In The Stifled Soul of Humankind, Cudenec depicts a humanity dispossessed, a society in which freedom, autonomy, creativity, culture, and the spirit of collective solidarity have been deliberately suffocated by a ruthlessly violent and exploitative elite hiding behind the masks of Authority, Property, Law, Progress and God.
But he also identifies an underground current of heresy and resistance which resurfaces at key moments in history and which, he argues, has the primal strength to sweep away the prison walls of our diseased civilization and carry us forward to a future of vitality and renewal.
Cudenec writes: “We have to reintroduce ourselves to history, not as observers but as participants. The power that we can rediscover in ourselves is, among other things, the power to create the future. Prophecy brings hope, hope brings courage, courage brings action, action brings inspiration, inspiration brings more determination, renewed hope, deepened courage. Once this magical spiral of revolt has started spinning, it takes on a life of its own”.
In The Stifled Soul of Humankind, Paul Cudenec delves into disparate corners of history to provide the ammunition for his deeply radical analysis, throwing up some intriguing questions about the way our society has become what it is today.
What is the connection between Sufi mystics of the Middle East and the peasant revolts that shook Europe in the Middle Ages? At what point did Protestantism turn from being a revolutionary force into a reactionary one? What links the colonization of North America with the Highland Clearances in Scotland? What is the basis of authority? Can art retain its authenticity in an industrial civilization? What on earth did Franz Kafka have in common with the völkisch predecessors of the Nazi movement? Is Marxism fundamentally opposed to capitalism? Why was Aldous Huxley targeted for ideological attack by a leading figure in MI6? And, most crucially of all, what is it that ties all these questions together and reveals a seam through the rock of history that can help us understand how so much has gone wrong and how we might yet put it right?
Cudenec’s book The Anarchist Revelation, published by Winter Oak in 2013, has earned some influential praise in anarchist circles. US eco-philosopher John Zerzan, author of Future Primitive and Running on Emptiness, described it as “the least pessimistic book I can recall reading. It brings anarchist resistance and the spirit together in a very wide-ranging and powerful contribution”.
Gabriel Kuhn, translator of Gustav Landauer’s writing into English and author of Life Under the Jolly Roger and Soccer vs the State, wrote: “The book attempts no less than equipping contemporary anarchism with a footing that is often neglected: the transfor-mation not only of society’s structures but also of people’s souls... an inspiring read”.
Cudenec’s essay Antibodies, republished as part of a book of his collected writing in 2013, was welcomed as “very readable and profoundly thoughtful” by Peter Marshall, author of Demanding the Impossible: A History of Anarchism and Nature’s Web: An Exploration of Ecological Thinking. Marshall said Antibodies provided “many new insights on the destructive relationship between the greater part of humanity and the planet which tries to sustain them”.
The Stifled Soul of Humankind by Paul Cudenec (150 pages) will go on sale at £7.99 and will be available from all major booksellers.
Paul Cudenec has a blog at paulcudenec.blogspot.co.uk