• Fatally, the term 'barbarian' is the password that opens up the archives of the twentieth century. It refers to the despiser of achievement, the vandal, the status denier, the iconoclast, who refuses to acknowledge any ranking rules or hierarchy. Whoever wishes to understand the twentieth century must always keep the barbaric factor in view. Precisely in more recent modernity, it was and still is typical to allow an alliance between barbarism and success before a large audience, initially more in the form of insensitive imperialism, and today in the costumes of that invasive vulgarity which advances into virtually all areas through the vehicle of popular culture. That the barbaric position in twentieth-century Europe was even considered the way forward among the purveyors of high culture for a time, extending to a messianism of uneducatedness, indeed the utopia of a new beginning on the clean slate of ignorance, illustrates the extent of the civilizatory crisis this continent has gone through in the last century and a half - including the cultural revolution downwards, which runs through the twentieth century in our climes and casts its shadow ahead onto the twenty-first

    Peter Sloterdijk
  • The reason for the existence of the perfection conjured up in these fourteen lines is that it possesses ... the authorization to form a message that appeals from within itself. This power of appeal is exquisitely evident in the object evoked here. The perfect thing is that which articulates an entire principle of being. The poem has to perform no more and no less than to perceive the principle of being in the thing and adapt it to its own existence - with the aim of becoming a construct with an equal power to convey a message

    Peter Sloterdijk
  • What the poet has to say to the torso of the supposed Apollo, however, is more than a note on an excursion to the antiquities collection. The author's point is not that the thing depicts an extinct god who might be of interest to the humanistically educated, but that the god in the stone constitutes a thing-construct that is still on air. We are dealing with a document of how newer message ontology outgrew traditional theologies. Here, being itself is understood as having more power to speak and transmit, and more potent authority, than God, the ruling idol of religions. In modern times, even a God can find himself among the pretty figures that no longer mean anything to us - assuming they do not become openly irksome. The thing filled with being, however, does not cease to speak to us when its moment has come

    Peter Sloterdijk
  • In the midst of the ubiquitous dealings with prostituted signs, the thing-poem was capable of opening up the prospect of returning to credible experiences of meaning. It did this by tying language to the gold standard of what things themselves communicate. Where randomness is disabled, authority should shine forth

    Peter Sloterdijk
  • The aesthetic construct, and nothing else, has taught us to expose ourselves to a non-enslaving experience of rank differences. The work of art is even allowed to 'tell' us, those who have run away from form, something, because it quite obviously does not embody the intention to confine us. 'La poesie ne s'impose plus, elle s'expose' Something that exposes itself and proves itself in this test gains unpresumed authority. In the space of aesthetic simulation, which is at once the emergency space for the success and failure of the artistic construct, the powerless superiority of the works can affect observers who otherwise take pains to ensure that they have no lord, old or new, above them

    Peter Sloterdijk
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