File spoon-archives/lyotard.archive/lyotard_2001/lyotard.0106, message 92

Date: Wed, 20 Jun 2001 10:25:04 +0100
Subject: Re: Ethics of Aesthetics?


Eden what Eden? Utopian dreams are always heterotopian ones in the final
analysis. Remember that Hugh lives in one of the two great failed utopian
post-revolutionary societies - the USA and the Soviet Union our post-modern
existence is marked not by social systems that can be considered successful but
by failures.

What has the phrase 'human beings' got to do with it - surely a utopian society
has to be founded on recognition of the relative value of human beings against
all other sentient beings - it is not possible to know ever what they know, want
and believe. As a consequence it is not possible to produce ethical judgements
and behaviour using notions of self, subject and other.

"There are many beings who are sentient and capable of experiencing pleasure and
pain but are not rational and self-conscious and so not persons. I shall refer
to these as conscious beings. Many non human animals fall into this category, so
must new born infants and some intellectually disabled humans..." (Peter Singer
- What's wrong with killing....)

The question of the aesthetic is interesting but reminds me of Benjamin and the
aestheticisation of politics and life in fascist germany... Which is extendable
into the everyday post-modern existence through the phantastic excesses of the
aestheicising all-pervading media. Whilst I don't agree with Lefebvre's version
of marxism I do have some sympathy with his approach to the 'trivial' details of
everyday life and the 'ubiquity of alienation' which is a satisfactory response
to the banality of attempts to make aesthetics a response to these banal
horrors. There is a necessity to recognise that a work of 'aesthetics', a work
of 'art' should have a deconstructive and critical relationship to the social.
The work becomes instrumental in allowing the reader/viewer to see through and
into the dominant ideologies of the time...

Neitsche argued that life was either boredom or terror, he didn't say anything
about the media being able to produce both at the same time. ..



> I agree that life is justified only as an aesthetic experience, but not all
> aesthetic experiences are justified by life.
> Everyone not only has the right to live, but also to feel alive, otherwise
> what is the point?
> Maybe the authority of history could be disregarded, but not all of the
> lessons of the past...
> Cheers,
> Glen.


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