You are on page 1of 9

1AC

Chapter One is Paranoiac Capitalism:

The status quo is paranoiac even in its attempt at counter culture. Status quo
methodology confines experimentation to only processes with set goals in mind,
destroying these movements from the beginning. We must instead abandon these final
goals and embrace free thought.
Deleuze and Guattari 1972, Anti-Oedipus, 370-1
The codes and their signifiers , the axiomatics and their structures, the imaginary
figures that come to occupy them as well as the purely symbolic relationships that
gauge them, constitute properly aesthetic molar formations that are characterized by
goals, schools, and periods. They relate these aesthetic formations to greater social
aggregates, finding in them a field of application, and everywhere enslave art to a
great castrating machine of sovereignty. There is a pole of reactionary investment for
art as well, a somber paranoiac-Oedipal-narcissistic organization. A foul use of
painting, centering around the dirty little secret, even in abstract painting where the
axiomatic does without figures: a style of painting whose secret essence is scatological,

an oedipalizing painting, even when it has broken with the Holy Trinity as the Oedipal
image, a neurotic or neuroticizing painting that makes the process into a goal or an
arrest, an interruption, or a continuation in the void. This style of painting flourishes
today, under the usurped name of modern painting-a poisonous flower-and brought one
of Lawrence's heroes to speak much like Henry Miller of the need to have done with
pouring out one's merciful and pitiful guts, these "flows of corrugated iron.":" The

productive breaks projected onto the enormous unproductive cleavage of castration, the
flows that have become flows of "corrugated iron," the openings blocked on all sides.
And perhaps this, as we have seen, is Where we find the commodity value of art and
literature: a paranoiac form of expression that no longer even needs to "signify" its
reactionary libidinal investments, since these investments function on the contrary as its
signifier; an Oedipal form of content that no longer even needs to represent Oedipus,
since the "structure" suffices. But on the other, the schizorevolutionary, pole, the value
of art is no longer measured except in terms of the decoded and deterritorialized
flows that it causes to circulate beneath a signifier reduced to silence, beneath the
conditions of identity of the parameters, across a structure reduced to impotence; a
writing with pneumatic, electronic, or gaseous indifferent supports, and that appears
all the more difficult and intellectual to intellectuals as it is accessible to the infirm, the
illiterate, and the schizos, embracing all that flows and counterflows, the gushings of
mercy and pity knowing nothing of meanings and aims (the Artaud experiment, the
Burroughs experiment). It is here that art accedes to its authentic modernity, which
simply consists in liberating what was present in art from its beginnings, but was hidden
underneath aims and objects, even if aesthetic, and underneath recodings or
axiomatics: the pure process that fulfills itself, and that never ceases to reach fulfillment

as it proceeds-art as "experimentation.'
The paranoia spreads to every aspect of our lives and locks us into a capitalist
mindset it controls the military by creating the desire for war to deposit surplus
capital and it engineers genocide to check the human surplus. Support for
capitalism is mired in an insanity that believes capitalisms benevolent actions are

apolitical when in reality the greatest benefits of capitalism exist only as a facade to
allow the systems most cruel actions. Meanwhile, lines of flight such as the desire
to revolt against capitalism are taught to be repressed by desire itself a byproduct
of the status quos paranoiac take-control-and-fix-all mentality.
Deleuze and Guattari 1972, Anti-Oedipus, 372-4
In the capitalist formation of sovereignty-the full body of capital money as the
socius-the great social axiomatic has replaced the territorial codes and the
despotic overcodings that characterized the preceding formations; and a
molar, gregarious aggregate has formed, whose mode of subjugation has no equal.
We have seen on what foundations this aggregate operated: a whole field
of immanence that is reproduced on an always larger scale, that is continually
multiplying its axioms to suit its needs, that is filled with images and with images of
images, through which desire is determined to desire its own repression
(imperialism); an unprecedented decoding and deterritorialization, which
institutes a combination as a system of differential relations between the
decoded and deterritorialized flows, in such a way that social inscription and repression no
longer even need to bear directly upon bodies and persons, but on the contrary precede them (axiomatic:
regulation and application); a surplus value determined as a surplus value of flux, whose extortion is not
brought about by a simple arithmetical difference between two quantities that are homogeneous and
belong to the same code, but precisely by differential relations between heterogeneous magnitudes that
are not raised to the same power: a flow of capital and a flow of labor as human

surplus value in the industrial essence of capitalism, a flow of financing and a


flow of payment or incomes in the monetary inscription of capitalism, a market flow
and a flow of innovation as machinic surplus value in the operation of
capitalism (surplus value as the first aspect of its immanence), a ruling class that
is all the more ruthless as it does not place the machine in its service, but
is the servant of the capitalist machine: in this sense, a single class, content for its part
with drawing incomes that, however enormous, differ only arithmetically from the workers' wages-income,
whereas this class functions on a more profound level as creator, regulator, and guardian of the great nonappropriated, non-possessed flow, incommensurable with wages and profits, which marks at every step
along the way the interior limits of capitalism, their perpetual displacement, and their reproduction on an
always larger scale (the movement of interior limits as the second aspect of the capitalist field of
immanence, defined by the circular relationship "great flux of financing-reflux of incomes in wages-afflux of
raw profit"); the effusion of anti-production within production, as the

realization or the absorption of surplus value, in such a way that the


military, bureaucratic, and police apparatus finds itself grounded in the
economy itself, which directly produces libidinal investments for the
repression of desire anti-production as the third aspect of capitalist
immanence, expressing the twofold nature of capitalism: production for
production's sake, but under the conditions of capital). There is not one of
these aspects-not the least operation, the least industrial or financial mechanismthat does not reveal the insanity of the capitalist machine and the
pathological character of its rationality: not at all a false rationality, but a true
rationality of this pathological state, this insanity, "the machine works too, believe
me". The capitalist machine does not run the risk of becoming mad, it is
mad from one end to the other and from the beginning, and this is the source of its rationality.
Marx's black humor, the source of Capital, is his fascination with such a machine: how it came to be
assembled, on what foundation of decoding and deterritorialization; how it works, always more decoded,
always more deterritorialized; how its operation grows more relentless with the development of the
axiomatic, the combination of the flows; how it produces the terrible single class of gray gentlemen who
keep up the machine; how it does not run the risk of dying all alone, but rather of

making us die, by provoking to the very end investments of desire that do


not even go by way of a deceptive and subjective ideology, and that lead us
to cry out to the very end, Long live capital in all its reality, in all its
objective dissimulation! Except in ideology, there has never been a humane, liberal, paternal,
etc., capitalism. Capitalism is defined by a cruelty having no parallel in the primitive system of cruelty, and
by a terror having no parallel in the despotic regime of terror. Wage increases and improvements in
the standard of living are realities, but realities that derive from a given

supplementary axiom that capitalism is always capable of adding to its


axiomatic in terms of an enlargement of its limits: let's create the New
Deal; let's cultivate and recognize strong unions; let's promote participation, the single
class; let's take a step toward Russia, which is taking so many toward us; etc . But within the
enlarged reality that conditions these islands, exploitation grows
constantly harsher, lack is arranged in the most scientific of ways, final
solutions of the "Jewish problem" variety are prepared down to the last
detail, and the Third World is organized as an integral part of capitalism .
The reproduction of the interior limits of capitalism on an always wider scale has
several consequences: it permits increases and improvements of standards at the
center, it displaces the harshest forms of exploitation from the center to
the periphery, but also multiplies enclaves of overpopulation in the center itself , and easily
tolerates the so-called socialist formations. (It is not kibbutz-style socialism that troubles
the Zionist state, just as it is not Russian socialism that troubles world capitalism.) There is no
metaphor here: the factories are prisons, they do not resemble prisons, they are prisons.
Everything in the system is insane: this is because the capitalist machine
thrives on decoded and deterritorialized flows; it decodes and deterritorializes them
still more, but while causing them to pass into an axiomatic apparatus that combines them, and at the
points of combination produces pseudo codes and artificial reterritorializations. It is in this sense that the
capitalist axiomatic cannot but give rise to new territorialities and revive a new despotic Urstaat. The

great mutant flow of capital is pure deterritorialization, but it performs an


equivalent reterritorialization when converted into a reflux of means of
payment. The Third World is deterritorialized in relation to the center of
capitalism but belongs to capitalism, being a pure peripheral territoriality of capitalism. The
system teems with preconscious investments of class and of interest. And capitalists first have an interest
in capitalism. A statement as commonplace as this is made for another purpose: capitalists have

an interest in capitalism only through the tapping of profits that they


extract from it. But no matter how large the extraction of profits, it does
not define capitalism. And for what does define capitalism, for what conditions profit, theirs is an

investment of desire whose nature unconscious- libidinal-is altogether different, and is not simply
explained by the conditioned profits, but on the contrary itself explains that a small-time capitalist, with no
great profits or hopes, fully maintains the entirety of his libidinal investments: the libido investing the great
flow that is not convertible as such, not appropriated as such-"nonpossession and nonwealth," in the words
of Bernard Schmitt, who among modern economists has for us the incomparable advantage of offering a
delirious interpretation of an unequivocally delirious economic system (at least he goes all the way). In
short, a truly unconscious libido, a disinterested love: this machine is fantastic.

Hence the insanity that is capitalism invades the individual


capitalism is not just an economic system but also an ethic
that has taken over filiation and the family. We indict both the
free-market economy and the repressive little parts inside us
that commodify existence.
Deleuze and Guattari 1972 (Gilles and Felix; Anti-Oedipus) 262-263
In the territorial or even the despotic machine, social economic
reproduction is never independent of human reproduction, of the social
form of this reproduction. The family is therefore an open praxis, a strategy that is
coextensive with the social field; the relations of filiation and alliance are determinant, or rather
"determined as dominant." As a matter of fact, what is marked or inscribed on the socius-directly-is the
producers (or nonproducers) according to the standing of their family or their standing inside the family.

The reproduction process is not directly economic, but passes by way


of the non-economic factors of kinship. This is true not only with respect to the
territorial machine, and to local groups that determine the place of each member in social economic

also
with respect to the despotic machine, which adds the relations of the
new alliance and direct filiation to the old alliance and filiations (whence
reproduction, according to one's status from the standpoint of the alliances and the filiations, but

the role of the sovereign's family in despotic overcoding, and that of the "dynasty"-whatever its mutations,

The process by no
means remains the same in the capitalist system." Representation no
longer relates to a distinct object, but to productive activity itself. The
socius as full body has become directly economic as capital-money ; it
does not tolerate any other preconditions. What is inscribed or marked is no longer
its indecisions-which are inscribed under the same category of new alliance).

the producers or nonproducers, but the forces and means of production as abstract quantities that become
effectively concrete in their becoming related or their conjunction: labor capacity or capital, constant

Capital has taken upon


itself the relations of alliance and filiation. There ensues a privatization
of the family according to which the family ceases to give its social
form to economic reproduction: it is as though disinvested, placed
outside the field; in the language of Aristotle, the family is now simply the form
of human matter or material that finds itself subordinated to the
autonomous social form of economic reproduction, and that comes to
take the place assigned it by the latter. That is to say that the elements
of production and anti-production are not reproduced in the same way
as humans themselves, but find in them a simple material that the
form of economic reproduction pre organizes in a mode that is entirely
distinct from the form this material has as human reproduction.
Precisely because it is privatized, placed outside the field, the form of
the material or the form of human reproduction begets people whom
one can readily assume to be all equal in relation to one another; but
inside the field itself, the form of social economic reproduction has
already preformed the form of the material so as to engender, there
where they are needed, the capitalist as a function derived from
capital, and the worker as a function derived from labor capacity, etc.,
in such a way that the family finds itself countersected by the order of
classes. (In this sense, indeed, segregation is the only origin of
equality'')
capital or variable capital, capital of filiation or capital of alliance.

This familial commodification of social relations makes the family a copy of a copy
of capitalism an image of an image of an image of an image! The mother, the
father, the child all become simulacrum shells of people as value to life is
replaced with the never-ending commodity fetish.
Deleuze and Guattari 1972 (Gilles and Felix; Anti-Oedipus) 264

This placing of the family outside the social field is also its greatest
social fortune. For it is the condition under which the entire social field
can be applied to the family. Individual persons are social persons first of all, i.e.,
functions derived from the abstract quantities; they become concrete in the becomingrelated or the axiomatic of these quantities, in their conjunction. They
are nothing more nor less than configurations or images produced by
the points-signs, the breaks-flows, the pure "figures" of capitalism; the
capitalist as personified capital-i.e., as a function derived from the flow
of capital; and the worker as personified labor capacity-i.e., a function
derived from the flow of labor. In this way capitalism fills its field
of immanence with images: even destitution, despair, revoltand on the other side, the violence and the oppression of

capital-become images of destitution, despair, revolt, violence,


or oppression. But starting from non figurative figures or from the
breaks-flows that produce them, these images will themselves be
capable of figuring and reproducing only by shaping a human material
whose specific form of reproduction falls outside the social field that
nonetheless determines this form. Private persons are therefore
images of the second order, images of images-that is, simulacra that
are thus endowed with an aptitude for representing the first-order
images of social persons. These private persons are formally delimited in the locus of the
restricted family as father, mother, child. But instead of being a strategy that, through
the action of alliances and filiations, opens onto the entire social field, is coextensive with
it, and countersects its co-ordinates, it would appear that the family is now merely
a simple tactic around which the social field recloses, to which it
applies its autonomous requirements of reproduction, and that it
counteracts with all its dimensions. The alliances and filiations no
longer pass through people but through money; so the family becomes
a microcosm, suited to expressing what it no longer dominates. In a certain
sense the situation has not changed; for what is invested through the family is still the economic, political,

Private persons are an illusion, images of


images or derivatives of derivatives. But in another sense everything
has changed, because the family, instead of constituting and
developing the dominant factors of social reproduction, is content to
apply and envelop these factors in its own mode of reproduction.
Father, mother, and child thus become the simulacrum of the images
of capital ("Mister Capital, Madame Earth," and their child the Worker), with the result that
these images are no longer recognized at all in the desire that is
determined to invest only their simulacrum. The familial
determinations become the application of the social axiomatic.
and cultural social field, its breaks and flows.

Therefore, we affirm the resolution as a means of


transportation outside the paranoiac capitalism of modern
society through a personal and domestic infrastructure
inclusive of connections everywhere.
Chapter Two is Rhizomatic Transportation:
We advocate for transportation into unknown areas this allows for the charting of a road of inquiry
that represents an exploration of the problematic field and the addition of doubt and surprise into
the actual precisely through this repetition of the transition between actual and virtual does
our affirmation become reality
Bell 6 (Jeffrey Bell, professor of philosophy at the Southeastern Louisiana University; Charting
the Road of Inquiry: Deleuzes Humean Pragmatics and the Challenge of Badiou, The Southern
Journal of Philosophy, Vol. XLIV, 2006,
http://www2.selu.edu/Academics/Faculty/jbell/chartingroad.pdf)
For these reasons and others, therefore, it might seem that by emphasizing the whole that is thirdness for Peirce, Peirce in
the end does not take philosophy in the direction Deleuze would like to take it. On closer reading, however, significant
similarities emerge, especially as one analyzes Peirces understanding of learning and the role of abduction and
experimentation in the creation of mew beliefs. It is the perpetual charting of the road of inquiry , a
charting that

occurs through the experimental testing of beliefs that leads to surprise and
doubt, a doubt that is then relieved by way of a hypothesis (or abductive inference) that leads to
new beliefs when successfully tested. And it is precisely this charting of the road of inquiry by way of
experimentally challenging beliefs so that they might become transformed or give way to new beliefs that bears an
important similarity to Deleuzes call to tap into the virtual . 31 As Deleuze states it, In going
from A [actual] to B [virtual] and then B to A, we do not arrive back at the point of
departure as in a bare repetition; rather, the repetition between A and B and B and A is
the progressive tour or description of the whole problematic field. 3 2 This progressive tour of
the whole problematic field is precisely the intuition of problems inseparable from the actualities (A) that are their
solutions; or, in Peirces terms, it is the instilling of doubt or surprise into the actual, a doubt

that

makes possible new beliefs (actualizations).

Whereas modern transportation has come to represent a simple tracing, always


limited to territory already familiar to its traverser, our advocacy fosters
connections everywhere, especially between familiar and unfamiliar locations we
advocate for unrestricted transportation, both figurative and literal, to break down
the paranoiac blockages that prevent revolutions and movements in the first place
Burnett 93 (Kathleen Burnett, School Of Communication, Information & Library Studies at
Rutgers University; The Scholars Rhizome: Networked Communication Issues, 4/20/1993,
http://serials.infomotions.com/aejvc/aejvc-v1n02-burnett-scholars.txt)

"What distinguishes the map from the tracing is that it is entirely oriented toward an
experimentation in contact with the real. The map does not reproduce an unconscious closed in
upon itself; it constructs the unconscious. It fosters connections between fields, the
removal of blockages on bodies without organs, the maximum opening of bodies without
organs onto a plane of consistency. It is itself a part of the rhizome. The map is open and
connectable in all of its dimensions; it is detachable, reversible, susceptible to constant
modification." (Deleuze & Guattari 1987, p. 12) This latter decalcomanic process operates as though
the map were perpetually shifting as the traveller moved from one quadrant to the next.
Some of that territory is charted--it is well mapped out in terms that the traveller
understands, and connected to familiar territory or nodes, and some is uncharted-either because it consists of unlinked nodes that exist within the rhizome much as an
undiscovered island might exist in the sea, disconnected from the lines of transfer and

communication linking other land areas; or as an unidentified planet in space, with the potential for
discovery and even exploration, but as yet just a glimmer in the sky--or because it is linked in ways that are
meaningless to the traveller in his present context or given his current state of mind. The traveller must

be able to zoom in on zones of interest, jump to new territories using previously


established links or by establishing new links of his own, retrace an earlier path, or create
new islands or nodes and transportation routes or links to connect them to his previous
path or the islands or nodes charted by others.

Our methodology is that of the rhizome our advocacy opens up countless offshooting lines of flight and deconstructs the hierarchy of tracings in favor of the
acentered, nonsignifying map
Deleuze and Guattari 80, A Thousand Plateaus, pg. 21
The rhizome operates by variation, expansion, conquest, capture, offshoots . Unlike the
graphic arts, drawing, or photography, unlike tracings the rhizome pertains to a map that must
be produced, constructed, a map that is always detachable, connectable, reversible,
modifiable, and has multiple entryways and exits and its own lines of flight. It is tracings
that must be put on the map, not the opposite. In contrast to centered (even polycentric)
systems with hierarchical modes of communication and preestablished paths, the
rhizome is an acentered, nonhierarchical, nonsignifying system without a General and
without an organizing memory of central automaton , defined solely by a circulation of
states.
Even when capitalism and its inherent paranoia are at their strongest, our lines of flight trigger their
decline. These lines are created by art like the aff without finite goal
Deleuze and Guattari 1972, Anti-Oedipus, 368-70
Why this appeal to art and science, in a world where scientists and technicians
and even artists, and science and art themselves, work so closely with the
established sovereignties-if only because of the structures of financing?
Because art, as soon as it attains its own grandeur, its own genius, creates chains
of decoding and deterritorialization that serve as the foundation for desiringmachines, and make them function. Take the example of the Venetian
School in painting: at the same time that Venice develops the most
powerful commodity capitalism, bordering an Urstaat, that grants it a large
degree of autonomy, its painting apparently molds itself to a Byzantine code
where even the colors and the lines are subordinated to a signifier that
determines their hierarchy as a vertical order. But toward the middle of the
fifteenth century, when Venetian capitalism confronts the first signs of its
decline, something breaks out in this painting: what would appear to be another
world opens up, an other art, where the lines are deterritorialized, the colors are
decoded, and now only refer to the relations they entertain among
themselves, and with one another. A horizontal or transverse organization
of the canvas is born, with lines of escape or breakthrough . Christ's body is
engineered on all sides and in all fashions, pulled in all directions, playing the role of a full body without
organs, a locus of connection for all the machines of desire, a locus of sadomasochistic exercises where the
artist's joy breaks free. Even homosexual Christs. Organs become direct powers of the body without
organs, and emit flows on it that the myriad wounds, such as Saint Sebastian's arrows, come to cut and cut
again in such a way as to produce other flows. Persons and organs cease to be coded

according to hierarchized collective investments; each person, each organ


has a merit all its own, and tends to its own affairs: the infant Jesus looks from one
side while the Virgin Mary listens from the other, Jesus stands for all the desiring
children, the Virgin stands for all the desiring women, a joyous activity of profanation
extends beneath this generalized privatization. A painter such as Tintoretto paints
the creation of the world like a race represented in its whole length with God Himself
on the sidelines, giving the starting signal across the track as the figures speed away

in a transversal direction. Suddenly a painting by Lotto surges forth that could just as
easily be from the nineteenth century. And of course this decoding of the flows of
painting, these schizoid lines of escape that form desiring-machines on the
horizon, are taken up again in scraps from the old code, or else introduced
into new codes, and first of all into a properly pictorial axiomatic that chokes off the
escapes, closes the whole constellation to the transversal relations between lines and
colors, and reduces it to archaic or new territorialities (perspective, for example). So
true is it that the movement of deterritorialization can only be grasped as the reverse
side of territorialities, even the residual, artificial, or factitious ones. But at least
something arose whose force fractured the codes, undid the signifiers,
passed under the structures, set the flows in motion, and effected breaks at the limits
of desire: a breakthrough. It does not suffice to say that the nineteenth century is
already there in the middle of the fifteenth, since the same would have to be said of
the Byzantine code underneath which strange liberated flows were already
circulating. We have seen this in the case of the painter Turner, and his most
accomplished paintings that are sometimes termed "incomplete": from the
moment there is genius, there is something that belongs to no school, no
period, something that achieves a breakthrough-art as a process without
goal, but that attains completion as such .
Finally, higher academia is key to our affirmation the role of the ballot is to reject
frameworks that legislate for others and to instead endorse the intellectual
advocacy that best transforms capitalism. The specificity of our radical criticism
spills over and becomes an autonomous revolution against capitalisms norms.
Owen 1997 David Owen, professor of social sciences at Southampton University, 1997,
Maturity and Modernity: Nietszche, Weber, Foucault and the ambivalence of reason, Routledge
publishers, published July 22, 1997
In our reflections on Foucaults methodology, it was noted that, like Nietszche and Weber, he commits

himself to a
stance of value-freedom as an engaged refusal to legislate for others. Foucaults critical activity is
oriented to human autonomy yet his formal account of the idea of autonomy as the activity of selftransformation entails that the content of this activity is specific to the struggles of particular
groups and individuals. Thus, while the struggle against humanist forms of power/knowledge relations denotes the
formal archiectonic interest of genealogy as critique, the determination of the main danger which denotes the filling in
of this interest is contingent upon the dominant systems of constraint confronted by specific groups and individuals. For
example, the constitution of women as hysterical, of blacks as criminal, of homosexuals as perverted all operate
through humanist forms of power/knowledge relations, yet the specificity of the social practices and

discourses engaged in producing these identities entails that while these struggles share a
general formal interest in resisting the biopolitics of humanism, their substantive interests are
distinct. It is against this context that Foucaults stance of value-freedom can be read as embodying a
respect for alterity. The implications of this stance for intellectual practice became apparent in
Foucaults distinction between the figures of the universal and specific intellectual. Consider the
following comments: In a general way, I think that intellectuals-if this category exists, which is not certain or perhaps even
desirable- are abandoning their old prophetic function. And by that I dont mean only their claim to predict what will
happen, but also the legislative function that they so long aspired for: See what must be done, see what is good, follow me.
In the turmoil that engulfs you all, here is the pivotal point, here is where I am. The greek wise man, the jewish prophet,
the roman legislators are still models that haunt those who, today, practice the profession of speaking and writing. The
universal intellectual, on Foucaults account, is that figure who maintains a commitment to critique as
a legislative activity in which the pivotal positing of universal norms (or universal procedures for
generating norms) grounds politics in the truth; of our being (e.g. our real interests). The problematic

form of this type of intellectual practice is a central concern of Foucaults critique of humanist
politics in so far as humanism simultaneously asserts and undermines autonomy. If, however, this is
the case, what alternative conceptions of the role of the intellectual and the activity of critique can
Foucault present to us? Foucaults elaboration of the figure of the specific intellectual provides
the beginnings of an answer to this question: I dream of the intellectual who destroys evidence and
generalities, the one who, in the inertias and constraints of the present time, locates and marks the weak
points, the openings, the lines of force, who is incessantly on the move, doesnt know exactly

where he is heading nor what he will think tomorrow for he is too attentive to the present. The
historicity of thought, the impossibility of locating an Archimedean point outside of time, leads Foucault to locate
intellectual activity as an ongoing attentiveness to the present in terms of what is singular and
arbitrary in what we take to be universal and necessary. Following from this, the intellectual does
not seek to offer grand theories but specific analyses, not global but local criticism . We should be clear
on the latter point for it is necessary to acknowledge that Foucaults position does not entail the impossibility of acceding
to a point of view that could give us access to any complete and definitive knowledge of what may constitute our historical
limits and, consequently, we are always in the position of beginning again (FR p. 47). The upshot of this recognition of
the partial character of criticism is not, however, to produce an ethos of fatal resignation but, in far as it involves a
recognition that everything is dangerous, a hyper-and pessimistic activism (FR p. 343). In other words, it is the very

historicity and partiality of criticism which bestows on the activity of critique its dignity and
urgency. What of this activity then? We can sketch the Foucault account of the activity of critique by
coming to grips with the opposition he draws between ideal critique and real transformation.
Foucault suggests that the activity of critique is not a matter of saying that things are not right as they
are but rather of pointing out what kinds of assumptions, what kinds of familiar, unchallenged,
uncontested modes of thought and practices we accept rest (PPC p. 154). This distinction is perhaps
slightly disingenuous, yet Foucaults point is unintelligible if we recognize his concern to disclose the epistemological
grammar which informs our social practices as the starting point of critique. This emerges in his recognition that

criticism (and radical criticism) is absolutely indispensable for any transformation: A


transformation that remains within the same mode of thought, a transformation that is only a way
of adjusting the same thought more closely to the reality of things can merely be a superficial
transformation. (PPC p. 155) The genealogical thrust of this critical activity is to show that things are not as selfevident as one believed, to see that what is accepted as self-evident is no longer accepted as such for as soon as one can no
longer think things as one formerly thought them, transformation becomes both very urgent, very difficult, and quite
possible (PPC p. 155). The urgency of transformation derives from the contestation of thought (and the social practices in
which it is embedded) as the form of our autonomy, although this urgency is given its specific character for modern
culture by the recognition that the humanist grammar of this thought ties us into the technical matrix of biopolitics.