Globes, by Peter Sloterdijk – Conversation #1


(Mindful AI) #1

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We kick off the second round of our Spheres reading group, with our first conversation on Volume 2: Globes (Macrospherology).

  • Prologue: Intense Idyll
  • Introduction: Geometry in the Monstrous
  • Access: Anthropic Climate

Pages 13–151


Marco V Morelli
Geoffrey Edwards
TJ Williams
John Davis
Heather Fester

Date recorded: 11/30/2017

Summary of video discussion (work in progress - first version by @Geoffrey_Edwards )

Click here for the detailed summary
  1. 0:00:00 Marco makes some comments on the format of the video recording
  2. 0:02:00 Participants make some remarks on how far they have read
  3. 0:02:30 TJ notes that the entire point of Bubbles is capsulized in 5 pages inside the Anthropic Climate chapter
  4. 0:03:30 Marco mentions the group may have some new members, in particular he makes some introductory remarks about Heather Fester, who is a poet who reads philosophy and has studied rhetoric
  5. 0:04:55 John proposes a book, Prometheus and Atlas, by Jason Reza Jorjsni, related to the extensive discussion of Atlas in the Sloterdijk text. The book talks about superhuman potential, the paranormal, Nietzsche, and Heidegger, and claims that these two are key figures for our era, although John mentions that the writer is a member of the alt right.
  6. 0:06:15 Marco segues into a discussion of the monstrous. During a recent trip to Denver to meet with Caroline about initiatives for the Cosmos Coop. He went to the Denver Public Library, near the Civic Center and the Civic Center Park, which bring together widely different segments of the population - politicians, the homeless, tourists, etc. There were sculptures by the Cinese sculptor Ai Weiwei ( As he was walking towards the exhibition, he encountered another sculpture, this time of a globe, with a man inside with four faces, apparently, according to a plaque, a representation of Christopher Columbus. This sculpture was nowhere near as centrally positionned as the Ai Weiwei sculptures, but drew his attention as a result of reading Globes. Marco read the Prologue on the bus on the way home, and the combination of the experience and the park and the reading brought him to the idea that Sloterdijk isn’t just talking about an abstract set of ideas, but is trying to situate our actual experience of living in this global geographically integrated world.
  7. 0:10:45 Marco continued by noting that when Sloterdijk talks about ontology and Being, Being with Others and Being in an Ensouled Space is what is at stake here. This is the Golden Ball, it is not only at the feet of the seven philosophers, it is something we have to think our way into.
  8. 0:12:10 So there is a sense to carrying around these weighty volumes like a modern day Atlas! But that is also a question - how does it relate to our onging lives and our questionings?
  9. 0:13:15 Geoffrey mentionned that he also saw sculptures of globes, bronze sculptures about the size of a soccer ball, which weigh about the same as what we perceive Sloterdijk’s books do…
  10. 0:14:35 Geoffrey went on to talk about an alternative view of ontology that views it is a singular theory about the nature of an individual life rather than as a generalized theory of the nature of Being. He motes that Sloterdijk also slides between the general and the individual in his discussions.
  11. 0:16:30 John protests that ontology needs to be about Becoming more than about Being, drawing on the ideas of Whitehead, Aurobindo and Bergson.
  12. 0:17:30 John goes on to talk about epistemology, about how we know things, noting that Gregory Bateson wrote that you can’t have one without the other
  13. 0:18:00 John notes that Sloterdijk has great titles to his chapters and sections. He goes on to question what Sloterdijk means when he talks about the monstrous in relation to geometry. John mentions that Sloterdijk links the monstrous to the Dionysian theatre, via a discussion of the antique mosaic, the Tori Anzeatum, of which he provides a kind of guided tour as he often does. John notes that a good deal of the time Dloterdijk seems to be more a kind of cultural analyst that a philosopher mounting an argument. He tells great stories, but seems to fall into the trap of self deception as a result.
  14. 0:21:30 TJ actually found this text much more direct and accessible than any of the text in Bubbles. He seems to be criticising other philosophers pretty directly, suggesting they habe distanced themselves from practical concerns in order to address the unity of the world. TJ suggests this attempt to encompass everything within the One is what Sloterdijk is calling « monstrous » and why it is linked to geometry. TJ also notes, however, that Sloterdijk seems to view this « monstrous » as a success story
  15. 0:23:15 Marco steps in to introduce Doug, a newcomer to the group, who has just come on line. Doug expresses interest in the discussion around ontology. He has not been reading philo long, was introduced via the writings of Paul Tillich, a theologian who also writes some philosophy.
  16. 0:25:20 Marco notes that Doug represents a kind of outside « monstrous » perspective on our whole enterprise, like Sloterdijk’s outsider looking down at the sphere, and invites him to echo things back at us and help ensure the discussion actually goes somewhere (rsther than just turning in circles).
  17. 0:26:55 Marco notes that he felt Sloterdijk was focussing on some kind of elitist, distant, ojectifying scenario, which was disappointing. Indeed, he starts this book in a way that parallels how he started Bubbles, which presented the gateway to Plato’s academy and its motif accoding to Sloterdijk, « Let no one enter here who is not a geometer ». So this idea that there is a group of people who understands the nature of reality in a way no one else does. And this idea is repeated here, via the discussion of the masaic referenced by John, the Tori Anziata, which. presents a depiction of seven senior bearded philosophers, all men, who have gathered outside the city to hold a serious conversation about this object, the globe. Furthermore, he describes the scene as a pentecostal, religious activity, that the scene is sacred in some sense, the idea of the globe that can be measured and one can situate oneself within it. Furthermore, the point of the scene seems to be this sense of the whole, the all-encompassing orb (passed from hand to hand via Nietzsche’s Golden Ball), which fragments into an infinite set of worlds, the « foam », where everyone has their own world, their own ontology.
  18. 0:31:20 Marco continues by noting that Sloterdijk seems to be trying to find a way where one could recover the whole that has been shifted away from a centric perspective, without doing so in the totalizing way of much of Western metaphysics, but also without atomizing into the foam of post modernity.
  19. 0:32:00 Sloterdijk calls the book a « mausoleum », a record of expired spheres, which is where we are now. This is what he calls the « monstrous », where the monstrous is the space beyond the conceived sphere, the absolute inability to construct a perfect sphere that contains everything, a kind of madness that Sloterdijk also discusses.
  20. 0:34:00 Geoffrey notes that the idea of the monstrous in geometry comes from the work of Riemann, or Poincaré, that you can have parallel lines that converge or intersect. The 5th axiom of Euclid states that parallel lines can’t meet. Today, non Euclidean geometries, once considered monstrous, are fully integrated into contemporary theories of, for example, space-time.
  21. 0:34:40 John comments on Sloterdijk’s apparent obsession with orbs and globes, compared to, say, other topological forms, such as torii and Klein bottles, that have more open-ended properties
  22. 0:35:15 John also notes that, in addition to our own individual realities, we also use consensual reality, although we don’t live in it - politics, education, medecine, other aspects of our lives involve consensual reality. And that’s ehat we seem to be losing right now, any sense of consensus, and falling back into our individual realities. What is needed is the intersubjective, where « two or more are gathered ».
  23. 0:37:00 John also notes that the intersubjective is both hard to measure and hard to model, although part of the latter appears to include sharing our different maps of time
  24. 0:37:55 John agrees text is more straightforward, but he is still frustrated by the fact that Sloterdijk rarely defines anything
  25. 0:39:30 TJ remarks that the text in the Athropic Climate does some of these things, pulling together strands from Bubbles and linking them in here. TJ gives a number of concrete examples of this
  26. 0:41:35 Geoffrey remarks that Bubbles was about spheres inside of spheres inside of spheres, wheras Gobles begins with this perspective of being outside looking in. So there is an evolution in his thinking here.
  27. 0:43:00 TJ notes that it’s not just Atlas looking from the outside in, but also Parmenides trying to look from the inside out. But overall, we’ve moved from the individual to society, politics, and so forth.
  28. 0:44:55 TJ also remarks that Sloterdijk is doing something that parallels what he did in the intimate sphere in Bubbles with the communal spaces of Globes, that is, that the individual informs the communal, and the inner communal informs the outer communal.
  29. 0:45:35 Marco adds that Sloterdijk views « air conditioning » to be essential to the formation of solidarity within communal structures. And Globes is examining what that looks like at the scale of an empire, or in the presence of a totalizing being that is trying to push the monstrous away (keep the barbarians out)
  30. 0:46:30 The intimate sphere of Bubbles is more primordial, however - we are formed in the primary dyads and then we are transferred to these larger spaces which round off the individual bubbles in different ways via immunological processes tied to Being
  31. 0:47:20 Marco also remarks that part of what is going on in this text is that Sloterdijk is engaging in a conversation with Heidegger, with Nietzsche and indeed with Plato. When he was in college, that kind of conversation fascinated Marco, to the point where he feels he understands what Sloterdijk is getting at around the concept of Being, this semi-religious (e.g. pentecostal) experience. At the same time that Sloterdijk is fascinated by the sphere, he is also doing a post mortem on it.
  32. 0:50:10 Is the center of one’s experience the self, the dyad, the community, the nation, or, indeed, God? And if the latter, an enclosed God, or an infinite, monstrous one? And if you are in a relationship with such a God, what must you do to sustain it? Since every sphere has its own requirements for maintenance - a relationship, a village. And if you do all that, you aren’t going to fit in easily into lesser geometries. So this idea that elites of a certain kind form, and that they are outsiders has a certain ring of truth to it.
  33. 0:52:15 To achieve such a situation, they have to travel outside the ordinary geometries, perhaps even along Moebius strips or Klein bottles
  34. 0:52:50 TJ asks what is the conversation Sloterdijk is having with Heidegger. Marco suggests that it is a question of whether time or space is more important. Sloterdijk wants to foreground space, an experience of Beingness. Heidegger wanted to interpret Being in terms of finitude and time. Heidegger emphasized Being towards Death, and Being in the World. Sloterdijk believes that Being has to open up into a kind of « spatial openess », that the breaking up of Being into infinitesimals was a dead end. Heidegger himself moved in that direction later in his life, after what is calked The Turn.
  35. 0:55:30 Marco also points out that Heidegger’s ideas were associated with a feeling of dread. Heidegger asks what does dread disclose, and the answer he gives is “nothing”, so nothing is the monstrous, the shadow of the metaphysical project. But ultimately you want to relax into Being
  36. 0:56:55 John notes you can relax into Being if you are well fed, if you know where your next meal is going to come from. John lost his job in the recession of 2008 and was unemployed for three years. Times were litterally hard. He is impatient with the philosophical discussion around Being as a result.
  37. 0:59:00 Doug asks if Sloterdijk exhibits any sense of urgency. TJ notes that Heidegger was writing during the rise of the Nazi party in Germany, while Sloterdijk is post cold war but pre 9/11. John notes that Heidegger had a very bad record, falling in with the Nazis at least some of the time. Geoffrey notes that Sloterdijk also has an ambiguous record
  38. 1:04:30 Geoffrey also noted that he is skeptical to some extent of both time-based approaches such as Heidegger’s and space-based approaches like Sloterdijk’s because the universe has a space-time structure.
  39. 1:06:50 John notes also that Sloterdijk seems to be rather too well off to know much about the undersides of life. He also seems to disparage to some extend whether the disenfranchised have any sense of the whole.
  40. 1:11:10 TJ notes that Sloterdijk emphasizes repeatedly, in both Bubbles and Globes, how fragile the spheres are and hence there is a temporal dynamic in his approach
  41. 1:12:30 Marco steps in to remark that Heather Fester has joined the group and to giver her an opportunity to introduce herself
  42. 1:15:00 Marco summarizes a number of problem areas that have emerged in the discussion : his lack of a sense of urgency, his lack of sensitivity to the undersides of everyday living, his circuitous writing style, but notes that he himself really enjoys reading Sloterdijk. He is also an active, contemporary philosopher who’s thinking is probably evolving and is widely considered one of the greats.
  43. 1:17:00 In addition, how can Sloterdijk’s ideas be applied in a practical way? To this group, for example? And how do we balance this reading in relation to all the others we are each of us engaged in?
  44. 1:19:00 Heather @hfester expresses a desire to catch up on the reading of Bubbles to explore its practical applications. She also indicates an interest in participatory spirituality which appears to bridge the gap between Being and Being-in-the-World. Heather explains she is not, however, a philosopher
  45. 1:20:00 Heather responds to a question about her interest in rhetoric by noting that she has just completed a salon discussion at the Integral Center in Boulder (, focused on something called “steel-manning”, which is a term introduced by Robert McNaughton to situate the process of strengthening the positioning of the opposition, so there can be more of a relaxation and easing of polarity. “Everything is rhetorical” she says - she taught her first classes just after 9/11 when it was so important. Rhetoric was marginalized from philosophy for a long time, but they’ve always focussed on the need for a grounding in moral philosophy.
  46. 1:22:50 Responding to a question about the relation between rhetoric and poetry, Heather notes that praxis is different between these. Rhetoric has a lot of artificiality to it, they use tropes and figures of speech, while poetry goes right to the core right away. Poetry as tracing the outlines of subjectivity and relatedness, and learning to play.
  47. 1:25:15 John notes that Sloterdijk forces us to slow down, and there is power in slowness
  48. 1:26:30 Geoffrey remarks that most of his interactions with the group have called on his science and scholarly expertise, but that he also writes novels, and believes that Heather’s arrival within the group may help open up new ways of responding, so some “air conditioning”
  49. 1:27:20 Heather notes there is a new forum on Integral poeisia that does some of this too
  50. 1:27:30 Marco summarizes the group and its membership and history. He remarks that we’ve seen how the bubble reflects back on itself in many ways. What Sloterdijk seems to be doing is using the sphere as a constituent of contingent reality, and an ontogenesis of capitalism and also its ongoing demise. He suggests that capitalism has, in some sense, already expired.
  51. 1:31:40 Marco reads a passage : “Globalisation… serious history…. Being… brought the muddle of human history to its conclusion… the stake in which space has absorbed time… post-history… relaxation in the apocalypse of space”. Marco finds this text exciting, it focuses on the idea of the creation of state of perfect leisure in a secure way, but there is an outside to that… some things cannot be contained within that “globe”.
  52. 1:35:05 Geoffrey remarks that as the spheres expire, or collapse, they exclude more and more
  53. 1:35:20 John adds that there is a need to carry some things across the collapse to the new globes, that maybe Sloterdijk is aiming to serve that role, he is very aware of the motifs that are relevant for the transition that are carried forward from Plato, Parmenides, the pre-Socratics, the Medieval epoch, etc.
  54. 1:37:00 Marco introduces a discussion on next steps. It is suggested to finish Globes over the spring, then switch to Aurobindo, then go back to Foams later. There is also some interest in revisiting Gebser for those that missed it the first time around. Roy Bashkar was also a name that came up. Marco also suggests we may want to look at poetry or novels as well.
  55. 1:44:00 Geoffrey notes that reading Sloterdijk is like swimming in mud, you work your arms a lot but you don’t make much progress.
  56. 1:45:00 Marco also notes that the forum allows the discussion to extend into new areas, although at a different pace.

Web page

(Geoffrey Edwards) #2

Great to have some new folk in on the conversation. We weren’t the “wise seven” looking down on the globe (there were only six of us, but Ed’s name came up so he may be a de facto seventh!). I did want to mention that I recently went back to reading Plato’s Cratylus which deals with naming, which interested me because of the importance of naming for a writer. What I found about Cratylus, however, is that Plato and Socrates’ idea of naming is based on the idea that names of people seemed to be directly parts of language, and so the discussion of names was about “unmediated names”, that is, names that do not embrace implicit meanings but rather explicit meanings. It was still interesting, but not so easy to apply to the modern world where our names are rarely direct nouns - although there are some, like Purety, or Charity, that are sometimes used as names directly. I think @johnnydavis54 mentioned that he liked Sloterdijk’s titles, and although as Johnny points out, Sloterdijk never defines anything, he names lots of things and his names and titles are important, so Plato is still pertinent. My reading of Cratylus followed an earlier reading of Timaeus, which is Plato’s cosmology, which I did enjoy, because it is a deeply “geometric” cosmology, where everything is built out of “atomic triangles”. As background reading to Sloterdijk’s monstrous geometry, I found it compelling.

(john davis) #3

I know the Republic and the Symposium well. Timaeus I read recently and enjoyed it. I look forward to reading Cratylus, it has been on my list for a long time. Also want to read the Parmenides. So this is a good time to brush up on Plato.

(T J Williams) #4

Thoughts about the orb, as laid out by Sloterdijk (pages 32-38*), in relation to some of the things Marco said, kept me up late. I have a guess as to why Nietzsche might be getting “a pass” here, and it intrigues me that Sloterdijk may just have a point; we shall see, of course, but this go around is making more sense to me.

(I reiterate to the ‘new folks’ (whose refreshing presence is most welcome indeed!) that the ‘point’ of Bubbles (Volume I), at least in how it is relevant to the rest of the trilogy, is - surprisingly so to those of us who struggled through it - set out more directly between page 135 and 149 of Globes than in the over 600 pages of the first book. Anyone wanting to jump in now should do so without worry. Catch up with the first 80 page Introduction to Bubbles when you can and table the rest until you’re in the mood. (LOL))

The orb of the philosophers is an entrancing metaphor for the totality of the ordered world (kosmos). As such it represents the oldest (presbytaton), most beautiful (kalliston), grandest (megiston), wisest (sophotaton), fastest, as in negation of distance (tachiston), and strongest (ischyrotaton) Thing of Things. A joy to contemplate and a place of reference for all other observations - great… except that the orb has that “other” “attribute”, namely its boundary-less “beyond concept”-ness. It is so totally Everything that it risks blowing up into Nothing. Nietzsche caught the orb, and instead of shying away or trying to wrap an ontological system around it, he said, "Holy cow, this is an abyss, not an orb."
If time bleeds off into the timeless, then why not a primary metaphor of space for a mortal, finite being?
Space is our primary orientation, our first triadic relationship (Mom-Dad-me), the setting of our most intimate connections. I know space-time is a unity now - that much of Einstein makes sense to the lay person - but when I was a child, every event and story that was not ‘now’ occurred in that other realm where Moses, Paul, Odysseus, King Arthur, Alladin, Abraham Lincoln, and Martin Luther King, Jr. all dwelled and did important things “once upon a time” before my parents were born. Chronology came much later for me, and, historically speaking, much later for culture as a whole. Gebser reminds us the problem of the “irruption of time” is recent. It wasn’t a problem for the magical structure, and the mythical dealt with it as a balance, a cycle that itself did not carry the weight of a “past”. That is why, relative to both the magical and mental structures, the mythical was so long-lived as a dominant configuration. (In the magical we discovered the earth, in the mental we discovered the universe around the earth. In both, “discovering/doing” is the primary mode and as the heights of elation when things go right is fully matched by the depths of frustration when they don’t, the modes can become deficient very quickly. As I said in the café, if mapped out I believe the magical would be a relatively short phase like the at most 600 year mental one, compared with at least 5000 years of agrarian civilization and undoubtedly more for ‘myth’ as a whole. I digress…)
The point of all this rambling, for which I apologize to any who made it this far, is that I think Sloterdijk is right, at least so far, in relation to the portion of Western history and metaphysics when a gods- or God-centered orientation was a cultural feasibility, to concentrate on space (communal, social, and political). Perhaps Foams is where he must deal with the unavoidable “irruption of time” and it will be interesting to see how/if he deals with that.
$0.02 for now… this is how I misspend vacation time… :grin:

*All page references here from my Semiotext(e) English translation of Globes, written in 1999 (except for Chapter 8), translated in 2014

Has anyone come across anything that would indicate what Sloterdijk thinks of Gebser? I can’t imagine he would not have at least heard of him, but university libraries are immense places…

Globes, by Peter Sloterdijk – Conversation #2
(Marco V Morelli) #5

That’s exactly it! The dark side of the orb. The ‘Nothing’ at the heart of metaphysical perfection. An “apocalypse of space” is how Sloterdijk characteristically put it. (p. 48, Ibid.)

If the 20th saw an irruption of time, didn’t it equally or even more so exhibit the explosion of space? I mean this ‘literally’ in the sense of our conception of the physical Cosmos, but also at the opposite scale, in Sloterdijk’s sense of the interior surround. I would also mention our social-psychological differentiation into namespaces via the proliferation (and liberation) of identities. And obviously consumer and media ‘space’ has exploded as well.

What’s clear to me, now, is that “we” (in the deepest, broadest—but perhaps not global—sense of this first-personal plural) are not beyond nihilism in any way, shape, or form. Rather, we’re swirling into the heart of it faster. Runaway self-referentiality in flight from an absent center IS a chain reaction that would present as kind of ‘foaming.’ That keeps me up at night, too!

But wouldn’t this also mean that Nietzsche’ question is still, in some sense, (forgive me, @achronon) THE question: i.e., that of the ‘transvaluation of values.’ And isn’t this more than a philosophical problem, but also a struggle for life? We might not have enough experience with evolution to really say ‘what comes next’.

(john davis) #6

I was actually alive when Martin Luther King, Jr, gave his speech in Washington. I was nine years old. I was excited by it without knowing why.I read his energy, not really getting the words. I was reading Shakespeare around the same time because I loved the sword fights, ghosts, and the actors emoting all over the place. I guess I was in the period when metaphor and myth were still front and center in my awareness.

I do recall I didnt share my father’s assessment of King’s speech and when he was killed my father said something I wont repeat. There was a dischord in our house that was in the midst of a cultural transition. The patriarchs were paranoid. The youth of my generation were caught in the arrested development of the previous generation. One learned how to critically reflect, but to do so in secret with a peer group.

A few decades later, after I had lived away from the South, I asked an elder friend in her sixties what she thought when she first heard that speech. I was unsure that my response as a child was clear enough to trust.

So it is odd how irruptions occur. A figure like King was already a myth before he was martyred. It is only as I have aged, and that I am twenty odd years older than King was when he died, that I am only just beginning to get a glimpse of what he was up against, and what he accomplished.

Chronology does kick in much later, after the events have subsided, and we notice what is absent/present. Our imaginations are able to re-organize the past to fit into the big swirling messiness of the present. The past doesn’t sit still. We are a performance by the territory, and our maps are not objective.

I was glad before my father died that he saw how profoundly out of sync he had become. I rubbed his nose in it, showing no mercy. How does if feel Dad to be on the loosing side of history? He said I had been gentler with him than he had been with me. It was a bitter sweet revenge not unmixed with self righteousness.

Vengeance is mine saith the Lord.

Thanks for your insights!

(john davis) #7

Your comment from another thread is relevant I believe. You refer to Sense8.

It is this kind of integral social geometry of interlacing spheres that I find missing in the image of the orb, which seems so static, out there, and frozen in an illusive all or nothing.

My world moves very fast, faster than most ,faster even than the cluster in Sense 8.I have lived in Manhattan for forty years, and been active on the Astral planes during the biggest human population increase in history. Sense 8, seemed to capture the possibilities of an efficient Multiple Personality. This is one of the reasons I strained our meta-attention to try to model a group process as we did with Maps of Time.

We are only just at the beginning of learning how to intuit the alpha and the omega of the heartbeat of an Ancient Child. We have waited so long preparing the way. Don’t go back to sleep, good people.

Peter is on a wide green lawn listening to a Hadyn quartet sipping tea served by a waiter in a tuxedo, blowing smoke rings, while contemplating the orb on a pedestal. ( yawn…)

I am a nihilist…I am an optimist…I am both a nihilist and an optimism…I am neither a nihilist nor am I an optimist…We are the Ineffable Center…right in the middle of nowhere…

(Mindful AI) #8

Greetings. The recording for this talk is now live. Scroll up to view…

(Ed Mahood) #9

I’ve been mulling over this statement since you made it in the café, and while I was pretty sure what you meant by it when you said it, I’m not sure that I agree. So, as it is peripheral to this discussion (and part of your own digression :wink:, I’m going to post my thoughts over in the café thread.

Since I’ve been spoken to directly in this thread, I’ll try to respond to those (as best as I can as an outsider) here.

(I’m trying to keep this all sorted in my aging brain, knowing full well that all these conversations mesh with each other. :crazy_face:)

(Ed Mahood) #10

I don’t think that for the child that there is any more realization of the spatiality of relationships than there is of the temporality in which they occur. The one-dimensional, spaceless/timeless Magical structure of consciousness allows for the creation of three-dimensional art (e.g., a figurine), just as the two-dimensional Mythical structure does (e.g. pyramids). I think the point Gebser is trying to make is that in those structures spaciality itself is not all that relevant or important or constituitive. In a Magical mode, if you will, like my grandson, there is here and now and that’s about it. He can obviously negotiate three-dimensional space but it doesn’t matter to him in the least.

In Mythical consciousness, for example in the construction of special space, such as temples, we see a first ideation (not yet conceptualization) of spaciality. In Ancient Hebrew, for example, the word used for “holy”, kodesh, literally means “to set apart” (very much like I see Sloterdijk’s spheres, as separating and exclusionary, but for good reason, as far as it goes, spacially. This is one of the features that distinguishes Mythical from Magical, I believe. In other words, space starts becoming meaningful and this meaningfulness is developed as one moves historically through the structure.

In the Mental structure, according to Gebser, we actually supersede space, we overcome it. It does not become irrelevant, rather it is no longer an obstacle and it can be utilized in much different ways. As I understand it, it is in this structure of consciousness that “space” is fully embodied or internalized or incorporated into our mentation. We no longer have to “deal with” it, we use it as we see fit, so to speak.

In parallel to this dealing with space, we also have to deal with time, which Gebser postulates is of central importance at the moment. As you point out, Einstein has made us aware, even us laypeople, that time and space may be – are most likely – a unity. It is this very simple fact that disturbs me about Mr. Sloterdijk. I got no feel of any kind for temporality in Bubbles, and I’m not sure how in light of that apparent unity you can discuss one without the other. Unless, you make the mental-rational decision to rend them asunder (I dramaticize) for purely analytical purposes. This is legitimate. Analysis is a powerful and effective tool, but not to acknowledge that this is what you are doing is, well, disingenuous (though that’s a much stronger word than what I’m actually thinking … what’s the next step down in intensity? A bit hokey perhaps?). What is more I think this acknowledgement is all the more important given the fact that you have no intention of putting them back together again when you’re done. This is one of the take-aways I got from the Raschke paper.

Chronology, as you aptly point out, comes later, but that arrow of time that we wrestle with is in fact the spacialization of time itself, a part of that incorporation of space into our consciousness characteristic of the current structure. It’s now the deficient mode thereof, the Rational, that takes all of this to extremes and sees exclusivity where it is perhaps not warranted.

I think it is also important to note that the word Gebser used was “irruption” (German: Einbruch, lit. “breaking in”; the same word is used to describe the crime of breaking-and-entering), “eruption” (which would be a “breaking out”, or, as is it is described more than once in this thread, an “explosion”, something else altogether again).

Of course, the curmudgeon in me thinks that Foams isn’t going handle the “irruption of time” at all. I don’t think Sloterdijk gives a hoot about temporality in any shape or form. But, I don’t know him as well as the rest of you, which is why I look so forward to all of you keeping me up to some kind of speed. :stuck_out_tongue:

(Ed Mahood) #11

Well, I don’t know if it’s THE question, but it is certainly an important one.

I think a lot depends on what those “values” are grounded in. In my mind, we can only speak of the notion of “value” in human terms. It’s a human thing. For Tillich (as I read Love, Power and Justice), there is no ego without at least one “other”. For Gebser, there is no self with an ego. We all agree, I think, that egos are fragile and easily shattered; a self has a better survival chance, if you will. The question then becomes whether values are defining characteristics of selves, or something like that. I fear that at present what we are dealing with are values derived from egos, which does not bode well.

Of course, we can – as I believe Sloterdijk does – consider the relationships between egos (or selves) in spatial terms. There are interconnections, many of them and the interfaces and network/meshworks that arise are all fascinating constructs to be sure. There are flows and interactions and effects all over the place. What keeps sneaking around in the back of my mind, though, is our recent discussion of the “paranormal” (for lack of a better word, though @johnnydavis54 proposed “metanormal” as a possible alternative, which is also fine with me), and the very important notion of non-locality; that is, acausal effects at a distance, which is, if you will a complete supersession (overcoming, if not negation) of space. That’s what non-local means as I understand it. How is our friend Peter handling this? Maybe it’s a Foams topic.

It is rather synchronistic (how odd is that :roll_eyes:) that you mention this, for I’m reading another book which my recent review of Feuerstein brought to my attention, namely Horst Richter’s All Mighty: A Study of the God Complex in Western Man. Obviously, Nietzsche has a front-row seat (and – spoiler alert: he’s not coming off very well). According to Richter, his “Superman” is the logical consequence of his postulation (following Schopenhauer) of “will” as the sole driving force. The benign aspect of this appears to be Young’s ascribing of volition to light; the malign aspect is Nietzsche’s Superman, beyond good and evil. Unfortunately, the moment we have more than one Superman about, the Hobbsian war of all against all really comes into play for all that can remain is a contest of wills among the Supermen. This is not the place to go into the details, to be sure ( though it could be worth discussing in another thread somewhere somewhen), but I wanted to mention that the question itself is extremely far-reaching and very relevant to everything that is being discussed here.

So, which values, how derived, how established, and how implemented are very important thoughts to think through.

Cosmos Café: Synchronicity and Modeling Time [11/28]
(john davis) #12

I post this here and on the Synchronicity thread. I sense that there are multiple realities we can hold and that texts and speech and shared attention and pointing is relevant on the physical and trans-physical. I hope a more robust phenomenology will arise as a result of this dream body research.

12/02 Modeling Dream Time ( Geometry in the Monstrous)

I am tossing a baseball with tremendous force into an upper space that is diagonal to the space I inhabit. I can see another man in that upper space who can catch the ball. The upper space that he is in is a hallway, just like the one I am in, but is at a parallel to the plane upon which I operate. Tossing the ball takes a lot of effort. The ball feels like it weighs a lot but it somehow can move to the other man in the adjacent space. It is like throwing the ball into the above.
A dark room, in a bed. I sense a swirling orb shape above my head in the dark room. It is like a disco ball, spinning, and giving off sparks, which fly off of it into the dark. I float up to it and feel a kind of merger with the energy which is ecstatic rapture, and I can feel the energy flowing through my energy system, including the physical body asleep in the human world.

I feel the presence of a male entity, benevolent, and we commune with one another.

I ask, " What is our relationship to the earth?"

He says," We are para to the earth." I wake up into the physical, contemplate, then return to the dream time.

I visit a community of humans who are practicing transmitting energies to other groups of humans both physical and trans-physical. They are using texts to do this. They use language forms that carry across the intentions of the authors of the text. There is speech that corresponds to the text, and it is sound driven, more incantatory, that carries the power of the transmission. This group is working out the codes. I walk through this village like area and see these rooms/spaces ( no ceilings) in which these groups gather and practice these energetic communication arts. I am at a distance from their practice but I can feel and tune into their intentions even though I don’t understand the spoken language I get a rough translation into English prose. The language sounds a lot like biblical statements.

I see how entities who are in between matter and mind contact and share healing energies. A woman ( a hybrid, in the physical aspect) is in a room with two opaque screens that join at a 90 degree angle. There is no ceiling. The man( who is in a trans physical aspect), is in the corner, on the inside, and transmits to the woman seated in the center of the room. He appears as a shadow. She lets him know how well the energy comes through. Then he goes around the wall , leaving the inside of the area of the room and transmits from the’ outside’ of the room. He is invisible on that side of the screen. She indicates the right rate of energetic transfer. The energy is felt more than is seen. It is like a pressure/flow oscillation and it has a rhythm.

I am then at a table in a sort of cafe area, and he has a strong aura and I trust him.I say to him, " I live in chaos."

He tells me that he loved his father.

I say," I hated mine. My father spit on me and told me that he wished I had never been born than to be a queer." I contact the vast hatred towards the evil father.

The man indicates telepathically how I am contaminating his love space for his father with my energetic invocations of the evil father. I immediately self-correct and take responsibility for my energetic malpractice. I understand that I can hold the pain of the past without polluting others. I apologize for the unintended consequences of my self disclosure. I hold the multiple realities all at once. I can register the effects of the trauma without re-activating the trauma and causing unnecessary stress and contamination to the other entity I am in contact with.

Some damage has been done so there is a psychic repair going on between me and a team of benevolent practitioners. We are known to each other through different planes. I get that there is a powerful transmission of energies from a circular motions made by hands near the heart of the other and the sense of space increases as well as a sense of affective bliss, that is communally given and received, and there is a sense of intention and proper proportion. We are regulating the speed and intensity of the energetic flows which are important to maintaining the quality of the incarnated physical beings of our species and other species as well.

This happening without language, it is a silent transmission, and the boundaries are well understood, it is a psychic geometry, non linear that a consortium of intelligence, including my own draw upon. I am my own self and am also participating in a vast hive of activity, that has a different logic than the subject/object language can communicate. I am at a loss for words.

There is a long rehearsal period as I work with several different entities on different levels with different exchange rates. This is very pleasant.

(T J Williams) #13

LOL, ain’t it great? I’ll respond in both threads, and try to keep this one related to Sloterdijk. But take the next few sentences to speak for both: many good points well taken. Thank you, first, for being interested enough to share considered thoughts, the lengths of which I appreciate (my kingdom for a discussion! :+1:), and, second, for the grounding as I throw spaghetti against the wall, reminding me of what fell as well as what stuck.

Correct. My point here was that “space” comes first, in that the ‘individual’ and the community negotiate their immediate environments long before they get a sense of where they are in “history”. I still think that is true, but:

This is one of those good points well taken, reminding us that such distinctions only work as abstractions, after all.
I fully agree with Gebser and you that time will have to be taken into formal account eventually, not just in the sense that Sloterdijk has hitherto employed in which his spheres are fragile, temporary things. The ultimate worth of any “philosopy of globalization” certainly depends on it, and it is not a question I would be able to answer for Sloterdijk until I read Foams (unlikely if my current benefit-of-the-doubt approach is disappointed in this book). As I said, the separating of space and time, for analytical purposes, would only have relevance for the pre-modern mindsets he is dealing with here.

(Ed Mahood) #14

That phrase “philosophy of globalization” has also been haunting me since I read the Raschke paper. (This also doesn’t really belong here, but since Sloterdijk is involved I won’t bother going back to the other thread where this really belongs, perhaps.)

I’m not sure I like how Raschke is trying to redefine the term. He spent far too much time discussing the economic dimensions of the term (where it has its actual roots) to shrug it off in his manic desire to reframe it as “‘history’ of this profound human discontent born of freedom to exceed the lmites of the innate spherological binary and to encounter the ‘externality’ … finally internalizing this outer space with the appropriate symbology of inner conherence and meaningfulness.” (p. 14) For someone employed by a religious studies/theological faculty, his whole approach is too materialistic for my tastes. Later, in his “discussion” (I have a hard time characterizing ramblings as discussions), when discussing the notion of Verwöhnung (which I took to be rather procrustean) he comes across very strongly as attempting to build a case for neoliberalism overall. I could be reading him wrong, but, like Sloterdijk, since he says so little of real substance, it’s hard to pin him down.

I have been reluctant to bring this up (and am not really going to pursue if any farther here) because I’m very much put off by reactionary thought that then gets presented as philosophical insight. It was Sloterdijk’s views on genetic and social engineering that got him into hot water with Habermas, and Raschke seems to agree that we too easily spoil those who are too incompetent (or stupid or lazy or …) to “make it” in today’s world. I keep getting blame-the-victim vibes in such cases, and that always makes me wary. I certainly don’t expect the world to be fair, but I do expect that it will (or should) be just. I don’t get the feeling that those two share my expectations. I’m very aware that part of my reaction to Sloterdijk has to do with the fact that I don’t think – to put it as neutral as I can – he (or Raschke) is a very nice person.

But, you know him better than I do, I suppose, but I am keen on seeing where your benefit-of-the-doubt approach takes you.

(T J Williams) #15

It’s too early for me to tell where Sloterdijk is in fact headed (and it remains highly significant that everyone, pro (e.g., Raschke) or con (e.g., Precht), has the same difficulty), but I have my eye on that, too. Globalization is a set of observations about economic interconnections and the consequent political and cultural implications of those interconnections. My concerns at the moment are whether reframing the discussion as a philosophical inquiry into the nature of communications will work for the ‘problem’ as a whole and whether it is right to approach it as an almost exclusively Western concern.

I doubt very much that I or anyone else knows him well at all. (LOL) Globes is making more sense to me than Bubbles did is all I can really say.

(Ed Mahood) #16

Well, as my son-in-law is wont to say, “Keep calm and carry on.”

(Geoffrey Edwards) #17

I agree with this statement, but it brings to mind the theory of image schemata (best presented in Mark Johnson’s book “The Body in the Mind : The Bodily Basis of Meaning, Imagination and Reason” and then represented in his collaborative work with George Lakoff, “Metaphors We Live By” and “Philosophy in the Flesh : The Embodied Mind and Its Challenge to Western Thought”). Johnson and Lakoff’s argument is that our understanding of both space and time emerge from our tangible efforts to grasp the world as children, literally - all the image schemata that they discuss are directly linked to tangible actions, such as “container” (which every child learns to spill things from), “conduit” which you learn by stringing chairs together (or something equivalent) and then crawling through underneath them, “surface” (that you clamber upon), and so on. Then through metaphor, these tangible actions get transferred to concepts about time and space. Not sure how Sloterdijk relates to these ideas - in a way, he wants to treat space as substantive, and not a derived concept. Image schemata relate more directly to Deleuze’s ideas or to W. James than to Sloterdijk, I think - the manipulated chairs are affordances but also deterritorializations and reterritorializations, foldings - and not orbs. I may be wrong, but this is the way I tend to see these things.

(Ed Mahood) #18

Excellent points, Geoffrey. What you said brings home very much what I wanted to say in such abbreviated form. I, too, am not convinced that space or time are notions which we grasp, but rather ones that we derive from experience. Thank you very much for this.

(Geoffrey Edwards) #19

space, all ice expanse;
horizon as frozen line ;
their breath keeps them warm.

time, a silver shard,
scintillates with white stillness;
let’s play ball outside.

Heidegger’s being,
or Sloterdijk’s spheres and foam :
yes, children’s voices!

(douglas duff) #20

Ahh…they are asleep, perchance…now a chance to get a word in…:smirk:

Do other ‘old folks’ agree with TJ’s “pass” given to the new folks to grasp Bubbles within the 135-149 range of Globes + the first 80 of Bubbles?

(found this legitimate (?) online copy of Bubbles for any new comers)

This is what I believe is the core of what all of you have been discussing; it is the relevant notion that has yet to be fleshed out in this trilogy. I hope to further this part of the discussion in the following post that will focus upon the Globes conversation #1.