By Peter Sloterdijk
In 1983, centuries after the book of Kant’s Critique of natural cause, one other philosophical treatise—polemical in nature, with a name that consciously and disrespectfully alludes to the sooner work—appeared in West Germany. Peter Sloterdijk’s Critique of Cynical cause stirred either severe acclaim and consternation and attracted a large readership, specially between those that had come of age within the 1960’s. Sloterdijk’s reveals cynicism the dominant mode in modern tradition, in own institutional settings; his e-book is much less a heritage of the impulse than an research of its function within the postmodern Seventies and Eighties, between these whose previous hopes for social swap had crumbled and light away. Sloterdijk hence brings into cultural and political discourse a subject which, even though primary to the temper of a iteration, has remained submerged in the course of the present debate approximately modernity and postmodernity.
With Adorno and Horkeimer’s Dialectic of Enlightenment as his fundamental jumping-off aspect, Sloterdijk additionally attracts upon, and contends with, the poststructuralist innovations of Deleuze and Guattari. He defines cynicism as enlightened fake consciousness—a sensibility “well off and depressing on the similar time,” in a position to functionality within the workaday global but assailed by means of doubt and paralysis; and, as counterstrategy, proposes the cynicism of antiquity—the sensuality and loud, satiric laughter of Diogenes. specifically, Sloterdijk is set to withstand the amnesia inherent in cynicism. The twentieth-century German historic event lies in the back of his paintings, which closes with a super essay at the Weimar Republic—the fourteen years among a misplaced battle and Hitler’s ascent to strength, and a time while the cynical mode first completed cultural dominance.
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From where, then, does critique speak? From what perspectives? In whose name? I believe that Critical Theory has found a provisional ego for critique and a "standpoint" that provides it with perspectives for a truly incisive critique-a standpoint that conventional epistemology does not consider. I am inclined to call it a priori pain. It is not the basis of elevated, distanced critique that achieves grand overviews but a stance of extreme closeness —micrology. If things have become too close for comfort for us, a critique must arise that expresses this discomfort.
It is time for a new critique of temperaments. Where enlightenment appears as a "melancholy science" (Adorno-Trans), it unintentionally furthers melancholic stagnation. Thus, the critique of cynical reason hopes to achieve more from a work that cheers us up, whereby it is understood from the beginning that it is not so much a matter of work but rather of relaxation. The Motive It will already have been noticed that the justification is a bit too deliberate to be quite true. I realize that I might be giving the impression that I am trying to save "enlightenment" and Critical Theory.
Pasolini spiced up the dull pseudocritique a bit in that he at least designed a convincing costume: that of the buccaneer—pirate writings. The intellectual as buccaneer—not a bad dream. We have scarcely ever seen ourselves that way. A homosexual gave the warning signal against the effeminization of critique. Like Douglas Fairbanks leaping around in the cultural rigging, with drawn sword, sometimes the conqueror and sometimes the conquered, knocked about unpredictably on the seas of social alienation.