In his major investigation into the nature of humans, Peter Sloterdijk presents a critique of myth - the myth of the return of religion. For it is not religion that is returning; rather, there is something else quite profound that is taking on increasing significance in the present: the human as a practising, training being, one that creates itself through exercises and thereby transcends itself. Rainer Maria Rilke formulated the drive towards such self-training in the early twentieth century in the imperative 'You must change your life'. 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.
Introduction: On the Anthropotechnic Turn 1 The Planet of the Practising 1 The Command from the Stone 19 Rilke s Experience 2 Remote View of the Ascetic Planet 29 Nietzsche s Antiquity Project 3 Only Cripples Will Survive 40 Unthan s Lesson 4 Last Hunger Art 61 Kafka s Artistes 5 Parisian Buddhism 73 Cioran s Exercises Transition: Religions Do Not Exist 83 From Pierre de Coubertin to L. Ron Hubbard I The Conquest of the Improbable: For an Acrobatic Ethics Programme 109 1 Height Psychology 111 The doctrine of Upward Propagation and the Meaning of Over 2 Culture Is a Monastic Rule 131 Twilight of the Life Forms, Disciplines 3 Sleepless in Ephesus 160 On the Demons of Habit and Their Taming Through First Theory 4 Habitus and Inertia 175 On the Base Camps of the Practising Life 5 Cur Homo Artista 190 On the Ease of the Impossible II Exaggeration Procedures Backdrop: Retreats into Unusualness 211 6 First Eccentricity 217 On the Separation of the Practising and Their Soliloguies 7 The Complete and the Incomplete 243 How the Spirit of Perfection Entangles the Practising in Stories 8 Master Games 271 Trainers as Guarantors of the Art of Exaggeration 9 Change of Trainer and Revolution 298 On Conversations and Opportunistic Turns III The Exercises of the Modern Prospect: The Re-Secularization of the Withdrawn Subject 315 10 Art with Humans 331 In the Arsenals of Anthropotechnics 11 In the Auto-Operatively Curved Space 369 New Human Beings Between Anaesthesia and Biopolitics 12 Exercises and Misexercises 404 The Critique of Repetition Retrospective From the Re-Embedding of the Subject to the Relapse into Total Care Outlook: The Absolute Imperative 442 Notes 453 Index 487