Re: the will to know

On Mon, 22 Feb 1999, Anders Legarth Schmidt wrote:

> I think they pretty much represent the view on the self in our
> culture, almost quoting Rose: That the individual is to search for personal
> fulfillment, to excercise choice, to find her true self and so on.

What I find so interesting about Rose is his insistence that we are not
only 'free to choose' but obliged to be free; we are governed through our
freedom. And this is a predominant tenet of self-help. This notion of the
free, autonomous, choosing self elucidates something quite telling about
the ways through which modern subjects in neo-liberal societies have come
to understand, experience, evaluate their lives. But I think this
understanding of the subject is what Foucault argues againts in "The
Subject and Power." The notion of the individual as sole/sovereign author
of her own existence is a kind of enslavement dedicated to "well-being" or
acquiring a "new and improved" self while simultaneously negating the
social horizon against which these norms and codes of enslavement could be
made visible. So, self-help, i think, can be likened to an insitution in a
social order with a powerfully taken-for-granted truth: while appearing to
be normal, neutral and natural it conceals the most deceptive of
deceptions; self-helping enslavements remain invisible.


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