Benjamin Y. Fong: Aggressivity, Technology and the Crisis of Thinking
BFA Visual & Critical Studies and MA Critical Theory and the Arts present writer and educator Benjamin Y. Fong, who will examine the role social media plays in the current social and political predicament, even among those seeking to change the situation. The fantasy of social media as a magical tool of social connection contrasts starkly with its reality as a cesspool of vicious personal attacks and paranoid indignation. It demonstrates a psychopathic character contradiction: an obsession with self-perception by others in combination with a disturbing lack of empathy toward many of those same others from whom one is seeking, implicitly or explicitly, validation. The ills of social media are not only problems; they are also "solutions" to historically specific and much larger social problems. The elemental desire for a community of mutually recognizing individuals, when made to short-circuit the dialectic of its satisfaction, serves to eradicate the basic conditions of thought. Like scratching an itch, they provide a form of relief that ultimately only exacerbates the problem. RSVP here.
Benjamin Y. Fong is an assistant professor of honors at Barrett, the Honors College at Arizona State University, and the author of Death and Mastery: Psychoanalytic Drive Theory and the Subject of Late Capitalism (Columbia UP, 2016). He has been published in The Journal of the American Academy of Religion, Psychoanalysis, Culture & Society, has written for The New York Times and Jacobin and is an editor of Damage magazine.