No longer having anything to expect means, at the same time, no longer having anything to fear. And the proliferating repressive mechanisms that are supposed to cope with the effects of this loss of authority turn out to be less and less effective. For such measures engender more and more the opposite of that for which they were intended, but in extreme and totally irrational, unpredictable forms.
This is where we are today: the technical system of the hyper–industrial epoch can maintain its power only so long as it is backed up by blind trust, but this trust is undermined by the destructive irrationality stemming from the liquidation of the kingdom of ends. From the moment this trust is lost, hyper–power is inverted into hyper–vulnerability and impotence. The loss of motives of hope then expands, encompassing all of us like a contagious illness. But this all is no longer a we : it is a panic.
I. Despair and the Impotence of the Rational
II. The Antigone Complex
III. Spiritual Misery and Reasons for Hope
IV. The Disaffected Individual in the Process of Psychic and Collective Disindividuation
V. Hope and Politics
Tom Cohen, State University of New York at Albany