File spoon-archives/lyotard.archive/lyotard_2003/lyotard.0302, message 35


Date: Tue, 11 Feb 2003 21:13:45 +0000
Subject: Fear and trembling




Don/all

I think that your reference to 'fear' may be to phenomenological for me 
to address easily - at a personal and philosophical level, beyond 
anything else it's close to having to respond to the horror of 'fear and 
trembling' - given the availability of more intelligent and rational 
responses it has not seemed necessary to use such a philosophical 
approach to rationalise the horrors of the world, the solution offered 
'faith' is after all worse than fear or anxiety itself.  Beyond the 
phenomenological work on 'fear' the best work I can think of is related 
to the 'terror' that is documented as part of the, how to put it, 
biographical background and tradition of fascism. It's not clear however 
that 'fear' and 'terror' are a necessary sub-component of male dominated 
societies as some feminists argued in the past - it seems impossible to 
argue that terror, fear as you describe it is simply the norm of 
existing under capitalist-patriarchal conditions. Probably better to 
argue that fear and terror are part of the causal factors in the 
 construction of capitalist terror (as opposed obviously to the very 
different desptotic terror) which we all suffer from.

Instead I'd suggest that 'fear' as such derives from our personal and 
social construction as human subjects - this is not the moment to 
discuss Melanie Klein in any detail but I was struck by the possibility 
of thinking of fear as related to the death drive, initially described 
as a sadistic desire, as a form of envy. The death drive for Klein is a 
condensation of hatred and love, often referred to as (paroxysmal) 
desire. Eros (life) is hardly extinct in this capturing of the object, 
desire transformed into anxiety (fear), Eros has a "fear of life"  and 
we are unable to encourage its reaapearance as a primary form of 
pleasure. The anxiety and fear that is interpreted through analysis is 
able to confront splitting and repression and by reworking repression is 
transformed into a different symbolisation, for Klein an unihibited 
libido is a libido that THINKS and a desire divorced from fear and 
anxiety is a capacity for symbolisation.

Most of the great filmmakers have always known to include the 
facilitation of fear in cinematic seduction, in explicit themes as well 
as the rythm of images....The banal moments in the current rage of 
propoganda cannot produce genuine 'fear and anxiety', surely less so 
anyway than Hitchcock's Psycho...

rough notes for a tuesday)

regards
steve


Don Socha wrote:

>Eric writes:  
>
>  
>
>>Don, 
>>
>>[snip]  Perhaps this is the first step - to recognize that 
>>    
>>
>fear is
>  
>
>>used as a weapon and to resist it as such. 
>>    
>>
>
>I want to think the problem is closer to the bone.  I mean, 
>more than a weapon, fear goes a long way toward how I am 
>fundamentally, and I feel it is my responsibility to work to 
>do something about that.  But what?  I think I have to train 
>my mind somehow, get it into a new habit... created 
>somehow... by some kind of practice through which I am not 
>afraid.  
>
>Fundamentally, though, I need to understand what fear is.  
>Having lived through trauma creates fear, and trauma seems to 
>be something that few human beings have not experienced on 
>some level.  
>
>I want to understand how it affects me in different 
>localities.  I get the hebeegeebees at stripmalls, for 
>example, or when I'm feeling impatient.  It manifests itself 
>as a kind of impatience verging on panic.  And certain 
>people, like Dick Cheney can trigger it in me, or car 
>salesmen, or apathetic, self-destructive post adolescents 
>breaking the speed limit....     
>
>Anyway, fear affects the way I am.  And to recognize that, I 
>think is my first step, not toward realizing that "another 
>world is possible," but something more immediate? 
>
>Don   
> 
>  
>
>>I admit I have been surprised to discover how many others 
>>    
>>
>here in
>  
>
>>America share political views similar to mine about the war 
>>    
>>
>and the
>  
>
>>economy.  There is also a linkage here with others around 
>>    
>>
>the world.
>  
>
>>While I don't want to minimize the dangers, I also want to 
>>    
>>
>point out
>  
>
>>that this is not the time for us to despair.  
>>
>>Once Margaret Thatcher said: "There is no alternative."
>>
>>More recently, it has been said by the Zapatistas: "Another 
>>    
>>
>world is
>  
>
>>possible."
>>
>>Now we must decide what choice we will make. What world will 
>>    
>>
>you choose?
>  
>
>>eric 
>>
>>
>>
>>    
>>
>
>  
>


HTML VERSION:

Don/all

I think that your reference to 'fear' may be to phenomenological for me to address easily - at a personal and philosophical level, beyond anything else it's close to having to respond to the horror of 'fear and trembling' - given the availability of more intelligent and rational responses it has not seemed necessary to use such a philosophical approach to rationalise the horrors of the world, the solution offered 'faith' is after all worse than fear or anxiety itself.  Beyond the phenomenological work on 'fear' the best work I can think of is related to the 'terror' that is documented as part of the, how to put it, biographical background and tradition of fascism. It's not clear however that 'fear' and 'terror' are a necessary sub-component of male dominated societies as some feminists argued in the past - it seems impossible to argue that terror, fear as you describe it is simply the norm of existing under capitalist-patriarchal conditions. Probably better to argue that fear and terror are part of the causal factors in the  construction of capitalist terror (as opposed obviously to the very different desptotic terror) which we all suffer from.

Instead I'd suggest that 'fear' as such derives from our personal and social construction as human subjects - this is not the moment to discuss Melanie Klein in any detail but I was struck by the possibility of thinking of fear as related to the death drive, initially described as a sadistic desire, as a form of envy. The death drive for Klein is a condensation of hatred and love, often referred to as (paroxysmal) desire. Eros (life) is hardly extinct in this capturing of the object, desire transformed into anxiety (fear), Eros has a "fear of life"  and we are unable to encourage its reaapearance as a primary form of pleasure. The anxiety and fear that is interpreted through analysis is able to confront splitting and repression and by reworking repression is transformed into a different symbolisation, for Klein an unihibited libido is a libido that THINKS and a desire divorced from fear and anxiety is a capacity for symbolisation.

Most of the great filmmakers have always known to include the facilitation of fear in cinematic seduction, in explicit themes as well as the rythm of images....The banal moments in the current rage of propoganda cannot produce genuine 'fear and anxiety', surely less so anyway than Hitchcock's Psycho...

rough notes for a tuesday)

regards
steve


Don Socha wrote:
Eric writes:  

  
Don, 

[snip]  Perhaps this is the first step - to recognize that 
    
fear is
  
used as a weapon and to resist it as such. 
    

I want to think the problem is closer to the bone.  I mean, 
more than a weapon, fear goes a long way toward how I am 
fundamentally, and I feel it is my responsibility to work to 
do something about that.  But what?  I think I have to train 
my mind somehow, get it into a new habit... created 
somehow... by some kind of practice through which I am not 
afraid.  

Fundamentally, though, I need to understand what fear is.  
Having lived through trauma creates fear, and trauma seems to 
be something that few human beings have not experienced on 
some level.  

I want to understand how it affects me in different 
localities.  I get the hebeegeebees at stripmalls, for 
example, or when I'm feeling impatient.  It manifests itself 
as a kind of impatience verging on panic.  And certain 
people, like Dick Cheney can trigger it in me, or car 
salesmen, or apathetic, self-destructive post adolescents 
breaking the speed limit....     

Anyway, fear affects the way I am.  And to recognize that, I 
think is my first step, not toward realizing that "another 
world is possible," but something more immediate? 

Don   
 
  
I admit I have been surprised to discover how many others 
    
here in
  
America share political views similar to mine about the war 
    
and the
  
economy.  There is also a linkage here with others around 
    
the world.
  
While I don't want to minimize the dangers, I also want to 
    
point out
  
that this is not the time for us to despair.  

Once Margaret Thatcher said: "There is no alternative."

More recently, it has been said by the Zapatistas: "Another 
    
world is
  
possible."

Now we must decide what choice we will make. What world will 
    
you choose?
  
eric 



    

  


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