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By Peter Sloterdijk

In 1983, centuries after the booklet 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 serious acclaim and consternation and attracted a large readership, specially between those that had come of age within the 1960’s. Sloterdijk’s unearths cynicism the dominant mode in modern tradition, in own institutional settings; his ebook is much less a historical past of the impulse than an research of its function within the postmodern Nineteen Seventies and Nineteen Eighties, between these whose prior hopes for social switch had crumbled and light away. Sloterdijk therefore brings into cultural and political discourse a topic which, notwithstanding vital to the temper of a iteration, has remained submerged during the present debate approximately modernity and postmodernity.
With Adorno and Horkeimer’s Dialectic of Enlightenment as his fundamental jumping-off element, Sloterdijk additionally attracts upon, and contends with, the poststructuralist strategies of Deleuze and Guattari. He defines cynicism as enlightened fake consciousness—a sensibility “well off and depressing on the similar time,” capable of functionality within the workaday global but assailed by way of doubt and paralysis; and, as counterstrategy, proposes the cynicism of antiquity—the sensuality and loud, satiric laughter of Diogenes. mainly, Sloterdijk is decided to withstand the amnesia inherent in cynicism. The twentieth-century German ancient event lies at the back of his paintings, which closes with an excellent essay at the Weimar Republic—the fourteen years among a misplaced warfare and Hitler’s ascent to energy, and a time while the cynical mode first completed cultural dominance.

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Enlightenment has tried to make the best of this situation. Since nothing was ENLIGHTENMENT AS DIALOGUE D 15 freely given to it, it developed almost from the beginning —besides the friendly invitation to a conversation-a second, combative stance. It receives blows, so it returns them. Some exchanges are so old that it would be senseless to ask who started them. The history of ideology critique comprises to a large extent the history of this second, polemical gesture, the history of a great counteroffensive.

Does not an ingenuous contact with Kantian thinking, with philosophical thinking in general, contain the risk of exposing a young consciousness to a violent and sudden aging? What of a youthful will to know is preserved in a philosophy that makes one dizzy with its bony spiraling turns of the screw? Is what we want to know found at the top end of the screw? Are we ourselves not perhaps so twisted at the head of the screw that we will be satisfied with what we now think we know? And what does it mean that people for whom Kantian thinking is "daily conversation" don't "look like much"?

This music makes us cry because we are not like it, not something complete, which turns toward the lost sweetness of life like a distant quotation. Happiness can only be thought of as something lost, as a beautiful alien. It cannot be anything more than a premonition that we approach with tears in our eyes without ever reaching it. Everything else belongs to "false living" anyway. What dominates is the world of the fathers, who are always appallingly in agreement with the granite of abstractions, now solidified into a system.

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