Many people know Julian Langer as a folk musician and singer-songwriter. Come January 1st, however, Langer will also be a published author. His book, Feral Consciousness, focuses on the topics of anarchism and environmentalism.
A student of philosophy, Langer has brought the celebrated minds of thinkers such as Sigmund Freud, Friedrich Nietzsche, Louis Althusser – to name a few – into contact with current environmentalism. Langer presents the cold, hard reality of climate change in a no-holds-barred attitude. However, the book is as witty and humorous as it is cynical – Langer shares personal anecdotes, and some well-placed hash tags.
“I wanted to create something that was useful, and that people could connect to,” Langer explained. “I didn’t want it to read like a work of academia – but I still needed it to have weight.”
In many ways, Feral Consciousness was unlike any book I’d read before. Towards the second half, Langer beckons the reader to go forth in any order they like. They’re met with lyrics, poetry, essays, and even a culturally-comparative retelling of the Epic of Gilgamesh. When I asked Langer if he drew inspiration for the layout of his work from other writers, or if the idea came to him originally, he quite rightfully replied, “I like the idea of ‘uniqueness’, but not of ‘originality’ – all ideas are a reflection. I find ‘originality’ to be a difficult idea – it doesn’t rest with how I see the world. I think we borrow from our experiences, and that’s how we create things.
There’s a short list of books at the end of Feral Consciousness that I feel are worth reading,” Langer continued, “One of the main points of Feral Consciousness is that you can’t ever find what is ‘Real’ in language, or in words. You can only find representations of it, and those are always skewed in various ways. A book can’t get you closer to the ‘Real’ – but it can get rid of some of the things that take you away from the ‘Real’.”
Throughout Feral Consciousness, Langer suggests ways in which the reader can come to terms with, and then change, their relationship to the world. One of those suggested ways is to engage in arts – whether that’s visually, musically, or with poetry. “Art reveals artificiality, and reveals itself as something of a conjunctive break – leaving the ‘what was’ for the ‘what is’.”
Feral Consciousness is as devastating as it is defiant. It shows the extent and consequences of global destruction, while suggesting a way forward. To quote the man himself: “#theresapartyandyou’reallinvited.”
Feral Consciousness will be released by Little Black Cart on January 1st. To grab your copy, click here.
Feature by Nickie Shobeiry