Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Adults Wake Up Early and I Might Like It: Sisterly Reflections

Staying with my sister in Baltimore is really been fun and interesting. She has a good job and is basically a full blown independent adult now. Ballers only.

It is interesting because I am on the cusp of adult life, but don't really have myself established in a similar way. I am about to move across the country so I am certainly not settled in a job, an apartment, or anything like a group of friends.

But I like seeing my sister with all her friends and jobs and things to do.

She gets up so early and goes running and makes breakfast and a good pot of coffee. I've been waking up and drinking coffee with her. Delicious. Love being up early and being able to drink good coffee and wake up and have lots of time during the day.

I mean look at this, it is 7:45 am and I am just chillin. Got Yamaha bumpin and I'm chillin hard. Getting ready for my day. Only a few things to do for serious. But then I can also do lots of work on my current reading and writing projects. I.e. on the 'Society's Implicit War' essays I am working on. Or I could read more of the Society Must Be Defended lectures.

Either way, I'm listening to Burial right now. My bff really has loved burial for a number of years, and I have always had it, always knew it was a thing, but never gave it a shot. It sounds really good though.

I wonder when my interest in r&b is gonna fade. Maybe soon. Maybe when I find some other music.

But anyways, I find these Foucault lectures to be pretty fascinating.

Foucault's switch from all this research on war to the nature of ethics, how individuals exercise discipline on themselves, is really fascinating. Just cause reading his stuff from the mid 70's he is so wrapped up in disciplinary power, techniques of domination, the how of power as he says. Then he made a massive theoretical shift in which personal transformation and work was suddenly central. So central, beyond central. Suddenly he is saying things like he focused on disciplinary power and domination too much. Why did the subject, and the subject's ability to transform through philosophical practice, become so explicit? Did he realize that disciplinary power can't be overcome? That political change ultimately has to be found in individual transformation and not institutional change. My 'Society's Implicit War' essays really hinge on all of this. Those essays will clearly be inadequate later in my life. I will undoubtedly have to come up with a clearer and more nuanced statement about his goals and his transformations. But for now I am exploring Foucault at the peak of his concern with war and military institutions. Very odd stuff. Very odd.

What prompted this change in him? Well, seeing as how he wrote no monographs between 76 and 84, I am gonna have to tackle the essays and lectures that were produced during those 8 years. It excites me to track his development over that period. Because I feel like I have a pretty strong grip on what he said in his work of the mid 70's and his work from the 80's. Both make so much sense to me. And I have some things I suspect. I have some inklings as to why he would. Perhaps he began to believe that institutional change was too much, too difficult, too impossible, so he maybe turned to how individuals can transform themselves whether institutions change or not.

I guess the major question is about his goals, his sense of the pragmatics of his work: are these genealogies about criticism of institutions that is meant to change them? Or are they intended to help individuals transform themselves into something different? Obviously both. But it seems like at the end of his life he started heavily embracing the personal transformation side of things. I'll figure you out, Mr. F.

I have already read all four books that constituted his middle to late work. Gotta read volume III of history of sexuality, and his first two books on madness and the clinic. Oh I will. But anyways, this just turned into a Foucault rant. But he just blows my mind all the time and I am trying to figure out what the hell was going on in this guys life. To be continued.

Over and out.

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