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  • They do explore some, if not alternatives to the Enlightenment mode of domination,

  • they do explore some possibilities that still exist for us.

  • that are not totally subsumed by that mode of domination.

  • And they focused on art and memory. We're on page 25, I'm going to read you a

  • small section here. The urge to rescue the past as something

  • living, instead of using it as the material of progress, has been satisfied

  • only in art. Okay, so notice there, it's not to use

  • the past. but, to rescue the past as something

  • living. That's a nice phrase I think.

  • Has been satisfied only in art, in which even history, as a representation of past

  • life, is included. As long as art, including history here,

  • as long as art does not insist on being treated as knowledge.

  • And thus exclude itself from praxis, it is tolerated by social praxis in the same

  • way as pleasure. So art like pleasure is tolerated in the

  • Enlightenment modality. But art rescues the past.

  • This will be important for Horkheimer and Adorno because the past contains

  • alternatives to the status quo. The seeds of alternatives to the status

  • quo. It's interesting isn't it.

  • Rather than trying to project a utopian future, they think of the past as having

  • seeds of possibility that have not yet been cultivated.

  • And so, art can somehow rescue the past. Culture can provide us with reminders,

  • pleasurable reminders, because there's aesthetic pleasure involved, pleasurable

  • reminders of alternatives to this totalitarian picture generated by the

  • Enlightenment. However, art too is colonized by the

  • forces of progress in Enlightenment. Art too is used by the forces of

  • domination. They certainly saw that in Nazi Germany

  • with the great choreography of mass rallies, the use of film to generate an

  • enthusiasm for the regime, for, to generate hatred of the regime's enemies.

  • But they see, Horkheimer and Adorno, and over the years Adorno in particular, will

  • see in mass culture. and and another mode of dominating

  • people, by reducing the spectrum of what they can hear and see and take pleasure

  • in and find alternative to the status quo through.

  • so they write at like page 28 to 29 that regression of the masses today lies in

  • their inability To hear with your own ears.

  • What has not already been heard. The masses ability to hear with your own

  • hears. What has not already been heard to touch

  • with their hands, what has not previously been grasped.

  • This is a new form of blindness, which supersedes that of vanquished mist, myth.

  • So what what Horkheimer and Adorno are trying to eh do here is to remind us that

  • there are forms of art that we might open our ears to if you will.

  • That we might open our eyes to, but there were great forces in social praxis and

  • social coecion and the homogenization of society That limit what we can hear and

  • take pleasure from. Limit what we can see, and, and consider

  • as art. Horkheimer and Adorno were, dedicated

  • avant gardists. They were very interested in how art

  • aggressively pushes the boundaries of, What we can think and take pleasure from

  • and they were worried that as part of the dialectic enlightening, as part of the

  • cycle of domination, art would become less and less adventurous.

  • Art would become more and more a, a form of mass culture or pop culture, appealing

  • to our most base tastes and reinforcing the status quo.

  • They wanted an art that was going to push us to think beyond where we were, to

  • think beyond what the status quo required.

  • and that would be the path to what they call true praxis.

  • true praxis is overturning the status quo through action informed by feeling a

  • knowledge. This doesn't come until the very end of

  • the essay, towards like the middle 30s of our reading.

  • True praxis is capable of overturning the status quo because it integrates theory

  • pleasure and aesthetics. So, they are wary that aesthetics is

  • being, or art, music is being dumbed down into something that everybody can sing

  • and tap their feet to. and they worry that that will close the

  • door of art off as well. but they have some hope, they have some

  • hope that through art, the past can be redeemed, rescued and possiblities for

  • the future can be opened up despite the awful persistence of domination and our

  • participation in it. So Horkheimer and Adorno were doing that

  • work, as I say, in the 1940s and, and, continue to do that for many years to

  • come. the Frankfurt school is a, a group of

  • thinkers still today very active through its elder statesman Jurgen Habermas.

  • de-, developing a body of, of, of dialectical thinking called critical,

  • theory that remains a, a force, in, in many countries around the globe.

  • A force for understanding how we participate in our own oppression and how

  • we might imagine alternatives to it. The, the next thinker we're going to talk

  • about this week is Michel Foucault who comes of age a generation later than

  • Horkheimer and Adorno. Foucault who was a historian, a

  • philosopher wrote about art and literature he He was an activist as and,

  • and, and a bit of a trickster in some ways as well.

  • he participated in, in a the French Postmodernism, in fact was a leader of

  • French Postmodernism insofar as he was rigorously antifoundational.

  • He, didn't want to find the really real. he didn't want to find a total dialectic.

  • What Foucault wanted to do in his work was just a small piece of which we have

  • read for, this week. But Foucault wanted to do in his work.

  • Was to tell the story of progress in such a way that we would see how what we

  • thought of was progress was actually a, a form of a, a greater social control and

  • homogenization. He told that story not because he thought

  • it had objective truth but because he thought that alternative accounts of how

  • we came to be who we are might actually open up possibilities for us to change

  • who we would be in the future. So, we have read something for this week

  • from Michel Foucault's great work on the mental asylums and mental hospitals.

  • the which was called a madness in civilization.

  • and I, he, he just gives you an example of the Foucaultian, as it comes to be

  • called, approach to the past and approach to politics.

  • For Foucault the history of mental illness was great field for

  • deconstruction if I can use that phrase. It wasn't a phrase he would of used

  • himself. Or he would of said a feel for genealogy,

  • Foucault himself in the Nichean tradition why?

  • Because what we see in the field of mental illness is a history where we say

  • up until the end of the 18th century or sometime shortly thereafter, we treated

  • insane people very badly. We didn't know they were sick, we thought

  • they were possessed, we thought they were criminals, we thought that we had to

  • chain them up and And, and, and contain mental illness in a way that was

  • barbaric. And then afterwards we realized, oh my

  • goodness, these people need our help. We can help them get better, we can, we

  • can return them to normality. And that that was the story of progress

  • from persecution and torture and confinement to liberation.

  • And progress towards health. Foucault said no, no, no, no, no.

  • What looks like progress towards health is actually a wave of conformity.

  • Of trying to erase the possibility of difference that man has always

  • represented. So, what Foucault sees in in the

  • development of the asylum Is a massive social undertaking, where we erase the

  • possibility of authentic madness. So that we can all have more powerful

  • pressure towards normalization. Not just for the mentally ill, but for

  • all of us. So here a history of madness.

  • Foucault wrote, madness escaped from the arbitrary, only in order to enter a kind

  • of endless trial. For which the asylum furnished

  • simultaneously police, magistrates, and torturers.

  • Madness will be punished in the asylum, even if it is innocent outside it.

  • For a long time to come, and until our own day at least, it is imprisoned in a

  • moral world. And what Foucault meant by being

  • imprisoned in a moral world after the liberation of the ment-, of the, of the

  • mad from the asylum. Is that we replace notions of the

  • excessive madman, or the excessive madwoman who is on the borders of

  • society. Replace that notion with the notion of

  • health to which all of us, in which, within which all of us are imprisoned.

  • In the old days for Foucault, we just had to imprison or ostrasize or torture the

  • crazy dude. We had, that was the crazy, and, and that

  • the rest of us were not actually subject to the order, the moralistic order that

  • will later develop. We just tortured the crazy dude.

  • Or we made the crazy dude into a kind of hero for ourselves.

  • We made that crazy dude the king for the day.

  • We gave him pride of place. We invited him to special parties.

  • We made fun of him, we might have tortured him, but we were not all trying

  • to be sane. Because the crazy dude actually relieved

  • us of the obligation to conform to some novel of sanity.

  • Whereas today, if I asked you, which I will not do, because I think it might be

  • illegal. if I, now you're wondering what I'm going

  • to ask you. I, if I asked you what, how many of you

  • in this room are taking psychoactive medication, I actually know already that

  • 36% of you would raise your hands. Why?

  • Oh, you think that's high? The art school, no, the art school I used

  • to work at it was 76% [LAUGH] and proud of it.

  • Because it was a sign that the parents of all these artists were actually trying to

  • make them into non art, I mean, into healthy people.

  • And that's the moral of Foucault's History of Madness, is that yes you

  • liberate the patient so that the patient can be normal.

  • So that if you need to study there's a pill for that.

  • If you want to have sex there's a pill for that, if you want to have less sex

  • there's a pill for that, if you can't read very much there's a pill for that.

  • And all of that is so much kinder than torturing them, mad dude.

  • So much nicer, so much kinder. So, just to give you an example from the

  • reading, Foucault writes that the asylum no longer punished the mad man's guilt,

  • it is true. It didn't see the mad man as guilty, but

  • it organized the guilt of the mad man and then organized all of the guilt of

  • society, making all of us subject to the pressures of psychologization.

  • that, the, the asylum used to be the place where people were confined.

  • And sometimes they, go, went, where folks went to watch them.

  • And, and look at them like they would look at animals in a zoo.

  • But you would look at them because they they were living an alternative reality.

  • And what happens, Foucault says, is that alternative reality is closed off.

  • And instead, the only reality is the reality of normalization.

  • And that means increasing the power to homogenize, to flatten out society.

  • This is Foucault. We should admit, rather, that power

  • produces this is knowledge and not simply encouraging it because it serves power,

  • by applying it because it is useful. In other words he doesn't want to, he

  • doesn't want to be instrumentalists. That power, that power and knowledge