File spoon-archives/lyotard.archive/lyotard_2001/lyotard.0112, message 71

Date: Wed, 12 Dec 2001 05:19:03 -0600
Subject: Re: more on cyborgs and the inhuman


Bateson, Olson and I are not talking fatalism here. What we are saying
is that one of the reasons the earth doesn't do a good job of taking
care of its feathers and society is precisely because of the Occidental
Cartesian view of the Agent as separate and delimited that our culture
has been implicitly advocating. We are all implicated in this complexity
and what I have been advocating in terms of the cyborg is the simple
recognition of this basic insight.  The Bateson quote came from his
essay "The Cybernetics of Self: A Theory of Alchololism." Here is
another quote from that essay:

"In sum, I shall argue that the "sobriety" of the alcholic is
characterized by an unusually disastrous variant of the Cartesian
dualism, the division between Mind and Matter, or, in this case, between
conscious will, or "self," and the remainder of the personality.  Bill
W's stroke of genius was to break up with the first "step" the
structuring of this dualism."

"Philosophically viewed, this first step is not a surrender; it is
simply a change in epistemology, a change in how to know about the
personality-in-the-world.  And notably, the change is from an incorrect
to a more correct epistemology."

God can't change the past perhaps, but we can, by the way we interpret


> Eric,
> Bateson could have enumerated all the atomic particles of all the atoms of
> all the molecules in all the proteins in all the cells of the axman.  After
> the fact, such totality and inevitability
> seems to confirm pure fatalism..  Even God cannot change the past.  Those ax
> strokes seem to have little effect on the social fate that threatens
> Occidentals and Orientals alike.  If your boat sank you could remember
> Bateson, take nap while your body swam ashore.
> Olsen is right too,  Its a poetic thought.   Of course, the whole earth
> takes care of the feather, and all the other feathers, and societies, often
> badly.
> Its the old question of who are we and what can we do about it, and why does
> it matter?
> best,
> Hugh


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