April 10, 2021

Marc Augé: "With technology we already have 'no place' on top of us" | Culture

Marc Augé: "With technology we already have 'no place' on top of us" | Culture



Neither sad nor happy, but intense is seen anthropologist Marc Augé (Poitiers, 1935), an attribute with which he himself defines chanson, whose humming claims as one of the daily gestures (like getting out of a hospital bed and being able to go to the bar below and, in a few days, home, having a coffee or a plate of pasta with friends, the return to a novel or a movie to recover the impact that caused us …) that provide us "joys in spite of everything". And that all are many evils that gripped a society in which in 1992 he mapped the existence of The non-places (Gedisa 2006, reissued in 2017) -airports, hypermarkets in suburbs, outlets gigantic … -, where interpersonal relationships, crucial for our individual and collective identity, are nil. Aware that he was director of L'École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales (1985-1995) and of various researches at the Center National de Recherche Scientifique (CNRS) in Paris that "great happiness is difficult to achieve", that is why he proposes The little joys (Attic of the Books).

Question. "To be happy you have to know yourself, be attentive to the present and be useful to others," he says. But in these egocentric times, two of those premises are almost never met by anyone: knowing oneself and giving oneself to others …

Technologies alter space and time: you can contact someone in any place and circumstance, when interacting with the other needs to dedicate a specific time and space; It is paradoxical: social networks are destroying social relationships

Answer. That's why my proposal is modest; To go even if it is only to the bar below the house is an opportunity to be with the others; It may seem superficial, but in any case it is real. All the proposals in my book are linked to the movement, when going to other people; in those small moments we feel we exist, with the five senses; but you have to know how to realize it.

P. All his work, and in this book also, highlights the importance of social relationships, of what we do and make sense when we relate to others, but there are surveys in the US that detect that young people prefer to interact in social networks to be physically Are we afraid to treat each other face to face?

R. It is the great evil of the networks, which are disrupting the very nature of the human relationship, alter space and time: you can contact someone in any place and circumstance, when relating to the other needs to dedicate a specific time and space. It is paradoxical: social networks are destroying social relationships. People should detect that what networks give us is not enough. And it also happens that they cause the effects of recognition to be replaced by the effects of knowledge: we see a television presenter as if we knew him, but we only recognize him; and that happens with everything and everyone.

Every time there is a smaller number of people who are at the forefront of real knowledge and too many people who do not know … but who think they know

P. New technologies are introduced in teaching, in the context of being flexible and mastering them, but often it is to the detriment of mnemonics, exams …

R. Networks must be used to disseminate knowledge and what I say is becoming an educational utopia because we are getting farther and farther away; we use more social networks to treat us than to know ourselves and to know, it is a great mistake … I agree that certain pedagogy is too soft today because these instruments, in themselves, do not transmit anything. Nothing can replace the learning of the word or the relationship, physical, teacher-student and this is urgent to understand already. The more society is standardized, the more inequalities are deepened; a paradox, right? But this is the case: every time there is a smaller number of people who are at the forefront of real knowledge and too many people who do not know … but who think they know. "

I can not imagine a privileged class leaving the Earth … I do not know if the Earth is already a whole 'not place'

P. Ask in The little joys recover the illusion of the first times, recover movies and books, call it "have the spirit of Don Juan", always with the seductive illusion of the first day … But precarious working conditions, rhythms of work and massive cultural production do not invite the tranquility of the revisitation …

R. That is why I speak of "small happiness despite everything"; the most alienated can experience those moments of intensely existing that I propose; but above all you must be aware of living them: they are not moments that will come to us by chance but we must know that they are occurring at that moment, recognize them so they can remain with us; if one is aware of them they are also a promise of the future.

P. Includes in the gallery of pleasures, humming and whistling …

R. Today there is no more whistling or singing; when I was little, I heard him constantly in the streets, in the houses; it was a historical memory and a generational link, you linked the refrain to something from your past … On the other hand, cafeterias, centers or installations today do not stop sounding radios or musical threads; hand we can not stand the silence. Afraid to be with ourselves? No, rather it is the system that wants us to be immersed in the noise, perhaps to keep us more in tension … I do not know. On the other hand, noise and volume make creation more difficult. When we sing, we have the feeling of creating and recreating.

P. It is also surprising that he claims retirement, generally read as if the system has decided that you no longer serve him and he parks you …

R. Everything depends on what we do with it; Maybe it's the great moment of truth, of whether you really take the reins of time. There are few moments in life where we can start something and we have chosen it. Do what you always wanted: create, travel, move, make a dream …

P. In 1992, when detecting no places, located them in outskirts, airports … Does not have the feeling that they have already moved to the center of the cities, all the same with the same mega-shops, a shopping where does the credit card only speak?

R. I would go further: today we can say that the no place It is the context of every possible place. We are in the world with references that are totally artificial, even in our house, the most personal space possible: sitting in front of the TV, looking at the same time the mobile, the tablet, with the headphones … We are in a permanent place; these devices are permanently placing us in a non-place. We carry the no place over, with us …

P. We are in a world that needs to be consumed, but work is precarious and wages are not enough to consume. Will the system collapse or will it defend itself by creating dystopian underworlds?

R. The capitalist system itself is creating this dichotomy of antagonistic worlds, it is evident. But I do not know if it will continue over time, or if the system will explode or end up reforming … And I do not know because nothing similar has ever happened in the history of humanity: it is the first time that everything is, literally, global. And multifactorial. It even questions the physical future of the planet … I can not imagine a privileged class leaving the Earth … I do not know if the Earth is already a whole no place.

P. How anthropologist, how do you see the movement Mee Too?

R. All cultural systems have justified male domination in all forms of culture; Feminism seems very important because it allows thinking about the human being as a generic man, not as a sex. Another thing is some of its tactics, debatable, such as the obligation of the parity quota or the requirement that only women or members of the LGBT collective be able to do or direct certain things; that is almost contradictory … But everything will be resolved the day that equality is real.

P. Is the rise of nationalism and religious proselytism a direct result of globalization?

R. The consequences of globalization reveal the spirit of certain religions or patriotic feelings. It is clear that they open fields to the dark areas of those areas.

P. Does Europe have its own values? In the face of the phenomenon of mass immigration, are you losing them?

R. It is curious because it is when we are not in Europe when we think that Europe exists and has values. Europe can not exist without the values ​​of the Enlightenment of the XVIII: its survival is vital for it. It is a suicide for Europe to fortify itself, to create walls against others.

P. The UN has an Observatory of Happiness …

R. It's stupid. By not knowing, you do not know well or what you observe. Here we are; that's why my little joys.

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