From: Erik Hoogcarspel <jehms@xxxxxxxxxxxx>
Date: Sun, 09 Jan 2000 23:04:15 +0100
I'm not familiar enough with Foucault to give quotes, but I see a possibility, which would
be open for Foucault. The eternal return of the like is no problem, since no one knows how
long the cycle will take. The future is therefore still unknown. Any commitment to a
future possibility is in danger of a unjustified exercise of power, since the future
possibility might not be what we expected it would be. The Sovjet State was a
disappointment, so is the neocapitalism of today. But maybe the commitment shouldn't be
dependend on the result or the content, but on the esthetic qualities of the commitment
and the engagement. So one can chose a commitment because of the present situation, or
one's evaluation of it not because one is right and others are wrong, but because one
wants to insert an element of beauty or enjoyment into the present picture. This
commitment is not a dogma, but a promise of goodwill and not a garanty for a fixed result.
Does this make any sense?
Sebastian Gurciullo wrote:
> At 09:57 4*1*00 EST, you wrote:
> >> But how is this political? Any takers?
> >Not necessarily a taker, but rather another question. Does anyone
> >have a sense of how the political here relates to issues of political
> >commitment or intentionality? Specifically I am interested in the
> >notion of commitment to future possibility. Thanks.
> An interesting question, I'll take a stab. Political practice as it
> manifests itself around us does seem to be future directed activity which
> either seeks to prepare a future possibility by some present act or alter
> the present in some way so as to create a desired future. It essentially
> relies on the capacity to make promises (to oneself/to others) as a
> commitment or intention to change, which would be meaningless if it was not
> somehow premised on the belief that such change would offer some kind of
> improvement or advantage (ie. it would simply be change for the sake of
> change) and that the change could actually be delivered as promised. In
> Foucault's analytic of power in the 1970s, such change became problemmatic:
> impossible, meaningless, or only a far-off possibility. At least Foucault
> never promised anything, or only very little. I think the Nietzschean figure
> of eternal return governed this impasse, the perpetual return of the same as
> difference but without any (or very little) sense of forward movement (as
> occurs in abundance in the figure of progress). In terms of radical
> gestures, it would be a change in the expectation of change, the
> self-elimination of any possibility for intentional transformation as the
> greatest of transformations. It would perhaps require the cultivation of
> being able to forget certain promises, or perhaps forgetting how to promise.
> But what happens when someone remembers?