File spoon-archives/lyotard.archive/lyotard_2003/lyotard.0302, message 49


Subject: Re: what is at stake with fear?
Date: Thu, 13 Feb 2003 14:36:43 -0500


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Steve/All:

The Adorno/psychoanalytic references greatly clarify things. If idealism is a rage against otherness (perhaps the intensification of the Nietzschean notion that the problem with Truth is that if it were true, it needn't be garnished with a defense) and if you add in Deleuze-Guattari's notion of paranoia, I think you definitely are onto an accurate depiction of the motivating force behind the current American reich. Several Americans also. Some but not all. What is philosophically at stake in this, I am not exactly sure. Perhaps fear is not so easily rendered unto a concept.

However, politically, socially, this paranoia, which also could be said to be a rage against an abstract otherness (both the natural and the unnatural if I read you correctly) is very dangerous. If for no other reason than that the other as other remains so: that is, it is at one and the same time empty (we don't the what or the how of this thing) and in consequence, (here is where paranoia comes in I think) we, the paranoids I am speaking for, constantly attempt to fill this category with the most specificity possible, being uncomfortable with the otherness. However the rage against the identified other is not diminished. It in fact seems to increase after identification. This is a stab at a response here (pun?). This is rough but I think I am onto something.

I am also interested in the transmission and circulation of fear, socially speaking. We could call it second order fear, perhaps. The difference being drawn between a certain primal fear and hatred of the other and then how this gets translated into specific situations. Example to consider: due to the US government's desire to contain the others of the world, they have identified select enemies or others upon which to focus their rage, which is also their ideal ( global containment). I simply refuse to believe that the current american pogrom against the "axis of evil" is simply about oil, is simply driven by the profit motive. It seems that the latter is more of a fringe  benefit of  paranoid action rather than its motivation. At any rate, its motivational force is only partial. Anyway it activates in many listeners the same sort of paranoia. This is further supported by the prison house of television which reports to us americans daily, hourly, minutely, as news, not conjecture, that the "threat" has increased and we all need to go out and buy duct tape and tarps to protect ourselves from "the possibility of biological and/or chemical attack". There actually seems to be a designed and narrative goal shared by both the government and the news media in america (probably unconsciously-- I don't buy into conspiracies) to serve up first order fear as the general paradigm. It sells and it keeps the current thugs in power without reproach. There is a fear that is intrinsic to humans, and it evolves from the survival motive. It moves to the second order once the other is identified and this information comes to be taken as true and natural. But once it has moved to the second order (identification) it can be moved around like a chess piece, or better yet, like a go piece, to perform whatever function is necessary to the sustenance of the existing (paranoid) structure.

I am not yet completely clear on all of this. But why not take a shot? Fear is an excellent domain for considering the american problem. Against the orthodox left, it responds: "things are not simply economic". Against the naive deconstructionist left (that is, those who do not read Derrida closely but pretend to) it says: "things are more economic than they seem".

RT


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Steve/All:
 
The Adorno/psychoanalytic references greatly clarify things. If idealism is a rage against otherness (perhaps the intensification of the Nietzschean notion that the problem with Truth is that if it were true, it needn't be garnished with a defense) and if you add in Deleuze-Guattari's notion of paranoia, I think you definitely are onto an accurate depiction of the motivating force behind the current American reich. Several Americans also. Some but not all. What is philosophically at stake in this, I am not exactly sure. Perhaps fear is not so easily rendered unto a concept.
 
However, politically, socially, this paranoia, which also could be said to be a rage against an abstract otherness (both the natural and the unnatural if I read you correctly) is very dangerous. If for no other reason than that the other as other remains so: that is, it is at one and the same time empty (we don't the what or the how of this thing) and in consequence, (here is where paranoia comes in I think) we, the paranoids I am speaking for, constantly attempt to fill this category with the most specificity possible, being uncomfortable with the otherness. However the rage against the identified other is not diminished. It in fact seems to increase after identification. This is a stab at a response here (pun?). This is rough but I think I am onto something.
 
I am also interested in the transmission and circulation of fear, socially speaking. We could call it second order fear, perhaps. The difference being drawn between a certain primal fear and hatred of the other and then how this gets translated into specific situations. Example to consider: due to the US government's desire to contain the others of the world, they have identified select enemies or others upon which to focus their rage, which is also their ideal ( global containment). I simply refuse to believe that the current american pogrom against the "axis of evil" is simply about oil, is simply driven by the profit motive. It seems that the latter is more of a fringe  benefit of  paranoid action rather than its motivation. At any rate, its motivational force is only partial. Anyway it activates in many listeners the same sort of paranoia. This is further supported by the prison house of television which reports to us americans daily, hourly, minutely, as news, not conjecture, that the "threat" has increased and we all need to go out and buy duct tape and tarps to protect ourselves from "the possibility of biological and/or chemical attack". There actually seems to be a designed and narrative goal shared by both the government and the news media in america (probably unconsciously-- I don't buy into conspiracies) to serve up first order fear as the general paradigm. It sells and it keeps the current thugs in power without reproach. There is a fear that is intrinsic to humans, and it evolves from the survival motive. It moves to the second order once the other is identified and this information comes to be taken as true and natural. But once it has moved to the second order (identification) it can be moved around like a chess piece, or better yet, like a go piece, to perform whatever function is necessary to the sustenance of the existing (paranoid) structure.
 
I am not yet completely clear on all of this. But why not take a shot? Fear is an excellent domain for considering the american problem. Against the orthodox left, it responds: "things are not simply economic". Against the naive deconstructionist left (that is, those who do not read Derrida closely but pretend to) it says: "things are more economic than they seem".
 
RT
 

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