File spoon-archives/lyotard.archive/lyotard_2001/lyotard.0108, message 41

Subject: Re: marxist grand narrative - depends on intent?
Date: Tue, 07 Aug 2001 11:22:39 +0800


Just a thought after I read your post (remember I brought the notion of 
'intent' in some earlier post?).

>In the discussion point raised below - the attempt at a 'universal' history 
>is a
>longstanding leftwing dream derived in this case from the work of D&G in 
>related to Marx, Dumezil and Mumford. The issue is related to what is the 
>of the text - which can be placed as an attempt to construct an argument 
>the new faces of the postmodern empire. (see the sections on Imperial
>Sovereignty for example)

The 'intent' I was referring to can be best exemplififed in this extract 
from Virginia Woolf (Three Guineas):
But is there no absolute point of view? Can we not find somewhere written up 
in letters of fire and gold, 'This is right. This wrong'? - a moral 
judegment which we must all, whatever our differences, accept? Let us then 
refer the question of the rightness or wrongness of war to those who make 
morality their profession - the clergy. Surely if we ask the clergy the 
simple question: 'Is war right or is war wrong?' they give us a plain answer 
which we cannot deny. But no - the Church of England, which might be 
supposed able to abstract the question for worldly confusions, is of two 
minds also. The bishops themselves are at loggerheads. the Bishop of London 
maintained that 'the real danger to the peace of the world today were the 
pacifists. Bad as war was dishonour was far worse.' On the other hand, the 
Bishop of Birmingham described himself as an 'extreme pacifist... I cannot 
see myself that war can be regarded as consonant with the spirit of Christ.' 
So the Church gives us divided counsel - in some circumstances it is right 
to fight; in no circumstances is it right to fight.
What she fails to realise is that London has taken it to another level of 
abstraction to Birmingham. Birmingham can not argue for pacifism, for he is 
then fighting, he should have said the paradoxical statement 'in no 
circumstaces fight unless you are fighting for not fighting'. London would 
have said that if Birminham had not said something then that would have been 
dishonorable. What has this got to do with intent? Well the intent of both 
bishops is the same. Just the contingent subjectivity that each was engaged 
in varied, they were following the same discourse but at different levels of 
abstraction. They had the same belief, but not the same belief.


PS Yes, I am doing a feminist unit:)

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