Here is a good quote to illustrate the previous point:
The body no longer represents a central force of production, as it formerly did in a biopolitical, disciplinary society. Now, productivity is not to be enhanced by overcoming physical resistance so much as by optimizing psychic or mental processes. Physical discipline has given way to mental optimization. (25)
Just think about all the productivity planners we so love on this blog. Han is clearly right.
And by the way, look at how accessible Han’s language is. This is very rare in thinkers who write in German, like he does.
OK, so what’s the problem with endless self-optimization now that the exploited part of the human being is not the body but the mind? Just like physical breakdown and exhaustion haunted the industrial workers’ bodies, we now face mass-scale mental breakdowns and exhaustion.
Trying to eliminate every painful experience and every negative emotion makes human lives not fully human. The terror of negativity, exclusion, true difference, triggers, and so on comes from the fear of humanity and the desire to turn human beings into nothing but completely efficient machines.
Everybody hates long posts, so I’ll stop here.