An Ode to Foucault
Foucault after all has been proved right. We ARE living under a repressive social structure. A state that wants us to be active but only AS it commands and thinks appropriate to itself. And the worst part is we don’t even know it. Here’s how I found it functional in my own life.
A documentary movie by an American non-commercial movie maker, Peter Joseph, is a radically efficient move towards laying bare the rubric of the American State and the techniques it( the state) employs to fortify its hegemony. The movie is called Zeitgeist, a German term meaning “spirit of the times” and it works towards exposing how religion, politics and economy, being the spirit of the era, all work in tandem to suppress the citizens and make them move just like dummies to a few powerful men ‘up there’. Not to say that these facts or philosophical revelations are new. But the factual proofing and the systematic fact-based denial of everything that the dominant structure claims to be The Truth by mythologizing the official version of facts, becomes an efficient way out for the director to make his point; The point that: we are being manipulated in all ways, and we are unaware of it. Rather, i would say, content.
As if watching the movie and ruminating over the “truths” it spelled out wasn’t enough to make one outraged, there came something unbelievable. An uncle of mine propagating the movie on Facebook, a so-called casual networking site, was barred from Facebook within 24 hours of the propaganda. The fact that the movie already had created a revolution called The Zeitgeist Movement around the world is not so important here. What is important here is, after all, they proved it alright. Our Facebook accounts are not as private and not as much only ours as their privacy settings and individuality gimmicks would have us believe. We are being watched. Yes, Foucault was right. We are in the Foucauldian modern society where control is made sure through surveillance. Yes, WE ARE UNDER CONSTANT SURVEILLANCE. But the question to ask is: where? How? And how much? Is it only about the State-based activities or is it about personal choices as well? Is it really true, then, that democracy, individuality and freedom-of-being are all just ways to increase the State structure’s credentials and fool the naive citizens into believing that their lives are governed by their own selves while every move and every choice is being watched and must i say, controlled? As if, the upcoming bio-identification card really is for homeland security!
Again, it will do some good to look at Foucault’s idea of Productive Power. Even if he must have produced his statements with much conviction and psychological truth, finding exemplary practical evidence is one’s own life to a thesis produced some years ago is something that takes you by awe, if not surprise. A Facebook account barred because of propagation of a movie that urges people to look into the truth of the dominant powers! Does that smack of anything more than the way power is used to strengthen power? What is remarkable, here, is the fact that this move of prohibiting propagation of a supposedly anti-state document not only makes evident the repressive hinges on which this kind of power stands but also makes way to producing another category of offence. That of, “subtle propagators of anti-state activities/ documents”. That’s what they will have to call it. Isn’t this another category of crime that they are going to produce just by the so-state-like virtue of suppressing it? Doesn’t this bear a striking procedural similarity to the production of the category of the deviant sexual being or the homosexual? And if all this is true, then this is something to be aware and scared of. Because the way Power works is the way it makes us believe is right and obvious.. and so it will not be easy to look beneath a lot of this sub-surface network. And that is why they say.. “its time to wake up, the revolution is now”.
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