What do thinkers think?

After the attacks of 13-November, what do thinkers think?

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Since that unfortunate Friday 13 November, French society has found itself, brutally, in an episode in its history that will undoubtedly mark a profound change. We are living through a mutation that troubles and questions us. How can we understand it? France can be proud of its intellectuals, many of whom have been beacons of world thought. What is the situation today? Where have the intellectuals gone? What are they telling us? Deafening silence or provocation, some of the speeches seem to be out of step with the changes in the world. A detailed review.
 
« L’history is a nightmare to wake up from." says James Joyce in his Ulysses. The nightmare, the French, mixed with the world, lived it this Friday, November 13. Since then, things have changed, everything has changed. Past the fear of the images relayed ad nauseam on the news channels, it's a new French company that we discovered. That of the riversTears, clenched fists, squeezing together at the scene of the attacks, the interminable minutes of silence heavy with tears, the silence of the Marseillaise family, who in a few seconds became the world hit of 2015, sung everywhere, the silence of the tricolour flag that has become a world emblem, covering the walls of the world's great monuments like those of Facebook friends, the silence of the long taboo word "war", declined and redeclined in all its tones.
 
Something strange and strong has been in the gésine for a week. Fear mixed with the reflex of startle and resistance, national union, even sacred union around measures that we never thought could be taken by a left-wing government, return of a patriotic feeling that we thought had fallen into the dustbin of history; this Friday, November 13-November marks a date when nothing seems to be able to be as it was before.
 
Faced with the violence of this mutation, confusion and incomprehension are part of normalcy, say the psychologists and psychoanalysts who have come to listen to us. « You never recover from such an event, you go through it, and then you slowly get over the pain. That's why it's pointless to say to people, "You have to grieve." Grieving is a lonely job, it's about replacing the traumatic history with the memory... "we says the psychoanalyst Elisabeth Roudinesco. She continues, entrusting us with a vademecum: " We must cultivate the spirit of resistance in the face of tyranny and barbarism and know that this is war. We must remember those who were able to resist Nazism and fascism and not give in to hatred of others.. »
War, once again the word is out. It would explain and justify everything. We then look for elements of an answer among the great intellectuals who so willingly strut around in the media armchairs. Help! Mayday!
 
Deafening silence, with a few exceptions, which take the form of late summer thunderstorms rather than forged thinking.
So let us listen, in the silence of thought, to a few scattered murmurs.
 
Resistors
 
If there is one word that comes up often in these troubled times, it is Resistance. The French would thus have "entered into resistance". Not that of the Second World War, no; a new form of resistance that does not require violent actions or outbursts. Resistance would simply be to live normally.
The Philosopher Vincent Cespedes speaks of "neo-resistance", considering that " it's a new form of resistance to go into the coffee shops. It's not resistance like when you take up arms or go underground, it's a new form of resistance, adapted to a new kind of terrorism.« . Why neo-resistance? Because, as he explained to the Huffington Post, "It's for the new generation, because we have new ways of doing it - social networks in particular - and because we've entered a new era. ".
 

Edgar Morin
 
Edgar Morin at call also, in another way, to the resistance. In the name of the humanity within us: "We must resist the barbarities.... This resistance makes me alive. The force that animates me comes from a certainty. I feel within me the humanity of which I am a part. Not only am I a small part of the whole, but the whole is within myself. Perhaps this is what gives me the energy to continue on the path that is mine. And at some point, without you knowing why, it's like a catalyst, something happens, changes, rocks... That's what hope is all about. ".
 

Abdennour Bidar
 
This resistance must also be applied to the temptation of amalgamation and the temptation to castigate Muslim communities. The philosopher specializing in Islam, Abdennour Bidar, launches in Libération a vibrant appeal: "Consciously and unconsciously, [Daech] is prey to radically anti-humanist forces, which seek to drag him and us into a kind of apocalypse. The humanists of the world, including Muslims, must all cooperate and associate their forces of resistance, as a matter of urgency, with this scenario of madness..... »
He continues, " We must resist all together to these psychological mechanisms in which we seek to drag us, and for this we must not make the wrong enemy: he is external. Let us not fall into the trap of the internal enemy who would point to the Muslim, the immigrant, the refugee, who lives here. Let us not let the terrorists make us enemies of ourselves. They know that they alone cannot defeat us, so they are trying to use our own temptations for discord against us.... »
 
In the same vein, Tahar Ben Jelloun at callHe, too, to a form of resistance, that of the Muslims, which would take the slogan "Not in my name": "Not in my name". More than ever, Muslim countries, those who believe in the Islam of peace, those who believe in monotheistic brotherhood, must mobilize, because their religion has been stolen and violated, in the name of which innocent people are being massacred. Reacting en masse, provoking a "Springtime of Islam", an Islam reviving its centuries of light and knowledge. Saying and shouting, "Not in my name." To return to education, to daily pedagogy, and to fight to put values back in their place... ".
 
Accepting war
 
There are other voices urging us to flee from denial. Yes, we are indeed at war; we must accept it and draw the consequences.
Bernard-Henri Lévy so states in The rule of the game : " Call a spade a spade. And to dare to formulate this terrible word of "war", which is the vocation, the proper and, in fact, the nobility of the word, as well as the weakness of democracies to push it to the limits of their understanding, of their imaginary, symbolic and real points of reference. ...] Consent to the oxymoron of a modern Republic obliged to fight to save itself... ".
 

Bernard-Henri Lévy
 
When you say war, you call for exceptional behaviour. The historian Jean-Noël Jeanneney reminds us in The World to the lessons of history and the duty of courage: "It is thus on the side of wars defined as such that lessons must be learned, to warn against illusions too confortables : those of the concessions of cowardice. "
 
In one of his chronicles, Renée Fregosia philosopher and director of political science research, confronts us with our responsibilities in a war situation: "We must be aware of our responsibilities in a war situation. Let us dare to stand up for a democracy that is being tested in uncertain and imperfect daily practice, rather than projecting itself into a nightmarishly bright future. Let us dare to defend Alain Finkielkraut and reply aloud, let us not retreat into a "society that whispers" as Boualem Sansal lucidly fears.  ".
 
However, the historian Pascal Ory puts things in perspective and defines in an article he signs in the World...what this war is. For him, "Terrorism is the war of our time, because the planet where classical wars still exist (Africa, Asia and, as a bridge between the two, the Middle East) strikes the pacified planet (the West, exceptionally deprived of classical warfare since 1945), but also because it achieves the conciliation so dreamed of by so many humanist intellectuals between extreme individualism, dear to the West, and absolute fusion, dear to fundamentalist nostalgia. It is, in fact, a "radical" individualism. In time, it is a synthesis of two historical figures that are now somewhat dated: that of political homicide and that of the totalitarian militant. ".
This new war is forcing us to revise our values.
 
Revision of values
 
This is the idea that Luc Ferry in Le Figaro : " When Islamists, who are called "terrorists" so as not to shock anyone, kill themselves, when the sacrifice of their own lives is dedicated to hatred and death, what can be done against them? They are not afraid to die, they think they are serving a sacred cause, their religion promises them a thousand paradises, and it is in joy that they blow themselves up. No matter how much we wage war on them in Mali or Syria or deploy our police and intelligence forces on French territory, their hostility is first and foremost in our minds and hearts. Do we seriously believe that only bombs will be able to defeat them? The urgency is first and foremost to fight at home against the many places of indoctrination, but also to revise our own ways of thinking.. »
 
 

Raphael Glucksmann
 
This is the field we're taking us to... Raphael Glucksmann in us calling to pull ourselves together: "Daech's terror can make us lose our values, we must save the part of France that is in us," he says. "We're at a moment of redefining society. We can't indulge our phobia, otherwise we'll finish Daech's work. We have to name the evil and take back the definition of who we are. To take up our national narrative that is under attack and no longer natural", says the writer, for whom Daech is neither "a religion, a culture or a civilization".".
 
The war we are waging is a war of values, a war of ideologies. That's what mezza voce André Comte-Sponville. He refuses in a interview the assertion that the perpetrators have nothing to do with Islam. « What they have in common with Islam is that they're Muslims... Just as the Inquisition was practiced by Christians," he explains, the philosopher adds. For him, who defines himself as an atheist, religious leaders have a role to play in defending human values. « Since this war is not between states, but between ideologies, the fight must also be fought on the basis of values. ".
 
The consensus on these issues is therefore clear. A lukewarm consensus, which does not hinder and which is intended to calm spirits and guide future actions as much as possible. On the other hand, as soon as thinkers start looking for responsibilities, to find the causes of the situation, things get out of hand very quickly.
 
Responsibilities
 
The loudest thunderclap came from Michel OnfrayHe is one of the best known of our contemporary philosophers, author of several dozen books, many of which are bestsellers. Onfray didn't wait to raise his voice. At 1:20 a.m. on the night of the Paris bombings, while the emergency services were still busy and all the security forces were on the alert, barely an hour after the martial intervention of the President of the Republic, who told us that we were at war, at that singularly hot moment, he published a shocking tweet:
 
 
The next morning, Saturday, in an interview given to the Point...he's still going strong. Daech's remaining killers on the run seem to fascinate the philosopher. « They have a vision of history unlike us (the West) who are subjected to trivial materialism and money mafias."
Michel Onfray admits that we are at war. But this war, he says, we started it with George Bush. The journalist from Le Point tries to move him: "but the people from Daech killed innocent people in our country! ». Answer of the philosopher: " we, too, have killed innocent people« . So we only get what we deserve. Moreover, Onfray rebels, " by what right do we call them barbarians? ». According to the philosopher, they are like us.... They're doing to the grinder what we do with drones."
And Michel Onfray to conclude his diatribe: " There's a fervor in the French that's not relevant. ». A way of saying," Maurice Szafran notes in a vitriolic article published in Challengesthat among Daech's killers, fervour has an object.
 

Michel Onfray's comments were included in a Daech propaganda video on 21 November.
 
Michel Onfray's words have caused an outcry from a wide variety of backgrounds. Bernard-Henri Lévy wrote : " And as for the eternal culture of excuses that presents these death squads as humiliated, pushed to the limit by an iniquitous society and forced by poverty to execute young people whose only crime is to have enjoyed rock music, football or the cool of an autumn night on a café terrace, it is an insult to poverty no less than to the executed.. »
 

READ UP'. : Michel Onfray : stupid talk

Caroline Fourest in his chronicle of the Huffington Post lets his anger explode and doesn't hesitate to talk about "collaborators' refrain": "So it's our fault that we are being killed because we love equality, secularism and freedom of expression. It is our fault if we peacefully defend ourselves when our rights are threatened. And militarily when they declare war on us.
This is not only immoral. They're arming terrorists. They make it easier to recruit them. They make us a target. They are tunes of collaborators, surrogates, playing into the hands of propaganda designed to destroy us... ".
 
Tariq Ramadan himself, the sulfurous thinker of Islam, without directly commenting on Michel Onfray's article, is in La Tribune de Genèvea discourse that speaks out against a rhetoric that seeks to find responsibility everywhere, and ultimately"...nowhere." However, we must all, all of us, from North to South, in the West and in the East, refuse to think of ourselves as victims. Victims of the other, responsible for nothing. Everywhere, unfortunately, we find this somewhat cowardly and very emotional attitude. "It's not us, it has nothing to do with Islam, the West is responsible... They don't like Islam and reject Muslims." These words echoing: "These Muslims are colonizing us, they don't respect our values, they want to convert us, they don't want to integrate and they hate our freedoms." So in this new world, no one is responsible for the chaos anymore. If this is the reality, then there is no hope... ".
 
The fault of the West
 
Michel Onfray's words seeking to shift the blame for terrorism to a decadent, uncharted Western world find echoes in other thinkers. It is an antiphon that we already knew at the time of the September 11 attacks. At that time, Jean Baudrillardthe eminent French intellectual, explained in his book Power Inferno that in order to understand hatred of the West, one must reverse the perspective: " It is not the hatred of those from whom everything has been taken and to whom nothing has been given back, it is the hatred of those to whom everything has been given without their being able to give it back. It is not, therefore, the hatred of dispossession and exploitation, but the hatred of humiliation.. "In this light, September 11th is nothing but revenge for humiliation against humiliation.
Baudrillard believed that the illusion of eradicating terrorism as an absolute evil would become absurdity and nonsense because it is the verdict and the condemnation that our society bears upon itself.  Alain MincThe author, situated at a cardinal opposite point in political reflection, was saying the same thing when he wrote his book This world that's coming that, through terrorism, it is not so much non-Western hatred of the West that threatens Western society, as it is the "...". hatred of the West from the depths of his heart. ». Therefore, Western societies cannot be "at war" with terrorism. Indeed, it is not a question of our societies fighting the "other" but of fighting a part of themselves.
 

Bertrand Stiegler
 
It is in the extension of this idea that the words of another intellectual are illuminated, Bertrand Stieglerwhich reacts to the attacks of 13 November in The World. For him, " This is not a war against Daech, but an economic and global war, which will drag us into civil war if we do not fight it. ». He goes on to say, " The attacks of 13 November are suicide bombings, and this is not insignificant: suicide is on the rise throughout the world, especially among young people who know that they will be unemployed for a very long time. ".
 
For Stiegler, terrorism has its roots in the world that the West offers. A philosopher who based his work on technicality, Stiegler states that " the GAFA [Google-Amazon-Facebook-Apple] strategy can only extend their ecosystem and intensify the colonisation of Europe: explode transport, real estate, education, all sectors, via new models such as Uber. Yet this disruptive practice destroys social equilibrium - something that [the German philosopher] Theodor W. Adorno anticipated when he spoke in 1944 of a "new form of barbarism" in relation to cultural industries. ». He goes on to say... Declaring war on Daech won't make it better. This declaration is just a way of getting rid of one's own responsibilities by blaming people who have become extremely dangerous and whom we have co-produced with Daech. ». He concludes: " We are reducing radicalism to a question of religion, and that is outrageous. Most radical islam recruits have no religious background. It's not about religion, it's about desperation... ".
 
These positions are consistent rhetoric. They should be seen in the context of the recurrent discourse on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, on Islamic terrorism, and, to a less dramatic degree, on the crises in our suburbs and our integration problems. Alain Finkielkraut in this regard, in le Figaro versus"the ethnocentrism of the West's bad conscience".
 
You get used to anything
 
In another register, one will note the singular stance taken by the tone of another intellectual who is venerated and controversial at the same time: Michel Houellebecq. The author of Submission is given in Il Corriere de la Serra (translation) to a violent attack on the current rulers who are leading the docile French people to war: " You get used to it, even to bombings. France will resist. The French will be able to resist, even without displaying exceptional heroism, without even needing a collective "trigger" of national pride. They will resist because we cannot do otherwise, and because we get used to everything. ...Contrary to popular belief, the French are rather docile and are easy to govern, but that does not mean that they are complete fools. Their main flaw could be defined as a kind of superficiality that tends to be forgotten, and that means that they need to be periodically refreshed. The deplorable situation in which we find ourselves is to be attributed to specific political responsibilities; and these political responsibilities will have to be scrutinised sooner or later. It is highly unlikely that the insignificant opportunist who occupies the office of Head of State, as well as the congenitally retarded one who holds the office of Prime Minister, not to mention the "tenors of the opposition" (LOL), will emerge with the honours of this examination. ".
 

Michel Houellebecq
 
Under the guise of supporting the people abandoned by the political elites, Houellebecq betrays them a second time with a form of justification of terrorism.
 
 
At the end of this review, taken at face value, during the week following the attacks of 13-November, one is struck by the nature of the reactions of the patent thinkers on the mutation that we are experiencing. In the face of events, the reactions of intellectuals are still of the order of emotion, of immediate thought. We can deplore with the philosopher Jean-Luc Nancy that instead of a thought commensurate with the situation, " suspicious outbursts, misidentified drifts and hype, giving lessons in every direction. It makes debate, it makes pictures, it makes noise... ». He adds in his article in Libération: " But make no mistake about it. You have to know how to listen to silence and look at what doesn't show up... ".
We are undoubtedly at the heart of a change in society; a far-reaching change that will last. A mutation that no one will be able to grasp until after the fact. But, adds Jean-Luc Nancy, "it is possible, it is necessary to think according to this horizon or vanishing line. This does not prevent us from thinking about the present. On the contrary ".
 
 

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