Byung-Chul Han

28 Feb 2023 09:03 - 01 Nov 2023 11:49
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    • philosopher; popular within WS circles.
    • "Today, everyone is an auto-exploiting labourer in his or her own enterprise. People are now master and slave in one. Even class struggle has transformed into an inner struggle against oneself."
      • I've had a similar thought, not historicized though – that a slave or ordinary laborer has to make themselves perform on some level, and thus becomes an agent of their own exploitation. There is always a Boss Within .
    • LARB: Media and Transparency: An Introduction to Byung-Chul Han in English
      • Han’s primary concern as a philosopher is to illuminate changes in the experience of subjectivity in the transition from post-industrial to digital society.
      • Han has hit on something of great import for subjectivity in his critique of the equivalence of human and computational reason. At the end of The Agony of Eros, he asserts, “There is no data-driven thinking.” Data is assimilable to thought, but only as a form of submission.
    • Philosopher Byung-Chul Han: Information Without Narrative Disrupts Democracy (Noema interview)
      • ...truth, unlike information, has a centripetal force that holds society together. Information, on the other hand, is centrifugal, with very destructive effects on social cohesion. If we want to comprehend what kind of society we are living in, we need to understand the nature of information. Bits of information provide neither meaning nor orientation. They do not congeal into a narrative. They are purely additive. From a certain point onward, they no longer inform — they deform. They can even darken the world. This puts them in opposition to truth.
      • OK, I am having a weird mixed reaction. Yes what he is saying is very true, it's kind of obvious to all what digital media does, he isn't saying anything very new but he crystallizes it, in a dour sort of way.
      • It's too easy to critique capitalism, postmodernism, digitalism. I don't need to read that shit. I want to hear about how people are making their narratives and meanings in this radically unstable information landscape. When he kvetches "Everything that binds and connects is disappearing. There are hardly any shared values or symbols, no common narratives that unite people." this is not news! It sounds like the Communist Manifesto's plaint "all that is solid melts into air". That was a good line then, but OK, we know we live in an unstable, groundless world at this point.