File spoon-archives/lyotard.archive/lyotard_2001/lyotard.0111, message 54

Date: Sun, 11 Nov 2001 11:05:53 +1100
Subject: Re: The Sublime


Are you jesting? If you are serious then I couldn't agree less.
The sublime is not terror, it is the aestheticisation of terror, there's a
big difference.
If actual terror/violence etc. is conflated with the sublime then we have
just lost a useful  idea in philosophy.
To call Hiroshima a sublime affect, apart from being plain wrong, says more
about the 'affected' person than the aesthetic term.


At 09:37 AM 11/10/01 -0500, you wrote:
>The issue is, indeed, the sublime and maybe after 9-11 we're finally ready
>to see that Kant on the sublime is really a call for the development and the
>use of the atomic bomb.  I know it sounds preposterous but so much was
>slumbering in the great acts of a priori rationality.  And thus we can begin
>to see the psyche hiding behind the ratio--in Kant and all who continue to
>draw on him both for their hyper-rational superstructures and the covert
>prosecution of their deepest desires.  Because yes, the horror of 9-11 was
>that at one register of the psyche it was experienced as a sublime image.
>And thus shocking the need of so many to moralistically deny this and attack
>all who want to understand it.  For the understand is perhaps this: a
>sublime affect can only be replaced by another sublime affect.  As on 8-6-45
>and 8-9-45 and on .....???
>When traumatic events happen historicity within the psyche turns on the
>sublime register.
>I have tried to discuss these matters---and Kant on the sublime at
>At 06:03 AM 11/10/01 -0600, you wrote:
>>I want to deal with some of these other issues in another post, when I
>>have a little more time.
>>But, first of all, there is clearly a difference between interest and
>>the ethical, certainly within both the Aristotlean and the Kantian
>>Kant clearly distinguishes between duty and interest and says that
>>ethics is only concerned with the former and not the latter.  I realize
>>the word duty is not a popular one today.  Put in its place something
>>like 'the right thing' or justice and what Kant says makes more sense.
>>It is also interesting that Kant make a similar distinction between
>>interest and beauty, but I digress...
>>Also, there is a clear concept of the sublime that can be described in
>>both Burke and Kant and it is something that is very different from the
>>ineffable. My next post will deal with sublime in greater detail. 
>>I also think, contrary to Steve, that there is a Kantian side to Badiou
>>and not merely a Hegelian paternity.
>>More later....


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