File spoon-archives/lyotard.archive/lyotard_2001/lyotard.0110, message 11

Date: Wed, 03 Oct 2001 08:03:20 +1100
Subject: Quick reply

Eric: See**

> 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?

** 2 : a faultfinding captious critic; especially : one who believes that
human conduct is motivated wholly by self-interest

**Is the above a good cynic or a bad cynic?
 (I'm not trying to pin you on a map. I really just
> want to continue to explore this space between us.)
** What non-cynical action do you advocate?

> 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.
**I don't think history has any good recipes for solving the crisis.  I
agree with the columnist who says we act as if everything is o.k. but we
don't believe it.

> (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?
**There is a crisis, there is action, hope it achieves its purpose, but
Will reading philosophy help?  If so, please explain.
> 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.
**Prevention today, justice tomorrow.
> 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.
**Yes.  But count the terroist killings in repeated incidents, decide if you
want to invite more killings. Call it postmeodern or historic, or modern or
epic, whatever.

> 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.
> eric


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