'democracy and disappontment: on the politics of resistance'
seventh speaking matters event: monday 19/1/09 17:30 - 19:30
Slought Foundation Contemporary Arts DVD
Alain Badiou and Simon Critchley in conversation on politics, democracy and possibility. This screening has been organised in advance of Simon Critchley's visit to Dublin in February 2009.
John's Street (off Thomas Street, Dublin 8)
Places limited, booking recommended: email@example.com
"The sense of something lacking or failing arises from the realization
that we inhabit a violently unjust world, a world defined by the horror
of war, a world where, as Dostoevsky says, blood is being spilt in the
merriest way, as if it were champagne. Such an experience of disappointment
is acutely tangible at the present time, when the corrosion of established
poliutical structures and an unending war on terror where the moods of
Western populations are controlled through a politics of fear managed
by constant threat of external attack. This situation is far from novel
and might be said to be definitional of politics from antiquity to early
and considerably later modernity. My point is that if the present time
is defined by a state of war, then this experience of political disappointment
provokes the question of justice: what might justice be in a violently
unjust world? It is this question that provokes the need for an ethics
or what others might call normative principles that might enable us to
face and face down the present political situation. Our main task is to
respond to that need by offering a theory of ethical experience and subjectivity
that will lead to an infinitely demanding ethics of commitment and politics
Simon Critchley (2007) Infinitely Demanding: Ethics of Commitment, Politics of resistance
"In disoriented times, we cvannot accept the return of the old, deadly
figure of religious sacrifice; but neither can we accept the complete
lack of any figure, and the complete disappearance of any idea of heroism.
In both cases, the consequences will be the end of any dialectical relationship
between humanity and its element of inhumanity, in a creative mode. So
the result will be the sad success of what Nietzsche named 'the last man.'
'The last man' is the exhausted figure of a man devoid of any possibility.
Our task is: How van we find a new heroic figure, which is neither the
return of the old figure of religious or national sacrifice, nor the nihilistic
figure of the last man? Is there a place, in a disoriented world, for
a new style of heroism?'
Alain Badiou (2007) 'The Contemporary Figure of the Soldier in Politics and Poetry'
Be warned! Not for the faint-hearted, see one reviewer's concerns here who notes that "it must be said that the content of the discussion is consistently fascinating" but that the 'film' is somewhat demanding to watch.