If I had met philosopher Peter Sloterdijyk, my first advice would have been to change his name. One of the most brilliant minds in contemporary German philosophy,Sloterdijyk succeeded in being a philosophical star after introducing philosophy on a famous TV programme.
He has beenpresenting his programme“The Philosophy Quartet” on the German ZDF channel since 2002. The programme became famous in the media under the name of the “New Athens Arena”, in which he speaks about his philosophy and invites other philosophers to share their thoughts.
Sloterdijyktook philosophy from the library to the TV, and along with it several issues from the elite circles to the public opinion circles. He wrote about almost everything and his books were successful.
His PhDthesis from Hamburg University,titled “Critique of Cynical Reason” and published in 1983, was the best-selling work on philosophy in the German language since WWII. His book “Nietzsche the Apostle” or “Nietzsche’s Fifth Gospel,” published in 2000,was widely read across Europe.
Sloterdijyk followed in Nietzsche’s footsteps, believing in Man and not believing in God, then he moved further to believing in neither God nor Man. He published an impertinent study titled “After God”and gave a lecture on Man’s end.In both instances he was a nihilist; neither believing in the Creator nor the creature.
In his 1999 lecture, attended by an elite group of thinkers in Bavaria, Sloterdijyk spoke about the failure of Mankind’s project and the failure of the human existence on Earth. As a result, he called for thenecessity of terminating the life of contemporary Man and making room for the genetically modified human being.
According to him, since all forms of education and culture confirm the impossibility of civilisation in the light of the current humans’ formula, there is no solution except to alter the genetic makeup of humans and allownew humans to come to being.
Sloterdijyk said, “Human tendency to adjust the animal facet of humans has failed and there is no way but to reform Mankind and empower Technological Anthropology to clearly plan human characteristics…"
"The failure of the human thought is undoubted and there is no solution save the biological technology, finding a race of thinkers who are able to make humans better is a must… Genetic treatment will achieve what cultural education was unable to do with the bestial humans. There is a dire necessity to devise Man biologically and improve his offspring while he is in his mother’s womb… No more humans should be born as before… Sorting should be made before giving birth.”
Sloterdijyk belongs to the Frankfurt School of thought, which was one of the most famous philosophical schools in the world. It was the bastion of the Critical Theory and is considered leftist. Its name is derived from the Institute for Social Research at the University of Frankfurt in Germany. It had a constellation of philosophers at the topmost were Theodor Adorno, Erich Fromm, and Herbert Marcuse, while its number one star in the last decades has been Jürgen Habermas.
Habermas is Germany’s first and foremost philosopher. According to former German foreign minister Joschka Fischer, Habermas is the philosopher of the New German Republic. However, the clamour that Sloterdijyk causes every now and then is parallel to that of Habermas,although both belong to the Frankfurt School.
Habermas criticisedSloterdijyk, and others said he had become an insolent enemy of the Renaissance. Der Spiegel said: “His language has fascist overtones and elevates the Superman concept according to the well-known Nietzschean call.”
Philosopher Dieter Bernhuberexploited Sloterdijyk’s mistakes,saying, “Through these views he is ending the Critical Theory’s domination over Germany…He represents the crisis of the Left’s remnants among Germans. He has shot abullet of mercy on the Frankfurt School’s traditions. It’s fantastic that the philosophical hegemony of thinkers such as Adorno and Habermashas fallen.”
Sloterdijyk’s leftist leaning is in doubt for quickly he became a rightist then he became a staunch neo-liberal. He attacked the taxation system and he didn’t see it as a right to the marginalisedbut rather an exploitation of the unproductive citizens who increasingly live at the expense of productive ones.
He viewed the income tax in the capitalist system as equal to expropriation in the socialist system. Thus, in his opinion, the capitalist system isn’t capitalist but a semi-socialist system.
Sloterdijyk called for the abolition of taxes and leaving matters to the rich to pay whatever they like in the form of charitable donations.
The philosopher’s thoughts went further to the extent of annulment of the concept of the people. He says: “There is no thing as the people, people is just a myth. Throughout my life, I’ve met men and women and saw young men and old men, but I haven’tseen people throughout my life. Current Populism is nothing but continuation of such a myth; the people”.
Naturally, Sloterdijyk refused the concepts of democracy and elections. He saw it was impossible to trust the principle of the intelligent majority since the majority of the people don’t participate in any elections. He ventured too farwhile holding the view that choosing through a lottery was better than choosing through elections. That’s what the old Greek cities used to do. It is by lot not by ballot.
I deem it fitting to display parts of this philosopher’s intellectualbiography for it would, to a great extent, shed light on the crisis ofthe contemporary Western intellect. The politically and intellectually swinging Sloterdijykended as a nihilist seeing no meaning in life and no point in the human existence. He denied the existence of God then denied the existence of people. He disdainedthe worldly life.
Instead of embracing the abolishment of exploitation and colonialism as an intellectual project, his project became the elimination of Man. Instead of contributing to putting an end to sadness and poverty and wiping the tears of the wretched souls, the philosopher sees that the solution is exterminating the poor not poverty, the death of the wretched not wretchedness, and the ending of life not endingthe suffering.
It is unfortunate some great intellects have little room in their hearts. It is sad when their pens can reach the skies but their souls are way below.