In making his case for the expansion of the practice zone for individuals and for society as a whole, Sloterdijk develops a fundamental and fundamentally new anthropology. The core of his science of the human being is an insight into the self-formation of all things human. The activity of both individuals and collectives constantly comes back to affect them: work affects the worker, communication the communicator, feelings the feeler.
It is those humans who engage expressly in practice that embody this mode of existence most clearly: farmers, workers, warriors, writers, yogis, rhetoricians, musicians or models. By examining their training plans and peak performances, this book offers a panorama of exercises that are necessary to be, and remain, a human being.
Sloterdijk explores a variety of topics, from the Greco-Roman invention of postcards to the rise of the capitalist art market, from the black boxes and white cubes of modernism to the growth of museums and memorial culture. In doing so, he extends his characteristic method of defamiliarization to transform the way we look at works of art and artistic movements. His bold and original approach leads us away from the well-trodden paths of conventional art history to develop a theory of aesthetics which rejects strict categorization, emphasizing instead the crucial importance of individual subjectivity as a counter to the latent dangers of collective culture.
This sustained reflection, at once playful, serious and provocative, goes to the very heart of Sloterdijk’s enduring philosophical preoccupation with the aesthetic. It will be essential reading for students and scholars of philosophy and aesthetics and will appeal to anyone interested in culture and the arts more generally.