File spoon-archives/foucault.archive/foucault_1998/foucault.9801, message 32


Date: Wed, 14 Jan 1998 01:10:35 -0500 (EST)
Subject: Re: Deleuze's fifth paragraph


Does anyone else see -- or does everyone else see -- the Heideggerian
element in Foucault's work as summarized by Deleuze? The "shock" that I
Heidegger was supposed to supply to Foucault consists, I guess, in the
revelation (from _BT_) that we are thrown into environments that shape our
consciousness and color our "intentional" moods without ourselves being
reflectively aware of the bias or spin present in such seemingly natural
circumstances. The same point is made in later work by Heidegger, though
with adjustments. (I've found Gerald L. Bruns' books, _Heidegger's
Estrangements_ and _Hermeneutics: Ancient and Modern_ very useful on the
later Heidegger; believe me, Bruns is a lot better than my clumsy
summaries.) For instance, in "The Origin of the Work of Art" (1936; 
revised 1957) Heidegger, in a familiar passage, writes,

	   To be a work means to set up a world. But what is it to be
	a world? The answer was hinted at when we referred to the
	temple [above]. On the path we must follow here, the nature
	of world can only be indicated. What is more, this indication
	limits itself to wading off anything that might at first 
	distort our view of the world's nature.
	   The world is not the mere collection of the countable or
	uncountable, familiar and unfamiliar things that are just
	there. But neither is it a merely imagined framework added
	by our representation to the sum of such given things.
	The *world worlds*, and is more fully in being than the 
	tangible and perceptible realm in which we believe 
	ourselves to be at home. World is never an object that
	stands before us and can be seen. World is the ever-
	nonobjective to which we are subject as long as the
	paths of birth and death, blessing and curse keep us
	transported into Being. Wherever those decisions of our
	history that relate to our very being are made, are taken
	up and abandoned by us, go unrecognized and are 
	rediscovered by new inquiry, there the world worlds. A 
	stone is worldless. Plant and animal likewise have no 
	world; but they belong to the covert throng of a 
	surrounding into which they are linked. The peasant 
	woman, on the other hand, has a world because she dwells
	in the overtness of beings, of the things that are. Her
	equipment, in its reliability, gives to this world a 
	necessity and nearness of its own. By the opening up of
	a world, all things gain their lingering and hastening,
	their remoteness and nearness, their scope and limits.
	In a world's worlding is gathered that spaciousness
	out of which the protective grace of the gods is
	granted or withheld. Even this doom of the god remaining
	absent is a way in which world worlds. ("The Origin of
	the Work of Art" in _Poetry, Language, Thought_, trans.
	Albert Hofstadter, Harper & Row, 1971, pp. 44-45)

The stuff that sounds like Deleuze's Foucault is in the first half of the
excerpt, especially with the start of the second paragraph. That the
"world worlds" is simply an expression of the fact that discrete cultural
landscapes are produced at various times under all sorts of conditions.
Weber's account of the protestant ethic is an example of the world
worlding; feminist rejections of patriarchy in favor of independence and
equality is a world worlding, and, as Deleuze mentions below, the
Bolshevik revolution was a worldling.

In his first paragraph from the excerpt above, Heidegger claims that "on
the path we must follow here, the nature of world can only be indicated." 
He's saying, I think, that there is something in principle ineffable about
"world" and "worlding." Can we take Foucault by implication to be saying
that Heidegger makes things too mysterious? (In which case, get in line
Michel!) Foucault talks about all sorts of ways in which the world worlds,
though that's not how he would put it.  It's not so mysterious. It might
be difficult to get at what the prison system and resulting disciplinary
inventions have done with us. It might require some archaeology and
genealogy, but it is by no means "ineffable." We don't have to be like
Plato about it, when he claims that the Forms can only be discussed
metaphorically.

So: employ Heidegger's insight but dump the ineffability defense. But then
is it really Heidegger's big insight? Didn't Nietzsche point out the
production of diverse regimes of the will to power? Isn't the difference
between N and H semantical, in which case the prize goes to Nietzsche "for
the most meaningful semantics"? Instead of reading Heidegger, why not read
Nietzsche, who requires a much less powerful decoder ring? 

There seems to be an additional element of Heidegger's thought glimpsed at
in the later sections of the excerpt reproduced above. Remember near the
end he talks about a peasant woman and the kind of world she's been thrown
into. He then contrasts her "world", rather romantically, to our own:
"Even this doom of the god remaining absent is a way in which world
worlds." 

It seems to me you could completely split off the romantic complaints
about technology at the end of the excerpt from the insight about worlds
worlding. And I mean really: "Even this doom of the god remaining
absent...": What is it about Germans (or the German language, or its
educational system, or whatever) that produces these agonies over our
"doom"? To me he sounds a lot like like Weber at the end of _Protestant
Ethic_: 

	And the modern economic order is bound to technical and economic
	conditions of machine production which determine the lives of all
	individuals born into this mechanism. "Perhaps it will so determine
	them until the last ton of fossilized coal is burnt. In Baxter's
	view the care for external goods should only lie on the shoulders
	of the 'saint like a light cloak, which can be thrown aside at any
	moment.' But fate decreed that the cloak became an iron cage."
	(Weber, _The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism_,
	p. 181, New York, Scribner, 1958.)

And he ends the book with his own portent of doom:

	No one knows who will live in this cage in the future, or whether
	at the end of this tremendous development entirely new prophets 
	will arise, or there will be a great rebirth of old ideas and
	ideals, or, if neither, mechanized petrification, embellished with
	a sort of convulsive self-importance. For of the last stage of
	this cultural development, it might well be truly said:
	'Specialists without spirit, sensualists without heart; this
	nullity imagines that it has attained a level of civilization 
	never before achieved."(Ibid., p. 182)

Again, what is it, as Seinfeld might say, with these Germans? 

The more one looks at it the more Foucault seems distant from both the
"spirit" and "world" of Weber and Heidegger, if I may put it that way --
at least when they fall into their propheteering. As Deleuze accurately
points out, Foucault is much more interested in "lines of escape" than
these sonorous declamations of doom. Such lines can only be pursued,
however, once "the Eternal" is replaced with "the new" as the raison
d'etre of philosophic efforts. The Eternal always gets you to say dark and
ominous things. Jeremiah, for instance. Not to mention Isaiah. Don't even
get me started on Peter, who writes:

  Romans|7:14  For we know that the law is spiritual: but I am
carnal, sold under sin.
  Romans|7:15  For that which I do I allow not: for what I would, that do
I not; but what I hate, that do I.                                            
  Romans|7:16  If then I do that which I would not, I consent unto the law  
that [it is] good.                                                          
  Romans|7:17  Now then it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth   
in me.
  Romans|7:18  For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no    
good thing: for to will is present with me; but [how] to perform that
which is good I find not.
  Romans|7:19  For the good that I would I do not: but the evil which I     
would not, that I do.                                                       
  Romans|7:20  Now if I do that I would not, it is no more I that do it,    
but sin that dwelleth in me.                                                
  Romans|7:21  I find then a law, that, when I would do good, evil is       
present with me.                                                            
  Romans|7:22  For I delight in the law of God after the inward man:        
  Romans|7:23  But I see another law in my members, warring against the
law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is
in my members
  Romans|7:24  O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the
body of this death?

Talk about "lines of escape!"

Below is the latest paragraph from Deleuze, reproduced.

> 	The second consequence of a philosophy of social apparatuses
> [*dispositifs*] is a change of orientation which turns one's interests
> away from the Eternal and towards the new. The new is not supposed to mean
> the same as the fashionable but, on the contrary, the variable creativity
> which arises out of social apparatuses [*dispositifs*]. This fits in with
> the question which began to be asked in the twentieth century as to how
> the production of something new in the world might be possible. It is true
> that, throughout his history of enunciation, Foucault explicitly impugns
> the 'originality' of an *e'nonce'* as being something which is of little
> relevance and interest. All he wishes to consider is the 'regularity' of
> *e'nonce's*. But what he understands by regularity is the sweep of the
> curve which passes through singular points or the differential values of
> the ensemble of enunciations (in the same way that he defines power
> relations by means of the distribution of singular elements in a social
> field). When he challenges the originality of an *e'nonce'*, he means that
> a contradiction which might arise between two *e'nonce's* is not enough to
> distinguish them, or to mark the newness of one with regard to the other.
> What counts is the newness of the regime itself in which the enunciation
> is made, given that such newness of the regime itself in which the
> enunciation is made, given that such a regime is capable of containing
> contradictory *e'nonce's*. One might, for example, ask what regime of
> *e'nonce's* appeared with the social apparatus [*dispositif] of the French
> Revolution, or the Bolshevik Revolution: it is the newness of the regime
> that counts, not the newness of the *e'nonce'*. Each apparatus is thus
> defined in terms of its newness content and its creativity content, this
> marking at the same time its ability to transform itself, or indeed to
> break down in favor of a future apparatus, unless it concentrates its
> strength along its harder, more rigid or more solid lines. Inasmuch as
> they escape the dimensions of power and knowledge, the lines of
> subjectification seem particularly capable of tracing paths of creation,
> which are continually aborting, but then restarting, in a modified way,
> until the former apparatus is broken. Foucault's as yet unpublished
> studies on various Christian processes probably open a number of different
> avenues in this respect. Yet it would not be right to think that the
> production of subjectivity is the territory only of religion:
> anti-religious struggles are also creative, just as regimes of light,
> enunciation and domination pass through different domains. Modern forms of
> subjectivation no longer resemble those of Greece any more than they do
> those of Christianity, and the same goes for their light, their
> enunciations and their forms of power.
> 
> 
> 
> 
> <<<<<<<<<<<<<>>>>>>>>>>>>><
> < John S. Ransom     717-2 <
> < Political Science      4 <
> ^ Dickinson College      5 ^
> ^ Carlisle, PA 17013     - ^
> > ransom-AT-dickinson.edu   1 <
> < Denny 107              7 >
> <                        1 >
> >                        6 ^
> ><^<>^^<>^<>^<>^^>><<>^<^^<`
> 
> 




<<<<<<<<<<<<<>>>>>>>>>>>>><
< John S. Ransom     717-2 <
< Political Science      4 <
^ Dickinson College      5 ^
^ Carlisle, PA 17013     - ^
> ransom-AT-dickinson.edu   1 <
< Denny 107              7 >
<                        1 >
>                        6 ^
><^<>^^<>^<>^<>^^>><<>^<^^<`




   

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