A double booking for this Fridag evening, I’m afraid. At exactly the same time as W139’s Allegories of Good and Bad Government will take place, Peter Sloterdijk is giving a lecture on his new book entitled ‘Du Musst Dein Leben Ändern’ (‘You Must Change Your Life’) at Felix Meritis.
Using a passage from a poem of Rainer Maria Rilke as his title, Sloterdijk tries to develop an account or a plea for the modern ascetic. He reasons that, in our time in which the only ethical imperative is that of a global catastrophe that is ‘cought’ in an age of anti-authoritarian sentiments, the only source that can develop and authorize a new ethics is the de-subjectivized, de-centralized subject itself. Sloterdijk, then, develops an ‘ethics of necessity’, so to say; the question is not on what sources we should, now, build an ethics (Reason, tradition, culture, history etc. etc.) but that we must do so. The paradox goes as follows; we are cought in an age that bombards us with reality, but, because we are, at the same time, cought in an age in which every transmission or representation of reality is mediated, we have made it possible for ourselves to not let it get at us. The slogan, then becomes: ‘Escape from Escapism!’.
Sloterdijk, here, takes another route at this point than that of, for instance, Slavoj Zizek. Where the former foretells that the status quo of mediated reality will lead to the formation of a new kind of elite, Zizek would say that, simply because there is nothing behind, above or beyond this mediated reality, the meaning which speaks from it, has a universal appeal. Or, at least, in Badiouean terms, it should/could give rise to a Truth-Event, rather than to be degenerated to a new ethical stance of a new elite.
Anyhow, I’m really excited to hear what Sloterdijk has to say. For more info, click here.