The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse

The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse

Rebecca Solnit, as usual, offers plenty of food for thought in her essay, "Finding Time." As often with Solnit, I was both impressed by her insight, and impatient of her tendency to draw tenuous connections to all her pet issues/peeves, irrespective of the subject at hand.

Who can resist a piece that begins, "The four horsemen of my apocalypse are called Efficiency, Convenience, Profitability, and Security, and in their names, crimes against poetry, pleasure, sociability, and the very largeness of the world are daily, hourly, constantly carried out. These marauding horsemen are deployed by technophiles, advertisers, and profiteers to assault the nameless pleasures and meanings that knit together our lives and expand our horizons."

Solnit offers some wonderful insights into the ways in which our lives are shaped by the tyrannical regimen of these four values, but the only downside is that much of it leads inexorably to a litany of the standard complaints against automobiles, commerce, McMansions, consumerism etc. There’s even the obligatory admiring nod to those darned Europeans.

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Rebecca Solnit, as usual, offers plenty of food for thought in her essay, "Finding Time." As often with Solnit, I was both impressed by her insight, and impatient of her tendency to draw tenuous connections to all her pet issues/peeves, irrespective of the subject at hand.

Who can resist a piece that begins, "The four horsemen of my apocalypse are called Efficiency, Convenience, Profitability, and Security, and in their names, crimes against poetry, pleasure, sociability, and the very largeness of the world are daily, hourly, constantly carried out. These marauding horsemen are deployed by technophiles, advertisers, and profiteers to assault the nameless pleasures and meanings that knit together our lives and expand our horizons."

Solnit offers some wonderful insights into the ways in which our lives are shaped by the tyrannical regimen of these four values, but the only downside is that much of it leads inexorably to a litany of the standard complaints against automobiles, commerce, McMansions, consumerism etc. There’s even the obligatory admiring nod to those darned Europeans.

The result is more sermon than opinion journalism. But as I said before, Solnit always makes it worth your while.

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