File spoon-archives/lyotard.archive/lyotard_2001/lyotard.0106, message 73

Date: Sat, 16 Jun 2001 13:27:52 +0100
Subject: Re: The Goths

Eric and all

A good and thoughtful summary - interesting that Baudrillard is brought up
by both Glen and myself - I think his work is very relevant around this area
because of the symbolic exchange issue....

With regards to the below however - some questions.

Why do you think that the end of the Grand Narrative of  religion(s), is any
different from the end of the enlightenment Grand Narrative? How does this
equate to the ever-increasing influence of science, technology on our
everyday existences, which needs relating to the issue of the supposed

Religion's decline is marked both by its proliferation and also its decline
in social and political influence.

Is fundamentalism about religion or a relationship to a threatened and
imploding local culture?

The notion of post-modern religion and its re-invention as a cultic form is
interesting but not I think because of the playful and theraputic aspects,
more as attempts to deal with to fear, terror and death. Let me be clear
that I am not thinking of the suicide and murder cults but rather the NLPs,
the Druids and the scientologists...?

Are there any that are not reactionary?

My own take on youth sub-cultures, such as Goths, is that they are not
religions but rather mediated responses to the presence of other cultures.
In the UK for example they would in 'white' sub-cultures be the response to
large and increasing multi-cultural groups. The proximity of - for example
white working class youths and black working class youths is a clash of
cultures and the take-on of elements from both....


> If we take Lyotard's thesis of the post-modern condition as the end of
> metanarratives in a quasi-sociological way, then the empirical question
> presents itself - With the decline of the Grand Narrative, would one
> expect to see the decline of religion or its proliferation?
> Steve has made it clear that his position is that religion will
> decline.  My position is that religions will proliferate, although I
> need to qualify what I mean by this.  I am not talking about the Faith
> of our Fathers, despite the undeniable resurgence of fundamentalism
> throughout the world as a reactive response to globalism.
> The kind of religion I am talking about as post-modern religion is
> closer perhaps to what the media would label cultist in a pejorative
> way.  It is religion that tends to be marginal rather than conventional,
> not so much theistic as exotic, not so much moralistic as therapeutic
> and one that allows its participants to playfully explore new
> possibilities of self outside the confines of the mainstream worldview.
> (By self here, I do not mean the self as an ontological or metaphysical
> principle, but the self as a kind of style, a rewriting of one's
> inscribed identity, the self as a signature. - "signed, moi!")
> On the whole, I think this constitutes a healthy sign because it
> indicates a greater differentiation and complexity in contemporary
> culture - more singularities - sure signs of the postmodern.  However,
> many of these sects are clearly dysfunctional and politically
> reactionary.  I don't want to come across here as an advocate for
> Heaven's Gate.


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