File spoon-archives/lyotard.archive/lyotard_2001/lyotard.0108, message 16

Date: Fri, 03 Aug 2001 19:45:18 +0100
Subject: Re: marxist grand narrative - the return?


> In the section I have been reading, there is also a reference to
> immanence and transcendence with the claim being made that immanence is
> connected with modernity and sigifies a break with the ancient world
> which was based on transcendence.

This is a direct reference to Deleuze and Guattari - AO and ATP. In some
ways a good reading of the text is to recognise that it has the intention of
producing a good synthesis of Marx and D&G, which given the usual confused
reading of AO as a book critical of Marx is interesting, but if not a
synthesis then a distinct acceptence that they are allies.

> I'm finding this interesting, but still attempting to process. It almost
> seems at times like a philosophy of history that is saying along
> Hegelian lines that the goal of history is not freedom, but immanence,
> except that immanence isn't a goal, but, well, immanent.
> I liked the passage where the anarchist line - "No Gods, No Masters" is
> expanded to "No Gods, No Masters, No Man" and immanence is connected
> with the cyborg, the boundary line between man and nature being erased.
> There are only these complex processes that involve multitudes. It is
> nature, nature, nature all the way down.

This is the reference that I find hopeful - the return to anti-humanism that
Foucault, Althussar, Lyotard and D&G were engaged in during the 60s and 70s
- the death of man, posthumanism, the inhuman, antihumanism. Where this is
given a new cast in the text is that they relate it directly to the
revolutionary humanism descended from the renassience. They talk of Spinosa
but I'd also mention Leibnitz (say Deleuze's The Fold).  The return to the
notion that after 'the death of god' we achieve 'the death of man',
questioning in the process the idea that the transcendence accorded to god
is to be simply transerred to man because we (man)  have achieved the same
power over nature that god supposedly held.... In fact this relates
directly, if you but choose to see it to the late Lyotard's pieces such as
'a postmodern fable' and the Inhuman. However the pessimism that can be read
there does not exist in the Empire reading, consisting as it does of a
antihumanist driftwork.

> Some contextual background here.  Both Negri and Deleuze have written
> books on Spinoza (actually, Deleuze wrote two.) Deleuze has been very
> big as well on interpreting Spinoza as the philosopher of immanence par
> excellence and the book "A Thousand Plateaus"  is very big on the notion
> of planes of immanence.  So "Empire" is being very Deleuzian here.

Hardt's book on Deleuze is worth mentioning here...

> Negri also wrote a short book with Guattari (Deleuze's sidekick)
> entitled "Communists like Us" so there are very strong intertwinings
> here.


> It is interesting to see how both Foucault and Deleuze are being used to
> gird a new model of history and politics. (Of course, I am already
> attempting to relate Lyotard to all of this and, while I disagree with
> Steve's notion that Lyotard at best gives us a ethics of the other that
> can only lead to a liberal identity politics, I haven't had the chance
> to formulate a reply.  Later.)

(see above for the antihumanist return of Lyotard... )




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