What humanity shares

In the second half of the last century ‘man’ was a special kind of figure. Celebrated, respected, evoked. Known, and yet now known in other ways: cut open, measured, overheard, photographed, figured out. But alongside the enthusiastic propagandists there were also distrustful analysts. What was the power effect of assembling all this knowledge, what were the practical consequences of speaking the truth about man (see for instance: Foucault 1971 & Foucault 1976)? Was it a good idea for this figure to find itself, or was it better to point out that it had no self? And did man not resemble the recently dethroned God far more than was good for him? By now these questions no longer seem so urgent, because even while the human sciences have continued growing, man seems to have disappeared from their heart. In other circles, too, the fascination is also fading. Rather than essences, diversities are on the agenda. The call to not treat human beings as animals is drowned out by the call to (also?) treat animals in a human way. And the intertwining between human beings and things (mundane objects, complex technologies) is no longer denied or cast as a passing error. Instead it is being cared for, tinkered with.

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