File spoon-archives/lyotard.archive/lyotard_2001/lyotard.0109, message 98

Date: Fri, 21 Sep 2001 21:01:50 +0100
Subject: Re: Mystify me!


The reason I believe that even the most arcane and ifficult philosophy is important
is for two reasons - both of point towards why your heartfelt quote, which is often
necessary in that it reminds us of the importance of addressing everyday life -
which recently intruded into the G8 countries in an horrible way.

The first reason is that alone of the western discourses philsophy took on the
burden of the appalling acts of Auschwitz, Belson and other places and decided it
was guilty. None of the other discourses-science, the military, politicians,
historians and so on all walk forward into the abyss knowing that they are innocent.
Philosophy uniquely accepted the social/political crimes of the century and said yes
this is a problem for philosophy and felt guilty. (Rightly or wrongly is not the
issue and of course I mean western philosophy...)

The second reason relates to the importance that the invention of (new) concepts has
for us as we wander down the increasingly chaotic and unstable streets of our PM
everyday life (both of which are new and outrageuosly difficult concepts to
understand). I say this not because I am hopelessly lost in a halcyon dream of
earlier days but rather because post the first reason I think that iot is necessary
to continue the philosophical process of analysing and struggling with the miseries
and slavery of a society that has extended its dominion over the whole planet - that
is to say the 'control society', the 'development society', the 'society of the
spectecle', in which we live...

This note may appear superfically to be indifferent to mothers and children but I'd
take my direction in this instance from Irigaray and Kristeva (whose work on
strangers and love seems very appropriate at the moment)... who argues for 'enriched
and enhanced secular values' as necessary above all else if we are to achieve a
humane society.


> Perhaps I am unscholarly and hopelessly old-fashioned.  But when philosophy and
> politics becomes numb to mothers and children and families, then what good does
> it do anyone?
> I am struck by Hugh's comments:  a saying of names, a performance of rituals.
> Indeed.  May our rituals and sayings and grief not echo into silence.  May
> Sisyphus overcome.


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