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sedition in lyotard's "domus"

sedition in lyotard's "domus"



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Published by: ADM on Mar 13, 2008
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Government 405 ADMMiclot 4 April 1995
Sedition in Lyotard’s
Towards the end of his essay “
and the Megalopolis,” Lyotard investigates the role of sedition in each of these social states. The
, or domestic community, is a lost community,looked upon a bit nostalgically from a vantage point “from where [Lyotard] speaks, the humanworld become megalopolis” (L 194). For Lyotard, there is no debate as to whether we have leftthe
behind: we inhabit now a megalopolis, a place where the natural laws which informedthe creation and practice of the
are forgotten. The megalopolis features peopledecontextualized from the world around them, people who have commodified everything,including nature, the metaphysical, and eachother. Here, according to Lyotard, “the regulationof things, humans, and capacities happens exclusively between humans, with no nature toserve.Ritual and tradition find themselves either ignored or glibly sold out, and theinhabitants (hardly “citizens”) of the megalopolis are left culturally bankrupt. Abstraction,rationalism, and meaningless data overcome history, and the only memory is “a memorycontrolled by the principle of reason, which despises tradition, where everyone seeks and willfind as best s/he can the information needed to make a living” (L 194). The individual, unableto express himself in any distinct fashion, disintegrates, becomes an abstraction or product of exchange for those around him. The
, in its own way, also robs the freedom of expression,since it relies on “natural law” and “love, reconciliation, being-together as a whole, everyone intheir place.” (L 195). The only method of individuation, of any meaningful expression, lurks beneath the surface of the
: “a pain always new. In the lowest depths of the
, rumourof anti-nature, threat of 
, of sedition” (L 195). Sedition is a means of breaking down, of  breaking out of a political state, whether
or megalopolis.The
supervised, yet required, that element of anti-nature which burgeoned withinit. Unlike the megalopolis, the
required an unpredicability, an assurance that something1
unforeseeable might occur. (The megalopolis, by contrast, relies on predictability, alwayssearching for the code which will transform all events into a coherent series of statistics.) “Whatdomesticity regulated — savagery — it demanded” (L 201), Lyotard argues, suggesting that the
could not survice without the feeling of incipience, of future. Likewise, the phenomenonwhich held it together on a communal basis, might be responsiblke for its undoing on theindividual level. This phenomenon is love. When the community feels love for itseld as awhole, then it becomes and remains strong, out of service to itself. But when one person lovesanother, and loves that person more than the community, individual priorities and values cometo the fore in the lovers’ minds. Love “has no concern for the regulation of services, places,moments” (L 201). Such feelings chip away at the solid foundation of community, therefore,maintains Lyotard, “All love is criminal” (L 201).In the same way love detracts the individual’s attention from the
, so does solitudemilitate against notions of community and social concern. When the individual has time to thinkof himself, he worries about his needs,m his concerns, his liberty, and these thoughts are non-conducive to either societal stability or progress. Solitude might one to aspirations of power, or(within the megalopolis, at least) needs of the religious sort, needs unaddressed by a systemgeared towards capital. In the
, religion might be exploited as a means of suppressingindividuation, but a person who thinks of himself as possessing a transcendent nature poses athreat to mundane concerns like performing required labor. Lyotard observes that one form of solitude is particularly sediitious, namely that of the adolescent, whose world is likely to revolvearound the issue of loneliness, uniqueness, self-expression, or desperate love. The adolescent islikely to view the
through the filter of lost love, or peer-exile, or whatever social maladymight persecute him, and resent it (the
) all the more. In such cases, he will ignore the benefits of community, and subsume his surroundings in a pit of adolescent angst, caring toomuch for himself and not enough for everyone else. “The solitude of the adolescent in the
is seditious because in the supense of its melancholy it bears the whole order of nature andculture,” writes Lyotard. Adolescent misanthropy is a hotbed of anti-communal behavior in the2

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