Date: Thu, 6 Jul 95 13:28:56 EDT
> i cannot speak to whether the desire for constant self-transformation
> is ONLY a contemporary phenomenon, but i do think that the contemporary
> desire, at least in Foucault's case, can be understood as an appropriate form
> of resistance to contemporary political conditions. there is the famous
> passage from page 17 of the intro to THE ARCHAEOLOGY OF KNOWLEDGE where
> foucault says [...]:
> I am no doubt not the only one who writes in order to have no face.
> Do not ask who I am and do not ask me to remain the same: leave it to our
> bureaucrats and our police to see that our papers are in order. At least
> spare us their morality when we write.
You are implying that this desire to write in order to have no face,
to not think what one has been thinking, is instrumental: that its purpose
is political resistance. But this seems backwards to me. I see the
thirst for not-remaining-the-same as, in some sense, a primary
condition of living for Foucault, and I interpret the passage you quote
as merely an assertion of this primacy (I don't mean "primary" in any
technical philosophical sense). I don't think that the search for
limit experiences, for dissolution of the self, can be simply
understood as a response to political conditions. Or is it me who's
being too simplistic?