Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Avital Ronell's Evening Lecture

Avital Ronell gave an evening lecture entitled Have I Been Destroyed? which is part of an on-going work on authority.

For Hannah Arendt, the disappearing of authority is a calamity, what follows in the evacuating of enmity is monstrous.

For Kojeve authority (God) is out because the loss of God means we cannot root ethics in transcendence.
  • Authority is like an emergency supply in the absence of God
  • Is authority replaceable?
  • Questioning authority isn't enough, we must draw back authority
How does one know whether the University has not destroyed me?

Trauma is what structures you:
  • Truth was once affiliated with ruin and the resolution of the traumatic
  • We are more responsible for an untraceable cause than ever before with minimal signage and modest moral directives
  • Nancy situates our moment at the moment of tragedy
  • We'll consider the destiny of democracy in the loss of tragedy
How do we imbue meaning into "human dignity" post Kant?
  • "I wobble in place without truth that is my only point"
  • Kojeve insists authority is not about force, "it doesn't get down an' dirty," it supersedes force with a sovereign aloofness
  • But Kojeve misses the violence of language (Lacan)
Where do we locate authority's domain? Kant removed it from people and offices because it would be abusive to leave authority there, so he relocated authority to Law.

Derrida sees Law as not docile but an internal relationship with violence and power

Psychoanalysis is crowded-out bu Kojeve, Freud is begrudgingly brought into political analysis:
  • Kojeve brings out the pleasure of judging which troubles justice; it's become acute and sexual, the psyche is outfitted with a juridical [something...], thus all these tv dramas
  • we can see Kant sent judgement to the aesthetic realm so as to make judging sexy
Modern politics is located in Martin Luther, who targets judgement:
  • He was fearful of a libidinal abandon in judgement cutting into the field of authority both worldly and eternal
  • Faith meant that one could judge for oneself in these times
  • The problem for Luther and Calvin was that one could go as far as becoming a conscientious objector
The price of linking justice, judgement, and love are strictly constrained by Luther so as to avoid the whole system of worldly order:
  • he thought there would be nothing but murder and bloodshed
  • not everyone is able to judge but only those invested with the sovereignty of the sword (Arendt seems to also be afraid of everyone judging)
  • peasants cannot be allowed to judge and mercy is neither here nor there; so, there is no reprieve from the authority
  • there is a libidinal joy in judgement; as Kafka showed us, Luther's father was a total asshole and we're still paying for it.
There is the rush to/of judgement, in drug terms

Not only is there the enjoyment in judging, but we also put ourselves up for review because there is pleasure in being judged.

Why was the official prescription for the crisis in the banlieus from both Sarkozy and Royale to increase the paternal presence?

Arendt asked in '58, what is authority?
  • traces it back to education and child-rearing
  • this is where authority is seen as a natural prerequisite
Who invented authority? Plato in response to the murder of Socrates

For Kojeve, Japan was the future of the West

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