Monday, November 22, 2010

The Logic of Death and Michel Foucault



Modern man, or post-modern man on route to trans-human man,, today follows the logic of death. Despair works in a diabolically mysterious way to make man go beyond mere terror at the thought of death. It sometimes leads him to fascination and obsession with it. A fascination and obsession which inflates death into a kind of omnipotence. Thus philosophers like Michel Foucault suggested that the only way to beat death is to choose how one is to die, defining at the same time how one chooses to live outside of any moral law, the notion of which, we are told, belonged to the "childhood" period of mankind. Now that Nietzsche has confirmed that God and belief are "dead" there is no moral law. Foucault accepted this as a given. There is only death. If there is a god then death is the only god, the force which laughs at and mocks all our dreams and accomplishments. So the only "spirituality" or transcendence left is to accept death, accept that the idea of God is dead, and live the way the self wants to live. In so doing the self pays his respects to this god and cheats it at the same time. Foucault referred to it as "the will not to be governed".

The growing obsession with suicide and euthanasia is a logical development of this idea. Foucault went to the San Francisco, gay bathhouses and, according to biographer James Miller (1) , purposely contracted the AIDS virus and then did his best to pass it around---or at least did very little indeed to prevent it. He chose how to live by choosing how to die; in so doing he paid his respects to (and cheated!) the new god of the New Age. He "lived on the edge" and said it was the only way to live authentically. And Foucault, after Sartre, was one of the most influential philosophers of the contemporary world. Like Sartre and Genet, Foucault placed "freedom", the unconditional "autonomy" of man at the epicenter of all authentic living and philosophy.

And his philosophy has spread throughout all of western academia and especially into the Rock culture of "heavy metal" and "alternative" music. And this Rock culture is increasingly and dramatically becoming, via the media and academia, the whole culture. It's values, or anti-values, are daily being legislated into law through the courts in the name of "freedom", "free speech", "human rights", the "dignity" of humankind etc. Thus old Dr. Kervorkian and similar suicide activists plow through legal obstacles and convert the law and the courts in a mesmerizing tour de force which seems all but unstoppable, notwithstanding the unthinkable implications of their actions. Who will the suicide activists target next? The depressed? The mentally ill or deficient? The physically handicapped? The disfigured? Ritual "religious" groups who advocate voluntary sacrifice?


The culture of nihilism, which is advanced in becoming the whole culture of every culture in the West, is also increasingly obsessed with the mysterious relationship between sex and death. Thus sado-masochism promotes interest in this area from allegedly "innocent play" (today viewed in pods of isolation in front of another 'light' and 'key' board at home) all the way up to rape and snuff films---whether simulated or not--- where victims are raped and then maimed or worse. Having divorced sex from procreation long ago, it has increasingly become merely another form of recreation, which must always leads to impotence (boredom) and thus propel itself toward ever more imaginative and sinful outlets, which again leads to impotence until boredom turns to insatiability, which turns to anger, to an intensifying of sado-masochistic sexual and nihilistic practices, to inevitably even more anger, to rage, and, increasingly, to death. Thus sexual "freedom" and the logic of death...

Our increasingly nihilistic culture understands the trajectory of this philosophy even as it denies it. Rock "stars", artists and other hipsters, revel in their existential howling. Traditional religious symbols for a long time now have been deliberately transvalued in music videos. Concerts and the visual media have often enough become the new dionysian festivals of the new barbarism, the neo-paganism where the howls are howls aimed at existence itself, i.e. any existence which would speak of natural law, moral law, reason, restraint, natural distinctions or hierarchy in nature. The new autonomous 'gods' will not allow nature to define, delineate, or impede their "freedom". For the new "freedom" is not a return to nature, it is rather a "freedom" from nature. Thus all the androgyny, homosexuality, genetic engineering, contraception, abortion, surgical sex changes, deliberated suicide...

"Freedom" From God


The "New Age", however, is anything but new. It is in fact "so old it looks new". It is simply the alternative to the Christian world-view; it is what the "alternative" always was and always will be: brutal paganism. Only the packaging differs to some degree. It is the common "alternative" to the God who created the heavens and the earth. From Nero, to Stalin, to the new Madonna it is ever the same. The New Age and its New Madonna (who gave birth to a child she blasphemously named Lourdes) are simply the latest versions of that ancient "alternative" which the serpent offered to the first two human beings on earth: "Freedom from" God and the exhortation to dethrone and replace Him. Only the judgement-part (spiritual death and its eternal consequences) did the serpent keep hidden. "You will not certainly perish" he said, contradicting the Maker of the universe (Gen.3).

Thus "post-modern" man does not believe God will and must judge all wickedness. Nor does he believe that God Himself has come into the world and went to the cross to save us from the deceptive "freedoms" which threaten to kill and damn our souls. Nor that He defeated the power of death by leaving behind an empty tomb on the third day. "Post-modern man " believes none of this. How could he? He has no time. The festivals cannot be interrupted, "the games must continue!"



Such is the logic of modern despair over which Christ is risen victorious--- for any and all who will "receive Him (Jn 1:12)!---no matter how sinful.
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(1) The Passion of Michel Foucault, Anchor Books, New York, 1993

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