The ban on navel contemplation

I have been busy re-reading Sloterdijk’s Spheres trilogy, working up to a longer reflection on it, but in the meanwhile thought I’d offer up this passages from Bubbles (Spheres I):

The navel is located on the human’s front like a monument to the unthinkable; it reminds people of the thing no one remembers. It is the pure sign of that which lies on the other side of the consciously knowable – which is why, if one thinks about it, those who are unwilling to speak about the navel should also keep quiet about the unconscious. It signifies the knowledge of an event that concerns me more than any other, even though I am not eligible as the current subject of this knowledge. For his entire life, the navel owner looks past this memorial at the center of his body, like someone who walks past an equestrian monument every day without ever wondering whom it represents. This disinterest in one’s own pre-history has cultural method, for Europeans have always been raised under a ban on navel contemplation: they are supposed to feel shame for even thinking it possible to refer to themselves at this point. Attached to the discreet recess in the middle of our body is the commandment to refer always and without exception to other things: the navel is the symbol of our obligation to extroversion. It fundamentally points forward into the panorama of things and subjects that exist for us and with us. The world is meant to become everything that is the case opposite the navel. (447)

About Huenemann

Curious about the ways humans use their minds and hearts to distract themselves from the meaninglessness of life.
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2 Responses to The ban on navel contemplation

  1. Orla Schantz says:

    Thanks for this witty quote – I look forward to your longer reflection.

    Like

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