Wednesday, June 15, 2005

From the critical to the creative

Burn the Panopticon: Irigaray's Ethics, Difference, Poetics
Simone Roberts

"The customary gesture in academic work is progress by critique (or attack,) forward motion by negative gestures, discovery of short-comings in the works of other academics. This critical method is essential to refining accuracy in our perceptions and interpretations ... [H]owever, I believe that another gesture is necessary. That gesture should be a compliment to critical and questioning efforts -- a creative gesture. These creative gestures should be informed by the critical mode, work in tandem with it, but should build on the revolutionary and liberating strengths to be found in those theories, in our several cultures, in people ... 'True intellectual debate,' [Hutcheon] reminds, 'is not a matter of protecting vested interests and must involve better than search and destroy missions' ... This essay teases out each of those levels of meaning at work in [Irigaray's] An Ethics of Sexual Difference. It also argues that an ethics of difference, and a poetics to support it, are needed in order to move the course of history in a more fruitful and fecund direction."

Update 15/06/05 - Irigaray's work is dense and it's nice to see people trying to work with her philosophies. I like her focus on the fluid multiplicity of feminine sexuality, and I've been reading An Ethics of Sexual Difference and Elemental Passions as part of my ongoing attempt to articulate a voluptuous ontology and epistemology. I'm also reading Albertus Seba's Cabinet of Natural Curiosities for ideas about order and excess, and hints of voluptuous methodologies.

Update 20/06/05

"People seem, these days, a little sick from experience, callused. Not that this condition is really our fault. Very few people are trained to remain open to possibility, to seek action, to remain compassionate while protecting themselves from scarring in the face of one global, national, local or private atrocity after another. It is a very difficult balance, and a disaffected kind of withdrawal seems the most common response to it all. But that ironic apathy will not do. Wonder may be the way out...

In Descartes' French, wonder is a translation of l'admiration, which carries the sense of astonished marveling before something extraordinary, of joy in the beautiful and the immense, enthusiasm, enchantment. It is the emotion which corresponds to the sublime.

'Wonder is the motivating force behind mobility in all its dimensions. From its most vegetative to its most sublime functions, the living being has need of wonder to move. Things must be good, beautiful, and desirable for all the senses and meaning, the sense that brings them together . . . . [One must] find a vital speed, a growth speed that is compatible with [one's] senses and meanings, . . . to leave an interval between [oneself] and the other-subject, to look toward, to contemplate -- to wonder. Wonder being an action that is both active and passive. The ground or inner secret of genesis, of creation?'" (An Ethics 73).

-- from Wonder-Lust


Blogger stormierbones said...

Hi Anne, Simone here. I'm glad you (seem to?) like my essay. You quoted some of the passages I liked most when I wrote them. I was just hunting the link to it for my blog, and came across yours. Some lovely and rigorous thinking here you're doing. I'll keep reading. Namaste.


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