Cover: The Disappearance of Rituals by Byung-Chul Han

The Disappearance of Rituals

A Topology of the Present

Byung-Chul Han

Translated by Daniel Steuer



The present essay is not animated by a desire to return to ritual. Rather, rituals serve as a background against which our present times may be seen to stand out more clearly. Avoiding nostalgia, I sketch a genealogy of their disappearance, a disappearance which, however, I do not interpret as an emancipatory process. Along the way, the pathologies of the present day will become visible, most of all the erosion of community. At the same time, I offer reflections on different forms of life that might be able to free our society from its collective narcissism.