By Peter Sloterdijk
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Extra info for Critique of Cynical Reason
Because -niightenment cannot give up its claim of imposing better insights against a selfstructing consciousness, it must basically "operate" behind the opponent's con-lousness. Thus, ideology critique acquires a cruel aspect that, if it ever really mits to being cruel, claims to be nothing more than a reaction to the cruelties 16 • ENLIGHTENMENT AS DIALOGUE Matthias Greutzer, Model of Vanity (the second picture shows the view with raised skirt), 1596. " Here it becomes clearer than anywhere else that "philosophical" ideology critique is truly the heir of a great satirical tradition, in which the motif of unmasking, exposing, baring has served for aeons now as a weapon.
The paradoxes of the rescue method will ensure that this first impression does not last. It might seem at first that enlightenment necessarily ends in cynical disillusionment, but the page is soon turned and the investigation of cynicism becomes the foundation for a healthy freedom from illusions. Enlightenment was always disillusionment in the positive sense, and the more it advances, the closer the moment approaches when reason tells us to attempt an affirmation. A philosophy in the spirit of Yes also includes the Yes to the No.
From the lively form of heated polemic it has retreated to those positions taken in a cold war of consciousness. Heinrich Heine was one of the last authors of classical enlightenment who literarily defended, in open satire, the rights of ideology critique to "just atrocities'; here, the public has not followed him. The bourgeois transformation of satire into ideology critique was as inevitable as the bourgeois transformation of society, in general, together with its oppositional forces. Ideology critique, having become respectable, imitates surgical procedure: Cut open the patient with the critical scalpel and operate under impeccably sterile conditions.
Critique of Cynical Reason by Peter Sloterdijk