16 November 2007

What Badiou said at the 'event'

Ethics begins with the refusal of the world.

Ontologically, truth to Badiou is the creation of something new, not a judgement; truth is an artistic creation, process of making the new in the world. He noted the logical definition of truth as an organization of the world, a consequence of fact, but stated that existence is a modification of truth, the sublimation of ‘something’ in existence. He asked Simon Critchley to respond to that definition but ‘No Wittgenstein!!’

Badiou accused Critchley of being Rosseauean, which Critchley later qualified but didn’t deny completely. Badiou said his view of individuals is in line with Nietzsche, that humans are animals indifferent to good and evil. Badiou’s wrinkle about all this is his notion that it is the event, something from outside, which enables humans to transcend the limits of the individual.

He said modesty can be benign when it is modesty of knowledge, but oppressive when imposed on people in the form of ‘know your place and shut up.’ He stuck up for heroic affirmation.

He says history is transformed by moments of affirmation rather than fits of anger, using the example of slave uprisings and May ‘68, when heroism and courage proved victorious on a small scale.

He’s not sure that ethics and ontology were in opposition. He set forth a distinction between individual and subject and between ethics of experience and ontology of the event.

The human within the event is infinite.

This event was being filmed by my pal Laura Hanna who, with her Zizek! collaborator Astra Taylor, suggested having the event in the first place. Laura’s been working for a while on directing Megapolis, a documentary with Mike Davis about urban slums in poor nations.