File spoon-archives/lyotard.archive/lyotard_2001/lyotard.0110, message 10

Date: Tue, 02 Oct 2001 22:34:55 -0500
Subject: Re: the event

Steve and Hugh and anyone else who wants to join in:

First of all, Steve, I think we share a similar orientation here. We are
in agreement on the fundamentals, brothers in disarms, but differ only
in our analysis and perspective (and the latter may well be due as you
say to location, location, location.)

What do you make of Tony Blair?  Is a this good cop/bad cop routine that
is happening? Why is he fawning so?

Recognizing that all historical analogies are false (but noticing that
currently every historical analogy possible now appears to be in
circulation again) I would like to resurrect this one.  

When Rome was suspended between the republic and Empire, for a period of
time it was ruled by a triumvarite composed of Caesar, Pompey and
Cassius. This led Rome into a bloody civil war that only ended in the
battle of Actium.

Perhaps the current shift occurring right now between nationstatehood
and Empire is the formation of the octumvarite (or the G8 nations) a
similar composition formed somewhere between democracy and imperialism,
seeking the utilize the present crisis to tighten up its hegemony.
(After all, one of the possible definitions of Empire is permanent
global crisis.)

Actually, Steve, I found it refreshing to hear you say positive things
about the current state of the counter-globalist movement. Who knows,
maybe we DO have more power than we realize.  Certainly, the octumvarite
is a shaky snaky alliance and soon major rifts could occur to test its
unity, especially in the face of war, recession and growing
militarization. I recognize with you the truth is we just don't know
yet. (Didn't Spartacus live somewhere around this time period?)

One issue I want to continue explore with you is that of colonialism. 
Certainly, you are aware of the criticisms Hardt and Negri make about
this.  They write:  "the colonial poses a simple equation with a unique
solution; the imperial is faced by multiple complex variables that
change continuously and admit a variety of always incomplete but
nonetheless effective solutions."

In my reading of the present situation, I see it as leading more towards
the latter than the former, but would be more than willing to discuss
this further. My questions are these.  Do you think Negri and Hardt are
wrong about the passing of colonialism or do you think their analysis
simply doesn't apply to the current situation?" Also, do you think their
overall concept of Empire still pertains?

Hugh, I found myself agreeing with what you said about history. (to a
certain extent you are preaching to the converted here.)  One reaction I
had was that it seemed cynical to me.(in the best sense)  

Thinking back to the recent thread I had with Matthew, I want to raise
this question with you directly.  Do you see yourself as a cynic in some
philosophical sense? (I'm not trying to pin you on a map. I really just
want to continue to explore this space between us.)

I have often been struck by the continuing refrain in your writings that
history is the same old dreary song of suffering and oppression (which
is true in many ways) yet your response to this is to continue to engage
the world politically even as you seem to acknowledge the futility of
this effort.

(which if not cynical also seems a bit like Camus whose specter has also
shown its presence here in recent weeks.)

What I am getting at I suppose is how you would define your practical
philosophy in a kind of nutshell way. (I apologize in advance for the
unfairness of this question.) Also, have the recent events made you more
pessimistic, more optimistic or is that simply too ridiculous a question
to ask?

I write to you both with the awareness that I seem to know less today
than I did yesterday, yet I am more committed than ever to honoring
justice.  I see justice not as something we know, but as something we
create. It is not a measure, but remains measureless.  

Justice today is a case where no rules apply and yet we still must
judge.  That in part is what I meant when I said in my previous post
that we are all postmodern now.

It seems to me that Lyotard has become relevant again, if only to the
extent that these questions of the postmodern, globalism, terror and
justice have again become relevant. (as if they were ever out of date!)

I, eric, tell you the story as it was told to me. I tell it to you so
that you may tell the others.



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