• Opinion
  • 24 de May de 2024
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  • 8 minutes read

Stressed Out

Stressed Out

Stressed Out

From a techno-feudal perspective, the cyber-competence reform has been an undeniable success; from a pedagogical point of view, it has been a complete failure

Çiğdem Onur. / Pixabay

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Andreu Navarra


In his brief study Stress and Freedom (translated by Paula Kuffer and published in Buenos Aires by Ediciones Godot), Peter Sloterdijk reflects on the political nature of stress. While our society typically regards this pathological force as an individual issue, it is evident that stress is strategically injected and calibrated by institutions to maintain social and state cohesion. Without ideological pressure and subtle surveillance systems, how would vertical structures persist?

Sloterdijk’s unique conception of stress illuminates the ongoing competence-based reforms in Europe. I have extensively argued elsewhere that our education laws function as “nationalist” devices, defining orthodoxies that marginalise “dissidents,” “old-fashioned” individuals, and “obsolete slackers” who must be removed from public life. The issue arises when these replacements cease to appear because the official stressor has crossed the line. Instead of fostering compliance, it results in collapse, rendering disobedience or dissimulation more advantageous than accepting “self-criticism.”

According to Sloterdijk, revolutions are massive injections of social stress that facilitate rapid changes and stimulate productivity. The master of political stress was, naturally, Joseph Stalin, of whom our most visionary and millenarian legislators and their media allies are but third-rate apprentices. Nonetheless, all are inept at constructing an alternative to Silicon Valley techno-libertarianism and have become perilous clones of the Californian cyber-guru. if we add the entire accusatory weight of today’s hegemonic neocalvinism to those televangelists of Cybertruth, the grand feast of unsustainable stress is served.

Constructivist monomania, essentially a dogma, has liquefied our lives and our educational institutions: “For decades, it has been intellectually fashionable to define any form of authority in our shared world as a construction, thereby stripping it of any semblance of naturalness and self-evidence. ‘Society’ is invariably portrayed as the common constructor. Consequently, concepts such as the social construction of needs, the social construction of childhood, the social construction of sexuality, the social construction of femininity, and even the social construction of menopause are treated as routine matters” (p. 51). This undoubtedly sounds familiar. The problem is that reducing concepts to mere emotional reactivity has not expanded freedom but has instead created a stressful state of mutual orthodox surveillance.

How did this become possible? Sloterdijk elucidates: “Now I would like to explain why the discourse on the social construction of reality holds a different meaning than what adherents of constructivist jargon intend. In modernity, reality is indeed a construction, but not a construction by the subject. On the contrary, it is a construction by the defenders of objectivity, who only seek to prevent the subject from escaping the common reality of stress” (p. 52). In essence, those who appear most libertarian are, in fact, the most authoritarian, promising the opposite of what they enforce. This elucidates why pedagogists and lomloists (LOMLOE promoters), in the name of Rousseauian libertarianism, in the name of lightness and equity, compel individuals to become part of human herds that decline to think for themselves, forcing the population to remain in civil immaturity or to resign themselves to their economic condition, considered an “identity” or a “being.” This coerces proponents of study, self-discipline, mobility, and hard, objectified, rationalist knowledge. They recommend exile and ostracism for today’s dissidents, who support shared meanings and logical, sequenced knowledge.

In summary, pedagogism employs stress as a tool of political coercion to extinguish identity plurality and diverse futures, enforcing ideological unanimity reduced to the mandatory Digital Standard. This Standard is exhibitionist, emotionally reactive, ultra-consumerist, and hedonistic to the point of widespread anhedonia and hyperactivity. It embodies Technolibertarianism, a psychopathic and ethically irresponsible ideology: a flawless market strategy that is thoroughly invasive and absolute in its cyclical arguments.

Peter Sloterdijk wrote in 2011: “if the new freedom goes so far as to overthrow the weight of the objective, the reaction of reality is not long in coming. From that moment on, the concept of reality as such adopts a reactive, if not a restorative tone. Modernity only discovers what reality is after its attempt to overthrow its weight succeeds temporarily” (p. 44). This is the scenario following the approval of LOMLOE four years ago. With this new stress revolution, the stress imposed on teachers and students has reached such a magnitude that the reform process has become untenable. Any other more “realistic” proposal, even if less utopian and more disciplinary, would have been more tolerable.

The long-standing call for adherence has collapsed: It is impossible to comply with the evaluation decrees issued by the LOMLOE. it is now less risky and less stressful to disobey than to submit to such an aberrant cultural construct. Orthodoxy and legal helplessness have excluded so many individuals that the system is on the verge of implosion, as has already occurred in Catalonia, where Disruptive Innovation has become so violent that it has left no room for individual life or creativity.

Any semblance of objectivity has evaporated, and any potential respite from the surveillance bureaucracy has vanished. the only thing we truly have is the intrusion of reality (e.g., PISA tests, anxiety rates), which indeed takes the form of restorative reactivity, a centripetal force manifested in the name of reflection and common sense.

Meanwhile, the most media-savvy pedagogists are more resolute than ever in maintaining their effort of submission, their stress revolution, their liquefying cultural hegemony, and their persecutory and accusatory praxis. However, the work-related stress they generate is unsustainable, and the damage they have inflicted on the system’s credibility is leading to a generalised crisis of confidence and a social breakdown that only benefits a privatised, deregulated, and unequal design. The ongoing Siliconian revolution is an extractive effort rather than a successful pedagogical methodology. Its concealment is no longer possible: the business intrusion is too blatant. The new ultraconservative common-sense strategy is to portray this extractive intrusion as inevitable, utterly real, and unreformable, leaving resignation as the only viable path. From a techno-feudal perspective, the cyber-competence reform has been an undeniable success; from a pedagogical point of view, it has been a complete failure.

Thus, we must ask ourselves: how do we react without succumbing to reactionism? How can we promote what Sloterdijk calls “liberality” without falling back into the prisons of neoliberalism? How do we remain liberal without becoming neoliberal? How do we stop accepting that the only option for teachers and students is crushing stress, which the system exhaustively denies? What needs restoration? Ultimately, what must we do? How do we extricate ourselves from pedagogism, the secular arm of post democracy-market? Let us restore objectivity and egalitarian state schools that educate without the political control mechanism that wields stress as its primary weapon of subjugation.

Source: educational EVIDENCE

Rights: Creative Commons

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