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Hannah Arendt and the totalitarian

SOCIAL MEDIA / While the public is a place where free individuals have the right, and perhaps also the duty, to participate in a free exchange of opinions, the social is more about herd and control. Are we now faced with a social control that does not invite disagreement and diversity, but only obedience or exclusion? The rise of the social can threaten both freedom and individuality. MODERN TIMES prints here an extract from Einar Øverenget's new book, Intoleransens intog.

Hannah Arendt was never on Facebook, she never sent a tweet – and she never posted a photo on Instagram. The reason is the simple fact that she died in 1975. At that time the concept of social media was meaningless, because media was public, not social, and that is a significant difference – even if today we are no longer able to see what it the difference is

For Arendt, however, the distinction between the public and the social was central to understanding how currents that totally reject our freedom and individuality can grow at all. In both cases, it is a question of a kind of intercourse between several people, but the core of that intercourse is entirely . . .

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Einar Øverenget
Øverenget is professor of philosophy at Høgskolen i Inlandet. He is also an active social debater and a widely used speaker.

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