Another English Translation of Ernst Jünger’s Bibliography

I just learned that there is now a new English translation of Ernst Jünger’s Approaches: Drugs and Altered States, a post-1945 memoir on his experiences with psychotropic substances. Telos Press published an English translation that is currently available as of this writing.

For those who do not know or have not read my two Treatises on The Fourth Estate, I briefly touched on one of the major topics that the book covered in The Third Place (1st Ed.) in connection to the philosophical concept of the Noösphere. The concept was mentioned in the subsection entitled “Psychonauts of the Noösphere.” The relevant passage reads as follows:

“The Noösphere, as a concept, was also developed around the same time as the conceptualization of the State of Total Mobilization. Humanity is the only entity on Earth that is capable of exhibiting higher intelligence and consciousness to affect the formation of the Noösphere. Humanity is also the only entity that anything to gain from the State of Total Mobilization and the only one developing Technology that disrupts its own relationship with nature. Since the concept itself is a complex one with two branching perspectives from Vernadsky and de Chardin, I was amazed to learn that Jünger developed an interest in exploring human consciousness in relation to the Noösphere towards the end of the reign of Bretton Woods.

The Noösphere, as a concept, was also developed around the same time as the conceptualization of the State of Total Mobilization. Humanity is the only entity on Earth that is capable of exhibiting higher intelligence and consciousness to affect the formation of the Noösphere. Humanity is also the only entity that anything to gain from the State of Total Mobilization and the only one developing Technology that disrupts its own relationship with nature. Since the concept itself is a complex one with two branching perspectives from Vernadsky and de Chardin, I was amazed to learn that Jünger developed an interest in exploring human consciousness in relation to the Noösphere towards the end of the reign of Bretton Woods.

In his own studies of human consciousness, Jünger coined the term “Psychonautics” to describe the attempts made by “Psychonauts” to explore human consciousness through altered states of consciousness. The idea posited is that Psychonauts, by experiencing altered states of consciousness, are trying to connect with the Noösphere, obtain information from it, and articulate the information in more coherent bits of data that can be translated into something tangible. This topic was explored by Jünger in two essays entitled “Approaches: Drugs and Ecstatic Intoxication” (which deals with early 20th century experiments by scientists to explore how narcotics use alters human consciousness) and “The Plant as Autonomous Power.” The latter is an interesting extension of the topic because he was describing how plant life affects the human psyche, and there are two meanings to be inferred. There is an extension of ideas established in the former, which is how most narcotics are derived from plants. But there is also an extension of ideas from The Glass Bees because of the fact that bees are necessary in nourishing the livelihoods of plants.”

Note that the subtitle of Jünger’s Approaches in The Third Place is different from the one which Telos Press chose. The original German title was “Annäherungen: Drogen und Rausch.” I still think both translations provide enough indications on what this work is about.

What Telos Press does not mention explicitly in the description of their English translation was why Jünger went to such lengths to undergo altered states of consciousness during his life. In my discussion of the topic in The Third Place, I stated that the Noösphere was made possible through technological means, as evidenced by the rise of the digital realm. The World Wide Web (WWW) may be the most preeminent form of the Noösphere, but that is not suggest that it is the only one. I later went on to argue that what passes as “human consciousness” is not the sole entity occupying the Noösphere. Every nation is capable of introducing its own National Consciousness to the digital realm, such as enforcing its laws in the digital realm and establishing National Intranets capable of existing outside the WWW. The prevalence of National Consciousnesses in the digital realm would not spell the end of the Noösphere; in actuality, it will yield its diversification by transitioning it away from the monotony and inauthenticity that characterize the WWW.

There is no doubt that Jünger, based on his post-1945 rereleases of Der Arbeiter, that the State of Total Mobilization persisted long after the Second World War, the Death of Bretton Woods, the Cold War, and the occurrences of Deindustrialization, Financialization, and Globalization. The State of Total Mobilization continues in the current century. It has yet to be integrated into the digital realm, a challenge that I have every reason to believe that the Liberal Capitalists are not going to be the ones to successfully integrate it on a worldwide scale. Apart from the National Consciousness concept, prominent problems like malware, mass surveillance, cybercrime, cyberwarfare, and so forth have not been addressed in any meaningful way.



Categories: Compendium, Third Place

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