File spoon-archives/lyotard.archive/lyotard_2001/lyotard.0110, message 16

Date: Wed, 03 Oct 2001 22:54:12 -0500
Subject: Re: Quick reply

Judy wrote:
 Prevention today justice tomorrow in this temporal order presupposes
> certain meanings of these terms and not others, a certain phrase
> universe, where I so far haven't been able to find a home.  I find
> myself occupying one of those other genres, with presuppositions
> incommensurable with that sequencing and distinguishing, or
> prevention and justice, in which first must come justice, and the
> result will be prevention.
>   alternatively, only with justice may there be hope of prevention,
> creates a different universe, and that's where i find myself.
>  From there i come with words like: to create what justice is, talk
> and listen.  Cry out to the globe, "OK, what's up with this?   Why
> did this happen?   Let's talk.  We want to stop the  killing.  How
> join with all who want to stop the killing  and do our part?"
> i don't know what justice is, even locally and provisionally.  But
> the discourse that shapes me, causes me to be the voice of certain
> presuppositions, and has me saying ok, we need to talk.  We need some
> answers that we don't have, we need them from you the attackers of us.


I like what you are saying here. I agree with you that the first step is
recognizing we don't know what justice is.  Although it sounds like a
heresy of sorts in a Lyotard group to say this, but it also seems to me
more dialogue is needed.  

As a Lyotardian, I would also be quick to point out that in this
dialogue the various speakers may occupy differing positions of power
and there is not a necessary tribunal to determine what the outcome
should be, so we do need to proceed with caution. 

However, I worry about those who think they know what justice is without
ever bothering to discuss it first with their neighbors.

If the story is true that 9/11 changes things, then maybe one of the
things it changed is our very notion of justice. 
Perhaps, the most difficult task for America today is to recognize that
one of the best ways to combat terrorism may be to re-examine its
foreign policy and even that it isn't necessarily true that making
changes only encourages future terrorists.  Paradoxically, it may be
that making changes will encourage greater peace and less terrorism. 

Those are some of the experiments and negotiations it seems we must be
open to exploring and honest enough with ourselves to admit we don't
come factory equipped with all the right answers, including those about
justice. As William Blake put it: "one law for the ox and the lamb is

As Levinas points out, the first part of justice is to recognize the
other.  Perhaps the second is to listen and then to act in a way that
exceeds the other's expectation.  



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