Jean-François Lyotard Quotes
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Eclecticism is the degree zero of contemporary general culture: one listens to reggae, watches a western, eats McDonald's food for lunch and local cuisine for dinner, wears Paris perfume in Tokyo and 'retro' clothes in Hong Kong; knowledge is a matter for TV games. It is easy to find a public for eclectic works.
Philosophy is possible only because the material ensemble called man is endowed with very sophisticated software. But also, this software, human language, is dependent on the condition of the hardware. Now: the hardware will be consumed in the solar explosion, taking philosophical thought with it (along with all other thought) as it goes up in flames. So the problem of the technological sciences can be states as follows: how can we provide this software with a hardware that is independent of the conditions of life on earth? That is: how can we make thought without a body possible?
In the discussion we had last year at Siegen, in this regard, emphasis was put on the sort of emptiness that has to be obtained from mind and body by a Japanese warrior-artist when doing calligraphy, by an actor when acting: the kind of suspension of ordinary intentions of mind associated with habitus, or arrangements of the body. It's at this cost, said Glenn and Andreas, … that a brush encounters the right shapes, that a voice and a theatrical gesture are endowed with the right tone and look. The soliciting of emptiness, this evacuation—very much the opposite of overweening, selective identificatory activity—doesn't take place without some suffering. … The body and mind have to be free of burdens for grace to touch us.
There's a necessity for physical experience and a recourse to exemplary cases of bodily ascesis to understand and make understood a type of emptying of the mind, an emptying that is required if the mind is to think. This obviously has nothing to do with tabula rasa, with what Descartes (vainly) wanted to be a starting from scratch on the part of knowing thought.