The World Is Returning to Pluralism After American Hegemony, Says German Philosopher

Nathan Gardels

Peter Sloterdijk is a celebrated and controversial German philosopher, cultural critic and TV host known for his reflections on globalization. “Stress and Freedom” is among his most recent books. He spoke this week with WorldPost Editor in Chief Nathan Gardels.

WorldPost: You have spoken about the conundrum of a synchronized world without a common narrative. Absent that common narrative, the world is breaking up into tribes like the shattering of the Tower of Babel, each with their own narrative, often nationalist and nativist. What is the root of the resurgence of this tribal mentality?

Peter Sloterdijk: Let’s first ask if the rumor of the return of the tribes is justified. It is true that different civilizations resort to vastly different narratives to describe their place in the present day world. Just as we observe a profound multitude of calendars — among Orthodox Christians, in the Muslim cultures, China or Iran, which depart from the Gregorian calendar that dominates in the West — we encounter an even larger number of different local narratives describing events in world history. These are not limited to mythology; even in the historical narratives where they have been witnessed, one can expect a fair degree of radical perspectivism.

It is therefore incorrect to claim that the world is breaking up into numerous tribes, as if these had ever been united in an all-inclusive synthesis at any point in history. What is actually happening today is the disintegration of the American camp.

Read the rest of the interview on The WorldPost.

composed by Arswain
machine learning consultation by Anna Tskhovrebov
commissioned by the Berggruen Institute
premiered at the Bradbury Building
downtown Los Angeles
april 22, 2022

Human perception of what sounds “beautiful” is necessarily biased and exclusive. If we are to truly expand our hearing apparatus, and thus our notion of beauty, we must not only shed preconceived sonic associations but also invite creative participation from beings non-human and non-living. We must also begin to cede creative control away from ourselves and toward such beings by encouraging them to exercise their own standards of beauty and collaborate with each other.

Movement I: Alarm Call
‘Alarm Call’ is a long-form composition and sound collage that juxtaposes, combines, and manipulates alarm calls from various human, non-human, and non-living beings. Evolutionary biologists understand the alarm call to be an altruistic behavior between species, who, by warning others of danger, place themselves by instinct in a broader system of belonging. The piece poses the question: how might we hear better to broaden and enhance our sense of belonging in the universe? Might we behave more altruistically if we better heed the calls of – and call out to – non-human beings?

Using granular synthesis, biofeedback, and algorithmic modulation, I fold the human alarm call – the siren – into non-human alarm calls, generating novel “inter-being” sonic collaborations with increasing sophistication and complexity. 

Movement II: A.I.-Truism
A synthesizer piece co-written with an AI in the style of Vangelis’s Blade Runner score, to pay homage to the space of the Bradbury Building.

Movement III: Alarmism
A machine learning model “learns” A.I.Truism and recreates Alarm Call, generating an original fusion of the two.

Movement IV: A.I. Call
A machine learning model “learns” Alarm Call and recreates A.I.Truism, generating an original fusion of the two.