States of Shock: Stupidity and Knowledge in the 21st Century
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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.
calling ‘web science’), have exemplary value for the whole academic community. 67 The internation against disindividuation This political constitution of global digital and retentional space, conceived as the political constitution of the internation – that is, as a process of rational transindividuation initiated at the instigation of the academic sphere, which will form the kernel and the germ of this internation, and will do so by posing, in the context of industrial technoscience, the
to respond to the injunction of Adorno and Horkheimer, or, more generally, to that which might return us to the questions of Polanyi, and do so as that which has been repressed. We would thus have ignored, forgotten and ultimately erased, over the course of the decades from the post-war period until the beginning of the twenty-first century, the properly tragic character of the warnings issued by these three Jewish émigrés. Who, more precisely, is this we that would be responsible? Who is it
produces a state of bêtise as much as of stupidity (of stupor), and thus that sophistic practices impede thinking, then it is clear that in at least some cases stupidity proceeds from a certain materiality, that of the trace, from what Derrida called the supplement, and it could perhaps be posited that in general, stupidity is tied to exteriorization in traces, that is, that it comes from the fault of Epimetheus, and makes possible what Marx would later call proletarianization.If this last
autonomy’, this was really a question of empowering university management to seek funding sources outside of government. Wide-ranging protests ensued, arguing that this so-called ‘financial autonomy’ on the contrary tied universities and faculties to market mechanisms that would in fact threaten the independence of research and undermine courses deemed to be unprofitable. 20 See Immanuel Kant, The Conflict of the Faculties (Lincoln and London: University of Nebraska Press, 1979), and see p.
18 See p. 49ff. 19 See p. 79ff. 20 This is visible and legible in Immanuel Kant, ‘On the Common Saying: “This May Be True in Theory, but It Does Not Apply in Practice” ’, Political Writings, p. 62; cf. my commentary in Technics and Time, 3, pp. 193ff. 21 Translator's note: on Stiegler's use of ‘accidental’ and ‘accidentality’, see Bernard Stiegler, Philosopher par accident (Paris: Galilée, 2004), pp. 18–19, in which he explains that, contrary to Aristotle and metaphysics, he believes