Exactly 10 years after his world bestseller The Burn-out Society translated into over 30 languages, Han provides us with a new analysis of our modern societies. In Sweden, PAIN TODAY. THE PALLIATIVE SOCIETY (Matthes & Seitz Berlin 2020) will be published by Ersatz.
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Today‘s world is dominated by algophobia, the fear of pain. Each painful state has to be avoided. Even painful love stories are suspicious. The tolerance to pain is decreasing rapidly. This Algophobia leads to a permanent anaesthesia.
Like in his essay The Burn-out Society, Byung-chul Han analyses an essential change of paradigms of our society. Even psychology is following this trend and moving away from the negative psychology as psychology of suffering to a positive psychology, which has to do with well-being, happiness and optimism.
Han‘s new essay shows how this algophobia is translated into our society. Very little room is left to conflicts and controversies that could lead to painful confrontations. Algophobia has also an effect on politics. The constraint of conformity and the pressure of consensus are increasing. A post-democratic society is spreading. It is the palliative society.
The essay covers the actual results of the American drug crisis and the Corona pandemic that shows how this palliative society proves to be also a society of survival.
Byung-Chul Han was born in Seoul, South-Korea. He is a professor for cultural studies at the University of Arts in Berlin (UDK).