Content creation, post-truth age and the power of persuasion

Aditya Nayak
(Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi)

With the expanding domain of social media, we have entered the age of excess of content. Be it texts, images, videos, or memes. All forms of expression and communication have attained a capacity to reproduce itself at such a speed in the digital medium that it has destabilized the meanings held by such forms of communication. The medium of communication has attained more power to produce affects than the content itself. The subject of enquiry in this paper is what becomes of truth in the post-digital age where techne is mobilized to produce affects and appeal to the eros pervading in the spirit of the communitas? The paper argues that the post-truth age is a product of the time of ‘emotional capitalism’ marked by content (commodity) consumption where the consumer is also the producer of the commodity. In this self-production, a producer attains more power to produce affects by the capacity to keep consumers on social media for a longer span of time. How can progressive politics transform its form of communication, or techne, for the post-truth age? Referring to Aristotle’s work on Rhetoric, this paper argues that the post-digital mediums of communication have altered logos or the way in which logic is produced. However, ethos, and pathos still remain as a craftsmanship of persuasion. Progressive politics is failing to adapt to digital medium of communication because while the forces of empire use techne to mobilize the rhetorical element of pathos to appeal to eros of the multitude, progressive politics has restricted itself to logic and dialectic while trying to combine it with only ethos and ignoring other elements of rhetoric. Thus, the progressive politics appeals to Thanatos instead of Eros.

Aditya Nayak is an M.Phil. Research scholar at the Centre for Comparative Politics and Political Theory, Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU), New Delhi, India. The author is a member of the International Society of Artificial Intelligence Humanities with the “Artificial Intelligence Humanities” research project of Humanities Korea and Chung-Ang University, Humanities Research Institute, Seoul, South Korea. His research interests include philosophy of Artificial Intelligence, philosophy of mind & cognition, semantics, and political philosophy.