Re: _ROM_ -- hunger for self-transformation

On Jul 6, 11:24am, Malgosia Askanas wrote:
> Subject: Re: _ROM_ -- hunger for self-transformation
> And what is there about _writing_, in particular, so that one can "write
> in order to have no face"? Can one _think_ in order to have no face?
> - malgosia
>-- End of excerpt from Malgosia Askanas

It seems to me that Foucault answers this question himself in "The Discourse
on Language." You remember, the one that begins

"I would really like to have slipped imperceptibly into this lecture, as into
all the others I shall be delivering, perhaps over the years ahead. I would
have preferred to be enveloped in words, borne way beyond all possible
beginnings. At the moment of speaking, I would like to have perceived a
nameless voice, long preceding me, leaving me merely to enmesh myself in it,
taking up its cadence, to lodge myself, when no one is looking, in its
interstices as if it had paused an insttant, in suspense, to beckon to me.
there would have been no beginnings: instead, speech would proceed from me,
while I stood in its path -- a slender gap -- the point of its possible

The point here, I think, is that the desire for disappearance does not
coincidde with disappearance per se but from a language that promises to
enthrall and to wrap the subject but never quite gets there. In language,a nd
in thought as proto-linguistic, there is a veiling-unveiling of the subject
in, by and through whom language is made to speak, to answer to the
impossibillity of disappearance, of absenting oneself from relations of

Foucault cites some Samuel Beckett to get this point across. It comes from
one "beginning" of The Unnamable (this novel never really begins but seems
to emerge from a language that resists representation), its conclusion: "I
must go on; I can't go on; I must go on; I must say words as long as their
are words, I must say them until they find me, until they say me -- heavy
burdden, heavy sin; I must go on; maybe it's been done already; maybe they've
already said me; maybe they've already borne me to the threshold of my story,
right to the door opening onto my story; I'd be surprised if it opened."

"Entering into this risky world of discourse" is approached by F. as a
problem , not only insofar as one must speak, but also because in speaking
one is also spoken, often in quite wordless ways. The danger of writing, or
speaking then, is not the possibility of disappearance, but the possible
imposssibility of disappearance. And the problem incurred while trying to
creaate oneself anew is the possibility that the newness only serves to veil
the possibility of impossibility, that there is no outside to power even if
it is disguised by its novelty.

Penelope Ironstone-Catterall
York University
School of Social & Political Thought


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