This is a segment of conversation between the philosopher Bernard Stiegler and cultural theorist Irit Rogoff that took place on the occasion of Stiegler’s lecture series, “Pharmaconomics” at Goldsmiths in February, March 2010, as part of his current professorial fellowship. In this segment, we touch on a couple of Stiegler’s key terms in the development of his thought, such as “transindividuation,” “transmission,” and “long circuits.” In his three-volume work Technics and Time, Stiegler has argued that “technics” (a constellation of models and discourses converging on information systems, codes, prostheses, machines, etc.) constitute what “is most properly to be thought as the key philosophical question of our time.” As Andrés Vaccari states about Technics and Time:
In the human sciences, culture and language have also been progressively engulfed by the universe of technics: the artificial realm of institutions, rituals, knowledges, symbol systems and practices that makes humans functional, speaking, meaning-making creatures; that is, what makes humans human. The essence of the human, it seems, is the technical; which is paradoxically the other of the human: the non-human, the manufactured, unnatural, artificial; the inhuman even.
For Stiegler, the concept of “transindividuation” is one that does not rest with the individuated “I” or with the interindividuated “We,” but is the process of co-individuation within a preindividuated milieu and in which both the “I” and the “We” are transformed through one another. Transindividuation, then, is the basis for all social transformation and is therefore a way of addressing what happens within education. Equally, terms such as “short-circuit” indicate a break or a departure in thought and “long circuit” that intimate a range of connectivities that allows for the passage of thought across time:
The gigantic financial crisis sending tremors all over the world is the disastrous result of the hegemony of the short term of which the destruction of attention is at once effect and cause. … marketing, from the emergence of the programme industries, transforms the psychotechniques of the self and of psychic individuation into industrial psychotechnologies of transindividuation, that is, into psychotechnologies threaded by networks, and as the organisation of an industrial reticulation of transindividuation that short-circuits traditional and institutional social networks.
Read the full article here.