File spoon-archives/lyotard.archive/lyotard_2001/lyotard.0110, message 128

Subject: Re: ethics: Badiou
Date: Fri, 26 Oct 2001 22:15:08 +0800

Whoops that should say New Reflections on the Revolution of Our Time
----- Original Message -----
From: "Fuller" <>
To: <>
Sent: Friday, October 26, 2001 5:04 PM
Subject: Re: ethics: Badiou

> G'day,
> > The rejection of the ethics of difference is simply the classic
> > materialist rejection - the refusal of difference as a meaningful
> > additional tool, this is based on the use of the term difference as ' a
> > tourists fasciantion for the diversity of morals, customs and
> > beliefs...' (Badiou is on risky ground here as he does not address
> > Irigaray 'Ethics of Sexual Difference...' However his attack on
> > 'cultural difference' is well taken because after all the ideal is '....
> > the peaceful coexistence of cultural, religious and national
> > communities... the refusal of exclusion...' This is derived from the
> > tourists desire for the continuation of the 'safe savage', the colonial
> > encounter... Such an ethics of difference is a normative encounter it is
> > an attempt to be inclusive of difference - (which is why it fails to
> > work with Irigaray ). 'Become like me and I will respect your
> > difference...' As previously referenced 'no light is shed by the
> > recognition of the other' it simply doesn't help.
> Identity politics and debates around multiculturalism highlight the above.
> There is a difference (haha) between difference and diversity. In Aussie
> speak our Policy of Multiculturalism has set in stone 'unity through
> diversity'. So the othering that Badiou rejects is the 'nice happy other'
> diversity that is trying to get into the local country club, or have equal
> welfare rights. Not the radical difference, the
> 'unspeakable-unsayable-unknowable' we encounter when terror-able things
> happen. Yeah yeah, that is what that feminist said, "There is only radical
> difference."
> In the appendix of Laclou's New Revolutions on The Revolution of Our Time,
> Zizek has an essay entitled "Beyond Discourse-Analysis".
> I think Zizek's essay could be read as an extension to Badiou (weirdly,
> because Zizek wrote this before Badiou!!).
> "The main thrust of its argumentation is directed against the classical
> notion of the subject as a substantial, essential entity, given in
> dominating the social process and not being produced by the contingency of
> the discursive process itself: against this notion, they [Laclou&Mouffe]
> affirm that what we have is a series of particular subject-positions
> (feminist, ecologist, democratic...) the signification of which is not
> in advance: it changes according to the way they are articulated in a
> of equivalences through the metaphoric surplus which defines the identity
> every one of them." (250)
> "Where here is the ideological illusion proper to the subject-position? It
> lies in the fact that it is the 'capitalist,' this external enemy, who is
> preventing me from achieving an identity with myself: the illusion is that
> after the eventual annihilation of the antagonistic enemy, I will finally
> abolish the antagonism and arrive at an identity with myself.
> "However to grasp the notion of antagonismin its most radical dimension,
> should invert the relationship between the two terms: it is not the
> enemy who is preventing me from achieving identity with myself, but every
> identity is already in itself blocked, marked by an impossibility, and the
> external enemy is simply the small piece, the rest of reality upon which
> 'project' or 'externalize' this intrinsic, immanent impossibility."
> (251-252)
> And getting to the point of this:
> "We must then distinguish the experience of antagonism in its radical
> as a limit of the social, as the impossibility around whcih the social
> is structured, from antagonism as the relation between antagonistic
> subject-positions: in Lacanian terms, we must, distinguish between
> antagonistic *real* from the social *reality* of the antagonistic fight.
> the Lacanian notion of the subject aims precisely at the experience of
> 'pure' antagonism as self-hindering, self-blockage, this internal limit
> preventing the symbolic field from realizing its full identity: the stake
> the entire process of subjectivation, of assuming different
> subject-positions, is ultimately to avoid this traumatic experience... the
> 'subject' in the Lacanian sense is the name for this internal limit, this
> internal impossibility of the Other, of the 'substance'... subjectivation
> designs movement through which the subject integrates what is given
> in the universe of meaning - this integration ultimately fails, there is a
> certain left-over which cannot be integrated into the symbolic universe,
> object that resists subjectivation, and the subject is precisely
> to this object." (253-254)
> Phew! So the reality of an encounter depends on the ability of an
> to integrate into the symbolic universe the object of the encounter. Which
> is impossible. Perhaps a reading of Levinas's triangular structure as a
> theory of incorporating a method of integration?
> An (us-them)-...  trifector.
> Like the cartesian axis one of the symbolic (good/bad, ideological subject
> positions), say the x-axis, and one that goes from
> unspeakable-unsayable-unknowable to (ummm), say, boredom, on the y-axis.
> Then 'truth' (for Badiou) is a function along the y-axis, not the x-axis,
> and it depends on the pragmatic circumstances at play, but the "reality of
> the antagonistic fight", the cicumstances at play, comes from the x-axis.
> The point I make is that they are not necessarily correlative.
> Perhaps, from this (dis)ability, or rather an awareness of it as an
> impossibility, the posts of the ethical playing field shift?
> Hmm, this reading feels far too simplistic in words, but I must go!
> Glen.


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