In this paper, I will let the Sloterdijkian concept of anthropotechnics (from the book You Must Change Your Life!), the creation of human beings from training, repetitions, and habits, to guide my research. Human life is about training and repetition, about ascetism. But, in human beings there are also always upward-tending traits, so when one encounters humans, one will always find acrobats. Different cultures, such as religious cultures, aristocratic cultures, military cultures, athletic cultures and cognitive cultures, have different vertical tensions.
The paper brings Sloterdijk to a face-to-face discussion with the technological development staff of a Swedish shipping company (the guys who design, draw, calculate, how ships should be built and rebuilt). It discusses the rationales behind technological development in this company over the last 50 years and explores how ascetics and acrobats have moulded themselves individually and collectively, working on themselves and working on artefacts. In this anthropotechnic training camp, people have constantly asked themselves: which way is up?