Michel Foucault

There is a sort of myth of History that philosophers have... History for philosophers is some sort of great, vast continuity in which the freedom of individuals and economic or social determinations come and get entangled. When someone lays a finger on one of those great themes--continuity, the effective exercise of human liberty, how individual liberty is articulated with social determinations—when someone touches one of these three myths, these good people start crying out that History is being raped or murdered.

Sexuality is a part of our behavior. It's part of our world freedom. Sexuality is something that we ourselves create. It is our own creation, and much more than the discovery of a secret side of our desire. We have to understand that with our desires go new forms of relationships, new forms of love, new forms of creation. Sex is not a fatality; it's a possibility for creative life. It's not enough to affirm that we are gay but we must also create a gay life.

As the archeology of our thought easily shows, man is an invention of recent date. And one perhaps nearing its end.

Madness and Civilization

The possibility of madness is therefore implicit in the very phenomenon of passion. 21

Animality has escaped domestication by human symbols and values; and it is animality that reveals the dark rage, the sterile madness that lie in men's hearts.

We have yet to write the history of that other form of madness, by which men, in an act of sovereign reason, confine their neighbors, and communicate and recognize each other through the merciless language of non-madness: to define the moment of this conspiracy before it was established in the realm of truth, before it was revived by the lyricism of protest. ix

The ultimate language of madness is that of reason, but the language of reason enveloped in the prestige of the image limited to the locus of appearance which the image defines. It forms, outside the totality of images and the universality of discourse, an abusive, singular organization whose insistent quality constitutes madness. Madness, then, is not altogether in the image, which of itself is neither true nor false, neither reasonable nor mad; nor is it, further, in the reasoning which is mere form, revealing nothing but the indubitable figures of logic. And yet madness is in one and in the other: in a special version or figure of their relationship.

For the Catholic Church, as in the Protestant countries, confinement represents, in the form of an authoritarian model, the myth of social happiness: a police whose order will be entirely transparent to the principles of religion, and a religion whose requirements will be satisfied, without restrictions, by the regulations of the police and the constraints with which it can be armed. There is, in these institutions, an attempt of a kind to demonstrate that order may be adequate to virtue. In this sense, "confinement" conceals both a metaphysics of government and a politics of religion; it is situated, as an effort of tyrannical synthesis, in the vast space separating the garden of God and the cities which men, driven from paradise, have built with their own hands. The house of confinement in the classical age constitutes the densest symbol of that "police" which conceived of itself as the civil equivalent of religion for the edification of a perfect city. 63

A sensibility was born which had drawn a line and laid a cornerstone, and which chose--only to banish. The concrete space of classical society reserved a neutral region, a blank page where the real life of the city was suspended; here, order no longer freely confronted disorder, reason no longer tried to make its own way among all that might evade or seek to deny it. Here reason reigned in the pure state, in a triumph arranged for it in advance over a frenzied unreason, madness was thus torn from that imaginary freedom which still allowed it to flourish on the Renaissance horizon. Not so long ago, it had floundered about in broad daylight: in King Lear, in Don Quixote. But in less than a half century, it had been sequestered and, in the fortress of confinement, bound to reason, to the rules of morality and to their monotonous nights. 64

But on the other hand, such an identification gives madness a new content of guilt, of moral sanction, of just punishment which was not at all a part of the classical experience. It burdens unreason with all these new values: instead of making blindness the condition of possibility for all the manifestations of madness, it describes blindness, the blindness of madness, as the psychological effects of a moral fault. And thereby compromises what had been essential in the experience of unreason. What had been blindness would become unconsciousness, what had been error would become fault, and everything in madness that designated the paradoxical manifestation of non-being would become the natural punishment of a moral evil. In short, that whole vertical hierarchy which constituted the structure of classical madness from the cycle of material causes to the transcendence of delirium, would now collapse and spread over the surface of a domain which psychology and morality would soon occupy together and contest with each other. 158

It is thus not possible to use as a valid or at least meaningful distinction for the classical period the difference -- immediately apparent to us--between physical medications and psychological or moral medications. The difference only begins to exist in all its profundity the day when fear is no longer used as a method for arresting movement, but as a punishment; when joy does not signify organic expansion, but reward; when anger is nothing more than a response to concerted humiliation; in short, when the nineteenth century, by inventing its famous "moral methods," has brought madness and its cure into the domain of guilt. 182

What Tissot understands by "pleasure" is this immediate curative agent, liberated from both passion and language: that is, from the two great forms of human experience that give birth to unreason.
     And perhaps nature, as the concrete form of the immediate, has an even more fundamental power in the suppression of madness. For it has the power of freeing man from his freedom. 195

The fortresses of confinement functioned as a great, long silent memory; they maintained in the shadows an iconographic power that men might have thought was exorcised; created by the new classical order, they preserved, against it and against time, forbidden figures that could thus be transmitted intact from the sixteenth to the nineteenth century. 209

Sadism is not a name finally given to a practice as old as Eros; it is a massive cultural fact which appeared precisely at the end of the eighteenth century, and which constitutes one of the greatest conversations of Western imagination: unreason transformed into delirium of the heart, madness of desire, the insane dialogue of love and death in the limitless presumption of appetite. 210