What we call growth today is in fact a tumorous growth, a cancerous proliferation which is disrupting the social organism. These tumours endlessly metastasize and grow with an inexplicable, deadly vitality. At a certain point this growth is no longer productive, but rather destructive. Capitalism passed this point long ago. Its destructive forces cause not only ecological and social catastrophes but also mental collapse. The destructive compulsion to perform combines self-affirmation and self-destruction in one. We optimize ourselves to death. Brutal competition ends in destruction. It produces an emotional coldness and indifference towards others as well as towards one's own self.
The devastating consequences of capitalism converge with the adoption of a death drive. Freud initially introduced the death drive hesitantly, but later he admitted that he 'couldn't think beyond it' as the idea of the death drive became increasingly central to his thought. The same is true for capitalism today: it is impossible to think about capitalism without considering the death drive.
This new book by one of the most creative cultural theorists writing today will be of interest to a wide readership.
Biografie (Byung-Chul Han)
Byung-Chul Han studierte in Freiburg i. Br. und München Philosophie, Deutsche Literatur und Katholische Theologie. Er wurde 1994 promoviert und habilitierte sich 2000. Seither ist er Privatdozent am Philosophischen Seminar der Universität Basel.