What does dense mean in geography

Difficulty with critical geography

On April 22, 1969, three young women stormed onto the podium in lecture hall VI of Frankfurt University, where the matador of critical theory, Theodor W. Adorno, was about to give his lecture. The three women surrounded him, opened their jackets and pressed him with their bare breasts. Adorno fled from the lecture hall, holding the briefcase to protect his face, deeply disturbed and bitterly disappointed. Sloterdijk takes up this scene in his Critique of Cynical Reason on: "Here stood the bare flesh that 'criticized'" (Sloterdijk, 1983: 27). Bare bodies as or instead of "Criticism"? Was there an anti-theoretical, cynical act at work here? Yes and no, judges Sloterdijk, because without Adorno "hardly any of those present would have learned ... what criticism means ... right and wrong, truth and untruth were inextricably mixed up in this scene, in a way that is typical of cynicism" (Sloterdijk, 1983: 27). The uttering of a “naked” truth becomes an aggressive moment, an unwelcome exposure that seeks to tear the veil of convention (Sloterdijk, 1983: 28). And this “naked” truth was held against the master thinker of critical theory in this scene.

With these observations, Sloterdijk opens his analysis of cynicism as a zeitgeist phenomenon in order to distinguish it from the cynicism of Diogenes. For Sloterdijk, cynicism is the “enlightened false consciousness” (1983: 37), which acts against better knowledge and keeps the cynic able to work: “its falsehood is reflexively cushioned” (1983: 38). The concept of cynicism serves Sloterdijk as the leading category of a “phenomenology of the demons” (Niehues-Pröbsting, 1988: 8): Sloterdijk diagnoses a “stagnation of critical theory” in which “the masochistic element ... outstrips the creative has ... "(1983: 22). This masochism manifests itself in Adorno's "pain a priori" and a "tearful negativism". And he adds: "Criticism has dreary days" (1983: 24). Here Sloterdijk criticizes the negative dialectic as formulated by Adorno (1970/2003). This form of criticism remains trapped in a “pain a priori” of dismay (1983: 19) and stylizes itself as a “mirror of world evil” (Sloterdijk, 1983: 22), but remains stuck in its “no” to this world: “ Where enlightenment appears as a 'sad' science, it unwillingly promotes melancholy numbness ”(Sloterdijk, 1983: 26). For Sloterdijk, this is exactly where the difference between cynical and cynical attitudes lies: cynicism comes to the fore where cheek, satire, and criticism are offered to the powerful and where institutions are comfortable (Sloterdijk, 1983: 328).

Sloterdijk counters this cynical paralysis with a cynical impulse, thinking on the “pain threshold” (cf. Heinrichs, 2009: 53, 56). The cynic that Sloterdijk sees as a role model is Diogenes, "a dog that bites when he feels like it ... his weapon is not so much analysis as laughter" (1983: 296, 303). For Sloterdijk, Diogenes embodies the living counter-image to the spiritualized Adorno and his suffering theory: Diogenes is the prototype of the anti-theorist and anti-dogmatic who, free from school constraints, “takes on the risk of existence, alert and cheerful” (1983: 303). In the cynical impulse there is an unbelievable serenity, a “happy science” (here Sloterdijk alludes to Nietzsche) and an existential reduction, a “retreat to the animal level” (1983: 311), giving Diogenes an “inducible, sovereign spirit “Appropriated.

The cynic sets out in search of “an existential truth that in front is situated to the political ”(Heinrichs, 2009: 36, emphasis in the original). Cheekiness and withdrawal belong together. This can be seen in the anecdote of the meeting of Alexander the Great with Diogenes, where the latter replies to the supposed generosity of the king that Diogenes would be granted a wish: "Get out of the sun" (cf. Sloterdijk's version of this anecdote: 1983: 303f .). Diogenes, the shameless political beast, is the first to be “free enough to tell the prince the truth” (Sloterdijk, 1983: 304) because he has reduced his needs. Diogenes thus draws "the platform for an existential anti-politics" (Sloterdijk, 1983: 315), which is based on an existential, crisis-compatible presence of mind: "Politics is that where you have to be prepared for everything" (Sloterdijk, 1983: 315, 319) .

With his "abstinence", Diogenes provides Sloterdijk with the decisive counter-impulse to the "myth of the active", to the "activist ethos of self-assertion" of modern times (Sloterdijk, 1983: 939f.): "Those who practice abstinence do not fall into the self-continuation of unleashed activisms" (Sloterdijk, 1983: 941). For Sloterdijk (1983: 940), "a non-practice, an act of omission, a letting go and non-intervention expresses higher qualities of insight ... than in any action, however well thought-out". Sloterdijk (1983: 941) adopts Heidegger's concept of serenity as allowing oneself to be penetrated by “showing oneself” the truth. On the basis of this Cynical impulse, Sloterdijk pleads for a disarmament of the subject (1983: 685), an ethic of letting go, a party to “neglect” (Heinrichs, 2009: 76), a non-intervention and letting happen, a not -Hindering the rhythms of the world - a thought that Sloterdijk in Eurotaoism (1989) will go into more depth.

Not only Diogenes is at work at Sloterdijk, but also Lao-Tse (cf. Meyer, 1987: 210) - and Heidegger (we will come back to this later). But Sloterdijk's political kinetics are not without controversy. While Slavoj Žižek (1989: 25ff.) Still appreciated Sloterdijk's ridiculousization of society through irony and sarcasm, for Jürgen Habermas (1983/85: 124) the cynical impulse, as described by Sloterdijk, runs the risk of losing its constructive significance for society . "The appearances of the Cynical critic are short", writes Eberhard Sens (1987: 255): "The Cynic may not like to lend a head and heart to the argumentative discourse." Sloterdijk's cynical gesture eludes the social discourse "through the strategy of refusing to argue" (Habermas, 1983/85: 123). The cynic lives “as a parasite of the claims of others” and thus makes herself dependent on the intellectual productivity of her opponents. Habermas becomes uncomfortable: “the Cynic accepts the violation of the integrity of his counterpart” (Habermas, 1983/85: 124).

Sloterdijk, according to Habermas, remains fixated on negation - the passive virtues of letting go, the gesture of getting out (Habermas, 1983/85: 124). This is also how Raymond Geuss sees it, for whom the position of the cynic "... amounts to nothing other than the rejection of any concrete political commitment in the world or with the world that surrounds him" (Geuss, 2002, 2013 : 52). A Taoist attitude of "letting go", of "not acting (anymore)", which is the basis of Sloterdijk's attitude (still implicit in the criticism, then explicitly later in Eurotaoism), presupposes an objectively harmonious order of the world, an order "for which everything that is considered to be a good life is irrelevant" (Meyer, 2007: 211). The gesture of negation, the dropout, is based on a certain worldview, which Sloterdijk does not explicitly explain and which suggests a conservative attitude to show changes in the current situation as requiring justification.