From: Erik Hoogcarspel <jehms@xxxxxxxxx>
Date: Mon, 12 May 2008 17:53:33 +0200
Thanks Teresa for giving me the opportunity to read the text again.
Teresa Mayne schreef:
Foucault in *The Hermeneutics of the Subject,* the translations of his
lectures from the College de France between 1981 – 1982, states that "in his
activity of encouraging others to attend to themselves Socrates says that
with regard to his fellow citizens his role is that of someone who awakens
them. The care of the self will thus be looked upon as the moment of the
The text says 'Socrate est celui qui veille à ce que les concitoyens 'se
soicient d'euxmêmes'. I would translate this as 'Socrates is the one who
sees to it that his fellow citizens take care of themselves'. I don't
know which translation you use, but it seems that reading it is a
complete waste of time. Perhaps you should think of better things to do
with it like lighting a barbeque or putting a plant on it.
Does this awakening correspond in any way to the
awakening of the Enlightenment, which Kant interprets as a way that we can
free ourselves from the status of immaturity? What I mean is, is Foucault's
interpretation of Kant another way of formulating how the 'care of the self'
can be awakened yet again? And then is the 'first awakening' a constant,
unchanging awakening that is reborn again and again at various times during
history? I'm thinking of Parmenides here.
Foucault goes on to describe the kinds of personal training or askesis
in antiquity. He stresses that for all but Plato taking care of oneself
was a constant necessity if one would want to have an accomplished life.
This has nothing to do with the period called enlightenment, which is
supposed to be the period when the confidence in the Bible was replaced
with confidence in the light of reason.