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object:Peter Sloterdijk
subject class:Philosophy

Born ::: in Karlsruhe, Germany, June 26, 1947
Website :::
Genre ::: Philosophy, Nonfiction
Influences ::: Klaus Briegleb, Friedrich Nietzsche, Martin Heidegger, Michel Foucault ...more

Peter Sloterdijk is a German philosopher, cultural theorist, television host and columnist. He is a professor of philosophy and media theory at the University of Art and Design Karlsruhe.

Peter Sloterdijk studied philosophy, Germanistics and history at the University of Munich. In 1975 he received his Ph.D. from the University of Hamburg. Since 1980 he has published many philosophical works, including the Critique of Cynical Reason. In 2001 he was named president of the State Academy of Design, part of the Center for Art and Media in Karlsruhe. In 2002 he began to co-host Das Philosophische Quartett, a show on the German ZDF television channel devoted to discussing key issues affecting present-day society.

The Kritik der Zynischen Vernunft (Critique of Cynical Reason), published by Suhrkamp in 1983, became the best-selling philosophical book in the German language since the Second World War and launched Sloterdijk's career as an author.

The trilogy Spheres is the philosopher's magnum opus. The first volume was published in 1998, the second in 1999, and the last in 2004.

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Peter Sloterdijk




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1:We are in an outside that carries inner worlds. ~ Peter Sloterdijk,
2:Ventilation is the profound secret of existence. ~ Peter Sloterdijk,
3:In this distinctive world, elusive quantities flash at the edge of conventional logic. ~ Peter Sloterdijk,
4:The disciple of philosophy must present itself, first as a way of thinking and then as a way of life. ~ Peter Sloterdijk,
5:Ȋn mediul celor avuți, insațiabili, “interesul pentru artă nu e, de regulă, decât fața duminicală a lăcomiei". ~ Peter Sloterdijk,
6:Gardens are enclosed areas in which plants and arts meet. They form 'cultures' in an uncompromised sense of the word. ~ Peter Sloterdijk,
7:La cultura de masas presupone el fracaso de todo intento de hacer de uno alguien interesante, lo que significa hacerse mejor que los otros ~ Peter Sloterdijk,
8:Os colarinhos-brancos, os moderadores e críticos cresceram em quase toda parte à custa dos criativos e deixam-se festejar como os verdadeiros criadores. ~ Peter Sloterdijk,
9:Talvez, por menos oportuno que possa parecer, se devesse dizer mais uma vez: no mundo que sucedeu à graça, a arte foi o asilo das exceções que restaram. ~ Peter Sloterdijk,
10:In the wall-less house of sounds, humans became the animals that come together by listening. Whatever else they might be, they are sonospheric communards. ~ Peter Sloterdijk,
11:Consequently, immune systems at this level can be defined a priori as embodied expectations of injury and the corresponding programmes of protection and repair. ~ Peter Sloterdijk,
12:Mysticism is the acquired immunodeficiency of regional ontologies; one catches it through unprotected thought intercourse with the stirred-up concept of the infinite. ~ Peter Sloterdijk,
13:When everything has become the center, there is no longer any valid center; when everything is transmitting, the allegedly central transmitter is lost in the tangle of messages. ~ Peter Sloterdijk,
14:Alors que ce mauvais siècle approche de sa fin, le pressentiment se répand que l’idée de faire histoire n’était qu’un prétexte. Le sujet décisif de la modernité, c’est de faire nature. ~ Peter Sloterdijk,
15:Wherever one encounters members of the human race, they always show the traits of a being that is condemned to surrealistic effort. Whoever goes in search of humans will find acrobats. ~ Peter Sloterdijk,
16:It is not sufficient, he emphasized, to colour (colorare) the mind with wisdom; it must be pickled (macerare) in it, as it were, soaked in it (inficere), and entirely transformed by it. ~ Peter Sloterdijk,
17:Aus heutiger Sicht lag die 68er-Bewegung exakt in dem Trend, der zur Konsumgesellschaft führt. Ohne es zu ahnen, waren wir, die westdeutschen Früh-Hedonisten, die Labormäuse des totalen Konsumismus. ~ Peter Sloterdijk,
18:Repetition plus translation plus generalization results, with the correct calculation, in clarification. If there is such a thing as 'progress in religion', it can only manifest itself as increasing explicitness. ~ Peter Sloterdijk,
19:The impact of the sense of vision on philosophy is well summed up by Peter Sloterdijk: 'The eyes are the organic prototype of philosophy. Their enigma is that they not only can see but are also able to see themselves seeing. ~ Juhani Pallasmaa,
20:As in the days of the first Merovingian, who pledged allegiance to the cross because of a victorious battle, today's children of the banalized Enlightenment are likewise meant to burn what they worshipped and worship what they burned. ~ Peter Sloterdijk,
21:As long as no more than a small minority are capable of reading and writing, universal alphabetization seems like a messianic project. Only once everyone has this ability does one notice the catastrophe that almost no one can do it properly. ~ Peter Sloterdijk,
22:Din marele elan al transformării egalitariste a umanității nu a rămas, până la urmă, mult mai mult decât autoprivilegierea nedisimulată a funcționarilor – ca să nu mai vorbim de paralizia, resemnarea și cinismul pe care le-a lăsat moștenire. ~ Peter Sloterdijk,
23:Being-‘subject’ means taking up a position from which an actor can make the transition from theory to practice. This transition usually takes place once an actor has found the motive that liberates them from hesitation and disinhibits them for action. ~ Peter Sloterdijk,
24:A massa pós-moderna é massa sem potencial, uma soma de microanarquias e solidões que mal lembram o tempo em que - incitada e conscientizada pelos seus porta-vozes e secretários-gerais - deveria e queria fazer história como coletivo prenhe de expressão. ~ Peter Sloterdijk,
25:A aptidão de Hitler para o seu papel no psicodrama alemão não se baseava em capacidades incomuns ou carismas brilhando ao longe, mas em sua vulgaridade inatingivelmente evidente e na disposição resultante de berrar do fundo da alma para grandes multidões. ~ Peter Sloterdijk,
26:Nietzsche is no more or less than the Schliemann of asceticisms. In the midst of the excavation sites, surrounded by the psychopathic rubble of millennia and the ruins of morbid palaces, he was completely right to assume the triumphant expression of a discoverer. ~ Peter Sloterdijk,
27:El secreto de la modernidad se esconde en su capacidad de reclutar personas de cualquier origen y cualquier confesión para que formen parte de la más grande de las campañas militares, la campaña por el alivio progresivo del estrés anónimo surgido de la opresión de lo real. ~ Peter Sloterdijk,
28:An ideology critique that does not clearly accept its identity as satire can, however, easily be transformed from an instrument in the search for truth into one of dogmatism. All too often, it interferes with the capacity for dialogue instead of opening up new paths for it. ~ Peter Sloterdijk,
29:As a system of hybrid communicating vessels, the human interior consists of paradoxical or autogenous hollow bodies that are at once tight and leaky, that must alternate between the roles of container and content, and which simultaneously have properties of inner and outer walls. ~ Peter Sloterdijk,
30:The spaces that humans allow to contain them have their own history - albeit a history that has never been told, and whose heroes are eo ipso not humans themselves, but rather the topoi and spheres as whose function humans flourish, and from which they fall if their unfolding fails. ~ Peter Sloterdijk,
31:A philosopher is one who, as an athlete of totality, is laden with the weight of the world. The essence of philosophy as a form of living is philponia — friendship with the entirety of weighty and worth things. The love of wisdom and the love of the weight of the one whole are unified. ~ Peter Sloterdijk,
32:This much should be clear by now: the term 'renaissance' can only remain fruitful and demanding as long as it refers to a far-reaching idea: that it is the fate of Europeans to develop life and forms of life according to and alongside the Christian definitions of life and forms of life. ~ Peter Sloterdijk,
33:How much truth is contained in something can be best determined by making it thoroughly laughable and then watching to see how much joking around it can take. For truth is a matter that can withstand mockery, that is freshened by any ironic gesture directed at it. Whatever cannot withstand satire is false. ~ Peter Sloterdijk,
34:In the midst of the ubiquitous dealings with prostituted signs, the thing-poem was capable of opening up the prospect of returning to credible experiences of meaning. It did this by tying language to the gold standard of what things themselves communicate. Where randomness is disabled, authority should shine forth. ~ Peter Sloterdijk,
35:The violent, antirationalistic impulse in Western countries is reacting to an intellectual state of affairs in which all thinking has become strategy; this impulse shows a disgust for a certain form of self-preservation. It is a sensitive shivering from the cold breath of a reality where knowledge is power and power is knowledge. ~ Peter Sloterdijk,
36:In his field, and with his means, Rilke carries out an operation that one could philosophically describe as the 'transformation of being into message' (more commonly, 'linguistic turn'). 'Being that can be be understood is language', Heidegger would later state - which conversely implies that language abandoned by being becomes mere chatter. ~ Peter Sloterdijk,
37:The human being does not hop out of the magician's hat in the way that the ape climbs down from the tree; he also does not emerge from the hand of a creator who surveys everything in advance with his foreknowledge. He is the product of a production that is not itself a human being. The human being was not yet what he would become before he became it. ~ Peter Sloterdijk,
38:A massa não reunida e não reunível na sociedade pós-moderna não possui mais, por essa razão, um sentimento de corpo e espaço próprios; ela não se vê mais confluir e agir, não sente mais sua natureza pulsante; não produz mais um grito conjunto. Distancia-se cada vez mais da possibilidade de passar de suas rotinas práticas e indolentes para um aguçamento revolucionário. ~ Peter Sloterdijk,
39:In Nietzsche's usage, the word 'Christianity' does not even refer primarily to the religion; using it like a code word, he is thinking more of a particular religio-metaphysically influenced disposition, an ascetically (in the penitent and self-denying sense) defined attitude to the world, an unfortunate form of life deferral, focus on the hereafter and quarrel with secular facts ~ Peter Sloterdijk,
40:Not until Plato’s Republic was a type of politician created who would no longer serve as a loudspeaker, but rather as a receiver of quiet ideas – with little success, as we know, as the introduction of the quiet politician is yet to come. It would be a contradiction in terms, for politics, as the art of what is possible in noise, remains assigned to the loud side of the phonotope ~ Peter Sloterdijk,
41:Above all: only grant the suspicion that sport is a pastime for the most stupid as much space as it deserves, do not misuse it as a pretext to drift further in your customary state of self-neglect, distrust the philistine in yourself who thinks you are just fine as you are! Hear the voice from the stone, do not resist the call to get in shape! Seize the chance to train with a god! ~ Peter Sloterdijk,
42:It illustrates the process of intelligence in relation to non-transparent factors on the basis of five typical configurations that I shall call: the grave; the body; the book; the bureaucracy; the complex machine. It would be an accidental but not undesirable effect if people recognize this series as a progressive approach to the living environment, or, rather, the box environment of modernity. ~ Peter Sloterdijk,
43:What early Christianity meant by 'faith' (pistis) was initially nothing other than running ahead and clinging to a model or idea whose attainability was still uncertain. Faith is purely anticipatory, in the sense that it already has an effect when it mobilizes the existence of the anticipatory towards the goal through anticipation. In analogy for the placebo effect, one would have to call this the movebo effect. ~ Peter Sloterdijk,
44:We know from accounts of Rilke's life that his stay in Rodin's workshops taught him how modern sculpture had advanced to the genre of the autonomous torso. The poet's view of the mutilated body thus has nothing to do with the previous century's Romanticism of fragments and ruins; it is part of the breakthrough in modern art to the concept of the object that states itself with authority and the body that publicizes itself with authorization. ~ Peter Sloterdijk,
45:[Nietzsche's] questions - transcend, but where to; ascend, but to what height? - would have answered themselves if he had calmly kept both feet on the ascetic ground. He was too sick to follow his most important insight: that the main thing in life is to take the minor things seriously. When minor things grow stronger, the danger posed by the main thing is contained; then climbing higher in the minor things means advancing in the main thing. ~ Peter Sloterdijk,
46:As the activity culture of modernity constitutes itself against heteronomy, however, it will seek and find methods to place the commanding authority inside the hearer of the command themselves, so that they seem only to be obeying their inner voice when they submit. In this way, the fact of ‘subjectivity’ is demanded, created and fulfilled. What is meant, then, is the individual's co-determination of the authority that can give them commands. ~ Peter Sloterdijk,
47:[...] aquellos grandes cuerpos políticos que antes llamábamos pueblos y hoy, a razón de una dudosa convención semántica, denominamos "sociedades". Cuando decimos esta palabra solemos pensar en las poblaciones de los estados-nación modernos, por tanto en unidades políticas grandes y muy grandes con volúmenes demográficos de entre unos cuantos millones y mil millones de miembros. [...] el animal fabuloso "sociedad", [...] lo aceptamos como una cosa obvia. ~ Peter Sloterdijk,
48:In his treatise on the battles between the gods underlying ancient Dionysian theatre, the young Nietzsche notes: 'Alas! The magic of these struggles is such, that he who sees them must also take part in them.' Similarly, an anthropology of the practising life is infected by its subject. Dealing with practices, asceticisms and exercises, whether or not they are declared as such, the theorist inevitably encounters his own inner constitution, beyond affirmation and denial. ~ Peter Sloterdijk,
49:But if man genuinely produces man, it is precisely not through work and it's concrete results, not even the 'work on oneself' so widely praised in recent times, let alone through the alternatively invoked phenomena of 'interaction' or 'communication': it is through life in forms of practice. Practice is defined here as any operation that provides or improves the actor's qualification for the next performance of the same operation, whether it is declared as practice or not. ~ Peter Sloterdijk,
50:Ȋn timp ce economia obișnuită, dictată de "erosul inferior", se bazează pe afectele voinței de a avea, economia thymotică se sprijină pe mândria celor care se simt liberi să dăruiască. ... utilizarea thymotică a bogăției ȋn lumea anglo-saxonă, și mai ales ȋn SUA, a devenit un fapt civilizator garantat, ȋn timp ce pe continentul european – din cauza unor tradiții bazate pe ȋncrederea ȋn stat, pe subvenționism și pe mizerabilism – n-a reușit să se aclimatizeze cu adevărat nici până ȋn ziua de azi. ~ Peter Sloterdijk,
51:Only the artistic will to transform the future into a space of unlimited art-elevating chances enables us to understand the core of the procreation rule: 'a creator shall you create [...] a self-propelling wheel, a first movement'. This rule contains no less than Nietzsche's theology after the death of God: there will continue to be a God and gods, but only humanity-immanent ones, and only to the extent that there are creators who follow on from what has been achieved in order to go higher, faster and further. ~ Peter Sloterdijk,
52:Something is indeed returning today - but the conventional wisdom that this is religion making its reappearance is insufficient to satisfy critical inquiries. Nor is it the return of a factor that had vanished, but, rather a shift of emphasis in a continuum that was never interrupted. The genuinely recurring element that would merit our full intellectual attention is more anthropological than 'religious' in its implications - it is, in a nutshell, the recognition of the immunitary constitution of human beings. ~ Peter Sloterdijk,
53:Cultele memoriei de orice natură, indiferent dacă se prezintă ȋn veșminte religioase, civilizatoare sau politice, trebuie privite... cu neȋncredere și asta fără excepție: sub pretextul unei comemorări purificatoare, eliberatoare sau fie și numai fondatoare de identitate, ele dau inevitabil apă la moară unei tendințe ascunse de repetare și repunere ȋn scenă. ... măsurile de stingere sau de domolire a flăcării mocnite cu care ard amintirile suferințelor trebuie să facă parte din regulile de ȋnțelepciune ale oricărei civilizații, ~ Peter Sloterdijk,
54:The reason for the existence of the perfection conjured up in these fourteen lines is that it possesses ... the authorization to form a message that appeals from within itself. This power of appeal is exquisitely evident in the object evoked here. The perfect thing is that which articulates an entire principle of being. The poem has to perform no more and no less than to perceive the principle of being in the thing and adapt it to its own existence - with the aim of becoming a construct with an equal power to convey a message. ~ Peter Sloterdijk,
55:In truth, philosophy is the mode of thought shaped by the most radical form of prejudice: the passion of being-in-the-world. With the sole exception of specialists in the field, virtually everyone senses that anything which offers less than this passion play remains philosophically trivial. Cultural anthropologists suggest the appealing term 'deep play' for the comprehensively absorbing preoccupations of human beings. From the perspective of a theory of the practising life we would add: the deep plays are those which are moved by the heights. ~ Peter Sloterdijk,
56:It is not only the weary Homo faber, who objectifies the world in the 'doing' mode, who must vacate his place on the logical stage; the time has also come for Homo religiosus, who turns to the world above in surreal rites, to bid a deserved farewell. Together, workers and believers come into a new category. It is time to reveal humans as the beings who result from repetition. Just as the nineteenth century stood cognitively under the sign of production and the twentieth under that of reflexivity, the future should present itself under the sign of the exercise. ~ Peter Sloterdijk,
57:The constant back and forth between the poles of the android id and the human ego gave rise to the soul drama of the mid-Modern Age, which was simultaneously a technical drama. Its topic is best summarized in a theory of convergence, where the android moves towards its animation while increasing parts of real human existence are demystified as higher forms of mechanics. The uncanny (which Freud knew something about) and the disappointing (on which he chose to remain silent) move towards each other. The ensoulment of the machine is strictly proportional to the desoulment of humans. ~ Peter Sloterdijk,
58:For many intelligences,the thought of homely intimacies is associated with a spontaneous disgust at too much sweetness-which is why there is neither a philosophy of sweetness nor an elaborated ontology of the intimate. One must assess the nature of this resistance if one is to get past typical initial aversions. From a distance,the subject appears so unattractive and inconsequential that for the time being,only suckers for harmony or theophilic eunuchs would get stuck on it. An intellect that spends its energy on worthy objects usually prefers the sharp to the sweet; one does not offer candy to heroes ~ Peter Sloterdijk,
59:Hence there is no free admission to the process of enlightenment - it is always paid at a psycho-traumatic cost. Only such individuals as always already bring along much more injury than could be caused by mere cognitive attacks on their narcissistic system have an apparently free backstage pass to it. Such candidates, like the highly talented of a special type, obtain their degree in wound studies free of charge. For them psychical sacrifices that only affect the cognitive immunity-shield appear to be forms of relief - for which reason they move about in the region of obscure theory like fish in water. ~ Peter Sloterdijk,
60:The Enlightenment, finally, invented progressive 'history' as an inner-worldly purgatory in order to develop the conditions of possibility of a perfected 'society'. This provided the required setting for the aggressive social theology of the Modern Age to drive out the political theology of the imperial eras. What was the Enlightenment in its deep structure if not an attempt to translate the ancient rhyme on learning and suffering - mathein pathein - into a collective and species-wide phenomenon? Was its aim not to persuade the many to expose themselves to transitional ordeals that would precede the great optimization of all things? ~ Peter Sloterdijk,
61:It is clear enough that not every something can be elevated to the rank of a thing - otherwise everything and everyone would be speaking once more, and the chatter would spread from humans to things. Rilke privileges two categories of 'entities' [Seienden), to express it in the papery diction of philosophy, that are eligible for the lofty task of acting as message-things - artifices and living creatures - with the latter gaining their particular quality from the former, as if animals were being's highest works of art before humans. Inherent to both is a message energy that does not activate itself, but requires the poet as a decoder and messenger. ~ Peter Sloterdijk,
62:In the foam worlds, however, no bubble can be expanded into an absolutely centered, all-encompassing, amphiscopic org; no central light penetrates the entire foam in its dynamic murkiness. Hence the ethics of the decentered, small and middle-sized bubbles in the world foam includes the effort to move about in an unprecedentedly spacious world with an unprecedentedly modest circumspection; in the foam, discrete and polyvalent games of reason must develop that learn to live with a shimmering diversity of perspectives , and dispense with the illusion of the one lordly point of view. Most roads do not lead to Rome-that is the situation, European: recognize it. ~ Peter Sloterdijk,
63:The biggest and, outwardly, most trustful banker in history is God, the administrator delegated to eternity. And his credit institute is Paradise. Billions of faithfuls, for centuries, have invested in the hope of God, expecting redemption in eternal life. And since the celestial agency is going bankrupt, nothing is left of its capital, on which the hopes of six billion faithful consumers rely. Capitalism is a project of universal anthropology. Humans primarily are beings who desire. Not in an hedonistic, but in a materialistic sense: in the modern period, Westerners have looked for felicity through the possession of objects and the consumption of commodities. ~ Peter Sloterdijk,
64:In his differentiation between asceticisms, Nietzsche posited a clear divide between the priestly varieties on the one side, illuminated by his vicious gaze, and the disciplinary rules of intellectual workers, philosophers and artists as well as the exercises of warriors and athletes on the other side. If the former are concerned with what one might call a pathogogical asceticism - an artful self-violation among an elite of sufferers that empowers them to lead other sufferers and induce the healthy to become co-sick - the latter only impose their regulations on themselves because they see them as a means of reaching their optimum as thinkers and creators of works. ~ Peter Sloterdijk,
65:His concept of allochrony - initially introduced shyly as 'untimeliness', then later radicalized to an exit from modernity - is based on the idea, as suggestive as it is fantastic, that antiquity has no need of repetitions enacted in subsequent periods, because it 'essentially' returns constantly on its own strength. In other words, antiquity - or the ancient - is not an overcome phase of cultural development that is only represented in the collective memory and can be summoned by the wilfulness of education. It is rather a kind of constant present - a depth time, a nature time, a time of being - that continues underneath the theatre of memory and innovation that occupies cultural time. ~ Peter Sloterdijk,
66:In the wake of his new division of ascetic opinion, Nietzsche not only stumbles upon the fundamental meaning of the practising life for the development of styles of existence or 'cultures'. He puts his finger on what he sees as the decisive separation for all moralities, namely into the asceticisms of the healthy and those of the sick, though he does not show any reservations about presenting the antithesis with an almost caricatural harshness. The healthy - a word that has long been subjected to countless deconstructions - are those who, because they are healthy, want to grow through good asceticisms; and the sick are those who, because they are sick, plot revenge with bad asceticisms. ~ Peter Sloterdijk,
67:The aesthetic construct, and nothing else, has taught us to expose ourselves to a non-enslaving experience of rank differences. The work of art is even allowed to 'tell' us, those who have run away from form, something, because it quite obviously does not embody the intention to confine us. 'La poesie ne s'impose plus, elle s'expose' Something that exposes itself and proves itself in this test gains unpresumed authority. In the space of aesthetic simulation, which is at once the emergency space for the success and failure of the artistic construct, the powerless superiority of the works can affect observers who otherwise take pains to ensure that they have no lord, old or new, above them. ~ Peter Sloterdijk,
68:...only very few - only humans, as far as we know - achieve the second level of transcendent movement. Through this, the environment is de-restricted to become the world as an integral whole of manifest and latent elements. The second step is the work of language. This not only builds the 'house of being' - Heidegger took this phrase from Zarathustra's animals, which inform the convalescent: 'the house of being rebuilds itself eternally'; it is also the vehicle for the tendencies to run away from that house with which, by means of its inner surpluses, humans move towards the open. It need hardly be explained why the oldest parasite in the world, the world above, only appears with the second transcendence. ~ Peter Sloterdijk,
69:I am already living, but something is telling me with unchallengeable authority: you are not living properly. The numinous authority of form enjoys the prerogative of being able to tell me 'You must'.
It is the authority of a different life in this life. This authority touches on a subtle insufficiency within me that is older and freer than sin; it is my innermost not-yet. In my most conscious moment, I am affected by the absolute objection to my status quo: my change is the one thing that is necessary. If you do indeed subsequently change your life, what you are doing is no different from what you desire with your whole will as soon as you feel how a vertical tension that is valid for you unhinges your life. ~ Peter Sloterdijk,
70:Give up your attachment to comfortable ways of living - show yourself in the gymnasium (gymnos = 'naked'), prove that you are not indifferent to the difference between perfect and imperfect, demonstrate to us that achievement - excellence, arete, virtu - has not remained a foreign word to you, admit that you have motives for new endeavours! Above all: only grant the suspicion that sport is a pastime for the most stupid as much space as it deserves, do not misuse it as a pretext to drift further in your customary state of self-neglect, distrust the philistine in yourself who thinks you are just fine as you are! Hear the voice from the stone, do not resist the call to get in shape! Seize the chance to train with a god! ~ Peter Sloterdijk,
71:The de-spiritualization of asceticisms is probably the event in the current intellectual history of mankind that is the most comprehensive and, because of its large scale, the hardest to perceive, yet at once the most palpable and atmospherically powerful. Its counterpart is the informalization of spirituality - accompanied by its commercialization in the corresponding subcultures. The threshold values for these two tendencies provide the intellectual landmarks for the twentieth century: the first tendency is represented by sport, which has become a metaphor for achievement as such, and the second by popular music, that devotio postmoderna which covers the lives of contemporary individuals with unpredictable flashes of inner emergency. ~ Peter Sloterdijk,
72:There is no 'eugenics' in Nietzsche - despite occasional references to 'breeding'- at least no more than is implicit in the recommendation to choose a partner under decent lightning conditions and with one's self-respect intact. Everything else falls under training, discipline, education and self-design - the Übermensch implies not a biological but an artistic, not to say an acrobatic programme. The only thought-provoking aspect of the marriage recommendation quoted above is the difference between onward and upward propagation. This coincides with a critique of mere repetition - obviously it will no longer suffice in future for children, as one says, to 'return' in their children. There may be a right to imperfection, but not to triviality. ~ Peter Sloterdijk,
73:The extension of the moral-historical perspective makes the meaning of the thesis of the athletic and somatic renaissance apparent. At the transition from the nineteenth to the twentieth century, the phenomenon labelled the 'rebirth of antiquity' in the language regulations of art history entered a phase that fundamentally modified the motives of our identification with cultural relics from antiquity, even from the early classical period. Here, as we have seen, one finds a regression to a time in which the changing of life had not yet fallen under the command of life-denying asceticisms. This 'supra-epochal' time could just as easily be called the future, and what seems like a regression towards it could also be conceived of as a leap forwards. ~ Peter Sloterdijk,
74:From the perspective of the radicals, the habitus basis of human existence is, as a whole, no more than a spiritually worthless puppet theatre into which a free ego-soul must be implanted after the fact, and through the greatest effort. If this fails, one experiences an effect in most people that is familiar from many athletes and models: they make a promising visual impression - but if one knocks, no one is at home. According to these doctrines, the adept can only rid themselves of their baggage by subjecting their life to a rigorous practice regime by which they can de-automize their behaviour in all important dimensions. At the same time, they must re-automatize their newly acquired behaviour so that what they want to be or represent becomes second nature. ~ Peter Sloterdijk,
75:We can trace the communitarian fantasy that lies at the root of all humanism back to the model of a literary society, in which participation through reading the canon reveals a common love of inspiring messages. At the heart of humanism so understood we discover a cult or club fantasy: the dream of the portentous solidarity of those who have been chosen to be allowed to read. In the ancient world—indeed, until the dawn of the modern nation-states—the power of reading actually did mean something like membership of a secret elite; linguistic knowledge once counted in many places as the provenance of sorcery. In Middle English the word 'glamour' developed out of the word 'grammar'. The person who could read would be thought easily capable of other impossibilities. ~ Peter Sloterdijk,
76:A completely different aspect, however, the thoroughly incommensurable one, lies in the imposition of accepting that the torso sees me while I observe it - indeed, that it eyes me more sharply than I can look at it.

The ability to perform the inner gesture with which one makes space for this improbability inside oneself most probably consists precisely in the talent that Max Weber denied having. This talent is 'religiosity', understood as an innate disposition and a talent that can be developed, making it comparable to musicality. One can practise it, just as one practises melodic passages or syntactic patterns. In this sense, religiosity is congruent with a certain grammatical promiscuity. Where it operates, objects elastically exchange places with subjects. ~ Peter Sloterdijk,
77:Clinically speaking, hysteria is - not only among the religious - the ability to somatize figures of speech; from a philosophical perspective, one could say that hysterics are individuals who delay their coming-into-the-world until they can exit into overheated language games; their manner of existence is the epitome of metaphysical neurosis. The hysterics move without any interlude, as it were, or after a long period of latency somewhere inconspicuous, from the womb into the house of language - or the hall of sounds and grand acoustic gestures. Through language and gestures, they hope to skip the phase of pre-linguistic forlornness, the infant trauma, and make it never have happened. Hence, perhaps, their ability to make verbal expressions glow in their own bodies. ~ Peter Sloterdijk,
78:In this book, we will naturally be dealing primarily with the manifestations of the third level of immunity. I gather material on the biography of Homo immunologicus, guided by the assumption that this is where to find the stuff from which the forms of anthropotechnics are made. By this I mean the methods of mental and physical practising by which humans from the most diverse cultures have attempted to optimize their cosmic and immunological status in the face of vague risks of living and acute certainties of death. Only when these procedures have been grasped in a broad tableau of human 'work on oneself' can we evaluate the newest experiments in genetic engineering, to which, in the current debate, many have reduced the term 'anthropotechnics', reintroduced in 1997. ~ Peter Sloterdijk,
79:The stakes in this game are not low. Our enterprise is no less than the introduction of an alternative language, and with the language an altered perspective, for a group of phenomena that tradition tended to refer to with such words as 'spirituality', 'piety', 'morality', 'ethics' and 'asceticism'. If the manoeuvre succeeds, the conventional concept of religion, that ill-fated bugbear from the prop studios of modern Europe, will emerge from these investigations as the great loser. Certainly intellectual history has always resembled a refuge for malformed concepts - and after the following journey through the various stations, one will not only see through the concept of 'religion' in its failed design, a concept whose crookedness is second only to the hyper-bugbear that is 'culture'. ~ Peter Sloterdijk,
80:What the poet has to say to the torso of the supposed Apollo, however, is more than a note on an excursion to the antiquities collection. The author's point is not that the thing depicts an extinct god who might be of interest to the humanistically educated, but that the god in the stone constitutes a thing-construct that is still on air. We are dealing with a document of how newer message ontology outgrew traditional theologies. Here, being itself is understood as having more power to speak and transmit, and more potent authority, than God, the ruling idol of religions. In modern times, even a God can find himself among the pretty figures that no longer mean anything to us - assuming they do not become openly irksome. The thing filled with being, however, does not cease to speak to us when its moment has come. ~ Peter Sloterdijk,
81:I receive the reward for my willingness to participate in the object-subject reversal in the form of a private illumination - in the present case, as an aesthetic movedness. The torso, which has no place that does not see me, likewise does not impose itself - it exposes itself. It exposes itself by testing whether I will recognize it as a seer. Acknowledging it as a seer essentially means 'believing' in it, where believing, as noted above, refers to the inner operations that are necessary to conceive of the vital principle in the stone as a sender of discrete addressed energies. If I somehow succeed in this, I am also able to take the glow of subjectivity away from the stone. I tentatively accept the way it stands there in exemplary radiance, and receive the starlike eruption of its surplus of authority and soul. ~ Peter Sloterdijk,
82:A mi entender, hay que concebir los macrocuerpos políticos que llamamos sociedades en primer lugar como campos de fuerzas integradas por el estrés, más precisamente como sistemas de preocupaciones que se autoestresan y que se precipitan siempre hacia adelante. Estos sistemas solo existen en la medida que consiguen mantener su 'tonus' específico de intranquilidad mientras los temas cambian diariamente y anualmente. Desde este punto de vista una nación es una colectividad que consigue conservar en común la ausencia de calma. Un flujo constante, más o menos intenso, de temas estresantes ha de encargarse de sincronizar las consciencias para integrar la población en una comunidad de preocupaciones y excitaciones que se regenera día tras día. Es por eso que los medios de información modernos son absolutamente imprescindibles [...] ~ Peter Sloterdijk,
83:Such immune systems could equally be described as organismic early forms of a feeling for transcendence: thanks to the efficiency of these devices, which are constantly at the ready, the organism actively confronts the potential bringers of its death, opposing them with its endogenous capacity to overcome the lethal. Such functions have earned immune systems of this type comparisons to a ‘body police’ or border patrol. But as the concern, already at this level, is to work out a modus vivendi with foreign and invisible powers – and, in so far as these can bring death, ‘higher’ and ‘supernatural’ ones – this is a preliminary stage to the behaviour one is accustomed to terming religious or spiritual in human contexts. For every organism, its environment is its transcendence, and the more abstract and unknown the danger from that environment, the more transcendent it appears. ~ Peter Sloterdijk,
84:If we extrapolate this position as a constant factor at work in the background character of twentieth-century culture, it is clear why a system like Steiner’s has always risked being marginalized. After all, in many ways it is the epitome of uncoolness. Coolness will have nothing to do with improving life and the world. As soon as a dogooder enters the room, the coolness enthusiasts leave. KRIES: Has that changed today? SLOTERDIJK: Today’s zeitgeist allows more scope to specific forms of uncoolness again. Many years ago I read Nietzsche’s Zarathustra with my American students. I was afraid it would be too full of pathos for them. But they simply read the whole thing right through like a rap. They didn’t find it at all bombastic and overblown. They had no trouble reading Nietzsche’s extreme flights of rhapsodic style, which are difficult for people educated in old Europe, straight off the page. ~ Peter Sloterdijk,
85:Desde hace unas cuantas décadas es una moda intelectual llamar construcciones a todas las entidades posibles de este mundo en que vivimos para desproveérlos de la apariencia de entidades naturales y evidentes en sí mismas. Y siempre se presenta "la sociedad" como el constructor general. [...] En la cultura moderna de la reflexión se quería ver el sujeto activo implicado de repente en todos los asuntos que antes se dejaban al buen criterio de la "naturaleza" o del "ser objetivo". [...] las referencias a la construcción social de la realidad tienen un sentido bien diferente del que pretenden los que se sirven del argot constructivista. En la edad moderna, la realidad es efectivamente una construcción, pero no precisamente una construcción del sujeto, sino una construcción de los defensores de la objetividad que no sirve para otro fin que evitar que el sujeto se evada de la realidad estresante común. ~ Peter Sloterdijk,
86:Vitality, understood both somatically and mentally, is itself the medium that contains a gradient between more and less. It therefore contains the vertical component that guides ascents within itself, and has no need of additional external or metaphysical attractors. That God is supposedly dead is irrelevant in this context. With or without God, each person will only get as far as their form carries them.

Naturally 'God', during the time of his effective cultural representation, was the most convincing attractor for those forms of life and practice which strove 'towards Him' - and this towards-Him was identical to 'upwards'. Nietzsche's concern to preserve vertical tension after the death of God proves how seriously he took his task as the 'last metaphysician', without overlooking the comical aspect of his mission. He had found his great role as a witness to the vertical dimension without God. ~ Peter Sloterdijk,
87:As we know, Rilke, under the influence of Auguste Rodin, whom he had assisted between 1905 and 1906 in Meudon as a private secretary, turned away from the art nouveau-like, sensitized-atmospheric poetic approach of his early years to pursue a view of art determined more strongly by the priority of the object. The proto-modern pathos of making way for the object without depicting it in a manner 'true to nature', like that of the old masters, led in Rilke's case to the concept of the thing-poem - and thus to a temporarily convincing new answer to the question of the source of aesthetic and ethical authority. From that point, it would be the things themselves from which all authority would come - or rather: from this respectively current singular thing that turns to me by demanding my full gaze. This is only possible because thing-being would now no longer mean anything but this: having something to say. ~ Peter Sloterdijk,
88:In ihrer älteren Version (Adorno) war die Frankfurter Schule ein gnostischer George-Kreis von links; sie lancierte die wunderbar hochmütige Initiative, eine ganze Generation in verfeinernder Absicht zu verführen. Sie löste eine tiefe Wirkung aus, die wir unter der Formel vom Eingedenken der Natur im Subjekt zusammenfassen können. In ihrer jüngeren Version (Habermas) war sie ein in Latenz gehaltener Jakobinismus - eine sozialliberale Version der Tugenddiktatur (in Verbindung mit journalistischem und akademischem Karrierismus). Beide Systeme, wenn sie mächtig werden, stellen für normale Demokratien Gefährdungsfaktoren dar - das ältere in nur geringem Maß, weil es aus inneren Gründen nie populär werden kann, das jüngere jedoch umso mehr, weil es überaus häufige und populäre Affekte - das Ressentiment und die Lust am Bessersein - organisiert. Für noch nicht normale Demokratien sind sie hingegen genau das Richtige. ~ Peter Sloterdijk,
89:Via the mediation of the Enlightenment, this movement had changed from a hobby among a tiny literate elite and their secretaries, an ostentatious amusement among princely and mercantile art patrons and their masterly suppliers (who established a first 'art system'), into a national, a European, indeed a planetary matter. In order to spread from the few to the many, the renaissance had to discard its humanistic exterior and reveal itself as the return of ancient mass culture. The true renaissance question, reformulated in the terminology of practical philosophy - namely, whether other forms of life are possible and permissible for us alongside and after Christianity, especially ones whose patterns are derived from Greek and Roman (perhaps even Egyptian or Indian) antiquity - was no longer a secret discourse or an academic exercise in the nineteenth century, but rather an epochal passion, an inescapable pro nobis. ~ Peter Sloterdijk,
90:The ascetic planet he sights is the planet of the practising as a whole, the planet of advanced-civilized humans, the planet of those who have begun to give their existence forms and contents under vertical tensions in countless programmes of effort, some more and some less strictly coded. When Nietzsche speaks of the ascetic planet, it is not because he would rather have been born on a more relaxed star. His antiquity-instinct tells him that every heavenly body worth inhabiting must - correctly understood - be an ascetic planet inhabited by the practising, the aspiring and the virtuosos. What is antiquity for him but the code word for the age in which humans had to become strong enough for a sacred-imperial image of the whole? Inherent in the great worldviews of antiquity was the intention of showing mortals how they could live in harmony with the 'universe', even and especially when that whole showed them its baffling side, its lack of consideration for individuals. ~ Peter Sloterdijk,
91:It is not only through their complexity that the immune systems confuse their owners' longing for security; they cause even more perplexity through their immanent paradox, as their successes, if they become too thorough, are perverted to become their own kind of reasons for illness: the growing universe of auto-immune pathologies illustrates the dangerous tendency of the own to win itself to death in the battle against the other.
It is no coincidence that recent interpretations of the immunity phenomenon exhibit a tendency to assign far greater significance to the presence of the foreign amidst the own than was intended in traditional identitary understandings of a monolithically closed organismic self - one could almost speak of a post-structuralist turn in biology. In the light of this, the patrol of antibodies in an organism seems less like a police force applying a rigid immigration policy than a theater troupe parodying its invaders and performing as their transvestites. ~ Peter Sloterdijk,
92:The hero of the following account, Homo immunologicus, who must give his life, with all its dangers and surfeits, a symbolic framework, is the human being that struggles with itself in concern for its form. We will characterize it more closely as the ethical human being, or rather Homo repetitious, Homo artista, the human in training. None of the circulating theories of behaviour or action is capable of grasping the practising human - on the contrary: we will understand why previous theories had to make it vanish systematically, regardless of whether they divided the field of observation into work and interaction, processes and communications, or active and contemplative life. With a concept of practice based on a broad anthropological foundation, we finally have the right instrument to overcome the gap, supposedly unbridgeable by methodological means, between biological and cultural phenomena of immunity - that is, between natural processes on the one hand and actions on the other. ~ Peter Sloterdijk,
93:La primera forma de falta de libertad la experimentamos como opresión política, la segunda como una opresión impuesta por aquella realidad que, con razón o sin, llamamos externa. [...] un tercer frente de la falta de libertad [...] resulta de la esclavización de los hombres por falsas imágenes de sí mismos. [...] una revuelta antitiránica representa una "cooperación de estrés máximo" entre los dominados con la finalidad de eliminar una carga generada por el poder que se ha vuelto inaceptable. Las revoluciones estallan cuando las colectividades, en momentos críticos, calculan de nuevo su balance de estrés y llegan a la conclusión de que [...] una existencia dedicada a evitar sumisamente el estrés sale más cara que el estrés de la revuelta. En el caso más extremo, el cálculo dice: mejor morir que continuar siendo esclavo. [...] las dictaduras más suaves son las más duraderas. [...] Es por eso que Kant podía decir que un gobierno paternalista es "el despotismo más grande que se puede imaginar". ~ Peter Sloterdijk,
94:Written culture itself, up to its recently implemented universal literacy, has had sharply selective effects. It has riven its host societies and formed a divide between literate and illiterate human beings, whose unbridgeability almost attained the firmness of a species differentiation. If one wished, despite Heidegger’s dissuasions, to speak anthropologically again, then the human beings of historical times could be defined as the animals of whom some can read and write while the others cannot. From here it is only a single step, if a demanding one, to the thesis that human beings are the animals of whom some breed those like them, while the others are bred—a thought that belongs to the pastoral folklore of Europeans since the time of Plato’s reflections on education and the state. Something of this is still heard in Nietzsche’s statement that few of the human beings in the small houses will, but most are willed. But to be only willed means to exist merely as an object, not as a subject, of selection. ~ Peter Sloterdijk,
95:The lively thought-image of foam serves to recover the premetaphysical pluralism of world-inventions postmetaphysically. It helps us to enter the element of a manifold thought undeterred by the nihilistic pathos that involuntarily accompanied a reflection disappointed by the monological metaphysics during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. It explains once again what this liveliness is about: “God is dead” is affirmed as the good news of the present day. One could reformulate it thus: “So the One Orb has imploded – now the foams are alive” When the mechanisms of cooption through simplifying globes and imperial totalizations have been seen through, this is precisely not a reason to abandon everything that was considered great, inspiring and valuable. Claiming that he harmful god of consensus has died means declaring which energies are required to resume work: it can only be those that were bound by metaphysical hyperbole. Once a great exaggeration becomes obsolete, swarms of more discrete upsurges arise. ~ Peter Sloterdijk,
96:The lively thought-image of foam serves to recover the premetaphysical pluralism of world-inventions postmetaphysically. It helps us to enter the element of a manifold thought undeterred by the nihilistic pathos that involuntarily accompanied a reflection disappointed by the monological metaphysics during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. It explains once again what this liveliness is about: “God is dead” is affirmed as the good news of the present day. One could reformulate it thus: “So the One Orb has imploded – now the foams are alive” When the mechanisms of cooption through simplifying globes and imperial totalizations have been seen through, this is precisely not a reason to abandon everything that was considered great, inspiring and valuable. Claiming that the harmful god of consensus has died means declaring which energies are required to resume work: it can only be those that were bound by metaphysical hyperbole. Once a great exaggeration becomes obsolete, swarms of more discrete upsurges arise. ~ Peter Sloterdijk,
97:With this project, Plato bears witness to an intellectual unrest in the human park, which could never again be entirely pacified. Ever since the Politikos and the Politeia [The Republic], there have been discourses in the world that speak of the human community as of a zoological park that is at the same time a theme park. Keeping human beings in parks or cities from now on appears to be a zoöpolitical task. Whatever purports to be a reflection on politics is in truth a fundamental reflection on rules for the operation of human parks. If there is a dignity of the human being that merits being expressed in philosophical reflection, then this is above all because human beings are not only kept in political theme parks, but keep themselves there. Human beings are self-nurturing, self-tending beings that—wherever they live—produce parks around themselves. Whether in city parks, national parks, state parks, or eco-parks—everywhere, human beings must form an opinion about how their self-maintenance is to be regulated. ~ Peter Sloterdijk,
98:Devi cambiare la tua vita! Questo è l'imperativo che supera l'alternativa tra ipotetico e categorico, l'imperativo assoluto, il comando metanoico per eccellenza. Esso fornisce la parola chiave per la rivoluzione, declinata alla seconda persona singolare. Esso definisce la vita come un dislivello tra le sue forme più elevate e quelle più basse. Io vivo, ma qualcosa mi dice con autorità inconfutabile: non vivi ancora correttamente. L'autorità numinosa della forma gode del privilegio dei rivolgersi a me con un "tu devi": è l'autorità di una vita diversa in questa vita. Questa autorità coglie in me una sottile insufficienza, che è più antica e più libera della colpa. Si tratta del mio più intimo non-ancora. Nel mio istante più cosciente vengo colto dalla protesta assoluta contro il mio status quo. Cambiare me stesso è ciò di cui ho bisogno. Se tu dunque cambi veramente la tua vita, non faresti che dare retta alla tua migliore volontà, non appena capisci che una tensione verticale, a te favorevole, sta scardinando la tua vita. (33) ~ Peter Sloterdijk,
99:The domestication of the human being is the great unthought; it is that before which humanism from antiquity to the present day has averted its eyes. To appreciate this is sufficient to find oneself in deep water. Where we can no longer stand, the evidence rises over our heads that the educational taming and befriending of the human being could never have been accomplished with letters and words alone. To be sure, reading [Lesen] was a great formative power for human beings—and it still is, within more modest dimensions. Yet selection [Auslesen]—however it may have been carried out—was always in play as the power behind the power. Readings and selections [Lektionen und Selektionen] have more to do with each other than any cultural historian was willing and able to consider, and if it also appears to us for the time being to be impossible to reconstruct with sufficient precision the connection between reading and selection [Lesen und Auslesen], it is nevertheless more than a tentative hunch that there is something real about it. ~ Peter Sloterdijk,
100:Regarding the Platonic zoo and its new establishment, what is at issue is thus to learn for all the world whether between the population and the director ship there is merely a difference of degree or a difference in species. According to the first assumption, the distance between those who tend human beings and their fosterlings would obviously only be a contingent and pragmatic one—in this case, one could attribute to the herd the capacity to periodically rotate their herders. However, if a difference in species prevails between the managers of the zoo and its inhabitants, then they would be so fundamentally different from each other that an elected directorship would not be advisable, but rather only a directorship based on insight. Only the false zoo directors, the pseudo-statesmen, and political sophists would then tout themselves with the argument that they are just like their herds, while the one who truly tends the body politic would focus on difference and make it discreetly understood that, because he acts from insight, he stands closer to the gods than to the confused living beings whom he guides. ~ Peter Sloterdijk,
101:Let me repeat: the stakes are high. We must confront one of the most massive pseudo-evidences in recent intellectual history: the belief, rampant in Europe since only two or three centuries ago, in the existence of 'religions' - and more than that, against the unverified faith in the existence of faith. Faith in the existence of 'religion' is the element that unites believers and non-believers, in the present as much as in the past. It displays a single-mindedness that would make any prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith in Rome green with envy. No one who overcame religion ever doubted its existence, even if they opposed every single one of its dogmas. No denial ever confronted the denier with the question of whether its name was justified, and whether it had any lasting value in such a form. It is only because society has grown accustomed to a comparatively recent fiction - it did not come into use until the seventeenth century - that one can speak today of a 'return of religion'.' It is the unbroken faith in religion as a constant and universal factor which can vanish and return that forms the foundation of the current legend. ~ Peter Sloterdijk,
102:Statements such as ‘There are systems, there are memories, there are cultures, there is artificial intelligence’76 depend on the statement ‘There is information.’ Also the statement ‘There are genes’ can only be understood as a product of the new situation—it indicates the leap of the principle of information into the sphere of nature. On the basis of these gains in concepts that are capable of seizing hold of reality, the interest in traditional figures of theory such as the subject-object relation fades. The constellation of ego and world has lost its sheen, to say nothing of the polarity of individual and society that has become completely lusterless. What is crucial is that with the idea of really existing memories and self-organizing systems the metaphysical distinction between nature and culture becomes untenable, because both sides of the difference only present regional states of information and its processing. One must brace oneself for the fact that understanding this insight will be especially difficult for intellectuals who have made their living on positioning culture against nature, and now suddenly find themselves in a reactive situation. ~ Peter Sloterdijk,
103:Fatally, the term 'barbarian' is the password that opens up the archives of the twentieth century. It refers to the despiser of achievement, the vandal, the status denier, the iconoclast, who refuses to acknowledge any ranking rules or hierarchy. Whoever wishes to understand the twentieth century must always keep the barbaric factor in view. Precisely in more recent modernity, it was and still is typical to allow an alliance between barbarism and success before a large audience, initially more in the form of insensitive imperialism, and today in the costumes of that invasive vulgarity which advances into virtually all areas through the vehicle of popular culture. That the barbaric position in twentieth-century Europe was even considered the way forward among the purveyors of high culture for a time, extending to a messianism of uneducatedness, indeed the utopia of a new beginning on the clean slate of ignorance, illustrates the extent of the civilizatory crisis this continent has gone through in the last century and a half - including the cultural revolution downwards, which runs through the twentieth century in our climes and casts its shadow ahead onto the twenty-first. ~ Peter Sloterdijk,
104:In the monotheistic age, God was viewed as the one who causes and does everything, and hence humans were not entitled to make something, let alone a great deal, of themselves. In humanistic epochs, by contrast, man is considered the being responsible for causing and doing everything - but consequently no longer has the right to make little or nothing of himself. Whether people now make nothing or much of themselves, they commit - according to traditional forms of logic - an inexplicable and unpardonable error. There is always a surplus of differences that cannot be integrated into any of the prescribed systems of life-interpretation. In a world that belongs to God, human beings make too much of themselves as soon as they raise their heads; in a world that belongs to humans, they repeatedly make too little of themselves. The possibility that the inequality between humans might be due to their asceticisms, their different stances towards the challenges of the practising life - this idea has never been formulated in the history of investigations into the ultimate causes of difference between humans. If one follows this trail, it opens up perspectives that, being unthought-of, are literally unheard-of. ~ Peter Sloterdijk,
105:In truth, the crossing from nature to culture and vice versa has always stood wide open. It leads across an easily accessible bridge: the practising life. People have committed themselves to its construction since they came into existence - or rather, people only came into existence by applying themselves to the building of said bridge. The human being is the pontifical creature that, from its earliest evolutionary stages, has created tradition-compatible connections between the bridgeheads in the bodily realm and those in cultural programes. From the start, nature and culture are linked by a broad middle ground of embodied practices - containing languages, rituals and technical skills, in so far as these factors constitute the universal forms of automatized artificialities. This intermediate zone forms a morphologically rich, variable and stable region that can, for the time being, be referred to sufficiently clearly with such conventional categories as education, etiquette, custom, habit formation, training and exercise - without needing to wait for the purveyors of the 'human sciences', who, with all their bluster about culture, create the confusion for whose resolution they subsequently offer their services. ~ Peter Sloterdijk,
106:What appears in the former statue of Apollo, however, cannot simply be equated with the Olympian of the same name, who had to ensure light, contours, foreknowledge and security of form in his days of completeness. Rather, as the poem's title implies, he stands for something much older, something rising from prehistoric sources. He symbolizes a divine magma in which something of the first ordering force, as old as the world itself, becomes manifest. There is no doubt that memories of Rodin and his cyclopian work ethic had an effect on Rilke here. During his work with the great artist, he experienced what it means to work on the surfaces of bodies until they are nothing but a fabric of carefully shaped, luminous, almost seeing 'places'. A few years earlier, he had written of Rodin's sculptures that 'there were endless places, and none of them did not have something happening in them'. Each place is a point at which Apollo, the god of forms and surfaces, makes a visually intense and haptically palpable compromise with his older opponent Dionysus, the god of urges and currents. That this energized Apollo embodies a manifestation of Dionysus is indicated by the statement that the stone glistens 'like wild beasts' fur'. ~ Peter Sloterdijk,
107:The novelty of the new, as noted earlier, stems from the unfolding of the known into larger, brighter, more richly contoured surfaces. Consequently, it can never be innovative in an absolute sense; in part, it is always the continuation of the cognitively existent by other means. Here, novelty and greater explicitness amount to the same thing. We can therefore say that the higher the degree of explicitness, the deeper the possible, indeed inevitable disconcertment caused by the newly acquired knowledge. I have previously accepted as a conventional fact that this table is made of cherrywood; I acknowledge with the tolerance of the educated that the cherrywood consists of atoms, even though these oft-cited atoms, these epistemological contemporaries of the twentieth century, possess no greater reality for me than unicorn powder or Saturnian influences. That these cherrywood atoms dissolve into a mist of sub-atomic almost-nothings upon further explication - this is something that I, as an end consumer of physical Enlightenment, must accept, even if it goes decisively against my assumptions about the substantiality of substance. The final explanation illustrates most emphatically how the later knowledge tends to be the more disconcerting. ~ Peter Sloterdijk,
108:This gesture is one of the motifs of modernity's turn against the principle of imitating nature, that is to say, imitating predefined morphological expectations. It is still capable of perceiving message-totalities and autonomous thing-signals when no morphologically intact figures are left - indeed, precisely then. The sense for perfection withdraws from the forms of nature - probably because nature itself is in the process of losing its ontological authority. The popularization of photography also increasingly devalues the standard views of things. As the first edition of the visible, nature comes into discredit. It can no longer assert its authority as the sender of binding messages - for reasons that ultimately come from its disenchantment through being scientifically explored and technically outdone. After this shift, 'being perfect' takes on an altered meaning: it means having something to say that is more meaningful than the chatter of conventional totalities. Now the torsos and their ilk have their turn: the hour of those forms that do not remind us of anything has come. Fragments, cripples and hybrids formulate something that cannot be conveyed by the common whole forms and happy integrities; intensity beats standard perfection. ~ Peter Sloterdijk,
109:This background enables us to understand a fact that is symptomatic of the current phase of saturation: there are countless people who want to withdraw from the omnipresence of advertising, who even avoid it like the plague. Here too, it is helpful to distinguish between the states before and after. From the perspective of the burgeoning world of products, advertising could be justified by the argument that spreading the word about the existence of new means of life improvements was indispensable, as the populations of industrial and trading nations would otherwise have been cheated of major knowledge about discreet improvements to the world. As the ambassador of new bringers of advantage, early advertising was the general training medium for contemporary performance collectives thoughtlessly denounced in culture-conservative milieus as 'consumer societies'. The aversion to advertising that pervades the saturated infospheres of the present, however, is based on the correct intuition that, in most of its manifestations, it has long since become a form of downward training. It no longer passes on what people should know in order to access advantageous innovations; it creates illusions of purchasable self-elevations that de facto usually lead to weakenings. ~ Peter Sloterdijk,
110:The history of the own that is grasped on too small a scale and the foreign that is treated too badly reaches an end at the moment when a global co-immunity structure is born, with a respectful inclusion of individual cultures, particular interests and local solidarities. This structure would take on planetary dimensions at the moment when the earth spanned by networks and built over by foams, was conceived as the own, and the previously dominant exploitative excess as the foreign. With this turn, the concretely universal would become operational. The helpless whole is transformed into a unity capable of being protected. A romanticism of brotherliness is replaced by a cooperative logic. Humanity becomes a political concept. Its members are no longer travellers on the ship of fools that is abstract universalism, but workers on the consistently concrete and discrete project of a global immune design. Although communism was a conglomeration of a few correct ideas and many wrong ones, its reasonable part - the understanding that shared life interests of the highest order can only be realized within a horizon of universal co-operative asceticisms - will have to assert itself anew sooner or later. It presses for a macrostructure of global immunizations : co-immunism. ~ Peter Sloterdijk,
111:Viewed in this light, life itself appears as a dynamics of integration that is equipped with auto-therapeutic or 'endo-clinical' competencies and refers to a species-specific space of surprise. It has an equally innate and - in higher organisms - adaptively acquired responsibility for the injuries and invasions it regularly encounters in its permanently allocated environment or conquered surroundings. Such immune systems could equally be described as organismic early forms of a feeling for transcendence: thanks to the efficiency of these devices, which are constantly at the ready, the organism actively confronts the potential bringers of its death, opposing them with its endogenous capacity to overcome the lethal. Such functions have earned immune systems of this type comparisons to a 'body police' or border patrol. But as the concern, already at this level, is to work out a modus vivendi with foreign and invisible powers - and, in so far as these can bring death, 'higher' and 'supernatural' ones - this is a preliminary stage to the behaviour one is accustomed to terming religious or spiritual in human contexts. For every organism, its environment is its transcendence, and the more abstract and unknown the danger from that environment, the more transcendent it appears. ~ Peter Sloterdijk,
112:Here we should quote especially those sections from Nietzsche's central morality-critical work The Genealogy of Morals that deal with their subject in a diction of Olympian clarity. In the decisive passage he discusses the practice forms of that life-denial or world-weariness which, according to Nietzsche, exemplifies the morphological circle of sick asceticisms in general:

'The ascetic [of the priestly-sick type] treats life as a wrong path on which one must walk backwards till one comes to the place where it starts; or he treats it as an error which one may, nay must, refute by action: for he demands that he should be followed; he enforces, where he can, his valuation of existence. What does this mean? Such a monstrous valuation is not an exceptional care, or a curiosity recorded in human history: it is one of the broadest and longest facts that exist. Reading from the vantage point of a distant star the capital letters of our earthly life would perchance lead to the conclusion that the earth was the truly ascetic planet, a den of discontented, arrogant and repulsive creature creatures, who never got rid of a deep disgust of themselves, of the
world, of all life, and did themselves as much hurt as possible out of pleasure in hurting - presumably their one and only pleasure. ~ Peter Sloterdijk,
113:It is not an overstatement if one characterizes this revision of the false metaphysical classification of beings as the contemporary gigantomachy that reaches deeply into ingrained human self-relations. Very many view this revision suspiciously as an expropriation of the self and condemn it as technological devilry. The uncanniness of the process is not to be denied, precisely because it impresses by means of its results. The humanistically minded observer cannot withdraw his fascination because everything that happens on the technological front leads to consequences for human self-understanding. In the progress of technological evolution the citadel of subjectivity, that is to say, the thinking and experiencing ego, is impinged on, and to be sure not only by symbolic deconstructions that were, incidentally, anticipated in various ways in regional high cultures—one might think here of the mystical and yogic systems, of negative theology and Romantic irony—but also by material modifications, for instance, the alteration of mental states with the help of psychotropic substances (a procedure that for millennia has been common in drug cultures, and for decades in Western psychiatry). In addition, a time is foreseeable when the contents of ideas and experience will be induced by means of nootropic substances. ~ Peter Sloterdijk,
114:If Enlightenment in a technical sense is the programmatic word for progress in the awareness of explicitness, one can say without fear of grand formulas that rendering the implicit explicit is the cognitive form of fate. Were this not the case, one would never have had cause to believe that later knowledge would necessarily be better knowledge - for, as we know, everything that has been termed 'research' in the last centuries has rested on this assumption. Only when the inward-folded 'things' or facts are by their nature subject to a tendency to unfold themselves and become more comprehensible for us can one - provided the unfolding succeeds - speak of a true increase in knowledge. Only if the 'matters' are spontaneously prepared (or can be forced by imposed examination) to come to light in magnified and better-illuminated areas can one seriously - which here means with ontological emphasis - state that there is science in progress, there are real knowledge gains, there are expeditions in which we, the epistemically committed collective, advance to hidden continents of knowledge by making thematic what was previously unthematic, bringing to light what is yet unknown, and transforming vague cognizance into definite knowledge. In this manner we increase the cognitive capital of our society - the latter word without quotation marks in this case. ~ Peter Sloterdijk,
115:Cultural criticism always attacks the mass media. I don't think that makes sense. We should look more closely at the work of deformation that starts deeper down, especially because it involves so much demoralization. Something gets destroyed there that should not be destroyed under any circumstances - THE AWARENESS THAT KNOWLEDGE IS BORN OUT OF EUPHORIA AND THAT INTELLIGENCE IS A RELATIONSHIP OF THE HAPPY CONSCIOUSNESS WITH ITSELF. And that intelligence partly consists in the ability to find our own ways of overcoming the boredom that develops in an under-used brain. Across society as a whole, the most disturbing symptom is that people are no longer ambitious enough to plumb the limits of understanding within themselves. INTELLIGENCE IS THE LAST UTOPIAN POTENTIAL. THE ONLY TERRA INCOGNITA HUMANKIND STILL OWNS ARE THE GALAXIES OF THE BRAIN, THE MILKY WAYS OF INTELLIGENCE. And there is hardly any any convincing space travel in them. Incidentally, this internal astronautics is the only alternative to a consumerist perspective. It is the only thing that could explain to people in the future that their intelligence space is so immense that they can experiment with themselves for millennia without becoming exhausted. The really good news is that there is something breathtakingly great that is called intelligence and is uncharted. ARE YOU WILLING TO VOLUNTEER ? ~ Peter Sloterdijk,
116:As the following pages deal with the practising life, they lead - in accordance with their topic - to an expedition into the little-explored universe of human vertical tensions. The Platonic Socrates had opened up the phenomenon for occidental culture when he stated expressis verbis that man is a being potentially 'superior to himself'. I translate this remark into the observation that all 'cultures', 'subcultures' or 'scenes' are based on central distinctions by which the field of human behavioural possibilities is subdivided into polarized classes. Thus the ascetic 'cultures' know the central distinction of complete versus incomplete, the religious 'cultures' that of sacred versus profane, the aristocratic 'cultures' that of noble versus common, the military 'cultures' that of brave versus cowardly, the political 'cultures' that of powerful versus powerless, the administrative 'cultures' that of superior versus subordinate, the athletic 'cultures' that of excellence versus mediocrity, the economic 'cultures' that of wealth versus lack, the cognitive 'cultures' that of knowledge versus ignorance, and the sapiental 'cultures' that of illumination versus blindness. What all these differentiations have in common is the espousal of the first value, which is considered the attractor in the respective field, while the second pole consistently functions as a factor of repulsion or object of avoidance. ~ Peter Sloterdijk,
117:If these civilizing potentials were to be generalized, then the homeotechnological era would be distinguished by the fact that in it spaces of leeway for errancy become narrower while spaces of leeway for gratification and positive association grow. Advanced biotechnology and nootechnology groom a refined, cooperative subject who plays with himself, who is formed in association with complex texts and hyper-complex contexts. Here emerges the matrix of a humanism after humanism. Domination must tend in the direction of ceasing because, as crudeness, it makes itself impossible. In the interconnected, inter-intelligently condensed world masters and violators only still have chances for success that last little more than a moment, while cooperators, promoters, and enrichers—at least in their contexts—find more numerous, more adequate, more sustainable connections. After the abolition of slavery in the nineteenth century a more extensive dissolution of the remnants of domination looms for the twenty-first or twenty-second—no one will believe that this can happen without intense conflicts. One cannot rule out the possibility that reactionary domination will once again band together with the mass ressentiments of losers to form a new mode of fascism. The ingredients for this are above all present in the mass culture of the United States of America. But like their rise, the foundering of such reactions is foreseeable. ~ Peter Sloterdijk,
118:Eighty-five years after the storms of steel of the German-French fronts, sixty-five years after the peak of the Stalinist mass exterminations, fifty-five years after the liberation of Auschwitz, and just as long after the bombardments of Dresden, Hiroshima, and Nagasaki, the swinging back of the Zeitgeist to the preference for middling circumstances is to be understood as a tribute to normalization. In this regard, it has an unconditionally affirmative civilizing value. Furthermore, democracy per se presupposes the cultivation of middling circumstances. As is well known, spirit spits what is lukewarm out of its mouth; in contrast, pragmatism holds that the temperature of life is lukewarm. Thus the impulse toward the middle, the cardinal symptom of the fin de siècle, does not have only political motives. It symbolizes the weariness of apocalypse felt by a society that has had to hear too much of revolutions and paradigm shifts. But above all it expresses the general pull toward the conversion of the drama of history into the insurance industry. Insurance policies anchor antiextremism in the routines of the post-radical society. The insurance industry is humanism minus book culture. It brings into shape the insight that human beings as a rule do not wish to be revolutionized, but rather to be safeguarded. Whoever understands this will bank on the fact that in the future contra-innovative revolts from out of the spirit of the insurance claim are most probable of all. ~ Peter Sloterdijk,
119:The anti-technological hysteria that holds broad sections of the Western world in its grip is a product of metaphysics’ decay: it is betrayed by the fact that it clings to false classifications of beings in order to revolt against processes in which the overcoming of these classifications has already been carried out. It is reactionary in the essential sense of the word, because it expresses the ressentiment of obsolete bivalence against a polyvalence that it does not understand. That holds above all for the habits of the critique of power, which are always still unconsciously motivated by metaphysics. Under the old metaphysical schema the division of beings into subject and object is mirrored in the descending grade between master and slave and between worker and material. Within this disposition the critique of power can only be articulated as the resistance of the oppressed object-slave-material side to the subject-master-worker side. But ever since the statement ‘There is information,’ alias ‘There are systems,’ has been in power this opposition has lost its meaning and develops more and more into a playground for pseudo-conflicts. In fact, the hysteria amounts to searching for a master so as to be able to rise up against him. One cannot rule out the possibility that the effect, i.e., the master, has long been on the verge of dissolving and for the most part remains alive as a postulate of the slave fixated on rebellion—as a historicized Left and as a museum humanism. In contrast, a living leftist principle would have to prove itself anew by a creative dissidence, just as the thinking of homo humanus asserts itself in the poetic resistance to the metaphysical and technocratic reflexes of humanolatry. ~ Peter Sloterdijk,
120:The notion that property is the means to all other means was ruled out by the new radicals. The deep seated ressentiment towards private property, indeed towards anything private, blocked the conclusion that follows from any impartial examination of wealth-producing and freedom-favouring mechanisms: an effective world improvement would call for the most general possible propertization. Instead, the political metanoeticians enthused over general dispossession, akin to the founders of Christian orders who wanted to own everything communally and nothing individually. The most important insight into the dynamics of economic modernization remained inaccessible to them: money created by lending on property is the universal means of world improvement. They are all the blinder to the fact that for the meantime, only the modern tax state, the anonymous hyper-billionaire, can act as a general world-improver, naturally in alliance with the local meliorists - not only because of its traditional school power, but most of all thanks to its redistributive power, which took on unbelievable proportions in the course of the twentieth century. The current tax state, for its part, can only survive as long as it is based on a property economy whose actors put up no resistance when half of their total product is taken away, year after year, by the very visible hand of the national treasury for the sake of communal tasks. What the un-calm understands least of all is the simple fact that when government expenditures constitute almost 50 per cent of the gross national product, this fulfills the requirements of actually existing liberal-fiscal semi-socialism, regardless of what label is used to describe this situation - whether people call it the New Deal, 'social market economy' or 'neoliberalism'. What the system lacks for total perfection is a homogeneous worldwide tax sphere and the long-overdue propertization of the impoverished world. ~ Peter Sloterdijk,



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