Edition: 2016
Pages: 116
Series: EL
ISBN: 9788858125564

Total Mobilization

Maurizio Ferraris


Herder Spagna (Spagna Worldwide); Edicoes 70 (Portugal); Puf (France)



“I reply therefore I am”.

What archaic information is contained in the nuts and bolts of our technological world? In what way have mobile devices been transformed into apparatuses for mobilization?

The new media reveal something ancient, something that is at the heart of our humanity and of our social selves.

It is the night between Saturday and Sunday. I wake up and see that someone has sent me an email. I can’t get the better of my curiosity or rather anxiety (the subject is work) and the next thing I know: I’ve read it and hit reply. I have just worked on a Saturday evening. I could have waited until the next day but instead I fire off a compulsive answer. What force drives me with the peremptoriness of a categorical imperative? The essence of the new media is registration. But registration entails the assumption of responsibility: it demands a response, and it demands it because the question is recorded, written, fixed, acquiring the peremptoriness of an order.

The response can be another message or an action. In both cases, we have to reckon with a mechanism of investment with responsibility/mobilization that is unprecedented in the history of the world. Someone is writing to me and asking me something, and the mere fact that the request is written and recorded confers on it the imperativeness of an emperor’s message, of a swift message, which does not have to overcome too many obstacles before reaching me, in the same way as we associate speed with peremptoriness. Of course (and hopefully) I can become critical of this normative universe; I can do what I can to reduce its imperious conditioning. But this does not alter the fact that we are, first and foremost, subject to the norms, we follow the rules unquestioningly, and only later on, which can be too late or never, can we become critics of the norms or even their new makers.

The author

Maurizio Ferraris

Maurizio Ferraris teaches Theoretical Philosophy at the University of Turin, is president of Labont (Centre for Ontology) and directs 'Scienza Nuova', the institute of advanced studies that unites the University and the Polytechnic of Turin in the design of a sustainable future. Visiting professor at Harvard, Oxford, Munich, Paris, columnist for "Corriere della Sera" and "Neue Zürcher Zeitung", author of successful television programmes and over sixty books translated worldwide, he is, philosophically, the founder of New Realism. Among his publications for Laterza: Documentalità. Perché è necessario lasciar tracce (2009); Mobilitazione totale (2015); Documanità. Filosofia del mondo nuovo (2021); Manifesto del nuovo realismo (n.e. 2022) and, whit Guido Saracco,.Tecnosofia. Tecnologia e umanesimo per una scienza nuova (2023).

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