Longtime readers of DP will be familiar with our deep aversion to certain hangovers from the thought-machines that descend from the Age of Enlightenment. In an interview given on the occasion of his eighty-fifth birthday, philosopher Jürgen Habermas touches on several themes that may be of interest to those suffering such hangovers, as we continue to navigate the mare magnum of digital dispersion, with all its riptides and undertows.
On the question of how the internet relates to the classical definition of a public sphere:
On resistance to despair:
And finally, in search of a “bifocal direction” for post-metaphysical thought, regarding the tension (for a “constitutively antisocial” species) between spirit and motivation:
At some point, we may have no choice but to renounce the secular self-understanding; and whether or not the classical public sphere was ever more than a projection remains an open question.
The cone that illuminates swiftly becomes the all-seeing eye of a scrutinizing power, propelled more by nature than politics.
In the dimming light of our evolutionary biology, periodic intimations of despair appear to us as inevitable, rather than inconceivable.