Hakim Bey

Unexpectedly got given a burnt CD of TAZ by Hakim Bey the other day (cheers, Michael), and found myself listening to it after ripping it. It’s good stuff, better than I remember, but still I recall feeling it was a shame that TAZ was what he was best known for when other stuff he’d done seemed better to me.

Particularly Millenium. Which you can read/download free here.

The concept of the Temporary Autonomous Zone is a cool one, don’t get me wrong. There’s just a lot more that his thought touches on in later works. While his prose is often something of a tangled self-indulgent spot-the-reference literary in-joke, there is also a real acuity at play if you can see past the stylistics and embrace the energy.

If you’re interested in freeing up your mental associations and maybe being inspired to indulge in some constructive spiritual anarchy, he’s well worth a look.

More or less everything he wrote is free online here.

No Responses to “Hakim Bey”

  1.   Pearce
    June 22nd, 2006 | 1:36 pm

    Is that the audio version which Robert Anton Wilson is on? I’ve got it somewhere, but have never listened to it.

    I did read the book, and remember the self-indulgent stuff outweighing the good stuff by quite a wide motion, though it’s a few years since I read it. It certainly didn’t help that Bey seemed far too impressed with his own turgid style.

    Immediately afterwards, I read a lengthy interview with Bruce Sterling (in Mondo 2000 I believe) where he ripped the guts out of TAZ. His point of view was that the people who were most likely to benefit from the concept of a Temporary Autonymous Zone were folks like corporations who wanted to dump toxic waste without taking responsibility.

    Sterling likes to talk about how practical ideas are not tied to any particular ideology, and has also pointed out that the concept of sit-ins used by Civil Rights groups in the ’60s has since been co-opted with quite some success by anti-abortion groups. Also that many of the techniques used by the Velvet Revolution, and thus championed by the anti-Communist West, were later adopted by Al Quaeda and have subsequently been demonized by many of the same people.

  2.   Administrator
    June 22nd, 2006 | 11:05 pm

    Haven’t noticed any RAW on it. Much of the stuff in the book of TAZ is quite unnecessary, IMO, which just amplifies what I was saying above.

    Curiously, one of Diami’s lines in Eidolon speaks directly to Sterling’s point. 🙂