“A critique is not a matter of saying things are not right as they are. It is a matter of pointing out on what kinds of assumptions . . . the practices that we accept rest” (154).
He continues by noting that thought exists in even the “most stupid institutions” (155). “In these circumstances, criticism (and radical criticism) is absolutely indispensable for any transformation. A transformation that remains within the same mode of thought . . . can merely be a superficial transformation” (155) “It is not therefore a question of there being a time for criticism and a time for transformation . . . the work of deep transformation can only be carried out in a free atmosphere, on constantly agitated by a permanent criticism” (155).
Foucault goes on to explain that the role of the intellectual is “making conflicts more visible, of making them more essential than mere confrontations of interests or mere institution immobility. Out of these conflicts, these confrontations, a new power relation must emerge, whose first, temporary expression will be a reform” (156). He continues by explaining that all of his theoretical work has a relation to his own experiences. In responding to a comment by Eribon about his optimism, Foucault concludes with “There’s an optimism that consists of saying things couldn’t be better. My optimism would consist rather in saying that so many thing can be changed, fragile as they are, bound up more with circumstances than necessities, more arbitrary than self-evident, more a matter of complex, but temporary, historical circumstances than with inevitable anthropological constants” (156). (via)
I only thought the blogosphere could use a little more Foucault, and I'm too damn flu-ish to post much else. Curses on whos'ever idea it was to stay at the bar until 2:30 and then hit the diner before driving an hour and a half home. Still, the suffering and survival mode does have its moments of clarity, I suppose. If only one could remember any of them. Oh, and happy belated birthday, Claire Denis.