Globes, by Peter Sloterdijk – Conversation #6 [5/10]


(Eduardo Rocha) #21

Just like Geoffrey I just finished Globes this mornig. It’s a good book. This volume also has many interesting images, but I particularly prefer the first volume yet. I find it more intriguing and I consider it a classic. Hopefully the Foam is as good as it gets.

(T J Williams) #22

Acknowledging (and appreciating!!) that what is right up my alley may not be of more than passing interest to others, none of the following is submitted as reading for Thursday (or ever) unless time and inclination meet. This is only a glimpse of whence my preparations come. Sloterdijk does have some interesting and unique takes on the subject of globalization, but, well (as all here surely already know)… he is not the first.

Respect for copyrights prevents me from linking these, but almost all can be googled as pdfs.

Vytautus Kavolis, “History of Consciousness and Civilization Analysis” Comparative Civilizations Review #17 (Fall 1987), 1-19
Contains a brief attack on ‘globalization theory’ as potentially glossing over the importance of civilizational distinctiveness

Roland Robertson, “Globalization Theory and Civilization Analysis” Comparative Civilizations Review #17 (Fall 1987), 20-30
An immediate response: globalization theory is most emphatically concerned with civilizational distinctiveness as part of the complexity of the issue

Victor Roudometof and Roland Robertson, “Globalization, World-System Theory, and the Comparative Study of Civilizations: Issues of Theoretical Logic in World-Historical Sociology” (Chapter 12, Civilizations and World Systems: Studying World-Historical Change, Stephen K Sanderson, ed., (1995), 273-300)
Economics, politics, and culture/ideology play shifting roles in the globalizing (and “glocalizing”) process - none can be understood in isolation but if anything is ‘foundational’, it’s culture (sorry, world-system theory)

David Wilkinson, “Globalizations: The First Ten, Hundred, Five Thousand, and Million Years” Comparative Civilizations Review #49 (Fall 2003), 132-145
A long-time proponent of the idea that world history is a story of convergence argues that interaction defines globalization(s), not cultural cohesion (sorry, Roudometof and Robertson)

William I Robinson, “Theories of Globalization” (Chapter 6, The Blackwell Companion to Globalization, George Ritzer, ed., (2008), 125-143)
A nice overview and summary of the academic debate(s) - which somehow manages not to mention Sloterdijk once…

Marie-Eve Morin, “Cohabitating in a globalised world: Peter Sloterdijk’s global foams and Bruno Latour’s cosmopolitics” Environment and Planning D: Society and Space, #27 (Feb 2009), 58-72
…but this thought-provoking article does (!): Heidegger, a coherent treatment of the Spheres trilogy as a whole, and a challenge at the end to consider the world not as the contested object of globalization but as itself ‘under construction’ and open to non-linear possibilities

Oh, and I finished Globes as well… :laughing:

(john davis) #23

And what is planetarization, and what is globalization?

I’m not sure. And I seriously doubt that Sloterjdiik will persuade me that he knows either.

I can start with a first person gut feel for this crisis, which I imagine touches most of us. I have been poor and I have been prosperous and I know the difference btweene a zombie and real person but sense that we are turning rather quickly into something in between, a new kind of hybrid, half mind, half body, not really human any more, not really. We are no longer becoming what we were becoming. All bets are off.

I reflect upon my reflections upon the flawed relationships of all kinds, that I have suffered from, bred by late stage capitalism. I let go even more of the unsustainable nature of fragile human relationships caught up in undeserved poverty, or unearned wealth, in real time or in cyberspace.

I am happy to be free of the entangled formations of distorted identity and the warping of the ‘I’ into a false ‘we’. I reflect upon the ‘family mind’ and the cults that arise when abuse is tolerated, when the ‘I’ is attacked by the’ We’. I speculate that without that occasional stable, shared, face to face authentic moment, without masks or role playing, and predictable archetypal structures taking over, I imagine that it is unlikely that change can happen in a planetary way.

The neo-liberal Globalizing trend (one future fits all) will probably continue, and the past will turn into the present as a pre-packaged deal, hypnotically induced cultural trends will shape events and we can expect many more will become slaves, more tightly controlled by even fewer masters than ever before.

Roy Bhaskar, a critical realist, said the Masters rely on the creativity of the slaves. In other words, we are all living in a world where Love=$.

Can we live without Big Daddy or Big Mama? Are we ready to break out of the Christ Archetype, the sacrificial lamb, sacrificed by the Father, and take on the fiery anarchic possibility that Prometheus was punished for? Most of us I would say are not. However, we can see this possibility happening, occasionally, through works of art.

I am open to believe that more interesting future(s) are possible and certainly desirable but that would be produced by a great deal more complexity and the discovering of non-linear alternate histories, followed by minor gesturing. I see in Sloterjdiik tome little of this thus far. He postures too much. I could easily imagine him eating cucumber sandwiches with Lady Bracknel.

I will do my best to muster some motivation to finish, encouraged by comments shared here but state clearly my misgivings about this author. I hope that a different thinker, like Sri Aurobindo, would be worth comparing.

(Eduardo Rocha) #25

Sloterdijk says that Judaism at the time of the Diaspora was the event that made the Jews considered a people without territory. The Jews are not at home in a territory, but in a book the Torah, which was taken by them everywhere as a "portable homeland."This remark is very interesting in what has been rarely seen: “nomadic” or “deterritorialized” groups do not construct their symbolic immunity and their ethical coherence from a soil that supports them, but rather their mutual communications function as an “autogenous receptacle” in which the same communicators coexist and in it remain “in shape” while the group wanders through foreign countries. According to this, a people without territory is not an immobile or sedentary people. This is to understand the territory as the receptacle of the people and to conceive the soil itself a priori as its sense of vide and identity. This characteristic of territorial bankruptcy belongs to sedentary inheritances, since it supports the fundamental reflex of any political and apparently legitimate use of force. The modern call of “defense of the motherland” which is now based on a situation of place and itself. This is a constant evidence of a powerful wave of transnational mobility that ensures that peoples and territories of many parts relativize their mutual connection. A characteristic that advances the multilocal self, as well as the polyethnic, the denational place. Jews during the period of exile paradoxically remained of a factically existing without place. I think this could be a hook for the foams. Let us say that there is no such thing as the homeland or even a nation that lived in isolation as an untouched culture. Let’s say the regional bubbles or endospheres were unlocked that once grew by themselves and in themselves and now they lay a net. Imprisoned in themselves, the colonies of mortals attached to the autochthonous soil lose their immemorial privilege of being each for themselves the center of the world. There is uninterrupted traffic. Each now has its own autogeny and autopoiesis. That can be from prayers, food, training, studies, etc. It would be as if we were creating Plato’s Academy with its own rules. Even geographic space is no longer what it was before secession. There are refuges and places where the eccentric, that is, not ordinary, are dedicated to their self-constitution. Caves, desert places, hilltops or groves shelter hermits, prophets, and monasteries, located in special and remote places, become schools of a seemingly dysfunctional surreal life for the society that was left behind. The space of these displaced people, however, does not even need to settle permanently somewhere. The pilgrims carry him, in a way, inside his soul, which is a refuge protected by an immune system. We will see much in modernity things like imitators of Christ people who have left their blood roots, territories, cultures, family or even bastards. Young people ended up bonding with their families and went to monasteries, deserts, islands, etc., isolated themselves to live like Jesus, in the simplicity of a life. We would have the emergence of the modern individual. Or an outline of it. We have an individual without possessions, someone who has given up everything to become. Let’s say premodern mindset of the entrepreneur. In the last movie of Star Wars - The Last Jedi. Luke as a master who isolates himself on an island, a deserted and lonely place, he lives like a bastard, one without possessions, someone who wants just enough and not be bothered. But when King finds him he tries to deny his Jedi life and is reluctant to teach Rey. And Rey to have teachings from a teacher, let’s say she left the ordinary world to undergo training, that is, to improve her own procedures and methods should be taken. What to us today is the coach, the teacher, the teacher, an old man, a guitar teacher. All of them have gone through the impossible to be what they are. I would say that this is a popular saying that “even in the greatest masters of our tradition,” there is always “an eternal disciple.”

(Eduardo Rocha) #26

I just saw that Foams have more than seven hundred pages :face_with_raised_eyebrow:

(T J Williams) #27

Globalization: Social Theory and Global Culture, Roland Robertson, 1992, p. 27

This may or may not come up tomorrow. Submitted in case it does under the picture = thousand words formula.

(john davis) #28

Robertson claims that when he uses the term Globalization he does not mean Neo-liberalism. He also uses a term Glocalization, which I can only guess what that means. I am wondering if there is a relationship between his way of using Globalization and what Gidley means by Planeterization. It is a common problem of definintions and particular uses of words that may clash or have a more nuanced meaning.

For example, when Thomas Friedman of the NY Times uses the term Globalization he is referring to Capitalism, free trade and open markets, acceptance of ruthless competition for scant resources, endless consumption and a promotion of the creative destruction of so called ‘innovation’.

Neo-Liberalism, is a familiar set of ideas, propoganda for a consortium of banks, like the IMF and WTO which sponsors wide spread chronic debt and vast discontent as made manifest by the Occupy movement and its actions taken against the corporate actors who run the US electoral process with a little help from the Russians. Have I missed anything?

I wonder if we can get some clarity about how these terms are being used and what new vocabularies could be in the making as we move towards Planetization and away from dominant Neo-Liberal orthodoxy?

It seems Robertson means something more like a Cosmic Village that doesn’t get along very well. Our friend Peter seems to be all over the place. I hope we can ‘get a handle’ on some of this. And does any of the relativization of culture , referred to on the chart, imply a post-modern orientation?And where does Gidley’s notion of the Post-formal arise in all of this? I imagine Peter is pointing to the need for Post-formal reasoning but he has gotten myopically obsessed with the Orb.

(T J Williams) #29

Hold this absolutely essential and crucial point! It is one of the things I am looking forward to getting other perspectives on from the group. Much like “civilization”, “globalization” is one of those terms which is not served well by reductionist thinking (you know, the kind of ‘thinking’ that dominates current politics (LOL)). I hope we can ‘get a handle’ on some of it as well - and on the other side of mere deconstruction I agree.

Not from where I’m standing.
“The problem with global finance is that it is not bound to any global regulatory institution. Disconnected from economic realities, global finance is left to the uncontrolled financial market mechanism, which only takes care of individual interests; causes turbulence… and misery for millions of people.”
–Mehdi Mozaffari, “Globalization, Civilizations and World Order: A World-Constructivist Approach”, Chapter 2, Globalization and Civilizations, Mehdi Mozaffari, ed., (2002), p. 38

*For Robertson, “glocalization” is (broadly speaking) the modifying effect of local cultures on the supposedly universalizing trends of capitalist practices. His “global field” is a rather interesting meshwork of cross-purposes, indeed a kitchen with lots of chefs - but with starvation our only alternative to finding ways to deal with that…

(john davis) #30

That’s very helpful, TJ. I look forward to sorting out some of this complexity and perhaps moving towards an ecology of practices may be a long term but very real possibility. We may have some overlapping magisteria in the making!

(Marco V Morelli) #31

This song by @paulmaylone, “Salmon Run,” came to mind from John’s last words in our dialogue, “Pray for us…

And Geoffrey’s assertion of “going forward” (on the way to a return).

And, perhaps (or offered as) some resonant theme music, at least in my parallel universe (though, stylistically, it’s not an atmospheric piece, but rather, I would say, a soul’s song of hopeful urgency) for our collective Transition: swimming against currents of chaotic foams towards some fishy consummation, for the exuberant sake of what happens next.

Pray for us, indeed!


(Eduardo Rocha) #32

I’ll try to write a short text about this last part of the Globes. And then let’s say I’ll take a vacation from Sloterdijk for 10-15 days. Sloterdijk still gets me interested. Foams seems to be I believe, more like the first book. I’ll take a look after this break at the start of Foams. This journey was long. Maybe Sloterdijk writes another 800-page book by the end of the year …

(Marco V Morelli) #33

That sounds like a plan, @Eduardo_Rocha. Would you be willing to share your notes on Foams also, as you’re reading through, here in the forum, assuming you decide to move forward in a couple weeks? Here is how @patanswer did it:

Let me (and @Douggins) know if you need help with creating and formatting your posts. It will be useful, I imagine, to refer back to your notes when I/we continue on to Foams, probably next year in my case.

(Douglas Duff) #34

The word cosmopolitics is pleasing to the eyes and ears, especially in the sense of its relevance to the site. Searching around for explorers of this term, found Isabelle Stengers, who actually originated the term. She uses Donna Haraway, Whitehead, Latour among others as some of her influences and comrades. Besides a couple books entitled Cosmopolitics I & II, she recently published this book:

Besides the appealing title, I am liking the last chapter, “Cosmopolitics: Civilising Modern Practices,” of which an earlier version of the chapter was presented in 2012 in this recording (the lecture begins at 7:30, but I timestamped at the finish of reading and into her definition of cosmopolitics + slow time (from 102:40 until 105:42) :

“a silence that listens to something that the epoch is demanding.”

“…a slowing down to a possibility that has no voice.” Sounds like a Quaker’s version of a slow-time minor gesture to me!

These various voices are out there and we are all saying the same thing it seems with our own creative spin. Thank you all for taking the time to become voices in this Globes reading (and special thanks to @patanswer for guiding us this last discussion).

@Eduardo_Rocha: definitely keep us posted, literally :page_facing_up: If I understood you correctly, waiting til next year to read Foams would mean a great loss of the rhythm and fresh thoughts we have right now. I am tempted to read it as well. I did read the first “Note,” about 15 pages, and love the direction in which Sloterdijk’s thought bubble is floating. Foams is segmented in a reader-freindly manner and the only deterrence is the 700+ pages.

(Geoffrey Edwards) #35

Stengers is brilliant. She wrote the definite biography and ‘interpretation’ of Whitehead and has also written about Deleuze. I’m planning to buy her new book for sure.

(john davis) #36

I would say that we are all saying a similar thing. I had a major difference with Ed at a previous Cafe about the nature of the ‘similar’ and the ’ same’. There is a lot of difference between these word-concepts. Entire universes ride upon those differences!

I love Stengers and someday hope to get into all of her writings. Thanks for making these connections, Doug, and I expect a lot of future creation-research may be happening as we make our interests explicit. We can then sort through these texts, videos, voices and find the patterns that connect. Stengers is a major contemporary figure.

Might be another interesting modeling project. When you research at your best, that’s like what?

Different kinds of social research deeply interests me especially in this age of media proliferation and the disorientation produced by the possibility of post-truth and post-history. How do we conduct social research that can still be relevant? I get the ‘felt sense’ that many of us are working on trying to create research initiatives that can be trusted. We cant take much for granted.

Transdisciplinarity is a new field of growing interest for many us. Coordinating meta-levels with an ecology of practice is another important theme we could develop more.

(T J Williams) #37

Wow! Even Gary Moreau’s consumer review of this book is well worth reading.

(Eduardo Rocha) #38

Okay. To me it’s good.

(T J Williams) #39

From Mehdi Mozaffari, “Globalization, Civilizations and World Order: A World-Constructivist Approach”, Chapter 2, Globalization and Civilizations, Mehdi Mozaffari, ed., (2002), cited earlier:

To @Geoffrey_Edwards good point about Hobbes:
“While it is impossible for a Hobbesian anarchy based on enmity to have any kind of shared culture, the Lockean culture is different because it is based on a different role structure, rivalry rather than enmity. The Kantian culture is based on a role structure of friendship. [Wendt, Alexander (1999/2000), Social Theory of International Politics, Cambridge University Press: 246-312]” (p. 45) Mozaffari goes on to explain that social constructivists such as himself take up a middle position between ‘realist’ political scientists who do not believe the international system can be changed (from Hobbesian ‘reality’) and Kantians who believe that positive change is incremental and irreversible.

from the Conclusion, pp. 49-50:
“Globalization can be adjusted and corrected; its disastrous consequences can also be contained and repaired. Nevertheless, it can hardly be halted. The logical deduction of this assumption indicates a progressive replacement of coercion by attraction, and gradual reformulation of interests in terms of value rather than physical force. This is not to pretend that every problem will be solved and that a peaceful world will suddenly emerge. It is only to suggest that the elements of convergence are becoming stronger than the elements of divergence.”
I would only add “in the long-term”.

"…the evolution of the parochial world-economy [or oikumene (ecumene)] to the global economy as well as the impact of the latter on the identity of the world:
"In a world with multiple and different world-economies, in Braudelian [historian Fernand Braudel] terminology, the standard of civilization as well as the world order became consequently regional. This was the case for example in the fifteenth century. In Europe, this situation led to the Westphalian order [of nation-states]. Under this model, the standard of civilization is both exclusive and discriminatory and the logic of consequences based on conquest and expansion prevails.
"In a world with two concurrent and dominating world-economies, security issues determine the quality of relations between international politics, ethics, and law. This was the case during the Cold War. In this type of situation, the logic of consequences based on security will prevail. It should be noted that economy alone is not enough to fully explain the rivalry between the West and the East. This was equally a struggle or a clash between two competing civilizations.
“In a world with a global economy, the logic of consequences and the logic of appropriateness are used alternatively. The standard of civilization will follow the pace of globalization. International ethics and international law will take more room and attract more attention than before because of a more or less pronounced degree of homogenization of the world identity and consequently the progressive transformation of state identity.”

(Eduardo Rocha) #40

@Douggins Exact. I wonder what you think of foam, too. Maybe as @madrush said we could create a topic to our ideas or notes.

(Mindful Ai) #41

The recording of this event is now posted above; regards~ M.