Der mühsame Auftakt einer publizistischen Karriere: Das Zwanzigste Jahrhundert. Versuch einer subjektiven Synthese
This text is a part of my dissertation titled “Vilém Flusser in Brasilien. Eine Anthropophagie des Geistes”. It takes up Rainer Guldin’s reflections on Flusser’s Das Zwanzigste Jahrhundert. Versuch einer subjektiven Synthese (cf. Flusser Studies, Nr. 20), a Flusser text which must be regarded as the foundation of his thinking and further writing. Flusser’s epochal title points to historicity. However, Flusser does not pursue an objective approach to history. He undertakes an anthropological introspection of the human being, considering its ‘products’, such as culture, language, philosophy, science, and religion. I draw philosophical and historical connections to two existentialist thinkers: Karl Jaspers and Gustavo Corção, both mentioned as ‘authorities’ by Flusser in a letter to Ernesto Grassi. In the last part of my article, I relate Das Zwanzigste Jahrhundert to Flusser’s famous essay on Brazil: Brasilien oder die Suche nach dem neuen Menschen. There, Flusser is not only influenced by Hegel’s dichotomy of history and non-history, but also by notions from both Grassi’s and Keyserling’s Südamerikanische Meditationen. These ‘traditional’ notions are not uncritically adopted but “anthropophagically” converted into new Brazilian ideas.
A positividade da negação: o exílio de Flusser no Brasil
This text contextualizes Vilém Flusser’s exile in Brazil during the turbulent period of the civil-military uprising of the 1960s, both historiographically and philosophically. It focuses upon the Flusserian network and the discussions of his intellectual constellation. Flusser’s philosophical thoughts are examined through earlier writings including the books History of the Devil and Phenomenology of the Brazilian, in addition to essays published in newspapers, and to his personal correspondence. Interdiscoursive relations are further examined in reference to the writings of Ernesto Grassi and Ernst Jünger. Although Grassi and Jünger arrived in Brazil under different circumstances, they nevertheless introduced concepts that were somehow compatible with Flusser’s narrative of Brazilian history. Special attention is drawn to Flusser’s notion of “progress” and “history” in relation to the Cold War period.