LYOTARD’S THEORY-FICTION: le mur du pacifique

From the back cover of Jean-François Lyotard’s le mur du pacifique, published in 1979:

« C’est un manuscrit français trouvé il y a quelque années dans la bibliothèque d’une université californienne.
L’auteur y esquisse une sorte de théorie-fiction politique :
– L’État occidental a toujours été depuis Rome un Empire ;
– Il est l’invention de proxénètes qui mettent en exploitation ce qui est le véritable enjeu de toute politique occidentale, une surface d’intensités nommée la peau blanche ;
– C’est à partir de cette prostitution que se mettent en place les trois grandes instances de la politique, le Blanc, la femme, le métèque ;
– La jalousie relative à cette peau est le motif politique par excellence, y compris dans le nazisme ;
– Elle a suscité les déplacements successifs du centre impérial vers l’ouest ;
– Atteint le pacifique, cette histoire occidentale a touché son terme, une autre commence.
J.-F. L. »

« This is a French manuscript found several years ago in a Californian university’s library. In it the author sketches out a sort of political « theory-fiction »:

– Since Rome the Occidental State has always been an Empire;

– It is the invention of pimps who effect the exploitation of that which is the true stake of all Occidental politics, a surface of intensities called the white skin;

– It is on the basis of this prostitution that are established the three great instances of politics, the White, woman, the resident alien;

– Jealousy relative to this skin is the political motive par excellence, including for Nazism;

– It has provoked the successive displacements of the imperial centre towards the West;

– On reaching the Pacific this Occidental history has come to an end, another history is beginning.

J.F.L. » (my translation).

Note: I have translated « histoire » as « history », but given the ambiguity of this word in French (it can mean « history » or « story ») and given that for Lyotard History as meta-narrative dissolves into a cloud of stories, it is wise to keep both senses in mind.

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7 commentaires pour LYOTARD’S THEORY-FICTION: le mur du pacifique

  1. Ping : LYOTARD’S THEORY-FICTION: le mur du pacifique – The Philosophical Hack

  2. landzek dit :

    Why do you think it is labeled “fiction”? Critical race theory is built on this very idea if Whiteness.


    • terenceblake dit :

      At this time Lyotard had a Nietzschean idea of the social and philosophical decadence of the idea of truth, its decline, decay, and decomposition into a plurality of perspectives. All theory in that view is « fiction » (in terms of the old disappearing paradigm). Theory-fiction is simply theory that (1) is aware of its fictional nature and that( 2) allows itself a greater liberty of rhetorical devices and that (3) foregrounds this awareness and this liberty.

      Aimé par 1 personne

      • landzek dit :

        May I send you the First Part of my new book? I know you are anti-science if philosophy. But that is why I think you should see my effort into such a science. I promise I won’t sign it. 😄

        I lost your address in a crashed hard drive. Or I would have just sent it unsolicited.


      • landzek dit :

        …and. This book is better organized and developed. And edited.


      • landzek dit :

        That makes sense. Personally, I flip that script. The theoretical fiction, in that context, is what I call “real”. It occurs in reality it addressing thi it occurs in reality it addresses Real situations.

        So conversely I say that the theory it’s self with which typically in the continental tradition implies some sort of “authenticity” or whatever you would call it into Nietzsche context or Kierkegaardian Christian context, I say is “not real”, because whatever it is it’s not being communicated. And so I that do not reduce things to some sort of true ontology to argue perpetually what might be the case, because what might be the case from each author is not being communicated.

        But what is understood as being communicated in deed occurs in this real situation that I encounter every day from drinking beers to washing dishes to walking the dog; I also encounter these essays by various authors that is communicating something to me that apparently is not being communicated to other people.

        So identify the arena, which it appears you are saying some authors have called “fictional“, reality. And the idea that I have that I am gaining something from the reading of essays that other people are not seeming to understand as “not real”.

        Personally, I think that is a more honest way to approach the situation because if you have a bunch of people reading this theory and then thinking somehow this reality that I encounter every day is somehow theoretically fictional- it seems to be a perfect recipe for an erotic society that will never come to terms with it self. 😄

        So my book “the philosophical hack: the concluding unscientific postscript to event” proceeds, and I think he might actually get something from it. At least I hope you’ll read it and I hope you might find it valuable or at least interesting.


  3. Ping : Monoliths & Dimensions: Benjamin H. Bratton’s The Stack as Theory-Fiction – orbistertius


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