Research seminar of the Collège d’études mondiales
With Maurizio Ferraris
It is the night between Saturday and Sunday, the night that is traditionally consecrated to respite from the world of work. In the dead of night, I wake up. I want to see what time it is and, obviously, I check my cell phone, which tells me that it is three o’clock. But in doing this I notice that someone has sent me an email. I cannot resist my curiosity, or better: anxiety (the mail concerns a matter of work) and so nothing can stop me. I read it, and reply. I am suddenly working on Saturday night, no matter where I am. The internet is an empire on which the sun never sets. And having a smartphone in your pocket means having the world in your hand, but it also automatically means being in the hands of the world: demands for attention can reach you at all times, and at all times you will be responsible for dealing with them. This is a condition of total mobilization. All you need is an email system that is capable of reaching you and giving you tasks to fulfill wherever you are. In the condition of total mobilization, everyone is called upon to respond at any time, in the knowledge that, if they do not answer quickly, then they will be excluded from the game, and the ball will be passed on to someone else. To understand the reasons of this mobilization is to understand the real ground of contemporary societies.