File spoon-archives/lyotard.archive/lyotard_2001/lyotard.0110, message 111

Subject: Re: terrorism
Date: Wed, 24 Oct 2001 13:08:17 +0800


I am going to hijack this email.

> There is always terror to some degree.  It happens because we are
> organisms who are born and must die.  It makes us fragile and vulnerable
> to others more powerful than we are.  Since an organism needs air,
> water, food, shelter, those who can withhold such things inspire fear in
> us. A certain baseline of terror is hardwired into the nature of things.

I will relate a story to the above. One of my professors was talking about
Weber's social contract theory and Freud's primal horde. He was talking
about in a context of conspiracies. Where he believed that for there to have
been a 'meeting' held in secret to establish the second 'original' meeting.
The purpose of the first clandestine meeting was also to make sure no one
was going to murder each at the second 'original' meeting. This was driven
by a fear of being murdered (or having the necessary life giving things
withheld as above). However, in the first instance how would they know of
this fear? (I ask this in full realization that this model is only
analogous, and humans evolved over tens of thousands of years:) Are we born
into the world not-having?

> I say that the ethics needed today in the face of terror requires both
> resistance and tranquility.  We must recognize our weakness, but also
> recognize we can endure their haughty power through Kynicism and pagan
> laughter.

I thought of Haraway's Situated Knowledges, was that she speaks of a
'translation' and of 'communication'. If you replace the word Truth for
Knowledge then what she says is very similiar to Badiou. Although she does
not have an ethical bent, rather she just describes the process.
A translation of knowledges from the Other's subjectivity/context and also
at the same time a translation of your own knowledges (of the same
'knowledge') to something that can be deciphered by the Other to something
that can be. That is, for resolution you should try to understand as well as
be understood, rather than assume 'right-us-ness'. Although it is far from
that simple, and to undertake this process on an everyday level I think
would be excruciating. But like another feminist said the personal is

The commnication is in a sense of a dialogue between fluid subjectivities
(and hence knowledges). But not only the subjectivity of the Other (and it's
Othered concepts) is held from the panoptic but the Self as well. An
unstable process of holding the Self (and your concepts) as Other.
Haraway attempts to recover objectivity, without falling for the Modernist
God-trick. The only ethical way to hold anything as object is to place
yourSelf there also.

>From an identity politics standpoint my use of the word hybrid (in my
previous message) was intentional, for I was taking my leave from H. Bha Bha
(I can never spell it:). I would argue that the hybrid identity all comes
into being once the conflict over Self as Other is pragmatically resolved.
But here I am reading like I vouch for a concrete Self, I am trying not to
seem like I am.

Perhaps, it is like choosing video with a group of friends. You know what
your tastes are, you know what your friends tastes are. The point is not to
fight about choosing a video, but to watch a video. How is this problem
resolved? I don't know about you but I don't always get my way.
What if a friend wanted to get out something you found offensive? If someone
suggested a pornographic video, and this was not to your tastes, and you
levelled it to sexual exploitation of women which was 'evil' (in the Badiou
sense), then how do you communicate and translate this? What if you had no
theoretical basis for your objection and it was just because pornographic
images make you sick? To you your tastes are 'true', but so are not your
friends' tastes? How about if it was a friend of a friend who had come along
for the night? We never get out one video.

Perhaps likening the process of choosing a video to world politics is a bit
crass, and unlike world politics they are your friends for a reason (that is
you may have similiar tastes to begin with). Hmmm..



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