Peter Sloterdijk: Geometry in the colossal: the project of metaphysical globalization

“The fundamental event of modernity is the conquest of the world as picture.” — Martin Heidegger,¬† The Age of the World Picture (2002 [1938])

“Geometry in the colossal” (Geometrie in Ungeheurem) appears as pages 47 – 72 of the second volume of Peter Sloterdijk’s Spharen — volume is entitled Globen, “Globes”. The excerpt is a beginning of the history of the idea of the sphere or the globe. As claimed by Heidegger in the epigraph, the conquest of the world as picture is the fundamental event of modernity. The historical question that arises, then, is that of the rise of the globe as the fundamental picture of the world. Sloterdijk begins with remarks on what he calls a “treatise on the metaphysics of roundness'”, Nicholas of Cusa’s De Ludo Globi, set in a discussion concerning the movement of the notion of the globe from the Greek to the Roman world. The second half of the excerpt is devoted to a more focused analysis of the composition, history, and significance of the Farnese Atlas. In this work we see the world portrayed as a “poetic-scientific bastard heaven, a product of geometry as much as of mythology”, borne upon the shoulders of a titan —¬† philosopher —¬†athlete, images at once ancient and modern. The conquest of the world as picture thus transforms Atlas’s punishment into a symbol of the greatest earthly power.



This entry was posted on Saturday, November 12th, 2011 at 12:09 am
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