Unassisted Living: Dismantling Healthcare
Photo: Clare Dunsford

“Negative Being” as Contemporary Politics

Caught up in a darkly surreal spinning of fact and fiction, the world of politics is increasingly as delirious as it is sinister. Here, Ronald Reagan’s “evil empire” finds a home in the White House, the instantly reversible world predicted by Orwell’s dystopian vision of 1984 links up in real-time with the atavistic mood of Game of Thrones, the minute-by-minute speed of (media) events outruns time for reflection, and everywhere the sheer communicative intensity of social media overpowers the static interpretative framework of mass media. In this culture of nihilism, Hanna Arendt’s concept of “negative being” finally makes its appearance in the form of a political leader who might wear the mask of the thin-skinned demagogue but whose very real craftsmanship lies in staking the game of political power—the war of perception—on the psycho-ontology of ‘hatred of existence,’ that always percolating stream of vengeful and humiliated consciousness that is the very soul of the right-wing in global politics today.

It is in this context that we publish Consequence 2: a series of critical reflections on the radically new political situation demonstrated by the election of Donald Trump and the intensification of right-wing movements in Europe and elsewhere.

Arthur and Marilouise Kroker and Stephen Pfohl,
Series Editors, Consequence