Society Must be Defended
Down there where it can’t be seen, down there where it is neither seen nor monitored by anyone, it is following a deep, coherent, and premeditated trajectory.
The great, tender, and warm freemasonry of useless erudition.
We are forced to tell the truth, we are constrained, we are condemned to admit the truth or to discover it.
Power passes through the individuals it has constituted.
It is always easy, and that is precisely what I hold against it.
People with dust in their eyes and dust on their fingers
born in burning towns and ravaged fields.
We are all inevitably someone’s adversary.
And something fragile and superficial will be built on top of this web of bodies, accidents, and passions, this seething mass which is sometimes murky and sometimes bloody;
Cynical rage in all its nudity
This Mythology tells of how the victories of giants have gradually been forgotten and buried, of the twilight of gods, of how heroes were wounded or died, and of how kings fell asleep in inaccessible caves.
Those who find themselves, perhaps for a time – but probably for a long time – in darkness and silence.
There is no blood and there are no corpses.
A knife to our throats
The knife at our throats
A double outline or a twin
Two branches that grow from the same trunk
A circular knowledge which derived knowledge from knowledge
This too is hateful
Someone else begins to say “I” and “we”
This is no longer the glorious history of power; it is the history of its lower depths, its wickedness, and its betrayals.
It was not power’s ode to itself.
A stable dyssymmetry or a congruent inequality.
The bastard sons of the adventurers of the night
The present is no longer a moment of forgetfulness
Death was now something that slips in to life, perpetually gnaws at it, diminishes it and weakens it.
It is a new body, a multiple body, a body with so many heads that, while they might not be infinite in number, cannot necessarily be counted.
To make it proliferate, to create living matter, to build the monster.
Sources & Method
Michel Foucault, “Society Must Be Defended”: Lectures at the College de France 1975-1976, English Translation by David Macey. Beautiful sentences arranged in order of appearance in an attempt to find a through-line.
Emmeline Solomon is an artist and educator who lives and works in Albion, Michigan. She holds an MFA from Washington University in St. Louis, a BFA in Printmaking from the Maine College of Art.