Germany’s best-known philosopher has his birthday in June, on the 26th to be precise. He is very happy with that, especially since he has been living in Berlin. Peter Sloterdijk turns 75. “It’s not by chance that one of Berlin’s boulevards is called Unter den Linden,” Sloterdijk told the German Press Agency. “The linden tree is the tree that enchants June in the city with its blossom aroma. Actually, the whole of Berlin is one big Unter-den-Linden. There is nothing better than June in the capital.”
Sloterdijk comes from the south, he was born in Karlsruhe. The Dutch name comes from his father, with whom he never had much to do. In his language, the southern German idiom always resonates in a polished form. It lends his speech a relaxed conversational tone in which even the toughest attack comes across as pleasantly soft and mumbling. Printed statements from him therefore often read differently than they were actually spoken.
At an advanced age he said goodbye to southern Germany. “I’ve now become a Berliner wholeheartedly, for almost four years now,” he says. “We are currently living in Berlin-Halensee in an apartment that I hope and wish we can afford for a longer period of time. The big city atmosphere does me a lot of good after 25 years in the Karlsruhe province.” So he’s taking with him what the metropolis has to offer? “Absolutely!” he confirms.
Sloterdijk: “I love the word ass fiddle.”
He didn’t always live in the provinces, but also in Vienna, Paris and New York. What makes Berlin special? “From my perspective, the fact that I can feel at home here almost without distinction. It’s a German metropolis. In Paris and New York one tends to experience that one is never really integrated. You’re always an outsider. It’s certainly a little easier in New York, but as a foreigner it’s not easy to get into society there either.”
“We countered Corona with cheeky privacy,” says Sloterdijk. They both developed a certain resistance to threat scenarios and also let themselves be verbally vaccinated. “Each of the warnings from the dominant epidemiologist in the Ministry of Health immediately boosted our immunity. From the start, we tried to get rid of the complaining and complaining attitude as quickly as possible. Which doesn’t rule out the occasional healthy scolding.” At the Phil.Cologne in Cologne, he recently confessed: “I love the word ass fiddle.”
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