Friday, June 28, 2013

Ugo Bardi: Dr. Orlov's Report

Sometimes, when you read a book, something rings in your head; something that requires a little work to identify but that, in the end, comes out loud and clear. This was the case for me with the latest book by Dmitry Orlov. It reminded me of something and, eventually, I found out what it was. It was one of the many stories by Jorge Luis Borges, “Dr. Brodie's report” (El relato de Brodie); the description of the barbarous customs and the cruel culture of the African tribe of the Hrn; as observed by Dr. Brodie. The Five Stages of Collapse describes instead the barbarous customs and the cruel culture of the tribe of the Middle Class Westerners” as observed by Dr. Orlov.

It must be said that Orlov and Borges write in very different styles: sometimes Orlov's brilliance hides his depth while, at times, Borges' depth hides his brilliance. And while Borges remains in the allegoric tradition that goes back to Johnathan Swift and his “Yahoos,” Orlov goes direct to his real subject: modern society. But there are points in common. Orlov, like Borges, doesn't hide any of the grim details of what he describes and both Borges and Orlov show a certain sympathy and kindness toward their subject. There are many ways of being human and the great virtue of people such as Orlov and Borges is the capability of appreciating all of them.



Jason Caunter said...

Hey Dmitry,

I left my copy of Reinventing Collapse lying around at work and a colleague of mine picked up and read it and was so impressed with it that he wanted to translate it into his native language for you. I later let him borrow my copy of The Five Stages of collapse when that came in. He was equally impressed with that.

Anyway, if you'd like a copy of your books translated into Albanian (presumably so you could at some point publish it there) he would be very happy to do that for you.

Well, I've used my Google account to leave the message. Just let me know if you're interested. He's serious--as an Albanian he always tells me that it's a point of honor for him to do exactly as he says.

William said...

Wow, I can't imagine a much higher compliment than being compared favorably to Borges.

Unknown said...

I think that the real issue is that if you write about collapse then you are perceived as being against progress. Which leads to being accused of being unsupportive of the weak in our (western) society: unemployed,women.
Also exploring traditional societies leads to being accused of being against progress, traditional being equated to backward.
The facts remains that a slow unrelenting collapse of western societies is a possibility to be taken seriously. And Dmitry's explorations in alternative societies are at least a useful mental exercise, and possibly helpful in arranging new societial forms in an era of energy scarcity.