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“Grey”: Peter Sloterdijk explores the color of modernity

They. Gray is not another color. First, because this pigment appears as a whole: “The sum of the individual colors does not give a bright overall color, but a brownish gray color. » Then because Peter Sloterdijk does it “Determining the current color value”. for the ontology of the moderns will be more tinged with this gray which “Showing our contemporaries the colorless omnipresence of alienated freedom”According to a somewhat fatalistic thesis developed in a book by a German philosopher Grey. Political theory of colors. Will gray be the final color of the West, who has explored everything, tried everything, imagined everything and come out tired?

More than a reflective challenge – “Until we think about gray, we are not philosophers”He says, paraphrasing Cézanne’s maxim on painting – the former rector of Karlsruhe’s Hochschule für Gestaltung views our civilization through the ambiguous gray of his thinking: the focus on loss gives it a conservative tone. Philosopher, the author of the main work since then Critique of cynical reason (1983), particularly distinguished by the trilogy fields At the turn of the 2000s, he lamented in his last translated book, Make the sky speak (Payot, 2021), delete “Theopoesis”, this word of the gods which has been the compass of meaning for so long. On the other hand, the terminal gray of modernity becomes synonymous with the era of indifference, neutrality, erasure, lack of differentiation,“diaphorization”A neologism implying moral neutralization, the opposite of which is the modern designation of diversity.

Peter Sloterdijk creates this variation of the gray with his unique prose, which places him in France somewhere between Régis Debres and Bruno Latour: his style is deliberately ghostly, sometimes nebulous or disturbing, but it shines. As when he mastered the technique a “Magic Inflation” and makes a camera a “generalizable magic”Or that he analyzes the gray hegemony in a united Germany as a fruit “Reciprocal Disappointment” of these unions. This aversion shapes an entire generation that is celebrated “Merkel Grey” and in the hegemony of automobiles “Sophisticated metallic and matte tones”. In 2021, the Mercedes catalog offered a hundred and ten shades of gray, he notes wryly.

Inspired by Cézanne, this is the pictorial mode that best captures his intellectual gesture. because Grey Has no soul of the system: Peter Sloterdijk works on the inspiration of the brush. But he fills his canvas with his five heads (and her four “Digressions”) which covers the whole spectrum: philosophy, technology, literature, theology.

Source: Le Monde

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