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The Myth of the Posthumanism era:
"The New Poor" and "The Sleepless"

(I) Consumer Society and Spectacle Symbols


Production and consumption, work and sleep, the most basic way of existence of human society, has long been aggregated from the economic behavior of material practice in the individual sense to the collective action of social interaction in the group sense. At the very least, spending power has become the basic yardstick for the positioning of social relationships between people. The Spectacle symbols also constitute the entire content of modern society's imagination about a better life.


At the same time, the capitalist mode of production and the resulting universal cooperation and expansion of order, while bringing efficiency and convenience to human life, also enchant this order by manipulating the love and fear or desire of the consumer age. Among them are those who are eager to join or passively break into this grand spectacle—industrial capitalism controls people through labor, and grand scene capitalism controls people through leisure.


However, when industrial capitalism evolved into the era of grand scene capitalism, it used the “panoramic communication” of commodity images in all aspects of social life, and the single aesthetic object as the key to social control through mass media and social media. The device, through the identity and role of symbols and symbols, peddles fantasy and lack of sense, and finally realizes the full domination of the human body in body, time, behavior and emotions by grand scene capitalism, and in the process is intended to create endless New poor people in the consumer society and sleepless people in the spectacle symbols.


(II) The New Poor in Consumer Societies


In recent decades, the foundation of the whole social and cultural system in the world has gradually changed from the work ethics of the production society with the factory as the place of struggle to the consumption aesthetics of the market-centered society. On the other hand, the "new poor", who survive in the consumer society shrouded by the nightmare of consumerism, are reduced to the bottom class of "under class" because they are regarded as "abandoned life" and "flawed consumer".


As far as work ethics is concerned, in the basic context of modernity, work as a value and a noble and noble activity, It is the only way in the process that human beings have to do what others consider valuable and worthwhile in order to achieve what is necessary for survival and happiness-"work is a good thing, and not working is a sin."


As Weber described as the "Puritan saints" in his “The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism”, they lived a life of profound ethical dedication, as if to fulfill a sacred mission. And naturally regard any work of others as an essential moral issue. However, in the later transformation movement of work ethics in the name of noble work life, workers were forced to accept a life that was neither noble nor compatible with their own moral values.


As far as consumer aesthetics is concerned, unlike work ethics, it does not mean creation, but consumption or even destruction. At the same time, different from producers, as "consumers" who replace "producers" and become the first identity of "modernity mark two" individuals, they do not pursue more work, more gain, but less work or even gain without effort.


In their view, consumers should not cling to anything, and nothing is worth the permanent risk. All they want is immediate satisfaction, constant satisfaction, and satisfaction; otherwise, there are failed or defective consumers who are deficient, imperfect and inherently ill-prepared-and they can only face the pain of being abandoned, deprived of their rights and demoted, blocked or expelled.


Consumers advocate individual behavior rather than collective cooperation, and this completely individual, independent and ultimately lonely activity will inevitably lead to a "lowly society" with a under desire and a sharp increase in apathy. Consumers need to be constantly exposed to new temptations to be in a state of euphoria and see life as a series of consumer events, but replaced by constant self-doubt and insatiable desires. The ethical crisis under the deconstruction of this modern political order, on the one hand, replaces the ethics of production and work and realizes the social integration through the market rather than the government with its seductive consumer culture. But on the other hand, because of its deceptive social relations and false freedom, it has gradually destroyed people's social ability and enthusiasm for life. It is in this context that, Zygmunt Bauman, in his book “Work, Consumerism and the New Poor”, specifically analyzes the situation and fate of the "new poor" as "abandoned lives" and "defective consumers" in the face of consumerism and consumer society.


In Bauman's view, the history of the poor suffered mainly from material scarcity, but in the consumer society, the poor in material and spiritual equality and their own dignity and value have been destroyed and deprived. From a social point of view, we no longer have the ambivalence of fear and dislike as well as compassion and compassion towards the poor. Instead, it is denied that it is useless and flawed in the face of consumerism and that it is "real and concrete," The existence of flesh and blood and the abandonment of an image that is always personalized and in need of help-in this sense, The main opponent of capitalism is no longer the proletariat, but the "new poor" who are completely useless and beyond the scope of relief as traditional consumers.


In turn, from the perspective of the "new poor", in the face of a consumer society defined by the ability to build themselves in the consumer market, they are not only unable to resist the upper class, but also in the process of self-construction. Even seeing the rich as role models and idols rather than enemies or hates, instead, take responsibility for their own failures for their flawed and inadequate experiences-"Poverty is a crime." As a result, the individual actions of their individuality in an isolated attempt to prove that they have better access to resources have alienated these new poor people who have been reduced to the "under class" from the illusion of communitarianism and public action.

(III) The Sleepless in The Spectacle Symbol


What coexists and complements the consumer society shrouded in the nightmare of consumerism is the omnipresent overall rule of spectacle and symbols under prosperous capitalism, while the "sleepless" in those spectacle symbols are faced with, even if it is not the situation and fate in which the "new poor" have been completely denied and completely abandoned. But it is also at the cost of the end of sleep that it is still difficult to resist the full-time manipulation and destruction of the panoptical of our lives by late capitalism. 


Sleep is a necessary behavior for people to withdraw from the numerous and complicated world and take a temporary rest. its essence is determined by both the natural attributes of the world and the biological attributes of human beings. Whether it is "work at sunrise and rest at sunset" in the agricultural society, or "time is life and efficiency is money" in the industrial age, the biological behavior characterized by sleep and the time interval it contains are the endogenous requirements and basic guarantee for the operation of life itself. the social picture of individual survival and connection sustained by sleep is also the normal face of social production and group communication-- "at least, Our bodies function in line with the earth's rotation, and almost all organisms react relative to the changes of the seasons and the length of sunlight. "


However, because sleep does not bring benefits in nature, and the losses to production, circulation and consumption are incalculable, it is always in conflict with the requirements of the 24/7 system. Therefore, with the continuous expansion of late capitalism, especially with the pervasive control and manipulation of its spectacle symbols, human life has been entangled in a continuous state without intermittence. as a result, we have fallen into an era of endless running and sleeplessness-this is neither permanent nor eternal, but a non-passing and non-intermittent continuation outside the clock. 


As one of the most basic needs of life and the physical potential contained in it, sleep may and should have become a possibility not to be absorbed by it so as to resist the capitalism of 24/7 types. However, what Jonathan Crary shows and discusses in his book "24/7: Late Capitalism and the Ends of Sleep" is whether and how sleep, as the last resistance to capitalism, can escape the fate of being terminated. 


In the first chapter, Crary points out that unlike 24/365, which "means a kind of insensitive, continuous temporality, during which real changes and unexpected things may happen", 24/7 "marks that static redundancy, negates the connection with the mechanism of human life with rhythm and cycle." There is no doubt that this is a machine world stripped of the veil of "modern time", cold and tough, omnipresent and lifeless, full of "numbness, amnesia, and impossible zones of experience".


In this time world of 24/7, there is no difference between day or night, there is no change between haze and dusk, there is no difference between action and rest, only wakefulness and light. But, in fact, this light is deceptive, it wants to extend to every place to eliminate any mysteries and unknowns, but it creates a homogeneous world with the thinnest sense of history; the illusion of 24/7 is also deceptive, there seems to be no longer waiting, demands can be fulfilled immediately, and people can be completely isolated from each other.


In the face of the all-inclusive rule and domination of grand scene capitalism in the capitalist post-history, sleep could have been our last physiological defense against capitalist theft and alienation, and to try to temporarily extricate ourselves from the quagmire of desire-- despite most other basic physical needs that seem equally insurmountable, such as hunger, thirst, sexual desire, and other intimate relationships and emotional demands. Have been reinvented and turned into commodities. 


However, the erosion of time by capitalism and the sleepless in the spectacle symbols have been gradually lost in the irresistible process of modernization. it has finally become the "natural condition" for the successful elimination of capitalism-sleep is no longer necessary and inevitable, nor is it regarded as a natural experience, but a state of delayed or weakened operation at most. On the contrary, the concept of non-intermittent and unlimited work is considered reasonable or even normal. At the same time, night mode, sleep mode, automatic shutdown, insomnia, sleeping pills, alarm clock …. These technologies and devices that protect the smooth operation of the 24/7 time system point to the common metaphor of the times: the winners are awake and the losers go to sleep. 


In fact, even if we seem to be awake rather than asleep, in the face of a huge accumulation of spectacle and transformed into performance, the sleepless people in the spectacle symbols do not have a rest for a while. Not to mention that "the love of the sight of the truth" in the sense of Bloom has already become a fantasy, and even "the network of permanent observation" in the sense of Foucault has finally become the fate of those who are also sleepless.


Human time is limited, but the content of capital is limitless. the essence of "attention economy" is undoubtedly the revolution of the time battlefield, so we are forced to be immersed in all kinds of visual images and spectacle symbols all the time. even our own visual activities have become the object of observation and management in the face of ubiquitous operations and expectations. At this point, there is no longer exposure and protection, initiative and passivity, sleep and awakening, public and private, so the visual experience is completely destroyed as well as the sleep experience-- as Crary puts it, "24/7 declares a time without time. a time extracted from any material or recognizable boundary, a time that is no longer continuous or cyclical."



(IV) The Myth of the Posthuman era



From Debord to Baudrillard, from Bauman to Crary, capitalism, through the material production in Marx's sense of "as a prerequisite social material production structure", to the spectacle society of "huge accumulation of spectacle and existence transformed into expression" in the sense of Debord (1967), Until this series of historic changes in the consumer society (1970) of "systematic behavior and overall response" and the symbolic kingdom of "differential social relations of symbol production and abstraction" (1972) in the sense of Baudrillard have brought us not only the collapse of work ethics and the upsurge of consumerism, not only the end of natural sleep and the establishment of spectacle rule, but more importantly, It pushes the holistic way of life and panoramic life field of all mankind to the edge of the posthuman era. 


To bid farewell to the "human era" of the past 70,000 years, and in the face of the "posterity era" of artificial intelligence and the advent of singularities, what is the next to be replaced and destroyed, and what is the next step to resist and save? Perhaps, we are faced with the "new poor" who are reduced to the middle and lower classes of the "underclass" because they are regarded as "abandoned lives" and "defective consumers". And the myth brought to us by the "sleepless" who is faced with the doom at the expense of the end of sleep because it is difficult to resist the full-time manipulation and destruction of the panorama of our lives by late capitalism. It will allow us to find human weapons that can deal with or even overturn machine algorithms in the face of the posthuman era-if it's not too late.

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