File spoon-archives/lyotard.archive/lyotard_2003/lyotard.0302, message 51


Date: Thu, 13 Feb 2003 20:36:16 +0000
Subject: Re: what is at stake with fear? - Kristeva and Abjection...




RT/All

actually i'm not clear at all why the word 'fear' has become so 
philosophically interesting to me - it's bizarre. Over the period since 
the word emerged into the list I've been scurrying around trying to find 
a version that works for me in the present circumstance. Considering 
it's criticality as a term there is surprisingly little that seems to 
work in the present. The Adorno work, Deleuze and Guattari - the 
unspoken other in this discussion, which I am not surprised in that it 
has not been mentioned is Julia Kristeva's work from the early 80s 
'Powers of Horror: an essay in abjection...'  the second chapter 
"Something to be scared of..."  which illuminates the psychoanalytical 
object relation (theory) approach to fear, shining a torch into the 
darkest recesses of our Fear seems especially relevant here. But I've 
probably muttered enough hins about psychoanalysis being the only means 
to look at this already... The Kristeva text is remarkable in that she 
 attempts to demonstrate the mechanisms of subjectivity upon which 
horror, abjection gains its meaning as well as its power.  In doing so 
so explicitly brings to the surface, better than most, including the 
Adorno texts I referred to earlier, the "ultimate coding of our crises, 
of our most intimate and serious apocylypses..."

"But perhaps Celine is also a prioviliged example and hence a 
convienient one to deal with. For his coarsenes, issuing from the global 
catastophe of the Second World War, does not, within the orb of 
abjection, spare a single sphere: neither that of morality, or politics, 
or religion, or esthetics, or, all the more so subjectivity or language. 
If in that process by what a moralist would call nihalism, he also 
testifies to the power of fascination exerted upon us, open or secretly, 
by that field of horror...."

Yes perhaps Kristeva is right in foregrounding Celine rather than 
Bataille - but I guess I should have foregrounded Kristeva myself as I 
searched for 'Fear'

And I do think you are onto something below... "fear as an american 
problem"  Does America really exist in "The Great Darkness" then ? How 
did such a state of abjetion come into being ?

steve

Thomas Taylor wrote:

> 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
>  
>
> ---
> Outgoing mail is certified Virus Free.
> Checked by AVG anti-virus system (http://www.grisoft.com).
> Version: 6.0.449 / Virus Database: 251 - Release Date: 1/27/03



HTML VERSION:

RT/All

actually i'm not clear at all why the word 'fear' has become so philosophically interesting to me - it's bizarre. Over the period since the word emerged into the list I've been scurrying around trying to find a version that works for me in the present circumstance. Considering it's criticality as a term there is surprisingly little that seems to work in the present. The Adorno work, Deleuze and Guattari - the unspoken other in this discussion, which I am not surprised in that it has not been mentioned is Julia Kristeva's work from the early 80s 'Powers of Horror: an essay in abjection...'  the second chapter "Something to be scared of..."  which illuminates the psychoanalytical object relation (theory) approach to fear, shining a torch into the darkest recesses of our Fear seems especially relevant here. But I've probably muttered enough hins about psychoanalysis being the only means to look at this already... The Kristeva text is remarkable in that she  attempts to demonstrate the mechanisms of subjectivity upon which horror, abjection gains its meaning as well as its power.  In doing so so explicitly brings to the surface, better than most, including the Adorno texts I referred to earlier, the "ultimate coding of our crises, of our most intimate and serious apocylypses..."

"But perhaps Celine is also a prioviliged example and hence a convienient one to deal with. For his coarsenes, issuing from the global catastophe of the Second World War, does not, within the orb of abjection, spare a single sphere: neither that of morality, or politics, or religion, or esthetics, or, all the more so subjectivity or language. If in that process by what a moralist would call nihalism, he also testifies to the power of fascination exerted upon us, open or secretly, by that field of horror...."

Yes perhaps Kristeva is right in foregrounding Celine rather than Bataille - but I guess I should have foregrounded Kristeva myself as I searched for 'Fear'

And I do think you are onto something below... "fear as an american problem"  Does America really exist in "The Great Darkness" then ? How did such a state of abjetion come into being ?

steve

Thomas Taylor wrote:
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
 

---
Outgoing mail is certified Virus Free.
Checked by AVG anti-virus system (http://www.grisoft.com).
Version: 6.0.449 / Virus Database: 251 - Release Date: 1/27/03


Driftline Main Page

 

Display software: ArchTracker © Malgosia Askanas, 2000-2005