Praxis Seminar: Research Colloquium in Practical Philosophy 2020/21, Session 14

Hartmut Rosa

Friedrich Schiller University Jena

Uncontrollability, Responsivity and ‚Responsability‘ In Search of a ‘Third Voice’ Between Active and Passive

27 April 2021, 18h00 (Lisbon Time — GMT+0)

Online seminar (Zoom link here)



Modern Society is characterized by its consistent drive to expand the horizon of attainability, accessibility, and availability (‘Verfügbarkeit’). This drive is fed on the one hand by the structural requirement of dynamic stabilization, i.e., by the fact that this society needs incessant growth, acceleration, and innovation in order to reproduce and maintain its institutional status quo. On the other hand, the driving force is a specific culturalconception of the good life which defines the ‘good’ as an expansion of the horizon of the knowable, the reachable, controllable, and usable. It will be the core argument of the presentation that this leads to a twofold social pathology: On the one hand, the aspiration for control and domination creates the opposite of the desired state: It creates monstrous forms of uncontrollability such as nuclear explosions, ecological disasters, viral pandemics, or financial market dynamics beyond control. On the other hand, those parts of life that aremade controllable, predictable, available, and commodified turn out to be mute, silent and reclusive for the experiencing subjects. Hence, modern subjects are torn between the search for omnipotent activity and a sense of passive victimhood. By consequence, what is needed is a ‘third voice’ between active control and passive powerlessness, between the active and the passive. The paper will suggest ‘resonance’ as such a mode of relating to the world. It is characterized by affective responsivity, ethical ‘responability’ and the acceptance of the world’s basic uncontrollability.