cultivating & crashing

an organic collection of notes, observations, and thoughts

Tag: consumption

Thoughts during Foucault

I went to a couple lectures on Foucault given by my thesis supervisor, because one can never know too much about this brilliant man. Here are some notes/thoughts.

Foucault thinks that sex is a master key of a person; he claims it is the way a person is understood.

Management of life and body:
institutions
centralization
panopticon
time is hyperstructured

Disciplinary power does not stand in opposition to pleasure. Under surveillance, the pleasure of evading surveillance and that of being surveyed arise. Facebook is a great example.

Annoyed at the realization to what extent I am a docile body. So amenable to power, knowing it so well, playing so well by the rules of the game, even when they shift. So rational, so keen, so hyperconscious of myself and my presentation of self. Disciplinary power is strong in me. The feeling of being a fraud because of being aware of the unwritten rules, and being aware of using them to my benefit. In order to be genuine, we must be unwitting—something I am not.

The shift from repressive to disciplinary power is analogous to the shift from physical colonization to economic colonization; the move toward less violent and more efficient control of areas.

Power as productive: disciplinary power that says “yes, but”; cooptation, incorporation, normalization. Very hard to fight, to resist. Mostly because disciplinary power is such that we don’t want to counter it, but play its game. The Rebel Sell, which explains how the argument of counterculture breaks down in the face of (or, more accurately, is coopted by) capitalism, describes this kind of power. It’s why buying local, organic heirloom tomatoes or underground punk albums is not affront to capitalism, but a perpetuation of it. The consumption of things that are obscure or not massively produced does not challenge the dominant economic system; such consumption simply opens new venues for market enterprise.

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sex and consumption

I am focusing on this consumption/creation idea recently. I find that we live in a world of total consumption: not only do we buy stuff, but we make everything of value a commodity, most notably time and even people. Hence, right now I see even relationships as something that we commodify. The opposite of consumption is creation. In Buddhist economics, for instance, the goal is to live and create (or work) on the minimum amount possible; in consumerist economics the goal is to consume as much as is possible with the least amount of work possible. So we have the one-night stand as a perfect example of a relationship that maximizes the desired product (sex) with the least amount of effort put into it; a healthy relationship requires that people actually put their soul into it in order to create (work and effort! how horrendous!) something positive. And the moral of the story is that maybe working is not so bad after all, and that it is a necessary part of a balanced life. Who would have thought?

I find I am pretty conservative when it comes to my own life. It’s my generations of small-town Catholic blood, I suppose.

creative tension

It is only struggle, difficulty, anomie and dissonance that can yield productive results; it is only tension that can be creative. Chaos, inequality, differences are the things that can bring dialectical discourse and therefore new ideas, innovation, fresh movements and authentic/unique/genuine/original solutions and decisions.