File spoon-archives/lyotard.archive/lyotard_2001/lyotard.0111, message 15

Date: Mon, 05 Nov 2001 11:24:23 +1000
Subject: Re: Does Man Exist?

> Hugh,
> 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.

You are reading me incorrectly.  I meant playing God as if they were
creating worlds.  This happens when they speak of the Immortal , the Good,
the Evil etc., but they, like God, are creating a system, creating new
meanings which can only be explained by themselves.

> 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.

I don't know about gods of Buddhists and Hindus, but the Muslim believers
preserved their God and the  learning of the Greeks through the Dark Ages,
the Popes went global centuries ago collecting believers and monies from
practically every country,  And all of this began centuries after Plato.
Most of the 6 billion of us are religious believers.  God lives while
believers live.  Secularism (as I understand it lives while non-believers)
are free to express their non-beliefs.

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

Hitler admired Catholicism becaused it enforced its authority.  Telling
others there is no authority except the one prescribed sounds suspiciously
like an imitation of the author of  the Ten Commandments.

When a  man says to another man "there is no man" it is as if the wind says
to the wind:  "there is no wind".

> 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.

With  illustration of a particular :"truth", a particular "transformation",
and what is meant by "event", this might be a logical and understandable

> 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.

Do you know anyone who isn't subject to rules?  Parents and teachers make
that children are subject to.  Other authority figures make rules and are
subject to
rules or they lose their authority.  Even when the we and the us is one and
the same  person, rules are made, rules are observed, rules are broken.

> 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.

I interpret the Great Refusal as the resistance you mention above.  There
must be millions of kinds of Goods.  I take it the Other is not one's self.
If B is saying,
to each of us choose your own Good,  resist the Good imposed by the Other,
that is a logical statement.  If this leads to being your own authority,
subject to you own rules, it would seem  you are playing philosopher.

best regards,

> eric


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