File spoon-archives/lyotard.archive/lyotard_2001/lyotard.0112, message 133

Date: Thu, 27 Dec 2001 21:07:31 -0600
Subject: Re: libidinal ethics


What you say about the book 'Critiques of Everyday Life' reminds me of
Marx's 'Philosophical and Economic Manuscripts of 1844'.  In these
writings Marx also projects a similar view of alienation; one that sees
specialization as undermining the wholeness of 'conscious

I want to connect this with your earlier post regarding Greenspan and
'the values of specialisation ...on a global scale'.

It appears to me that this issue of specialization is not necessarily
alienating in and of itself.  Certainly, as Adam Smith and other
classical economists have shown, there are competitive advantages that
accrue to specialization. However, the way this is usually presented
makes the plane of economics reign as the one privileged area where
specialization can occur.  The other spheres of life are submitted to
the hegemony of capitalism and there the normative rules of consensus

What this means is that, despite its claims, capitalism is only capable
of producing a very limited form of differentiation, one that is
confined to the economic realm and limited in all other spheres.  The
specter that haunts capitalism is the possibility that once the
multitude becomes freed from economic necessity, differentiation would
proceed in ways that could no longer be controlled. 

This would not necessarily entail a return to wholeness or the
'all-sided personality' but, instead, would allow for a far greater
differentiation and multiplicity than the managed societies are
currently capable of permitting. This would certainly create individuals
who are more unpredictable and it would make the project of complexity
and development much more difficult to manage; which is why this
possibility has become such a taboo in spite of all the vast wealth of
post-industrial societies and why work must now expand into all possible
areas of life. Speed becomes a mode of control. 24-7.

The image of the cyborg is one who has differentiated herself through
jouissance to become inhuman (i.e. not normative) and thereby
unrecognizable according to the gaze of identity. 

It is not wholeness we want, but differentiation.  Viva le
It is important to recognise that the ancient gods were not whole
either, but embodied functions, what the Egyptians named the Neter.

Ethics in this sense is not about being normative, but about
transgressing the normative rules that constitute society in order to
become as gods. To the extent that diverse modes of desire are
liberated, control becomes that much harder to maintain. 

I believe the objective of pagan ethics was to create an 'ephemeral
god'; ephemeral in the sense that one is still finite - one lives and
one dies.  However, a god to the extent that the bliss experienced is
considered equal to the bliss experienced by a god and one is no longer
subject to other masters, but becomes free at last. ("lord of yourself I
crown and mitre you" as Dante put it once he had ascended the mount of
joy and entered the Earthly Paradise.)

This is what I consider to be the subversive element in Badiou's ethics.
In his concept of the Immortal, he returns us to the pagan conception
whereby the 'ethics of truth' demands that we live as gods sub species
aeternatis. "This monkey's gone to Heaven".

I'm sure sure what connection this has to your question about certainty,
but maybe you can expand on this further.



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