in reading Foucault

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in reading Foucault

Postby Peter Kropotkin » Tue Jul 20, 2021 7:51 pm

I have begun a study of Foucault...as part of my understanding
of the "modern era"... ... not as a direct method of studying
Foucault because he is Foucault, but because he is part of,
a very large part of how we think about the modern age....

It would be tough to explain modernity or even postmodernity without
understand Foucault....

and my first discovery is this, Foucault was interested in how the rules are made,
not necessarily about the material within... and so by that I mean, Foucault
was interesting in the "rules" that Descartes was forced to work under, not
necessarily about what Descartes wrote about, but the rules that Descartes
worked under...we, each of us, has limits... and those limits are
both personal, I am bad at math, and we have communal rules...
both society/collective have rules that limit what we can say and how we
can say it......... I cannot, under the current roles, attack America...
I would be considered to be an heretic and be called names such as
Un-American, Traitor, commie, Marxists.. and other such names....
so the rules of America means, I am limited in what I can say about
America itself.... I would be breaking the rules for making negative
comments about America...it isn't what we say, but the rules that
we must work under... and so Foucault was about understanding
the rules which govern our words, our lives, our actions...

what are the rules that are in place in, say in America today?
rules that limit what I can say about America, not necessarily
about what I say, but the rules....

and Foucault works out the rules in place by his examination of certain
institutions like Prisons and the state, in terms of the "archaeology" of
our institutions... what are the rules and what were the rules given by
institutions that govern our lives?

what is the relationship between knowledge and power and how does one
effect the other?

and so the dance begins.... who is Foucault and what does he "believe" in?

Kropotkin
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Re: in reading Foucault

Postby Peter Kropotkin » Thu Jul 22, 2021 1:44 am

in reading Foucault, I see this....

we have something we like to call science... so I say science is...X, Y, Z....
would the Greeks have agreed to this? Would the people of the middle ages?
I seriously doubt it....would the people of the Renaissance have agree to our
way of understanding science? nope... nor would have any generation between
the Renaissance and us, would agree to our definition of science....

Science: "the intellectual and practical activity encompassing the
systematic study of the structure and behaviour of the physical and
natural world through observation and experiment"

that is our current, modern definition of science... but it exists as
not as an objective idea of science, but as an subjective understanding
of science.. it is how we view science today, given our current historical
views based on how we subjectively see science today.....
in other words, science today is simply our own historical, biased,
one-sided, limited, partisan, parochial, subjective vision of what science is...
and it doesn't make it right or wrong, it is simply the current understanding
of science and what we considered to be the "true" vision of science will
in a few years change into something else... science changes because of
the changes within the state, the church, the society and the family.....
the definition of science isn't static or fixed... it changes with time,
how science is seen is a moving variable that changes with each passing day...

or to say it another way, the way we think of science is historical conditioned....
with each society, time period, society and state viewing science in a distinct
and different way from all the other societies.....

and this is true of all, ALL our understanding or definitions of a society...
societies/states are historically conditioned to understand concepts differently
so how each state understand politics, or science or warfare or philosophy
or history is different because each state/society views these different ideas
through their own historical, cultural, philosophical lens.... the Greeks viewed
science different then we do, which means the idea or concept of science
is understood different by each society because they have different historical,
biological, cultural and philosophical viewpoint from which they start from....

we have different maps, clues as to what a particular frame of reference is,
that map could be a historical map or a cultural map or a philosophical map
or a map of how a particular society viewed science... because each society
view science differently, we get different maps from each society....
and different starting places... as I wrote earlier, if we start from a
different place on a map, we will wind up in a different place...
so if start from Las Vegas on my map and you start from New York,
chances are we are not going to the same place and the road will look
vastly different to each of us.....that starting point of Las Vegas is the
starting point of the Greeks and the New York starting point is the
Middle ages... and because they started in different places because of
vastly different assumptions, biases, superstitions and prejudice of each society,
assumptions, biases, superstitions and prejudice that are historically conditioned
within each... you cannot hold the same value if you hold vastly different
assumptions, biases, superstitions or prejudices.....thus what we see, and call
objective and scientific viewpoints are really just our assumptions,
biases, superstitions and prejudice, otherwise known as
our historically conditioned knowledge.......we see the world as being scientific
because we were taught to see the world that way.. we can and have seen the
world in vastly different ways.... but is our way right?... depends on what you mean
by "right".....even our understanding of the word, right, is historically conditioned....
and historically conditioned means we are raised with indoctrinations and prejudice
and biases that every single society/state has.... as well as our historical
conditioned understanding of the world, we have our own local biases,
prejudices, superstitions and assumptions.... I was born into a Mid West family,
and that act, has put into me, certain assumptions, biases and prejudices
and superstitions.... I view the world through the lens of someone born in the Mid-West...
and so I see science, history, mythology, economics, philosophy.. different from
someone born in the East Coast or in Europe.... Our values are culturally,
historically, nationally, locally, socially, economically and philosophically different
my social and economic class can dictate my understanding of science as much
as my education and my birthplace...... I am historically conditioned due to my
particular location in the world, society, the state, my birthplace, my education
and all kinds of particulars that are specific to me.....my age dictates my
viewpoint of science as much as anything else.....

so you want to talk about Marx... you have to make it clear which Marx we
are talking about because of my particular historical situation, I view
Marx differently then you do or differently then a German Jew living in
the 1920's..... our particular historical situation dictates how we view
people, events, idea's, ism's and ideologies....as does our current socio-economic status
at the moment......

in other words, there is no such thing as an objective viewpoint.....
in any format or understanding.....

we change, society changes, science changes, history changes,
the environment changes... and each change affects our understanding
of any particular and overall item....we change and our understanding of
marx changes, society changes and we understand Marx differently,
history changes and we understand Marx differently...
the environment changes.. you get the point....

we are historically conditioned.....
and that is how we view the world, through that particular
lens and time/place....

Kropotkin
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Re: in reading Foucault

Postby Peter Kropotkin » Thu Jul 22, 2021 5:46 pm

let us take a bit of a closer look at what being
"Historically conditioned" really means....

let us say, I hold a certain belief... let us the current GOP
scare piece which today is CRT.... now let us say that I am
for it or I am opposed to it.... now most people are in fact, neutral
about CRT... they hold no views for or against CRT....
as my daughter is no longer in school, she is in her 30's,
so CRT from that standpoint, I should be indifferent to whether they
teach CRT or not... and from that particular standpoint, I am indifferent...
it doesn't affect me personally.....

but CRT is something else... it is an historical event which means it
stand within time, it is not something that can be understood
objectively, for there is no such thing as objective... and CRT
stands as our current, historical understanding of history...
which is, at best, temporary... and within a short period of time,
CRT will be as useful and as relevant as Phrenology... (look it up)

ideas like CRT and Phrenology are products of their time... they are
idea's that have no, no objective basis and will not stand the test of time...
but frankly, no idea will stand the test of time, even something like
physics or biology because those idea's are not objective or permanent...
they are temporary, subjective idea's that match the time, place, circumstances
of that particular society that believes in those idea's....

we hold to CRT, or not, not because CRT has some permanent value, it doesn't,
but because it is created within the context of our times... our historical,
psychological, philosophical, emotional context creates CRT....CRT is
just another moving target that will only exists for a short period of time..
like Phrenology...once the historical times change, CRT heads for the dustbin
of history.....so, CRT exists due to our current historical and political and social
context....just as such powerful and useful ideologies as existentialism
and Marxism are headed for the dustbin of history.....they were current and useful
as an ism because they captured the social/political/economic/and political
needs of the time....time changes/the environment changes/ our needs change
and so the ism's and ideologies of the times change....

let us look at another concept.. what is MAN? And we see that how we
understood the idea of MAN has changed within the historical context because
the environment/the social or economic context changed, or our political needs or
philosophical needs changed...the concept of how we view MAN has changed
as our needs or beliefs changed... so when I offer up the advice, become
human, all too human, I am writing from a very specific standpoint because
the concept of being human, will change... we will see being human change
as it needs to change to match our current historical understanding of what it
means to be human changes...the concept of being human is attached to
the present needs and desires of us, both individually and collectively.....

so to be "historical conditioned" means to match what is needed at that moment
involving in the concepts that we use......so how do we escape this
"historical conditioned" concepts idea?

we try to gain some distance from it... so for example, let us try to
explain and understand a storm, say a hurricane from inside the hurricane.
as I have been in a hurricane, several actually, I can tell you what the inside
the hurricane looks like.. but my description is bias because it is my
eyewitness viewpoint of a hurricane.. and your eyewitness viewpoint
of being inside a hurricane may be and quite often is, vastly different...

so how should we understand that particular hurricane? from two or more
viewpoints, an inner one, my own personal description and from a birds eye
view of the hurricane... recall watching TV and seeing the hurricane moving
on the screen toward some destination like Florida... we can see the hurricane
"hit" Fla and this is a birds eye view... but we can't understand what
that means unless we get some idea or perspective from inside the
hurricane... hence we can get TV reports from reporters inside the
hurricane and with the overall viewpoint, we can make some sense
of that particular hurricane....but one viewpoint doesn't allow us to
make sense of or understand that particular hurricane.. inside gets us
some sense of what is happening but it is too close, we see the wind,
the rain, the tree's falling down, the signs and buildings being damaged,
and that gives us some sense of the storm, but that viewpoint is incomplete
because it lacks an overall, birds eye viewpoint of the storm....

we must get both inside and outside of our events, ism's, ideologies,
to make complete sense of it........

This is why we have an incomplete sense of ism's and ideologies, we
are lacking two or more viewpoints to see them....one inside the
ism and the other viewpoint, outside the ism.....the immediate viewpoint
and the exterior viewpoint or the bird's eye viewpoint....

and more times then not, it is the birds eye viewpoint we are lacking,
not the immediate viewpoint...so when we explore certain ism's or
ideologies, we lack a birds eye viewpoint and thus we fail to see
that ism in some sort of contrast or comparison.....

this is true of the concept of capitalism... we see the immediate, close
up, inside the storm viewpoint of capitalism... as I see it every day from
my check stand but I also try to see it from an birds eye viewpoint.....
not only inside the storm but outside the storm....

capitalism fails not only because of the immediate, personal failure but
we see it fail from a birds eye viewpoint..........but it is important
to see capitalism as being only because of its being ''historically condition''
to exist in this particular time and place...as our political, economic,
philosophical and social understanding changes, capitalism
and our viewpoint, our understanding of capitalism will change....
given our current socio-economic-politico situation,
capitalism makes sense until it doesn't.....

just as in one point in time, feudalism fit and made sense, because
it was an "historical condition" that worked in that time and space,
but it makes no sense today... it won't work today because in our current
socio-economic-politico understanding of the world, it would make no sense....

nothing is permanent or lasting because we are changing, our
environment is changing, our understanding of what it means to be human
is changing....

so in studying history or science or biology or philosophy, we are
studying an ever changing, ever moving target...

lets take an example... as is known, I have been engaged in the study
of Philosophy for several years now... I am working on modern
philosophy and ''modern'' society...what does it mean to be human in our modern
times?

but as I work my way toward today, both my own understanding and the
state, the society, the culture and economically, our understanding
changes... what is true and right today, maybe wrong tomorrow.....

in other words, I don't believe I can ever reach some "final"
viewpoint that allows me to both have an inside look at who we are
and a birds eye viewpoint of who we are....I am and the society is,
ever changing and moving, how do we get a "final" view of
something that is always moving.. like our understanding of who we are
and what it means to be human......

that is why such disciplines as history, philosophy, economics,
psychology.. never seems to be complete.... it always seems to
be incomplete.....that is because it is incomplete because it is
a moving target...I can't aim at where it is because by the time
my "arrow" arrives there, it will have moved.. so I must aim my
''arrow'' at where I think it might be, I aim for some future target...
because that is where it will be, I hope....

Kropotkin
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Peter Kropotkin
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Re: in reading Foucault

Postby Peter Kropotkin » Thu Jul 22, 2021 6:09 pm

let us look at one idea, that man, human beings are divine...
born as the children of god....and one was either in that ''light'
and goes to heaven or one isn't, and goes to hell......
and this was one way that western man understood himself...
as divine because of that history..... but then Darwin came
along and Nietzsche came along and the various
revolutions came along, the scientific for example, that displace human beings from
being divine.. we are no longer children of god....and what has replaced that?

and therein lies the modern tale that we still live in.......inside the
storm as it were...but without any sort of bird's eye viewpoint
that allow us some distance which gives us some perspective
on what it means to be human...if not divine, then what?

and we haven't yet come to an answer to the question, if not divine,
then what?

the history of the last 200 years may be understood as trying to answer this
question, if not divine, then what? What does the Holocaust for example,
tell us about what it means to be human?

if not divine, then what?

Kropotkin
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Re: in reading Foucault

Postby Peter Kropotkin » Thu Jul 22, 2021 6:43 pm

if as I suggest, that the sciences including physics, biology,
evolution, psychology are ''historically conditioned''...
thus simply reflect our social, political, culturally and
philosophy that we inherently, and often without justification
hold......even the math we believe in, is culturally based...
we hold to the base 10 system, even though other base systems
are possible....like the base 8 system or a base 5 system....

the question becomes, is all our knowledge simply a reflection
of our current socio-political-economic-philosophical
situation? is all our knowledge ''historically conditioned?''
a product of a temporary, ''ad hoc'' understanding of the world?

the answer seems to be clear, at least to me... is it clear to you?

Kropotkin
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Peter Kropotkin
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Re: in reading Foucault

Postby Peter Kropotkin » Thu Jul 22, 2021 8:19 pm

while eating lunch, ummm wings....

anyway, while eating lunch a thought came to mind...
I don't know how directly this come from Foucault, but
it also comes from Wittgenstein.....

we have, as human beings, limitations...our limitations take on many
different forms.. personally, I am limited by my hearing loss and others
are limited by being short or being less intelligent or perhaps not
being very coordinated...the possibilities in this matter can be without
a end and we are also limited in our mental skills... I cannot add,
subtract, multiply or divide to save my life...I am mathematical
challenged...it seems to run in my family with the exception of my brother,
who is a mathematical genius... done test to that point...

but my limitations run beyond just math skills....there is an entire
subgroup of questions that I cannot answer and that in fact,
you cannot answer.... we simply can never get to a point where
we can find answers given our limitations....
part of the subgroup of questions is and not excluding any other questions:

"what is the meaning of life?" "what existed before the big bang?"
"what is the destination of life/human beings?" "what is good?''
"What are morals?" "is there a god?" We have an entire group of
questions that because of our own limitations, we can never answer......

but the limitations not only lie in us personally, they lie with us collectively...
in the very assumptions we make as a society... because of our ism's, ideologies,
prejudice, superstitions, biases.. we are/become limited in our viewpoints....
we are so fixated on seeing the tree's, we miss the forest... that is a collective
limitation we all have....if for example, hold that the point of existence
is to seek out profits/money, then we miss out on a entire class of
possibilities that may (or may not) offer us "better possibilities"...

if life is all about finding love, then we might miss out on the whole
range of possibilities that we are capable of.... for example seeking
knowledge, seeking god, seeking wisdom, seeking hope, seeking understanding....
we miss all those possibilities if we focus on just seeking love......

our own biases, prejudices, superstitions.. may limit us to a very few
possibilities....and not even the "right" possibilities.......

we need to understand what ism's, prejudice, biases, superstitions
we have, that limit us....

our engagement is not only positive, what is possible for me, but negative,
what is causing my own viewpoint to be limited?

what biases or prejudice is keeping me from seeing the whole picture,
what ism is keeping me limited in my viewpoint?

Kropotkin
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Re: in reading Foucault

Postby Peter Kropotkin » Thu Jul 22, 2021 9:34 pm

the question has been asked, should we seek that which is transcendental,
that which is universal in us, because frankly, there isn't anything in human
ism's or beliefs or superstitions that are transcendental, universal...
all belief is "ad hoc" that of the moment, to work out a specific current problem....

for example, Kant's god, freedom and immorality.....are they really
transcendental, universal issues? only if we make them so....
only if we define them as such...

but the fact is, we don't exists within a transcendental, universal universe....
our existence is limited, "ad hoc" for a limited, specific problem, with no
real concern with anything that is transcendental/universal...

who picks up bobby from school and takes him to baseball practice?
who is picking up the dinner? who is taking out the garbage?
what do I need to put into the report my boss is demanding?
these are the daily questions of existence that fills our time,
but nothing transcendental/universal....

and the questions of the transcendental/universal seem to be beyond
our grasp because of our limited viewpoint.... how can we see our goal
within existence if we cannot see our beginning in existence?

limitations in ism's, viewpoints, skills and desires, force us into
a limited understanding of the universe......

how do we expand our limitations to increase our understanding of the universe?

Kropotkin
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