Foucault’s Human, A Fabled Conversation about the Reality of knowing, Part_2 ⇒ Kirno Sohochari

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…: Once you wrote in your book, I quoted it from “History of Sexuality”, where you said that “There are moments in life where the question of knowing whether one might think otherwise than one thinks and perceive otherwise than one sees is indispensable if one is to continue to observe or reflect… What is philosophy today… if it does not consist in, instead of legitimizing what we already know, undertaking to know how and how far it might be possible to think otherwise?”


In your books, interviews, seminar lectures and even personal talks you always tried to focus on the limitation of today’s philosophical thinking about knowing. It seemed to me that you tried to reject the convention that knowing is for knowledge, instead of you have desire to establish your opinion as a denial of conventional philosophical thoughts, used by the modern philosophers, when they consider any philosophical proposition for thinking. Your refusal is newish in the milieu that you are not interested to verify your opinions in the verdant arena of western philosophical schooling, instead we see you keeping busy to prove the notion that power itself a superseding existence to dominate the thought.

Your quest of knowing questioned everything that achieved by the western enlightenment and raised your pen to deny the idea that enlightenment was the major footstep of western civilization. You have denial about Immanuel Kant’s notion that western enlightenment of civilization was a journey towards the teenager to be an adult. We see you often more aggressive and negative to consider the western philosophical schooling as a newish and iconoclast adventure on new ideas.




I am not forgetting that Ludwig Wittgenstein was an artful banter on it. He criticized philosophical thinking is “nonsensical” for its opaque and ambiguous nature and believed that what we think should think clearly and it would be saying by more clearly. He remarked about clarity but not succeeded to solve the problem that in which way it could be possible to avoid the opaque in any philosophical thought.

Language is whimsical by its action and that is the problem maybe. Anyway, your tune is a little repercussion of Wittgenstein when you accused knowing as the same old repetition of traditional epistemology in philosophy. I think criticism of knowing is easier rather to change the trend to establish your claim that, “Knowledge is not for knowing: knowledge is for cutting.”

Do you think that you are able to cutting something by your newish outlook and iconoclast denial to the western thought process?

Foucault: Laughter is healthier than your philosophical talks my friend. Tell me one thing what do you mean by philosophy?

…: To me the favorable meaning of philosophy is to gain wisdom about what I see or observed from the reality and how it feels and interacted to my inner capacities of think it logically. Oriental philosophical thoughts (especially the Indian) named it “Dorshan” to mean it. Use your eyes to observe the detail and do not be stay there, try to explain what you see and questioned it.

micheal-foucault_12Question is the process of critical examination between “Facts and Observation”. Let answer the meaning of experience you got from the world through your observation. They named it “Mimangsha Pronali”. Mimangsha indicate the logical debate on any logical fallacies and “Pronali” is a system of argument about the fallacies.

Oriental philosophy is not reluctant to discuss about metaphor and rhetoric. These are the part of philosophical intuition, the Indian veteran thinkers dealt with it, and their way of knowing was different from the western think-patterns.

Foucault: However, I think you swimming the same old river to buzzing the same old honk like a same old goose. Your conceit to your wisdom is an oblivion that you are swimming on the newer stream of water. The river is archaeological but the water is flowing in a new flesh. The meaning of philosophy is the meaning of change the meaning. The “seeing” is here archaeological, because it’s a fact of remote history; you perhaps appeared in the riverside to see or observe something meaningful.

Objects are not meaningful in the world and you are not meaningful in that way. Meaning depends on you, because you have desire to mean everything. The beginning of philosophy was the beginning of understanding that somehow you needed an urgency to find the meaning of your varied interaction to the reality.

The desire of knowing is the desire of understanding that you are not an alien in the world. You are eventful to the life and the events are not horizontal as you intended to mean it. Life is a perpendicular chain-reaction, where the geometry always trying to fitting it positions in an equilibrium angle. The problem is that it was never stands on its 90-degree angle due to the archaeological facts of human civilization.

Foucault on Power and Freedom

The archaeology of civilization was non-horizontal in its action and chain-reaction. There was dominant and dominated. Counter and counteraction against the resistance made you as a philosophical being, from where you could extract the meaning that “Who you are and why you have to resist the other to settle your 90-degree position.”

It is a conflict between the pairing and cutting of knowledge, which you gain from the archaeological platform of the reality. Seeing to the fact maybe archaeological but the knowing about the fact is not archetypal, and that’s why I consider the knowing as a changing archetype of wisdom. Once I said to my book that, “Where there is power, there is resistance.”

It could be reversely true when you think about the objective of knowledge. The objective of knowledge is not to gain some paper-oriented words to prove that you are artful on logical conversation about human fate. The thesis has its anti-thesis and anti-thesis should have capacity to change the synthesis.


Today’s philosophical thoughts have some limitation to desperately doing it. It is good indeed that philosophy tried to questioning of our every action in the society, but rarely tried to realize the fact that where there is question, there is an absence of question. It could be solved when you raise the question that why the questions are always raised by somebody rather than everybody! The objective of knowledge is not considering itself as an asset of academic symposium discussion, it has its own freedom to reach the every corner of human society. Today’s philosophy is standing far away from the objective.

I think we have needed some collision to the deprived people who are sitting far along to the philosophers. We need to collided to them. Our view about knowing is typically typical. Once I perhaps mentioned it in my book or maybe in an interview that:

“What strikes me is the fact that in our society, art has become something which is related only to objects and not to individuals, or to life. That art is something which is specialized or which is done by experts who are artists. But couldn’t everyone’s life become a work of art? Why should the lamp or the house be an art object, but not our life?”

When you think about the objective of knowing you should have thought about the purpose that does it capable to think in different way. Does it have its own resistance to standing on the geometric 90-degree? Does it have capacity to bear the aggressive attack by the power-oriented powerful societal being? Today’s philosophical discourse is sitting on its banyan tree with an empty hand. He achieved lot from the archaeology and lost more than he achieved.

Your responsibility as a thinker is not to explain what is what and what it will be at future. I believe the factual archaeology is change a lot for the words that, “Maybe the target nowadays is not to discover what we are but to refuse what we are.”, and this is my iconoclastic desire to the knowing-seeker being of the world.