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The current crisis and the engineering of consent: Jan Patočka on the radical supercivilisation

Učník, L. (2015) The current crisis and the engineering of consent: Jan Patočka on the radical supercivilisation. In: International conference to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the Jan Patočka Archives in Prague, 15 - 16 May 2015, Prague, Czech Republic.


In this paper, I will start with the elimination of acting human beings from the space of the political, now reconfigured on the abstract model of market relations, to look at the crisis in and of the world. What we have recognised previously as social problems that we need to address on the level of society are now reconfigured as ‘psychological traits’ in each of us, supposedly responding to a self-running and self-knowing market. Individuals are stripped of every other human characteristic. We are self-sufficient, self-driven, self-interested ‘rational’ atoms driven by the entrepreneurial spirit. Informed by Patočka’s understanding of modern society as technological civilization, I will argue that to limit ourselves to the ‘current crisis of Europe’ is to miss a world crisis, defined by neoliberal economic domination of the world. The present-day crisis is not only European; it is not only a crisis of rational and spiritual European culture: it is a crisis that affects us all. Modern society is in crisis, and this crisis is not only political, economic or environmental but is also, fundamentally, a crisis of meaning.

Item Type: Conference Item
Murdoch Affiliation(s): School of Arts
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Other Information: Keynote Speech
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