File spoon-archives/lyotard.archive/lyotard_2001/lyotard.0112, message 137

Subject: Re: libidinal ethics
Date: Sat, 29 Dec 2001 20:03:54 +0800

G'day Eric/Steve,

As usual I have another book I am reading on the go (keeps me from getting
stale, normally I have a few), it is "Nietzsche's French Legacy". I am
reading the chapter on Derrida at the mo. And as usual I find what I wanted
to say said by someone else:

'When discussing antinomies of pure reason, Kant locates a moment of what we
can only call 'undecidability' in the choice between the dogmatic and
skeptical solutions to the antinomies:
"since the srguments on both sides are equally clear, it is impossible to
decides between them... There can therefore be no way of settling it once
and for all and to the satisfaction of both sides, save by their becoming
convinced that the very fact of their being able so admirably to refute one
another is evidence that they are really quarreling about nothing."
It was, according to Kant, the task of critical philosophy to convince the
two sides that it is not their solutions that are flawed; rather, the error
lies in the nature of the question that elicit their respective conclusions.
The "critical solution" will thus "not consider the question objectively,"
but will proceed "in relation to the foundation of the knowledge upon which
the question is based."'

It is not that someone is/not right/wrong, but that there are those that
hold *certain* the belief that they are/not right or wrong. Certainty is the
belief each party held in his/her view, the point I was going to make
previously was that this certainty normally operates as an absolute (like a
flower bending towards the sun, ie people fly planes into buildings).

I had just finished reading Foucault's book "Fearless Speech", he explores
the ancient Greek idea of 'parrhesia', the book is somewhat resonant with
themes of breaking into binary-logic dead ends (although the 'breaking' is
normally consensual), and only breaking into, not out of. I read Badiou as
taking Derrida and demonstrating a way in which everyday people may be faced
with a dissolution of this certainty (which could be good or bad, below it
from Badiou, and, I think, above it from Neitzsche). The main problem is
that most people do not see these dead ends as dead ends but as safe and
secure cul de sacs, which actually allow you to go places, like a
feedback-loop of snowballing opinion, or high-grade dromologic sugar, baby,
dolled up as fairy floss sending you on simulacra flights of fantasy ...

Which is why I see certainty as the mother of all dead ends. Also when you
speak of libidinal ethics I think it is dangerous, for some people could
think they are partaking in a Badiou-ethical-Truth, when all they are doing
is remaining certain, like certain in the desire for glory in the eyes of

More at the bottom...

> 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.
> It is not wholeness we want, but differentiation.  Viva le
> 'differance'.
> 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 agree. I see my friends argue with me as I non-non-argue, their wills
bending over capital's anvil as they hammer their selves (self?) into shape.
It makes me sick. A dear friend (who studied some of this stuff as an
undergrad) told me I was immature because I hadn't "found peace with the
world", I asked him what that meant, he said I have to grab onto one
concept, one Glen, to find myself a place and fight to keep it. I replied
that it doesn't sound too peaceful.

A while ago (several months) I said something like the other is made up
those victims that tell the world that they are as such, (I think it is what
prompted Steve to raise Badiou for the first time?). The other I meant was
the regimented scientific naming and classifying that was being appropriated
by post-colonialist factions to retrieve some despotic power (I am thinking
of Mugabe, but there are other right wingers eg Pauline Hanson and the One
Nation Party here in the land of Aus). I do not hesitate to agree with Steve
in saying that the liberatory potential of the 'other' is there but it must
be of the non-opinion other. Opinon in the Badiou sense.

Oh, what do you mean by human and inhuman (non-human?)? Because I read this
(which I quite like):

> 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.

And it doesn't seem to be the same inhuman I gathered Steve was talking
about, or maybe I have grossly misunderstood. It seems to me you can look at
it two ways. The human is the analogue, affective, non-ego-thinking being
that is not in the center of, but centers, everyone's name, or the 'human'
is a story George W. tells us 'we' are protecting by bombing the crap out of
the (opinion) other (for example). And in both cases the inhuman is the
other to the respective 'human'(??). Aye? What do you fellas reckon?



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