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Unformatted text preview: p. 29-33 To quote Lyotard again: humanity is divided into two parts. One confronts the challenge of complexity, the other confronts the ancient, terrible challenge of survival. This is perhaps the principal aspect of the failure of the modern project . . .It is not the absence of progress, but on the contrary the development -techno-scientific, artistic, economic, political - which made possible the total wars, totalitarianisms, the widening gap between the riches of the North and poverty of the South, unemployment and the `new poor' . . .Lyotard's conclusion is blunt and damning: `it has become impossible to legitimize development by the promise of the emancipation of humanity in its totality.''' Yet it was exactly that `emancipation' - from want, `low standards of life', paucity of needs, doing what the community has done rather than `being able' to do whatever one may still wish in the future (`able' in excess of present wishes) - that loomed vaguely behind Harry Truman's 1947 declaration of war on `underdevelopment'. Since then, unspeakable sufferings have been visited upon the extant `earth economies' of the world in the name of happiness, identified now with the `developed', that is modern, way of life. Their delicately balanced livelihood which could not survive the condemnation of simplicity, frugality, acceptance of human limits and respect for non-human forms of life, now lies in ruin, yet no viable, locally realistic alternative is in sight. The victims of `development' - the true Giddensian juggernaut which crushes everything and everybody that happens to stand in its way - `shunned by the advanced sector and cut off from the old ways . . . are expatriates in their own countries.'" Wherever the juggernaut has passed, know-how vanishes, to be replaced by a dearth of skills; commodified labour appears where men and women once lived; tradition becomes an awkward ballast and a costly burden; common utilities turn into underused resources, wisdom into prejudice, wise men in...
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- Fall '13