Re: [Foucault-L] Biopower and Suicide


there is another also as a pdf on the web, perhaps a relevant one to yor

Technologies of the Self.

From: Martin, L.H. et al (1988) Technologies of the Self: A Seminar with
Michel Foucault. London: Tavistock. pp.16-49.

2007/11/9, peter chamberlain <natakimd@xxxxxxxxx>:
> not sure if i can do this (and i know it's not what you asked for),
> though it is freely available as a pdf on the web, but i truly adore
> this piece...
> The Simplest of Pleasures.
> From: Sylv&egrave;re Lotringer (ed) (1996) Foucault Live: Collected
> Interviews, 1961-
> 1984 SEMIOTEXT(E). New York. pp.295-297
> 'Homosexuals often commit suicide,' reports a psychiatric study. This
> word 'often' fascinates
> me. We might imagine tall, slender, palid creatures unable to cross
> over the threshhold to the
> opposite sex, in a faceoff with death all through life, only to end it
> finally by slamming the door
> with a loud bang (which never fails to annoy the neighbors). Instead
> of marrying the opposite
> sex they marry death. The other sex is replaced by the other side.
> But, the story goes, they're
> just as incapable of dying as they are of really living. In this
> ludicrous account suicide and
> homosexuals are portrayed so as to make each other look bad.
> So let's see what there is to say in favor of suicide. Not so much in
> support of legalizing it
> or making it 'moral'. Too many paople have already belabored these
> lofty things. Instead,
> let's say something against the shady affairs, humiliations, and
> hypocrisies that its detractors
> usually surround it with: hastily getting boxes of pills together,
> finding a solid, old-fashioned
> razor, or licking gun store windows and entering some place pretending
> to be on the verge of
> death
> In my opinion a person should have the right not to be rushed, which
> is very bothersome. Indeed,
> a great deal of attention and competence are required. You should have
> the chance to discuss
> at length the various qualities of each weapon and its potential. It
> would be nice if the salesperson
> were experienced in these things, with a big smile, encouraging but a
> little bit reserved (not
> too chatty), and sophisticated enough to understand that they are
> dealing with a person who's
> basically good-hearted, but somewhat clumsy, never having had the idea
> before of employing
> a machine that shoots people. It would also be convenient if the
> salesperson's enthusiasm didn't
> stop them from advising you about the existence of alternative ways,
> ways that were more chic,
> more your style. This kind of business-like discussion is worth a
> thousand times more than
> the chatter that goes on around the corpse among the employees of the
> funeral parlor.
> Some people that we didn't even know, and who didn't know us either,
> arranged it so that one
> day we started existing. They pretended to belive, no doubt sincerely,
> that they were waiting
> for us. In any case they prepared for ourentry into the world with
> great care (and often with
> a sort of second-hand seriousness). It's quite inconceivable that we
> not be given the chance
> to prepare ourselves with all the passion, intensity and detail that
> we wish, including the little
> extras that we've been dreaming about for such a long time, since
> childhood perhaps or just
> some warm summer evening. Life it seems is quite fragile in the human
> species and death quite
> certain. Why must we make of this certainty a mere happenstance (which
> might suggest, by
> virtue of its suddenness or inevitability, or air of punishment)?
> The philosophies that promise to teach us what to think about death
> and how to die bore me
> to tears. I'm not at all moved by those things that are supposed to
> 'prepare us for it.' One has
> to prepare it bit by bit, decorate it, arrange the details, find the
> ingredients, imagine it, choose
> it, get advice on it, shave it into a work without spectators, one
> which exists only for oneself,
> just for that shortest little moment of life. Those who survive, of
> course, see suicide as nothing
> but superficial traces, solitude, awkwardness, and unanswered cries.
> These people can't help
> but ask 'why?': the only question about death that shouldn't be asked.
> 'Why? Because I wanted to.' It's true that suicide often leaves
> discouraging traces. But who's
> to blame? Do you think it's pleasant to have to hang yourself in the
> kitchen with your tongue
> hanging out all bluish? Or to close yourself in the garage and turn on
> the gas? Or to leave
> a tiny bit of your brain lying on the sidewalk for the dogs to come
> and sniff at? I believe that
> we're witnessing in these times a 'suicidal spiral' because many
> people are so depressed at the
> thought of all these nasty things that are forced on someone who's
> aspiring to suicide (things
> including the police, the ambulance, the elevator man, the autopsy and
> what not), that many
> prefer to commit suicide rather than to continue to think about it all.
> Some advice to lovers of humanity. If you really want to see a
> decrease in the number of suicides,
> support only those potential suicides which are committed with
> forethought, quietly and without
> wavering. Suicide must not be left to unhappy people who might bungle
> it or make a mess
> of it. In any case there are lots fewer happy than unhappy people.
> It's always struck me as
> strange that people say that death is nothing to worry about, because
> between life and nothingness
> death is nothing but a border. But it is true that this is all there
> is to the game? Make something
> of it, something fine.
> No doubt we've missed out on a lot of pleasures and we've had some
> that were pretty mediocre:
> others we've let slip by out of laziness or lack of attention,
> imagination or persistence. We
> should consider ourselves lucky to have at hand (with suicide) an
> extremeley unique experience:
> it's the one which above all the rest deserves the greatest attention
> - but rather so that you can
> make of it a fathomless pleasure whose patient and relentless
> preparation will enlighten all of
> your life.
> Suicide festivals or orgies are just two of the possible methods.
> There are others more intricate
> and learned. When I see the funeral 'homes' in American cities I'm not
> just appalled by how
> dreadfully banal they are, as if death had to smother any attempt at
> imagination, but also I think
> it's a pity that they serve cadavers and their glad-to-still-be-alive
> families. Let there be some
> alternatives for those of little means and those who have grown weary
> of too much reflection
> so that they don't have to rely on these prepackaged, boring and
> expensive expedients. For
> example, alternatives like those the Japanese have devised (they're
> called 'love hotels') for having
> sex. They know a lot more about suicide than we do.
> If you have the chance to go to the Chantily in Tokyo you'll see what
> I mean. You'll sense
> there the existence of places without maps or calendars where you can
> enter into the most absurd
> decors with anonymous partners to look for an opportunity to die free
> of all stereotypes. There
> you'd have an indeterminate amount of time - seconds, weeks, months
> perhaps - until the moment
> presents itself with compelling clearness. You'd recognize it
> immediately. You couldn't miss
> it. It would have the shapeless shape of utterly simple pleasure.
> On Nov 9, 2007 4:05 PM, Halit Mustafa Tagma <mustafatagma@xxxxxxxxx>
> wrote:
> > Hello,
> >
> > I remember once reading something Foucault wrote on biopower and
> suicide.
> > Something that went like "biopolitical cannot tolerate suicide..."
> > I cannot remember the entire argument.
> > Does anyone remember such a thing in Foucault (with citations if
> possible)
> >
> > Thanks a lot,
> > Halit Mustafa Tagma
> > _______________________________________________
> > Foucault-L mailing list
> >
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[Foucault-L] Biopower and Suicide, Halit Mustafa Tagma
Re: [Foucault-L] Biopower and Suicide, peter chamberlain
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