Wednesday, 23 December 2015

Foucault says, Be Cruel!

- - Parisian graffiti, May 1968 (as quoted in The Passion of Michel Foucault, by James Miller).

Foucault says, Be Cruel! (a prose poem) 

Foucault said, Be cruel! 

Too far? Too much? There’s a positive side to this brutal command. It’s extreme, sure; though it shows us how far we could go. And just how little we’ve gone.

Cruelty calls you from afar. Can you hear it? It tells us how far we'd need to go before we can even dream cruelty. Let alone be cruel and live the Marquis’ perfect life.

Be mad for just one day… One hour! One bare minute! Live outside Reason’s prison. Live off sense and decency’s edge.

As Nietzsche said: Be free of the conscience which bites you.
Act before you think too hard or for too long. Or act with no thought at all!

Disregard the other – every other. Fuck all who dare trespass the depths of your otherwise feeble self. Make the world in your own image. Cease being the other’s image. Stop the killing-thoughts of those for whom you care too much. Stop them shaping the pliable clay that is your self.

To affect total control - total self-control; you must cease to care too much… Or cease to care at all. Break the links which connect you to stronger selves.

You could be happy in your cruelty. You could enclose yourself within your own bounded mind. Yet your self is now as small as some minds.

Come tomorrow, your self will be as wide as your mind is now.

So why not be cruel? Cruel for one intoxicating day? For one naked minute?

Look, Bad Conscience no longer watches you! But if it does, bite it back! Regain what it stole from your fragile self. That fucking thing tried its pious best to destroy you. To annihilate the self within. To turn you feeble and meek.

To turn you into a slave to morality.

When young and trusting of the adult, you listened to your proxy - Bad Conscience. Saw it as the pure grown-up within.
It demanded obedience. It expected respect - just as every fucked-up grown-up you dared disobey demanded so much from you. The adults who tried to take control of the show that was your own life. But with acts of insurrection, no doubt, you showed them a quicker brain and a stronger will.
Your rude self never gave up the fight for some freedom. Never stopped wanting to be free of the diktats spat out by goody-good folk. They tried to take control of your little life when you lived in your little world. But now your conscience is still your master. Bite it back. Be free! Be cruel!


*) This prose-poem was inspired by The Passion of Michel Foucault, by James Miller. The biography was published in 1993.

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