The Burnout Society is an excellent read, I'd recommend Han's writing to anyone/everyone. Apologies for the naked quote, but gives a good overview:
Much of Han's writing is characterised by an underlying concern with the situation encountered by human subjects in the fast-paced, technologically-driven state of late capitalism. The situation is explored in its various facets through his books: sexuality, mental health (particularly burnout, depression, and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder), violence, freedom, technology, and popular culture.
In The Burnout Society (original German title: Müdigkeitsgesellschaft), Han characterizes today's society as a pathological landscape of neuronal disorders such as depression, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, and burnout. He claims that they are not “infections” but “infarcts”, which are not caused by the negativity of people's immunology, but by an excess of positivity. According to Han, driven by the demand to persevere and not to fail, as well as by the ambition of efficiency, we become committers and sacrificers at the same time and enter a swirl of demarcation, self-exploitation, and collapse.
“When production is immaterial, everyone already owns the means of production him- or herself. The neoliberal system is no longer a class system in the proper sense. It does not consist of classes that display mutual antagonism. This is what accounts for the system's stability.”
Han argues that subjects become self-exploiters:
“Today, everyone is an auto-exploiting labourer in his or her own enterprise. People are now master and slave in one. Even class struggle has transformed into an inner struggle against oneself.”
The individual has become what Han calls “the achievement-subject”; the individual does not believe they are subjugated subjects but instead projects.
“We are always refashioning and reinventing ourselves” which “amounts to a form of compulsion and constraint - indeed, to a more efficient kind of subjectivation and subjugation. As a project deeming itself free of external and alien limitations, the I is now subjugating itself to internal limitations and self-constraints, which are taking the form of compulsive achievement and optimization."
Link below is a LibGen mirror.
Great post. I think one thing that helps a lot is having hobbies or other activities on the side besides work. Not only does it give you a temporary escape from having to think about work, but it also gives you another source of self-worth and motivation.
I’ll always upvote healthy thoughts
Frank Chimero is one of my favorite design writers. Thanks for sharing!
Such a good list!