Foucault tells us how hegemonic history controls us, and then…

Making historical analysis the discourse of the continuous and making human consciousness the original subject of all historical development and all action are the two sides of the same system of thought. In this system, time is conceived in terms of totalization and revolutions are never more than moments of consciousness.

In various forms, this theme has played a constant role since the nineteenth century: to preserve, against all decenterings, the sovereignty of the subject, and the twin figures of anthropology and humanism. Against all the decentering operated by Marx–by the historical analysis of the relations of production, economic determination, and the class struggle–it gave place, towards the end of the nineteenth century, to search for a total history, in which all the differences of a society might be reduced to a single form, to the organization of a world-view, to the establishment of a system of values, to a coherent type of civilization. To the decentering operated by the Nietzschean geneology, it opposed the search for an original foundation that would make rationality the telos of mankind, and link the whole history of thought to the preservation of this rationality, to the maintenance of this teleology, and to the ever necessary return to this foundation. Lastly, more recently, when the researchers of psychoanalysis, linguistics, and ethnology have decentered the subject in its relation to the laws of his desire, the forms of his language, the rules of his action, or the games of his mythical or fabulous discourse, when it became clear that man himself, questioned as to what he was, could not account for his sexuality and his unconscious, the systematic forms of his language, or the regularities of his fictions, the theme of a continuity of history has been reactivated again; a history that would not be division, but development (devenir);

not an interplay of relations, but an internal dynamic; not a system, but the hard work of freedom; not form, but the unceasing effort of a consciousness turned upon itself, trying to grasp itself in deepest conditions: a history that would be both an act of long, uninterrupted patience and the vivacity of a movement, which in the end, breaks all bounds.

–from The Archeology of Knowledge


I will not be analyzing this here unless you decide to engage me in conversation. The benefit is that we collectively decide what it is this means, but what this idea of Foucault’s brings.


One thought on “Foucault tells us how hegemonic history controls us, and then…

  1. “Making historical analysis the discourse of the continuous,” just points to the rise of the widely held, cultural world view or way of looking at things linearly instead of cyclically? This way of looking at things leads to other related philosophical ideas such as universal progress, the evolution of society towards Utopian ideals, even the belief in an American dream being acheivable for all who act in accordance with the cuture.

    In all of this, human ego is the central subject, believed to be the reason for which everything else exists.

    This ego-centric system is totalitarian, exploitive of all else.

    It is just an observation.

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