File spoon-archives/lyotard.archive/lyotard_2001/lyotard.0109, message 63

Subject: Re: re 9/11/01
Date: Mon, 17 Sep 2001 11:08:16 -0500


Once again a post with which I agree is written in a tone of disagreement.

Let me say this again:  I do not defend fundamentalism and fanaticism!  Can
you hear that?  Fanatic athiesm and fanatic theism are barely
distinguishable.  More circumspect (for lack of better phrase) athiesm and
theism are barely distinguishable.  This is upheld by your own post, which
describes fascism as fundamentalist.

Do not conflate theism with fanatical theism so that you can claim that all
of "them" are the same as the total nuts.  What would you think if you found
out that the government of some small country was showing clips of a KKK
rally and saying that this is what "Westerners" are like.

Let me make the distinction clear to a fault:

Fundamentalists are people who think they perceive the totality or who
believe in the pure representation of language.  If their understanding is
that violence is required--even suicide--they don't question that need.
They act.  On the other hand, it is probably also true that they are less
hesitant to be generous and kind.  This intolerance for unsurety makes
people very effective, tremendously manipulable and extremely dangerous.

Among "rational people" or the more circumspect, I think religion is used as
the rationalization for violence because religious language provides the
phrase universe from which they can draw.  They rationalize their good deeds
in exactly the same way.  'Freedom" or "vital interests" or "Revolution"
talk can just as easily provide justifications.  Religion is not the cause
of the murder or the good deeds, because "moderates" don't make decisions
that way.  Most people balance many different considerations before acting,
starting with life, food, shelter, clothing and on down.  Unless on their
deathbeds, religion is often placed very low on the list of priorities.
Nevertheless, when it comes time to make an argument, it hops to the top.
Why?  Because that's the rhetorical tradition people have access to.  It is
the pathos trigger.

It is worth adding that religious people are fully aware of the
contradictions between Jewish, Muslim and Christian theology on the one hand
and capitalism on the other.  "Do not worship money" is the most frequent

Someone on the list made the point that our real religion is money.  That
was a semetic observation, am I wrong?  Why do you think the zealots jumped
off Masada?  It was because the Romans wanted them to use money that had the
emperor printed on it and they saw that as money worship.  The postmodern
danger of images?  Semetic.  The evil of hegemony?  Semetic.  The whole
thing emerged out of resistance to the Romans (the U.S. of old).  As far as
"individual autonomy" goes, didn't that emerge out of Protestant resistance
to a Church that had had become hegemonic and corrupt?  And hasn't it been
embraced as an ethical norm by moderate Jews, Muslims and Catholics?

The ethics I hear on this list are monotheistic THROUGH AND THROUGH.  The
real complaint is not that people are religious, it is that people are not
religious enough and that the religious institutions are cooperating with
hegemony rather than resisting it as their own doctrines should insist.


P.S.  As a far aside, Eric brought up homophobia before.  I recently heard
an interpretation of the word "abomination" in the bible that made meaning
of it this way:  the statement was part of a passage specifically
contrasting how holy places were supposed to be made from how the Romans
held their orgies.  There is a list of things that happened in Roman orgies
that wasn't going to be part of making the altar clean for ceremonies.  The
message was:  going wild like the Romans is not how you get the Temple ready
for prayer.  The message had nothing to do with homosexuality as a way of
life. I thought this was interesting.

----- Original Message -----
From: Steve Brockbank <>
To: <>
Sent: Monday, September 17, 2001 6:24 AM
Subject: re 9/11/01

> Matthew
> Tempting to respond to your statements. Eric's statement is quite mild
> compared to some of the anti-religous/anti-spiritual comments I've made
> in the past. But as you raise the issue... The amount of murderous
> violence currently being committed in the name of some god or other,
> usually through the false identification of race, culture and religion
> is high enough to make me view your suggestions with some suspicion...
> More seriously however the notion of globalisation that you are
> producing below does not take into account the post-modern economic
> structures from the international organisations, the G8 and G14/G20
> groups of countries and the growing changes in development and the
> techno-scientific structures. The end of the pax-americana which you
> refer to as 'we purposely put Japan and Europe in a position to compete
> with us financially...' was not deliberate but resulted from the end of
> one economic period and the transition into the post-modern economy.
> The return to traditional Muslim values is related to this, not through
> 'mystification' but through what constitutes one possible Islamic
> postmodern project as  proposed by Akhbar Ahmed. Islamic fundamentalism
> is postmodern insofar as it rejects the tradition of Islamic moderism
> which was simply  the assimilation of European/American hegemonic
> values, postmodern values in the Islamic world mean a reversion to
> traditional Muslim values.... Nonetheless this
> is only really postmodern when considered in global terms - for as part
> of the Islamic fundamentalist position is the refusal of the new global
> economic world
> order, it is a rejection of the world market... The sheer scale of the
> internal Islamic conflict has to be considered as well, not just the
> current rulers of
> the Islamic world versus the fundamentalists but also the extent to
> which it is possible to deny the success of consumption based
> capitalism.
> The fundamantalist strategy is not new for it is the strategy that
> Facism, in its German and Italian varieties engaged in during the 1920s
> and 1930s as they
> rejected the modernist doctrines of American Capital and Soviet
> Communism.
> Remember also that it is the losers in the processes of post-modern
> globalisation, those who have been subordinated and excluded who are the
> ones who are the most fertile field for the fundamentalist ideologies...
> The desire for death is extraordinary...
> regards
> sdv


Driftline Main Page


Display software: ArchTracker © Malgosia Askanas, 2000-2005