Cultural Discourse looks at a broad range of cultural issues.
23rd November 2010

On Death & Civilization


Death and the Generation of Human Culture

An Essay by Franz Borkenau

Odd Nerdrum, Self-Portrait in a Tree Trunk

"Self-Portrait in a Tree Trunk" by Odd Nerdrum


Franz Borkenau is a little known Austrian philosopher who died in 1957 at the age of 56. His magnum opus, End and Beginning, from which I have excerpted the following essay, was published posthumously in 1981. It is an extensive meditation on the relation of death to civilization and it is a masterpiece. Because it is so little known, and because I believe Borkenau to be a philosopher of culture fit to rank alongside Oswald Spengler, Jean Gebser or William Irwin Thompson, I have decided to post this piece so that his work might reach a larger audience. Read the rest of this entry »

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13th November 2010

Celebrity Metaphysics

One Thousand Malkoviches:

Reflections On the Cultural Phenomenology of Celebrity

An Essay by John David Ebert

(The following piece is an outtake from my book “Dead Celebrities, Living Icons” that did not make the final cut due to space considerations)

(“The Birth of Narcissus” [1976] by Arthur Boyd)

Department Store Monitor

Everyone, by now, has had the following experience: you’re walking through a department store and you round the corner, momentarily caught by surprise at your own image reflected back at you upon the store’s video surveillance monitor. You pause, realizing that you have walked in front of a video camera, and then move on again without giving the matter a second thought. Its very banality has rendered the action insignificant. Read the rest of this entry »

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