ABSTRACT. Social acceleration may be described through the analogy of software updates. That is, updating to the latest requires some sort of forgetting of the former. This article argues that knowledge is increasingly severed from learning and thinking, following Bauman’s (2005) insight that contemporary society no longer produces a culture of learning but rather a culture of forgetting, disengagement and discontinuity. First, I will review the development of the knowledge society and its promise, which social acceleration will let us forget that the same promise is still pending in contemporary discourse. Then I will address the problem of disengagement, or fear of involvement, which consequently alters the relation people have with each other and learning. Discontinuity is when society loses its connection with its past and future alternatives. Time ceases to be inscribed in duration to become scattered moments, drifting loose with the relentless overflow of information. However, learning takes time; it is a built-in property that was also forgotten alongside the ‘updating’ of the contemporary conceptions of knowledge. One needs time to think and connect what was, what is and what could be to foster imagination and creativity, to figure out that society could be otherwise and become an object of critique, and most importantly, an object of involvement and learning. pp. 18–31

Keywords: forgetting; promise; knowledge society; involvement; time


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Faculty of Humanities,
Department of Human Science,
Tamagawa University, Japan

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