Remembering the dead was an exercise for the memory. He describes an examination of conscience. The same thing was recommended by the Epicureans, and the practice was rooted in the Pythagorean tradition. Do good things, have a good examination of the self, and a good sleep follows together with good dreams, which is contact with the gods. Seneca seems to use juridical language, and it seems that the self is both the judge and the accused. Seneca is the judge and prosecutes the self so that the examination is a kind of trial. Seneca uses terms related not to juridical but to administrative practices, as when a comptroller looks at the books or when a building inspector examines a building.
Self-examination is taking stock. Faults are simply good intentions left undone. The rule is a means of doing something correctly, not judging what has happened in the past. Later, Christian confession will look for bad intentions. It is this administrative view of life much more than the juridical model that is important. He is a permanent administrator of himself, not a judge of his past. He sees that everything has been done correctly following the rule but not he law. It is not real faults for which he reproaches himself but rather his lack of success.
His errors are of strategy, not of moral character. He wants to make adjustments between what he wanted to do and what he had done and reactivate the rules of conduct, not excavate his guilt. In Christian confession, the penitent is obliged to memorize laws but does so in order to discover his sins. Third, the recollection of errors committed in the day measures the distinction between what has been done and what should have been done. Fourth, the subject is not the operating ground for the process of deciphering but is the point where rules of conduct come together in memory.
The subject constitutes the intersection between acts which have to be regulated and rules for what ought to be done. This is quite different from the Platonic conception and from the Christian conception of conscience. A retreat into the country becomes a spiritual retreat into oneself. It is a general attitude and also a precise act every day; you retire into the self to discover - but not to discover faults and deep feelings, only to remember rules of action, the main laws of behavior.
It is mnemotechnical formula. I have spoken of three Stoic techniques of the self: letters to friends and disclosure of self; examination of self and conscience, including a review of what was done, of what should have been done, and comparison of the two. Now I want to consider the third Stoic technique, askesis , not a disclosure of the secret self but a remembering.
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For Plato, one must discover the truth that is within one. For the Stoics, truth is not in oneself but in the logoi , the teaching of the teachers. One memorizes what one has heard, converting the statements one hears into rules of conduct. The subjectivization of truth is the aim of these techniques. There are structural questions underlying the practice of the examination of the self every night. In Christianity asceticism always refers to a certain renunciation of the self and of reality because most of the time your self is a part of that reality you have to renounce in order to get access to another level of reality.
This move to attain the renunciation of the self distinguishes Christian asceticism. In the philosophical tradition dominated by Stoicism, askesis means not renunciation but the progressive consideration of self, or mastery over oneself, obtained not through the renunciation of reality but through the acquisition and assimilation of truth. It is a set of practices by which one can acquire, assimilate, and transform truth into a permanent principle of action. Alethia becomes ethos. It is a process of becoming more subjective. What are the principle features of askesis?
They include exercises in which the subject puts himself into a situation in which he can verify whether he can confront events and use the discourse with which he is armed. It is a question of testing the preparation. Is this truth assimilated enough to become ethics so that we can behave as we must when an event presents itself? The Greeks characterized the two poles of those exercises by the terms melete and gymnasia. It has the same root as epimelesthai. It is a rather vague term, a technical term borrowed from rhetoric. Melete is the work one undertook in order to prepare a discourse or an improvisation by thinking over useful terms and arguments.
You had to anticipate the real situation through dialogue in your thoughts. The philosophical meditation is this kind of meditation: It is composed of memorizing responses and reactivating those memories by placing oneself in a situation where one can imagine how one would react. The most famous exercise of meditation is the premeditatio mallorum as practiced by the Stoics.
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It is an ethical, imaginary experience. The Stoics developed three eidetic reductions of future misfortune. For example, imagining not that one might be exiled but rather that one is already exiled, subjected to torture, and dying. Third, one does this not in order to experience inarticulate sufferings but in order to convince oneself that they are not real ills. The reduction of all that is possible, of all the duration and of all the misfortunes, reveals not something bad but what we have to accept.
It consists of having at the same time the future and the present event. The Epicureans were hostile to it because they thought it was useless. They thought it better to recollect and memorize past pleasures in order to derive pleasure from present events. In the culture of the Stoics, their function is to establish and test the independence of the individual with regard to the external world.
Or one temps oneself by placing oneself in front of many tantalizing dishes and then renouncing these appetizing dishes. Then you call your slaves and give them the dishes, and you take the meal prepared for the slaves. Between these poles of training in thought and training in reality, melete and gymnasia , there are a whole series of intermediate possibilities. Epictetus provides the best example of the middle ground between these poles. He wants to watch perpetually over representations, a technique which culminates in Freud.
The same metaphor of the money changer is found in the Stoics and in early Christian literature but with different meanings. When Epictetus says you have to be a money changer, he means as soon as an idea comes to mind you have to think of the rules you must apply to evaluate. For John Cassian, being a money changer and looking at your thoughts means something very different: It means you must try to decipher it, at the root of the movement which brings you the representations, there is or is not concupiscence or desire - if your innocent thought has evil origins; if you have something underlying which is the great seducer, which is perhaps hidden, the money of your thought.
In Epictetus there are two exercises: sophistic and ethical. This must be an ethical game; that is, it must teach a moral lesson. The second are more ambulatory exercises. In the morning you go for a walk, and you test your reactions to that walk.
The purpose of both exercises is control of representations, not the deciphering of truth. They are reminders about conforming to the rules in the face of adversity. A pre-Freudian machine of censorship is described word for word in the tests of Epictetus and Cassian. For Epictetus, the control of representations means not deciphering but recalling principles of acting and thus seeing, through self-examination, if they govern your life.
It is a kind of permanent self-examination. You have to be your own censor. The meditation on death is the culmination of all these exercises. In addition to letters, examination, and askesis , we must now evoke a fourth technique in the examination of the self, the interpretation of dreams. It was to have an important destiny in the nineteenth century, but it occupied a relatively marginal position in the ancient world.
Philosophers had an ambivalent attitude toward the interpretation of dreams. Most Stoics are critical and skeptical about such interpretation. But there is still the popular and general practice of it. There were experts who were able to interpret dreams, including Pythagoras and some of the Stoics, and some experts who wrote books to teach people to interpret their own dreams. There were huge amounts of literature on how to do it, but the only surviving manual The Interpretation of Dreams by Artemidorus second century A.
Dream interpretation was important because in antiquity the meaning of a dream was an announcement of a future event. I should mention two other documents dealing with the importance of dream interpretation for everyday life. He was well known and cultivated. Even though he was not a Christian, he asked to be a bishop. His remarks on dreams are interesting, for public divination was forbidden in order to spare the emperor bad news. One had to record what happened every day, both the life of the day and the life of the night.
He believed that in the interpretation of dreams we receive advice from the gods about remedies for illness. With this work, we are at the crossing point of two kinds of discourses. I wish to examine the scheme of one of the main techniques of the self in early Christianity and what it was as a truth game. To do so, I must look at the transition from pagan to Christian culture in which it is possible to see clear-cut continuities and discontinuities. Christianity is not only a salvation religion, it is a confessional religion.
It imposes very strict obligations of truth, dogma, and canon, more so than do the pagan religions. Truth obligations to believe this or that were and are still very numerous. The duty to accept a set of obligations, to hold certain books as permanent truth, to accept authoritarian decisions in matters of truth, not only to believe certain things but to show that one believes, and to accept institutional authority are all characteristic of Christianity. Christianity requires anther form of truth obligation different from faith.
Each person has the duty to know who he is, that is, to try to know what is happening inside him, to acknowledge faults, to recognize temptations, to locate desires, and everyone is obliged to disclose these things to either to God or to others in the community and hence to bear public or private witness against oneself. The truth obligations of faith and the self are linked together. But the main features of both are an ensemble of truth obligations dealing with faith, books, dogma, and one dealing with truth, heart and soul. Access to truth cannot be conceived of without purity of the soul.
Purity of the soul is the consequence of self-knowledge and a condition for understanding the text; in Augustine: Quis facit vertatem to make truth in oneself, to get access to the light.
The sacrament of penance and the confession of sins are rather late innovations. Even the Latin fathers used this Greek term with no exact translation. For Christians it meant to recognize publicly the truth of their faith or to recognize publicly that they were Christians. The word also had a penitential meaning. When a sinner seeks penance, he must visit a bishop and ask for it.
In early Christianity, penitence was not an act or a ritual but a status imposed on somebody who had committed very serious sins. Exomologesis was a ritual of recognizing oneself as a sinner and a penitent. It had several characteristics. First, you were penitent for four to ten years, and this status affected your life. There was fasting, and there were rules about clothing and prohibitions about sex. Even after his reconciliation, he suffered from a number of prohibitions; for example, he could not marry or become a priest.
The sinner seeks his penance. He visits the bishop and asks the bishop to impose on him the status of a penitent. He must explain why he wants the status, and he has to explain his faults. This was not a confession; it was a condition of the status. Later, in the medieval period, exomologesis became a ritual which took place at the end of the period of penance just before reconciliation.
This ceremony placed him among the other Christians. Of this recognition ceremony, Tertullian says that wearing a hair shirt and ashes, wretchedly dressed, the sinner stands humbled before the church. Much later, in the Epistles of Jerome, there is a description of the penitence of Fabiola, a Roman lady. During these days, Fabiola was in the ranks of penitents. People wept with her, lending drama to her public chastisement. Recognition also designates the entire process that the penitent experiences in this status over the years. He is the aggregate of manifested penitential behavior, of self-punishment as well as of self-revelation.
The acts by which he punishes himself are indistinguishable from the acts by which he reveals himself. Self-punishment and the voluntary expression of the self are bound together. This link is evident in many writings. Cyprian, for example, talks of exhibitions of shame and modesty. Penance is not nominal but dramatic. To prove suffering, to show shame, to make visible humility and exhibit modesty - these are the main features of punishment. Penitence in early Christianity is a way of life acted out at all times by accepting the obligation to disclose oneself.
It must be visibly represented and accompanied by others who recognize the ritual. Tertullian uses the term publicatio sui to characterize exomologesis. What was private for the Stoics was public for the Christians. What were its functions? First, this publication was a way to rub out sin and to restore the purity acquired by baptism.
Second, it was also to show a sinner as he is. The greater part of the act of penitence was not telling the truth of sin but showing the true sinful being of the sinner. It was not a way for the sinner to explain his sins but a way to present himself as a sinner. Why should showing forth efface the sins? Another model, which was less frequent, was the tribunal model of judgement.
The most important model used to explain exomologesis was the model of death, of torture, or of martyrdom. The theories and practices of penance were elaborated around the problem of the man who prefers to die rather than to compromise or abandon the faith. The way the martyr faces death is the model for the penitent. For the relapsed to be reintegrated into the church, he must expose himself voluntarily to ritual martyrdom. Penance is the affect of change, of rupture with self, past and world. This formula is at the heart of publicatio sui.
These ostentatious gestures have the function of showing the truth of the state of being the sinner. Self-revelation is at the same time self-destruction. The difference between Stoic and Christian traditions is that in the Stoic tradition examination of the self, judgement, and discipline show the way to self-knowledge by superimposing truth about self through memory, that is, by memorizing the rules.
In exomologesis , the penitent superimposes truth about self by violent rupture and dissociation. It is important to emphasize that this exomologesis is not verbal. It is symbolic, ritual, and theatrical. We can see the transfer of several Stoic technologies of the self to Christian spiritual techniques.
At least one example of self-examination, proposed by John Chrysostom, was exactly the same form and the same administrative character as that described by Seneca in De Ira. In the morning we must take account of our expenses, and in the evening we must ask ourselves to render account of our conduct of ourselves, to examine what is to our advantage and what is prejudicial against us, with prayers instead of indiscrete words. That is exactly the Senecan style of self-examination. It also important to note that this self-examination is rare in Christian literature.
The well-developed and elaborated practice of the self-examination in monastic Christianity is different from the Senecan self-examination and very different from the Chryssostom and from exomologesis. In Seneca, the relationship of the disciple with the master was important, but it was instrumental and professional. It was founded on the capacity of the master to lead the disciple to a happy and autonomous life through good advice. The relationship would end when the disciple got access to that life.
For a long series of reasons, obedience has a very different character in monastic life. There is no element in the life of the of the monk which may escape from this fundamental and permanent relation of total obedience to the master. This is the new technology of the self. The monk must have the permission of his director to do anything, even die. Everything he does without permission is stealing.
There is not a single moment when the monk can be autonomous. Even when he becomes a director himself, he must retain the spirit of obedience. The self must constitute self through obedience. The second feature of monastic life is that contemplation is considered the supreme good.
It is the obligation of the monk to turn his thoughts continuously to that point which is God and to make sure that his heart is pure enough to see God. The goal is permanent contemplation of God. The technology of the self, which developed from obedience and contemplation in the monastery, presents some peculiar characteristics.
Cassian gives a rather clear exposition of this technology of the self, a principle of self-examination which he borrowed from the Syrian and Egyptian monastic traditions. This technology of self-examination of Oriental origins, dominated by obedience and contemplation, is much more concerned with the thought than with action. Seneca had placed his stress on action. Since the monk must continuously turn his thoughts toward God, he must scrutinize the actual course of his thought.
This continual concern with the present is different from the Senecan memorization of deeds and their correspondence with rules. The scrutiny of conscience consists of trying to immobilize consciousness, to eliminate movements of the spirit that divert one from God. That means that we have to examine any thought which presents itself to consciousness to see the relation between act and thought, truth and reality, to see if there is anything in this thought which will move our spirit, provoke our desire, turn our spirit away from God.
The scrutiny is based on the idea of a secret concupiscence. At this moment begins the Christian hermeneutics of the self with its deciphering of inner thoughts. It implies that there is something hidden in ourselves and that we are always in a self-illusion which hides the secret.
In order to make this kind of scrutiny, Cassian says we have to care for ourselves, to attest our thoughts directly. He gives three analogies. First is the analogy of the mill First Conference of Abbot Moses Thoughts are like grains, and consciousness is the mill store. Third, he uses the analogy of a money changer First Conference of Abbot Moses 20 - Conscience is the money changer of the self. It must weigh them to see if they have been ill used. As there is the image of the emperor on money, so must the image of God be on our thoughts. What is its degree of purity?
Is it mixed with desire or concupiscence? Since we have as our role to be a permanent money changer of ourselves, how is it possible to make this discrimination and recognize if a thought is of good quality? There is only one way: to tell all thoughts to our director, to be obedient to our master in all things, to engage in the permanent verbalization of all our thoughts. In Cassian, self-examination is subordinated to obedience and the permanent verbalization of thoughts. Neither is true of Stoicism. By telling himself not only his thoughts but also the smallest movements of consciousness, his intentions, the monk stands in a hermeneutic relation not only to the master but to himself.
This verbalization is the touchstone or the money of thought. Why is confession able to assume this hermeneutical role? How can we be the hermeneuts of ourselves in speaking and transcribing all of our thoughts?
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Confession permits the master to know because of his greater experience and wisdom and therefore to give better advice. Cassian gives an example of the monk who stole bread. Then the monk prostrates himself and confesses. Only when he confesses verbally does the devil go out of him. Confession is a mark of truth. This idea of the permanent verbal is only an ideal. The tower of Gustave Eiffel became its Babel and the new universal message was that science could conquer all and would make the world whole and wholly intelligible.
A new universal language was emerging, not out of the rubble of philology or even out of language proper. Consumption and material desire would point to a new universal language. Materialism would obliterate the dialects of dissent, be they the sacred, the opaque, or the heterogeneous.
The homogeneous world would be victorious and, like the colonialists of old, would redraw the map and paint each land in its own colors. As globalization spreads, it cuts its way through different cultural and lived forms and leads to claims not only about shared desires but also about a shared universal logic of desire. But there is much to do before that possibility can be realized.
In many respects, area studies had only itself to blame for this predicament, for it has always, and quite promiscuously, offered itself in this way. Why is there such truculent antitheoretical empiricism within area studies? The reasons are manifold but one key reason that has never fully been scrutinized relates to training. This methodological kinship between textual and cultural translation is not fortuitous, I would argue, but emerges from a path taken out of the philological tradition by Oriental studies, a path that would become fully developed by the time it was named Asian area studies.
In other words, the applied methods of language acquisition shone a light on more general forms of applied knowledge acquisition. Indeed, a focused reading of its history opens a window onto other ways in which it could have developed and may yet still. Indeed, it is the purpose of this genealogy to highlight just this possibility. What I have written is not history in the traditional sense.
That is because the tale I wish to tell is not merely an amalgam of all of the constitutive parts of Asian area studies. Thus, in research on China the philological urge would remain long after it had faded in other branches of area studies. Similarly, the concerns of colonial governance would fuel an interest in administration and observation that would be much less powerful in research on countries that were not colonized.
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Like the seas that constantly lashed the dykes in Hanzhou, the alternative area studies of which I speak offers the possibility of eroding the shorelines of certainty on which the practices of homogeneous social science incorporation have been built. This enchantment with difference underpinned the privileged status Oriental studies once occupied within the Western academy and, in a radically different and far less theological way, has reappeared to inform postcolonial discourse as a parallel and possibly rival humanities discourse to area studies social scientism.
In this particular case, that beginning is Genesis. It led to studies of arcane language forms that centered on the language of the Bible. If truth were to be found in the revealed nature of Scripture, then the language of Scripture must be the earliest. At the center of this teleologically conceived quest was a belief that inscribed in origin was immanent future. Variants on this theme would eventually lead away from the Semitic languages to those that displayed an arcane and distinctive form. Chinese, because of its pictographic characters and ancient lineage, proved to be of particular interest.
He saw a link between Chinese characters and Egyptian hieroglyphics and argued that this pointed to a genealogy of the greatest import Kircher was not alone in his high valuation of Chinese. This theory was, however, greatly challenged because of the reduced role it attributed to the Jews as the chosen people. Clearly, if China was to be so highly valued, the role of the Jews would, by necessity, diminish. That was, of course, until the discoveries at Kaifang.
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From these ancient peoples, it was hoped, an authentic, uncorrupted version of the Bible would be found and Providential truth would be restored. By , textual research revealed that the Kaifang version of the Bible was virtually identical to the Amsterdam one The slow emergence of the experimental sciences led to speculation about a new kind of language key that would be based on mechanical and mathematical principles That is to say, it sought the universal formula beneath the surface of language.
The mystical cabalistic techniques of textual decoding offered an example of this religious practice, and they would later play a key role in informing the calculus-based language-generating schemas of Raymond Lull and Nicholas of Cusa Increasingly, universality would come not from a shared language of communication but in the form of shared formulas.
By , even the Royal Society had abandoned Latin and, within thirty years, the French society did the same. The universal language that had tied Christendom together on the basis of a shared set of linguistic expressions of that religious commitment was no more. In this respect, the decline of Latin and the rise in interest in language signaled the shift from an old, religiously based form of universality to a new, more abstract one that was being imagined and written in the language of science or pseudoscience.
A desire for a new language or a new understanding of language based on logarithmic and algebraic principles was emerging A new way of seeing was therefore slowly emerging out of old exegetical methods. Unity could once again be restored, but this time it would be proven through the universal truths of science. Even within the religious community the idea of a primitive language had, by this stage, given way to a belief in linguistic diversity before Babel and to the radical idea that linguistic confusion was natural Moreover, the view of script itself as sacred had long since been eroded, as interest in primitive languages developed into the studies of mother tongues At the same time, however, it opened up new intellectual vistas.
In this new world of scholarship, the privilege of Sanskrit would derive less from its senescence than from its relationships with European languages. Sanskrit seemed to possess a dual privilege. Indeed, it was on the basis of these two innovations that philology would come to represent itself as the science of language. In place of this, Schlegel suggested smaller language families that were aligned less by ancestry than by shared grammatical structures.
No longer would one inquire into the essential architecture of the word; instead one would focus on grammatical totality. Philology was no longer anchored to references in the Old Testament; it was no longer tied to grand homologies. The reasons for this opacity had to do with the dual register by which philology, like Sanskrit, valorized its privileged status. The methodology for dissecting language, it seems, was the same as that which ordered and dissected the human body. Methodologically, the science of the living body and the science of the spoken word were kindred spirits.
Thus, while the proselytizing and evangelical aim of the Church was to save souls, it was, of necessity, built on a bedrock of both colonial conquest and good translational skills. What is important for him is the way that the advent of comparative philology announced a particular moment in Western reason when one could no longer speak of language being close to knowledge itself.
Still another would speak to a form of reason, the architecture of which was to be found in the syntactical structure of language itself. Indeed, it enabled the creation of a series of metalanguages through which the grammar of Western thought could be questioned. Oriental studies could still lay claim to a certain gravitas by keeping alive some of these pretensions. Could one not also point to the endless mimetic appropriations of Eastern knowledge as one moves from Jules Michelet on individual intuition, Edgar Quinet on liberty, Adam Smith on universal sympathy, and, more explicitly, the Physiocrats on good government?
We shall carry out the act for which the world is waiting to proclaim that we are male! Some, as Foucault notes, would develop their own critical accents that would set them apart. Others, however, such as those that were more immediately and directly useful to the process of colonization, would be intellectually reduced, becoming mere foot soldiers of observation. Moreover, all this was taking place at around the time translation studies was reshaping its practices as a result of the magnetic pull of science. By the middle of the eighteenth century the revolution taking place in comparative philology changed this view.
While philology had abandoned studies of the word for ones that focused on the structure of language, translation studies rediscovered the importance of the word, albeit in a very different way. With word in hand, it demanded of itself the impossible: a word-for-word translation, or as near as one could get to that.
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Very quickly, however, it became apparent that good translation required more than a word-for-word account. It is at this point that we need to return to Foucault. If it was indeed from within philology that such dissonance would grow, then religious methods cannot be ignored. For Freud, such unconscious forms would often manifest themselves in the gesture, the utterance, or the slip of the tongue. Even in linguistics, this type of analysis would eventually arise once the inward move of philology was halted by a recognition that language itself was a social phenomenon.
Voloshinov 56 puts it. At the time it looked like anything but a demotion. Intoxicated by its proximity to colonial power and legitimized by its functional use-value, Oriental studies, far from disturbing the grammar of colonial thinking, became utterly complicit with it. As it did this, it further eroded its own status as an independent domain of knowledge that could speak to the essence of things. In effect, this quantitative methodology had already started to erode the more culturally based descriptive approaches at the heart of Oriental studies. Long gone were the days when Oriental studies was an exalted domain from which one spoke to the essence of things; and squandered were the chances it had of achieving its potential as a site of disruption.
It was this trajectory that would simultaneously damn this domain intellectually and empower it politically. Its one distinctive claim thus rested on its applied language training. With increased translation skills more material was rendered into Western languages and this, along with the high value now placed on observation, made imaginative leaps simply unimaginable.
Instead of textual scarcity there was now abundance, and this, in turn, increased the tendency to specialize. As I have already noted, specialized subdisciplines would emerge, and these would cluster around the languages studied. Yet it was also a template of things that followed. Here was a type of scholarship that was contemporary and country based and, most important of all, had immediate policy dividends. Here was a type of scholarship that would inspire an entire generation of utilitarian Cold War area studies scholars.
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By the late s the applied models of the social sciences had begun to cast a shadow over the entire intellectual horizon. What does is the limited and limiting notion of what area studies can do intellectually. And that, I have argued, was a battle that was lost even before the invention of area studies knowledges. Yet, as is clear from other domains, language offers a range of other more intellectually exciting possibilities. It necessitates turning away from the temptation to regard itself only as a content provider for the disciplines and to take more seriously and develop theoretically the study of its core, language.
To do this, we need to return to those moments when philology gave birth to the language of dissent and realize that the moves that enabled Freud, Marx, and Nietzsche to speak in dissonance are historically and intellectually also a possibility for area studies.
Here, the trajectory for the study of language is quite different from the training role it is currently ascribed.
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