When, in 1997, in Basel, Peter Sloterdijk (Karlsruhe, 1947) read the first version of his later famous conference Rules for a park, a human, was perhaps without knowing it a new kick to a meditation on the word “free”. Reached areas of what the intelligentsia, as a european not encouraged to try –the link between the word humanist and strategies to separate the best and worst spiritually speaking– and also dared to apply to biotechnology as a substitute evident in new forms of modeling of the human. But the synthesis of that brief writing was also a reading about the end of humanism, a hypothesis about the relationship between the intellectual and what is observed, and particularly on the desirability of expressing or not that derivative of to observe. More simply, Sloterdijk said what he had to say when it was necessary to say it.
In Stress and freedom, a short book originally published in 2011 and translated now by Editions Godot, you are reminded that modernity was born as successive attempts to free man from the tyrannies of the real thing. And that, paradoxical and reactively, the real thing he knew how to take revenge in the space of thought. Is it not the own Sloterdijk, accused of reincarnating an ideology eugenista, a proof of this battle? Since its emergence in the scene philosophical in 1987 with the Critique of reason cynical, noted by a perspective atypical, omniabarcativa, typical of the intellectuals of the old stuff vs. the new specialists of the scientific bodies of thought. Of the hand of remarkable intuitions rigorously exposed (The contempt of the masses; Estrangement of the world) and of a prose of dazzling, soon distinguished himself immediately in respect of the greater part of the production philosophical european to reach the publication of his monumental trilogy Spheres (1998, 1999, 2004), where the question of the dwell technological contemporary is linked with a general reflection on the deployment of the political and the will of transcendence.
The question of Spheres can be synthesized in a few lines provocative. The new technologies represent a shot to the heart of the ancient languages, metaphysics, and, more boldly, a dwelling is unprecedented, where the human is seen reconstituted and strengthened in their will to self-transformation and affirmation. The crisis of the political is inscribed in a general crisis of space arising from new conditions of existence within which there is less need to “see” and “be seen” technologically. With a freedom understood today as a free connection, and free flow of information, it is understandable that the large collective political fruit of modernity, faced with the threat of burst under a myriad of monads individual whose principle is the connectivity, the defence recomponiéndose under the figure of the social stress.
There are several places in which the philosopher considered the downloads of stress as a tensor threads constituting of community (in its various facets: people or society). It was on Foams, the third volume of Spheres, and explained it in The Sun and death, a text that collects the dialogues between him and Hans-Jürgen Heinrichs. If the social stress and its final by-product, the outrage, is that, of the last century onwards, he serves as articulator of the figure of the collective of the community from what Sloterdijk calls “epidemics thematic”, the idea of freedom that is opposed is magnificently poor. It is the point at which the problem of stress is given face to face against the problem of freedom. How should we understand it? What margins left us to be thought of the same modernity?
Stress and freedom, whose true subject is how the second is subordinate to the first, is a meditation about how to warp the individual under conditions of social pressure and how you should be able to straighten up to make himself not as a “subject” but a man. Unlike the explanations preceding, the problem of freedom moves here to the field of the individual: this is no longer a freedom or a freedom from but a freedom in itself that has nothing to do with the “freedoms » bourgeois”, those that, as noted by Sloterdijk in You can change your life, may be de facto nullification of a free person because the effect to their habits, good for everyday life but not necessarily true in the sense of the free. And this freedom has its counter-figure bound on the stress which is always instituting, both in the case of that building called “man” and enrolled in that entelechy called “people” as in the case of the other construction called a “subject” immersed in another political fiction very unlikely (but effective) called “society”.
In this sense, Stress and freedom you need to return to the figures of the political and does so from two scenes foundational to relocate to the stress in front of two different senses of what is free: the first takes place in Rome, when the Republic against the etruscans under the stress created by the need to avenge the affront to Lucretia, the second in the EIGHTEENTH century, into the pot that Rousseau, at the height of the persecutions against them, is being launched on a daily basis, without oars or a rudder, drifting and spinning tops of the waters. In the first case, the stress is instituting and freedom is back. Reaching Rousseau is of another kind: without a political structure, without fictions constituting, freedom is a unfit is chosen, an act bordering sovereignty “beyond the results and duties”. It is consciousness of life felt. But all of a sudden the man of Rousseau is summoned to their duties by the prevailing conditions. Stress happens and it returns to that sense of what free are the freedoms given by the structure.
The interest of Stress and freedom lies precisely in deploying this fold: the modern sense of the freedom is confused with the opposite of your lack. If “lack of freedom” can only be understood as political oppression or distress in the face of reality (variants of the stress), nothing guarantees the absence of oppression, or the absence of affliction, we become free. In the face of this, the subjectivity full becomes subversive, and then, under the stimulus of the stress, the tyranny of the real back to impose their limitations on the fantasy of autonomy. Fantasy against fantasy: we don’t believe in unicorns, notes Sloterdijk, but yes in this concept called society, “fantastic animal of a thousand heads, although the real”, hydra-fold of reactive stains that distorts, in their drifts are present, the original intent of the modern to subdue. Why wasn’t Heracles, You have to change your life, who embodied the hero the ability to break free along with the idea that becoming a man was supposed to choose the steep path, preferring “the rough arete to the sweet a grossness”?
In this lies the difficulty of the “subject” is “man” and reach a modern experience of liberation. And here it would be to introduce another question: how to break free is to get rid of the yoke or from the suppression? This dilemma is the point I live of Stress and freedom. The speeches of the freedom-to-date in its various forms of humanism had to do with the idea of individual freedom but in the context of the fiction social. The romans are freed from the yoke of Tarquinio. And then here charges highlight the difference between subdue and subjugate (sub-iugare, put under the yoke, versus so-judicare’, put you under the law). Free, says the modern, it is to free you from the suppression. It might not be the subyugamiento because, as pointed out by Sloterdijk, if social cohesion comes from the stress, then the release can’t be breaking strings. The modern freedom, then, is the yoke voluntary, while: “the [true] freedom is the availability for the improbable”.
Margarita Martinez is a Phd in Social Sciences (UBA), Author of “Sloterdijk and politics” (Prometheus)