File spoon-archives/lyotard.archive/lyotard_2001/lyotard.0109, message 77

Date: Sun, 16 Sep 2001 16:41:35 +0100
Subject: Re: 9/11/01


Tempting to respond to this. Eric's statement is quite mild compared to
some of
the anti-religous/anti-spiritual comments I've made in the past. But as
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 the below with some

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 groups of countries and the
changes in development and the techno-scientific structures. The end of
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

The return to traditional Muslim values is related to this, not through
'mystification' but through what constitutes one possible Islamic
project as proposed by Akhbar Ahmed. Islamic fundamentalism is
insofar as it rejects the tradition of Islamic moderism which was simply
assimilation of European/American hegemonic values, postmodern values in
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
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 fundemantalist 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

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...


Matthew Asher Levy wrote:

> Eric,
> I want to respond to the anti-religious sentiment you are voicing here.  I
> should preface this by saying I don't read all of the posts from this list
> and so I apologize if I am reopening a discussion that is already tired.
> In my way of thinking, the most important statement made by various
> postmodernisms is that "mystification" is not something that can be
> overcome.  There is no meta-science that can tell us which beliefs are
> mystifications and which beliefs are true.  The pragmatic realization is
> that things are true or false based on what you are doing at the moment.
> The explanations we use to guide our actions are never true in an
> ahistorical sense.  Nevertheless, they are true insofar as they allow us to
> act well (and "wellness" is also contingent).
> It is always the other folks that are mystified.  If your point is merely
> that fundamentalism is unthinking, I would agree; however, nobody escapes
> the necessity of faith to living and nobody escapes metaphysics.  Some
> faiths just happen to be "secular."
> I really liked your wrestling analogy because the cartoonish nature of some
> of the representations that have been floating around have been haunting me.
> If you are like me, you have also been resisting your own desire to "boil
> things down" to a more simple set of choices.  It is also too simple to see
> "theism" as the cause here.
> I have been thinking about Battaille's idea of general economy.  Isn't it
> interesting that a few days ago we were having a budget emergency and now no
> dollar figure is too inconceivable to spend?  People are so generous now
> with their money and with their blood.  I am not scoffing or sneering at
> people who want to help.  Far from it.  I am just thinking that we could
> have afforded to be more generous last month to our "enemies."  When people
> are desperate we do desperate things.  The trillion the west will be
> spending on cleanup, compensation, revenge and military buildup would have
> been better spent on a new Marshall Plan-type operation.  We purposefully
> put Japan and Europe in a position to compete with us financially.  We could
> do that with other countries as well.  As long as our policies make use of
> other people's poverty, the world is going to be resentful.
> Battaille's idea of general economy is religious in a way because it
> requires that we judge economic exchanges by a non-limited standard.  It
> requires that we look beyond the benefit the individual expects from each
> individual exchange.  It is not theistic, but that doesn't matter one way or
> another.  My point here regarding religion is that framing our explanations
> by means of opposing secular and religious thought only muddles things.
> Being militantly athiest only limits who would be willing to cooperate with
> us if we got a good idea.
> mal
> ----- Original Message -----
> From: Mary Murphy&Salstrand <>
> To: <>
> Sent: Saturday, September 15, 2001 9:21 AM
> Subject: Re: 9/11/01
> > Steve,
> >
> > It feels good to be writing again and also to hear from you.
> >
> > A couple of short points about your response.
> >
> > I was talking about Americans subjectively, not objectively. Certainly
> > the map does not fit the territory, as I thought as I showed in one
> > paragraph in my post, referencing some of the terrible things we have
> > done in the middle east.
> >
> > What I meant was this. American policy is really a form of
> > anti-globalism because its wants to act unilaterally to achieve its ends
> > with the narcissistic thought that there will be no consequences.  In
> > short and to be vulgar - we want to fuck the world without getting
> > fucked back.
> >
> > 911 revealed that project to be a folly.
> >
> > For me globalism is a condition (something like Lyotard's postmodern!).
> > It is not a matter of tendencies, but of an emerging situation.
> >
> > Like you, I refuse the resurgence of religion, whether Islamic,
> > Christian or Jewish.  All are involved in a mystification that must be
> > overcome.  My hope is a world where people begin to take responsibility
> > for their own actions and not ask "why does god permit this to happen?"
> > (It happens because of neo-liberalism in the context of globalism. God
> > is irrelevant!)
> >
> > The whole idea of framing this conflict in terms of Jesus versus Allah
> > as a kind of World Federation wrestling match scares the hell out of me.
> >
> > eric
> >


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