„Passivität im Kostüm der Aktivität“. Über Günther Anders’ Kritik kybernetischer Politik im Zeitalter der „totalen Maschine“

Felix Maschewski, Anna-Verena Nosthoff


Various media-theoretical studies have recently characterized the fourth industrial revolution as a process of all-encompassing technicization and cybernetization. Against this background, this paper seeks to show the timely and critical potential of Günther Anders’s magnum opus Die Antiquiertheit des Menschen vis-à-vis the ever-increasing power of cybernetic devices and networks. Anders has both witnessed, and negotiated, the process of cybernetization from its very beginning, having criticised not only its tendency of automatization and expansion, but also the circular logic and the “integral power” it rests upon, including the destructive consequences for the constitution of the political and the social. In this vein, Anders’s oeuvre can indeed shed new light on the techno-logically organized milieus of the contemporary digital regime. The aim of the essay is, thus, not only to emphasize the contemporariness of Anders’s critical thought, but also use it to frame a critique vis-à-vis current neo-technocratic and, ultimately, post-political concepts, such as “algorithmic regulation”, “smart states”, “direct technocracy”, and “government as platform”. The essay finally seeks to, through Anders’s lens, address the question of the position and role of the critic in relation to ever expanding technical environments.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.6094/behemoth.2018.11.1.976