Project Title: Applied Wisdom: The Need for Humanity in the Digital Age
Project Description: The age of digital consumption has inherent ethical, psychological, and political ramifications. So how do we make sense of, question, and ultimately navigate the experience of an increasingly “full,” yet simultaneously empty life? As the modes and mediums of consumption take on new forms every year, how do we— as constituents of this new condition of life— grapple with the personal, political, and ethical dilemmas that arise? What are the key changes and continuities of the human condition and how might an understanding of those inform our approach to policymaking, social presentation, moral action, and well-being? Using Theodor Adorno’s critique of the “Culture Industry,” I hope to explore how big tech plays into consumer culture’s need for “more”— the psychology and philosophy behind “selling more” in tech, media, and markets, and why we should question the need for more as playing into and hindering our health, connection, and ultimately, our humanity. My proposal is, as the title suggests, an emphasis on the applicability of wisdom in our increasingly digitized world, through careful scrutiny of modern political economy, continental philosophy, and moral psychology. So what do I mean by wisdom? In some ways, I dene wisdom as common sense, nuanced thinking, and compassionate critical thought (a sort of reconciliation of reason and emotion). I am interested in exploring how we conceptualize and contextualize the human condition in an age
governed by two-dimensional avatars, mass consumption, and newfound political (dis)order.