Peter Sloterdijk, radical cure to twitter
By bblfish on Jun 19, 2009
Do you feel like you are in a binary discussion on some topic, that goes back and forth with no apparent progress? Do you feel you have gotten so involved in a micro topic, that you feel that you may be missing the big picture? Is perhaps the phantasy of such a big picture you have taken as your background, itself the cause of the problem you are dealing with? Do you find yourself preaching that God is dead, or not? Are you preaching? Why?
Peter Sloterdijk, one of the most famous contemporary German philosopher, is known to write very large books that span over all domains of human activity from philosophy to history, to technology, aesthetics, biology, religion and economics, in a passionate, often humorous, sometimes jolting way, linking these in a fluid narrative that flows healthily through the barriers of all academic disciplines. Sloterdijk diffuses dualisms through fluid depth of analysis, carefully linking both sides of a debate in such a way that they can be seen to be part of the same surface reflecting a third party that had not yet been seen, the real topic of the discussion perhaps, of which he goes on to draw the history and evolution.
So in his latest book "Du mußt dein Leben ändern" ("You must change your life"), which I have nearly finished reading here in Vienna, Sloterdijk starts off with the a beautiful poem by Rilke of the same title (english translation with german original here ) where Rilke describes what could be called a religious call for transformation whilst looking at an ancient Greek stone torso of Apollo he had come across in the Louvre museum in Paris. The undeniable reality of this upward sentiment of transformation, is what Sloterdijk then goes on to describe the history of throughout his book, linking it to the exercises that Olympic athletes of our times to always further push back the boundaries of what humanity is capable of, which he then traces back to the budhist philosophers and their spiritual exercises, the ancient greek schools of thought, and the exercises the early Christians followed to break through the barriers of death, by for example entering the Roman circus' to be devoured calmly by Lions. This pursuit of transcendental improvement can then be found to have moved from the monasteries of the middle ages into the artisans workshops where the practices of meditation were put to use in the building of the Protestant work ethic...
For those who speak German here is a very interesting interview of him in October of last year on a Swiss television channel talking about the financial meltdown that occurred.
And here, for the French speaking of you here is an interview with Elisabeth Levy where they discuss modern media, rumours, and more.
For english speakers here is a talk on Reality Peter Sloterdijk gave a last year before the opening of the large swiss nuclear collider, which I think made the news. (The sounds is not very good, but the points he makes are serious and funny simultaneously):