Braun

I am a new man sticker

ca 1990

Ich bin wie ausgewechselt:

I am a new man

The problem of 'the new man' has  roots in German Pietist theology. Salvation demands moral improvement. But the impulse towards the good is nowhere to be found within corrupt existence, whilst divine assistance in 'putting on the new man' robs the soul of its achievement. Transformation, indeed, a self-transformation is both necessary and seemingly impossible.

The problem persisted throughout the 17th, 18th & 19th Centuries preserved within the institutional development of rational theology into rational morality and finally into political philosophy. From the standpoint of the problem's ultimate and finally adequate construal, this history is constituted as a series of distortions of suppressed social content.  Albeit in an alienated form, it is the concept of political utopia that is ultimately at stake in the dilemmas of spiritual and moral self-cultivation. For, once positivism has swept away all transcendent causes as theological cobwebs, where amongst the rubble of the existing is located the ground of transition to the fundamentally different?

Arguably, not within the sphere of personal grooming.  A bitter phenomenon of the crisis of actual universal social change is its false ideal resolution at the level of the individual and singular. Perhaps 'rational' industrial design never was convincingly posited as the agent of transition to a truly new form of social life; it was insufficiently transcendent, too entangled with the processes of development whose energies require redirection. At least  the purpose was stated. No small thing in itself. By the 1990s the Braun company's utopian commitments of 40 years earlier had quite fallen away. It was content to play the part of grace to the private and consolatory miracle of the consumer's aesthetic self-transformation, as if transformation of another kind had never been considered...

price: £5