Sorry if this is too long

Note: I've left this entry as is, and worry that people will over extend it.
I take this posting space to be informal, and intend this writing to be


I would like to read Discipline and Punish (I have read a little of it).
Points taken: that F is not advocating some forms of discipline and
denouncing others. His description of the execution in the beginning of DP,m
which I have read, shows up an approach which has a certain analytical
posture, and is a stunningly Foucauldian thing to do. Your formulation "there
is no conceptual operation of 'justice whether 'fallen' or 'true'" is a bit
vague: its "there is" has to do with foucault, I assume, and as the next
sentence in your message begins. Getting to the moral binary issue, I'm all
worried about the distinction I'm setting up, and do so only under duress. I
won't be able to dialogue itme by item with your response, which I was happy
to read and receive.

So this first paragraph is to get started, and I'm going to be reflective
about my "learning" the internet/list space vis a vis communication, protocols
of writing, while I go about this, and will do so at my pleasure, until
someone (maybe myself) responsibly offers me some reason not to. This is of a
piece with what's coiming: that in order to open up a spacer in which to
respond to your response, which I am keenly interested in doing, I have to
grapple, suffer into (at least that's what it feels like right now) your
piece, its conversational quality. (I mean, it "converses" but I can't
respond with the back and forth of conversation.) And in any event, such
reflection, I should point out, is just something I'm prone to do, I guess.

I should point out that I'm rather excited right now. Agitated. This feeling
of being pulled in a number of directions, and wanting to push in a number of
directsion at the same time. Lighting the orient horizon: activism/action;
thought of the situation of crime/crime bill, situating this here in this
spacer (I was going to say "Foucault", but I'm not keeon on it), and a number
of points.

I get forst of all an orienting vis a vis Foucault, what he is doing in his
kind of analysis. And what he is not doing. There being in your response
what is part of the texture of Foucault's thought, a certain latent
principality and strategy: where certain positivities are suspended,
disrupted, in favor of a particular formjation of analysis, with what appear
to me to be center "substances" (bios, power, episteme). Might not these also
have a ninary formation: power/weakness, knowledge/blindness (if you like),
bios/death? These formations have a peculiar (if one isn't used to it)
neutrality and lack of a "subject". The "world/subject" division is
disregared into a world of people, institutions, power, appearance, which I
will provisionally refer to as the "eyes of the Foucauldian vision". (It is
interesting to note that in an early work, which I don't know the name of, in
a somewhat Heideggerian vein, Foucault used "presence in the world" for the
famous formulation "being-in-the-world".) Maybe I don't have th is
characterization down too well, and I don't know that I am able to do
Foucault within Foucault, for the time being, or to differen, without having
read him very well, and to do so within a critique, but that's what I'm doing
and I'm doing it here because this is what it is: a posting group, and not a
scene for definitive statement.

I hate ot say it, but I get this sense, as I have gotten with foucault in
the past, of a certain totalization, a totalization which I am sorry to say
revealis itself to me more in a certain consistency of hiw writing styile,
certain limitations of his language, etc. I suppose this is a kind of
deconstructive perspective, but I'm not too sure what "deconstruction" means.
Something tells me that it is a bit of a mistake to focus on or use/regularize
the term too much, or to think that it can be so methodized. Ok, but to make
such a move (if it can be called a move, and if the presentation of the point
here is not in fact a part of something that was never situated elsewhere in
the first place, a place to which I would be moving), here, does not mean
that I don't like some parts of Foucault.

To cut to the quick, a perception which is clear enoiugh for me to enable
such possibilities as the one mentioned my first post. At least I think I
"disabiliity" on "Foucault's" part and like that disability with the
conditions of malaise and outrage/concern when we look, with whatever eyese,
at the Crime Bill (I'll give it the glory it deserves with capital letters).
this thing will respond to your reflectsions about activism, the fact that
the "productive discussion" leading to a "ray of hope" concerning the
feasibility of extending the Iowa project, occurs here in this space.

OIk, if you've stuck with me this far: The "activism" I was pointing to
(very minimally) in my first post is not the kind of polemos of your newpaper
writing, if it was what I imagine it to be, it it was like so much
"left/progressive polemos". It might be closer to the PIRG work. but you/I
expect me to change voices, as you do from paragrpah one to paragraph 2 (or
do you?)? Something changes, too much. The activism I point to and various
concerns I have gets and stays caught up in the spaces upend up by
"philosophY', "Foucault", this discussion, etc. Being in that space seems
to me to be a lot easier than moving into it from the kind of space opend up
by our tiny exchange. Being in the space I'm trying to get to, that is, is
easier than moving from here to there, or to be there while here, so to
speak, or to make here there enough to see what I mean. Or to get there FROM
foucault, which is why I worry about a certain totalizating tendency in
foucault's thought (but I bear deeply and indepentently in mind his very
thematizations of totalization, his elegant recommendations that others write
alternative archaeologies, etc.) And it might not be Foucault I am worried
about, which would have me repeat his name a lot, use his language, and
depart with elaborate rituals of respect before his gaze, or yours, as I
imagine it, such as in this belaboring, or in Derrida's engagement in such a
tension in the beginning of The Cogito and the History of Madness (is that the
correct title?) In th is tearing, this un-easy space, I can find all of the
impossibilities I need to build my case for the kind of activism I'm pointing

Let me move through your response: quickly, we get to your history of
activism. Misspent time? I'll bet not as much as you characterize, but I'll
take you at your word. Then a disenchantment with American Activism (which
isn't hard to imagine considering the en-chantment economies of American
Activism). Then onward to the care of the self, while a whole sphere of
possibility shuts down. I apolize if this sounds negative or "flamey": I
don't mean it that way (at least I hope I don't).

We reach: that I seem in terested in the area of reform concerning the
apparatus of the criminal. The word that comes immediately to mind for me is
Kuhn, namely, the problematic (which I haven't seen treated) of what happens
when science incorporates Kuhn, especially the "human sciences". To make the
poit clear: i'm interested in reform concerning the appratus of the criminal,
as you said, but: such that it is a reform that accomplishes itself because
thought, such as that of Foucault, informs these very presentations
(appratus, criminal, discipline, punish). So that appratus is "awakened".
Ok, so: I think Foucault LOOKS at certain things without actually doing much
on certain levels. The eyes are awake, while language sleeps, for example.
Language, for one thing. While Derrida, and Heidegger, for example,
accomplish this on more, or maybe just other levels. And, to be sure,
Heidegger slept politically, it seems.

Why am I pointing this out? It isn't to pit Derrida against Foucault, but
point to something which the juxtaposition of these names, within the context
here, shows up. It has everything to do with the question of "activism" I
would like to get to. If we can let be incorporated comments on action like
those of Nietzsche (in making a moral judgment, which is presumably one
action, you actually make three--for example), Heidegger (the essense of
action lies in accomplishment--for example), etc., then the "action " of
activism can come into serious question. In the space of this question, I
question your direction of where my points fit into the Foucauldian scheme of
things, in this case, to the discourse of appratus and criminality. Now,
obviously, I woiuld like to see reform like that to which I was pointing.
And I think you would too. I am not satisfied with American Activism, b ut I
am not going into it with the Usual Program, and in fact find my self, which
I really do care about, in a nearly constant and difficult struggle to push
in different directions from those around me. (I work in a "Peace and Social
Justice Center" in Pittsburgh). Hence the length of my response to you.

So: Foucault, the one conerned with power in optics, looks at the optics of
power, the panopticon, etc. I mean, he doesn't only look, but he mostly
looks. Which is fine. I think.

Then you get to the conjunction of action with Foucauldian thought: you
recommend that I or one consider, with Foucauldian wisdom, what Foucault has
enable us to think in addition to the criminal (laywers, judges, social
workers, psychologists, etc.), according to Foucault's eyes.

Several points:

1. Justice could be introduced as a theme.
2. Foucaults eyes don't seem to me to be adequate, and some return to the
space in w hich the "universals" of "justice/fallen justice" can emerge needs
to be involved, I think. I will suggest provisionally that something like
the Derridean space is more open to this. For example, look at how Derrida
opens up the cogito, wh ich Foucualt seems to pass over without much thought.
Opening this up requires certain language, language of consciousness which
is able to be with the "spirit of Descartes". Or Derrida in consideration of
war engages Hegel and the phenomenology of spirit, within the discourse of
consciousness. I'm thinking that the parallel would be the "spirit of the
law". I'm not tryhing to discount you or Foucault, and you can go on and on
about institutions and biopower and I'll be dellighted.

3. "Then implement it". Implementation can involve a number of things, but
the means-end formulation intrinsic to the concept of strategy seems
inadequate becasue to implement it might entail an engagement with the spirit
of the law.

I haven't gotten to what you say needs to be done, at least not in the
conception of "doing" that is implied by your position. But I have done
something here, several things, in the direction of laying the groudn work for
such possibilities as the one mentioned my first post. At least I think I
have. Why that woudl be the case remains to be seen. In part, I have been
trint to *activate* certain moments within the contours and protols of this
space of discourse so as to enable the possibility for opening up certain
themes, approaches. Such an activation can occur within American activism,
Activism, but certainly not as it stands, if it is standingt much at all
right now.

So I'm going to pick up the banished theme: "remore/fallen justice" (and I
have to ask whether the logic of falling, like the logic of disintegration or
decadence is itself a perfect binarism, or whether it might be idealized
better in another way): as pointed to in my previous posting, bearing in
mind the above. To get very practical for a moment, or at least as
practical/real as is possibile in the space I am trying to be in here, let us
take: Heart melting as a prime "physical/biological" orient for
remorse-justice, as opposed to the orient point of punishment, which I will
call in a limited way, rupture. Taking the latter (punish), an event can be
thought, focused on, as Foucault does in the beginning of DP, and as you
and I have done in this dialogue (Damien). There is such orient. Not only
for the text (DP), but it is considered intrinsic by foucault for the
experience of people in the periods discussed by foucaul, intrinsic,
constitutive, and inferred subject of spectation (I infer) in Foucault's DP.
So authorized, we can "describe", in a possible book, "remorse" through
the description of a scene from the struggle against Brittish rule in India,
as when passive resisters marched headlong into blows, or when hearts were
indeed melted by such truth-force, or in Gandhian terms, satyagraha. I say
"heart melting", a very Gandhian conception, and I think "Truthforce" or
"soulforce" and allow there to be a resonation with "power knowledge", or if
not a resonation, a dissonance, maybe a bad one, maybe not. I just want
to point that out.

Melting hearts is the goal of things like the Iowa program. We (who we is
remains to be seen, and that's part of why I put my first note, and this one
too in the form of an invitation to a kind of activism) can accomplish, in
program as has been done and as is possible, the melting of hearts,
authentic remorse. As I pointed out in the first note, the whole play of the
Foucauldian critique can erupt, can constitute, can be involved anywhere and
everywhere in any institutional practices, and I view the corruption of
control in counseling and therapy as one of the most insidious scenes of such
control. We, people, maybe we, maybe I and some others, maybe others cvan
show, it can be shown, in the severly limited space of truth (if you like)
of legislators, graphs of effectiveness rates which, if accomplished on a
wide scale, would buy votes. We can accomplish, through action, in some
better sense of the word, events, institutional and extra-institutional.

But it seems to me that it's not as simple as that, that Foucault is more
seriously problematized, or can be: that we haven't gotten out of the "trap"
of action when we have moved into the vocation to action with compliments and
recognition of Foucault as he stands, and that's what this laboring is all
about. If y ou th ink about the two orients (Demian/India) (hmmmmmm....I
guess the West is an Orient when you're in the Orient....), if you think that
there is a "central theme" related to them both (and I point to such only
heuristically, and am more in favor of a conception that does not sublate and
unit but has an along with of some kind), one which can have a moment of
sublation without domination, if indeed we have the order right here (first
separate then sublated), ; or if we can think the two simply without getting
caught up in the problem of sublation and totalization, ; or if we think
that the quesation of totalization is intrinsically bound up with the question
in question, , the question of punishment, of power, control, etc., and that
thinking, not "remorse", but that space in which remorse is being thought
here, which I am calling only provisionally "true justice" here (which makes
me shudder, please note) we can see (if I remember correctly) the fact that
Damien's heart did not melt through to the very end. Nor do those of many
perpetrators of violence (some of whom are called criminals and law breakers),
and the prevailing mind is able to think of fluid and the heard only in terms
of the blood of rupture, and never blood that nourishes, hearts that beat
with vitality, the more so in moments like remorse, as any good therapist
knows. So, true, legislators do know that there are effective programs.

("Heard" a few lines up is supposed to be heart. I can't edit on this
computer.) It would be better to think civil disobedience (and the tactics
deployed more and more mechanically be "activism") second, and something like
truthforce/satyagraha first, as Gandh did. This is quite the opposite
direction from Foucault, and Nietzsche, in certian ways, because of the
space that F and N forclose. A foucauldian hope.

To activate the question in this way disrupts the conditions of polemos,
strategy, thought, and action as it prevails on the left (and of course on
the right). But it does so not merely through reversal (and I've never felt
comfortable with the METHOD that says "take the oppressed of a binary pair and
put that on top), but something else. I reiterate my call for anyone who is
interested in pursuing the kind of activism I am pointing to here. I should
point out that, as ridiculous as it might seem to again think activism here
and now, that such is possibile, that the thinking here might work in the
direction of it, and that actions would not entail the kind of discourse I'm
doing here, but would fall squarely within the rage of the "doable" in the
way you hypothesized in your response to my posting, Steve.

Yours with trepidation,


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