ARTICOLI / 5 / Arianne Conty /
In his 1946 essay “Letter on Humanism” Heidegger set out to unveil the barbarism hidden in the humanistic subject, reduced to a calculating subject framing the world as an object of cognition and control. In his 1999 essay “Rules for the Human Zoo,” Sloterdijk will commend Heidegger for revealing the homo barbarus hiding beneath homo humanus, but will show that Heidegger as well hides a bad shepherd of breeding beneath the good shepherd of Being. After clarifying these two juxtapositions, I would like to expose a contemporary form of homo barbarus that Sloterdijk himself seems unable to grasp in his celebration of the posthuman. If Sloterdijk speaks of culture as the sum of homeotechnologies that have bred the human being, the Anthropocene era marks the spread of such breeding technologies to the entire planet. From deet-resistant mosquitoes to the o-zone heavens, human cultures have colonized the natural world, doing away with the separation between nature and culture and therefore also between good and evil. If the goal of separating homo humanus from homo barbarus has become impossible in the age of the Anthropocene, so indeed has the notion of human progress, inaugurating a post-historical age where the posthuman future being proposed in the place of humanism is decidedly apocalyptic.