File spoon-archives/lyotard.archive/lyotard_2001/lyotard.0107, message 68

Date: Fri, 13 Jul 2001 12:14:53 +0100
Subject: Re: ethics - Levinas - empire link


thanks hadn't seen this before



hbone wrote:

> Eric and All,
> Check this link for an international forum on the "Empire".
> Here's a sample:
> "Thomas Atzert from Frankfurt (Germany): A great hello to both of you! -
> Slavoj Zizek, in an essay that was published also here in Germany, wrote
> about your book, that it is nothing less than the Communist Manifesto for
> the 21st century."
> ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~`
> Eric wrote:
> > just a few quick points.  I recognise it is impossible to avoid
> > misreading, but rather than ape Harold Bloom on this, I also want to
> > suggest that while reading in inexhaustable, there is a certain fidelity
> > to the author that is possible. For me Lyotard continues to surprise,
> > but I want to stay as true as possible to what I think he is trying to
> > say at the moment I am reading him, with all the baggage that is brought
> > into the room.
> >
> > Regarding Levinas and God, yes, but isn't that a little like saying "if
> > god is dead, everything is permissable."  Others have made the same
> > argument about Kant as well.  He appears to postulate God as a necessary
> > idea for practical reason to safeguard the Highest Good of the pure
> > will, without which he says, it is in danger of falling into absurdity.
> >
> > Yet it is certainly possible to read both Levinas and Kant without
> > dragging in god.  Lyotard, for one, reads them both atheistically and
> > still finds things to say about them that is more than just refutation.
> >
> > So that my lead-in to the Levinas note. Can he be read by impious pagans
> > in a way that still bears fruit.
> >
> > Stay tuned.
> ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
> Comment:
> IMHO, the world human beings can "know" is, from an objective point of view,
> the same, whether God did or didn't create it.  What sentient humans know is
> what their senses transmit from their environment.
> The environment includes the "other" (singular and plural) "language(s)"
> aural, visual, body motions, and the sensory content others communicate.
> If  the addressee "believes" the message(s) i.e. content which represent the
> experience of others, s/he stores that second-hand experience in memory as a
> part of personal knowledge.
> Knowledge possesses "value" with respect to the addressee's anticipated
> future.
> Anticipation of a long-term future is apparently a major distinction between
> humans and other species.  We assume, rightly or wrongly, that other
> creatures build dams, nests, and migrate because of  "instinct",  something
> mysterious built into the organism, not acquired by learning.
> But humans project long-term futures, for example, philosophers:
> "a : pursuit of wisdom b : a search for a general understanding of values
> and reality by chiefly speculative rather than observational means c : an
> analysis of the grounds of and concepts expressing fundamental beliefs".
> And they do this with or without  a belief in God.
> For religious persons, God speaks through chosen instruments (as saints),
> through dreams, trances, answered prayers.
> I think most non-religious persons, believe organism and environment would
> be essentially the same with or without God, but such persons see a radical
> difference when religious believers self-destruct in mass suicides or
> destroy  non-believers.
> regards,
> Hugh
> ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
> > PS - thanks for the comments.  From what you said, I feel a leaning
> > towards #3. I think globalism offers a way to rethink the political in a
> > whole new way and at this stage of the game, questions are more
> > important than answers.  The discussion must be more than big tent, it
> > needs to be big sky.
> >
> > I also have ordered Empire by Negri and Hardt. Maybe this book would
> > provide a context for further discussion later this summer.  From what I
> > have been hearing about it, they seem to be framing the issues in an
> > interesting way.  Is anyone at the conference invoking or critiquing
> > this book?
> >


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