Interview with bernard stiegler

One the other hand, however, Stiegler’s philosophical enterprise can also be seen as a continuation of the project of critical theory, of its social cri- tique, its critique of political economy and its critique of the culture in-dustry. This can be identified as the ‘Marxist’ strand of his work. Most ‘THIS SYSTEM DOES NOT PRODUCE PLEASURE ANYMORE’ remarkably, it is on the basis of his techno-critical project that Stiegler provides a sociopolitical critique of contemporary capitalist and postmod- ern society. This society suffers from what he calls a state of generalized Proletarianization, Stiegler argues with Gilbert Simondon and Karl Marx, consists essentially in the loss of knowledge and know-how (savoir-faire) in individuals and collectives. Whereas nineteenth-century capitalism proletarianized workers by delegating their knowledge and know-how to machines, reducing them to labor power, twentieth-century capitalism has proletarianized consumers by depriving them of their own ways of life and massively replacing them with preformatted and standardized ‘life- Although the French philosopher Bernard Stiegler (1952) is still largely styles’ fabricated and marketed on a worldwide scale by global corpora- unknown in the Netherlands, he is without doubt one of the most impor- tions exclusively driven by profit. In today’s service economies, consumers tant continental thinkers of today. His voluminous and rapidly expanding are ‘discharged’ of the burden as well as the responsibility of shaping their œuvre is gaining increased attention within academia and his three vol- own lives and are reduced to units of buying power controlled by market- ume magnum opus Technics and Time has become available recently in ing techniques. They have lost their ‘knowledge-how-to-live' (savoir- English and German translations. The central idea guiding his work is vivre) and become ultimately deprived of the joy of life (joie de vivre). The that the human being is marked by an ‘originary absence of origin’ [défaut much-heard slogan that our contemporary societies are ‘knowledge socie- d’orgine], a fundamental lack of qualities that makes him into an acciden- ties’ is a patent lie, according to Stiegler. In fact, today’s cognitive capital- tal being originally in need of technical prostheses and therefore funda- ism implies the systematic destruction of knowledge and the knowing mentally constituted and conditioned by technics. For Stiegler, humanity The phenomenon of proletarianization, that is put on the agenda of phi- Stiegler is in many respects a fairly traditional continental philosopher, a losophical reflection again by Stiegler, is not something that came up first heir to Nietzsche, Husserl, Heidegger, Foucault and Derrida and deeply with the Industrial Revolution. In fact, it forms a constant threat to the affiliated with the traditions of phenomenology, psychoanalysis and de- human as a being that continuously evolves through processes of techni- construction. The originality of his work resides first of all in a Heideg- cal exteriorization that must necessarily be accompanied by processes of gerian-like rethinking of the entire Western philosophical tradition on the interiorization and appropriation of technical prostheses and procedures. basis of its systematically forgotten technical condition. Whereas Heideg- This is particularly true since the exteriorization of memory and cogni- ger criticized metaphysics for its forgetfulness of being, Stiegler charges tion in so-called mnemotechnologies like writing and printing. What is philosophy, including Heidegger himself, with forgetting its technical characteristic of our contemporary age, according to Stiegler, is the sys- condition of possibility and that means its irretrievable accidentality. tematic industrialization of human memory and cognition through digi- Journal for contemporary philosophy Pieter Lemmens – An interview with Bernard Stiegler tal technologies, a process with dramatic implications for individual hu- economy is emerging, one that is not only inventing new modes of pro- man psyches as well as collectives. In our hyperindustrial societies, even duction like open source and peer-to-peer, but that is also slowly creating the life of the mind is thoroughly technicized and industrialized and this a new economy of desire that could lead to the invention of new ways of happens in the context of an increasingly totalitarian capitalism. life, new modes of individual and collective existence. A new society could arise on the same technological base that is now still predominantly de- It is the systematic annexation of the new technical milieus of the mind stroying the social bonds. The digital networks might be the prime cata- (first of all the network of digital information and communication tech- lysts in the transformation from today’s consumer society into what he nologies: Internet) by capitalism that is the principal cause of the cognitive calls a ‘society of contribution’. In this context he talks in this interview and emotional proletarianization that affects all strata of contemporary about technologies in terms of pharmaka (a term derived from Plato and society. Capitalism today exploits the mnemotechnical milieu for captur- from his teacher Derrida) that can act both as a poison, destroying social- ing the attention and desires of populations for the purpose of promoting ity and proletarianizing human existence, as well as a medicine, producing consumption and creating consumer subjects. This phenomenon is called social ties and deproletarianzing human existence. psychopower by Stiegler, in analogy to Michel Foucault’s notion of bio-power. Its ultimate result is the destruction of the libido and with it the ‘My books want to serve struggles [servir des luttes]’, Stiegler writes in one sublimatory capacities of humanity, which lie at the basis of every civiliza- of his prefaces. The struggles he refers to are struggles in the context of a tion. Today’s cognitive and consumer capitalism is first of all a capitalism ‘battle for the mind’, a battle in which the forces of a capitalism that has focused on the control of libidinal energy – of consumers and employees become nihilistic stand opposed to a humanity that needs to develop a as well as financiers. Criticizing it presupposes the development of a cri- new, global consciousness and collectivity in order to challenge the global multicrisis that is closing in upon it. Philosophy, according to Stiegler, should engage itself in the global struggle for the mind against a capitalist In this interview, Stiegler talks about today’s processes of proletarianiza- system that is systematically degrading and brutalizing human existence, tion and addresses some of the pernicious consequences of capital’s ex- destroying desire, intelligence and the joie de vivre. And philosophers ploitation of the technical milieu of the mind, among them the many should focus their attention on the digital network technologies, which psychopathologies and addictive behavior patterns that agonize ever more are still predominantly factors of the erosion of consciousness and social- people, especially since the rise of the purely speculative, short-term based ity but which could – and should – become a new technical milieu for the finance capitalism invented by the neoliberals and the neoconservatives. life of the mind, for a renewed spiritual and intellectual culture (in By subjecting technological innovation completely to the logic of the Stiegler’s terms: a libidinal economy). With this enormous task in mind, market, the so called ‘conservative revolution’ led by Thatcher and Stiegler and some colleagues have established Ars Industrialis, an interna- Reagan has engendered a cultural and spiritual regression of unprece- tional association for the promotion of an industrial politics of spirit, dented magnitude, transforming the whole of society into a machine for based in Paris. Existing since 2005, it organizes conferences, debates, semi- profit maximization and creating a state of ‘systemic carelessness’ and nars and international meetings and it has published two manifestos and ‘systemic stupidity’ on a global scale. Notwithstanding his rather bleak diagnosis of contemporary society, Stiegler is not pessimistic with regard to the future. Whereas today’s capi-talism is headed for destruction, it is precisely in the digitalized networks through which it tries to control the populations that a new kind of Journal for contemporary philosophy Pieter Lemmens – An interview with Bernard Stiegler PL: Let’s start with your general position within the larger field of philoso- genesis, forms of life were transformed exclusively through a genetic phy of technology, notwithstanding the fact that you don’t consider process of transformation, that is to say through sexual differentiation yourself a philosopher of technology in the strict sense of the term. In the and the relationship between sexualized organisms, which is the case for philosophy of technology one distinguishes roughly between two oppos- plants and animals. But about three million years ago there occurred a ing views about the relationship between technology and society: on the fundamental change in this process of transformation within the human one hand technological determinism, the thesis that it is technology and species, due to the appearance of a new system of inheritance based not on technological change which determines the structure of society and/or the transmission of genes but of technical artefacts. So with respect to culture, and on the other hand social or cultural determinism, the thesis anthropogenesis, we are not talking about a Darwinist situation anymore. that it is society and/or culture that determines the shape and character of But neither is it a Lamarckist situation. It is something completely differ- technologies and technological change. This last view, which is held by ent, due to this apparition of a third memory the many Latour- and Callon-inspired social-constructivists in the Neth-erlands, is also referred to as the ‘social shaping of technology’ thesis. The Now to answer your question, it is completely artificial to ask, what is the first view is held for instance by Jacques Ellul but is also attributed some- relationship of the human to technics? Because the human is technics. Humanity cannot even be understood without technics. Take the exam-ple of the ant in the anthill. It is impossible to understand the ant without Another broad opposition is that between the so-called autonomy theory the anthill. If you don’t see it within the anthill, it is impossible to under- of technology (also known as technological substantivism), and the in- stand it. And you need to consider the relationship with the other ants as strumentalist view of technology. The first holds to the idea that technol- well, because it is a social animal. And it is the same when you have, for ogy and technological change have a logic of their own and are outside of example, a savage child which has not learned to speak and to walk, etcet- human control and decision, the second claims that technology is a neu- era. Such a child is not really human. It is a potentiality of humanity, but tral means used by autonomously acting human beings for a variety of it’s not human. It is a very strange being between animality and human- ends, to which technologies are indifferent. This view is also sometimes ity. So, it is artificial to ask, for example, what is determining human life: is referred to as the humanist view. Substantivism is most often associated it the psychic apparatus of the individual, is it the social organization or is with Heidegger and Ellul, whereas liberal conceptions of technology are it the technical organization? It is completely artificial because you don’t generally perceived as being instrumental and typically subscribing to have a psychic individual without a society, and you don’t have a society social and/or economic determinism. How would you characterize your view with respect to these two schematic oppositions? PL: Ok, but you also claim that there is a primacy of technology. BS: Well, in fact my principal sources here are André Leroi-Gourhan, a paleoanthropologist, Gilbert Simondon, a philosopher of technology and BS: It is not exactly a primacy. It must be understood as a ‘disadjustment’ Bertrand Gille, a historian of technology. My point of view is that the [desajustément] between the social system and the technical system, be- separation between the human and technics, and between society and cause you are in a process. What is a process? It is a dynamic system. You technics or the technical system is completely artificial. don’t have a process without a dynamic system. And in a dynamic system you have phases, and when you have a phase, you always have a counter It is important to understand that technology is a process, an evolution- phase. That is necessary. If not, then you don’t have a dynamic system. ary process. What is technics, or technology, or technicity? It is a new Now, it is true that technics is always in excess with respect to the society form of life. A very specific form of life, for until the onset of anthropo- in which it appears. This is the reason I said that technics is always phar- Journal for contemporary philosophy Pieter Lemmens – An interview with Bernard Stiegler macological. It is always a pharmakon, because it is always creating a dis- Technics and Time. The Fault of Epimetheus. When pre-historic man is equilibrium in the society in which it is developed and by which it is de- producing flint stones, thereby exteriorizing his experience, he is in fact PL: And the creation of this disequilibrium, is that what you call the poi- PL: So the stone is reflecting what he has exteriorized back to himself, soning character of the pharmakon? Could you elaborate upon this no- tion of the pharmakon, which has become one of the key concepts of your work, and could you explain what you mean with the pharmacol- BS: Yes, and it is a concept. In paleoanthropology we call that a concept, precisely. Because we say: there is a concept of the flint stone. Now your question was technological determinism or not. Well, there is no techno- BS: The pharmacological nature of technology means both its poisoning logical determinism. What there is is a technological condition. There is a and its curative character. It is both poisoning and curing. At its first ap- conditional situation in which you have what I call a general organology: pearance, however, it is poisoning. It becomes curative when you have there are always three terms involved in the transformation of the hu- what I call the second moment of epochality of technics, le redoublement man, which are the psychic, the technical and the social. And you have a epochale [the process of appropriation of a new technical system by soci- tendency of the technics to change always beyond the barriers, beyond ety and the development of new modes of psychic and collective indi- viduation based on this technical system; PL]. So, the problem of disad-justment is what was called by Shakespeare ‘the time is out of joint’. What This has always been the case. When you read for example what was writ- is creating this being out of joint? That is the question. And my answer is: ten by Leroi-Gourhan about the Amer-Indian people when they use, for the process of technical exteriorization. example, a racket for clearing snow. He talks about the ‘technical group’, because in a small tribe like the Amer-Indian people you have a small For instance: at this very moment I am exteriorizing myself. Speaking group within the larger group, which is the group of technicians. And he with you, I am exteriorizing myself. And that means: I am technicizing writes that the technicians of this group of Indians tend to make connec- myself. If I talk with you, I create new words. I very much like to create tions with other technicians of other groups, to create new techniques new words [laughter]. A word is also a new technical object. The opposi- together, which then disturb and sometimes even destroy their own tion between technics and speech for me is completely artificial. groups. So they have a problem of disequilibrium. And then the society produces an immune system as response, in the sense of a counter- Now, for a human being, to live is to individuate oneself. How am I indi- tendency. But whether the countertendency is after it or before it, is not viduating myself? By exteriorizing myself. And in the same way, I am inte- the right question. You have the tendency at the very moment when you riorizing myself, because when I speak to you, I am listening to what I say, have the countertendency. Because, as Nietzsche said, you cannot have a so I interiorize myself. Now this process of exteriorization-interiorization force without a counterforce. So it is absolutely not interesting to ask: is the originary process of psychic and social individuation. So you can see where is the beginning, what is the first moment? There is no first mo- very clearly that at the beginning of psychic activity you always already have technics, i.e., technical individuation. Now, you might not be a pro-fessional speaker, like me, but you might for instance produce flint stones. PL: So there is no determinism by either society or technics… Suppose you are a prehistoric man and you are producing stone tools. It is exactly the same thing. That is what I try to describe in my first book Journal for contemporary philosophy Pieter Lemmens – An interview with Bernard Stiegler BS: Indeed. And here Gilbert Simondon is extremely fruitful, because he BS: Firstly, the process of proletarianization didn’t begin with the Indus- furnished a very interesting concept which is the ‘pre-individual’. In the trial Revolution. That is the reason why I try to show that the first thinker pre-individual, you don’t have the separation between the technical, the of proletarianization is in fact Plato. More strongly even, the process of psychic and the social. But this argument also appears in Aristotle. When proletarianization marks the beginning of humankind. Because, what is he said – I think at the beginning of Peri psycheos, or De Anima – that a proletarianization? It is first of all the exteriorization of knowledge in dialectician separates form and matter, but that it’s in fact impossible to technics. It begins with technics. Now the problem is, what is the gain of separate them in reality, he saw this already. So I think it is an artefact to the process of exteriorization for humanity? Is it creating heteronomy or try to find the causal origin. We must think from the very first beginning autonomy? For example: if you are using a technique which is producing in terms of a dynamic system, in which you have phases, and what is im- free time for you to do another thing, for instance developing your skills portant – but very difficult – is to describe the relationships between the and individuating yourself, then the result of this exteriorization is an intensification of your individuation. If you use the technique of writing for example, not for creating a dependency and heteronomy in the youth PL: That is what you intend with a general organology? of Athens, like the Sophists did who appear in Plato’s dialogues, but on the contrary for taking care of one’s self BS: Yes, and it is very difficult to describe, because it is always changing. ducing philosophy books, etcetera, then one individuates oneself with and through those books. Plato never says that, of course, but that is what he PL: Ok, thank you. I would like to ask you now about the relationship between the process of technical exteriorization and what you call prole-tarianization in your latest books. I find that a very interesting concept, as well as the opposing concept of deproletarianization. You kind of rehabili-tate this originally Marxian concept. Our postmodern societies, you claim, BS: No he didn’t like books but he produced books! [laughter] And all the are characterized by a state of generalized proletarianization and so the people of the academy produced books. Aristotle produced books as well. most important political and cultural project of the future will be a proc- All the scholars of the academy were producers of books. Léon Robin, a ess of deproletarianization. In this respect you refer to phenomena like French specialist of Greek philosophy, said that the academy produced Open Source and Free Software as prefigurations of this process. only small books for explaining what the philosophy of Plato was which was heard everywhere in Athens. So Plato was doing exactly the same Now, returning to the relationship of proletarianization with the process thing as the Sophists. He argues exactly like Immanuel Kant did in Was ist of technical exteriorization: in your diagnosis something goes wrong to- Aufklärung? Kant wrote: you can read my books, but only if you don’t use day with the ‘adjustment’ [ajustement] of society to technological change, them for proletarianizing yourself. He doesn’t say it like that of course, that is to say with the societal appropriation of technological innovations. but that is what he had in mind when he said: if you read my books in First of all, probably, because innovation is speeding up every day, second, order to avoid thinking for yourself, out of laziness for instance, you are because it is completely dominated and exploited by capitalism, by the proletarianizing yourself. He does not use the word ‘proletarianize’, he economic system. Can you explain that a bit? What is really causing this says ‘minorize’ [mineur],but he means the same. Reading books without chronic disadjustment and disorientation? Is it capital (capitalism), or is it reflecting upon them and critically engaging with them leads to minority, technics? In short, can you elaborate a bit upon the connection between technical exteriorization and proletarianization, and that in relationship to capitalism and the current disorientation? Journal for contemporary philosophy Pieter Lemmens – An interview with Bernard Stiegler This question of proletarianization is in fact at the origin of philosophy Thatcher said: now we will submit all these things to the economy. And and it is a question of autonomization versus heteronomization. Now, my at the same moment Reagan did the same in America. And after that Mit- point of view is that pure autonomy does not exist. My own position – terand in his way, in social democracy. But everybody did in fact, the and it is very close to Derrida’s – is that there is never an autonomy with- whole world did the same. Even in Soviet and Chinese society. out a link to a heteronomy, i.e., with a link to technics. Because for exam-ple, in Greek society people were creating their autonomy through a PL: Why was that? And why was it so successful? therapeutic use of the pharmakon of writing, i.e., of the technique of writ-ing. So, autonomy is always a limited autonomy, never a pure autonomy. BS: There are a lot of reasons. The first one is that American and English Now, all my questions are extremely classical in fact. But, with a very capitalism seemed extremely strong at that moment. Nevertheless, small change, in that it is impossible to oppose autonomy and heteron- Thatcher and Reagan knew already that it was finished with controlling production. You know that in 1979 Liverpool was in ruins. The whole of the economy in England was a catastrophe. It was also very bad in Amer- Now, in coming back to your question, what is happening today, to us? ica. It was the beginning of the exportation of the production of, for ex- Well, it is the consequence of what started at the end of the Seventies in ample, the electronic industries to Japan and Korea, and after that to England with Margaret Thatcher, who proclaimed that from now on, we Thailand, then to China. This was the deindustrialization of the West. don’t need the state anymore. Instead we let the market organize the ap- And the strategy of Thatcher and Reagan was: we now need to produce a propriation of technologies. And why was this extremely toxic and nega- new type of capitalism, which was a financialized capitalism, being purely tive for the future of humanity? Because it was the whole planet which speculative. Not a capitalism of investment, but a capitalism of specula- transformed the policies and the economy after that. It is not so much tion. It was the creation of what led, in the end, to people like Bernie catastrophic because of the end of the welfare state, which is a question Madoff… as the norm of capitalism. Before that, Madoff would be consid- that is very important for me, but not the main question. ered a gangster. But after that he was not a gangster, he was a policeman, because he was the chairman of the Nasdaq! The main question is that the state has been for a very long time – already at the time of the Greek polis – an organization for the appropriation of PL: You speak about the ‘mafiazation’ of capitalism. technical exteriorization, i.e., for the adoption of new technologies in a way that was producing what I call a libidinal economy, i.e., a collective BS: It is a mafiazation. Now this ‘conservative revolution’ was changing libidinal economy producing a superego, an ego ideal, etcetera. It created something extremely important, which is the socialization of technics. a kind of equilibrium, a psychic equilibrium, in which you had, for exam- Because, formerly, the socialization of technics was not done by market- ple, the Greek people inventing the skholeion, that is a place for teaching. ing. It was carried out by a lot of different organizations, in general public It was the same with the schools of the Romans. And in Christian society organizations, but also religious organizations. Religion has been ex- it was the organization of the Vatican, the Papists. And after that it was tremely important in the history of the West but at the beginning of the Luther who explained that laymen can read the Bible, but they need an Eighties it was gone. And we now say that the state is what has been… organization as well, which was the Reformation of Christianity. Later, after the French Revolution and the Industrial Revolution, you had the PL: Well, the neoliberal state is a strong state, one could argue, in certain organization of the public sphere, of the lay sphere, of teaching and public education, etcetera. And it was always agreed upon that it was impossible to submit this activity to the economy. But in 1979 in Great Britain, Ms. Journal for contemporary philosophy Pieter Lemmens – An interview with Bernard Stiegler BS: Yes, but it is a state only for security and for controlling the pathologi- not at all sure, and it is not my problem today. It is possible for example to cal behavior of people. It is only military and police. produce a cooperative capitalism. I know of people exploiting capital in a cooperative way. It still is capitalism, because you have ownership of the PL: Yes, but for instance, it is also involved in the disciplining of the popu- means of production by a collective, but this collective is proprietary. It is lation to adapt to the market, in encouraging citizens to become self- not a collectivization in the communist sense. It is capitalist. But it is a entrepreneurs, in installing competition everywhere, in turning the whole of society into a market, etcetera. It is in a sense a strong state, not a state that is withdrawing itself. The question of capitalism is the opposition between capital and work. And this opposition between capital and work is an opposition through BS: Yes. But my problem is not to qualify the traits of the state; it is to property. Now if we change the law of property, for example by sharing qualify the goals of the state. What is a strong state? At the moment here the sources of software code in Free Software, we are changing something in France there is a proposal for privatizing the police. And you might very crucial. Is it capitalism or not? I don’t know… and I don’t care. I pre- know for instance that there is also a project, I think in Germany, for pri- fer to do it, and to ask only afterwards. When I say I don’t care, I don’t say vatizing the military, like in America. The Iraq war was already a war it is not a very important question, but we are in a situation of emergency fought with private armies. It is a return to the situation of the seven- today. We have to do things, not only to think. We have to propose teenth century, to the age of mercenaries. Now, are we talking about the things. We don’t have time for discussions about whether it will be capital- state here? When you say that the state is very strong, what if the state is ism or not. We need to create a new situation. The question, for instance, only one man, for example Sarkozy or Berlusconi, who gives money to a is to go to the investment banks and ask them in what they want to in- privatized police? Is that really a state? No, it is mafia. The mafia is very vest. Not to speculate but to invest. And to tell them: you have a lot of strong, not the state. What is the state? Here I have a problem with Der- money, you don’t know what to do with this money, you must invest in rida, Deleuze, Foucault, and all those French philosophers, who are al- this new system, the future is there. If I say to them it is the end of capital- ism [BS laughs], they will not invest. The question today is: what is the new industrial model? PL: You argue that the open source and free software movements in the BS: And Marx too, yes. But they do not see what the state today really is. software industry are a kind of harbinger of this new model, i.e., prefigu- When Foucault criticized the state and the preparation of neoliberal ide- rations of what you also call an ‘economy of contribution’. And you sug- ology, at that moment functioning in France, he was in fact completely gest that these movements must be understood as engaged in a process of forgetting another role of the state, which is precisely how to deal with deproletarianization. Could you explain that a bit more. And could you the technological pharmakon. How to transform the pharmakon, which also explain why you have put your hopes so much in these, in my view is poisonous, in a practice of education, etcetera. This used to be a state still pretty marginal practices, especially Free Software. Open source is big policy. And this is extremely important. nowadays of course, at least in the software sector, but it represents a kind of pragmatization, even capitalization and thereby a betrayal of the prin- The question today for me is not the end of capitalism or the return of the ciples of Free Software. And as such it remains immanent to capitalism. communist horizon. Today we have to create a new industrial model. What is your ‘pharmacological hope’, so to speak, with respect to these This new industrial model will possibly produce a new political organiza- tion, and an economical organization which may not be capitalist. But it is Journal for contemporary philosophy Pieter Lemmens – An interview with Bernard Stiegler BS: That is a very important question, but difficult, very difficult. Firstly, I is because I cannot stop anymore. I would like to stop but it is impossible. think it’s not hope. Well, it is hope, that’s clear, but it is also a rationality. Now capitalism is confronted with a very similar problem. It has a lot of Now, today capitalism has become irrational, completely irrational. There intoxicated people to manage and it is impossible to manage intoxicated is a discussion now going on in Switzerland – that was said this morning people. When Burroughs says, I could kill my mother for my heroin, it is on the radio in France – about the regulation of the irrationality of the the same question now for example in France with Sarkozy when he says financialized market. We have had a discourse from Thatcher and Reagan with respect to the young people of the poor, in the Banlieus, that it is up until Chirac and Sarkozy, that talked about the ‘rationality of market’. impossible to control them. Yes, it is impossible. And at the moment it is Everybody agreed that market rationality was the ultimate rationality. only in the Banlieus, but within five or ten years from now, it will be eve- But what is this market rationality? The market is rational because it is all about calculation, computation. But that is a completely stupid under-standing of what rationality is, because rationality is precisely, to speak PL: You talk about today’s control societies (Deleuze) becoming uncon- with Kant, that which is not calculable. Understanding is calculation, but trollable societies in the second volume of Mécréance et Discrédit. Les rationality isn’t. Rationality, on the contrary, is infinitization. So it is sociétés incontrolâbles. Could you say more about that? You see that completely stupid to say that the market is rational. But those people who hailed the rationality of the market are completely incompetent. They know nothing about the history of thought. BS: I think so. If you look at China for example, or in Japan, there are a lot of problems now with the youth. And the only way it is being fought is by Now, here is a new rationality for me. Why? Well, for example, if you talk producing a hyperproletarianization and a chemical one, through drugs. with a manager of a human resources department in a company today. If You know that in America fifteen percent of the youth is using Ritalin, the person with whom you talk is honest, he will say to you: I have a big Prozac, etcetera. And we have the same problem with respect to work. problem: the workers do not want to work, the consumers do not want Hyperactivity of workers for example. I was a manager of a big company to consume [BS laughs], the managers do not want to manage, etcetera. once. For five years I had one-thousand people to manage. And I saw very Why? Because there is no pleasure produced anymore by the system. I’ve well how they were in fact not at all happy with their work, but were only thought a lot about consumption and I claim that consumers today are producing a kind of hyperactivity… creating a kind of hypnosis, in order addicted. When you ask them: what do you think about consumption, to forget to think, to forget their concerns, their problems. And they had they say it is very bad. There was an inquiry published two or three days a lot of problems. Maybe you have read the book Le nouvel esprit du capi- ago in the USA by Juliet Schorr, who asked the American people: what do talisme by Luc Boltanski and Eve Chiapello. They say that the final result you think about consumption? Well, they said it is bad for us and for of the development of this new type of capitalism is to destroy the cou- America. Eighty-one percent of the people said that – in America! ples, the family. Because when the husband needs to go to work in this factory and the wife in another, you destroy the family. But if you destroy the family, you destroy ‘labor power’. Because what is ‘labor power’? It is the children. If children are not brought up and educated anymore, what BS: Yes, and that is because they are intoxicated. They are addicts. If you will become of the future? There will be: No future. This is what the ask a junkie, one who has been a junkie for ten years: what do you think young people say: there is no future. And now capitalism begins to under- of heroin, he or she will say that it is extremely bad. It is that which is ex- plained at the beginning of Naked Lunch, the famous book by William Burroughs, why you must not use heroin. The author says: I use it, but it Journal for contemporary philosophy Pieter Lemmens – An interview with Bernard Stiegler BS: I think so, yes. Of course it is not possible for them to tell that in the dustrial model of the twentieth century was based on an opposition be- public sphere. But I have experienced it myself, when I created Ars Indus- tween production and consumption. And the whole organization of trialis. Everybody in the establishment said: they are completely silly, Neo- marketing was based on this opposition. If you change this opposition, Marxist, Neo-Freudian crackpots. But now, with the crisis, in particular of you change the whole system. And this is extremely interesting. Now you General Motors, they came to us and said: ‘oh, that is interesting what have a social democratic theory of this change, a capitalist theory, a Marx- you said, could you tell us what you mean precisely’? So there is a change ist theory, a Post-Marxist theory, etcetera, but this is what is changing. going on. Now, about software, Free Software. There are different levels of free organizations. There are the radically free organizations like The Free Software Foundation founded by Stallman… This interview was conducted in Paris on the 14th of September 2010 by PL: You think Richard Stallman is a radical? Pieter Lemmens. Thanks to Edwin Timmers for the first transcription of the interview and the feedback. Thanks also to Joost Jongerden and Frans BS: Maybe not so radical, but there are different types of organization. When Google works with Free Software, of course it is not really a Free Software organization, it is an Open Source organization, which is captur- ing the sources of profit produced by the people. But nevertheless it is a change. It is a change which is very interesting. Maybe the main question This work is licensed under the Creative Commons License (Attribution- about the future today is: what will be the next ‘historical compromise’? Maybe there will be one between radical Free Software activities and the Open Source economy. Because I think that even if you don’t have a gen-eralization of Free Software production now already, it is clear that it points toward the future. Last year for example, Microsoft opened its sources to the software community. And this change was decided by Mi- 1 See for more information Ars Industrialis’ website: crosoft because it was clear for them that it was impossible to remain in-scribed in the new culture of software without opening their platform to 2 For Stiegler, technology has to be understood first of all in terms of a memory, i.e., as a supplemental memory system unique to humans. Besides an individual neural and a specific (species) genetic memory, common to all sexualized living organisms, humans possess a third, technological memory or inheritance system which has enabled the transmission of individual experience over the generations, i.e., the possibility of indi-vidual experience becoming available for the species at large thanks to its inscription in BS: Like IBM, yes. And here it is extremely important to be pragmatic. technical artefacts (opening the historical mode of being Heidegger called ‘existence’). You need to have principles of course, very strong principles, but you Humanity has evolved on the basis of this technological inheritance system. This means that human evolution cannot be understood anymore in Darwinist terms, since Dar-winian evolution presupposes that individual experience – ‘acquired characteristics’ – PL: You refer to a kind of peer-to-peer production model here? BS: Yes, it is a peer-to-peer production model. And this is extremely im- Stiegler uses this expression here in its Foucaultian sense of ‘care of the self’ [souci de soi] portant, because it is a complete change of the industrial model. The in- via technologies of the self [techniques de soi].



Musikalischer Abend Eine Veranstaltung zurVölkerverständigung und Stärkungder Freundschaft zwischen denMenschen der mitwirkendenLänder bzw. derenFreundschaftsgesellschaften:• Österreichisch-Belgische Gesellschaft • Österreichisch-Dänische Gesellschaft • Österreichisch-Finnische Gesellschaft lädt ein, • Lettische Botschaft • Österreichisc

Department of Strategy and PolicyNational University of Singapore15 Kent Ridge DriveSINGAPORE, 119245Ph.D. (Economics), Indiana University, April, 2005M.A. (Economics), Indiana University, February, 2003M.Sc (Management), National University of Singapore, September, 2000B.E. (Management), Peking University, 1998Associate Professor (with tenure), Department of Strategy and Policy, National Uni

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