If you are interested, these have been assembled in a separate essay, available here on Amazon Kindle. But even better, you should read Sloterdijk himself. That is the nature of things. Nuclear weapons were primed and ready and held at abeyance only by the mutual recognition that destroying all life on earth would be poor sportsmanship. Germany itself was divided physically by The Wall as well as being fractured throughout in multiple ways by having been the principal aggressor in two world wars, and losers in them both. German philosophers were trying to come to terms with how their glorious and magnificent culture — the home of Goethe, Schiller, Lessing, Beethoven, and Brahms, a culture which was itself a monument to the highest ideals of humanity — could have descended so completely and quickly into the deepest inhumanity.
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It has been a delightful struggle to think through the rich banquet of ideas and images he offers. As metaphor, foams represent smaller zones of inclusion filled with the air of hope. The general picture, it seems, is that with the collapse of macrospheres, we are left with smaller, hopeful zones of human interaction, inclusion, and mutual concern. What lies before us is the task of marking multiplicities of individual space among humans as processes of foam in which defense and invention merge into each other — as speaking foams, one could say, as immune systems that dream beyond themselves … via the establishment of a personalized traffic system, to the creation of a customized world picture poem.
III, This may sound obscure or strange or impossible, but a short reflection on contemporary life should make it familiar. Each of us may be registered as a citizen of a nation, and perhaps work for a sizable corporation, and belong to a venerable religious tradition. But typically none of these things really characterize who we are or where we find our sense of belonging.
We assemble into smaller units whose members are friends and family the distinction does not matter much , and our foam-mates may be geographically dispersed across the globe. We find meaning and joy in a shared set of ideas, projects, games, and social values, and in our shared history. What binds us is not nationality, nor the relation of co-worker, nor even a shared religion, unless it just so happens that our social circle coincides with people in our place of worship.
The common thread that brings your friends together is you — and each of your friends can say the same of their circle of friends, which also includes you. The familiarity of our social networks can blind us to the fact that this is a relatively new way of human being. The foam philosophy is suited especially to urban life, where individuals live in close proximity to one another but usually do not run in the same circles.
Each apartment has its own world to share, its own set of diplomatic ties and allies and enemies, and its own shared protective shell with others.
The co-isolated forms of individualistically conditioned society are not mere agglomerations of adjacent separation-sharing inert and solid bodies, but rather multiplicities of loosely touching lifeworldly cells, each of which, due to its individual width, possesses the dignity of a universe.
III, We might think here of various radio shows or podcasts that tell us the stories of our neighbors. These shows invariably introduce us to worlds of greater complexity, troubles, and nuance than we ever would have imagined. Constant, a Dutch artist who died in , envisioned a shared city and living space in which the inhabitants could bring their creative potentials into full expression. It is, of course, a utopia, but it is in such imagined utopias that we catch glimpses of what lives we would form when given total freedom.
The post-revolutionary individual would wander from one leisure environment to another in search of new sensations. There is no common center, and no outermost shell. The macrospheres of nation and religion continue to fade, for, truly, God remains dead. But that does not spell the end of community. Now, chances are, any intellectual surveying this foam philosophy is likely to see dystopia. Human life is a serious, tragic business. But is it really?
Our history and pre-history, filled as they are with shortages of food, plagues, tribal and national warfare, and ethnic hatreds certainly suggest that it is.
And so we are rightfully suspicious. But Sloterdijk asks us to consider that this melancholic default may no longer be appropriate. The decisive repression of our times, he argues, actually concerns our own prosperity: we are unsure how to live with the fact that — generally as a species, and certainly acknowledging the fact of unequal distributions — we now have affluence and surplus, for the first time in human history.
Wealth has come to us like a thief in the night III, One must now admit that the premise for the concept of civilization is the concept of anti-gravity; it implies immunization to the heavy, the over-heavy, which has paralyzed human initiative from time immemorial.
III, There is, then, finally, hope. For though no one can deny that we face deadly ecological crises, and global economic injustice, we also have the great advantage of having an explicit understanding of our life-support requirements. We know what it takes to run our planet like a space capsule, and we know what we require of ourselves and one another to have livable human lives this last part is what Sloterdijk has tried to pull together in his overview of spheres.
Whether we make good on this promise is up to us, but that we can do it without macrospheres is certain.
Bulles. Sphères I
Siruela, And what exactly are we "in"? Mining psychology, biology, and especially theology for examples, this exploration of "microspherology" questions the modern conception of human beings as independent individuals. Instead, Sloterdijk argues, relationships between people, ideas, voices, media, et cetera are always already immanent in existence.
Bubbles: Spheres I