The days of the Other are over in this age of excessive communication, information and consumption. What used to be the Other, be it as friend, as Eros or as hell, is now indistinguishable from the self in our narcissistic desire to assimilate everything and everyone until there are no boundaries left. The result is a 'terror of the Same', lives in which we no longer pursue knowledge, insight and experience but are instead reduced to the echo chambers and illusory encounters offered by social media. In extreme cases, this feeling of disorientation and senselessness is compensated through self-harm, or even harming others through acts of terrorism.
Byung-Chul Han argues that our times are characterized not by external repression but by an internal depression, whereby the destructive pressure comes not from the Other but from the self. It is only by returning to a society of listeners and lovers, by acknowledging and desiring the Other, that we can seek to overcome the isolation and suffering caused by this crushing process of total assimilation.
Country of Publication:
02 March 2018
Professional and scholarly
The Terror of the Same The Violence of the Global and Terrorism The Terror of Authenticity Anxiety Thresholds Alienation Counter-body Gaze Voice The Language of the Other The Thinking of the Other Listening Notes
Byung-Chul Han is a Korean-born Professor of Philosophy and Cultural Studies who teaches at the University of the Arts (UdK) in Berlin. He is the author of more than 20 books including The Scent of Time, Saving Beauty and The Burnout Society.
Reviews for The Expulsion of the Other: Society, Perception and Communication Today
No other philosophical author today has gone further than Byung-Chul Han in the analysis of our global everyday existence under the challenges of electronically induced hyper-communication. His latest - and again eminently readable - book concentrates on the Terror of Sameness, that is on a life without events and individual otherness, as an environment to which we react with depression. What makes the intellectual difference in this analysis of sameness is the mastery with which Han brings into play the classics of our philosophical tradition and, through them, historical worlds that provide us with horizons of existential otherness. Hans Ulrich Gumbrecht, Albert GuErard Professor in Literature, Stanford University The new star of German philosophy. El PaIs The Expulsion of the Other has the classic Byung-Chul Han 'sound, ' an evocative tone which powerfully draws the reader in. ... With imperturbable serenity he brings together instances from everyday life and great catastrophes. SUddeutsche Zeitung Han's congenial mastery of thought opens up areas we had long believed to be lost. Die Tagespost