States of Shock: Stupidity and Knowledge in the 21st Century

States of Shock: Stupidity and Knowledge in the 21st Century

Language: English

Pages: 200

ISBN: 0745664946

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub

In 1944 Horkheimer and Adorno warned that industrial society turns reason into rationalization, and Polanyi warned of the dangers of the self-regulating market, but today, argues Stiegler, this regression of reason has led to societies dominated by unreason, stupidity and madness. However, philosophy in the second half of the twentieth century abandoned the critique of political economy, and poststructuralism left its heirs helpless and disarmed in face of the reign of stupidity and an economic crisis of global proportions.

New theories and concepts are required today to think through these issues. The thinkers of poststructuralism Lyotard, Deleuze, Derrida must be re-read, as must the sources of their thought, Hegel and Marx. But we must also take account of Naomi Klein's critique of Milton Friedman and the Chicago School and her account of the 'shock doctrine'. In fact, argues Stiegler, a permanent 'state of shock' has prevailed since the beginning of the industrial revolution, intensified by the creative destruction brought about by the consumerist model. The result has been a capitalism that destroys desire and reason and in which every institution is undermined, above all those institutions that are the products par excellence of the Enlightenment the education system and universities.

Through a powerful critique of thinkers from Marx to Derrida, Stiegler develops new conceptual weapons to fight this destruction. He argues that schools and universities must themselves be transformed: new educational institutions must be developed both to take account of the dangers of digitization and the internet and to enable us to take advantage of the new opportunities they make available.



















enough to be capable of individuating themselves freely (which we call individualism),13 that is, capable of accessing otium. This general, relative spread of prosperity (in the industrialized world) for noetic souls, however, is not leading these souls to that passage into actuality that would characterize them as noetic by, precisely, keeping subsistence concerns at a distance, that is, submission to negotium (to business). The economic system that made this relative prosperity possible on the

independence of universities vis-à-vis power.25 One might be tempted to believe that the ‘market’, unfolding at a global level, and exceeding local modes of life as the consumerist ‘way of life’, therefore constitutes a new process of the individuation of reference. And this is exactly what marketing would have us believe, as would advertising,26 brands, and everything that, by capturing and deforming attention, short-circuits the attentional forms that typify the various collective

reasons to take Hegelian dialectics seriously 40    Hegel à la lettre 41    Spirit as exteriorization 42    Re-reading I – Phenomenology of Spirit 43    Re-reading II – Objective spirit and the unthought in Hegel Notes 6: Re-Reading the Grundrisse: Beyond Two Marxist and Poststructuralist Misunderstandings 44    Re-reading III – Mastery and servitude: on the ‘dictatorship of the proletariat’ 45    Re-reading IV – The Grundrisse 46    Alternatives, reform and revolution 47    The decline of

heterogeneous regimens cannot be translated from one into the other.’ 16    Lyotard explains: ‘If we wish to discuss knowledge in the most highly developed contemporary society’, which is the subject of this report on knowledge commissioned from Lyotard by the Conseil des universités du Québec, we must choose, he argues, between ‘two basic representational models for society: either society forms a functional whole, or it is divided in two. An illustration of the first is suggested by Talcott

without object (and without transitional object),44 and which as such becomes a systemic stupidity. The phenomenology of spirit leads to this absolute exteriorization that, as proletarianization, makes processes of individuation impossible, that is, processes of trans-formation. It is this absolute exteriorization that constitutes the horizon of The Postmodern Condition (and also of Of Grammatology and Capitalism and Schizophrenia). There is no alternative to this situation so long as the

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