This project, the "Society's Implicit War" essays, are the most substantial thing I have worked on thus far. I have six essays planned. They are divided into three parts, each with two chapters. Part I was called 'Society’s Implicit War from Monarchy to Republic'. This is part II titled 'Simulational Mindreading and Power in Torture and Discipline'. Part III will be called 'The Pragmatics: Being A Guerilla of Power/Knowledge'. So, this is part of a larger project. I am publishing them serially because they will take more time and I want to put it out there now. So if you have any genuine interest in this stuff please start with chapters 1 and 2 which I posted on 7/23 and 8/5, respectively. I repeat, I am probably in over my head, but I am doing my best here. And I am finding it to be a very helpful exercise.
Part II: Simulational Mindreading and Power in Torture and Discipline
Part II will consist of chapters three and four. In Part I, chapters 1 and 2, I established generally the idea that all of social order rests on physical violence and thus constitutes a war of sorts. Further, that with the decline of torture and the advent of modern penal institutions society's war became 'implicit' and began to be waged more through knowledge and representation, and less through explicit violence. This is chapter 3. Chapter 4 is in the works.
In part II my main concern is to establish the connection between the implicit war of representation and simulation theory of mind. Because the government's war against its own population is now waged through representation, minds must be the key factor. Only by gaining control of minds can society now effectively wage war by controlling minds at the unconscious level. This portion of this project (part II, chapters 3 and 4), therefore, will focus on how simulation theory of mind can help us understand how the government is waging a war against our minds. Here is a table of contents for chapter 3.
3.Observation and Simulational Mindreading in Relations of Power/Knowledge
a. Power/Knowledge, Social Understanding, Relations With Others in General, and Theory of Mind
b. Power/Knowledge and Simulational Mindreading: Torture and Discipline as Enabling Different Ways of Simulating Other People's Thoughts
c. Observation of Torture and Simulational Mindreading: The Fleeting ‘Spectacle of the Scaffold’
d. Observation and Simulational Mindreading in Disciplinary Society: The Inescapable Panopticon
Observation and Simulational Mindreading in Relations of Power/Knowledge
So now that I have spent these first two chapters fleshing out Foucault's writing on the relationship between social order and war, the different strategies of truth in torture and prisons, and the role of power/knowledge in modern society, I want to bring philosophy of mind into the picture. Foucault defines power as a relationship between individuals that is constituted by certain forms of social knowledge. Further, these social relations often function on the basis of observation. So, the unavoidable conclusion, for me, is that it has to involve some sort of understanding of the mind. When you have individuals watching other individuals, we have to think about the how of understanding other minds. How is it that these other people are watching these scenes of torture or the panopticon? And how does this mindreading allow power to function? I believe that simulation theory of mind can offer some compelling answers to this question of how observation can enable power to function in the minds of the observers and the observed.
Power/Knowledge, Social Understanding, Relations With Others in General, and Theory of Mind
So the first thing I would like to do in this section is to use some evidence to discuss how power/knowledge functions primarily as a relationship between minds. If Foucault defines power/knowledge as a relationship between individuals then we need to consider how it is that minds engage with other minds. First I would just like to say that I have read quite a lot of different things about how minds are the primary concern in most of social relations. Currently, I am reading a book by Chris Frith called Making up the Mind: How the Brain Creates our Mental World. Frith, as well as Goldman, Searle, and many others, maintain that minds are the primary concern when it comes to relating to people in general. Bodies, in fact, often serve only as a way to read and understand other minds. Bodies are secondary to minds. Minds are the most important thing in relating to others.
So how would power best function as a means of internal control of society? Well, Foucault seems to believe that prison reforms, and disciplinary reforms generally, were intended to change the way that individuals gained access to knowledge of other individuals. By building elaborate forms of knowledge, and by dispersing these knowledges into the population at large, disciplinary institutions could change the way that other people thought of each other on an unconscious level. I believe that this is very closely related to my post of 6/13 in which I discussed the a priori imagination. Thus, power functions by changing the way that other people think of each other’s minds. And the level at which these relations are changed is the most important thing. Reforms wanted to change the basic underlying structure of how people related to each other. They needed to change the a priori conditions by which individuals related to one another’s minds. As Foucault puts it, modern power/knowledge "relations go right down into the depths of society, that they are not localized in the relations between the state and its citizens or on the frontier between classes and that they do not merely reproduce, at the level of individuals, bodies, gestures and behavior, the general form of the law or government; that although this is continuity (They are indeed articulated in this form through a whole series of complex mechanisms), there is neither analogy nor homology, but a specificity of mechanism and modality" (27). In other words, these are not relations between groups, they are nuanced relationships between individuals that all possess a common theme: they are informed by disciplinary forms of knowledge, and thus exist within the political discourse of disciplinary society.
Furthermore, Foucault speaks of this change in power/knowledge relations in terms of ‘economic’ regulation. Meaning that it was designed to create a homogenous or united discourse that would make sure that everyone utilized the same basic terms, that everyone would regulate themselves based on the same notions. This is considered ‘economic’ because it has to do with the balance and distribution among a population. Frankly, Foucault’s use of the term economic confuses me. But I believe this quotation speaks for itself: "The true objective of the reform movement, even in its most general formulations, was not so much to establish a new right to punish based on more equitable principles, as to set up a new 'economy' of the power to punish, to assure its better distribution, so that it should be neither too concentrated at certain privileged points, nor too divided between opposing authorities; so that it should be distributed in homogenous circuits capable of operating everywhere, in a continuous way, down to the finest grain of the social body" (80). New forms of penal justice and discipline in general were intended to make everyone aware of the same types of knowledge. When everyone is equipped with the same forms of social knowledge, we can be sure that power will function in relatively the same way. Thus, power/knowledge functions by structuring the evidence that people have to conceptualize other minds.
Again, I believe that this amounts to changing the a priori conditions by which people are able to thought. It is about introducing an entirely new climate in which only certain types of thought are possible. I have even heard the Foucault discussed something called the ‘historical a priori’ of a period. This is the underlying conditions by which individuals are are able to think, it is the a priori structure of a person’s historical moment. Discipline, therefore, functions primarily by changing the a priori conditions that give rise to other people’s thoughts. I believe that this is precisely what Foucault means when he says, "It is not simply at the level of consciousness, of representations and in what one thinks one knows, but at the level of what makes possible the knowledge that is transformed into political investment" (185). In other words, power functions by modifying the a priori levels of thought. In my post of 6/13 I clearly established the relationship between the a priori imagination and simulation theory of mind.
This structuration of knowledge explains why disciplinary surveillance produced a new describability that was "all the more marked in that the disciplinary framework is a strict one: the child, the patient, the madman, the prisoner, were to become, with increasing ease from the eighteenth century and according to a curve which is that of the mechanisms of discipline, the object of individual descriptions and biographical accounts. This turning of real lives into writing is no longer a procedure of heroization; it functions as a procedure of objectification and subjection" (192). Suddenly, the population has a unified body of terminology to describe each other. Descriptions become homogenized around a similar set of terminology. Power/knowledge structures discourse, and thus structures the ways that minds can speak and think of other minds.
In these last give paragraphs I have told you that Foucault’s description of power/knowledge, with its relational character, has to function by changing the way that minds unconsciously think of other minds. That it does this by dispersing an elaborate body of knowledge throughout the entire social body, thus equipping everyone with a uniform language for minds. That this elaborate body of knowledge provides a basic structure by which other individuals can then think of each other, and that it is this structuring of social reality that truly allows power/knowledge to function between all groups in society. Foucault’s discussions on the rise of the concepts of the madman, the pervert, etc., demonstrate the new uniformity by which other people’s minds can be described. Since Foucault believes that it is these new descriptions, these new knowledges, that allow power to function within the social body, we cannot avoid the fact that the mind and how we understand minds is the way that power functions. Thus, I believe that an adequate theory of mind, a philosophy of mind, will be the only way for us to understand the functioning of the power/knowledge that Foucault describes. My goal in part II of this project, therefore, is to explain how theory of mind can help us understand how power functions in society. In my reading on philosophy of mind, I find simulation theory of mind to be most compelling. It does a good job of explaining how empathy, in basic and complex forms, can account for thought about other minds. We make sense of people mainly by simulating other people’s thoughts, by empathizing, by putting ourself in their shoes, so to speak. I’ve written a ton on simulation, so if you are reading this (lol unlikely), and don’t know what I am talking about, defer to any of my other posts with the word simulation in them.
Before I move on to explicating this idea in more detail, I just want to provide a quick example of how I think that simulation would function in disciplinary institutions. The following quotation demonstrates how observation would function by giving people evidence that would allow them to simulate the thoughts of other people. Foucault explains how in factory workshops discipline was maintained by having a headmaster or manager walk up and down a central aisle that made all the employees observable: "By walking up and down the central aisle of the workshop, it was possible to carry out a supervision that was both general and individual: to observe the worker's presence and application, and the quality of work; to compare workers with one another, to classify them according to skill and speed; to follow the successive stages of the production process" (145). This maintenance of power through observation functions far beyond economic institutions. It permeates the whole of society and places everyone in a ‘field of observability’ that allows power to function: "Discipline makes possible the operation of a relational power that sustains itself by its own mechanism and which, for the spectacle of public events, substitutes the uninterrupted play of calculated gazes. Thanks to the techniques of surveillance, the 'physics' of power, the hold over the body, operate according to the laws of optics and mechanics, according to a whole play of spaces, lines, screens, beams, degrees and without recourse, in principle at least, to excess, force or violence. It is a power that seems all the less 'corporal' in that it is more subtly 'physical'" (177). Power, therefore, is maintained primarily through a relationship of observation. It is maintained by forcing minds to watch other minds.
Interestingly, however, it is not just the headmasters observation that matters – it is the employees knowledge of the fact that they are being observed and classified. Thus, the employee is in someways responsible for how power is exercised over him, it is his mind, and his mind’s knowledge of other minds that allows power to function within him, that keeps him within the workshops world of power/knowledge. Foucault is so explicit about this: "He who is subjected to a field of visibility, and who knows it, assumes responsibility for the constraints of power; he makes them play spontaneously upon himself; he inscribes in himself the power relation in which he simultaneously plays both roles; he becomes the principle of his own subjection" (203). In other words, it is not just that the headmaster observes employees, but that the employees internally simulate the gaze of the master that allows power to function. Simulation theory of mind, therefore, must be the proper starting point for understanding how it is that mere knowledge of other minds can make power function. We need to understand why knowledge of another mind could make you modify your behavior. No one is coercing me, I am simply being observed, so why am I acting differently? My answer: because you are responsible for simulating that other mind within your own mind, you are causing that other gaze to change your behavior, despite the fact that you are not being directly of physically coerced. We need some philosophy of mind to explain how knowledge of other minds enacts power, and I think that simulation provides a good answer.
Power/Knowledge and Simulational Mindreading: Torture and Discipline as Enabling Different Ways of Simulating Other People's Thoughts
So now that I have laid out my general claim about the role of simulation theory of mind in Foucault’s notion of power/knowledge, I want to explore how simulational mindreading would differ in torture and discipline. In particular, I want to explore how torture and discipline would enable different ways, different qualities of simulation. Simulation provides a good model for understanding how people interact with others. Thus, if torture and prison both involve different forms of power/knowledge, and both derive their power/knowledge from observation of some sort, then simulational mindreading can be the only way that these forms of power/knowledge are enacted on the micro level, the subjective level.
I suppose I want this section right here to be brief, a transition of sorts. I have already established that social relations with others, which always involve observation in one form or another, are probably facilitated by the simulation of other people thoughts. But having established, in chapters 1 and 2, that the transition from torture to discipline involves very different systems of observation, I have to assume that torture and discipline involve very different types of simulation, different qualities of simulation, and different effects of simulation. The biggest difference between discipline and torture, when it comes to observation, is the duration and intensity. With torture, the monarch makes an occasional spectacle out of the tortured body – the observation of torture is sporadic in nature and thus can only act on people every now and then. In disciplinary society, however, observation is made to function constantly, it is very regular. Further, disciplinary society, which is associated with prisons, functions in all of life. "The minute disciplines, the panopticisms of every day may well be below the level of emergence of the great apparatuses and the great political struggles" (223). And as for the transition from torture to discipline: "The scarcely sustainable visibility of the monarch,” Foucault argues, “is turned into the unavoidable visibility of the subjects" (189). It is undeniable, therefore, that torture and discipline enable different types of simulations mindreading.
So now that I have made my claims about the importance of simulation theory of mind in relating to others, the importance of relations with others in power/knowledge, and thus the importance of simulating other people’s thoughts in torture and discipline, I’d like to explain more clearly how it is that torture and discipline involve different types of simulational mindreading. When I say different types I realize that this isn’t very precise, and I am working on articulating this more clearly. It involves a different quality of mindreading, a different sort of mindreading. In chapter IV I will be able to use one of Goldman’s concepts to draw a more precise distinction between the types of mindreading that are used in torture and discipline. But for now I am gonna try to navigate this distinction in more general terms. Goldman will allow me to elevate this discussion to a more technical level.
Observation of Torture and Simulational Mindreading: The Fleeting ‘Spectacle of the Scaffold’
So first things first, torture. How exactly does torture require simulational mindreading? Why does the public observation of torture require us to simulate other people’s thoughts and experiences? Why does torture power have to function through simulation? Well, I would like to talk about four things. First, that torture has to function via mindreading because it is spectacular by nature – it requires that people witness another person being harmed. Further, that this observation is often explicitly simulative in nature, as I’ll show. Second, that the witnessing of torture immediately causes people to understand not only the pain of the victim, but the power of the king that demanded the torture – that is to say that torture not only allows the crowd to simulate the mind of the criminal, but it allows them to simulate the mind of the sovereign as well; it is a festival of minds. Third, that the observation of torture allows people to simulate, and more importantly, to internalize the perspectives that are being observed. In other words, power functions not simply because we observe and simulate perspectives, but because we learn to hold those perspectives in our minds on an unconscious level. Fourth, because torture is a fleeting and short lived event, it has to be so violent and extreme so as to make a deep impression on individuals, thus the importance of internalization. In short, torture causes power to function because it makes people simulate the pain of a tortured body, it makes them realize that the torture is the result of the sovereign’s will, it forces them to deeply internalize these simulated perspectives (of the victim and of the king), and its fleeting nature uses intensity to have long lasting effects.
Torture has to be simulative in nature because it is meant to display certain truths about bodies. Further, it is often theatrical in its quality. Thus, it allows power to function by forcing people to simulate the pain of a tortured criminal. Thus, when the sovereign enacted torture, he was aiming for a strong display that would allow people to understand the pain that was inflicted when the law was broken. Thus, Foucault argues that "from the point of view of the law that imposes it, public torture and execution must be spectacular, it must be seen by all almost as its triumph. The very excess of the violence employed is one of the elements of its glory: the fact that the guilty man should moan and cry out under the blows is not a shameful side-effect, it is the very ceremonial of justice being expressed in all its force" (34). Thus the extreme nature of torture is meant to force people to witness and experience the criminal’s pain for themselves. This is why torture has to be a public, and not a private spectacle. It is not intended simply to destroy the body of the criminal: it is meant to cause other people to think of the criminal’s pain and mind in certain ways: "The tortured body is first inscribed in the legal ceremonial that must produce, open for all to see, the truth of the crime" (35). Again, the relationship between observation and power cannot be explained without reference to an adequate theory of mind. And again, I find simulation theory to be the most compelling theory. So I believe that torture functions by forcing people to simulate the pain of the tortured criminal, and thus it changes their perception of crime and punishment by exposing them to the potential pain they could feel if they were to break the law.
I also believe that the simulative nature of torture can be seen in how the spectacle of torture was managed. The sovereign actually went to great lengths to make the spectacle of torture have an effect on the population, and one way of making torture more effective was by controlling the way it was represented. Interestingly, torture could be made more effective by introducing a theatrical quality to the torture: there are "some cases of an almost theatrical reproduction of the crime in the execution of the guilty man – with the same instruments, the same gestures. Thus justice had the crime reenacted before the eyes of all, publishing its truth and at the same time annulling it in the death of the guilty man. (45). I used this quotation in another chapter, but I find it very compelling. The word reenacted directly implies that the observation of torture indeed involved some level of simulation. It couldn’t not involve some amount of simulation. And this emphasis on reenactment shows that even those involved in torturing felt to a certain extent that they were reproducing an experience for the audience: they were explicitly simulating the process that brought the person to the scaffold, and they were implicitly forcing the audience to simulate the pain that the criminal was experiencing during torture.
Not only does torture cause the crowd to simulate the pain of the tortured criminal, it forces them to simulate the mind of the sovereign. The tortured criminal’s body is a direct representation of the sovereign’s will. The tortured body gives the crowd evidence of the monarch’s thought, it allows them to simulate the thoughts that have led to the punishment of the tortured body. This is what Foucault means when he says that torture is "a policy of terror: to make everyone aware, through the body of the criminal, of the unrestrained presence of the sovereign. The public execution did not re-establish justice; it reactivated power" (49). It reactivated power in the sense that it forced individuals in the audience to simulate the thoughts of the sovereign which were directly responsible for the violence of torture. Torture, therefore, enables simulation of multiple forms of thought: it allows the crowd to simulate the criminal’s thoughts that led to the scaffold, it allows them to simulate the pain that the criminal is experiencing because of his actions, and it allows them to simulate the revengeful thoughts of the sovereign that have enacted the torture of the criminal.
Of what use is this observation and simulation of torture? Why does observing and mentally simulating the criminal’s pain cause power to function? Why does the simulation of the sovereign’s will cause power to work in he minds of the crowd? Well, my answer is that it forces the internalization of certain perspectives. So it is not just that power functions in those moments of observation. But that it has long lasting effects. It forces the perspectives of the tortured man and the sovereign to be burned into the minds of the crowd. Because they internalize these perspectives on an unconscious level, therefore, when they leave the scene of the torture, power is stable able to function in the crowd’s minds.
I actually wrote a post on the simulation and internalization of perspectives a bit ago. I actually wrote about it in relation to the idea of god. So I am familiar with and fond of this idea. But I believe that Foucault also hints at this internalization of outside perspectives. He comments that "if severe penalties are required, it is because their example must be deeply inscribed in the hearts of men" (49). To inscribe something into minds, it must involve a firm internalization. Torture must force power to take hold at the deepest parts of the mind. People must learn to regulate themselves by internalizing the perspective of the tortured criminal and the vengeful king. Again, I believe Foucault is heading in this direction of simulation: "The aim was to make an example, not only by making people aware that the slightest offence was likely to be punished, but by arousing feelings of terror by the spectacle of power letting its anger fall upon the guilty person.... Not only must people know, they must see with their own eyes. Because they must be made to be afraid; but also because they must be the witnesses, the guarantors, of the punishment, and because they must to a certain extent take part in it" (58). How does the crowd take part? I believe they take part by simulating the perspectives that are directly engaged in the process of torture. Indeed, Foucault believes that it involves a form of empathy, perhaps an extended form of empathy, which I call simulation. This is why he argues that "the people never felt closer to those who paid the penalty than in those rituals intended to show the horror of the crime and the invincibility of power; never did the people feel more threatened, like them, by a legal violence exercised without moderation or restraint" (63). Power, therefore, functions by forcing individuals to simulate and internalize the perspective of the tortured criminal and the perspective of the sovereign and his law.
So let me summarize how it is that torture involves simulational mindreading. Torture is by its very nature public and spectacular. It is intended to force individuals to watch the suffering of a criminal, it is meant to make them feel the experience and pain of the criminal. Further, the simulative nature of torture is exacerbated by attempts to recreate, or reenact as Foucault says, the experience of the crime. Not only is the experience of the criminal simulated, but the thoughts and the will of the king must be simulated. Thus people are aware both of the criminals pain and the sovereign’s will that demands the torture. Moreover, the simulation of these two perspectives has to function by the internalization of these perspectives. Meaning that the crowd does not simply observe and then forget the spectacle of torture. But that they carry these simulated perspectives deep in their mind for time to come. And finally, it is this simulation and internalization of perspectives that allows power to function well after the spectacle of torture has ended.
From here I am going to explore how the role of observation and simulation aspect in the functioning of power changes with the advent of disciplinary society.
Observation and Simulational Mindreading in Disciplinary Society: The Inescapable Panopticon
So, the questions for this section are: how is it that observation, which reaches new levels of intensity in disciplinary society, begin to enforce power without recourse to violence? Now that individuals are no longer observing violent torture, how does this new form of observation, force people to behave in certain ways?
Well, the answer has to do with several things. First, it has to do with the rise of elaborate forms of disciplinary knowledge, which I explained in chapters one and two. Second, it has to do with the gaze of individuals who wield that authoritative knowledge. Third, it has to do with the individuals who are being observed and know they are being observed. Basically, when subjects are being watched by a class who possess authoritative knowledge, these subjects are forced to simulate a judgmental gaze. The subjects, the patients, the prisoners, the students, are all being forced to work on themselves because they are the ones that have to internally simulate the authoritative gaze of their superiors.
This idea of constant supervision is best captured through Foucault’s emphasis on the panopticon. Originally the panopticon was simply an architectural design, but it is actually a way of conceptualizing society as a whole. All of our disciplinary institutions are moving in the direction of panopticism. They all involve constant observation that is structured, judgmental, and most importantly, are self-regulating in that they allow people’s simulation of the authoritative gaze to control themselves.
The tools of disciplinary power, therefore, are largely the same as those of torture. Individuals are still made to obey the rules of power through observation and simulation. But the quality of simulation has changed. The observers are now armed with an elaborate set of conceptual tools, and the subjects being watched are aware that they are being watched by these hyper critical figures, and in fact, are being examined and judged by these knowledgeable figures. "The success of disciplinary power,” Foucault believes, “derives no doubt from the use of simple instruments: hierarchical observation, normalizing judgment and their combination in a procedure that is specific to it, the examination" (170). Disciplinary society is "a mechanism that coerces by means of observation; an apparatus in which that techniques that make it possible to see induce effects of power, and in which, conversely, the means of coercion make those on whom they are applied clearly visible" (170-71). Observability, and knowledge of observability, can only be crucial if we understand the minds of those being watched. For, as Foucault says, it is the subjects who force power to work on themselves. It must be something in their own mind, therefore, that truly makes the authoritative gaze work on them. I believe that simulation theory of mind provides the answer. I believe that it is the process of simulating the authoritative gaze that causes subjects to be ruled by disciplinary power.
Disciplinary power thus functions at the lowest levels of society. It permeates the minds of every individual that interacts with disciplinary power and its elaborate forms of knowledge about bodies. In fact, as I discussed in chapters one and two, this is an extremely general phenomenon that is not restricted to prisons. Many disciplinary institutions also force subjects to simulate and internalize an authoritative gaze. Foucault, therefore, argues that disciplinary power, “in its mechanisms and its effects,... is situated at quite a different level. What the apparatuses and institutions operate is, in a sense, a micro-physics of power, whose field of validity is situated in a sense between these great functionings and the bodies themselves with their materiality and their forces." (26). It is at these lowest levels of the individual mind that disciplinary penetrates. Again, only a theory of mind could account for these effects on individual minds. And I believe that only simulation could account for such powerful effects being brought about only by hierarchical observation.
This power of the gaze and the gaze’s simulation is explained by the notion of panopticism. Foucault believes that panopticism "implies an uninterrupted, constant coercion, supervising the processes of the activity rather than its result and it is exercised according to a codification that partitions as closely as possible time, space, movement" (137). The panopticon, therefore, facilitates both the construction of elaborate knowledge and, more importantly, it forces individuals to imagine and simulate a perspective that is constantly judging them. Again, the prisons serve to demonstrate the major characteristics of disciplinary society as a whole. Foucault believes that “at the heart of the debate, and making it possible, was this primary objective of carceral action: coercive individualization, by the termination of any relation that is not supervised by authority, or arranged according to hierarchy" (239). Panopticism as a whole is about making individuals feel like they are being constantly watched by an authoritative and judgmental gaze. They are thus forced to simulate this gaze, and thus are able to exercise power over themselves.
Foucault even describes panopticism as working at this general level, as permeating all of society while hardly being noticed. "And, although it is true that its pyramidal organization gives it a head; it is the apparatus as a whole the produces 'power' and and distributes individuals in this permanent and continuous field. This enables the disciplinary power to be both absolutely indiscreet, since it is everywhere and always alert, since by its very principle it leaves no zone of shade and constantly supervises the very individuals who are entrusted with the task of supervising; and absolutely 'discreet' for it functions permanently and largely in silence." People everywhere, in all facets of life, engaging with any disciplinary institution, are therefore meant to judge themselves by simulating an authoritative gaze.
To corroborate the relationship between military institutions and the rise of simulative disciplinary power, I want to provide an example of the genesis of these disciplinary models of observation. These simulative panopticons even come from army: "These 'observatories' had an almost ideal model: he military camp – the short lived, artificial city, built and reshaped almost at will; the seat of power that must be all the stronger, but all all the more discreet, all the more effective and on the alert in that it is exercise over armed men. In the perfect camp, all power would be exercised solely through exact observation; each gaze would form a part of the overall functioning of power. The old, traditional square plan was considerably refined in innumerable new projects. The geometry of the paths, the number and distribution of the tents, the orientation of their entrances, the disposition of files and ranks were exactly defined; the network of gazes that supervised on another was laid down.... The camp is the diagram of power that acts by means of general visibility" (171). Military institutions, therefore, provided the general model for panopticism. It was perhaps the first institution in which people were observed constantly and in which an elaborate body of knowledge was constructed. In the military, therefore, society first developed this capacity of coercion that comes from manipulating the mind. In the military we see people for the first time being judged by hierarchical observation.
And I think that this may have something to do with the decline of religion. Benedict Anderson writes about the decline of religious institutions and the rise of national institutions. Interestingly, in prisons the words: "God sees you" (294), were often inscribed on walls. God, however, is no longer the constant source of observation. The panopticon is now the source of constant observation.
Now let me wrap up the relationship between disciplinary power and simulation. Disciplinary power functions by constructing elaborate forms of knowledge through constant observation. More importantly, it works by informing subjects of the fact that they are being constantly observed by this authoritative power. Individuals, therefore, must use this knowledge of their own observability on themselves. Violence no longer directly coerces individuals. But individuals are made to coerce themselves through their knowledge of their own observability. It is, therefore, the subject’s simulation and internalization of the disciplinary perspective that truly makes power to function. In the absence of direct and violent coercion, individuals must work on themselves, they must actualize power within their own minds. Simulation theory of mind provides the only adequate explanation I can think of force this high level of self-regulation in disciplinary society.
Concluding Chapter III
So I feel like I have done an alright job of explaining how simulation theory of mind can help us understand the functioning of power in both torture and discipline. I opened up by explaining how Foucault’s definition of power as strictly relational requires us to grapple with the question of minds. If power functions through relationships, and relationships function primarily through the interaction of minds, then power can only function by changing the way that minds relate to other minds. An adequate theory of mind, therefore, is the only thing that can truly help us understand the functioning of power. I then introduced the notion of simulation theory of mind and tried to explain how it could potentially facilitate relations of power. In particular, I discussed how subjects would be able to make power function within themselves by simulating the perspectives of authoritative figures. I then proposed that torture and discipline would almost certainly involve different forms of simulational mindreading. I argued that torture would involve the direct simulation of the criminal’s experience leading to the torture and his experience of pain, and would also enable the simulation of the king’s vengeful thoughts, both of which would prevent further crime by forcing individuals to internalize those perspectives long after the torture ended. I then explored how discipline would enable a different form of simulational mindreading that used the same tools of observation and simulation. In particular, discipline, and its use of panopticism, would enable a more constant observability. Subjects, therefore, would be forced to constantly simulate an authoritative gaze that could be watching them. Whether it is a doctor, a lawyer, a policeman, or a prison guard, our society provides us with a plethora of authoritative gazes that we can simulate to keep ourselves in line. Disciplinary society, therefore, enables forms of simulation and internalization that allow a much greater degree of self-regulation. In short, because Foucault describes power as working at the level of minds, I believe that only simulation theory of mind provides an adequate explanation of how power would function. His emphasis on relationships of observation and judgment make it easy for me to conclude that power functions primarily by simulating and internalizing authoritative perspectives, which enables, especially in the age of panopticism, a high degree of self-regulation. Torture and discipline differ, therefore, in that discipline provides evidence that allows individuals to constantly simulate an authoritative gaze, and thus constantly regulate themselves.