Saturday, June 27, 2015

Money Wisdom #371

"...every human being must be an artist...

If we want to achieve a different society where the principle of money operates equitably, if we want to abolish the power money has developed over people historically, and position money in relationship to freedom, equality and fraternity - in other words develop a functional view of the three great strata or spheres of social forces: the spiritual life, the rights life, and the economic life - then we must elaborate a concept of culture and a concept of art where every person must be a artist in this realm of social sculpture or social art or social architecture - never mind what terms you use. Once people have developed these imaginative concepts... ...having drawn them from their own thinking forces, their recognition and knowledge, but also their feelings and willpower - from the moment they have them, people will also understand that they really are the sovereigns of a state-like whole, and that it is they who formulate the economic laws which will allow money to be freed from its present characteristics, from the power it exerts because - and by saying this I'm already making a statement about money - it has evolved in the economic context as part of economic life and is now a commodity. They will recognize then that they can free money from being a commodity and that it must become a regulating factor in the rights domain. People will increasingly see that money today is a commodity, in other words an economic value - I'm trying to say something tangible about money here - that it is an economic value and that we have to reach a stage where it must become a necessary potential, must act as a rights document for all the creative processes of human work..."

Joseph Beuys What is Money (Meyer & Rappman) (2009 trans 2010) p.16-17

Friday, June 26, 2015

Money Wisdom #370

"...the notion of sex brought about a fundamental reversal; it made it possible to invert the representation of the relationships of power to sexuality, causing the later to appear, not in its essential and positive relation to power, but as being rooted in a specific and irreducible urgency which power tries as best it can to dominate; thus the idea of 'sex' makes it possible to evade what gives 'power' its power; it enables one to conceive power solely as law and taboo. Sex - that agency which appears to dominate us and that secret which seems to underlie all that we are, that point which enthralls us through the the [sic] power it manifests and the meaning it conceals, and which we ask to reveal what we are and to free us from what defines us - is doubtless but an ideal point made necessary by the deployment of sexuality and its operation. We must not make the mistake of thinking that sex is an autonomous agency which secondarily produces manifold effects of sexuality over the entire length of its surface of contact with power. On the contrary, sex is the most speculative, most ideal, and most internal element in a deployment of sexuality organized by power in its grip on bodies and their materiality, their forces, energies, sensations and pleasures."

Michael Foucault The Will to Knowledge - The History of Sexuality: 1 (1976 [tr 1978, ed 1998]) p.155

Money Wisdom #369

"Is 'sex' really the anchorage point that supports the manifestations of sexuality, or is it not rather a complex idea that was formed inside the deployment of sexuality?"

Michael Foucault The Will to Knowledge - The History of Sexuality: 1 (1976 [tr 1978, ed 1998]) p.152

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Money Wisdom #368

"The history of the deployment of sexuality, as it has evolved since the classical age, can serve as an archaeology of psychoanalysis. We have seen in fact that psychoanalysis plays several roles at once in this deployment: it is a mechanism for attaching sexuality to the system of alliance; it assumes an adversary position with respect to the theory of degenerescence; it functions as a differentiating factor in the general technology of sex. Around it the great requirement of confession that had taken form so long ago assumed the new meaning of an injunction to lift psychical repression. The task of truth was now linked to the challenging of taboos."

Michael Foucault The Will to Knowledge - The History of Sexuality: 1 (1976 [tr 1978, ed 1998]) p.130

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

A Note on Foucault

Disclaimer: I've read 123 pages into The History of Sexuality Vol 1. That's about it for my reading of original Foucault. Obviously, I've read what other folks have to say about Foucault's thought. For example, specifically on money he features in Nigel Dodd's work, over on Lord Keynes' blog Foucault has recently been subject to a character assassination. I also read Elly Tams' Scribbling On Foucault's Walls in 2013 which imagines what would have happen if Foucault had a daughter (its available as a pdf). Elly's work delves more deeply into sex.

Mention philosophy and sex this always pops into my head - perhaps indicating that Elly was on track with her emphasis on the sexual - the sex lives of philosophers and its importance by a cheeky Derrida

So, anyway I'm about as far from an authority on Foucault as you can get. It's taken me a while to get to him. Basically my path to him (and Derrida) has been Freud>Norman O Brown>Bataille>. 

In this note, I just want to mention something that's been bugging me as I read. 

I picked up the three volume set of The History of Sexuality in the LSE Waterstones back in 1999. My head was full of Freud at the time. When pursuing the books, I noticed Foucault was questioning notions of repression, so I returned the books to the bookshelf and kept my credit card in my wallet. I take it as significant that I can so clearly remember doing so. When Sally did her Gender Studies degree she ended up studying a bit of Foucault so the three volume set appeared on the bookshelves at home, popping up like a bad penny. So the actual set of books has, in its physical form, acted out the return of the repressed ! (Jung would not be surprised). And this leads me to my criticism (misunderstanding?) of Foucault.

Perhaps because I was taught about Freud by Chris Badcock for whom the return of the repressed was a hugely important feature - in his book The Psychoanalysis of Culture he tried to construct a broad history of civilization based this principle - I'm quite sensitive about how 'repression' is presented. I've been a little obsessed by Hayek's complete misunderstanding of Freud and repression. I can also remember having a twitter conversation with Elly & someone else (name escapes me) - the suggestion was that repression buries things deeply in our unconscious and our task is to uncover that which is repressed. Both Elly and myself said that this isn't quite right. I've tried to think about a better metaphor for repression over the years - rather than the common 'burying' one.

It's not great - but I prefer to think of repression as like pushing down a ball under water. You have to expend energy all the time to stop it rising to the surface. When finally your mind wonders or when you get an itch you must scratch, the ball slips from your hands and pops up in a different place to where it started. My feeling is that Foucault sometimes slips into a more static idea of repression. He is rightly critical that casting history as a gradual lessening of repression (which is the general theme of The History of Sexuality) is a misguided way to view the past - but I'm not sure that this was really the way that Freud saw it. Even Norman O Brown - whose whole project is about achieving 'psychoanalytical consciousness' - doesn't really frame repression in this way. I think the key is thinking about the relationship between time and mind..... and the possibility that repression is constitutive of our experience of time passing (or I'd say, of time itself).

I completely accept that I simply might not have read enough Foucault (or maybe I'm getting him wrong). And I am enjoying him. Although, I really want him to tell me what power is..... I want him to explain where it is in the metaphysical landscape. 

[I'm also very glad that I read Bataille first. Foucault tends to throw in reference to the economy and the general economy without giving much away in the text. Having a bit of Bataille in my head has definitely helped give those references some context]

Monday, June 22, 2015

Money Wisdom #367

"If one considers the threshold of all culture to be prohibited incest, then sexuality has been, from the dawn of time, under the sway of law and right."

Michael Foucault The Will to Knowledge - The History of Sexuality: 1 (1976 [tr 1978, ed 1998]) p.109-110

Money Wisdom #366

"Sexuality must not be thought of as a kind of natural given which power tries to hold in check, or as an obscure domain which knowledge tries gradually to uncover. It is the name that can be given to a historical construct: not a furtive reality that is difficult to grasp, but a great surface network in which the stimulation of bodies, the intensification of pleasures, the incitement to discourse, the formation of special knowledges, the strengthening of controls and resistances, are linked to one another, in accordance with a few major strategies of knowledge and power."

Michael Foucault The Will to Knowledge - The History of Sexuality: 1 (1976 [tr 1978, ed 1998]) p.105-106

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Money Wisdom #365

"Let us put forward a general working hypothesis. The society that emerged in the nineteenth century - bourgeois, capitalist, or industrial society, call it what you will - did not confront sex with a fundamental refusal of recognition. On the contrary, it put into operation an entire machinery for producing true discourses concerning it. Not only did it speak of sex and compel everyone to do so; it also set out to formulate the uniform truth of sex. As if it suspected sex of harboring a fundamental secret. As if it needed this production of truth. As if it was essential that sex be inscribed not only in an economy of pleasure but in an ordered system of knowledge. Thus sex gradually became an object of great suspicion; the general and disquieting meaning that pervades our conduct and our existence, in spite of ourselves; the point of weakness where evil portents reach through to us; the fragment of darkness that we each carry with us: a general signification, a universal secret, an omnipresent cause, a fear that never ends. And so, in this 'question' of sex .... two processes emerge, the one always conditioning the other: we demand that sex speak the truth...., and we demand that it tell us our truth..."

Michael Foucault The Will to Knowledge - The History of Sexuality: 1 (1976 [tr 1978, ed 1998]) p.69

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Money Wisdom #364

"But this often-stated theme, that sex is outside of discourse and that only the removing of an obstacle, the breaking of a secret, can clear the way leading to it, is precisely what needs to be examined. Does it not partake of the injunction by which discourse is provoked? Is it not with the aim of inciting people to speak of sex that it is made to mirror, at the outer limit of every actual discourse, something akin to a secret whose discovery is imperative, a thing abusively reduced to silence, and at the same time difficult and necessary, dangerous and precious to divulge? We must not forget that by making sex into that which, above all else, had to be confessed, the Christian pastoral always presented it as the disquieting enigma: not a thing which stubbornly shows itself, but one which always hides, the insidious presence that speaks in a voice so muted and often disguised that one risks remaining deaf to it."

Michael Foucault The Will to Knowledge - The History of Sexuality: 1 (1976 [tr 1978, ed 1998]) p.34-35

Money Wisdom #363

"Silence itself - the things one declines to say, or is forbidden to name, the discretion that is required between different speakers - is less the absolute limit of discourse, the other side from which it is separated by a strict boundary, than an element that functions alongside the things said, with them and in relation to them within over-all strategies. There is no binary division to be made between what one says and what one does not say; we must try to determine the different ways of not saying such things, how those who cannot speak of them are distributed, which type of discourse is authorized, or which form of discretion is required in either case. There is not one but many silences, and they are an integral part of the strategies that underlie and permeate discourse."

Michael Foucault The Will to Knowledge - The History of Sexuality: 1 (1976 [tr 1978, ed 1998]) p.27

Money Wisdom #362

"This is the essential thing: that Western man has been drawn for three centuries to the task of telling everything concerning his sex; that since the classical age there has been a constant optimization and an increasingly valorization of the discourse on sex; and that this carefully analytical discourse was meant to yield multiple effects of displacement, intensification, reorientation, and modification of desire itself. Not only were the boundaries of what one could say about sex enlarged, and men compelled to hear it said; but more important, discourse was connected to sex by a complex organisation with varying effects, by a deployment that cannot be adequately explained merely by referring it to a law of prohibition. A censorship of sex? There was installed rather an apparatus for producing an ever greater quantity of discourse about sex, capable of functioning and taking effect in its very economy."

Michael Foucault The Will to Knowledge - The History of Sexuality: 1 (1976 [tr 1978, ed 1998]) p.23

Monday, June 8, 2015

Money Wisdom #361

"Ours is, after all, the only civilization in which officials are paid to listen to all and sundry impart the secrets of their sex: as if the urge to talk about it, and the interest one hopes to arouse by doing so, have far surpassed the possibilities of being heard, so that some individuals have even offered their ears for hire."

Michael Foucault The Will to Knowledge - The History of Sexuality: 1 (1976 [tr 1978, ed 1998]) p.7

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

And so it begins...

I've been anticipating June 2015 for a long while. Long story, short - I've been saving money like a cheeky little squirrel in some dodgy sharesave scheme that work offered (dodgy in a meta philosophical/moral sense, rather than a legal sense) and June 2015 is the date I've been waiting for to get my greedy little paws on the protein enriched goodies. 

Okay, I'll stop with the squirrel analogy. Just deleted a whole paragraph on the correspondence between Money, spunk and nuts. I really need to stick to the plan.

So I haven't burned all the money. Of course, I have to pay some of my daughter's master's fees - she's at Cambridge you know. Did I mention that? At Cambridge. Yes. And I've promised my son that I'll pay for him to get his full bike licence, conditional on the fact that his Harley Davidson must always be smaller than my Harley Davidson. I haven't actually got a Harley, and I do really want one, which goes to show just how committed to the money burning cause I am. Because the chunk of the money is going towards persuading you, and everyone else in the world, to burn their money.

This has been in my imagination for a good few years now, so I'm actually quite thrilled to be getting on with it. I'm sticking the following up on my chosen design crowdsourcing site in the next week or so. If you have any thoughts or suggestions let me know.

Oh, yeah..... it contains a sneaky preview of the thing at the edge of my imagination - 'The Cathedral of Money Burning'. I was thinking of 'The Church of Money Burning' but I figured, fuck it, why not go the whole hog. I like churches, but I love cathedrals. Long road to travel until we get there, though. My attempt at the logo/sigil is below the brief. It's embarrassingly bad, but does give you the idea.

Logo design to help save the world 
You might think this is crazy. And if you don't, you're probably a little crazy yourself. 
For the past seven years I've been burning money. I don't mean spending it, I mean actually setting light to it and watching it burn. It's become a kind of magickal ritual for me. There is no fakery involved, I really do burn my own money. 
I've also been trying to figure out what it means to burn money. I've been writing a blog with some quasi-academic musings on the nature of money for the past eight years or so. Where I'm at with it now, is that I think money burning is an act of pure forgiveness (or at least it's as close to we can get to it). 
The world needs forgiveness. Bad stuff happens a lot. Retribution just creates the same story over again. A clean slate is something we really want to avoid. Which leaves forgiveness as the only option.  
So, I've figured that I need to spread the word about money burning and get more people to do it to, so we can get more forgiveness into the world. So far I've only persuaded a couple of folks to join in with me. Which is where you and your design comes in. I need you to help me save the world.  
I'm not rich. I drive a van to earn a living. So as well as having an almost certain prospect of failure, this project is not at all likely to connect you to some corporate oligopoly where you secure private health care and a good pension in return for your soul and the odd T-Shirt design. But as well as burning money, I've also been saving hard for the last few years and with the help of a little good fortune on the stock market I have managed to build up a few quid, hopefully enough to get me to the next stage of the project - the crowdfunding of a The Cathedral of Money Burning (Well, a tent that I can take round to festivals - but tents are expensive!). Meantime, there's lots to do. T-shirts, a blog make-over and new website are on the cards, and over the course of the next year or two there is a whole lot more I need doing. I need some money burning designers to come along for the ride. 
The start of it all is the design I need done today. What I want you to try to create is more a Sigil, than a Logo. Fire in a circle and Money in a square. 
This is all much too serious to be taken too seriously. If you still have a little bit of crazy alive in you, and you can believe just for a moment in the impossible, I'd love you to fire up your imagination, engage whatever magical box of tricks it is you use cast your design spells, and create something wonderful, excellent and brilliant for me (and the world).
PS Design Tip [added 03/06/15] - I want you to work up the design however you want BUT what I need fundamentally is something simple that can be stuck on a T-shirt, used in a blog header, graffiti-ed on a wall, OR even tattooed on my arm. Basically, it needs to work in black and white.