File spoon-archives/foucault.archive/foucault_2000/foucault.0011, message 30

Date: Thu, 16 Nov 2000 14:17:01 +1100 (EST)
Subject: Out of Africa

Nice quote, but can't find it, not in "archaeology" anyways, any ideas,

"Thought is no longer theoretical. As soon as it functions it
offends or reconciles, attracts or repels, breaks, dissociates,
unites, or re-unites; it cannot help but liberate and enslave.
Even before prescribing, suggesting a future, saying what must
be done, even before exhorting or merely sounding an alarm,
thought, at the level of its existence, in its very dawning, is
in itself an action--a perilous act."
           -Michel Foucault

on thoughts of resistance

thought is a perilous act, always shifting, attacking, defending,
retreating, deceiving; the attacker (the outsider, the socialist, the
academic, the theorist) looks for a fissure, a way in, a way to dismantle
existing thoughts and actions, existing monoliths(?); for their part, the
defenders (the insiders, the owners, the practitioners) are supposed to
hold onto what they have gained; but this is not the case, for insiders
forever respond, resist, seek to escape (and escape?) and move to new
levels of resistance and deception, to new orders that circumvent and
subvert the latest assault (Freedom of Information, Human Rights
Legislation, Commissions of Inquiry, World Trade Meetings, World Ecology
Forums, are classic defense stategies); in a strange twist it is the
attacker (singular) who stands still before a monolith that does not exist
and it is the defenders (plural) who constantly move about and who even
have time to undermine each other;

and the defenders have a head start (technologies of surveillance and
possession) for their deceptions are based on speed, movement and
disappearance; deceptions which are not bound by space - they unfold in
endless directions of which only few are known to the attacker; deceptions
which are not bound by time - they are seamlessly linked into history and
the future - the current deception was organised long ago, the next level
of resistance is now in place, and next year's meeting is already
scheduled; the defenders operate in blinding light and create what will
come next; by contrast, the attacker can only break into an empty room once
the game is over; they cannot enter where it counts - they cannot enter
history or the future, or even the room next door; they are locked in the
present, on a single issue, often on a single front - they are stationary -
and it is they who end up being the monoliths; the attackers operate in the
dark and face what is already in place (Vietnam protests, living wage
cases, Aboriginal Reconciliation, were and are classic attack strategies);

in the end it is the attacker who is the stabiliser, the seeker of
something tangible (and wholesome), the builder of something predictable;
the outsider becomes the consumate moralist - the conservative; the
defender is the resistance, the agent of change, the agent of deception who
must constantly be reinvented, who must always remain subversive; the
insider becomes the consumate strategist - the radical;

and "thought, at the level of its existence, in its very dawning, is in
itself an action--a perilous act" for even thought itself is a deception.


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