‘You must change your life’ or ‘You must change life’?

This is the first set of reflections on Peter Sloterdijk’s You Must Change Your Life: On Anthropotechnics (Cambridge: Polity Press, 2013).


‘You must change your life,’ writes Peter Sloterdijk in his eponymous book of philosophy. His provocative project is to redescribe human beings in terms of forms of practice or training programs. Some programs are explicit (such as those formulated by yogis or by virtuosos), others inexplicit and inarticulate (such as daily routines), yet all human beings, he claims, are at the same time producers and products, dancers and danced, lovers and loved. The guiding thread of the book, then, is an investigation into the various ways in which the call to change your life have been articulated from antiquity to the present.

On my reading, there are two seminal moments. The first is ahistorical, basic, logically prior: ‘Can humans be uprooted from bad habits?’ (411). The second is historical, contingent, prescient:

Modernity is the time in which those humans who hear the call to change no longer know where they should start: with the world or with themselves–or with both at once. (323)

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