2. Devil may care: Flusser’s Journey Into Exile and Beyond Reason
Vilém Flusser’s second book, A história do diabo (“History of the devil”), was published in Brazil in 1965 but has yet to be translated into more widely current languages. The present paper aims to summarize the major arguments contained in that early work, situating them in the cultural and intellectual context of the time. Taking Flusser’s personal history of exile as its point of departure, the paper suggests that the issues raised by the book are prescient of important changes in Western thinking over the past thirty years – in particular, the paradigm shift from the rational certainties of modernity to a more fluid notion of ‘reality’ in post-modernity. Flusser’s pioneering grasp of material appearances as “structures of virtuality”, elaborated through language, is indeed prophetic of things taken for granted in the digital era. For the student of Flusser, this important early work provides an insight into the profound unity underlying the multiple facets of his thought and writings.