Hannah Arendt Center at Bard College: 14th Annual International Conference
What: 14th Annual International Conference on “Rage and Reason: Democracy Under the Tyranny of Social Media”
Who: Hannah Arendt Center at Bard College
When: October 13 & 14
Where: Olin Hall
Details: Hannah Arendt saw that in the face of hypocritical quasi-rational structures of power, rage can often appear to be “the only way to set the scales of justice right again.” The real source of rage, Arendt understood, is a sense of powerlessness born of “a much deeper hatred of bourgeois society.” Rage can seem righteous just as today rage against immigrants, white people, and experts is justified by those crusaders who argue that in an unjust and hypocritical system, rage is necessary for radical political change. Such collective rage may inspire virtues of courage, loyalty, and meaning; but the virtues of rage come at a cost: It is the disintegration of the common sense and common viewpoints that unites us beyond our political, racial, class, and sexual identities. We are witnessing, once again, the retreat of reason and the return of rage as a key driver of political and social relations. At a moment when materially comfortable societies are teetering and the visceral attraction of tribalism is rising all around us, we must ask how our liberal democracies can survive and thrive amidst intensifying partisanship and the decline of public reason. While social media is not to blame for the rage that is ravishing our society, the algorithms that drive social media do allow emotional and angry opinions to spread with unprecedented vigor and vitality.
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