I dunno why us dogs like Foucault. Most of the humans I know don’t even know who he is or how to say his name (FYI, it’s foo-koh!). I think us dogs have a different way of thinking about power in the first place, so perhaps we’re just naturally more open to rethinking power. Humans tend to either raise their hackles or just roll over. Us dogs have found a way to tap into an emanicpated power based on our own knowledge of how the world works. For example, we don’t buy into this argument that humans know everything.
Most humans think of power being exercised as though it’s a good thing or a bad thing. Foucault would respond, “No, power is inert. It’s neither good nor bad, just like a gun is neither good nor bad. It all depends on the human who is exercising it… and what happens as a result.”
Foucault is a history buff. In Discipline and Punishment and Society Must be Defended, he explains how Europeans used to live under a system of sovereign power, back when kings had absolute rights and any offense was an offense against the king. In comparison, the “new power” (after the Enlightenment) arose after the nation-state replaced the sovereign kings’ rules. Instead of king’s edicts and declarations, the people now have social contracts called laws. Any offense of the law is an offense against all society.
The new system requires a myriad of disciplines and sciences in order to establish what is true. “Truth” is no longer established by a king; it is based on academic disciplines that are required to figure out how to categorize and classify humans’ actions so that they can be appropriately controlled for the benefit of all. Sounds good in theory, right? Humans have bought into this idea that they need scientists and historians and teachers and psychologists and cops and lawyers and judges and the list goes on… all to enforce the “law” for the common good, and to help figure out what to do with people who violate the law.
So, what do you believe, my human friends? Is there another way besides the way of the sovereign or the way of the scientific state? What do you do when, for example, there is a clash between science and the local knowledge of the common man with common sense? What do you do when, for example, “knowledge” is funded and established by corporations that spit in the face of common sense?
More about that later. The short answer is, “It’s time to think like a dog!”