Bubbles, foam... Peter Sloterdijk and atmospheres

Sloterdijk's magnum opus, a three part work of which the first is Bubbles; Spheres I, is as humble in its task as it is groundbreaking; "even to speak of gaining access is misleading, for the discovery of the spheric is less a matter of access than of a slowed-down circumspection amid the most obvious." Perhaps the all-encompassing extendo-addendum to Heidegger's Being and Time, Sloterdijk uses a theory of spheres as a morphological tool for grasping the exodus of the human being from its primitive isolated bubble to our contemporary existence as unroundable foams. The book speaks volumes in spheres, bubbles, orbs, foams, heaps, sponges, clouds, and vortices. This is so ®å∂îçå¬. I haven't read something this good since Serres.

Enjoy an extract from Spheres I explaining its III:

"The third book will address the modern catastrophe of the round world. Using morphological terms, it will describe the rise of an age in which the form of the whole can no longer be imagined in terms of imperial panoramas and circular panopticons. From a morphological perspective, modernity appears primarily as a form-revolutionary process.

… our spherological approach supplies the means to characterise the catastrophes of world form in modernity - that is, terrestrial and virtual globalisation - in terms of non-round sphere formations. This contradictio in adiecto mirrors the formal dilemma of current contemporary state of the world, in which global markets and media have ignited an acute world war of ways of life and informational commodities. When everything has become the centre, there is no longer any valid centre… The guiding morphological principles of the polyspheric world we inhabit is no longer the orb, but rather foam.

The structural implication of the current earth-encompassing network - with all its eversions into the virtual realm - is thus not so much a globalisation as a foaming. In foam worlds, the individual bubbles are not absorbed into a single integrative hyper-orb, as in the metaphysical conniption of the world, but rather drawn together to form irregular hills.

Referring to a pathology of spheres displays a threefold focus: a politicological one, in so far as foams tend to be ungovernable structures with an inclination towards morphological anarchy; a cognitive one, in so far as the individuals and associations of subjects can no longer produce any complete world, as the idea of the whole world itself, in its characteristic holistic emphasis, unmistakably belongs to the expired age of metaphysical total-inclusion-circles, or monospheres; and a psychological one, in so far as single individuals in foams tend to lose the power to form mental-emotional spaces, and shrink to isolated depressive points transplanted into random surrounds (correctly referred to systematically as their environment). They suffer from the immunodeficiency caused by the deterioration of solidarities - to say nothing, for the moment, of the new immunisations acquired through participation in regenerated sphere creations. For sphere-deficient private persons, their lifespan becomes a sentence of solitary confinement; egos that are extensionless, scarcely active and lacking in participation stare out through the media window into moving landscapes of images. It is typical of the acute mass cultures that the moving images have become far livelier than most of their observers: a reproduction of animism in step with modernity.

With this neither gay nor sad science of foams, the third book of Spheres presents a theory of the current age whose main tenor is that reanimation has an insurmountable lead over reanimation. It is the inanimable outside that gives food for thought in intrinsically modern times. This conclusion will inevitably drive the nostalgic yearning for a conception of the world, which still aims for a liveable whole in the education-holistic sense, into resignation. For whatever asserts itself as the inner realm, it is increasingly exposed as the inner side of an outside. No happiness is safe from endoscopy; every blissful, intimate, vibrating cell is surrounded by swarms of professional disillusions, and we drift among them - thought paparazzi, deconstructionists, interior deniers and cognitive scientists, accomplices in an unlimited plundering of Lethe.
… The world, it seems, has grown much too large for people of an older type, who strove for true community with things both near and far. "