Participatory Spirituality for the 21st Century
I started reading the new Sloterdijk book, since it was published as a paperback.
I enjoy it; I'm far from finishing it, but so far he seems to introduce a new concept which will replace the construct of "Religion". Instead, Religions will be subsumed under the category of ascetic practices, which makes the human species the "homo repetitus", the practicing animal.
As a metaphor, he draws on Nietzsches word "the human being is a rope between animal and Ueberman" On this rope the artist (or asket) must climb and balance along. Another picture is Jakob's Ladder (from the bible) in which Jakob saw the heirarchy of angels up unto God Lord Father.
Of course, since God is dead in our times, There is nothing or nobody to climb up to and join, but, so Sloterdijk proclaims, the rope and ladder still remains: their meaning is that the human being must overcome itself, by practice, to climb "mount improbable".
The perfect example for a religion which contains nothing but nonsense and practices (or injunctions) is Scientology by L. Ron Hubbard. Apparently, so says Sloterdijk, there is no better way to show that all religion is scam than to invent a new religion. Axiom: in every religion is a core of practices or injunctions that do the trick. Every other mystical nonsense around this core is New Age and can be skipped without losing anything of worth.
Did you notice? This fits with the "Integral Transformative Practice" of Ken Wilbie. I am beginning to suspect that Sloterdijk has read one or two Wilber books also. cant wait to read on.
OK I'm half way through it.
I'm struggling with Slotij's style, he is at times lengthy and obscure, and still he hits the nail spot-on now and then. He is more Sartreian than Habermasian, more Heideggerian than Marxist, and more greek than christian, just for the fun of it.
What I really loved was the 100 page introduction, where he pours out his quotation gems from the beginnings of modernity. He gives a fresh and new interpretation of a famous Rilke Poem:
Thanks B , my pleasure.
In the next part, Sloterdijk is going through different types of "Coaches". Let's make a list.
You could add professors, School Teachers and Writers/Novelists to the list. But they can be subsumed in the existing categories, since they represent a modern version of Socrates' Teaching methods as described above.
In Part Three of the Book, Sloterdijik goes into the Modern Versions of Practice and Training. This Part is going to cover what in Integral Terms would be called "The History of the Descenders". Coming soon.
Part Three: The Ascetics go modern
The Re-Profanisation of the Recluse
With the beginning of modernity, the moral imperative "You gotta change your life" gets a little Update: now it reads "You gotta change the world, it's fundamental principles and everyone within it".
In other words, the practitioners of self-discipline leave the monasteries and enter the school: the era of the teacher and pedagogue begins. At first, only the aristocrats get access to this new phenomenon, but soon the middle class citizen "bourgeois" sends his children to school to learn about this new mode of living. The Submittal of human nature under the discipline of learning, becoming and practicing shows itself in the insitutions of theatres, ateliers, clinics, Jails, factories, market places, stadions and public spaces.
After Martin Luther had proclaimed that God was to be found not only in the churches but also in profane spaces, the Spectacle of the Holy Mass was getting considerably less audience. Instead people pilgered to the museums to watch "modern art", or to the concert hall to listen to the newest pop star.
The atmosphere was that of progress, uplift, Just do it, What are we waiting for, Yes we can.
It's the age of enlightenment, stupid. Everybody should be able to know anything about everything. With a little effort, and a little help from your friends, you too will get enlightened.
Jan Amos Comenius, the Father of Modern Didactics, sets the goal in his "Didacta Magna":
"We venture to promise a Great Didactic ... the whole art of teaching all things to all men, and indeed of
teaching them with certainty, so that the result cannot fail to follow... Lastly, we wish to prove all this a
priori, that is to say, from the unalterable nature of the matter itself ... that we may lay the foundations
of the universal art of founding universal schools."
The new book of books: The Encyclopedia. The Knowledge of the World, listed alphabetically from A to Z.
->Always Almost complete, Update will follow soon.
Other areas of modern practice are the artists and military. Sloterdijk proposes an interesting addition to contemporary arts theory: art history should not concentrate solely on the artwork, but also on the practice level of the artist. This leads to complications with the pomos, and most importantly the Ready-Mades of Duchamp. Sploterdijk suggests that the era of infallibility for the Ascended Master Duchamp is about to reach an end. I am shocked! A provoking thesis indeed.
OK, so much for now. These are pretty broad strokes, not very much detail, just to get a feeling for the modernity theme. More details in the book.
Hope y'all enjoy. ^_^
And now, the interesting stuff.
As we have seen, the modernization of the Call for Change and Progress leads to a De-Spiritualization, a Pragmatization and, in the end, the Call for Change is also a Political Question.
Sloterdijks own political stance is, as far as I can see, a pro-capitalist, neo-liberal one. He calls modern societies "cleptocracies" because they steal taxes from the rich (more than 50% in Germany) and spend it on community issues. He calls this practice semi-socialist and cites Hayek and Friedman as pioneers for modern freedom and wealth-production.
But he has more to say: A crucial distinction is that of the "Gradual" versus the "Sudden" School of Change.
The "Gradual School" are the believers in the current system, they'd say: it will all work out with the next update, be patient, we climb one wave of perfection at a time. Basically everything is fine, the minor bugs in the system will be fixed soon enough.
The "Sudden School" are the discontented, the impatient, the Revolutionaries. They'd say: Don't listen to the propaganda of the status quo! If we don't act nothing essential will change at all. Look at those believers with their fat purses and bourgeois pastimes! It's the Here and Now that counts! A la Bastille! Aux armes!
Again, this resembles the "Young-Hegelian" versus "Old-Hegelian" distinction.
Sloteridjk seems to prefer the Gradual, Old-Hegelian path. In a rather ingenious move, he modifies late Foucault and introduces the dichotomy "to operate" versus "to be operated". The task of modern subjects is not only to care for oneself, but also to consicously expose oneself onto the operations of others. This postulates that the subject has developed the state of "Gelassenheit" to a sufficient extent, so that he/she is able to be a client/ a patient/ a customer and partake in the societal operations.
this is good stuff methinks. more later.
yes Kumaré looks like a good documentary to watch. Kind of a postmodern version of the guru story. Interesting that it was planned as kind of a prank, and developed its own momentum in the process. Reminds me on Zizek's view on KungFU Panda: while the film makes constant fun of the mythic background, the story and the message still works fine: same with faith and ideology? it's enough to get the process going, in an 'as if' playful mode if necessary, it will eventually get a life of its own.
Incredible that young woman who spontanously became a follower of his just by seeing him giving his fake blessings. She was totally enchanted by Kumarè. Jesus Lord I should try the Guru business myself. I really need somebody to "operate me" no kidding.
Yes, I was thinking of your comment in your first post when I shared that link: "Apparently, so says Sloterdijk, there is no better way to show that all religion is scam than to invent a new religion. Axiom: in every religion is a core of practices or injunctions that do the trick. Every other mystical nonsense around this core is New Age and can be skipped without losing anything of worth..."
same with faith and ideology? it's enough to get the process going, in an 'as if' playful mode if necessary, it will eventually get a life of its own.
I am reminded of an essay by Robert Miller we discussed back on the old Zaadz/Gaia version of IPS: Beyond Postmodernism? Toward a Philosophy of Play.
One last post to finish this:
Sloterdijk's vision for the global challenge that lies ahead is described in 'immunlogical' terms. This perspective seems to have been overlooked by most intellectuals except Niklas Luhmann. In Systems Theory, an Immune System is a specialised part of the whole which is taking care of the System's survival and continued self-organization. The Immune System does so by fighting intruders and keeping the interior ecology clean and healthy.
So now the Challenge of our time comes into sight: Can the nations of the world shift their particular Immune Systems in order to not target its neighbors or favorite straw men any more but instead form a new boundary? Can the nations of the world combine their Immune forces and work together in co-existence on a global level, in Co-Immunism so to speak? The new boundary would then of course be space, as some frikkin President already said.
On a more theoretical note, I couldn't help but notice that the Gradual vs.Sudden thingy has all the attributes of a Parallax, a concept that Zizek brought onto the discourse table. In short, we speak of a parallaxe when a shift in perspective also causes a substantial change in the object that is observed. More on the Zizek thread.
In last months 'Stern' magazine I read a story about an austrian doctorate student of Sloterdijk who ran into a psychotic episode while studying with Prof. Slotij at University of Vienna. His name is Mathias Illigen and he just wrote a book called "Ich oder Ich" about the whole story, he seems to be pretty distanced from it all now. He was not found guilty by the court because of his mental illness he was in at the time. The thing is, while under the influence he was pretty paranoid schizophrenic, assumed cameras everywhere, and, at the climax, he visited his father and killed him in in the heat of the moment with a flat iron. In the book (which I plan to read) he describes how he felt that Sloterdijk spoke to him in secret messages, how he withdrew himself from public spheres to only leave his appartment when he absolutely had to, and so on and so on...
More when I read it.
I finally got the English translation of this book (for my birthday). Looking forward to diving in.