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THE CONSTRAINT OF CONFORMITY IN THE BODY SHOP

June 6, 2013

NOTES ON FOUCAULT AND DISCIPLINARY SOCIETY

(IN THE MIND OF SETH KNIGHT)

FOUCAULT AND BODIES

The system could be said to cater to and receive human beings collectively above all according to their most primary needs-or needs as ways of relating to reality, for the most part through their physical beings-through people’s corporeality, or physicality.

Food, shelter, clothing-and the economic structures (and urban structures) that allow for such things are ultimately necessitated by physical being.

And so would the passing of time for people within these structures who go about busying themselves in their vitality-on an everyday basis-by being dragged onward as conscience by their bodies themselves.

AN INEVITABILITY OF THE SELF

This would not necessarily come about through higher cognitive functions as daily activity-as opposed to being a factory worker; it is in fact quite possible for one to be robotic and automated in our thinking process and not only in regards to repetitive, physical toil.

But probably a truer appearance of the self-of conscience that is in effect aware even of what the body is actually occupied in doing-would seem to be when one is engaged in communicational or social interaction with other human beings.

It is hard not to feel one’s self as actually being one’s self when one is forced to engage another human being.

And it would seem logical that the more complex emotionally and viscerally that communication is, the more demanding in terms of self that event of human engagement becomes.

This, possibly, is what Foucault is pointing at when he sees prisons, for example, as treatment centers of the body, where it is really the body that is in fact the structural center of the prison apparatus and system’s modus operandi.

And in principle it would seem, from this standpoint, that the self is simply not recognized and just ignored-barring torture as abuse.

And atrophy of the self might be the best way to describe the experience people undergo during prolonged periods of solitary confinement.

ABSENCE OF EXCESSIVE EMOTION AFTER THE YEAR 2004 (ORANGE)

People are clearly subdued in the emotions they exhibit “on the street” and publicly, especially if you compare the memories one has of everyday life some 10 years ago or back in the 80s or 90s.

And today you frequently walk into a Starbucks Café and there is over all other noises and activities, an obvious calm and physiological sluggishness and, predominantly, silence.

And people typically-almost everyone-may be enthralled by something they are reading or punching into their small, hand-held devices.

But this engagement, in a social sense is not really-or fully-physiological, but rather literary, abstract and, therefore, physically removed.

And what constitutes the intersection, in normal physical social engagement between the conscience and the body, is not reproduced by means of strictly virtual communication that is only written-or pictorial.

Effectively, dormant remains the self, to a great degree, in such circumstances and this is exactly the sought objective as the keystone of social order and stability in theses current times.

And this is reason why-the Raison de Etat– that you in fact own an iPhone; the reason why, ultimately, they were developed, produced and imposed as consumer products-and it is the reason, finally, that almost all of you are able to afford to buy one (or some version of it), and that you can in fact pay the monthly fees that keep the device operational.

But who is complaining?

No body, really, for in The House of the Dead (1862) there is only bodies.

UNDERLYING PROBLEM ONCE AGAIN (FOUCAULT)

How does human psychological and physiological vitality of the individual relate to social structure and medium on which it depends?

Disciplinary Society subjugates it through a systemic need for efficiency, which drives everything towards homogeneity at the expense of the individual; and we take from Freud, as well, the internalization of the repression of impulses through, above all, guilt.

But Disciplinary Society should not be seen as repression or self-suppression, but it is rather that social reality produces-fabricates-the individual from birth within this context of standardization as norm to functionally fit in.

Individual plenitude might depend, then, on anarchistic impulses and the possibility of their controlled incorporation into human vital experience as part of social structure itself-and not as subversion that would threaten or destabilize that structure.

But you would have to think hard about something like that-and then have the capacity to implement social transformation –as long as you knew exactly where you were going and into what you would be working such a transformation.

-Better talk to the boss on this one.

(Or wait for the memo to reach me)

Say cheese:

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