File spoon-archives/lyotard.archive/lyotard_2001/lyotard.0107, message 75

Date: Fri, 13 Jul 2001 21:33:42 -0500
Subject: Re: ethics - Levinas wrote:

But this does not adequately address the constitution of the self as
defined through psychoanalysis - the mis-recognition of the self through
the mirror-phase which combines death-drive/instinct with primary
narcissism - mixing aggression and self-destruction (towards the other)
with delight in the other.

It appears you reject Levinas, at one level, and replace him with an
atheistic approach to ethics based on Freud and Lacan.

Lyotard also, imho, appropriates Freud, but in a context that mediates
between both Kant and Levinas.  Even though Deleuze somewhere accuses
Lyotard of being too religious in his disorientation, I think you would
agree that Lyotard does not posit God in the way that Levinas does.

So the question I want to raise is this.  Is it possible to appropriate
Levinas' thought in a way that relates it to Freud and still remains

I maintain that something like this appropriation occurs in the earlier
sections of Lyotard's Heidegger and "the jews."

Lyotard writes: "In order to clearly establish the difference between a
representational, reversible forgetting and a forgetting that thwarts
all representation, it would be useful to read side by side, though
scrupulously preserving their immense differences, the Kantian text on
aesthetics and the Freudian text on metapsychology, i.e., the work that,
all in all, Jacques Lacan has begun."

I want to argue that even though Lyotard doesn't name him in this
passage, Levinas is irrevocably linked with this group in the kind of
anamnesis Lyotard comes to proscribe. In fact, the trace of Levinas
permeates "Heidegger and the "jews."

As D. Diane has said: "The trace of Illeity flickers (without ever
finally and fully appearing) in any/every saying in what L calls
Conversation or the relation with the Other in the other: the other's
radical inappropriability.  When, as i converse with you, i catch a
trace of Illeity, I experience a kind of immemorial remembrance, the
upsurge of an unconscious "memory" of the O/other who, because s/he
needed me, hailed me into existence as a "Me."

Through the concept of the "jews' as the epitome of the marginalized
other, the anamnesis or remembrance of what has never been fully
inscribed, Lyotard pulls Levinas' thought into the orbit of the Kantian
sublime and the Freudian Nachtraglichkeit, while still respecting the
immense differences. Lyotard respects Levinas as a philosopher without
condemning him to the status of a mere theologian.



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