Charles Barbour does not work for, consult, own shares in or receive funding from any company or organization that would benefit from this article, and has disclosed no relevant affiliations beyond their academic appointment.
The great – if sometimes overlooked – 20th-century philosopher and cultural critic Günther Anders once proposed that our modern age is characterised by a dangerous and pervasive “Apocalypse-Blindheit”: a blindness to the apocalypse.
Writing in the midst of the 20th-century nuclear arms race, he suggested an unquestioning faith in science and progress prevents us from seeing the technological catastrophe spreading out all around us.
The reality of human-created climate change has, in recent years, perhaps begun to cure this condition. And there are at least some indications a significant number of people are becoming aware of the mess we’re in.
But, as Richard King notes in his sweeping and ambitious Here Be Monsters, our philosophical or intellectual responses to technology have not really kept pace with events.