File spoon-archives/lyotard.archive/lyotard_2001/lyotard.0111, message 13

Date: Sun, 04 Nov 2001 11:44:55 -0600
Subject: Re: Does Man Exist?


There is no question that Badiou is deliberately being provocative is
framing his conception of ethics in terms of what he calls the Immortal.
However, he clearly means this to be philosophical and not religious. 
Thus he would probably vehemently disagree with your observation (if I
am reading you correctly) that all philophers are really playing the
game of being a closeted theologian. 

His argument is that with the Greeks, especially Plato, the religious
circle was forever broken. Secularism has ever since been the open
alternative possibility to religion. It first says that God is dead and,
more recently, has begun to say that Man is dead as well. 

No gods, No masters, No man.  There is no authority except the Immortal.

Badiou is not attempting to play God.  He is saying instead that ethics
begins with resistance to a situation through fidelity to a truth which
causes a break in that situation to occur and thereby transform it into
an event. 

Furthermore, this is not a attempt to provide humanity with rules,
either those of God or the philospher.  Instead, the inhuman project
remains one that is open and dynamic.  It is this perpetual possibility
to call the rules into question that foregrounds the ethical. We are not
subject to rules. The rules are subject to us. 

Your comments about access to the Immortal as a state seem fair in many
respects to what Badiou is saying:

"its access to the Immortal (not Heaven) is:
1) The act of reflection on singular truths, resiliencies, paradoxes,
etc.lived by past generations, and transmitted person-to-person, or
artifactually, to the Living.
2) The act of contemplating future possible occurences, repetitions of 
such reflections in future possible generations."

However, Badiou is also stating that it is by means of ethics that one
consitutes one's self in the present in the attempt to "keep it moving."
Thus it is also tied to singularies in the now that lead to action and
the autonomous constitution of the subject as the one who resists and
who affirms a positive Good as the basis for its own possibility to make
itself anew. For Badiou, history begins with the Great Refusal and the
choice of another Good. It is that and not the Other that is the heart
of the matter.



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