File spoon-archives/lyotard.archive/lyotard_2001/lyotard.0111, message 65

Date: Sun, 11 Nov 2001 12:20:55 -0600
Subject: Re: Postmodernism as a bad meme in ripped jeans


I wasn't arguing that terrorism has changed in the passage from
modernity to postmodernity.  A bomb remains a bomb, even when it is
disguised as a food drop.  

What I was responding to was the charge that postmodernism itself is
kind of terrorism because it is relativistic and frivolous. Thought as a
terrorist act. To evoke a Darwinian metaphor, some of our more profound
pundits have actually been arguing in the wake of 911 that postmodernism
is now dead and that such memes are actually terrorist viruses that must
be expunged from our nation's psyche in order for our noble civilization
to prevail.  Luckily, for us Americans, we now have the Patriot act to
protect our 'open society' from such horrors.  For myself, I am already
sleeping more soundly at night and hope that the current plans to
re-activate the Dream Police are implemented soon.

I don't see why my ethics are reductive - what is it I am eliminating?  

I certainly think my ethics fit into the current scientific cosmology
(I'm very strung out!) 

I wasn't aware of calling for any skyhooks.  

Instead I was placing ethics in a materialist context that sees us as
organisms situated in a physical environment that act and react to
events based upon our instrumental feelings of pleasure and pain. What
is so Un-Darwinian about that?

Furthermore, I am not working with a narrow conception of the human,
that empty footprint on the beach that waits for the eventual tide to
roll in.  

What I am attempting to formulate is an ethics for cyborgs!

The difference between us here (and I am not sure it is a difference as
must as it is a misunderstanding) is this.  I am not arguing for ethics
as a substitute for politics, but as a kind of artificial prosthetic.  

To badly paraphrase Clausewitz, ethics, like war, is the extension of
politics by other means.

For me, both Badiou and Lyotard agree is seeing the ethical as a kind of
node or nexus embedded in situations that responds to the requisite
stimulus in a way that is productive of paralogical events, as opposed
to those which are merely innovative.  

>From this simple act of singularity, great political movements may

One day Rosa Parks refuses to give up her seat on a bus in the South...

Like you, I believe in the possibility of social change, but I am
perhaps more Kynical than you because today I feel powerless to effect
any meaningful change in my country.  It makes me feel something like a
Hamlet in a wheelchair.  (cf. Beckett's Endgame.)

In my reading of Badiou, he is not arguing against ethics per se, but
against a certain conception of ethics. I agree with him to that extent. 

Are you arguing that there is no valid conception of ethics? That
politics is all?

And what is post-Gian anyway? 



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