Der Arbeiter

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Jünger, Ernest. Der Arbeiter (The Worker).* 1932. Sämtliche Werke VIII (Stuttgart: Klett-Cotta, 1981).[1]

A rare (nonfascist) variation on the theme of utopia stressing conflict and, well, stress and conflict and technology, but technology with what Jünger "suggests an essence of information technology." But —

Technology [...] means command over the language that rules in the workplace. This language is not less important, not less profound, than any other since it has not only its grammar but also its metaphysics. In this connection, the machine plays just as secondary a role as the human being, since it is only one of the features through which this language is spoken (160). [...] The traditional wish-fulfillment aspect of utopian writing begins with the fantasy of a place well endowed for human ease and then constructs a system of human relations that completes the picture. In Der Arbeiter Jünger has attempted a task of imagination that relies on none of the conventional supports. [...]

He begins with a quite contrary effort to imagine a new formulation for human motivations that we scarcely recognize as either human or natural. [...] [T]his identity of the new worker incorporates the completely different concept of work pursued for the sake of its "flight forward," in [Ernst] Bloch's phrase, by which the industrial machine becomes the enforcer (to speak with Heidegger in his essay on technology) of a world we enter through the gateway of a historically new heroism.

— From Marcus Paul Bullock, "Flight Forward: The World of Ernst Jünger's Worker," which see at internal link for fuller annotation of Der Arbeiter, here (463-64).

  • Bullock rejects the suggestion, but notes that "because the book describes labor determined by industrial technology, commentators discussing it in English [...] often suggest alternatives [for the title] like 'the technocrat'" (p. 468).

RDE, finishing, 26Mar23