Wednesday, February 16, 2011

night caffed with michel

Made myself some especially strong coffee at 8 o'clock.....

Our discussion during the last class was a perfect precursor to the Foucault reading. Both Nietzsche and Foucault use this genealogical approach (which is an alternative to the type of history we were speaking about in class) which goes against this myth of the origin. Instead we have the "endlessly repeated play of dominations"--for Foucault (and I gather for Nietzsche as well) the non-focal focus/the question is "how is power working here?" Morality does not originate nor reflect what is "essentially" good or "essentially" bad--to think in this way, to look for a "center" to look for uniformity is to overlook. Morality is the valuation of dominance by the dominant. It is one interpretation.
At a "fundamental" level, l I think that what these texts serve to do is to re-orient the way in which we situate ourselves and the way in which we think/live/exist/eat/breathe/talk/interact. Instead of speaking in terms of "origin" "progress" "truth" "meaning""interpretation" "NORMAL" "totality"--one should instead embrace notions of "displacement" of "rhizomatic" (non-linear) of "montage" of "ambiguity" "non-meaning" "non-truth" "non-knowledge" "abnormal""awkward".

Who is telling you these stories?
"and what value do they themselves posses"? (preface 3 Nietzsche)


Foucault's description of the body in his work, is a conception which I find to be particularly compelling. He reminds us of physicality. "we believe, in any event, that the body obeys exclusive laws of physiology and that it escapes the influence of history, but this too is false. THe body is molded by a great many distinct regimes; it is broken down by the rhythms of work, rest, and holidays; it is poisoned by food or values, through eating or moral laws..." His perspective here is indicative of the genealogical approach-- the same sentiment he supplies here in regard to the body is analogous to the way in which we should think of the mind...of the "soul"...

I was asked I think a question which was something to the effect of what I would suggest instead of history in the traditional academic sense of history--

"Necessarily, we must dismiss those tendencies that encourage the consoling play of RECOGNITIONS. Knowledge...does not depend on "rediscovery" and it emphatically EXCLUDES the "rediscovery of ourselves." History becomes 'effective' to the degree that it INTRODUCES DISCONTINUITY INTO OUR VERY BEING--as it DIVIDES our emotions, dramatizes our instincts, multiplies our body and sets it against itself. 'Effective' history, deprives the self of the reassuring stability of life and nature...IT WILL UPROOT ITS TRADITIONAL FOUNDATIONS AND RELENTLESSLY DISRUPT ITS PRETENDED CONTINUITY. THIS IS BECAUSE KNOWLEDGE IS NOT MADE FOR UNDERSTANDING'; IT IS MADE FOR CUTTING"

This is not just how history should be considered obviously...but anything which we might be tempted to call "knowledge"--"knowledge" of the "self" "other" "object" etc.


  1. P.s.....we should read more MF. I do not understand why I am not reading him in every single one of my classes.

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