Society of Banality of Evil

What is happening in Manipur is telling us about what has happened to our society. It appears that we are fast losing our sense of evil. We no longer seem to have religious as well as philosophical and ethical language to address evil. Being a dharmic civilization, it appears that we have lost our dharma. We have become a society of banality of evil.

Michel Foucault shows how a power/ knowledge nexus opens us to a disciplinary technology and produces a disciplinary society. Disciplinary societies produced disciplines of knowledge that in turn domesticate us. We become disciplined citizens.

Gilles Deleuze taught us that digitization has led to the death of the individual and we have become dividuals, dividing ourselves into larvae that dance into the different networks of the internet. This new order of Things has inaugurated a society of control as we get immersed in our echo chambers on the web that feeds us only what we enjoy. We are no longer disciplined by biopower that chiefly operated over our bodies and assigned a role and place for each of us in our society but are left free to enjoy the networks of the web while Big Data Analytics decodes and hacks our selves and thus controls us. This is s society of control of Deluze.

Society of control still operates on biopower and administrates life. But Byung-Chul Han tells us biocracy/ biopower has given way to thanatocracy. Power no longer regulates life but regulates death. He says that we belong to a society of achievement that has expelled the negativity of the other. We enjoy only our egology and are constantly eating ourselves in our hunt of achievements.. Han says we have stepped into a Burnout Society.

We can still trace a disciplinary technology employed by the power elite in our society. Our bodies are sort to be disciplined by the regimes of knowledge and power in several ways. What we have to eat, what we have dress etc., is ordered by the powers that be. But the advent of digitization and communication technologies have transformed us in a society of control at some level. We already love to hear our own voice . We are locked into our own echo chambers and have gown intolerant of the other. To be our selves we have to expell every shade of otherness. Therefore, at some level, we have stepped into the Burnout Society of Han. Biopower has been replaced by thanato power .

The Arrival of the thanato power has led us to Necropolitics identified by Achille Mbembe. This necro-power descides who is to live and who is to die. Extermination as the final solution of Adolf Hitler has come to haunt our society. Evil is no longer shocking our conscience. Evil has begun to look ordinary and is performed by ordinary folks as we see happening in Manipur. This is why I say we have stepped into society of Banality of Evil.

We as Indians have the Socratic challenge of examined life. Only an examined life can alert us to the banality of evil. We have thus, the dharma to look at evil in its eye. This means we have to embrace socratic idiocy that will give us courage to stand alone against all shades and hues of evil. It is only by refusing to put on a they self pushed on us that we can truly become our true self. We still have to seriously consider Socratic dictum ‘know thyself’ and embrace Socratic irony that enables us to stay humble and know that acceptence of ignorance is the beginning of wisdom.

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Hypocrisy is the tribute that vice pays to virtue.

- Fr Victor Ferrao