informed people that he had fallen in love with a woman named Janis whom he had met there and announced that he would be remaining in Vancouver.[21] An attendee of the conference, Michael Walsh, movie critic for local newspaper The Province, invited Dick to stay in his home, but asked him to leave two weeks later due to his erratic behavior. This was followed by Janis ending her and Dick’s relationship and moving away. On March 23, 1972, Dick attempted suicide by taking an overdose of the sedative potassium bromide.[21] Subsequently, after deciding to seek help, Dick became a participant in X-Kalay (a Canadian Synanon-type recovery program), and was well enough by April to return to California.[21]

Upon relocating to Orange County, California at the behest of California State University, Fullerton professor Willis McNelly (who initiated a correspondence with Dick during his X-Kalay stint), he donated manuscripts, papers and other materials to the University’s Special Collections Library, where they are archived in the Philip K. Dick Science Fiction Collection in the Pollak Library. During this period, Dick befriended a circle of Fullerton State students that encompassed several aspiring science fiction writers, including K. W. JeterJames Blaylock and Tim Powers.

Dick returned to the events of these months while writing his 1977 novel A Scanner Darkly,[22] which contains fictionalized depictions of the burglary of his home, his time using amphetamines and living with addicts, and his experiences of X-Kalay (portrayed in the novel as “New-Path”). A factual account of Dick’s recovery program participation was portrayed in his posthumously released book The Dark Haired Girl, a collection of letters and journals from the period.

Paranormal experiences

On February 20, 1974, while recovering from the effects of sodium pentothal administered for the extraction of an impacted wisdom tooth, Dick received a home delivery of Darvon from a young woman. When he opened the door, he was struck by the beauty of the dark-haired girl and was especially drawn to her golden necklace. He asked her about its curious fish-shaped design. “This is a sign used by the early Christians,” she said, and then left. Dick called the symbol the “vesicle pisces”. This name seems to have been based on his conflation of two related symbols, the Christian ichthys symbol (two intersecting arcs delineating a fish in profile) which the woman was wearing, and the vesica piscis.[23]

Dick recounted that as the sun glinted off the gold pendant, the reflection caused the generation of a “pink beam” of light that mesmerized him. He came to believe the beam imparted wisdom and clairvoyance, and also believed it to be intelligent. On one occasion, Dick was startled by a separate recurrence of the pink beam. It imparted the information to him that his infant son was ill. The Dicks rushed the child to the hospital, where his suspicion was confirmed by professional diagnosis.[24][verification needed]

After the woman’s departure, Dick began experiencing strange hallucinations. Although initially attributing them to side effects from medication, he considered this explanation implausible after weeks of continued hallucinations. “I experienced an invasion of my mind by a transcendentally rational mind, as if I had been insane all my life and suddenly I had become sane,” Dick told Charles Platt.[25]

Throughout February and March 1974, Dick experienced a series of hallucinations, which he referred to as “2-3-74”,[19] shorthand for February–March 1974. Aside from the “pink beam”, Dick described the initial hallucinations as geometric patterns, and, occasionally, brief pictures of Jesus and ancient Rome. As the hallucinations increased in length and frequency, Dick claimed he began to live two parallel lives, one as himself, “Philip K. Dick”, and one as “Thomas”, a Christian persecuted by Romans in the first century AD. He referred to the “transcendentally rational mind” as “Zebra”, “God” and “VALIS“. Dick wrote about the experiences, first in the semi-autobiographical novel Radio Free Albemuth and then in VALISThe Divine Invasion and the unfinished The Owl in Daylight (the VALIS trilogy).

In 1974, Dick wrote a letter to the FBI, accusing various people, including University of California, San Diego professor Frederic Jameson, of being foreign agents of Warsaw Pact powers.[26] He also wrote that Stanisław Lem was probably a false name used by a composite committee operating on orders of the Communist party to gain control over public opinion.[27]

At one point Dick felt that he had been taken over by the spirit of the prophet Elijah. He believed that an episode in his novel Flow My Tears, the Policeman Said was a detailed retelling of a biblical story from the Book of Acts, which he had never read.[28] Dick documented and discussed his experiences and faith in a private journal he called his “exegesis”, portions of which were later published as The Exegesis of Philip K. Dick. The last novel Dick wrote was The Transmigration of Timothy Archer; it was published shortly after his death in 1982.

Personal life

Dick was married five times:

  • Jeanette Marlin (May to November 1948)
  • Kleo Apostolides (June 14, 1950 to 1959)
  • Anne Williams Rubinstein (April 1, 1959 to October 1965)
  • Nancy Hackett (July 6, 1966 to 1972)
  • Leslie (Tessa) Busby (April 18, 1973 to 1977)

Dick had three children, Laura Archer (February 25, 1960), Isolde Freya (now Isa Dick Hackett) (March 15, 1967), and Christopher Kenneth (July 25, 1973).

In 1955, he and his second wife, Kleo Apostolides, received a visit from the FBI, which they believed to be the result of Kleo’s socialist views and left-wing activities. The couple briefly befriended one of the FBI agents.[29]

He was physically abusive with his third wife; after one argument in 1963, he attempted to push her off a cliff in a car, then later claimed she was trying to kill him, and convinced a psychiatrist to commit her involuntarily. After filing for divorce in 1964, he moved to Oakland to live with a fan, Grania Davis. Shortly after, he attempted suicide by driving off the road while she was a passenger.[30]

Dick tried to stay out of the political scene because of high societal turmoil from the Vietnam War; however, he did show some anti-Vietnam War and anti-governmental sentiments. In 1968, he joined the “Writers and Editors War Tax Protest“,[16][31] an anti-war pledge to pay no U.S. federal income tax, which resulted in the confiscation of his car by the IRS.

Death

On February 17, 1982, after completing an interview, Dick contacted his therapist, complaining of failing eyesight, and was advised to go to a hospital immediately, but did not. The following day, he was found unconscious on the floor of his Santa Ana, California home, having suffered a stroke. On February 25, 1982, Dick suffered another stroke in the hospital, which led to brain death. Five days later, on March 2, 1982, he was disconnected from life support and died. After his death, Dick’s father, Joseph, took his son’s ashes to Riverside Cemetery in Fort Morgan, Colorado, (section K, block 1, lot 56), where they were buried next to his twin sister Jane, who died in infancy. Her tombstone had been inscribed with both of their names at the time of her death, 53 years earlier.[32][33][34]

Style and works

Themes

Dick’s third major theme is his fascination with war and his fear and hatred of it. One hardly sees critical mention of it, yet it is as integral to his body of work as oxygen is to water.[35]

—Steven Owen Godersky

Dick’s stories typically focus on the fragile nature of what is real and the construction of personal identity. His stories often become surreal fantasies, as the main characters slowly discover that their everyday world is actually an illusion assembled by powerful external entities, such as the suspended animation in Ubik,[36] vast political conspiracies or the vicissitudes of an unreliable narrator. “All of his work starts with the basic assumption that there cannot be one, single, objective reality”, writes science fiction author Charles Platt. “Everything is a matter of perception. The ground is liable to shift under your feet. A protagonist may find himself living out another person’s dream, or he may enter a drug-induced state that actually makes better sense than the real world, or he may cross into a different universe completely.”[25]

Alternate universes and simulacra are common plot devices, with fictional worlds inhabited by common, working people, rather than galactic elites. “There are no heroes in Dick’s books”, Ursula K. Le Guin wrote, “but there are heroics. One is reminded of Dickens: what counts is the honesty, constancy, kindness and patience of ordinary people.”[36] Dick made no secret that much of his thinking and work was heavily influenced by the writings of Carl Jung.[32][37] The Jungian constructs and models that most concerned Dick seem to be the archetypes of the collective unconscious, group projection/hallucination, synchronicities, and personality theory.[32] Many of Dick’s protagonists overtly analyze reality and their perceptions in Jungian terms (see Lies Inc.). Dick’s self-named Exegesis also contained many notes on Jung in relation to theology and mysticism.[citation needed]

Dick identified one major theme of his work as the question, “What constitutes the authentic human being?”[38] In works such as Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?, beings can appear totally human in every respect while lacking soul or compassion, while completely alien beings such as Glimmung in Galactic Pot-Healer may be more humane and complex than their human peers.

Mental illness was a constant interest of Dick’s, and themes of mental illness permeate his work. The character Jack Bohlen in the 1964 novel Martian Time-Slip is an “ex-schizophrenic”. The novel Clans of the Alphane Moon centers on an entire society made up of descendants of lunatic asylum inmates. In 1965 he wrote the essay titled “Schizophrenia and the Book of Changes”.[39]

Drug use (including religiousrecreational, and abuse) was also a theme in many of Dick’s works, such as A Scanner Darkly and The Three Stigmata of Palmer Eldritch. Dick himself was a drug user for much of his life. According to a 1975 interview in Rolling Stone,[40]Dick wrote all of his books published before 1970 while on amphetamines. “A Scanner Darkly (1977) was the first complete novel I had written without speed”, said Dick in the interview. He also experimented briefly with psychedelics, but wrote The Three Stigmata of Palmer Eldritch, which Rolling Stone dubs “the classic LSD novel of all time”, before he had ever tried them. Despite his heavy amphetamine use, however, Dick later said that doctors told him the amphetamines never actually affected him, that his liver had processed them before they reached his brain.[40]

Summing up all these themes in Understanding Philip K. Dick, Eric Carl Link discussed eight themes or ‘ideas and motifs’:[41] Epistemology and the Nature of Reality, Know Thyself, The Android and the Human, Entropy and Pot Healing, The Theodicy Problem, Warfare and Power Politics, The Evolved Human, and ‘Technology, Media, Drugs and Madness’.[42]

Pen names

Dick had two professional stories published under the pen names Richard Phillipps and Jack Dowland. “Some Kinds of Life” was published in October 1953 in Fantastic Universe under byline Richard Phillipps, apparently because the magazine had a policy against publishing multiple stories by the same author in the same issue; “Planet for Transients” was published in the same issue under his own name.[43]

The short story “Orpheus with Clay Feet” was published under the pen name Jack Dowland. The protagonist desires to be the muse for fictional author Jack Dowland, considered the greatest science fiction author of the 20th century. In the story, Dowland publishes a short story titled “Orpheus with Clay Feet” under the pen name Philip K. Dick.

The surname Dowland refers to Renaissance composer John Dowland, who is featured in several works. The title Flow My Tears, the Policeman Said directly refers to Dowland’s best-known composition, “Flow My Tears”. In the novel The Divine Invasion, the character Linda Fox, created specifically with Linda Ronstadt in mind, is an intergalactically famous singer whose entire body of work consists of recordings of John Dowland compositions.

Selected works

The Man in the High Castle (1962) is set in an alternate history in which the United States is ruled by the victorious Axis powers. It is the only Dick novel to win a Hugo Award. Most recently this has been adapted into a television series provided by Amazon and available through Amazon Prime video.

The Three Stigmata of Palmer Eldritch (1965) utilizes an array of science fiction concepts and features several layers of reality and unreality. It is also one of Dick’s first works to explore religious themes. The novel takes place in the 21st century, when, under UN authority, mankind has colonized the Solar System‘s every habitable planet and moon. Life is physically daunting and psychologically monotonous for most colonists, so the UN must draft people to go to the colonies. Most entertain themselves using “Perky Pat” dolls and accessories manufactured by Earth-based “P.P. Layouts”. The company also secretly creates “Can-D”, an illegal but widely available hallucinogenic drug allowing the user to “translate” into Perky Pat (if the drug user is a woman) or Pat’s boyfriend, Walt (if the drug user is a man). This recreational use of Can-D allows colonists to experience a few minutes of an idealized life on Earth by participating in a collective hallucination.

Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? (1968) is the story of a bounty hunter policing the local android population. It occurs on a dying, poisoned Earth de-populated of almost all animals and all “successful” humans; the only remaining inhabitants of the planet are people with no prospects off-world. The 1968 novel is the literary source of the film Blade Runner (1982).[44] It is both a conflation and an intensification of the pivotally Dickian question: What is real, what is fake? What crucial factor defines humanity as distinctly “alive”, versus those merely alive only in their outward appearance?

Ubik (1969) employs extensive psychic telepathy and a suspended state after death in creating a state of eroding reality. A group of psychics is sent to investigate a rival organisation, but several of them are apparently killed by a saboteur’s bomb. Much of the following novel flicks between different equally plausible realities; the “real” reality, a state of half-life and psychically manipulated realities. In 2005, Time magazine listed it among the “All-TIME 100 Greatest Novels” published since 1923.[6]

Flow My Tears, the Policeman Said (1974) concerns Jason Taverner, a television star living in a dystopian near-future police state. After being attacked by an angry ex-girlfriend, Taverner awakens in a dingy Los Angeles hotel room. He still has his money in his wallet, but his identification cards are missing. This is no minor inconvenience, as security checkpoints (manned by “pols” and “nats”, the police and National Guard) are set up throughout the city to stop and arrest anyone without valid ID. Jason at first thinks that he was robbed, but soon discovers that his entire identity has been erased. There is no record of him in any official database, and even his closest associates do not recognize or remember him. For the first time in many years, Jason has no fame or reputation to rely on. He has only his innate charm and social graces to help him as he tries to find out what happened to his past while avoiding the attention of the pols. The novel was Dick’s first published novel after years of silence, during which time his critical reputation had grown, and this novel was awarded the John W. Campbell Memorial Award for Best Science Fiction Novel.[3] It is the only Philip K. Dick novel nominated for both a Hugo and a Nebula Award.

In an essay written two years before his death, Dick described how he learned from his Episcopal priest that an important scene in Flow My Tears, the Policeman Said – involving its other main character, the eponymous Police General Felix Buckman, was very similar to a scene in Acts of the Apostles,[28] a book of the New Testament. Film director Richard Linklater discusses this novel in his film Waking Life, which begins with a scene reminiscent of another Dick novel, Time Out of Joint.

A Scanner Darkly (1977) is a bleak mixture of science fiction and police procedural novels; in its story, an undercover narcotics police detective begins to lose touch with reality after falling victim to the same permanently mind-altering drug, Substance D, he was enlisted to help fight. Substance D is instantly addictive, beginning with a pleasant euphoria which is quickly replaced with increasing confusion, hallucinations and eventually total psychosis. In this novel, as with all Dick novels, there is an underlying thread of paranoia and dissociation with multiple realities perceived simultaneously. It was adapted to film by Richard Linklater.

The Philip K. Dick Reader[45] is an introduction to the variety of Dick’s short fiction.

VALIS (1980) is perhaps Dick’s most postmodern and autobiographical novel, examining his own unexplained experiences. It may also be his most academically studied work, and was adapted as an opera by Tod Machover.[46] Later works like the VALIS trilogy were heavily autobiographical, many with “two-three-seventy-four” (2-3-74) references and influences. The word VALIS is the acronym for Vast Active Living Intelligence System. Later, Dick theorized that VALIS was both a “reality generator” and a means of extraterrestrial communication. A fourth VALIS manuscript, Radio Free Albemuth, although composed in 1976, was posthumously published in 1985. This work is described by the publisher (Arbor House) as “an introduction and key to his magnificent VALIS trilogy”.

Regardless of the feeling that he was somehow experiencing a divine communication, Dick was never fully able to rationalize the events. For the rest of his life, he struggled to comprehend what was occurring, questioning his own sanity and perception of reality. He transcribed what thoughts he could into an eight-thousand-page, one-million-word journal dubbed the Exegesis. From 1974 until his death in 1982, Dick spent many nights writing in this journal. A recurring theme in Exegesis is Dick’s hypothesis that history had been stopped in the first century AD, and that “the Empire never ended”. He saw Rome as the pinnacle of materialism and despotism, which, after forcing the Gnostics underground, had kept the population of Earth enslaved to worldly possessions. Dick believed that VALIS had communicated with him, and anonymous others, to induce the impeachment of U.S. President Richard Nixon, whom Dick believed to be the current Emperor of Rome incarnate.

In a 1968 essay titled “Self Portrait”, collected in the 1995 book The Shifting Realities of Philip K. Dick, Dick reflects on his work and lists which books he feels “might escape World War Three”: Eye in the SkyThe Man in the High CastleMartian Time-SlipDr. Bloodmoney, or How We Got Along After the BombThe Zap GunThe Penultimate TruthThe SimulacraThe Three Stigmata of Palmer Eldritch (which he refers to as “the most vital of them all”), Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?, and Ubik.[47] In a 1976 interview, Dick cited A Scanner Darkly as his best work, feeling that he “had finally written a true masterpiece, after 25 years of writing”.[48]

Adaptations

Films

Several of Dick’s stories have been made into films. Dick himself wrote a screenplay for an intended film adaptation of Ubik in 1974, but the film was never made. Many film adaptations have not used Dick’s original titles. When asked why this was, Dick’s ex-wife Tessa said, “Actually, the books rarely carry Phil’s original titles, as the editors usually wrote new titles after reading his manuscripts. Phil often commented that he couldn’t write good titles. If he could, he would have been an advertising writer instead of a novelist.”[49] Films based on Dick’s writing had accumulated a total revenue of over US $1 billion by 2009.[50]

Future films based on Dick’s writing include an animated adaptation of The King of the Elves from Walt Disney Animation Studios, which was set to be released in the spring of 2016 but is currently still in preproduction; and a film adaptation of Ubik which, according to Dick’s daughter, Isa Dick Hackett, is in advanced negotiation.[53] Ubik was set to be made into a film by Michel Gondry.[54] In 2014, however, Gondry told French outlet Telerama (via Jeux Actu), that he was no longer working on the project.

The Terminator series prominently features the theme of humanoid assassination machines first portrayed in Second VarietyThe Halcyon Company, known for developing the Terminator franchise, acquired right of first refusal to film adaptations of the works of Philip K. Dick in 2007. In May 2009, they announced plans for an adaptation of Flow My Tears, the Policeman Said.[55]

Television

It was reported in 2010 that Ridley Scott would produce an adaptation of The Man in the High Castle for the BBC, in the form of a mini-series.[56] A pilot episode was released on Amazon Prime in January 2015 and Season 1 was fully released in ten episodes of about 60 minutes each on November 20, 2015.[57] Premiering in January 2015, the pilot was Amazon’s “most-watched since the original series development program began.” The next month Amazon ordered episodes to fill out a ten-episode season, which was released in November, to positive reviews. A second season of ten episodes premiered in December 2016, with a third season announced a few weeks later to be released in 2018.

In late 2015, Fox aired Minority Report, a television series sequel adaptation to the 2002 film of the same name based on Dick’s 1956 short story “The Minority Report“. The show was cancelled after one 10 episode season.

In May 2016, it was announced that a 10-part anthology series was in the works. Titled Philip K. Dick’s Electric Dreams, the series will be distributed by Sony Pictures Television and premiered on Channel 4 in the United Kingdom and Amazon Video in the United States.[58] It was written by executive producers Ronald D. Moore and Michael Dinner, with executive input from Dick’s daughter Isa Dick Hackett, and stars Bryan Cranston, also an executive producer.[59]

Stage and radio

Four of Dick’s works have been adapted for the stage.

One was the opera VALIS, composed and with libretto by Tod Machover, which premiered at the Pompidou Center in Paris on December 1, 1987, with a French libretto. It was subsequently revised and readapted into English, and was recorded and released on CD (Bridge Records BCD9007) in 1988.

Another was Flow My Tears, the Policeman Said, adapted by Linda Hartinian and produced by the New York-based avant-garde company Mabou Mines. It premiered in Boston at the Boston Shakespeare Theatre (June 18–30, 1985) and was subsequently staged in New York and Chicago. Productions of Flow My Tears, the Policeman Said were also staged by the Evidence Room [60] in Los Angeles in 1999[61] and by the Fifth Column Theatre Company at the Oval House Theatre in London in the same year.[62]

A play based on Radio Free Albemuth also had a brief run in the 1980s.

In November 2010, a production of Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?, adapted by Edward Einhorn, premiered at the 3LD Art and Technology Center in Manhattan.[63]

A radio drama adaptation of Dick’s short story “Mr. Spaceship” was aired by the Finnish Broadcasting Company (Yleisradio) in 1996 under the name Menolippu Paratiisiin. Radio dramatizations of Dick’s short stories Colony and The Defenders[64] were aired by NBC in 1956 as part of the series X Minus One.

In January 2006, a The Three Stigmata of Palmer Eldritch (English for Trzy stygmaty Palmera Eldritcha) theatre adaptation premiered in Stary Teatr in Cracov, with an extensive use of lights and laser choreography.[65][66]

In June 2014 the BBC broadcast a two part adaptation of ‘Do Androids Dream Of Electric Sheep?’ on Radio 4, starring James Purefoy as Rick Deckard.[67]

Comics

Marvel Comics adapted Dick’s short story “The Electric Ant” as a limited series which was released in 2009. The comic was produced by writer David Mack (Daredevil) and artist Pascal Alixe (Ultimate X-Men), with covers provided by artist Paul Pope.[68] “The Electric Ant” had earlier been loosely adapted by Frank Miller and Geof Darrow in their 3-issue mini-series Hard Boiled published by Dark Horse Comics in 1990-1992.[69]

In 2009, BOOM! Studios started publishing a 24-issue miniseries comic book adaptation of Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?[70] Blade Runner, the 1982 film adapted from Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?, had previously been adapted to comics as A Marvel Comics Super Special: Blade Runner.

In 2011, Dynamite Entertainment published a 4-issue miniseries “Total Recall,” a sequel to the 1990 film Total Recall, inspired by Philip K. Dick’s short story “We Can Remember It for You Wholesale“.[71] In 1990, DC Comics published the official adaptation of the original film as a DC Movie Special: Total Recall.[72]

Alternative formats

In response to a 1975 request from the National Library for the Blind for permission to make use of The Man in the High Castle, Dick responded, “I also grant you a general permission to transcribe any of my former, present or future work, so indeed you can add my name to your ‘general permission’ list.”[73] Some of his books and stories are available in braille and other specialized formats through the NLS.[74]

As of December 2012, thirteen of Philip K. Dick’s early works in the public domain in the United States are available in ebook form from Project Gutenberg. As of April 4, 2012, Wikisource has one of Philip K. Dick’s early works in the public domain in the United States available in ebook form which is not from Project Gutenberg.

Influence and legacy

Lawrence Sutin‘s 1989 biography of Dick, Divine Invasions: A Life of Philip K. Dick, is considered the standard biographical treatment of Dick’s life.[39]

In 1993, French writer Emmanuel Carrère published Je suis vivant et vous êtes morts which was first translated and published in English in 2004 as I Am Alive and You Are Dead: A Journey Into the Mind of Philip K. Dick, which the author describes in his preface in this way:

The book you hold in your hands is a very peculiar book. I have tried to depict the life of Philip K. Dick from the inside, in other words, with the same freedom and empathy – indeed with the same truth – with which he depicted his own characters.[32]

Critics of the book have complained about the lack of fact checking, sourcing, notes and index, “the usual evidence of deep research that gives a biography the solid stamp of authority.”[75][76][77] It can be considered a non-fiction novel about his life.

Dick has influenced many writers, including Jonathan Lethem[78] and Ursula K. Le Guin.[79] The prominent literary critic Fredric Jameson proclaimed Dick the “Shakespeare of Science Fiction”, and praised his work as “one of the most powerful expressions of the society of spectacle and pseudo-event”.[80] The author Roberto Bolaño also praised Dick, describing him as “Thoreau plus the death of the American dream”.[81] Dick has also influenced filmmakers, his work being compared to films such as the Wachowskis‘ The Matrix,[82] David Cronenberg‘s Videodrome,[83] eXistenZ,[82] and Spider,[83] Spike Jonze‘s Being John Malkovich,[83] Adaptation,[83] Michel Gondry‘s Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind,[84][85] Alex Proyas‘s Dark City,[82] Peter Weir‘s The Truman Show,[82] Andrew Niccol‘s Gattaca,[83]In Time,[86] Terry Gilliam‘s 12 Monkeys,[83] Alejandro Amenábar‘s Open Your Eyes,[87] David Fincher‘s Fight Club,[83] Cameron Crowe‘s Vanilla Sky,[82] Darren Aronofsky‘s Pi,[88] Richard Kelly‘s Donnie Darko[89] and Southland Tales,[90] Rian Johnson‘s Looper,[91] Duncan Jones‘ Source Code, and Christopher Nolan‘s Memento[92] and Inception.[93]

The Philip K. Dick Society was an organization dedicated to promoting the literary works of Dick and was led by Dick’s longtime friend and music journalist Paul Williams. Williams also served as Dick’s literary executor for several years after Dick’s death and wrote one of the first biographies of Dick, entitled Only Apparently Real: The World of Philip K. Dick.

The Philip K. Dick estate owns and operates the production company Electric Shepherd Productions,[94] which has produced the films Adjustment Bureau (2011) and the upcoming Walt Disney Company film King of the Elves, the TV series The Man in the High Castle[95]and also a Marvel Comics 5-issue adaptation of Electric Ant.[96]

Dick was recreated by his fans in the form of a simulacrum or remote-controlled android designed in his likeness.[97][98][99] Such simulacra had been themes of many of Dick’s works. The Philip K. Dick simulacrum was included on a discussion panel in a San Diego Comic Con presentation about the film adaptation of the novel, A Scanner Darkly. In February 2006, an America West Airlines employee misplaced the android’s head, and it has not yet been found.[100] In January 2011, it was announced that Hanson Robotics had built a replacement.[101]

Film

In fiction

  • Michael Bishop‘s The Secret Ascension (1987; currently published as Philip K. Dick Is Dead, Alas), which is set in an alternative universe where his non-genre work is published but his science fiction is banned by a totalitarian United States in thrall to a demonically possessed Richard Nixon.
  • The Faction Paradox novel Of the City of the Saved… (2004) by Philip Purser-Hallard
  • The short story “The Transmigration of Philip K” (1984) by Michael Swanwick (to be found in the 1991 collection Gravity’s Angels)
  • In Ursula K. Le Guin‘s 1971 novel The Lathe of Heaven, whose characters alter reality through their dreams. Two made-for-TV films based on the novel have been made: The Lathe of Heaven (1980) and Lathe of Heaven (2002)
  • In Thomas M. Disch‘s The Word of God (2008)[113]
  • The comics magazine Weirdo published “The Religious Experience of Philip K. Dick” by artist R. Crumb in 1986. Though this is not an adaptation of a specific book or story by Dick, it incorporates elements of Dick’s experience which he related in short stories, novels, essays, and the Exegesis. The story parodies the form of a Chick tract, a type of evangelical comic, many of which relate the story of an epiphany leading to a conversion to fundamentalist Christianity.
  • In the Batman Beyond episode “Sentries of the Last Cosmos”, the character Eldon Michaels claims a typewriter on his desk to have belonged to Philip K. Dick.
  • In the 1976 alternate history novel The Alteration by Kingsley Amis, one of the novels-within-a-novel depicted is The Man in the High Castle (mirroring The Grasshopper Lies Heavy in the real-life novel), still written by Philip K. Dick.[114] Instead of the novel being set in 1962 in an alternate universe where the Axis Powers won the Second World War and named for Hawthorne Abendsen, the author of its novel-within-a-novel, it depicts an alternate universe where the Protestant Reformation occurred (events including the continuation of Henry VIII’s Schismatic policies by his son, Henry IX, and the creation of an independent North America in 1848), with one character speculating that the titular character was a wizard.
  • In the Japanese science fiction anime Psycho-Pass, Dick’s works are referred to as recommended reading material to help reflect on the current state of affairs of those characters world.
  • The 2016 video game Californium was developed as a tribute to Philip K. Dick and his writings to coincide with an Arte‘s documentary series.[115]
  • The short film trilogy Code 7 written and directed by Nacho Vigalondo starts with the line “Philip K. Dick presents”. The story also contains some other references to Philip K. Dick’s body of work.[116]

Music

  • “Flow My Tears” is the name of an instrumental by bassist Stuart Hamm, inspired by Dick’s novel of the same name. The track is found on his album Radio Free Albemuth, also named after a Dick novel.[117]
  • “Flow My Tears, The Policeman Said” and other seminal Ph. K. Dick novels inspired the electronic music concept album “The Dowland Shores of Philip K. Dick’s Universe[118] by Levente
  • “Flow My Tears the Spider Said” is the final song on They Were Wrong, So We Drowned, the second album by experimental Los Angeles punk-rock outfit Liars.
  • “Listen to the Sirens”, the first song on Tubeway Army‘s 1978 debut album has as its first line “flow my tears, the new police song”.
  • American rapper and producer El-P is a noted fan of Dick and other science fiction, as many of Dick’s themes, such as paranoia and questions about the nature of reality, feature in El-P’s work.[119] A song on the 2002 album Fantastic Damage is titled “T.O.J.” and the chorus makes reference to the Dick work Time Out of Joint.
  • English singer Hugh Cornwell included an instrumental called “Philip K. Ridiculous” on his 2008 album “Hooverdam”.[120]
  • The World/Inferno Friendship Society‘s 2011 album The Anarchy and the Ecstasy includes a song entitled “Canonize Philip K. Dick, OK”.
  • Bloc Party‘s 2012 album Four contains several references to Dick’s work, including a song entitled “V.A.L.I.S.”.
  • German singer Pohlmann included a song called “Roy Batty (In Tribute to Philip K. Dick)” on his 2013 album Nix ohne Grund.
  • Sister, a Sonic Youth album, “was in part inspired by the life and works of science fiction writer Philip K. Dick”.[121]
  • “What You See” is a song by Faded Paper Figures that pays homage to the literary work of Dick.
  • The first song on Japancakes‘ debut album If I Could See Dallas is titled ‘Now Wait For Last Year’.
  • Janelle Monáe‘s song “Make the Bus” in her album The ArchAndroid has the lyrics “You’ve got ‘Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?’ under your pillow” at the end of the first stanza.
  • Blind Guardian‘s song “Time What is Time” from the 1992 album “Somewhere Far Beyond” is loosely based on the book “Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?”.[122]

Radio

  • In June 2014, BBC Radio 4 broadcast The Two Georges by Stephen Keyworth, inspired by the FBI’s investigation of Phil and his wife Kleo in 1955, and the subsequent friendship that developed between Phil and FBI Agent Scruggs.[123]

Theater

  • The short play Kindred Blood in Kensington Gore (1992) by Brian W. Aldiss
  • A 2005 play, 800 Words: the Transmigration of Philip K. Dick by Victoria Stewart, which re-imagines Dick’s final days.[124]

Contemporary philosophy

Postmodernists such as Jean BaudrillardFredric JamesonLaurence Rickels and Slavoj Žižek have commented on Dick’s writing’s foreshadowing of postmodernity.[125] Jean Baudrillard offers this interpretation:

It is hyperreal. It is a universe of simulation, which is something altogether different. And this is so not because Dick speaks specifically of simulacra. SF has always done so, but it has always played upon the double, on artificial replication or imaginary duplication, whereas here the double has disappeared. There is no more double; one is always already in the other world, an other world which is not another, without mirrors or projection or utopias as means for reflection. The simulation is impassable, unsurpassable, checkmated, without exteriority. We can no longer move “through the mirror” to the other side, as we could during the golden age of transcendence.[126]

For his anti-government skepticism, Philip K. Dick was afforded minor mention in Mythmakers and Lawbreakers, a collection of interviews about fiction by anarchist authors. Noting his early authorship of The Last of the Masters, an anarchist-themed novelette, author Margaret Killjoy expressed that while Dick never fully sided with anarchism, his opposition to government centralization and organized religion has influenced anarchist interpretations of gnosticism.[127]

Awards and honors

The Science Fiction Hall of Fame inducted Dick in 2005.[128]

During his lifetime he received numerous annual literary awards and nominations for particular works.[129]

Philip K. Dick Award

The Philip K. Dick Award is a science fiction award that annually recognizes the previous year’s best SF paperback original published in the U.S.[135] It is conferred at Norwescon, sponsored by the Philadelphia Science Fiction Society, and since 2005 supported by the Philip K. Dick Trust. Winning works are identified on their covers as Best Original SF Paperback. It is currently administered by David G. Hartwell and Gordon Van Gelder.[135]

The award was inaugurated in 1983, the year after Dick’s death. It was founded by Thomas Disch with assistance from David G. Hartwell, Paul S. Williams, and Charles N. Brown. Past administrators include Algis J. Budrys and David Alexander Smith.[citation needed]

See also

References

  1. Jump up^ Liukkonen, Petri. “Philip K. Dick”Books and Writers (kirjasto.sci.fi). Finland: Kuusankoski Public Library. Archived from the original on April 25, 2007.
  2. Jump up to:abc “1963 Award Winners & Nominees”Worlds Without End. Retrieved June 26, 2009.
  3. Jump up to:abcd “1975 Award Winners & Nominees”Worlds Without End. Retrieved June 26, 2009.
  4. Jump up^ Behrens, Richard; Allen B. Ruch (March 21, 2003). “Philip K. Dick”The Scriptorium. The Modern Word. Archived from the original on April 12, 2008. Retrieved April 14, 2008.
  5. Jump up^ Kimbell, Keith. “Ranked: Movies Based on Philip K. Dick Stories”. Metacritic. Retrieved November 20, 2013.
  6. Jump up to:ab Grossman, Lev (October 16, 2005). “Ubik – ALL-TIME 100 Novels”Time. Retrieved April 14, 2008.
  7. Jump up^ Stoffman, Judy “A milestone in literary heritage”Toronto Star(February 10, 2007) Archived October 6, 2012, at the Wayback Machine.
  8. Jump up^ Library of America Philip K. Dick: Four Novels of the 1960s
  9. Jump up^ Library of America H.P. Lovecraft: Tales
  10. Jump up^ Associated Press “Library of America to issue volume of Philip K. Dick”USA Today (November 28, 2006)
  11. Jump up to:ab Kucukalic, Lejla (2008). Philip K. Dick: canonical writer of the digital age. Taylor and Francis. p. 27. ISBN0-415-96242-0.
  12. Jump up^ Sutin, Lawrence (2003). “Philip K. Dick”Author – Official Biography. Philip K. Dick Trust. Archived from the original on April 10, 2008. Retrieved April 14, 2008.
  13. Jump up^ The Search for Philip K Dick by Anne R Dick, Tachyon Publications 2010
  14. Jump up^ Vitale, Joe. “Interview with Philip K. Dick”Philip K. Dick – Official Site. Archived from the original on April 8, 2012. Retrieved May 6, 2012.
  15. Jump up to:ab Sutin p.3
  16. Jump up to:ab Dick, Philip K. “An Interview With America’s Most Brilliant Science-Fiction Writer” Interview by Joe Vitale. Interview With Philip K Dick. Print Interviews. Web. October 22, 2011.
  17. Jump up^ Sutin, p. 53
  18. Jump up to:ab Philip K. Dick at the Internet Speculative Fiction Database(ISFDB). Retrieved April 23, 2013. Select a title to see its linked publication history and general information. Select a particular edition (title) for more data at that level, such as a front cover image or linked contents.
  19. Jump up to:ab O’HARA, HELEN. “Philip K. Dick: The Man And His Movies”Empire.
  20. Jump up^ Butler, Andrew M. (May 24, 2012). The Pocket Essential Philip K. Dick. Oldcastle Books. Retrieved June 26, 2015.
  21. Jump up to:abcd Cameron, R. Graeme (June 20, 2014). “Mad Flight of a Manic Phoenix, or: Philip K. Dick in Vancouver (1972)”Amazing Stories. Retrieved June 26, 2015.
  22. Jump up^ Purser-Hallard, Philip (August 11, 2006). “The drugs did work”– via The Guardian.
  23. Jump up^ Admin, System (March 30, 2012). “Philip K Dick and the Vesica Piscis « From Around The Web « Mindscape magazine”. Mindscapemagazine.com. Retrieved November 12, 2013.
  24. Jump up^ “Prophets of Science Fiction: Philip K. Dick”. The Science Channel. Aired Wednesday, November 17, 2011.
  25. Jump up to:ab Platt, Charles (1980). Dream Makers: The Uncommon People Who Write Science Fiction. Berkley Publishing. ISBN0-425-04668-0.
  26. Jump up^ Dick, Philip K. ‘The Selected Letters of Philip K. Dick: 1974’, Underwood-Miller, 1991, p. 235
  27. Jump up^ “Philip K. Dick: Stanisław Lem is a Communist Committee”, Matt Davies, April 29, 2015
  28. Jump up to:ab “The Religious Affiliation of Science Fiction Writer Philip K. Dick”Famous Science Fiction Writers / Famous Episcopalians. Adherents.com. July 25, 2005. Retrieved April 14, 2008.
  29. Jump up^ Sutin, pp. 83–84
  30. Jump up^ Arnold, Kyle (2016-05-02). The Divine Madness of Philip K. Dick. Oxford University Press. pp. 53–56. ISBN0190498315. Retrieved 2018-06-16.
  31. Jump up^ “Writers and Editors War Tax Protest”. New York Post. January 30, 1968.
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  36. Jump up to:ab “Criticism and analysis”. Gale Research. 1996. Archived from the original on March 7, 2007. Retrieved April 20, 2007.
  37. Jump up^ A Conversation With Philip K. DickArchived May 11, 2012, at the Wayback Machine.
  38. Jump up^ Dick, Philip K. (1985). I Hope I Shall Arrive SoonDoubleday. p. 2. ISBN0-385-19567-2.
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  40. Jump up to:ab Williams, Paul (November 6, 1975). “The Most Brilliant Sci-Fi Mind on Any Planet: Philip K. Dick”(PDF)Rolling Stone. Retrieved November 10, 2014.
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  48. Jump up^ AN INTERVIEW WITH PHILIP K. DICKArchived May 11, 2012, at the Wayback Machine. Daniel DePerez, September 10, 1976, Science Fiction Review, No. 19, Vol. 5, no. 3, August 1976
  49. Jump up^ Knight, Annie; John T Cullen; the staff of Deep Outside SFFH (November 2002). “About Philip K. Dick: An interview with Tessa, Chris, and Ranea Dick”Deep Outside SFFH. Far Sector SFFH. Retrieved April 14, 2008.
  50. Jump up^ “Philip K. Dick Films”. Philip K. Dick Trust. August 11, 2009. Archived from the original on August 22, 2010. Retrieved September 3, 2010.
  51. Jump up^ Kermode, Mark (July 15, 2000). On the Edge of Bladerunner(TV documentary). UK: Channel 4.
  52. Jump up^ Dick, Philip K. “Letter to Jeff Walker regarding “Blade Runner. Archived from the original on December 13, 2003. Retrieved May 31, 2016.
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  55. Jump up^ Philip K. Dick’s ‘Flow My Tears, the Policeman Said’ Being Adapted Alex Billington, FirstShowing.net, May 12, 2009
  56. Jump up^ Sweney, Mark (October 7, 2010). “Ridley Scott to return to work of sci-fi icon for BBC mini-series: Blade Runner director to executive produce four-part BBC1 adaptation of Philip K Dick’s The Man in the High Castle”The Observer.
  57. Jump up^ “Amazon.com: The Man In The High Castle – Season 1: Alexa Davalos, Rupert Evans, Luke Kleintank, DJ Qualls, Joel De La Fuente, Cary Hiroyuki-Tagawa, Rufus Sewell, David Semel, Daniel Percival, Ken Olin, Michael Rymer, Bryan Spicer, Nelson Mccormick, Brad Anderson, Karyn Kusama, Michael Slovis, Frank Spotnitz, Thomas Schnauz, Evan Wright, Jace Richdale, Rob Williams, Emma Frost, Walon Green, Ridley Scott, David W. Zucker, Isa Dick Hackett, Christopher Tricarico, Stewart Mackinnon, Chrtistian Baute, Richard Heus, Dan Percival, Jordan Sheehan, Kalen Egan, Erin Smith, Philip K. Dick”.
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  62. Jump up^ “Archived NTK email newsletter from 11 June 1999”. Ntk.net. Retrieved November 12, 2013.
  63. Jump up^ Zinoman, Jason (December 3, 2010). “A Test for Humanity in a Post-Apocalyptic World”The New York Times.
  64. Jump up^ “The Defenders”Project Gutenberg.
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  67. Jump up^ “Episode 1, Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?, Dangerous Visions – BBC Radio 4”BBC.
  68. Jump up^ “MARVEL BRINGS PHILIP K DICK’S ELECTRIC ANT TO LIFE IN NEW SERIES”. philipkdick.com. July 24, 2008. Archived from the original on August 12, 2012.
  69. Jump up^ SDCC 08: PHILIP K. DICK COMES TO MARVELhttp://www.ign.com
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  71. Jump up^ TOTAL RECALL #1 (OF 4) www.dynamite.com
  72. Jump up^ Total Recall #1 www.comicvine.com
  73. Jump up^ The Selected Letters of Philip K. Dick, 1975–1976. Novato, California : Underwood-Miller, 1993 (Trade edition) ISBN0-88733-111-4 p. 240
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  78. Jump up^ Middlehurst, Charlotte. “Jonathan Lethem to Appear in ShanghaiTime Out Shanghai (September 26, 2011)
  79. Jump up^ The SF Site Featured Review: The Lathe of Heaven, SF Site
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  81. Jump up^ Biography and Memoir Reviews. “Between Parentheses by Roberto Bolaño: review”. Telegraph. Retrieved November 12,2013.
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  88. Jump up^ Philip K. Dick’s Future Is NowWashington PostArchivedJune 4, 2011, at the Wayback Machine.
  89. Jump up^ Donnie DarkoSalon.comArchived July 3, 2009, at the Wayback Machine.
  90. Jump up^ Richard Kelly’s Revelations: Defending Southland Tales., Cinema Scope Archived September 10, 2011, at the Wayback Machine.
  91. Jump up^ Bryan Bishop (August 30, 2012). “Noir to near-future: ‘Looper’ director Rian Johnson talks sci-fi, Twitter, and the fate of film”The Verge. Vox Media.
  92. Jump up^ Frank Rose (December 1, 2003). “The Second Coming of Philip K. Dick”WIRED.
  93. Jump up^ Could Inception trigger a new wave of sci-fi cinema?, Den of Geek
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  95. Jump up^ “Amazon’s ‘Man in the High Castle’ TV series has made Philip K. Dick’s original book a bestseller”. businessinsider.com. November 20, 2015. Retrieved November 28, 2015.
  96. Jump up^ “Dee Rees To Adapt Philip K. Dick’s ‘Martian Time-Slip. deadline.com. October 17, 2013. Retrieved November 28, 2015.
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  108. Jump up^ Buchanan, Jason. “Your Name Here (2008)”AllMovie. Retrieved April 2, 2014.
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  113. Jump up^ Disch, Thomas M. The Word of God. San Francisco:Tachyon, 2008
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Further reading

Primary bibliography
  • Precious Artifacts : A Philip K. Dick Bibliography, United States of America and United Kingdom Editions, 1955 – 2012. Compiled by Henri Wintz and David Hyde. (Wide Books 2012). http://www.wide-books.com
  • Precious Artifacts 2: A Philip K. Dick Bibliography, The Short Stories, United States, United Kingdom and Oceania, 1952 – 2014. Compiled by Henri Wintz and David Hyde (Wide Books 2014). http://www.wide-books.com
Secondary bibliography

External links

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Philip_K._Dick

 

Ridley Scott

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Sir
Ridley Scott
NASA Journey to Mars and “The Martian" (201508180030HQ).jpg

Scott in 2015
Born 30 November 1937 (age 80)
South ShieldsCounty DurhamEngland
Residence LondonEnglandUnited Kingdom
Paris, France
Los Angeles, CaliforniaUnited States
Alma mater West Hartlepool College of Art
Royal College of Art
Occupation
  • Film director
  • film producer
Years active 1965–present
Spouse(s)
Felicity Heywood
(m. 1964; div. 1975)
Sandy Watson
(m. 1979; div. 1989)
Giannina Facio
(m. 2015)
Children Jake Scott
Luke Scott
Jordan Scott
Family Tony Scott (brother; deceased)

Sir Ridley Scott (born 30 November 1937) is an English film director and producer. Following his commercial breakthrough with the science-fiction horror film Alien (1979), further works include the neo-noir dystopian science fiction film Blade Runner, historical drama Gladiator (which won the Academy Award for Best Picture), and science fiction film The Martian.

Scott’s work has an atmospheric, highly concentrated visual style.[1][2] Though his films range widely in setting and period, they frequently showcase memorable imagery of urban environments, whether 2nd century Rome (Gladiator), 12th century Jerusalem (Kingdom of Heaven), Medieval England (Robin Hood), contemporary Mogadishu (Black Hawk Down), the future cityscapes of Blade Runner, or the distant planets in AlienPrometheusThe Martian and Alien: Covenant. His films are also known for their strong female characters.[3]

Scott has been nominated for three Academy Awards for Directing (for Thelma & LouiseGladiator and Black Hawk Down).[1] In 1995, both Ridley and his brother Tony received a BAFTA for Outstanding British Contribution To Cinema.[4] In 2003, Scott was knighted for his “services to the British film industry”.[5] In a 2004 BBC poll Scott was named the tenth most influential person in British culture.[6] In 2015 he received an honorary doctorate from the Royal College of Art in London. In 2018 Scott received the BAFTA Fellowship for lifetime achievement.[7]

Early life and career

“My mum brought three boys up: my dad was in the army and so he was frequently away. During the war (World War II) and post-war, we tended to travel following him around so my mum was the boss. She laid down the law and the law was God. We just said ‘Yup, okay’ – we didn’t argue. I think that’s where the respect has come from, because she was tough.”

— A supporter of heroines in his work, Scott credits his mother Elizabeth as his first female role model.[8]

Scott was born in South Shields, County Durham, North East England,[9] to Elizabeth (Williams) and Colonel Francis Percy Scott.[10][11] Born shortly before the Second World War, he was brought up in an army family. His father – an officer in the Royal Engineers – was absent for most of his early life. His elder brother, Frank, joined the British Merchant Navy when he was still young, and the pair had little contact.[12] During this time the family moved around, living in (among other areas) Cumberland in North West England, Wales and Germany. He had a younger brother, Tony, who also became a film director. After World War II, the Scott family moved back to their native North East, eventually settling on Greens Beck Road in Hartburn, County Durham, whose industrial landscape would later inspire similar scenes in Blade Runner.[13] His interest in science fiction began by reading the works of H. G. Wells as a child.[14]He studied at Grangefield Grammar School and West Hartlepool College of Art from 1954 to 1958, obtaining a diploma in design.[15]

“I use everything I learned every day at art school. It’s all about white sheets of paper, pens and drawing.”

— Scott speaking on the influence the Royal College of Art has had in designing the visuals for his films.[16]

Scott went on to study at the Royal College of Art in London, contributing to college magazine ARKand helping to establish the college film department. For his final show, he made a black and white short film, Boy and Bicycle, starring both his younger brother and his father (the film was later released on the “Extras” section of The Duellists DVD). In February 1963 Scott was named in title credits as “Designer” for the BBC television programme Tonight, about the severe winter of 1963. After graduation in 1963, he secured a job as a trainee set designer with the BBC, leading to work on the popular television police series Z-Cars and science fiction series Out of the Unknown. He was originally assigned to design the second Doctor Who serial, The Daleks, which would have entailed realising the serial’s eponymous alien creatures. However, shortly before Scott was due to start work, a schedule conflict meant he was replaced by Raymond Cusick.[17] In 1965, he began directing episodes of television series for the BBC, only one of which, an episode of Adam Adamant Lives!, is available commercially.[18]

Gold Hill, Shaftesbury in the English county of Dorset where Scott filmed the 1973 Hovis television commercial

In 1968, Ridley and Tony Scott founded Ridley Scott Associates (RSA), a film and commercial production company.[19] Working alongside Alan ParkerHugh Hudson and cinematographer Hugh Johnson, Ridley Scott made many commercials at RSA during the 1970s, including a notable 1973 Hovis advertisement, “Bike Round” (underscored by the slow movement of Dvořák’s “New World” symphony rearranged for brass), set in the north of England but filmed in Gold Hill, Shaftesbury, Dorset.[20][21] A nostalgia themed television advertisement that captured the public imagination, it was voted the UK’s all-time favourite commercial in a 2006 poll.[22][23] In the 1970s the Chanel No. 5brand needed revitalisation having run the risk of being labelled as mass market and passé.[24] Directed by Scott in the 1970s and 1980s, Chanel television commercials were inventive mini-films with production values of surreal fantasy and seduction, which “played on the same visual imagery, with the same silhouette of the bottle.”[24]

Five members of the Scott family are directors, and all have worked for RSA.[25] His brother Tony was a successful film director whose career spanned more than two decades; his sons Jake and Luke are both acclaimed directors of commercials, as is his daughter, Jordan Scott. Jake and Jordan both work from Los Angeles; Luke is based in London. In 1995, Shepperton Studios was purchased by a consortium headed by Ridley and Tony Scott, which extensively renovated the studios while also expanding and improving its grounds.[26]

Early films

The Duellists

The Duellists (1977) marked Ridley Scott’s first feature film as director. Shot in Europe, it was nominated for the main prize at the Cannes Film Festival, and won an award for Best Debut Film. The Duellists had limited commercial impact internationally. Set during the Napoleonic Wars, it follows two French Hussar officers, D’Hubert and Feraud (Keith Carradine and Harvey Keitel) whose quarrel over an initially minor incident turns into a bitter extended feud spanning fifteen years, interwoven with the larger conflict that provides its backdrop. The film has been acclaimed for providing a historically authentic portrayal of Napoleonic uniforms and military conduct.[27][28] The 2013 release of the film on Blu-ray coincided with the publication of an essay on the film in a collection of scholarly essays on Scott.[29]

Alien

Scott had originally planned next to adapt a version of Tristan and Iseult, but after seeing Star Wars, he became convinced of the potential of large scale, effects-driven films. He accepted the job of directing Alien, the 1979 horror/science-fiction film that would win him international success. Scott made the decision to switch Ellen Ripley from the standard male action hero to a heroine.[30] Ripley (played by Sigourney Weaver), who appeared in the first four Alien films, would become a cinematic icon.[30] The final scene of John Hurt‘s character has been named by a number of publications as one of the most memorable in cinematic history.[31] Filmed at Shepperton Studios in England, Alien was the sixth highest-grossing film of 1979, earning over $104 million worldwide.[32] Scott was involved in the 2003 restoration and re-release of the original film. In promotional interviews at the time, Scott indicated he had been in discussions to make a fifth film in the Alien franchise. However, in a 2006 interview, Scott remarked that he had been unhappy about Alien: The Director’s Cut, feeling that the original was “pretty flawless” and that the additions were merely a marketing tool.[33] Scott later returned to Alien-related projects when he directed Prometheus and Alien: Covenant three decades after the original film’s release.[34]

Blade Runner

“Outside Star Wars, no sci-fi universe has been etched into cinematic consciousness more thoroughly than Blade Runner. Ridley Scott’s definitive 1982 neo-noir offered an immersive dystopia of rain-soaked windows and shadowy buildings adorned with animated neon billboards, where flying cars hum through the endless night.”

— Eric Kohn, IndieWire, 2017.[35]

After a year working on the film adaptation of Dune, and following the sudden death of his brother Frank, Scott signed to direct the film version of Philip K. Dick‘s novel Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? Re-titled Blade Runner and starring Harrison Ford, the film was a commercial disappointment in cinemas in 1982, but is now regarded as a classic.[36][37] In 1991, Scott’s notes were used by Warner Brothers to create a rushed director’s cut which removed the main character’s voiceover and made a number of other small changes, including to the ending. Later Scott personally supervised a digital restoration of Blade Runner and approved what was called The Final Cut. This version was released in Los Angeles, New York City and Toronto cinemas on 5 October 2007, and as an elaborate DVD release in December 2007.[38]

Today, Blade Runner is ranked by many critics as one of the most important and influential science fiction films ever made,[39] partly thanks to its much imitated portraits of a future cityscape.[40] It is often discussed along with William Gibson‘s novel Neuromancer as initiating the cyberpunk genre. Scott has described Blade Runner as his “most complete and personal film”.[41]

“1984” Apple Macintosh commercial

In 1984, Scott directed a big-budget ($900,000) television commercial, “1984“, to launch Apple‘s Macintosh computer.[42] Scott filmed the advertisement in England for about $370,000;[43] which was given a showcase airing in the US on 22 January 1984, during Super Bowl XVIII, alongside screenings in cinemas.[44] Some consider this advertisement a “watershed event” in advertising[45] and a “masterpiece”.[46] Advertising Age placed it top of its list of the 50 greatest commercials.[47]

Set in a dystopian future modelled after George Orwell‘s Nineteen Eighty-Four, Scott’s advertisement used its heroine (portrayed by English athlete Anya Major) to represent the coming of the Macintosh (indicated by her white tank top adorned with a picture of the Apple Macintosh computer) as a means of saving humanity from “conformity” (Big Brother), an allusion to IBM, at that time the dominant force in computing.[48]

Legend

In 1985, Scott directed Legend, a fantasy film produced by Arnon Milchan. Scott decided to create a “once upon a time” tale set in a world of princesses, unicorns and goblins, filming almost entirely inside the studio. Scott cast Tom Cruise as the film’s hero, Jack, Mia Saraas Princess Lili and Tim Curry as the Satan-horned Lord of Darkness.[49] Scott had a forest set built on the 007 Stage at Pinewood Studios in Buckinghamshire, with trees 60 feet high and trunks 30 feet in diameter.[50] In the final stages of filming, the forest set was destroyed by fire; Jerry Goldsmith‘s original score was used for European release, but replaced in North America with a score by Tangerine Dream. Rob Bottin provided the film’s Academy Award-nominated make-up effects, most notably Curry’s red-coloured Satan figure. Though a major commercial failure on release, the film has gone on to become a cult classic. The 2002 Director’s Cut restored Goldsmith’s original score.[51]

Subsequent films

1987–1992

Scott made Someone to Watch Over Me, a romantic thriller starring Tom Berenger and Mimi Rogers in 1987, and Black Rain (1989), a police drama starring Michael Douglas and Andy García, shot partially in Japan. Both achieved mild success at the box office. Black Rain was the first of Scott’s six collaborations with the composer Hans Zimmer.[52][53]

The road film Thelma & Louise (1991) starring Geena Davis as Thelma, Susan Sarandon as Louise, in addition to the breakthrough role for Brad Pitt as J.D, proved to be one of Scott’s biggest critical successes, helping revive the director’s reputation and receiving his first nomination for the Academy Award for Best Director.[54][55] His next project, independently-funded historical epic 1492: Conquest of Paradise, was a box office failure. The film recounts the expeditions to the Americas by Christopher Columbus (French star Gérard Depardieu). Scott did not release another film for four years.

1993–1999

In 1995, Ridley and his brother Tony formed a production company, Scott Free Productions, in Los Angeles. All Ridley’s subsequent feature films, starting with White Squall and G.I. Jane, have been produced under the Scott Free banner. In 1995 the two brothers purchased a controlling interest in the British film studio Shepperton Studios. In 2001, Shepperton merged with Pinewood Studios to become The Pinewood Studios Group, which is headquartered in Buckinghamshire, England.[56]

2000–2005

Scott’s historical drama Gladiator (2000) proved to be one of his biggest critical and commercial successes. It won five Academy Awards, including Best Picture, Best Actor for the film’s star Russell Crowe, and saw Scott nominated for the Academy Award for Best Director.[1] Scott worked with British visual effects company The Mill for the film’s computer-generated imagery, and the film was dedicated to Oliver Reed who died during filming – The Mill created a digital body double for Reed’s remaining scenes.[57][58] Some have credited Gladiator with reviving the nearly defunct “sword and sandal” historical genre. The film was named the fifth best action film of all time in the ABC special Best in Film: The Greatest Movies of Our Time.[59]

Scott directed Hannibal (2001) starring Anthony Hopkins as Hannibal Lecter. The film was commercially successful despite receiving mixed reviews. Scott’s next film, Black Hawk Down (2001), featuring Tom Hardy in his film debut, was based on a group of stranded US soldiers fighting for their lives in Somalia; Scott was nominated for an Oscar for Best Director.[1] In 2003, Scott directed a smaller scale project, Matchstick Men, adapted from the novel by Eric Garcia and starring Nicolas CageSam Rockwell and Alison Lohman. It received mostly positive reviews, but performed moderately at the box office.

In 2005, he made the modestly successful Kingdom of Heaven, a film about the Crusades. The film starred Orlando Bloom, and marked Scott’s first collaboration with the composer Harry Gregson-Williams.[60] The Moroccan government sent the Moroccan cavalry as extras for some battle scenes.[61] Unhappy with the theatrical version of Kingdom of Heaven (which he blamed on paying too much attention to the opinions of preview audiences in addition to relenting when Fox wanted 45 minutes shaved off), Scott supervised a director’s cut of the film, the true version of what he wanted, which was released on DVD in 2006.[62] The director’s cut of Kingdom of Heaven has been met with critical acclaim, with Empire magazine calling the film an “epic”, adding: “The added 45 minutes in the director’s cut are like pieces missing from a beautiful but incomplete puzzle.”[63] “This is the one that should have gone out” reflected Scott.[63] Asked if he was against previewing in general in 2006, Scott stated: “It depends who’s in the driving seat. If you’ve got a lunatic doing my job, then you need to preview. But a good director should be experienced enough to judge what he thinks is the correct version to go out into the cinema.”[64]

Recent and upcoming films

2006–2011

Scott teamed up again with Gladiator star Russell Crowe, for A Good Year, based on the best-selling book by Peter Mayle about an investment banker who finds a new life in Provence. The film was released on 10 November 2006. A few days later Rupert Murdoch, chairman of studio 20th Century Fox (who backed the film) dismissed A Good Year as “a flop” at a shareholders’ meeting.[65]

Scott’s next film was American Gangster, based on the story of real-life drug kingpin Frank Lucas. Scott took over the project in early 2006, and had screenwriter Steven Zaillian rewrite his script to focus on the dynamic between Frank Lucas and Richie RobertsDenzel Washington signed on to the project as Lucas, with Russell Crowe co-starring. The film premiered in November 2007 to positive reviews and box office success, and Scott was nominated for a Golden Globe for Best Director.[1]

In late 2008, Scott’s espionage thriller Body of Lies, starring Leonardo DiCaprio and Russell Crowe, opened to lukewarm ticket-sales and mixed reviews. Scott directed a revisionist adaptation of Robin Hood, which starred Russell Crowe as Robin Hood and Cate Blanchettas Maid Marian. It was released in May 2010 to mixed reviews, but a respectable box-office.

Scott speaking with Prometheusstars Charlize Theron and Michael Fassbender at Wondercon 2012 in Anaheim, California on 17 March 2012

On 31 July 2009, news surfaced of a two-part prequel to Alien with Scott attached to direct.[34][66] The project, ultimately reduced to a single film called Prometheus, which Scott described as sharing “strands of Alien’s DNA” while not being a direct prequel, was released in June 2012. The film starred Charlize Theron and Michael Fassbender, with Noomi Rapace playing the leading role of the scientist named Elizabeth Shaw. The film received mostly positive reviews and grossed $403 million at the box office.[67][68]

In August 2009, Scott planned to direct an adaptation of Aldous Huxley‘s Brave New World set in a dystopian London with Leonardo DiCaprio.[69] In 2009, the TV Series The Good Wife premiered with Ridley and his brother Tonycredited as executive producers. On 6 July 2010, YouTube announced the launch of Life in a Day, an experimental documentary executive produced by Scott. Released at the Sundance Film Festival on 27 January 2011, it incorporates footage shot on 24 July 2010 submitted by YouTube users from around the world.[70] As part of the buildup to the 2012 London Olympics, Scott produced Britain in a Day, a documentary film consisting of footage shot by the British public on 12 November 2011.[71]

2012–present

In 2012, Scott produced the commercial for Lady Gaga‘s fragrance, “Fame.” It was touted as the first ever black Eau de Parfum, in the informal credits attached to the trailer for this advertisement. On 24 June 2013, Scott’s series Crimes of the Century debuted on CNN.[72] In November 2012 it was announced that Scott would produce the documentary, Springsteen & I directed by Baillie Walsh and inspired by Life in a Day, which Scott also produced. The film featured fan footage from throughout the world on what musician Bruce Springsteen meant to them and how he impacted their lives.[73] The film was released for one day only in 50 countries and on over 2000 film screens on 22 July 2013.[73]

Scott directed The Counselor (2013), with a screenplay by author Cormac McCarthy.[74][75] On 25 October 2013, Indiewire reported that “Before McCarthy sold his first spec script for Scott’s (Counselor) film, the director was heavily involved in developing an adaptation of the author’s 1985 novel Blood Meridian with screenwriter Bill Monahan (The Departed). But as Scott said in a Time Out interview, ‘[Studios] didn’t want to make it. The book is so uncompromising, which is what’s great about it.’ Described as an ‘anti-western’…”[76] Scott directed the biblically-inspired epic film Exodus: Gods and Kings, released in December 2014 which received mixed-to-negative reviews from critics while earning $268 million on a $140 million budget. Filmed at Pinewood Studios in Buckinghamshire, the film starred Christian Bale in the lead role.[77]

Scott participates in a question and answer session about NASA’s journey to Mars and his film The Martian, 18 August 2015

In May 2014, Scott began negotiations to direct The Martian, starring Matt Damon as Mark Watney.[78] Like many of Scott’s previous works, The Martian features a heroine in the form of Jessica Chastain‘s character who is the mission commander.[79] The film was originally scheduled for release on 25 November 2015, but Fox later switched its release date with that of Victor Frankenstein, and thus The Martian was released on 2 October 2015.[80][81] The Martian was a critical and commercial success, grossed over $630 million worldwide, becoming Scott’s highest-grossing film to date.[82][83][84]

A sequel to PrometheusAlien: Covenant, started filming in 2016, premiered in London on 4 May 2017, and received general release on 19 May 2017.[85] The film received generally positive reviews from critics, with many praising Michael Fassbender‘s dual performance and calling the film a return to form for both director Ridley Scott and the franchise.[86][87]

In August 2011, information leaked about production of a sequel to Blade Runner by Alcon Entertainment, with Alcon partners Broderick Johnson and Andrew Kosove.[88] Scott informed the Variety publication in November 2014 that he was no longer the director for the film and would only fulfill a producer’s role. Scott also revealed that filming would begin sometime within 2015, and that Harrison Ford has signed on to reprise his role from the original film but his character should only appear in “the third act” of the sequel.[89] On 26 February 2015, the sequel was officially confirmed, with Denis Villeneuve hired to direct the film, and Scott being an executive producer.[90] The sequel, Blade Runner 2049, was released on 6 October 2017.[91]

From May to August 2017, Scott filmed All the Money in the World, a drama about the kidnapping of John Paul Getty III, starring Mark Wahlberg and Michelle Williams.[92][93] Kevin Spacey originally portrayed Getty Sr. However, after multiple sexual assault allegations against the actor, Scott made the decision to replace him with Christopher Plummer, saying “You can’t condone that kind of behaviour in any shape or form. We cannot let one person’s action affect the good work of all these other people. It’s that simple.”[94] Scott began re-shooting Spacey’s scenes with Plummer on 20 November, which included filming at Elveden Hall in west Suffolk, England.[94] With a release date of 25 December 2017, the film studio had its doubts that Scott would manage it, saying: “They were like, ‘You’ll never do it. God be with you.'”[94][95]

Future projects

In January 2016, Scott was in early negotiations to direct the screen version of the 1968 British TV series The Prisoner.[96] In May 2016, it was announced that Scott and Drew Goddard (who had worked together on The Martian) would be reteaming to adapt the book Wraiths of the Broken Land by S. Craig Zahler. It is described as a piece of fiction that combines elements of “horror, noir, and Asian ultra-violence.”[97] In April 2017, 20th Century Fox lined up Scott to direct a film about the Battle of Britain from WWII, where the Royal Air Force defended the country from German Luftwaffe attacks, which is described as a “passion project” for the director.[98] Scott has said that a sequel to Alien: Covenant would film 14 months from May 2017. It will be the final film in his prequel series to his original film, Alien.[99] As of September 2018 there has been no update on the film development. On 4 January 2018, it was reported that Scott is in talks to direct a Disney film adaptation of The Merlin Saga, which is based on a 12-book series written by T. A. Barron, with a screenplay from Philippa Boyens.[100] On 15 March it was reported that Scott is in talks to adapt Greg Rucka’s graphic novel Queen & Country for 20th Century Fox.[101]

Television projects

Ridley Scott and his brother Tony produced CBS series Numb3rs (2005–10), a crime drama about a genius mathematician who helps the FBI solve crimes; and The Good Wife (2009–2016), a legal drama about an attorney balancing her job with her husband, a former state attorney trying to rebuild his political career after a major scandal. The two Scotts also produced a 2010 film adaptation of 1980s television show The A-Team, directed by Joe Carnahan.[102][103]

Ridley Scott was an executive producer of the first season of Amazon’s The Man in the High Castle (2015–16).[104] Through Scott Free Productions, he is an executive producer on the dark comic science-fiction series BrainDead which debuted on CBS in 2016.[105][106][107]

On 20 November 2017, Amazon struck a deal with AMC Studios for a worldwide release of The Terror, Scott’s series adaptation of Dan Simmons’ novel, a speculative retelling of British explorer Sir John Franklin‘s lost expedition of HMS Erebus and HMS Terror to the Arctic in 1845–1848 to force the Northwest Passage, with elements of horror and supernatural fiction), with the series set for release in 2018.[108][109]

Personal life

Scott with his partner Giannina Facio at the world premiere of The Martian held at the Toronto International Film Festival on 11 September 2015

Ridley Scott was married to Felicity Heywood from 1964 to 1975. The couple had two sons, Jake and Luke, both of whom work as directors on Scott’s production company, Ridley Scott Associates. Scott later married advertising executive Sandy Watson in 1979, with whom he had a daughter, Jordan Scott, and divorced in 1989.[110] His current partner is actress Giannina Facio,[111] whom he has cast in all his films since White Squall except American Gangster and The Martian.[112] He divides his time between homes in London, France, and Los Angeles.[77]

His eldest brother Frank died, aged 45, of skin cancer in 1980.[113] His younger brother Tony, who was also his business partner in their company Scott Free, died on 19 August 2012 at the age of 68 after jumping from the Vincent Thomas Bridge which spans Los Angeles Harbor, after an originally disputed long struggle with cancer.[114] Before Tony’s death, he and Ridley collaborated on a miniseries based on Robin Cook‘s novel, Coma for A&E. The two-part miniseries premiered on A&E on 3 September 2012, to mixed reviews.[115] In 2013, Ridley stated that he is an atheist.[116]

Ridley has dedicated several of his films in memory of his family: Blade Runner to his brother Frank, Black Hawk Down to his mother, and The Counselor and Exodus: Gods and Kings to his brother Tony.[117] Ridley also paid tribute to his late brother Tony at the 2016 Golden Globes, after his film, The Martian, won Best Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy.[118]

When asked by the BBC in a September 2014 interview if he believes in God, Scott replied:

I’m not sure. I think there’s all kinds of questions raised… that’s such an exotic question. If we looked at the whole thing practically speaking, the big bang occurred and then we go through this evolution of millions, billions of years where, by coincidence, all the right biological accidents came out the right way. To an extent, that doesn’t make sense unless there was a controlling decider or mediator in all of that. So who was that? Or what was that? Are we one big grand experiment in the basic overall blink of the universe, or the galaxy? In which case, who is behind it? Maybe we’re an experiment which can last a billion years, but which is a blink in their terms and they can then say: ‘Right that didn’t work, let’s blow them up!’[119]

Approach and style

Appearing in the lead role in Scott’s Gladiator and Robin HoodRussell Crowe commented, “I like being on Ridley’s set because actors can perform […] and the focus is on the performers.”[120] Paul M. Sammon, in his book Future Noir: The Making of Blade Runner, commented in an interview with Brmovie.com that Scott’s relationship with his actors has improved considerably over the years.[121] More recently during the filming of Scott’s 2012 film, PrometheusCharlize Theron praised the director’s willingness to listen to suggestions from the cast for improvements in the way their characters are portrayed on screen. Theron worked alongside the writers and Scott to give more depth to her character during filming.[122]

Scott’s work is identified for its striking visuals, with heroines also a common theme.[1][3][8][123] His visual style, incorporating a detailed approach to production design and innovative, atmospheric lighting, has been influential on a subsequent generation of filmmakers.[1][2]Scott commonly uses slow pacing until the action sequences. Examples include Alien and Blade Runner; the LA Times critic Sheila Benson, for example, would call the latter “Blade Crawler” “because it’s so damn slow”. Another technique he employs is use of sound or music to build tension, as heard in Alien, with hissing steam, beeping computers and the noise of the machinery in the space ship. Scott claims to have an eidetic memory, which he says aids him in visualising and storyboarding the scenes in his films.[124]

Scott has developed a method for filming intricate shots as swiftly as possible: “I like working, always, with a minimum of three cameras. […] So those 50 set-ups [a day] might only be 25 set-ups except I’m covering in the set-up. So you’re finished. I mean, if you take a little bit more time to prep on three cameras, or if it’s a big stunt, eleven cameras, and – whilst it may take 45 minutes to set up – then when you’re ready you say ‘Action!’, and you do three takes, two takes and is everybody happy? You say, ‘Yeah, that’s it.’ So you move on.”[120]

Artificial intelligence is a unifying theme throughout Scott’s career as a director, particularly in Blade RunnerAlien, and Prometheus.[125] The recent book The Culture and Philosophy of Ridley Scott identifies Alan Turing and John Searle, a professor at the University of California, as presenting relevant models of testing artificial intelligence known as the Turing test and the Chinese Room Thought Experiment, respectively, in the chapter titled “What’s Wrong with Building Replicants,” which has been a recurring theme for many of Scott’s films.[126] The chapter titled “Artificial Intelligence in Blade RunnerAlien, and Prometheus,” concludes by citing the writings of John Stuart Mill in the context of Scott’s Nexus-6 Replicants in Blade Runner (Rutger Hauer), the android Ash (Ian Holm) in Alien, and the android David 8 (Michael Fassbender) in Prometheus, where Mill is applied to assert that measures and tests of intelligence must also assess actions and moral behaviour in androids to effectively address the themes which Scott explores in these films.[127]

DVD format and Director’s Cut

Scott is known for his enthusiasm for the DVD format, providing audio commentaries and interviews for all his films where possible. In the July 2006 issue of Total Film magazine, he stated: “After all the work we go through, to have it run in the cinema and then disappear forever is a great pity. To give the film added life is really cool for both those who missed it and those who really loved it.”[64]

Running alongside his enthusiasm for DVD, Scott is known for his use of the director’s cut.[63] The positive reaction to the Blade Runner Director’s Cut encouraged Scott to re-cut several movies that were a disappointment at the time of their release (including Legend and Kingdom of Heaven), which have been met with great acclaim.[63] Today the practice of alternative cuts is more commonplace, though often as a way to make a film stand out in the DVD marketplace by adding new material.

Filmography and box office performance

Date Movie Studio United States gross[82] Worldwide gross[82] Theatres[82] Opening weekend[82] Opening theatres Budget
1977 The Duellists Par. $900,000
1979 Alien Fox $80,931,801 $104,931,801 757 $3,527,881 91 $11,000,000
1982 Blade Runner WB $32,768,670 $33,139,618 1,325 $6,150,002 1,295 $28,000,000
1985 Legend Uni. $15,502,112 $23,506,237 1,187 $4,261,154 1,187 $24,500,000
1987 Someone to Watch Over Me Col. $10,278,549 $10,278,549 894 $2,908,796 892 $17,000,000
1989 Black Rain Par. $46,212,055 $134,212,055 1,760 $9,677,102 1,610 $30,000,000
1991 Thelma & Louise MGM $45,360,915 1,180 $6,101,297 1,179 $16,500,000
1992 1492: Conquest of Paradise Par. $7,191,399 $59,000,000 1,008 $3,002,680 1,008 $47,000,000
1996 White Squall BV $10,292,300 $10,292,300 1,524 $3,908,514 1,524 $38,000,000
1997 G.I. Jane BV $48,169,156 $97,169,156 2,043 $11,094,241 1,945 $50,000,000
2000 Gladiator DW $187,705,427 $457,640,427 3,188 $34,819,017 2,938 $103,000,000
2001 Hannibal MGM $165,092,268 $351,692,268 3,292 $58,003,121 3,230 $87,000,000
2001 Black Hawk Down Col. $108,638,745 $172,989,651 3,143 $179,823 4 $92,000,000
2003 Matchstick Men WB $36,906,460 $65,565,672 2,711 $13,087,307 2,711 $65,000,000
2005 Kingdom of Heaven Fox $47,398,413 $211,652,051 3,219 $19,635,996 3,216 $130,000,000
2006 A Good Year Fox $7,459,300 $42,056,466 2,067 $3,721,526 2,066 $35,000,000
2007 American Gangster Uni. $130,164,645 $265,697,825 3,110 $43,565,115 3,054 $100,000,000
2008 Body of Lies WB $39,394,666 $115,321,950 2,714 $12,884,416 2,710 $70,000,000
2010 Robin Hood Uni. $105,269,730 $321,669,730 3,505 $36,063,385 3,503 $200,000,000
2012 Prometheus Fox $126,477,084 $403,354,469 3,442 $51,050,101 3,396 $130,000,000
2013 The Counselor Fox $16,973,715 $70,237,649 3,044 $7,842,930 3,044 $25,000,000
2014 Exodus: Gods and Kings Fox $65,014,513 $268,031,828 3,503 $24,115,934 3,503 $140,000,000
2015 The Martian Fox $228,433,663 $630,161,890 3,854 $54,308,575 3,831 $108,000,000
2017 Alien: Covenant Fox $74,262,031 $240,745,764 3,772 $36,160,621 3,761 $97,000,000
2017 All the Money in the World TriS $25,113,707 $55,624,282 2,123 $5,584,684 2,074 $50,000,000

Recurring collaborators

Accolades

Sir Ridley Scott, Honorary Doctor, at the Royal College of Art, July 2015

Scott was appointed Knight Bachelor in the 2003 New Year Honours for services to the British film industry.[128] He received his accolade from Queen Elizabeth II at a investiture ceremony at Buckingham Palace on 8 July 2003.[5]Scott admitted feeling “stunned and truly humbled” after the ceremony, saying, “As a boy growing up in South Shields, I could never have imagined that I would receive such a special recognition. I am truly humbled to receive this treasured award and believe it also further recognises the excellence of the British film industry.”[129]

He has been nominated for three Academy Awards for DirectingThelma & LouiseGladiator and Black Hawk Down—as well as a Golden Globe, BAFTA and 2 Primetime Emmy Awards. In 1995, Ridley and his brother Tonyreceived the BAFTA for Outstanding British Contribution To Cinema.[4] In 2018 he received the highest accolade from BAFTA, the BAFTA Fellowship, for lifetime achievement.[7]

Scott was inducted into the Science Fiction Hall of Fame in 2007.[130] In 2017 the German newspaper FAZ compared Scott’s influence on the science fiction film genre to Sir Alfred Hitchcock‘s on thrillers and John Ford‘s on Westerns.[131] In 2011, he received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.[132]

In 2012, Scott was among the British cultural icons selected by artist Sir Peter Blake to appear in a new version of his most famous artwork – the Beatles’ Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band album cover – to celebrate the British cultural figures of his life that he most admires to mark his 80th birthday.[133] On 3 July 2015, he was awarded an honorary doctorate by the Royal College of Art in a ceremony at the Royal Albert Hall in London at which he described how he still keeps on his office wall his school report placing him 31st out of 31 in his class, and how his teacher encouraged him to pursue what became his passion at art school.[134][135]

Association Year Category Nominated work Result
Academy Awards 1992 Best Director Thelma & Louise Nominated
2001 Gladiator Nominated
2002 Black Hawk Down Nominated
2016 Best Picture The Martian Nominated
American Film Institute 2002 Director of the Year Black Hawk Down Nominated
Movie of the Year Nominated
BAFTA 1992 Best Director Thelma & Louise Nominated
2001 Gladiator Nominated
2016 The Martian Nominated
1992 Best Film Thelma & Louise Nominated
2008 American Gangster Nominated
1995 Outstanding British Contribution To Cinema Won
2018 BAFTA Fellowship Won
Cannes 1977 Best Debut Film Award The Duellists Won
Palme d’Or Nominated
Directors Guild of America 1992 Best Director – Motion Picture Thelma & Louise Nominated
2001 Gladiator Nominated
2002 Black Hawk Down Nominated
2016 The Martian Nominated
2017 Lifetime Achievement Award Won
Emmy Awards 2000 Outstanding Made for Television Movie RKO 281 Nominated
2002