The Impact of Modern Society on the Precariado and Byung-Chul Han's Reflections


Hatched by Thati

Jan 27, 2024

3 min read


The Impact of Modern Society on the Precariado and Byung-Chul Han's Reflections


In today's fast-paced and ever-changing world, the concept of the precariado has emerged as a distinct class, characterized by unstable jobs and reduced labor rights. This article explores the commonalities between the precariado and the societal challenges discussed by philosopher Byung-Chul Han. By examining their experiences and insights, we can gain a deeper understanding of the impact of modern society on individuals and communities.

Byung-Chul Han's Reflections:

Byung-Chul Han, a South Korean philosopher residing in Berlin, offers valuable insights into the challenges faced by individuals in modern society. Han's experience in Germany, particularly his immersion in the German language and culture, has shaped his perspective on topics such as mortality, fatigue, and freedom.

Han's Reflections on Death and Mortality:

Han's deep connection with the German language and culture has led him to reflect on death and mortality. Drawing from the philosophy of Hegel, Han explores the profound influence of mortality on human existence. He engages with the concept of death through visits to cemeteries and emphasizes the importance of acknowledging mortality as a way to appreciate life fully.

The Society of Fatigue:

Han describes the Korean society as an extreme example of the "society of fatigue." The rapid transformation of Korea from an agrarian to an industrial nation has led to a prevalence of exhaustion, burnout, and even suicides. Han attributes these societal issues to the relentless pursuit of growth and success, which has taken a toll on individuals' mental and physical well-being.

The Negative Impact of Technology:

Han delves into the detrimental effects of technology, particularly smartphones, on Korean society. He highlights the Information Fatigue Syndrome and the obsession with digital exposure as the consequences of excessive smartphone usage. Han warns against the loss of genuine human connection and the overwhelming saturation of information.

The Contradictions of Freedom:

Han explores the paradoxical nature of freedom, emphasizing how the relentless pursuit of individual freedom can result in internal compulsions and control. He raises concerns about the surveillance and exposure culture prevalent on social media platforms, where individuals willingly participate in constructing a digital panopticon. Han suggests that unchecked freedom can lead to exploitation and compulsive behavior.

The Precariado and the State:

The precariado, a newly emerging class, faces numerous challenges in modern society. Economist Guy Standing argues that the principal enemy of the precariado is the State, which fails to provide adequate support and protection for these individuals. The precariado's lack of labor rights, job instability, and insecurity are issues exacerbated by the State's policies and institutions.

Common Points and Insights:

Byung-Chul Han's reflections on the impact of modern society align with the experiences of the precariado. Both highlight the negative consequences of societal and technological advancements, such as fatigue, burnout, and a loss of genuine human connection. Furthermore, they shed light on the contradictions of freedom, where the pursuit of individual freedom can lead to internal compulsions and exploitation.

Actionable Advice:

  • 1. Prioritize self-care: In a society that values productivity and constant availability, it is crucial to prioritize self-care. Taking breaks, disconnecting from digital devices, and engaging in activities that promote well-being can help combat fatigue and burnout.
  • 2. Seek genuine connections: In the age of digital exposure, it is essential to cultivate genuine human connections. Invest time and effort in building meaningful relationships, both online and offline, to counteract the superficiality and isolation prevalent in modern society.
  • 3. Advocate for labor rights: The precariado's struggles highlight the need for stronger labor rights and protections. Support organizations and initiatives that aim to improve working conditions, advocate for fair wages, and promote job stability.


Byung-Chul Han's reflections on modern society and the experiences of the precariado offer valuable insights into the challenges faced by individuals in today's world. Both shed light on the negative consequences of societal and technological advancements, as well as the contradictions of freedom. By taking action to prioritize self-care, seek genuine connections, and advocate for labor rights, individuals can navigate the complexities of modern society more effectively.

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