The book department of Alpina Business Books/United Press presents “The Philosophy of Everyday Things” by Vyacheslav Kornev.
We know very little about the things that surround us. We see these things every day, turn them on and off, use them, collect them, even fall in love with them — but we do this all as a matter of habit, uncritically and even mechanically. As a result, we do not always understand the world we live in. What’s more, daily reality is changing so rapidly that objects created 10 or 20 years ago now seem like artifacts from another planet. This is why we need not only an “endangered list” listing phenomena bordering on extinction, but a working philosophy of everyday things. If we view things as we view the objects of volatile human passions, if we relate to them as we relate to signs, images or cultural events, it leads to a number of interesting questions.
How is modern life similar to a supermarket? Why are mobile communications a type of verbal exhibitionism? Are shoes really the continuation of a woman’s body, her symbolic double? What is a television’s true function? How did a drink with the color, smell and flavor of urine become a cult object? How can you psychoanalyze an avatar? Why does the world of advertising most resemble the afterlife? How did it happen that people’s most private experiences are now standard fare in the advertising and film industry? Why has the era of the working man come to an end? And finally: What is materialism, in principle, and is there an alternative to a consumer society?