Anthropotechnics: An Interview with Peter Sloterdijk

German philosopher Peter Sloterdijk

The term “anthropotechnics” points to the fact that the process of the humans’ domestication by humans, which began very early on, retains an open future. Firstly, it describes the largely unconscious secession of humans from pure animality — whereby they became not only members of the “symbolic species,” a “ritual animal” (as Wittgenstein remarked on occasion), indeed a mythological narrative animal, but also a technical creature. Secondly, it points to future possibility of conscious self-shaping through forms of training of the mind, through chemical modifications, perhaps even through genetic impulses.

The concept of “anthropotechnics” thus refers to the entire autopoiesis, or self-creation, of “mankind” in its many thousands of cultural specializations. It is empirical, pluralistic and egalitarian from the ground up — in the sense that all individuals, as heirs to the memory of mankind, are free to surpass themselves.

Ray Kurzweil’s idea of “singularity,” by contrast, contains futuristic, monistic and elitist elements. Although “singularity,” according to its logical and rhetorical design, is meant to integrate mankind as a whole, it is evident that it could only encompass a tiny group of exceptional transhuman individuals…

[On “the” Cloud]

…What clouds and schools have in common is that both wrestle with a nonsense problem: schools can never be entirely sure of passing on what is worth knowing, and cloud visitors are all the more incapable of distinguishing with certainty between nonsense and no nonsense. One part of the modern-postmodern situation is the instability of the difference between institutionalized and de-institutionalized knowledge.

 In this respect, one must take the cloud metaphor seriously in a literal sense: clouds cover up the clear sky. The current infospheric encasement of the human field is the continuation of the “objective spirit” by other means — and today, those are digital means…

…Anyone who uses the word “cloud” in the singular risks falling prey to mystification. At present, once more, there are several cloud systems, and what we once called the Cold War now returns as the war of clouds. One of the nasty surprises of the incipient 21st century is that the demons of propaganda have returned in a digitally updated form. To counter the new empires of lie and perspectival distortion, a renewal of the idea of enlightenment is indispensable…

Read the full interview @ Controversial Philosopher Says Man And Machine Will Fuse Into One Being

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