File spoon-archives/lyotard.archive/lyotard_2001/lyotard.0104, message 29

Date: Sun, 15 Apr 2001 18:43:56 -0400
Subject: Le Differend goes to China

Eric, Reg & All,

Happy Non-Pagan Easter to Everyone Else.

> Happy Pagan Easter Everyone!

Once upon a time the PRC was wronged when its harassing hot-dogger got
carrried away to the South Sea.

Or were 24 families in the U.S. wronged when their loved ones'
plane went into a screaming dive they believed would end their lives?

If both parties shared a common language it would have been more
difficult to set forth a genre/phrase regimen combination which each
government could sell to its constituents.  Smoke and mirrors
can work internationally much the same as in the hallowed halls and all


> I have been reading with some interest the recent posts on the differend
> and while I tend to agree with Reg's view of the matter, I have also
> been struck with the other participants lack of familiarity with the
> text or lack of a copy. ("In the next century there will be no more
> books. It takes too long to read, when success comes from gaining time."
> xv)
> Lucky pagan that I am, I do have a copy available - underlined passages,
> bent pages and everything else.  I would like to go back to the very
> beginning - The Preface Reading Dossier where Lyotard cleverly gives us
> the cliff notes version of the book, so the dear reader doesn't need to
> raise any valuable time, puzzling out the entire philosophical
> sketchbook that A. (Lyotard) has left behind.
> Here is what A. states as the major Problem that book addresses:
> "Given 1) the impossibility of avoiding conflicts (the impossibiity of
> indifference) and 2) the absence of a universal genre of discourse to
> regulate them (or, if you prefer, the invevitable partiality of the
> judge): to find, if not wat can legitimate judgment (the "good"
> linkage), then at least how to save the honor of thinking."
> And what are the stakes involved?
> "To defend and illustrate philosophy in its differend with its two
> adversaries: on the outside, the genre of economic discourse: (exchange,
> capital); on its inside, the genre of academic discourse (mastery). By
> showing that the linking of one phrase onto another is problematic and
> that this problem is the problem of politics, to set up a philosophical
> politics apart from the politics of "intellectuals" and of politicians.
> To bear witness to the differend."
> Thus, even though it is possible to use the language of the differend to
> describe the recent affair between the US and China, it seems to me the
> main thrust of "The Differend" is different.  It is engaged in the
> exploration of a micropolitics beyond the macro level of electoral
> politics and the conflict of "subjects"("to refute the prejudice
> anchored in the reader by centuries of humanism and of "human sciences"
> that there is "man," that there is "language," that the former makes use
> of the latter for its own ends.")
> Instead, "The Differend" sees politics as always already embedded in the
> phrase, that which presents itself, with the problem that it must always
> link with other phrases and each linkage is political because no
> tribunal exists to justify such linkage.
> Thus, even though Lyotard uses as paradigms of the differend such
> examples as Holocaust victims versus Nazi revisionists, communist
> workers versus the state, capitalist workers versus the state, the locus
> of the differend is at more fundamental level. "Politics, however, is
> the threat of the differend.  It is not a genre, it is the muliplicity
> of genres, the diversity of ends, and par excellence the question of
> linkage." (190)
> I would also add, IMHO, the chief and hidden differend in the text
> concerns the organization of time - temporality.  "Reflection requires
> that you watch out for occurences, that you don't already know what is
> happening.  It leaves open the question: Is it happening? (Arrive-t-il)"
> This is opposed to the organization of time under capitalism as
> discounted cash flows, accountable or countable use of time.  "Time is
> at its fullest with capitalism. But if the verdict, always pronounced in
> favor of gained time, puts an end to litigations, it may for that very
> reason aggravate differends." (252)
> "The only insurmountable obstactle that the hegemony of the economic
> genre comes up against is the heterogeneity of phrase regimes and of
> genres of discourse."
> The differend is reborn from the very resolution  of supposed
> litigations, It summons humans to situate themselves in unknown phrase
> universes, even if they don't have the feeling that something has to be
> phrased.  (For this is a necessity and not an obligation.) The Is it
> happening? is invincible to every will to gain time." (263)
> Easter as the unexpected occurence (anarchist miracle) rather that the
> Easter that is linked to the Tax Man!


Driftline Main Page


Display software: ArchTracker © Malgosia Askanas, 2000-2005