File spoon-archives/foucault.archive/foucault_2000/foucault.0007, message 6

Date:  6 Jul 00 09:54:55 MDT
Subject: bio-chimie-pouvoir

hello everybody again,

You remember my last posting:
>first: Foucault's shunning of hard sciences like biochemistry
>second:his attraction towards rigid victim-communities

I got two direct replies (thanks again) and caused probably some frowning.
What about victim-communities? Doesn't it smell of a lack of sympathy for the
marginalized? I do indeed believe such self-images are contraproductive to say
the least. The topic is hot, I know. The Go-for-liberation-victims are urged
to sacrifice their lives in the name of freedom or whatever. Most of them do
never get the better, but there are always some that do. Some inside, but
blaming the outside. Now, having brought in "victim" and "sacrifice", I come
to biochemistry via pharmaceutics. See the three words. in German the first
two are just one: "Opfer". And besides the old Greek "pharmakon" there is a
second root "pharmakos" meaning "sacrifice", "Opfer" as well (Derrida once
wrote about this). What I'm about to point out? Well, if you take in,say, nice
little useful vitamine pills every morning (by the way, I do) you do a kind of
"Opfer" (me too), and we enter thus the modern pharmaceutical purgatory (with
emphasis on purging!). Day by day we give away tiny bits of own
responsibility. Before discussing harder stuff, antidepressants for instance
or pharmacogenetics, I would rather focus the harmless(?). It's less
nerve-racking. So let me put it this way. Every little vitamine is a
connecting point to productive power shaping the in- and outside of our
bodies. You get used to realize yourself as a sort of biochemical reactor
linked to all sorts of processing, supply-lines, resources, depots,
informations, facts, innovations. Some Foucault rhetoric, you see. Or more?
Let me end here with some words about Foucault. I can't stop admiring his
strength of mind, his quest for better understanding, for a life in a grim
world, for some comfort nevertheless. But I'm afraid he took a very risky, at
least negligent stand regarding pharmaceuticals, drugs. I fear he got more and
more trapped in a biochemical relief system. His almost merciless questioning
of science missed out the very hard chemical cases. Probably "shunning" is not
the right word, perhaps he "shied", too much feel-good was at stake. I clearly
don't want to discuss the use of drugs here but the very chemical core we take
more and more for granted.

So long

Wilhelm Becker

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