The very notion of a common reality would be on the verge of faltering. Under what force? That of a hypertrophy of the ego, generalized, permitted and favored by our technological uses, social networks and smartphones in the first place. In his last essay, the philosopher Éric Sadin describes a dazzling development that would have transformed in a few years the individual citizen respecting the common framework into a “Tyrant individual” denying any credit to political authority, even democratically elected. A tyrant individual who no longer accepts as a standard what he himself recognizes as viable and real (facts, relationships, opinions), and undermines the very idea of collective governance, which has become almost impossible.
Each of us, henceforth, would be likely to call into question the right of existence of elements contradicting his “Truth”, a “Truth” built around an online life and its “Community”. The few “likes” collected at each issue of an opinion, although immediately swallowed up by an incessant news feed, giving us the illusion that this one matters to others while the process, always started again , only narrows, in the end, the field of reality and increases indifference to others.
To explain this trap of self-importance, the author shows how we went from liberal individualism at the turn of the 18th century.e century, which had in mind an ideal of emancipation within the common framework, to the ultraliberalism of the 1980s where the figure of “Winner” solitaire begins to be preferred to stories of collective adventures. He then traces the evolution of technological innovations of the last twenty years, from Apple’s iMac, the first “all-in-one” computer, to dating applications offering to select one’s future relationships as one does one’s market. He compares the evolution of our behavior: the catharsis of the ego favored by Facebook, the triumph of thoughts in 140 characters of Twitter to the detriment of concrete action, the end of a form of restraint of its image with selfies, his person managed like a brand with Instagram, up to Uber-type applications allowing each other to be noted, individuals become commodities, with the paradoxical illusion of a form of omnipotence.
Having become self-employed in our existence, we would have let the old collective bonds disintegrate for the benefit of digital companies, knowing particularly well how to retain our attention and our energy. Energy used to serve a political commitment, an associative action or a fight to advance a cause.
The consequence would be before our eyes: an increasingly violent, eruptive world where each particularism is the source of an extreme claim, without anyone having any legitimacy to play the role of mediator. Hence the risk, approaching, of a “All against all”. To avoid it, Eric Sadin suggests a return to testimonies in the face of speeches: lived stories and structured by specific experiences but anchored in reality to make us want to listen and then act.
Throughout these powerful pages, we just regret that no other attitude seems to resist this modern hubris. However, there are many, perhaps the majority, those who do not systematically display their every move online. Perhaps it is above all this force of discretion, certainly less visible, that it would also be good to promote before (re) joining forces.