Bernard Stiegler Memorial Lecture 2023
Too Soon, Too Late
A Pretext for a Recurrence of Bernard Stiegler
Opening by Gao Shiming, President of the China Academy of Art, Hangzhou
Moderator and respondent: Yuk Hui
8th August 2023
8 pm HKT / 10 pm AEST / 2 pm CEST
Eighteen years ago, Bernard Stiegler published a short text honouring the memory of Jacques Derrida. It begins: “The time to learn how to live comes already too late and it is in this lateness that the knowledge of how to live is forged as a fault of living, and as its only question.” We now know and feel the meaning of this statement on a biospheric scale: while we can see that it is too soon for “energy transition” to have been able to turn the slow-grinding gears of the world economy enough to prevent continuous increases in atmospheric carbon, we also know that this transition comes already too late, with rises in temperature and sea level already baked in for centuries to come. We simply do not know how to live within this aporia of advance and delay, a living-in-non-knowledge from which we almost totally flee. This is our technological, economic and political problem, but both Stiegler’s work and his life haunt us with the realisation that it is also our more-than-philosophical question. Whether the conditions of our contemporary existence allow us to adopt this haunting as a genuine recurrence of his thought, however, remains another question that may well prove to have arrived already too late.
Dan Ross somehow ekes out a living as an independent scholar. He obtained his doctorate from Monash University in 2002 with a thesis on Martin Heidegger. He is the author of Violent Democracy (Cambridge University Press, 2004) and Psychopolitical Anaphylaxis: Steps Towards a Metacosmics (Open Humanities Press, 2021), and has written extensively on the work of Bernard Stiegler. He has translated dozens of Stiegler’s articles, chapters and lectures, and twelve of his books, most recently Nanjing Lectures 2016–2019 (Open Humanities Press, 2020) and the collective work composed and edited by Stiegler and the Internation Collective, entitled Bifurcate: There Is No Alternative (Open Humanities Press, 2021). He has lectured widely, including at Yachay University, Ecuador, the New School of Social Research, New York, Tongji University, Shanghai, and frequently for the Melbourne School of Continental Philosophy. In addition, he is the co-director of the prize-winning documentary feature film, The Ister (2004), in which Stiegler features prominently.