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Michel Foucault - The Simplest of Pleasures

Michel Foucault - The Simplest of Pleasures

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Published by: jczenkoan on Oct 26, 2010
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12/4/08 12:00 AMMichel Foucault - The simplest of pleasuresPage 1 of 2http://www.generation-online.org/p/fp_foucault13.htm
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the simplest of pleasures
Michel Foucault'Homosexuals often commit suicide,' reports a psychiatric study. This word'often' fascinates me. We might imagine tall, slender, pallid creatures unable tocross over the threshold to the opposite sex, in a face-off with death allthrough life, only to end it finally by slamming the door with a loud bang(which never fails to annoy the neighbours). Instead of marrying the oppositesex they marry death. The other sex is replaced by the other side. But, thestory goes, they're just as incapable of dying as they are of really living. In thisludicrous account suicide and homosexuals are portrayed so as to make eachother look bad. So let's see what there is to say in favour of suicide. Not somuch in support of legalizing it or making it 'moral'. Too many people havealready belaboured these lofty things. Instead, let's say something against theshady affairs, humiliations, and hypocrisies that its detractors usually surroundit with: hastily getting boxes of pills together, finding a solid, old-fashionedrazor, or licking gun store windows and entering some place pretending to beon the verge of death. In my opinion a person should have the right not to berushed, which is very bothersome.Indeed, a great deal of attention and competence are required. You shouldhave the chance to discuss at length the various qualities of each weapon andits potential. It would be nice if the salesperson were experienced in thesethings, with a big smile, encouraging but a little bit reserved (not too chatty),and sophisticated enough to understand that they are dealing with a personwho's basically good-hearted, but somewhat clumsy, never having had the ideabefore of employing a machine that shoots people. It would also be convenientif the salesperson's enthusiasm didn't stop them from advising you about theexistence of alternative ways, ways that were more chic, more your style. Thiskind of business-like discussion is worth a thousand times more than the chatterthat goes on around the corpse among the employees of the funeral parlour.Some people that we didn't even know, and who didn't know us either, arrangedit so that one day we started existing. They pretended to believe, no doubtsincerely, that they were waiting for us. In any case they prepared for our entryinto the world with great care (and often with a sort of second-handseriousness). It's quite inconceivable that we not be given the chance toprepare ourselves with all the passion, intensity and detail that we wish,including the little extras that we've been dreaming about for such a long time,since childhood perhaps or just some warm summer evening.Life it seems is quite fragile in the human species and death quite certain. Whymust we make of this certainty a mere happenstance (which might suggest, byvirtue of its suddenness or inevitability, or air of punishment)? The philosophiesthat promise to teach us what to think about death and how to die bore me totears. I'm not at all moved by those things that are supposed to 'prepare us forit.' One has to prepare it bit by bit, decorate it, arrange the details, find theingredients, imagine it, choose it, get advice on it, shave it into a work withoutspectators, one which exists only for oneself, just for that shortest little

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