Carl Schmitt’s Die Buribunken: A Troubling Critique of Informational Existence 100 years on

By Kieran Tranter and Edwin Bikundo
It is little known that among Carl Schmitt’s first publications was Die Buribunken published in the journal SUMMA in 1918. Even readers otherwise familiar with Schmitt’s later writings would be surprised. Die Buribunken can only be described as a piece of speculative fiction. In it a thirty year old Schmitt discusses the future emergence of a specific posthuman – ‘Die Buribunken’ – humans who have become integrated into a global system of continuous diary writing and dissemination as existence.
The Die Buribunken has until now only been a footnote in the work of Schmitt scholars. Mentioned only in passing it is usually seen as an early work peripheral to Schmitt’s later opus. Friedrich Kittler included a substantial extract of it in his fabulous Gramophone, Film, Typewriter[1] Kittler’s use of Die Buribunken is insightful. For Kittler Die Buribunken provocatively identifies the fundamental transformation from analogue existence to

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