Foucault’s late studies of classical Greek and Roman texts are significant for the attention they give to the nuances and complexities the authors of those texts attribute to the relations between men and boys. Foucault follows carefully the considerations the classical writers gave to the bodies, pleasures and knowledge that formed and were formed by these relations. His aim is not to capture what was said in these texts but to think with them about what it might have taken, lacking (...) any standard or model, for boys and men, both, to become, in the context of their relations with one another, beautiful examples of what it means to be alive. What interests him, ultimately, is not boys or the ancient pleasures associated with boys but this practice of making one’s life admirable, to oneself and to those with whom one associates freely and intimately, in the absence of a given standard or code. If there is a Foucauldean ethics, it can be nothing more or less than this becoming an admirable instance of a life worth living. (shrink)
It is generally held that the ancient Greeks had neither the language nor the political experience from which to draw a scientific account of authority. Alternatively it is argued that the Greeks experienced a variation of what we call the prerogative to rule, and that the ancient account of authority can be located in what Aristotle and others have said about ruling and being ruled. I demonstrate that authority does figure in the political lives of the ancient Greeks, that Aristotle (...) gives an account of it in his Politics, that Aristotle's account is markedly different from anything anyone has proposed in modern sciences of politics, and that it draws a picture which more adequately describes the way authority figures in our modern political experiences than the accounts that are typically given. I suggest that Michel Foucault's genealogical reading of the ancient Greek fashioning of ethical character as the subjection of desire to the various moderating regimens of political life makes the most of Aristotle's sciences of practical interaction. And I propose that by dropping the references to a purpose for politics external to the subjection of subjects to themselves, Foucault's philosophy describes the frame within which individuals now as then can fashion their lives as a whole work under the prevailing relations of authority/power. (shrink)
Thinking with images -- Aesthetics without theory -- The Baroque and Bacon's popes -- Chance meeting with Duane Michals -- Étant donnés, Marcel Duchamp -- Le Mépris or Contempt, a film by Jean-Luc Godard.