” Modern societies can be defined by their mode of stabilisation, which is dynamic. This means they need to grow, to accelerate and to innovate just to stay in place. This holds true for modern societies in all parts of the world and, for Western countries, at any given point in time since the eighteenth century. This mode of dynamic stabilisation and the ensuing logic of escalation generate their own instabilities. This is most evident from a temporal perspective: since time cannot be extended, but only compressed, time-scarcity moves to the centre of social attention. In fact, the essence of dynamic stabilisation can be re-interpreted in terms of social acceleration. Social acceleration inevitably creates problems of social de-synchronisation, which grow increasingly acute as modernity ages.
Thus, the four major crises of our current age can be adequately understood as crises of de-synchronisation. Ultimately, they are all pathologies of acceleration and dynamisation. This, in turn, suggests that those crises will not be solved unless modern societies adopt a different mode of stabilisation: they must adopt a mode which would allow for growth, acceleration and innovation where it is socially and culturally desirable for the attainment of a certain goal or end, but which would not require escalation for the sake of maintaining the status quo. An alternative mode of stabilization that is both modern in the sense of being democratic, pluralistic, and liberal, but not dependent on growth and escalation for reproduction, would require a new cultural definition of the good life, a new measurement of the quality of life. I introduce the idea of resonance as such a benchmark and juxtapose it to two forms of alienation. Alienation and resonance, so the argument goes, describe different modes or relationships between self and world, and a shift of mode in this realm might be the first and decisive step in any attempt to stop the endless spirals of escalation and to realise a better world.”