Societies of Disindividuated Hyper-Control: On the Question of a New Pharmakon [Book Review]

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Drawing on Adorno and Horkheimer's oft-quoted 1944 essay, “The Culture Industry: Enlightenment as Mass Deception,” Bernard Stiegler’s The Age of Disruption affirms that the Frankfurt School duo scrupulously envisaged a “new kind of barbarism,” or an inversion of modernity’s Enlightenment project illustrated by our contemporary political semblance. Surveying the critical social fissures that index contemporary Western civil society—from 9/11 to the 2002 Nanterre massacre and the 2015 Charlie Hebdo shooting—Stiegler diagnoses that our epoch is plagued by the “absence of epoch,” whereby computational capitalism and algorithmic governmentality have extirpated the “transcendental imagination” underlying vital primordial narcissism. In short, these are symptoms a world increasingly “going mad,” in a thousand ways, possible because we are the bearers of “a negative protention of a becoming without future,” yet “we prefer not to say so: we do not want to know about it.”
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