Hence, whereas bribery and force were once the main instruments or tools used for the exercise of power in the ancient and modern ages, ‘panoptic surveillance’ – or ‘panoptic malveillance’ – along with mistrust are the newest tools and the newest weapons used for the exercise of power by virtually everyone in the postmodern age. ‘Panoptic surveillance’ or ‘panoptic malveillance’ and mistrust allow and enable both governments and individuals to operate “a machinery that is both immense and minute, which supports, reinforces, multiplies the asymmetry of power and undermines the limits that are traced around the law” to borrow from Foucault. 

Thus, panoptic malveillance and mistrust is a “physico-political technique” which aims at “unbalancing power relations definitively and everywhere” as Foucault noted. And most importantly, for those who are in positions of power, panoptic malveillance fosters the ability and the power to punish people outside of legal and juridical metes and bounds. As Foucault wrote: “What generalizes the power to punish, then, is not the universal consciousness of the law in each juridical subject; it is the regular extension, the infinitely minute web of panoptic techniques…”

It follows that ‘panoptic malveillance’ and mistrust shape culture and human interaction to the fullest extent in a postmodern age, and in turn, the ‘digital order’ which emerges from our postmodern age “puts an end to the age of truth and introduces the post-factual information society” to borrow from Byung-Chul Han.

In turn, the volume and speed of information in our day and age means that there is no energy or time for the truth. As Byung-Chul Han argued: 

“Anything time-consuming is on the way out. Truth is time-consuming. Where bits of information come in quick succession, we have no time for truth. In our post-factual culture of excitement, communication is dominated by affects and emotions. As opposed to rationality, these are temporally unstable. They thus destabilize life.” 

What Han added to the aforementioned passage very much ties into the theme of ‘panoptic malveillance’ and mistrust of a postmodern age and the ‘digital order’ that is borne out of a postmodern age:

“Trust, promises and responsibility are also time-consuming practices. They stretch from the present far into the future. Everything that stabilizes human life is time-consuming. Faithfulness, bonding and commitment are time-consuming practices. The decay of stabilizing temporal architectures, including rituals, makes life unstable. The stabilization of life would require a different temporal politics.” 

Lightning-speed consumption of ‘deformative information’ takes the place of slow contemplation and thoughtfulness in our ‘digital order,’ even though “contemplation, intentionless seeing, which would be a formula for happiness, gives way to the hunt for information.” But as Han suggested: “Perception of the long-lasting and slow thus recognizes only still things. Everything that rushes is condemned to disappear.” And in a way, the resistance and struggle against the “Panopticon” – while aimless and futile in an economic and political sense – has a spiritual and soteriological dimension to it which is essential and vital and in turn justifies and legitimizes the resistance and struggle fully and thoroughly. And as Han states in the following manner: “Only those who linger in contemplative calmness appear to God’s redeeming gaze. Stillness redeems.

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