THE HOMELESS MIND: An Approach to Modern Consciousness by Peter L.; Brigitte Berger & Hansfried Kellner Berger

THE HOMELESS MIND: An Approach to Modern Consciousness

Email this review


The authors look at modernity from the point of view of everyday pre-theoretical definitions of reality, especially those ""cognitive styles"" associated with technology and bureaucracy. This involves a certain muddiness and a recasting of banalities into portentous observations (""new typifications of others necessarily lead to new typifications of self""; ""Almost any contact between different cognitive systems leads to mutual contamination""). The fault seems to lie not with the authors' Weberian schema per se but with their seeming indifference to the specific historical content of what they vaguely call ""technology,"" so that instead of Finding new, fruitful reciprocities between societal processes and individual consciousness, they run in circles with their definitions. The book comes closer to earth in the discussions of impulses to counter or transcend ""modernity"" in the Third World and the advanced sector. And though obvious, the comments on the counterculture have the merit of clarity -- the rebellion against ""functional rationality,"" the quest for simplification, unity, community. The authors seem to take it for granted that sheer ""modernity"" is actually at fault, and that it is simply its ""acceleration"" that has produced the crisis of the alienated or ""homeless"" mind. As for the future, they point out that the no-growth society in fact would scarcely allow the free, tolerated, pluralistic, subsidized lifestyles desired by counterculturalists. The book's own proposal is to further investigate the theme of participation. Unoriginal and generally unrevealing.

Pub Date: April 17th, 1973
Publisher: Random House