Why interested in Sloterdijk and what do you bring to the discussion?

(Geoffrey Edwards) #1

Hi all! I thought it would be useful to create a thread focused on what attracts us to the reading of Spheres and what background we might bring to bear on this shared project. I will begin myself. I have been exploring the development of hybrid art-science initiatives for a number of years - I have published several articles on this. Most of my work previously was focussed on Gibson’s ecological psychology and the writings of Deleuze. Over the past two years I have been exploring Whitehead’s writings. A year ago, I began working with a businessman here in Quebec City who introduced me to Sloterdijk’s ideas. We have a joint project which consists of implementing some of Sloterdijk’s ideas within an embodied communications interface. Until this spring, however, I had not read Sloterdijk. I started reading Bubbles about six weeks ago, and am enthralled - I believe this approach may be relevant to a broad range of projects on which I am working. I started looking around for some commentary on Bubbles, but of course the book is too newly translated to have generated much commentary in English so far. Hence my interest in this group. I therefore bring not only a broad background of reading in several philosophers but also an interest in practical applications of Sloterdijk’s thought. I should hasten to add, however, that I am by no means a “philosopher” - I have no formal training in philosophy, although I have collaborated with some of the latter.

Preliminary Note – What are your first impressions?
(Ed Mahood) #2

Another adventure. That’s why I hang out around here. There’s always a new adventure.

Welcome @Geoffrey_Edwards, I admire not only your enthusiasm, but your willingness to want to turn your thinking into action. That is a rare talent these days. There are too damn few who are willing to put their selves where their mouths are.

So, what brings me to Sloterdijk? Nothing really … I’ve been driven here.

I’m retired, so I don’t have a life, in the usual sense anymore. I came to Infinite Conversaions via synchronicity and blind luck: Marco, Jeremy, et al. inititiated the “Winter of Origins” get-together … dealt with Jean Gebser … and I couldn’t say “no”. I’ve been hooked ever since.

Everybody has some thinking, some writer, some ideas, some notions that move them. Maybe for you it was Sloterdijk. It appears so, and that is good. For me, it was Gebser, and that’s how it is. I’m always psyched when someone is actually motivated by someone else’s ideas and thinking. Doesn’t happen all that often these days, so we need to appreciate it when we find it. At any rate, I want to (truly) find out what others (other thinkers) have to say and Sloterdijk seems to have found some resonance in these quarters, so who am I not to find out what that means?

I have read Sloterdijk to any extent. I have started his first, breakthrough, text, Critique of Cynical Reason, which is somewhat lively and much more literary than most philosophical texts. I have also read a critique or, perhaps better review, of the Critique which more or less saw it as an attempt to raise cheekiness to a philosophical principle. As @madrush and I have discussed, that may be quite the task and it’s too bad we don’t have a better word in English to describe what Slotedijk may be trying to get at. On the other hand, I had a boss who was a nice enough guy, but not much of a boss, who was something of a Sloterdijk fan (he was often quoting him at meetings), but Sloterdijk was also on TV a good bit here (I live in Germany), and Germans are rather skeptical of philosophers who use that medium. I’ve never watched him, so I have no opinion to offer on what he might have been hoping to accomplish.

But, Sloterdijk has distanced himself a bit from his Critique, he’s published a whole lot in the meantime, he is well-known in philosophical circles, and, as I mentioned, there were a number of folk here who wanted to read him, so I said I’d be in. I am going to read him in German, since that was his original language of publication. During the Gebser reading, I was reading Gebser in German and was able to toss in the odd linguistic comment that was potentially helpful in understanding what Gebser was saying (as Gebser’s text is dense and can be daunting, especially for the first-time reader). We’ll see how it goes. Should be fun.

(Geoffrey Edwards) #3

I am reading Sloterdijk in the French translation (essentially, because all three volumes are available in French in paperback!), so this will be truly a multilingual group experience! I have also incited several of my colleagues to join the group - several of us have read or are reading Sloterdijk already. Gebser I don’t know at all - never even heard of him(?) before reading your mail, so I shall have to look them up. Looking forward to exchanging on all this…

(Tony Sauer) #4

Written this two days ago

How did I got here:

I got here somehow through the work of Ken Wilber. I like the whole Integral Project a lot and identify myself with this line of thought. One day I went to the old Integral Life site and found a link there to this page (you must have hashtagged the word integral via twitter). That was when you where in the middle of your Winter of Origins Sessions. I watched almost all of the dialogue and read the text loosely…

I feel that this site represents for me an ideal I always had in terms of open communication and willingness to go beyond everyday superficiality. I absolutely adore everyone involved in this cosmos project for this.

Why interested in Sloterdijk:

I am a German man. Not born in Germany, but raised, socialised and basically lived my whole life here. If seen Sloterdijk on Tv when I was younger. I was aware that he had this show called “Das Philosophische Quartett” and seen it a few times – I think it ran until the early 2000s. For me the man represents a certain tone and climate in German highcultture thats prevalent among educated people of his generation – German babyboomers. So some of the teachers I had and alot of elitist cynicism I saw In the media I somehow relate to him. He seems to speak to those slightly disappointed people of his generation who had a very idealistic phase during the time of the student revolution and got realists over time.

One reason I would like to read Spheres would be to better understand whats going on in those elitist circles. Another reason would be to explore another conception of how we came to be where we are. The Spheres Trilogy is another Cosmic tale that, I think, people can get alot out of in terms of orientation into a bigger historical timeframe.

What can I bring to the table:

As I mentioned I’m German and like Ed Mahood I would like to read the text in the original German. So there are differences in language and cultural differences I probably could point out. Im no way an expert on German culture but I can share my perspective.

(Brad Sayers) #5

What brings me here? Well, the title of course! And the other titles too.

Bubbles, Globes, Foams!

Did Sloterdijk have to fight with the publisher who typically want to change titles to more American audiences? Or European? Or whatever?

I have an intuition that these titles (and of course the text) are going to convey ideas very needed today - that apply to all of us - about how we are going to live together at a planetary level.

Looking forward to the reading!

(Josepha Van Den Anker) #6

Hello, my name is Josepha and I’m an artist. www.josephavandenanker.com

Since 1975, my earliest, ongoing interest and inspiration as a painter is Carl Jung, synchronicity, the archetype and the collective unconscious. “Flatland” by Edwin A. Abbott (a “biggy” for me) as were all of Robert Graves and especially “The White Goddess”, Erich Neumann, all of Joseph Campbell, Frazer’s “The Golden Bough” and a book still never far from my elbow, carried across continents…Maria Gimbutas “The Language of the Goddess”.

I was very lucky to attended lectures “on World Religions” at UofT by Hans Kung and introduced to the Epic of Gilgamesh (the circle is round John Ebert!) and also had the lucky chance of spending a week in the company of Marshall McLuhan “The Medium is the Message”.

As a Christmas gift I received “You Must Change Your Life” by Rachel Corbett (not Sloterdijk) about the relationship between Rilke & Roden.

I pay attention to synchronicities when presented!

In Feb. I made a submission to a Canadian National Portrait Competition (not judged yet) with a self-portrait triptych titled “Josepha Learning to Juggle” … spheres! So I definitely needed to follow the breadcrumbs…and feel I have come home…with the introduction to Sloterdijk’s Spheres Trilogy!

Happy to be here!