Part 7, 15 March 2021

Supercivilisation, Covid-19 and Time

Associate Professor Ľubica Učník


In this Public Lecture, I want to reflect on the present-day ‘supercivilization’ we inhabit. Why do we take for granted that the only way open to us is to fight for our individual freedom? What do we mean by freedom, democracy, and the power of government which have become intertwined in our present COVID-19 thinking? I want to suggest that freedom, as it is understood today, is a false freedom, derived from consumer logic rather than political engagement. Although COVID-19 has opened a possible space to grasp the damage neoliberalism has wrought on our society through the privatisation of all aspects of our lives, the ‘logic of data and algorithms’, monopolised by Big-Tech companies, has become even more prevalent. Rather than letting us rethink our social engagement with the problems around us, this ‘logic of data and algorithms’ instead follows the very same logic of consumerism and is a continuation of the status quo. For me, the real issue is: how does a paucity of imagination (under the name of common sense) keep the rule of the present unquestioned? Here, I will argue that we need to lay new ground to think about our social lives differently.