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About the Beginning of the Hermeneutics of the Self: Two Lectures at Dartmouth

Author(s): Michel Foucault
Source: Political Theory, Vol. 21, No. 2 (May, 1993), pp. 198-227
Published by: Sage Publications, Inc.
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ABOUTTHEBEGINNINGOF THE
HERMENEUTICSOF THESELF
TwoLecturesat Dartmouth
MICHELFOUCAULT

NOTE
INTRODUCTORY
MARKBL4SIUS, City Universityof New York

In the fall of 1980, Michel Foucault visited a number of cities and
universitiesin the United States.He gave lecturesat DartmouthCollege, the
University of Californiaat Berkeley, and PrincetonUniversity and gave a
month-long seminarand a public lecture at New YorkUniversity.The two
lectures published here were delivered at Dartmouthon November 17 and
24, 1980 under the titles "Subjectivityand Truth"and "Christianityand
Confession."Foucaultdeliveredthe lectures from texts handwrittenin English. An earlier version of these lectures was transcribedand edited by
Thomas Keenan. I have re-edited them, but very lightly, to preserve their
spoken quality,using tapes providedby Dartmouth'sOffice of Instructional
Services and EducationalResearch: all the notes were added during the
editing process. Earlier,Foucaulthad given more or less the same papersas
the Howison Lectures at Berkeley on October20-21. I have added in the
notes some passages transcribedfrom the Howison Lecturesfor the sake of
filling out the lectures published here, and I thank Paul Rabinow for his
assistancein this. (Forinstance,at one point in Berkeley,Foucaultremarked
that "the title of these two lecturescould have been, and should have been,
in fact, 'About the Beginning of the Hermeneuticsof the Self,' " a wish I
have honoredhere.) On a few occasions, these lecturesoverlapslightly with
otherpublishedwork by Foucault,which I have markedin the notes.
These lecturesmarka transitionin Foucault'sworkfromstudyingsystems
of power relations (Discipline and Punish and The History of Sexuality,
Vol. 1) to studyingthe creationof ethical agency (The History of Sexuality,
Vols.2, 3, and 4). Indeed, with this transitionand from his earlierworks on
POLITICALTHEORY,Vol. 21 No. 2, May 1993 198-227
Transcript? 1993, MarkBlasius and ThomasKeenan.Used with permission.

198

Foucault/ HERMENEUTICSOF THE SELF

199

the historyof systems of thought(Madnessand Civilization,TheBirthof the
Clinic, The Orderof Things,and TheArchaeologyof Knowledge),Foucault
begins to complete the analysisof threeaxes of experience:truth,power,and
ethics. The lecturesthat follow hint at the themes that would appearlaterin
volumes 2 and3 of TheHistoryof Sexuality,workslargelyandundeservedly
overlooked by political theorists.However,Foucaultsaid in a late interview
upon their publication, when asked if he wrote these last books "for"
contemporaryliberationmovements,thathe wrote them not "for"them but
"'asa function of a present situation."He said of volume 2, The Use of
Pleasure, the volume most about"sex,"thatthe problemof recentliberation
movements was similar to the one he studied in this book about Ancient
Greece:to elaboratean ethics throughsex. The thirdvolume, The Careof the
Self, can be read (at least in part)as a perspectiveon how to adaptand direct
the power exercisedby medical,quasi-medical,andmoralexpertsin the time
of the AIDS epidemic. Finally, the fourth volume, The Confession of the
Flesh, completed but as yet unpublished,is about early Christiansexual
ethics. Its relevance to what concerns us today can be gleaned from a
discussion(recordedon the tapebutnot includedhere)betweenFoucaultand
a gay graduatestudent after one of the lectures printedhere. The student
questioned Foucault's endorsementof John Boswell's Christianity,Social
Tolerance,and Homosexuality(Chicago, 1980) becauseof the patenthostility of Catholicismtowardhomosexualityand sexuality generally.Foucault
counteredthat an antisexualJudeo-Christianmoralityis a dangerousmyth
that is not supportedby historicalevidence and has political implications.
Rather,said Foucault, what is significant for sexuality is that Christianity
inaugurateda new attitudeof people not so much towardsexual acts and the
code of sexual ethics, but towardthemselves, and this new relationshipof
people to themselves,the necessity to scrutinizeanddiscover the truthabout
oneself and then verbalize this truth to others, affected people's attitude
toward sexuality. Both Freudiandiscourse on sexuality as well as the discourse of self-disclosure as a talking cure are recognizable in the "small
origins"analyzedin these two lectures.
The significance for political theory of these lectures is indicated by
Foucault at the end of the second one: "one of the main political problems
would be nowadays . . . the politics of ourselves."The lectures trace the
genealogy of the self: its constitutionthrougha continuousanalysisof one's
thoughtsundera hermeneuticprincipleof makingsure they are really one's
own; and the self's iterationand social reinforcementthroughan ongoing
verbalizationof this self-deciphernent to others. Foucault elsewhere analyzed (The History of Sexuality,Vol. 1) how techniquesinheritedfrom the
Christianconfession allow for the self to be created and subjected within

The interrogationis takenup again. "Yes.A politics of our selves would entail a recognition that if the self is "nothingelse than the historical correlationof the technology"thathas come to create it.. "atone and the same time the historicalanalysis of the limits thatare imposed on us and an experiment with the possibility of going beyond them . his patient.as you can imagine.cured. because you are forcing me to do so.A. in the care brought to the process of putting historico-critical reflectionto the test of concretepractices"(TheFoucault Reader. a Frenchpsychiatrist."This is. "Well."Iadmitit."And the doctorturnson a cold shower above the patient'shead. thepatient.p. "That'snot enough. .all that.of course. He makes him recountin detail his delirium."is nothingbut madness. SUBJECTIVITY AND TRUTH In a work consecratedto the moral treatmentof madness and published in 1840. then the aim would be to get rid of the "sacrificewhich is linked to those technologies.andyou haven'tkeptthem."thatI have heardvoices and seen enemies aroundme.adding.Anotherconfession.Leuret." This sacrifice is twofold: it is the creationof a positive foundationfor the self by means of proceduresthat at once makes us amenable to social control and dependent upon it."We can ridourselvesof the imposed sacrifice throughwhat Foucaultcalled a "criticalontology of ourselves." Anothershower."Youhave alreadymade similar promises.all thatwas madness."says the doctor.I recognizethatI am mad. A. however. Leurettakes Mr.Promiseme not to believe in it anymore."says Mr. and the interrogationis resumed."Irecognize. The shower is turnedoff. yes! I am mad!"the patientcries.tells of the mannerin which he has treatedone of his patients-treated and.200 POLITICALTHEORY/ May 1993 relationsof power thatconstitutemodem social institutions. "Yes. . 50). I am mad." The patienthesitates." Anothershower."says the patient.then promises. as well as the production and then marginalizationof entire categories of people who do not fit what the foundationposits as "normal. into a shower room."thepatientrepeats.."replies the doctor. he wrote. "I assure you."1 . "Well. One morningDr.

the genealogy of the modernsubject. Whathappensin the head of Mr. of the seventeenthandof the eighteenthcenturies. I would wish.was dominatedby the philosophyof the subject. whichis somethingratherdifferent.which is generally accepted in Westernsocieties. Leuretwishes to obtaina precise act: the explicit affirmation.for instance.A.For the Frenchuniversity.one finds many examples of what one might call truth-therapies.to take it as a point of departurefor a more generalreflection on this practice of confession. it could only advance in a Cartesianmanner.thathe needs to tell it as explicitly as possible to some otherpeople.discourse. The anecdoteof Leuret is here only as an example of the strangeand complex relationshipsdeveloped in our societies between individuality.I think.truth. is a matterof indifferencefor the doctor.let me take a step back for a moment.Todeclarealoudandintelligiblythetruthaboutoneself-I mean.afterall is only for me a means that I will use to take on a much more general theme-that is.beforethe middle of the nineteenthcentury. to confess-has in the Westernworld been consideredfor a long time either as a condition for redemptionfor one's sins or as an essential item in the condemnationof the guilty."It is easy to recognize here the transpositionwithin psychiatric therapy of procedureswhich have been used for a long time in judicial and religious institutions.since philosophybegan with Descartes.philosophyin Franceand. But.All that.But we must . In order to justify the attention I am giving to what is seemingly so specialized a subject. rather.Foucault / HERMENEUTICS OFTHESELF 201 To make someone sufferingfrommentalillness recognize thathe is mad is a very ancientprocedure.The mad would be cured if one managedto show them thattheir deliriumis withoutany relationto reality. The importance given to this question of the meaningful subject was of course due to the impact of Husserl-only his Cartesian Meditations and the Crisis were generally known in France2-but the centralityof the subject was also tied to an institutionalcontext.everybody was convinced of the incompatibility betweenmadnessandrecognitionof madness.I mean thatphilosophyset as its taskpar excellence the foundationof all knowledge and the principleof all signification as stemming from the meaningful subject. the techniqueused by Leuretis altogetherdifferent.and coercion.And in the works. and even more so after the second war.Everybodyin the old medicine.He is not trying to persuadehis patientthat his ideas are false or unreasonable."I am mad. as you see. and on the postulate.The bizarretherapyof Leuretmay be readas an episode in the progressive culpabilizationof madness.in all continentalEurope. In the years that preceded the second war. thatone needs for his own salvationto know as exactly as possible who he is andalso. But.

since most historiansprefera historyof social processes.and I confess with the appropriatechagrinthatI am not an analytic philosopher-nobody is perfect. This has not always been an easy task.I have triedto analyzein a previousbook theories . like Nietzsche.Marxismputitself forwardas a humanisticdiscoursethatcould replace the abstractsubject with an appeal to the real man. Let me announceonce and for all thatI am not a structuralist.Two hitherto-hidden theoreticalparadoxescould no longer be avoided.all generally groupedunderthe rubricof structuralism. slaughters.andthe second was thatthis philosophy of meaning paradoxically had failed to take into account the formative mechanismsof significationand the structureof systems of meaning. With the all-to-easy clarity of hindsight-what you call.3and most philosophersprefera subjectwithouthistory. I think. It should have been clear at the time that Marxism carriedwith it a fundamentaltheoreticalandpracticalweakness:the humanisticdiscoursehid the political reality thatthe Marxistsof this period nonethelesssupported. The first one was thatthe philosophyof consciousnesshad failed to found a philosophyof knowledge. to the concrete man. and especially scientific knowledge.4 Up to the presentI have proceededwith this generalprojectin two ways. The second was that of a certainschool of linguistics. the theory of objective knowledge and. These were not the directionsI took. an analysis of systems of meaning. It goes without saying-and it goes indeed betterif we say it-that neithermaterialismnor the theoryof ideologies successfully constituteda theoryof objectivityor of signification.I have tried to get out from the philosophy of the subject througha genealogy of this subject. of course.202 POLITICALTHEORY/ May 1993 also take into accountthe political conjuncture. I am aware that anotherform of thoughtclaimed then to have gone beyond the philosophy of the subject-this. The first of these was the path of logical positivism. two.and anthropology. I have dealt with the moderntheoreticalconstitutionsthat were concerned with the subjectin general.This has neither prevented me from using the same material that certain social historians have used.by studyingtheconstitutionof the subject across historywhich has led us up to the modernconceptof the self. the "Mondaymorning quarterback"-let me say that there were two possible paths that led beyond this philosophy of the subject. nor from recognizing my theoretical debt to those philosopherswho.this emphasison the philosophicalsubjectno longerseemed so self-evident. was Marxism.psychoanalysis. have posed the questionof the historicity of the subject. or semiology. Withthe leisureand distancethatcame afterthe war. I have tried to explore anotherdirection.it seemed then to be up to the individualsubject to give meaning to his existentialchoices. First.Given the absurdityof wars.and despotism.

Those forms of self-understandingareimportantI thinkto analyzethe modem experience of sexuality. where certainsubjects became objects of knowledge and at the same time objects of domination. and to submit them to certainends or objectives.and so on. And conversely.to manipulatethings."2 . on their own conduct. I think.he has to take into accountthe points wherethe techniquesof the self are integratedinto structuresof coercion or domination. and to attaina certainstate of perfection. withoutany exclusion of the rest.to transform.The contact point. by their own means. on their own souls. techniques of signification. asylums.' I have also dealt with the more practical understandingformed in those institutions like hospitals.of happiness.to impose certain wills on them. I wish to study those formsof understandingwhich the subjectcreatesabouthimself. I think. the techniques which permit one to use sign systems.But since my projectwas concernedwith the knowledge of the subject. Let me introducea kind of autocritique. and the techniques which permitone to determinethe conductof individuals. modify themselves.8 Of course.living.7 But since I have startedwith this last type of projectI have been obliged to change my mind on several importantpoints. a certain number of operationson their own bodies. anothertype of techniques:techniques which permit individuals to effect.'1is what we can call. in all societies whatever they are.6And now.thatone can distinguish three major types of techniques in human societies: the techniqueswhich permitone to produce. of purity. I became more and more aware that there is in all societies.of supernaturalpower.It seems.government. But. he has to take into account not only techniquesof domination but also techniques of the self. on their own thoughts.9 I thinkthatif one wantsto analyzethe genealogy of the subjectin Western civilization. Let's call this kind of techniques a techniquesor technology of the self.if one wantsto studythe historyof naturalsciences.Foucault/ HERMENEUTICSOF THE SELF 203 of the subjectas a speaking. analyzingthe experienceof sexuality. there are techniques of production. workingbeing. it is useful if not necessaryto take into accounttechniquesof productionand semiotic techniques. and this in a mannerso as to transformthemselves. Let's say: he has to take into account the interactionbetween those two types of techniques-techniques of domination and techniques of the self.I thoughtthatthe techniquesof dominationwere the most important. where the individuals are drivenl by others is tied to the way they Governing conductthemselves. That is to say. He has to take into account the points where the technologies of dominationof individualsover one anotherhave recourse to processes by which the individual acts upon himself. and techniquesof domination. accordingto some suggestionsby Habermas. and prisons.

from the Delphic precept. with complementarityand conflicts between techniqueswhich assure coercion andprocesses throughwhich the self is constructedor modified by himself. there is a very long and very complex history. Power consists in complex relations:these relationsinvolve a set of rationaltechniques.I thinkthatwe have to get rid of the more or less Freudianschema-you know it-the schemaof interiorizationof the law by the self.I think thatthe techniquesorientedtowardthe discovery and the formulation of the truth concerning oneself are extremely important. Fortunately. when the ancientobligation of knowing oneself became the monastic precept "confess.and I don't want. I insisted.from a theoreticalpoint of view. I think. things are much more complicated thanthat. to your spiritual guide.and the efficiency of those techniquesis due to a subtle integrationof coerciontechnologies andself-technologies. I think. each of your thoughts. in the broadmeaningof the word. What we can call discipline is somethingreally importantin these kindsof institutions.but it is only at one aspect of the artof governingpeople in our society. then examinationof conscience and confession are among the most importantof those procedures. prisons.204 POLITICALTHEORY/ May 1993 people.a transformationwhich tookplace at the beginning of the Christianera. We must not understand the exercise of power as pure violence or strictcoercion.In short. Of course.aboutwhich I was speakingin the beginningof this lecture. of course.and. When I was studyingasylums.4 Among those techniquesof the self in this field of the self-technology. There is a very long way from one to the other. of the Christianperiod. .having studiedthe field of governmentby takingas my pointof departuretechniquesof domination. I'd like only to underlinea transformationof those practices.and next week I'll try to show you whatit became in the early Christianity."This transformationis. too much on the techniques of domination.Withthistransformation startswhat we would call the hermeneuticsof the self. if for the governmentof people in oursocieties everyone hadnot only to obey but also to produce and publish the truthabout oneself. to give you even a survey this evening. gnothi seauton ("know yourself') to the strangetherapeuticspromoted by Leuret. and maybe unfortunatelyfrom a practicalpoint of view. of some importancein the genealogy of modernsubjectivity. This evening I'll try to outline the way confession andself-examinationwereconceived by pagan philosophers.13governingpeople is not a way to force people to do what the governorwants.it is always a versatileequilibrium.I wouldlike in yearsto come to study government-especially in the field of sexuality-starting fromthe techniquesof the self.and so on.

despite this general orientationwhich has so little emphasis on self-examinationand on confession. of theory. in any case. provisional.The goal of the Greek schools of philosophy was the transformationof the individual.one can understand thatthe necessity for exploringoneself in exhaustivedepthdoes not present itself.to explain. so that the verbalizationtakes place on the side of the masterand not on the side of the disciple.an exile. The tie with the master was then circumstantialor. to reveal one's least secrets. so that the master may exert complete power over one.The growing importanceof these techniquesis no doubttied to the development of communallife in thephilosophicalschool.more happily.the obligation to tell the truth about oneself occupies a rather restrainedplace. one places oneself underthe directionof a master for a certain time of one's life so as one day to be able to behave autonomouslyand no longer have need of advice. From this principle stems the importanceof the master'sdiscourse. one finds well before Christianityalready elaboratedtechniquesfor discoveringand formulatingthe truthabout oneself.In these conditions. which does not imply a complete or a definitive obedience. The first of those reasons is that the objective of philosophical trainingwas to arm the individual with a certain numberof precepts which permit him to conduct himself in all circumstancesof life without his losing masteryof himself or withoutlosing tranquilityof spirit.to persuade. Whatplace did the self-examinationandthe confession have in this?At first glance. a bereavement. it would seem. It is not indispensableto say everythingaboutoneself. or a reversal of fortune.better. And this for two reasons. The exhaustive and continualpresentationof oneself under the eyes of an allpowerful directoris not an essential featurein this techniqueof direction.and so on. Ancient direction tends towardthe autonomyof the directed.thanotherpeople. And theirrole. purity of body and soul. There is also anotherreasonwhy the obligationto confess does not have a lot of importancein the directionof the antiqueconscience.The master'sdiscoursehas to talk. It was a relationship between two wills. as with the Pythagoreansor the . One solicits or one acceptsthe advice of a masteror of a friend in orderto endurean ordeal. he has to give the disciple a universal code for all his life. But. Or again. becamemoreandmoreimportant.the teaching. in all the ancient philosophicalpractices. both of which remain valid throughoutthe whole Greek and Hellenistic Antiquity.Foucault / HERMENEUTICS OFTHESELF 205 It is well knownthatthe mainobjectiveof the Greekschools of philosophy did not consist of the elaboration.The goal of the Greek philosophy was to give the individualthe quality which would permithim to live differently.

should I fear anythingat all from amongst my errorswhilst I can say: "Be vigilant in not beginningit again.It seems. he is not a judge who has to punish. judicial. with regard to himself.Secretly. such as Seneca and also Sextus. thathe inspects himself. Firstof all. totum diem meum scrutor.all faults were supposed equal. . . It should not thereforebe necessary to interrogatethemselves on each one of them. and so on.Seneca says. when the soul has received its portionof praiseand blame.and it is also tied to the value accordedto the medical model. if we look more closely.or thathe takesthe measureof thingssaid anddone.today I will forgive you.I reasonwithmyself andtakethe measure of my acts and of my words.he is. deep andfree. where it plays both roles at once. Epictetus. They may be considered as rather good witnesses on the practice of self-examinationand confession as it existed with the Stoics of the Imperialperiod at the time of the birthof Christianity. and each day I will myself as witness before myself. andthejudge is Seneca himself. " etc. In this examinationof conscience it seems that the subject divides itself in two and organizes a judicial scene.it makesthe trialof its own conduct. Seneca. both the judge and the accused. in effect. and me causam dico-all that is typical judicial vocabulary. Seneca is like an accused confessing his crimeto the judge.thathe is speculatorsui. .206 POLITICALTHEORY/ May 1993 Epicureans. accordingto the terms of their doctrine.Why. I hide nothingfrom myself. It is the vocabularyof the directionof goods or territory. I spare myself nothing.15 There is somethingparadoxicalin seeing the Stoics. therefore. But.you offended him. either in the Epicureanor the Stoician schools.that the subject is. In a certaindiscussion you spoke too aggressively or you did not correct the person you were reproaching.an administratorwho. He uses expressions like cognoscere de moribussuis. Marcus Aurelius.to its own censure. Since it is not possible in so short a time even to give a sketch of this evolution of Greek and Hellenist civilization. we see thatthe vocabularyused by Seneca is much more administrativethanjudicial. and has submitteditself to its own examination.I'll take only two passages of a Roman philosopher. let's look at this text a little moreclosely. rather. Here is the passage. above all. that he examines with himself the past day.he uses the word remetior. The first passage is to be found in the De Ira of Seneca. But. Seneca employs a vocabulary which at first glance appears. according so much importanceto the examinationof conscience whilst. I'll read it to you: Whatcould be morebeautifulthanto conductan inqueston one's day?Whatsleep better thanthatwhich follows this review of one's actions?How calm it is. for instance.Withregardto himself. once the work has been done or the year's .I exercise this authorityover myself. When my light is loweredandmy wife at last is silent.

the examinationof the evils which could happenin life. One can thereforecharacterizethis examinationin a few words. the subject constitutes. the enumeration each morningof the tasks to be accomplishedduringthe day (that was for the future). He constitutes. nor a supernaturalaffinity. he says that he has discussed with people who were in any case incapable of understandinghim."6 The examples of the faults committed by Seneca and with which he reproacheshimself are significant from this point of view.Significantis also the fact thatSeneca does not recall those faults in orderto punish himself. more than a judge of his own past. or again.nor his origin. And four.He is the point whererulesof conductcome togetherandregister themselves in the form of memories. Two.of the manualof precepts(that's for the present). thatis.it's not at all a question of discovering the truthhidden in the subject.Three.the subjectwho practicesthis examinationon himself is not the operatingground for a process more or less obscure which has to be deciphered. are not really faults. takes stock of things.This memorizationhas for an object a reactivationof fundamentalphilosophicalprinciplesand the readjustmentof theirapplication.for instance. And why mistakes?Either becausehe did nothave in his mindthe aimswhich the sage shouldset himself or because he had not applied in the correctmannerthe rules of conduct to be deducedfromthem. These faults.Seneca is a permanentadministratorof himself.In the Christianconfession the penitenthas to memorizethe law in orderto discoverhis own sins. as he says himself. nor his nature.It is rathera questionof recalling the truthforgottenby the subject.First. and sees if everythinghas been done correctly. the well-knownpremeditatiomalorum(thatwas for the possible). butin this Stoic exercise the sage has to memorizeactsin orderto reactivatethe fundamentalrules.this examination. what the subject forgets is not himself. the evening examinationof conscience (so much .Foucault/ HERMENEUTICSOF THE SELF 207 business finished. the recollection of errors committed during the day serves to measure the distance which separateswhat has been done from what should have been done. he has as a goal only to memorizeexactly the rules which he had to apply. a collection of rules of conduct thathe had learned. He is at the same time the point of departurefor actions more or less in conformitywith these rules.and finally. does the accounts. the point of intersection between a set of memorieswhich must be broughtinto the presentand acts which have to be regulated. The faults aremistakesin thatsense thatthey arebad adjustmentsbetween aims andmeans. This evening examinationhas its logical place among a set of other Stoic exercises": continualreading. they are mistakes.Whatthe subjectforgetsis what he ought to have done. He says and he reproacheshimself for having criticized someone and instead of correcting him has hurthim.

but it had been developed in some philosophical schools.but is tossed aboutby the rolling of the ship."says Serenus. Serenus thereforedecides to consult Seneca and to confess his state to Seneca. It is very explicitly a medical consultationon his own state of soul. These are-these were-the three types of activitypossible for a free man. or Plutarch. beneath this apparentdisorder. Well.details.The medicalliteratureis rich in such examples of confession or expose of the self.a young friendof Seneca. I would like to speakaboutthe confession to others: I mean to say the expose of one's soul which one makes to someone.andthingslike that?Not at all. ratheras he says. which constitutes a kind of confession to one's self. Serenus confesses to Seneca that he uses the earthenwareinheritedfrom his father. "There are many sick people who accept medicine and otherswho refuse them. But.what is this verum. . comes to ask him for advice.20Serenus. to speak one's evil reveals one['s] nastiness. the threecommonplacemoralquestionsthat .secret thoughts.the treatiseof Galen On the Passions of the Soul"8 quotes an example like that.to participatein the affairsof the city. at least for us unimportant.THEORY / May1993 208 POLITICAL for the past). and the domainof glory."Serenusfeels himself in a stateof malaise. "Why.shamefuldesires. The text of Serenusappearsas an accumulationof relativelyunimportant.a guide."19 Well.to Seneca.It submitsitself to the trialof possible or real action.to tell the truth. I do not feel altogetherill but nor do I feel entirely in good health. the self in all those exercises is not consideredas a field of subjective data which have to be interpreted. for instance among the Epicureanschools.to recognize it insteadof takingpleasurein hiding it.his avarice. who may be a friend. after this examinationof conscience.to recognize three distinct domains for this confession: the domain of riches.thathe wantsto confess? Does he confess faults. And. it is easy. his concupiscence. his unpleasantness. All this is a sign of progress. the domain of political life.as to a doctor? . Indeed. he fears staying at sea in this condition.to acquireriches. As you see. to gain public opinion.the man who hides the shameof soul. his desire.that he gets easily carriedaway when he makes public speeches. Forinstance. . It is in the beginning of De TranquillitateAnimi. "shouldI not confess to you the truth.in the De Profectibus in Virtutewrites. This was a practicenot very developed in philosophical life. In order to escape this state. and it was also a very well known medicalpractice. He says thathe wants verumfateri. anothertext of Seneca might also serve us as an example here of what was confession in the Late Antiquity. has little chance of making progress.21 Now whatis this truth. like on a boat which does not advance. and so on and so on. for instance.in view of firm land and of the virtues which remain inaccessible. an adviser.

In thusexposingwhatpleaseshim.Serenusis notseeking to revealwhatarehis profounddesires.this truthis not somethingwhichis hiddenbehindor underthe consciousnessin the deepestandmostobscure partof the soul.Four.It pleaseshimto do favorsfor his friends.theforcewhich wouldbe ableto transform pureknowledgeandsimpleconsciousnessin a realwayof living. to whichextenttruthin generalis true. it designatesalso a brief piece of discoursethroughwhich truth . orof itselements.Senecahasto give a placeto truthas a force.if I may say.It is somethingwhichis beforetheindividualas a pointof a kindof magneticforcewhichattracts himtowardsa goal. Hence.Theframework of the exposeof Serenusis not thereforedefinedby the realcourseof his norby a theoryof thesoul existence. examples. thistruthis notobtainedby ananalyticalexploration of whatis supposedto be realin the individualbutby rhetoricalexplanation of whatis good for thelife of a sage.Three. it is a question of his own stateandof addingsomethingto the knowledgeof the moral precepts.severalconsequences. demonstrations. is notdefinedby a to realitybutas a forceinherentto principlesandwhichhas correspondence to be developedin a discourse.butonlybya classification of thedifferenttypesof activity whichone can exerciseandtheendswhichone canpursue. He takes pleasurealsoin inflatinghis oratorical stylewiththehopethatposteritywill retainhis words. attraction.andto havenototherthanthatwhichhe has inherited.Itpleaseshimto eatsimply. The term gnome designates the unity of will and knowledge.in thisgamebetweenSerenus's confessionandSeneca'sconsultation. truth.Foucault OFTHESELF 209 / HERMENEUTICS areaskedby themajorphilosophical schoolsof theperiod.as you see.I think.Serenusrevealshis attitudeby enumerating him andthatwhichdispleaseshim.His pleasuresarenotthe meansof revealing what Christianslatercall concupiscensia. Five.Andthatis whatSenecatriesto do whenhe usesa set of persuasivearguments.it is notdefinedby hisrealexperiences. First.In eachone of thatwhichpleases thesefields.in ordernotto discovera still unknowntruthinsideandin thedepthof Serenus'ssoulbutin orderto explain. For him.Two.Theexpression"itpleasesme"(placet me) is the leadingthreadin his analysis.Seneca's discoursehasforanobjectivenotto addto sometheoretical principlea force themin a victorious of coercioncomingfromelsewherebutto transform force.Thisadditionto whatis alreadyknownis a force.but the spectacleof luxuryin otherspleaseshim.theconfessionis not anyonewhowantsto approach orientedtowardan individualization of Serenusby the discoveryof some buttowardstheconstitution of a self whichcouldbe personalcharacteristics at the sametime andwithoutany discontinuity subjectof knowledgeand subjectof will.22we can see thatsuch a practiceof confessionand consultationremains within the frameworkof what the Greeks for a long time called the gnome.

as the objective. or.This force lies in24the rhetoricalquality of the master'sdiscourse. on the contrary.you see thatthe self is not something that has to be discovered or decipheredas a very obscure text. we could say that even as late as the first centuryA. of the will andthe truth. the long way that leads finally to the emergence of the self.. but with a very differentorganization. You see that the task is not to put in the light what would be the most obscurepartof our selves. thatas far as we followed the practicesof self-examination and confession in the Hellenistic or Romanphilosophy. All those elements. how was formedthe hermeneuticsof the . The self has. and this rhetorical quality dependsfor a parton the expose of the disciple. where force of the truthis one with the form of the will.the organizationof what I call the gnomic self.This organization.25 And I think thatthis organizationof the self as a target.the superimposition. CHRISTIANITY AND CONFESSION The theme of this lectureis the same as the theme of last week's lecture. the self is like a text or like a book that we have to decipher.not to be discovered but to be constituted. we find them also in the Christiantechnologies of the self. the problemis to discover whatis hiddeninside the self.I should say.to be constitutedthroughthe force of truth. is somethingwhich is I thinkquitedecisive for the genealogy of the modernself. and that's the point I'll try to explain next week when we meet again. and I'll conclude there. who has to explain how far he is in his way of living from the trueprinciplesthat he knows. so differentfrom the paganone. the role of the master and the master's discourse.210 POLITICAL THEORY / May1993 appearedwith all its force and encrustsitself in the soul of people.D.is somethingdeeply different of what we meet in the Christiantechnologies of the self. the aim.philosophy.26 The theme is: how was formedin our societies what I would like to call the interpretiveanalysisof the self. in sum.3 Then. In the Christian technologies of the self.is a gnomic self. the type of subject which is proposedas a model andas a targetin the Greek.orin the Hellenistic or Roman.and not somethingwhich has to be constructedby the superposition. towards which the confession andthe self-examinationis oriented. we found severalconstitutiveelements: the necessity of telling truthabout oneself.this Christianorganization. In this model of the gnomic self. Thankyou.

everyone in Christianityis obligedto say thesethingsto otherpeople. "to get access to the light. those two relationshipsto truthwere connected in such a way that they were almost identified.either in Buddhismor in the Gnostic movements.for instance. To discover the truth inside oneself.much less influentialin our societies.you can find themequallyconnected. Thatmeans:facite veritatem. whatis happeningin him." Well. I thinkthatthereare very largedifferencesbetweenthe Latinand Greek-the Classical-techniques of the self andthe techniquesdevelopedin Christianity.Foucault / HERMENEUTICS OFTHESELF 211 self in the modern.one of the main characteristicsof orthodoxChristianity.has thedutyto knowwho he is. the religions which impose on those who practicethem obligationof truth.Such obligationsin Christianityarenumerous.But those two relationshipsto truth. ThatmeansthatChristianitybelongs to a very special type of religion.A Christianis always supposedto be supported by the light of faith if he wantsto explore himself. one of the main differencesbetween ChristianityandBuddhism.27he has the obligation to accept the decisions of certainauthoritiesin mattersof truth. the book. in the Latin cultures. The gnothi seauton is.moreover.those regardingthe faith.And.everyChristian.He hasto knowthefaultshe mayhavecommitted: he hasto knowthetemptationsto whichhe is exposed. the dogma. in Buddhism. As Augustine said. I think. the heart. in a Latin formulaI'm sure you'll understand.or. the soul.societies? In spite of the fact that we can find very early in the Greek.as you know. was considered by the Gnosticistsas one thing with coming throughto the light.29 On the contrary.or.qui facit veritatemvenit ad lucem. A few remarks. and so on. Christianityis a confession. to decipherthe real natureand the authenticorigin of the soul.in the Hellenistic.a Christianhas the obligationto hold as true a set of propositionswhich constitutesa dogma. And I'll try to show this evening thatthe modernhermeneuticsof the self is rootedmuchmorein those Christiantechniquesthanin the Classicalones. and the obligationsregardingthe self. andhence. As everybodyknows. and.to tell thesethings to otherpeople.These two ensemblesof obligations.than is supposedto be.conversely.28 ButChristianity requiresanotherformof truthobligationquitedifferentfrom thoseI just mentioned. andto get access to the light of God.are linkedtogether.techniquessuch as self-examinationand confession.Everyone. in our culture.or between ." and venire ad lucem."to make truth inside oneself.access to the truthof the faith cannot be conceived of withoutthe purificationof the soul.to bearwitnessagainsthimself.But there. those two processes are stronglyconnectedin the Christianexperience. he has the obligationto hold certainbooks as a permanentsourceof truth. to make truthinside of oneself.or at least in the Christianand the modern.and they were also connected in all the Gnostic movements of the first centuries.

Andthisstatusis thereforea long-termaffair.andby meansof thisstatushe canobtainhis reintegration.interdictions on sexual relations-andtheindividualis markedto suchanextentby thisstatusthat evenafterhisreconciliation. And I wouldlike firstto examinethe penitentialritesandtheobligationsof truth.of course. EvenafterLuther. Thefunctionof thisstatusis to avoid the definitiveexpulsionfrom the churchof a Christianwho has committedoneorseveralserioussins.Theydemanddifferentmethodsandputintooperationparticulartechniques. afterhisreintegration in thecommunity.fastingobligations.As penitent. theoneconcernedwithaccessto lightandtheoneconcernedwiththemaking of truth.in the firstcenturiesof Christianity.andoneof themostconstanthistoricalfeatures Christianity is thatthosetwo systemsof obligation.I will notenter. obligationhavealwaysmaintained the secretsof the soulandthemysteriesof thefaith.I wouldlike only to underlineonefundamental fact:in thefirstcenturiesof Christianity.thisChristian is excluded frommanyof the ceremoniesandcollectiverites.the discoveringof truthinside oneself-those two systemsof a relativeautonomy. theself andthebook. attentionon the secondof thosetwo systemsof obligation.whichareconnectedwiththosepenitentialrites.let'sputasidethelonghistoryof theircomplexandoftenconflictual I'd like this eveningto focus relationsbeforeand afterthe Reformation. rulesaboutclothing.intothediscussionswhichhavetakenplaceandwhichcontinueuntil now as to the progressivedevelopment of theserites.212 THEORY / May1993 POLITICAL Christianityand Gnosticism. he will stillsufferfroma certainnumberof prohibitions (forinstance. But these are ratherlate innovationsin Christianity.whichpresentsseveralcharacteristics. penanceis a status.arenotin Christianity enlightened by exactlythesame typeof light.I'd like to focus on the obligationimposedon everyChristianto manifestthe truthabout himself.andyou'llfindtheseobligations of manifestingthe truthaboutoneself in two differentinstitutions-in penitentialrites andmonasticlife.one of the mainreasonsfor the mistrustof towardmystics. one of coursehas in mind the sacramentof penanceand the canonic confessionof sins. Well.Thisstatusaffectsmostaspects of hislife.Penance.Whenonespeaksof confessionandself-examination inChristianity. Christiansof the first centuriesknew completelydifferentformsfor the showingforthof thetruthaboutthemselves.thetruthobligationswhichare related.he willnotbe . penance was not an act. even in Protestantism.buthe does notceaseto be a Christian.of truthobligationof Christianity.

I employa muchmoreimpreciseandobscureexpression. specifically.in the penitentialrite.at the end of the penitentialprocedure. the wordexomologesis. to designatethe truthgames or the truthobligationsinherentto penitents.who hadmarrieda second time before the death of her first husband. it is a status.shechastened hernakedbreastand thefacewithwhichshehadseducedhersecondhusband. the word refers to the recognitionof an act.I say thatmanifestation of the truthis necessaryandis deeplyconnectedwiththis statusof penance. Now.In fact. her facepale. andRome.the exomologesis. penitents. amongstthe elements of this status. He is wretchedlydressed. but more precisely.He wrote.32 No doubtJeromeandTertullianwere liable to be rathercarriedaway by such things.however.herheadcoveredin ashes. duringthedayswhichprecededEaster. "Thepenitentwears a hair shirtand ashes.And Jeromedescribesthusthis penance: "During the days which preceded Easter. He is taken by the hand and led into the church.I don't say that enunciationof sins is fundamental.30 Whatdoes thistermexomologesismean?In a verygeneralsense.describesthe ceremonyin the following manner.Herhairdisheveled.which was something quite bad.contemplated thescarson heremaciated body.a general statusin the existence. a well-knownRomannoblewoman.in tears.Fabiolawasto be foundamongtheranksof the Thebishop.Thiswordwas so specificthateven Latinwriters. in the beginningof the fifth century.herhandsdirty.Thatwas.the obligation to manifest the truthis fundamental.andthepeopleweptwithher. But the term of exomologesis does not apply only to this final episode.Latin fathers.when the momentof the reintegrationcame."which was the moment of the reconciliation. Fabiola was a woman. Tertullian. an episode took place which the texts regularlycall exomologesis.He prostrateshimself before the widows and the priest. but they are quite identical. Sherevealedto allherwound.He kisses theirknees. and she then was obliged to do penance. at the end of the second century. Jerome describedin the same way the penitence of Fabiola. what was the exomologesis?Well.thepriests.oftenusedthe Greekwordwithouteven translatingit. at the end of the penitentialprocedure. the Greekfathersused a word.Foucault / HERMENEUTICS OFTHESELF 213 able to become a priest)."3'And muchlaterafterthis.for instance.a very specificword(andveryenigmaticalso).in Ambroseand in othersone finds indicationswhich show clearly the existence of an episode of dramaticself-revelationat the moment of the reconciliationof the penitent.at the end andnot at the beginning. Frequentlythe word exomologesis is used to designate everythingthat the . So penanceis not an act correspondingto a sin.Some descriptionsare very earlyand some very late. He hangs on the skirts of their garments.

And. Fabiola did not confess her fault.As you see. sullied. but she put under everybody's eyes the flesh.36Publish oneself. make visible their humility. And that is. that means. I quote.andthe participationof a greatnumberof people in prayers. thatmeans thathe has two thingsto do.earthanddustto heaven. defiled. The punishmentof oneself and the voluntaryexpressionof oneself are boundtogether.no confession. show their shame. in the Paraenesis.he said it was publicatio sui. telling to somebody what she has done. In a word. preferred filthinessto purity. penancein the first Christiancenturiesis a way of life acted out at all times out of an obligationto show oneself. andget access to a new spirituallife. ashes. Exomologesis obeyed a law of dramaticemphasisand of maximumtheatricality. no verbalenumerationof sins. paradoxically."33And.35 Tertullianhas a wordto translatethe Greekwordexomologesis. which has committedthe sin. restitutethe previous purity acquiredby baptism. fasting. as somebody who. no descriptionin this exomologesis is of a penance. neitherdid this exomologesisobey a truthprincipleof correspondence between verbalenunciationand reality. Tojustify this exomologesis and this renunciationto oneself in manifesting the truthaboutoneself. It is the theatrical representationof the sinner as willing his own death as a sinner.adjusting the punishmentto the crime. but somatic expressionsand symbolic expressions.the exomologesis is this time to rub out the sin. Pacian says that the true penance is accomplishednot in a nominalfashionbut finds its instrumentsin sackcloth. The well-known medical model was very often used in pagan philosophy: .In a few words. One has to show oneself as a sinner.214 POLITICALTHEORY/ May 1993 penitentdoes to obtainhis reconciliationduringthe time in which he retains the status of penitent. choosing the path of the sin. that those who wish to do penance must. and this by showing the sinneras he is in his reality-dirty. affliction. The acts by which he punishes himself must be indissociable from the acts by which he reveals himself. A correspondentof Cyprianin the middle of the thirdcenturywrites. exactly. And. Christianfathershadrecourseto severalmodels. the Christianhad to publish himself. to destroyhis own flesh.34 As you see.spiritualpovertyto the treasures of faith. for instance. to get rid of his own body.But thisexomologesiswas also a way for the sinner to express his will to get free from this world. this exomologesis did not obey to a judicial principle of correlation. no analysis of the sins. And thatwas the reasonwhy exomologesiswas a kind of representationof death. the body.It was the theatricalrepresentationof the sinneras deador as dying. of exact correlation. "prove their suffering.It is the dramaticmanifestationof the renunciationto oneself. and exhibit their modesty. exomologesis. he has to show himself as somebody who preferred spiritualdeathto earthenlife.

The martyris he who prefersto face deathratherthanto abandonhis faith. self-destruction. and the monasterywas presentedas the school of philosophy. who describes an examinationof conscience which has exactly the same form. since the monastic life presenteditself as the trueformof philosophicallife. ego non sum ego. the subject of knowledge and the subjectof will by means of the perpetualrememorizing of the rules. It is in the morningthatwe musttake accountof our expenses. andwhich is penance.it is of course quitedifferentfromthis exomologesis. JohnChrysostom.Foucault/ HERMENEUTICSOF THE SELF 215 one has to show his wounds to the physiciansif he wants to be healed. John Chrysostom says. Concerningthis continuityI'll quote only one witness.In a certain way. to superimposeby an act of violent rupturethe truthabout oneself and the renunciationof oneself. There is nothing astonishing in this.38The sinnerabandons the faith in orderto keep the life of here below.the same administrativecharacter. if we turnto the confession in monasticinstitutions. self-revelationin exomologesisis.The formulawhich is at the heartof exomologesisis. this confession is close to the exercise practicedin the paganschools of philosophy.37But the most importantmodel to justify the necessity of exomologesisis the model of martyrdom. The exomologesis seeks.Thereis an obvious transferof several technologies of the self in Christianspiritualityfrom practices of pagan philosophy.as I tried to explain to you last week. then it is in the evening. the same shape.or penanceas exomologesis. It is the organizedconfession in the monasticcommunities. that . Rather. in contrary.39 Such a demonstrationdoes not thereforehave as its functionthe establishmentof the personal identity. nearly)the samewordsas in Seneca. in opposition to the Stoic techniques. One recalls what was the objective of Stoic technology: it was to superimpose.as thatdescribedby Seneca in the De Ira and which I spoke aboutlast week. the breaking off from one's self. very differentfrom this one. Well. after our meal. Chrysostomwrites. when we have gone to bed and no one troublesus and disquietsus. at the same time. They also used thejudicial model: one always appeasesthe court when spontaneously confessing the faults. he will be reinstatedonly if in his turnhe exposes himself voluntarilyto a sortof martyrdomto which all will be witnesses.In the Christianinstitutionsof the first centuriesanotherform of confession is to be found. andyou'll recognizeexactly (well. such a demonstrationserves to mark this dramaticdemonstrationof what one is: the refusal of the self. In the ostentatiousgestures of maceration.

and the principleof contemplation.and even when the monk is old. the supremegood is not the mastershipof oneself. even when he became.4'And I'll follow several of the indications you can find in those two books. as the Stoic philosopher.The obedience of the disciple was foundedon the capacityof the masterto lead him to a happyandautonomous life. The obligationof the monkis continuouslyto turnhis thoughtsto thatsingle point whichis God.Obediencein the monasticinstitutionsmust bear on all the aspects of life.aboutthe self-examination. there is an adage. Placed underthis principleof obedience.obedience is a permanentrelationship.Letus examine Letus ceasespendinginappropriately andwhatis prejudicial. and orientedtowardsthe objective of contemplation. the principleof obedience-we have seen that in the ancient schools of philosophy the relationshipbetween the masterand the disciple was. if I may say. For a long series of reasonsthatI haven'ttime to discus here. of course. instrumentaland provisory. But these kinds of ancient practices were modified under the influence of two fundamentalelements of Christian spirituality:the principleof obedience. and the eye of his soul is pureenoughto see God andto receivelightfromhim.you understandthatthe technology of the self which develops in Christianmonasticism presents peculiar characteristics.prayersin placeof indiscretewords. constitutes a theft. In the monastic life.he has to take in hand the course of his . you understandvery well thatthe monk has to take in handnot the course of his actions. Since he has to turnhis thoughtcontinuouslytowardsGod. andhis obligationis also to makesurethathis heart.even then he has to keep the spiritof obedience as a permanentsacrificeof his own will.the firstpoint about the self-examinationin the monasticlife is that the self-examination in this kindof Christianexercise is muchmoreconcernedwith thoughtsthan with actions. Anotherfeaturedistinguishesmonasticdiscipline from the philosophical life. which were written in the beginningof the fifth century. "everythingthat one does not do on orderof one's director.First.or everythingthat one does without his permission. First.216 THEORY/May1993 POLITICAL we mustaskourselvesto renderaccountof ourconductto ourselves.in the cenobite communities. very well known in the monastic literature.a master. in his turn.40 You'll recognize exactly the same administrativeself-examinationyou could find last week with Seneca. obedience has very differentfeaturesin the monasticlife and above all.John Cassian's Institutionesand Collationes give a rathersystematic and clear expose of self-examinationand of the confession as they were practiced among the Palestinianand Egyptianmonks."Therefore.his soul.which says. whatis to ouradvantage andtryto set asideusefulfundsin the placeof harmfulexpenses. the supreme good in the monastic life is the contemplationof God.

He uses first the comparisonof the mill.he has to take in handthe images which presentthemselves to the spirit.the quality. Cassian says that one must be with respect to oneself like a moneychanger to whom one presents coins.Foucault / HERMENEUTICS OFTHESELF 217 thoughts.he considersthe metal of which it is made.what is he concernedwith? Not of course with the relationbetween the idea and the reality. that is in Latin. I think. thoughtis like a millstone which grindsthe grains.to know whatit is andif it is pure.so as to acceptthose which are authenticwhilst rejecting those which are not. But.The moneychangerseeks to know the workshopfrom which it comes.Not only the passions which might make vacillate the firmness of his conduct. So muchso thatthe primarymaterialfor scrutiny and for the examinationof the self is an area anteriorto actions. allotting to each his task according to his capacities.the substanceof his thoughts. Cassian uses three comparisons. it is up to the miller to sort out amongst the grainsthose which are bad and those which can be admittedto the millstone because they are good. And lastly. When a moneychangerexamines a coin. says Cassian. In the same way. cogitationes. says Cassian. verifyingtheirauthenticity.He is not interestedin the relationshipbetween his mind and the externalworld. says Cassian.the moneychangerlooks at the effigy the money bears. The monk has to examine a materialwhich the Greek fatherscall (almost always pejoratively)the logismoi. even an area anteriorto the desires-a much more tenaciousmaterialthanthe materialthe Stoic philosopherhad to examine in himself. the nearlyimperceptiblemovementsof the thoughts. Thought. In orderto make comprehensiblewhat this permanentexaminationconsists in.42That's the materialwhich the monk has to continuouslyexamine in order to maintainthe eye of his spirit always directed towards the unique point which is God.the most interesting.The grains are of course the ideas which presentcontinuouslythemselves in the mind. Cassian develops this comparisonat length.pause for a momenton this importantpoint. when the monk scrutinizeshis own thoughts.one must know if they really bear the effigy of God. Whathe is concernedwith is the nature. and that I think is the most important. thatmeans away fromGod. if they really permit us to . that is to say. and he weighs it in his handin order to know if it has been filed down or ill-used. the diverse suggestionswhichturnthe attentionof the spiritaway fromits object. and whose task consists in examiningthem. And in the comparisonof the millstone. of course. We must. Cassian has recourse also to the comparisonof the officer who has the soldiersfile past him and makes them pass to the right or to the left.one must verify the qualityof one's thoughts.the permanentmobility of soul. anteriorto will also. the thoughts which come to interfere with contemplation.He is not concernedwith this truthrelationwhich makes an idea wrong or true.

the idea is true in regardto the externalworld.was concernedwith acts andrules.both more perverse and more naive.even if they are of good qualityandorigin. in theirroots and in theirorigins. Does it really show its true origin. comparedto the Cassian changer.which have to be scrutinized.Freudiancensorshipis a falsehood-operatorthroughsymbolization. have they not been whittledaway and rustedby evil sentiments? I think that this form of examination is at the same time new and historicallyimportant.the idea comes to me thatfastingis a good thing. So. but the idea is impuresince from its origin it is rooted in bad sentiments.however.218 POLITICALTHEORY/ May 1993 contemplatehim.But Cassian's changerhas for a functionto decipherwhatis false or illusoryin whatpresents itself to consciousness and then to let in only what is authentic.For that purpose the Cassian moneychangeruses a specific aptitudethat the Latin fatherscalled discretio. if their surface brilliancedoes not hide the impurityof a bad thought. Cassian's changer is a truth-operator throughdiscretio.the importance of the questionof truthwith the Stoic. is it as pure as it seems.The idea is certainlytrue. But I don't want to go furtherin such a parallel. and independentlyof the truthas to the things it represents.and several texts of Freudaboutcensorship.both the Cassian changer and the Freudiancensorshiphave to control the access to consciousnessthey have to let some representationsin andto rejectthe others.butmaybethis idea has been suggested not by God but by Satan in orderto put me in competition with other monks. and the Freudiancensorshipaccepts that what is sufficiently disguised. What is their origin? Do they come from God.And we have to decipherour thoughts as subjectivedatawhich have to be interpreted. For Cassian.the Stoic examination. or in regardto the rules.is there not an illusion aboutmyself on my part?For instance. and then bad feelings aboutthe otherones can be mixed to the projectof fasting more than I do. The Freudiancensorship rejects that what presentsitself as it is.One mustrecognize. the question is not "Am I wrong to think such a thing?"but "Have I not been deceived by the thoughtwhich has come to me?"Is the thoughtwhich comes to me.43The Freudiancensorshipis. It is impossible not to be struckby the similarityof this general theme.PerhapsI have insisted a little too much with regard to the Stoics on the fact that their examination.the problemis not to know if thereis a conformitybetween the idea and the orderof externalthings.One could say thatFreudiancensorshipis both the same thing and the reverse of Cassian'schanger. and the similarityof this image of the moneychanger. butthe questionwas presentedin terms of true or false opinions favorable to forming good or bad actions. it's only an . or from the workshopof the demon?Finally.it is a questionof examiningthe thoughtin itself. have not foreign elements insidiously mixed themselves with it? Altogether.

you interpret your thoughtsby telling them to the masteror to your spiritualfather. but at the very moment when he confesses. the verbalact of confession. but in confessing continuouslythe movementyou can notice in yourthought. thanks to his greaterexperience.Foucault/ HERMENEUTICSOF THE SELF 219 indication. Thereis for Cassiana specific virtueof verification in this act of verbalization.but I think that the relationsbetween Freudianpractice and the Christiantechniquesof spiritualitycould be. verbally confesses.Amongst all the examples that Cassian quotes there is one which is particularlyenlighteningon this point. not at the momentwhen he showed the breadhe has stolen. Then he prostrateshimself andconfesses the secret of his daily meal. how is it possible to performcontinuouslythis necessary self-examination. the truth.The verbal act of confession is the proof.for the problemis. the secret of his daily meal.the reality of what has happened.But of course he did not dareto confess it to his spiritualdirector.The answergiven by Cassianis.His senioritypermitshim to distinguish between truthand illusion in the soul of the personhe directs. a light seems to tear itself away from his body and cross the room. the spiritualfather.If one blushes in . can betterunderstandwhat's happening. in spreadinga disgustingsmell of sulphur.Why?Well. But that is not the principalreason that Cassian invokes to explain the necessity of confession. a very interesting field of research. It is the confession. if seriously done.Why is this confession able to assumethis hermeneuticalrole? One reasoncomes to the mind:in exposing the movementsof his heart. well. how is it possible to perform.It is not even thatthe young monkrevealshis act andrestores the object of his theft.of truth. as Cassianwishes. is that the evil ones cannot be referredto without difficulty.incapableof enduringthe obligatoryfast.following Cassian.and one day this spiritualdirector. gives a public sennon on the necessity of being truthful.Convincedby this sermon. One sees that in this anecdotethe decisive element is not thatthe master knows the truth. by its own mechanics. I thinkit is because what marksthe differencebetween good and evil thoughts. stole every evening a loaf of bread. Cassian quotes the following anecdote:a young monk. to his greaterwisdom. who no doubt guessed all. which comes last and which makes appear. Serapion.in a certainsense. and then.this necessaryself-controlof the tiniest movementsin the thoughts?How is it possible to performthis necessaryhermeneuticsof our own thoughts? The answer given by Cassian and his inspiratorsis both obvious and surprising.the young Serapiontakesout from under his robe the bread that he has stolen and shows it to everyone. the seigneur.44 But we have to go further.the disciple permits his seigneur to know those movements and. not confessing your faults. at this very moment of the confession.You interpretyour thoughtsby confessing not of course your acts.is the manifestation.

Verbalization. this verbalizationhas to be a permanentactivity. to throw it out into the light and make its shame a public spectacle.(3) This verbalization must go as deep as possible in the depth of the thoughts. Verbalizationcontains in itself a power of discretio. or the brother.exhaustive.or the spiritualfather. And the verbalizationof thoughtsis a way to put underthe eyes of God all the ideas. and he resists when confession dragshim from the darkcavernsof the conscience into the light of explicit discourse. Cassiangives the reason of this resistance:Satanas principleof evil is incompatiblewith the light.if even quite simply one hesitatesto tell his thoughts. because the abbe. To this permanent. this presence is requestedfor this kind of confession. even if it is a silent presence.Evil inhabitsthem. Verbalizationis a self-sacrifice.the obligation to tell the truthaboutoneself was to take two majorforms.who listens at this confession is the image of God. we can see (1) that verbalizationin itself has an interpretive function. and underthis divine light they show necessarilywhat they are.and the role of verbalizationis to excavate these origins and those secret parts. One can test their value accordingto whetherthey resistverbalizationor not.and sacrificialverbalizationof the thoughtswhich was obligatoryfor the monksin the monasticinstitution.220 POLITICALTHEORY/ May 1993 recountingthem. . (4) As verbalizationbrings to the externallight the deep movement of the thought.have an inapparentorigin. as contemporaneousas possible of the streamof thoughts. in the Christianityof the first centuries. These. to this permanentverbalizationof the thoughts. whateverthey are.it leads also and by the same processthe humansoul fromthe reign of Satan to the law of God.the Greek fathersgave the name of exagoreusis. The presenceof somebody.for the conversionto develop itself and to take effect. and a renunciationto oneself.obscureroots.' Thus.46(2) This verbalizationis not a kind of retrospectionabout past acts.said the Greekfathers).the exomologesis and the exagoreusis.and as you see they are very differentfrom one another. if one seeks to hide his own thoughts. I quote Cassian: "A bad thoughtbroughtinto the lightof dayimmediatelyloses its veneer.thatis the proof thatthose thoughtsare not good as they may appear. suggestions. secretparts."45 Does thatmean thatit would be sufficientfor the monk to tell his thoughtsaloud even when alone?Of course not. Cassianimposes to monks. Thus verbalizationconstitutes a way of sorting out thoughtswhich presentthemselves.Theterrible serpentthat this confession has forced out of its subterraneanlair. Since underthe reign of Satanthe human being was attachedto himself. images. verbalizationas a movementtowardGod is a renunciation to Satan. That means that verbalizationis a way for the conversion47(for the metanoia. as they come to consciousness.is quick to beat a retreat. even if he does not speak. as you see. From this.

49 I think that in Christianitywe see the development of a much more complex technology of the self. a few of them. in those two early Christianexperiences.And we have to understandthis sacrifice not only as a radicalchange in the way of life but as the consequenceof a formulalike this: you will become the subjectof the manifestationof truthwhen andonly when you disappearor you destroy yourself as a real body or as a real existence.I will mention.and this in a kindof public manifestation. This technology of the self maintainsthe difference between knowledge of being. the permanentsuperpositionin the form of memory of the subjectof knowledge and the subjectof the will. You rememberwhat I told you last week: the Greek technology.the exagoreusis. So much that one can isolate as the common element to both practices the following principle:the revelation of the truthabout oneself cannot. and we have to discoverthe truthaboutourselfin orderto sacrificeourself.one of those small originsthatNietzsche likedto discoverat the beginningof greatthings.the obligationto macerate the body and the obligation of verbalizingthe thoughts-those things are deeply andclosely related. knowledge of nature.the exomologesis is a dramaticexpressionby the penitent of his statusof sinner.But it must be remarkedthatthis verbalization.of the self tendedto producea self which could be. the apparitionof a new kind of self. We have to sacrifice the self in orderto discover the truthaboutourself.as I just told you. knowledge of word. or at least a new kind of relationshipto our selves.On the other hand. First. The ascetic macerationexercised on the body and the rule of permanentverbalizationappliedto the thoughts.finds its parallel in the model of martyrdomwhich haunts exomologesis.I have beenbothtoo long andmuchtoo schematic.this rule of permanent verbalization. andthis knowledgeof the self takes shape . or the philosophicaltechniques.Foucault/ HERMENEUTICSOF THE SELF 221 On the one hand.I would like you to considerwhatI have saidonly as a pointof departure. and in this relation of complete obedience to the will of the spiritualfather.Truth and sacrifice.we have an analyticalandcontinuousverbalizationof the thoughts. Thusthe rule of confession in exagoreusis. which should be. just before I finish. the truthaboutourself and the sacrifice of ourself.the revelationof the truth aboutoneself cannotbe dissociatedfrom the obligationto renounceoneself. is also a way of renouncingself and no longerwishing to be the subject of the will. as you see. Let's stophere. are deeply and closely connected. The great things that those monastic practices announcedare numerous.and knowledgeof the self.They aresupposedto have the same goals andthe same effect.

on the contrary. if you want.maybe the problemis not to discover a positive self or thepositive foundationof the self.and that is the exomologesis-and anothertruth-technologyorientedtowardthe discursive and permanentanalysis of the thought-that is the exagoreusis. this formbecamevictoriousafter centuriesand centuries. as you know. Even in these hermeneuticaltechniquesderivedfrom the exagoreusisthe productionof truthcould not be met.the second form of technology. do we need.or. and we could see therethe epistemologicaltemptationof Christianity.and it is nowadaysdominating. Maybeourproblemis now to discover that the self is nothingelse than the historicalcorrelationof the technologybuiltin our history. And that is. what we could call the permanentanthropologismof Westernthought."1 Duringthe last two centuries.Maybethe problemis to changethose technol- . And the second point which seems to me importantis this:you may notice in early Christianityan oscillation between the truth-technologyof the self oriented toward the manifestationof the sinner.is coming for us to ask. on the theoreticalandpractical.50I think that one of the great problemsof Westernculture has been to find the possibility of foundingthe hermeneuticsof the self not. the role of interpreteris assumedby the work of a continuous verbalizationof the most imperceptiblemovements of the thoughtthat's the reason we could say that the Christianself which is correlatedto this techniqueis a gnosiologic self. really. this hermeneuticsof the self?52Maybe the problemof the self is not to discover what it is in its positivity.the problemhas been: what could be the positive foundation for the technologiesof the self thatwe have been developingduringcenturies and centuries?But the moment.maybe.And.And I think thatthis anthropologismis linkedto the deep desire to substitutethe positive figure of man for the sacrifice which for Christianitywas the condition for the openingof the self as a field of indefiniteinterpretation.without a very strict condition:hermeneuticsof the self implies the sacrificeof the self. the manifestationof the being-what we would call the ontological temptationof Christianity.on a positive.thatwas the aim of politicalandphilosophicaltheoryto constitutethe groundof the subjectivityas the rootof a positive self.this epistemologicaltechnologyof the self. as it was the case in early Christianity. the deep contradiction. or this technology of the self oriented towardthe permanentverbalizationand discovery of the most imperceptiblemovementsof ourself. after a lot of conflicts and fluctuation. I think.on the sacrifice of the self but.thatwas the aim also of medicaland psychiatricpractices.222 POLITICALTHEORY/ May 1993 in the constitutionof thoughtas a field of subjective data which are to be interpreted.And. Thatwas the aim of judicial institutions.emergenceof the self. you remember. of Christiantechnologies of the self: no truthaboutthe self withouta sacrifice of the self. the great richness.

those arethe two reasonswhy the history of knowledge constitutesa privileged point of view for the genealogy of the subject. the institutional. This would be an archaeologicalhistory. (Paris:PUF. as well as for the analysis of meaningfulsystems.it was throughan increasingobsession with techne as the only way to arriveat an understandingof objects. 3.the thirdconsequence. I mean the fact that one of the main moral obligations for any subjectis to know oneself.in the strictsense of the word. For Heidegger. translatedby DorianCairns(The Hague:MartinusNijhoff. 85-86. as if we were nothingelse than that which rationalknowledge could tell us about ourselves. 1931). 2. 1976). and Foucault. Hence. All the practicesby which the subject is defined and transformedare accompaniedby the formationof certaintypes of knowledge. the point at which a particulardiscourse emerged from those techniquesand came to be seen as true. to some extent. Let's turnthe questionaround . EdmundHusserl. translatedby Alan Sheridan(New York:Harper& Row. it follows that I am not tryingto do historyof sciences in general.Maladiementaleetpsychologie. While the history of science is without doubt an importanttesting ground for the theory of knowledge.Finally. 1840).I am working on a historyof science thatis.Du traitementmoralede lafolie (Paris:J. I thankyou very much. B.translatedby GabriellePeifferandEmmanuel Lewis (Paris:ArmanColin.MeditationsCartesiennes.After all. the politics of ourselves.knowledge tends to be organizedaround forms and norms that are more or less scientific. one of the main political problems would be nowadays. This might seem paradoxical.this projectseeks to discoverthe point at which these practices became coherentreflective techniques with definite goals. 1966). nor to know if they can become universally valid. the point at which they are linked with the obligationof searchingfor the truthand telling the truth.Now a few words on methodology. In sum. 72. MentalIllness and Psychology. 3rded. That is the task of an epistemological historian.and the social practices from which these sciences arose. to tell the truthaboutoneself.For this kind of research. CartesianMeditations:An Introductionto Phenomenology. the history of science constitutes a privileged point of view. 1973). 4. and the precise domain of the analysis is what I should call technologies. Well.Anotherconsequence. and in the West.Foucault/ HERMENEUTICSOF THE SELF 223 ogies. The method is an archaeology of knowledge. the genealogy of the self does not take place within a field of scientific knowledge. it is also fertile ground for studyingthe genealogy of subject. See FrancoisLeuret.regressivehistorythatseeks to discoverthe discursive.53And in this case.Therearetwo reasonsfor this. "wheresociety plays the role of subject"[Howison]. NOTES 1. I would like to add one final word aboutthe practicalsignificanceof this form of analysis. Bailliere. the aim of my project is to constructa genealogy of the subject.I am not trying to measure the objective value of these sciences. that the Westlost touch with Being.Rather. I mean the articulationof certaintechniquesand certainkinds of discourseabout the subject. "So much for the generalproject. There is also anotherreason maybe more fundamentaland more specific to our societies. and to constitute oneself as an object of knowledge both for otherpeople and for oneself.but only of those which soughtto constructa scientific knowledge of the subject. for a variety of reasons. The truthobligationfor individualsanda scientificorganizationof knowledge.

Seneca. 340-41.translatedby JeremyShapiro(Boston:Beacon. 7. 1991). 10. 18."in On thePassions andErrors of the Soul. 5-6. Huck Gutman. or governingsouls" [Howison].or governingfamily. 133-66. This would be a theoreticalanalysis which has.freedomand constraint.1963. (Chicago: Universityof Chicago Press." Corpsicrit 5 (February1983): 21. 1976).1927). The Use of Pleasure.'I mean an analysis thatrelatesto what we are willing to accept in our world. Loeb ClassicalLibrary(Cambridge. "On Tranquilityof Mind. 11. 16.I thinkthatit is herewhere we will find the real possibility of constructinga historyof what we have done and. Les Mots et les choses (Paris:Gallimard.1984). Volume1. 1968). andto change.of governingchildren. Basore. 202-85."313. The History of Sexuality. Basore. it is a questionof searchingfor anotherkindof criticalphilosophy. 6. translatedby Alan Sheridan (New York: Pantheon. "andknow themselves"[Howison]. 202-13. 1971). "asthey spoke of it in the sixteenthcentury. vol. L'Usage des plaisirs (Paris: Gallimard. 1968) andappendixin TechnikundWissenschaftals "Ideologie" (FrankfurtamMain:Suhrkamp Verlag. Not a critical philosophy that seeks to determinethe conditions and the limits of our possible knowledge of the object."Moral Essays. Technologiesof the Self: A SeminarwithMichel Foucault. translatedby Alan Sheridan(New York:Pantheon.1977). 1935).By this word 'politicaldimension. translatedby Robert Hurley (New York: Pantheon. translatedby RobertHurley(New York:Pantheon." LondonReview of Books 3. TheBirth of the Clinic. Loeb Classical Library(Cambridge. translatedby FrankCole Babbitt. Plutarch. "andknown"[Howison]. 13. 1988).1986). a political dimension. 14. 1: An Introduction. 1970-1982 (Paris:Julliard. 1958).and PatrickH. 1972). but a critical philosophythat seeks the conditionsand the indefinite possibilities of transformingthe subject. 9 (May 21-June3.MA: HarvardUniversityPress. no."in Moralia. "On Anger. Discipline and Punish. Volume1.1970). translatedby John W.Erkenntnisund Interesse (Frankfurtam Main: SuhrkampVerlag. 20. to refuse. 17. Martin."in Moral Essays. "Sexualityand Solitude. Galen.edited by LutherH. 9. TheOrderof Things. giving it its characteristicsplit of truthanderror. translatedby Paul W.translatedby RobertHurley (New York:Pantheon. at the same time.edited by GrahamBurchell et al. 1981): 3. translatedby John W. 8. "all of them being a way to incorporatein a constant attitudea code of actions and reactions.1973) and Surveilleret punir (Paris: Gallimard.1978). The Care of the Self.Loeb ClassicalLibrary(New York:Putnam. esp.1989). Naissance de la clinique(Paris:PressesUniversitairesde France. 400-57.MA: HarvardUniversityPress. esp. 60-62. The Foucault Effect: Studies in Governmentality.A GeneralPerspective. Hutton(Amherst:Universityof MassachusettsPress. 19. Resumede cours.1966). 12. The Care of the Self. both in ourselves and in our circumstances. esp. Harkins(Ohio State UniversityPress. "Appendix:Knowledge andHumanInterests. 1975). 1985). Le Souci de soi.of transformingourselves"[Howison]. 15. "L'ecriturede soi. JuirgenHabermas. La Volonte'de savoir (Paris: Gallimard. 77-79. . Volume2.whateversituationmay occur"[Howison]. Le Souci de soi (Paris:Gallimard. 1984)."How a Man May Become Aware of His Progressin Virtue. at the same time. a diagnosis of what we are.Knowledgeand HumanInterests. 1963). 5. to accept. 436-57.translatedby Alan Sheridan(New York:Pantheon. Seneca.224 POLITICALTHEORY/ May 1993 and ask which techniquesand practices form the Westernconcept of the subject."Onthe DiagnosisandCureof the Soul's Passions.In sum.

self-hermeneutics won't mnemotechnics self-interpretation.in andso on.butalsoin MarcusAurelius.with the hermeneutics of the self. andconfessionmaybe in ancientphilosophyconsidered and self-examination is nottodiscovera secretrealityinside buttheobjectiveof thistruth-game important truth-game. "Thesedependinparton artsof memoryandactsof persuasion.Foucaultsaidthefollowing:]"Well. "themnemonicaptitudeof theindividual of the 25.Epictetus. confession. Thisgenealogyhasbeenmy obsessionforyearsbecauseit is one of the of thesubject. 24.is.throughthisdescription of his ownstate.I havetriedto explainwhyI wasinterested in thepracticeof self-examination andconfession.Self-observation. . andthetruth.Theiraimis not.a persuasiverhetoricsin the as a force. "But.thatwhichdealswith techniques the interpretive analysisof the subject.Wehaveseenthatif Senecarecalls thatself-examination to understand everyeveninghismistakes.it is easy hasnearlythesamerole." 27.evenas lateas thefirstcenturyA. or at least abouttwo of thesetechniques.as you findthem. Theiraimis something else.Thenwe mayconclude master'sadvice-those arethe aspectsof truthconsidered as truth-game. illuminated by thepoeticallightthatit wasimpossible Well. Itis a factthatwe meetconfessionandself-examination very oftenin the late HellenisticandRomanphilosophies. whathappened in thefirstepisode?Veryfew important things. a placewheretruth Theobjectiveof thistruth-game is to makeof theindividual theindividual.A permanent memoryin theindividualandin his innerdiscourse.EveryChristian is obligedto manifesthisfaith"[Howison]. 28. Arethey the archetypesof Christian confessionandself-examination? Aretheytheearlyformsof themodemhermeneutics of the self?I havetriedto showthattheyarequitedifferentfromthat.Foucault / HERMENEUTICS OFTHESELF 225 21.veryimperative. of theselfbeforeChristianity" intervenein thetechnologies [Howison]. in modemsocieties.themostimportant. I think.Amongthese of theself.technologies but with artssuch as self in the ancientworldare not linkedwithan artof interpretation.Gnomaiwereveryshort. to forgetthemandto avoidtheirpower. whatI calltechniques of theself.it is to memorizethemoralpreceptsof theconduct.Yesterday hermeneutics night. "atleastin theCatholicbranchof Christianity" [Howison]. 22. "Iftheroleof confessionandconsultation is to give placeto truthas a force. Itis to give Theiraimis to constitutetheself as theidealunityof thewill forceto truthin theindividual. poetsanddivinementoldthetruthto ordinary andso deeply mortalsthroughthiskindof gnome. Thosetwopractices seemtometobegoodwitnessesforamajorproblem. 26. andconfessionwerestilla kindof development self-examination of thegnomni" [Howison]. [Atthebeginningof thesecondHowisonlecture.I thinkyou cansee thatself-examination. thepresenceof memoryandtheefficiencyof discourse" canappearandactasarealforcethrough [Howison]. "Intheearliestformof Greekphilosophy.I willtryto do it as if it werea goodTV series.D.nowlet us turntowardChristianity as thecradleof Westernhermeneutics of theself.Senecais at the sametimeconfessingthetruthand lackingin truth"[Howison]. and rhetoric. whichis thegenealogy of the modemself. "obligations notonlyto believein certainthingsbutalsoto showthatonebelievesin them.Well. severalpersonsaskedmeto give a shortresumeof whatI saidlastnight.I think.throughthisconfession. So.to deciphera hiddentruthin thedepthof theindividual. and"[Howison].he asksSeneca to tell himthe truthabouthis own state.I wouldliketo outlinethis possiblewaysto get ridof a traditional philosophy genealogyfromthepointof viewof techniques.So. confessionandself-examination. Seneca. How was the of theselfformed?Thisis thethemeof thetwolectures.forinstance.andmemoryis nothingelse thantheforceof thetruthwhenit is permanently presentandactivein thesoul.I spoke aboutGreekandRomantechniquesof the self.. 23.

repr. 9-12.. "andthe Greekfatherscalled diacrisis" [Howison]. 32. "WhatI would like to insist uponthis evening is somethingelse.1975).translated by W. 37. See esp.. esp. and with all previouslife" [Howison]. 51 in The Fathers of the Church(Washington.. " Exomologesis. it has the role of showing the true being of the sinner." chaps. esp. 34. "Itmustnot be forgottenthatthe practiceand the theoryof penitencewere elaboratedto a great extent aroundthe problemof the relapsed. 271."LetterLXXVII. "OnRepentance.will subsistfor an extremely long time in Christianity.edited by Phillip Schaff. Chrysostom: Homilies on the Gospel of St. "This form.repr.attestedto from the end of the second century. Roberts and J.d. thoughts(not desires. translatedby SisterRose BernardDonna.MI: Eerdmans. to Oceanus.1973).or the true sinful being of the subject. Jerome. we could say that there is a gnostic self. something indirectly related to that. 157-62."in ThePrincipal Worksof St. This gnostic self has to be discoveredinside the individual. penance insofar as it is a reproductionof martyrdomis an affirmationof change-of rupturewith one's self.Firstof all. the enemy will be obliged to remainquiet" [Howison].of a rupturewith the world. 657-68. from the Priests and Deacons Abiding in Rome to Pope Cyprian. 6 in A Select Libraryof Nicene and Post-NiceneFathers (New York: ChristianLiteratureCo. John Cassian. Freemantle. The expressionmeanshe has to producehimself as a sinnerin his realityof sinner. is not a way to say the sinnerhas to explain his sins. "If the gnomic self of the Greekphilosophers. John Chrysostom. MI: Eerdmans. 40.. There is something really importantin the way Cassian poses the problemof truthaboutthe thought.since one finds its after-effectsin the ordersof penitentsso important in the fifteenthand sixteenthcentury."chap. . not passions. 11 of A Select Libraryof Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers (GrandRapids. Donaldson (GrandRapids.edited by Phillip Schaff.If the sinner has already anticipatedhim by accusing himself. "LetterXXXVI. vol. 38.DC: CatholicUniversityof America Press. at least. This is the gnostic self that we can find describedin Thomas Evangiliumor the Manicheantexts. Technologiesof the Self. 33. Jerome.Itmeans that the soul is always moving and moving in all directions"[Howison].publicatiosui. 664-66. H. with one's past metanoia.S."On Repentance.De InstitutionesCoenobiorumand CollationesPatrum. 90-94at 93. edited by A.And now the question is why the showing forthof the sinnershould be efficient to efface the sins" [Howison]. 10. "In brief."HomilyXLII. or.of which I spoke yesterdayevening. C. "Theday of judgment.as a forgottensparkleof the primitivelight" [Howison]. 1964). Tertullian. 43.vol.not attitudes. MI: Eerdmans. 41. 10 in A Select Libraryof the Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers (GrandRapids. 1893). Certainacts of exomologesistake place in privatebut most are addressedto the public"[Howison]."in TheAnte-Nicene Fathers..226 POLITICALTHEORY/ May 1993 29. in St. 42. 35."on Matthew 12:33. 159-60.One can see thatthe procedurefor showing forththe truth are multipleand complex in it. had to be built as an identificationbetween the force of the truthand the formof the will. 44."in Saint Cyprian:Letters(1-81). 39-43.1979). "Thisis the soul thatCassiandescribedwith two Greekwords[undecipherable]. Matthew. Cyprian.J. vol. in vol.the Devil himself will standup to accuse the sinner. 31. St.n. 39.repr. "Thegreaterpartof the acts which constitutepenancehas the role not of telling the truth about the sin. 30. The relapsedabandonsthe faith in order to keep the life of here below" [Howison]..The Tertullianexpression. but as a part. 36.

20. 11. what I call the gnomic self. Then." . It is the presenceof somebodyelse in me. as is. The verbalizationof the confession of sins is institutionalizedas a discursivetruth-game. It is the Devil.disguisedin theirown substance. accordingto objectiveexperience. No. MarkBlasius is AssistantProfessor of Political Science at the City Universityof New York/LaGuardia. The power which hides inside my thoughts.which is a sacrifice of the subject"[Howison]. Vol.1955). And I thinkthat is the firsttime in history that thoughtsare consideredas possible objects for an analysis. 52. chap. "whichwe have inheritedfromthe firstcenturiesof Christianity?Do we need a positive man who serves as the foundationof this hermeneuticsof the self?" [Howison].Fourth. 46. This constitutionof the thoughtsas a field of subjectivedataneedingan interpretiveanalysis in orderto discover the power of the other in me is.Foucault/ HERMENEUTICSOF THE SELF 227 not acts) appearin Cassian'swork and in all the spiritualityit representsas a field of subjective data which have to be consideredand analyzedas an object. His research and publications are concerned with modern and contemporarypolitical theoryand social thought. a powerwhich is not of anothernaturethan my soul.or accordingto logical rules. 4 as"An Ethos of Lesbianand Gay Existence. for instance. "apower of diacrisis. 11of A Select Libraryof Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers of the ChristianChurch. Technologiesof the Self.Third. in vol. 53.MI: Eerdmans. I think.I indicatedthatthe Gnostic movementswere a questionof constitutingan ontologicalunity.and his book A Politics of Sexuality isforthcoming. JohnCassian. 45.what man needs if he does not want to be the victim of his own thoughtsis a perpetualhermeneuticsinterpretation. what could be called the gnostic self could be constitutedin Christianity"[Howison]. ". In the beginningof the lecture. 49.Second Conferenceof AbbotMoses. "ormaybe to get rid of those technologies. a quite new mannerto organize the relationshipsbetween truthand subjectivity. thoughtshave to be analyzednot in relationto theirobject. 50.I think thathermeneuticsof the self begins there"[Howison].Aportion of the argumentof this bookwaspublishedin PoliticalTheory. that is.this power is of the same natureof my thoughtsand of my soul.a perpetualwork of hermeneutics. 47.the body. "Inaddition.this reality which is able to hide in my thoughtsis a power. "forthe ruptureof the self' [Howison]. "Thecentralityof the confession of sins in Christianityfinds an explanationhere.edited by Philip Schaft and HenryWace (GrandRapids. Second. to get rid of the sacrifice which is linked to those technologies"[Howison].we can say thatone of the problemsof Westernculturewas: how could we save the hermeneuticsof the self and get rid of the necessary sacrifice of the self which was linked to this hermeneuticssince the beginningof Christianity"[Howison]. if we compareit to the Stoic technologies of the self. they have to be suspectedsince they can be secretlyaltered. 43-49. 51. and then. 312-13 at 312. 48.The functionof this hermeneuticsis to discover the reality hidden inside the thought.the knowledge of the soul and the knowledge of the being. of differences"[Howison].