A Thermodynamic Interpretation of History
CHAPTER 2: Foucault's Bio-Power: His Genealogy of Racism and Psychoanalysis
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copyright © 2001, 2004, 2005, 2006 by Lawrence C. Chin. All rights reserved.

A. Prelude

At the dawn of the global capitalist age -- we are speaking of the transition to the third stage of history, the age of mass consumer society as the latest level of alternative, non-linear entropy increase -- western Europe experienced a reorganization of the labor power of its population. Before we begin it is interesting to note that at the very juncture at which the "long march of global capitalism" (the long march of modernity) began, 1500 AD, Lévi-Strauss saw the transition of European kinship/marriage system from the "archaic", elementary structure to the "modern", complex structure, that is, "... l'évolution qui a progressivement conduit les systèmes européens, d'un stade archaïque vraisemblable... [i.e. formule simple d'échange généralisé], à l'indétermination moderne qui atteint un résultat du même ordre, à l'aide d'un petit nombre de prescriptions négatives" ("the evolution which has progressively led the European systems from an apparently archaic stage to the modern indetermination which attains an result of the same order, using only a small number of negative prescriptions." Les Structures élementaires de la parenté, p. 544). Is the synchronicity between the shift in marriage/kinship system and the shift to a new labor/ consumption pattern a mere coincidence?

B. The Repressive Hypothesis

The experts of modernity this thermodynamic interpretation of history shall rely on for its main theoretical trunk are Michel Foucault, Eric Voegelin, and Max Weber. Foucault will be the main focus in Part One. His understanding of modernity culminates, I think, in his concept of bio-power. Here firstly will be given a summary of this bio-power as expounded in his Histoire de la sexualité: 1. la volonté de savoir, so that the foundation of the forthcoming discussion on modernity will have been laid.

Foucault starts off this little volume with a critical assessment of the "repressive hypothesis" which is the prevalent conception the modern Western culture holds regarding its attitude toward sex in the preceding centuries. The repressive hypothesis maintains that the discourse and conducts of sex since the seventeenth century have been progressively repressed, this repression culminating in the Victorian Era, where people pretended as if sex did not exist and confined sex either to the bedroom of the nuclear family or to the professionalized domains of profit such as prostitution and psychiatry from which it could not leave and enter into society proper;1 and that this repression worked to repress behaviors unconducive to capitalist production and hence formed part of the oppressive regime of capitalism. "Sex was repressed because it was incompatible with the work ethic demanded by the capitalist order." (Dreyfus & Rabinow, ibid., p. 128) The hypothesis furthermore contains the sentiment of liberation ideology prevalent in modern time that the operation of power consists in oppression through a system of "laws", what is oppressed is the "truth" of which power is terribly afraid, and what we want is to fight against power through the revelation of this truth which would then lead us to liberation-happiness. We need therefore to keep talking about sex, to reveal what power does not want us to know about our own sexuality, this innermost secret of ours. Talking about sex then becomes resistance against capitalist oppression: very attractive position for the young liberals. "Mais plus que cette incidence économique, me parait essentielle l'existence à notre époque d'un discours où le sexe, la révélation de la vérité, le renversement de la loi du monde, l'annonce d'un autre jour et la promesse d'un certaine félicité sont liés ensemble." (p. 15; "But more than this economic factor, the existence in our epoch seems to me to be more essential of a discourse where sex, the revelation of truth, the overthrow of the law of the world, the announcement of a future day and the promise of a certain bliss are linked together.") This meshing together of "the tone of prophecy and promised pleasure" (Dreyfus, p. 130) indicates the origin of liberation ideologies of diverse types in an intraworldly messianism derived from the immanentization of Christian eschatology of which much will be said later. This is where Foucault asks why we are today so eager in seeing and saying ourselves to be oppressed (p. 16). He asks about the social function of such world-view (intraworldly messianism). He dismisses the objection that we have such world-view because we really have been oppressed -- although such world-view is not entirely wrong, it is askewed. Against this repressive hypothesis and liberation-revolution ideology Foucault then poses the questions (p. 18): first the historical one of whether sex had really been oppressed by, e.g. the Victorians. The fact is that Victorians did not actually keep silent about sex as if it were non-existent, but that they were in fact obsessed with sex (especially deviant sex) and had talked about sex more than people did in any other epoch; that this proliferation of "sex-talks" occurred mostly in discursive channels deemed "scientific" and that the prudish reticence about sex among the Victorian gentlemen and ladies signified merely a shift of "sex-talks" from the lay-domain of gossips and jokes to the serious domain of "scientific discourse". Second the historico-theoretical one of whether the mechanics of power, and in particular that which is operative in a society such as ours, is really of the type of "repression" (p. 18). It turns out that it is not, or rather no longer, as discussed below. The notion of power as repressive or oppressive, characteristic of the Medieval monarchies (and of other pre-industrialized civilizations), is out of date for the industrialized cultures. Thirdly the historico-political one of whether the liberation-ideology (intraworldly messianism) concerning sex is itself part of the mechanics of power -- whether the designation of society as oppressive (of "truth" here) and the resistance against oppression (through the revelation of "truth") themselves are rather just the means of power to overcome the obstacles to its progression (inertia). The answer is of course yes. Power has been misconstrued as re- or o-ppressive; in modern time it is actually "conducive" and is centered around bio-politics: "bio-power". Bio-power has a particular interest in knowledge about sex -- and even greater interest in objectifying deviant sexual behaviors into "illness" to be fixed, i.e. the fixing of breakdowns in the otherwise healthy, i.e. functioning mechanised processes: which entails a whole new way of looking at human beings as metabolic machines (biological life-processes) needing to consume resources and capable of producing forces after consumption. Concerns with deviance are ways to understand and reinforce normality. Bio-power thus wants us to talk about our sexuality (the more deviant the more interesting), and produces the ideology of "our being oppressed" and "our liberation through sex-talks" in order to fool us into divulging our "secrets" for its use. That is, the interest of capitalism in sex is not in its prohibition and silence in order to prevent mis-direction of energies from production, but in its regulation, efficiency, and maximization adjusted to the rate of production in order to ensure reproduction of forces appropriate to the current level of the organization of production. This movement began with the Victorian psychiatry (of which Freud is only the tip of the iceberg) and still continues today. The "sexual liberation" is really just "an economy of body and pleasures", or: "les ruses de la sexualité, et du pouvoir qui en soutient le dispositif, sont parvenues à nous soumettre à cette austère monarchie du sexe, au point de nous vouer à la tâche indéfinie de forcer son secret et d'extorquer à cette ombre les aveux les plus vrais. Ironie de ce dispositif: il nous fait croire qu'il y va de notre 'libération'." (p. 211; "the ruses of sexuality, and of power which supports its dispositives, have succeeded in subjecting us to this austere monarchy of sex, to the point of devoting us to the indefinite task of forcing its secret and extorting from this shadow the truest confession. The irony of this dispositive: it makes us believe that here lies our 'liberation'.") Foucault maintains that the obsession with "hidden truth" or "truth repressed by power" is related to the secularization of pastoral power. This later.

Consideration of the faults of the repressive hypothesis and the modus operandi of bio-power is extremely important to an understanding of feminism and women's movement in the modern world, since the feminists (and the liberal population in general) essentially commit the same fault of operating on an "oppressive hypothesis" concerning women's condition in society (c.f. the most explicit in this respect, Radical Feminism). The process of extracting productive forces in addition to reproductive effects from women has been distorted into a "liberation".

C. Overview of Foucault's Concept of Bio-Power: its Nature, Structure, and Chronology

The coming of bio-power represents a shift in European "power-type", at the threshold of the classic age, from the aristocratic ("oppressive") type correlative with "civilization" in the classical sense (i.e. our second stage of history, the age of aristocracy) to "bio-power" correlative with the modern nation-state with its concomitant industrialization. Bio-power is an essential aspect, or an essential structural component, of modern nation-state, and hence of modern life.

What is bio-power? It is best contrasted with the preceding "aristocratic" type of power.

The aristocratic type: Foucault characterizes this type of power as "le droit de faire mourir ou laisser vivre"; "instance de prélèvement... sur les choses, le temps, les corps et finalement la vie." ("The right or power to make die or let live"; "the power to 'tax' on subjects' things, time, bodies and finally life", p.178.) This type of (negative) power is representative of the "regulation system" for the metabolic pathways (energy-dissipation pathways) belonging to the "agricultural civilizations" (those kingdoms and empires). In Foucault's analysis, where his principal concern is the chronology of French history, this type of power corresponds to the "classic" age, i.e. the pre-Revolution period.

Example: The King drafts his subjects to go to war, and taxes his peasants' grain for the consumption of aristocracy; if the subjects and peasants dare rebel, the King will kill them. If they obey, he'll let them live.

The bio-power (modern) type: Although the seeds of this "modernity" go back to the early middle ages, a clear boundary after which the aristocratic type of power is no more and this new type takes hold is the French Revolution. Foucault's characterization of this type of power is: "un pouvoir destiné à produire des forces, à les faire croître et à les ordonner plutôt que voué à les barrer, à les faire plier ou à les détruire" (ibid., p. 179; "a power destined to produce forces, to make them increase and to manage them rather than devoted to bar them, to break them in half and to destroy them."); and the new role of power: "Son rôle... d'assurer, de soutenir, de renforcer, de multiplier la vie et de la mettre en ordre" ("its role... of assuring, supporting, reinforcing, multiplying life and putting life in order.") in contrast to the destruction and beating down of life around which the aristocratic power type centered.

Thus the transition to modernity is signified by a shift from the former condition in which people were negatively oppressed and prohibited in certain of their actions, to the modern condition in which people are positively shaped, molded, and conditioned to behave in prescribed ways.

Now the structure of bio-power. By bio-power Foucault refers to a coordinated series of institutions, apparently of independent origins (but created certainly under the same "cultural sensibility"), that may be grouped under the three components of bio-power: the discipline of the individuals (at the level of individual citizens), the regulation of the population (at the level of population), and dispositifs sexuels serving as the link between the first two. In a word, the three components of bio-power constitute "l'administration des corps et la gestion calculatrice de la vie."

At the population level, to multiply Life or life-processes of the whole population and consequently its forces demographic practices, eugenics and racism were instituted all over Germany and France in the nineteenth century; and a new type of self-perception emerged in correlation with these practices as their foundation: for the first time in human history people (Western Europeans) began to talk of themselves as "species", as "races", i.e. objectification, reduction of "people" to biological entities with chemical metabolism (consuming resources and requiring "living space") and producing quantifiable forces. "Survival" became the prime concern of a "race." Now the path was paved toward war against other "peoples" and genocide of a nation's own people, motivated no longer by the king's claim to his sovereignty, as in the aristocratic power type, but by concerns for the survival of the nation's people. The horrendous genocides perpetrated in the twentieth century by Nazism and communist governments are legacies of nineteenth century European bio-power. This will be discussed in full below.

At the level of individuals, there was the decline of the use of cruel and unusual punishments (unless for the sake of the "survival" of society), focus being shifted instead, in prisons, schools, hospitals, factories, etc., to the creation, through disciplinary techniques, of forceful but obeying subjects capable of contributing to the overall power of the state, society and race. One sees that the diminishing use of cruelty on a nation's subjects had nothing to do really with any humanitarian sentiments; but was a natural consequence of faire vivre -- the principle of bio-power. One may also note the emergent concern with suicide since the nineteenth century. Of this discipline of the body, the theme of Surveillir et punir, later.

Foucault speaks of the rise of bio-power:

First, during the 1600s, disciplinary techniques emerged in the military and then spread to civilian institutions such as schools, hospitals and factories: "dressage [du corps], la majoration de ses aptitudes, l'extorsion de ses forces, la croissance parallèle de son utilité et de sa docilité, son intégration à des systèmes de contrôle efficaces et économiques." (p. 183; "the training of bodies, the attempt to increase the body's abilities, the extortion of its forces, the parallel increase of its utility and docility, its integration to systems of effective and efficient control.")

Second, during the 1700s, the emergence of demographic concerns: "la prolifération, les naissances et la mortalité, le niveau de santé, la durée de vie, la longévité... contrôles régulateurs: une bio-politique de la population." (p.183; "the proliferation of the populus, birth and mortality rate, the level of health, the duration of life, longevity... regulative controls: a bio-politic of the population.")

For a modern society, the system of metabolic pathways has simply to be more regulated: during the classic age there occurred a noticeable growth of population and increase of production, especially with the advent of industrialization: now the old form of power, feudal or monarchical, can no longer manage these immense "resources" of the state; the new, disciplinary power answered to this need, not as in the old time by prélèvement, but by internal integration... (Surveillir et punir, p.254)

But until the end of 1700s, these two directions of the development of bio-power proceeded still separately. Then, at 1800s, sexual dispositives came to unify them (p.185).

Dreyfus and Rabinow see the birth of the concept of sexuality and the rise of sexual dispositives within the demographic practices: "The historical construction of sexuality, that is as a distinctive discourse connected to discourses and practices of power, coalesced at the beginning of the eighteenth century. A 'technical incitement to talk about sex' developed as an adjunct to the administrative concern for the welfare of the population [i.e. from the side of demography]. Empirical, scientific classifications of sexual activity were carried out in the context of a concern for life. At this early stage they were still very much in the shadow of the earlier religious discourse which linked the flesh, sin, and Christian morality. But gradually demographers and police administrators began to explore empirically such issues as prostitution, population statistics, and distribution of disease. 'Sex was not something one simply judged; it was a thing one administered... In the eighteenth century, sex became a police matter'... The growing concern with statistical studies of population can serve as an example. Throughout the 18th century demography and its associated fields were gradually formed into disciplines [c.f. the beginning of the statistical science, the 'Political Arithmetic' in Britain at the end of the seventeenth century]. Administrators... approached the population as something to be known, controlled, taken care of, made to flourish... birthrate, age of marriage, the legitimate or illegitimate births, the precocity and frequency of sexual relations, the ways of making them sterile or fertile... the impacts of contraceptive practices [the locus of the birth of 'scientia sexualis']. From general pieties about the importance of population, French administrators in the eighteenth century gradually began to institute procedures of intervention in the sexual life of the population. Starting from these politico-economic concerns, sex became an issue involving both the state and the individual. [Thus d]uring the eighteenth century the link of sexuality and power had turned on matters of population. At the beginning of the nineteenth century [however] a major shift occurred: a recasting of discourse about sexuality into medical terms. It was this change which triggered an explosion of discourse on sexuality throughout bourgeois society. The key turning point was the separation of a medicine of sex from the medicine of the body, a separation based on the isolation of 'a sexual instinct capable of presenting constitutive anomalies, acquired deviations, infirmities or pathological processes'... Through these 'scientific' breakthroughs sexuality was linked to a powerful form of knowledge and established a link between the individual, the group, meaning and control." (R & D, p. 170) This separation from medicine of the body however also doomed the science or medicine of "sexuality" to the status of pseudo-science so that, after it culminated in psychoanalysis, the "science of sexuality" did not survive into the second half of the twentieth century (the sexual dispositives themselves change shape: below); whereas the medicine of the body has since become a "successful" science: medicine proper and biology. But it is from this place of "medicine" that sexual dispositives joined up with disciplinary technologies.

Sexuality served as the juncture between the two components of bio-power, the discipline of the citizens and the demographic measures for the population in that here one of the two can achieve effects on the overall "species" through the other. For example, of the four dispositifs sexuels (p.136 - 39): la sexualisation de l'enfant (la pédagogisation du sexe de l'enfant) and l'hystérisation des femmes: these two are disciplinary techniques, which however produce the overall effect of the regulation and the augmentation of the "species" through disciplining the child (making him a better "composition" for his future productive and reproductive "duties") and the woman (who holds the key to the child's health, to the solidarity of the family which, as the milieu for child-rearing, is most important for the (re-)production of "useful" population, and thus to the future of the species). Then, la socialisation des conduites procréatrices (le contrôle des naissances) and la psychiatrisation du plaisir pervers are demographically regulatory measures, which again achieve the regulation of the population or species through the discipline of individuals, or rather their sexual behavior. The description of these four dispositives (deployments):

Hystérisation du corps de la femme: "triple processus par lequel le corps de la femme a été analysé -- qualifié et disqualifié -- comme corps intégralement saturé de sexualité; par lequel ce corps a été intégré, sous l'effet d'une pathologie qui lui serait intrinsèque, au champ des pratiques médicales; par lequel enfin il a été mis en communication organique avec le corps social (dont il doit assurer la fécondité réglée), l'espace familial (dont il doit être un élément substantiel et fonctionnel) et la vie des enfants (qu'il produit et qu'il doit garantir, par une responsabilité biologico-morale qui dure tout au long de l'éducation): la Mère, avec son image en négatif qui est la 'femme nerveuse', constitue la forme la plus visible de cette hystérisation." (HS 137)

Pédagogisation du sexe de l'enfant: "This discourse was built on the belief that all children are endowed with a sexuality which is both natural and dangerous. Consequently, both the individual and collective interest converged in efforts to take charge of this ambiguous potential. Infantile onanism [masturbation] was treated like an epidemic [i.e. fear-mongering]... Elaborate surveillance, techniques of control, innumerable traps, endless moralizing, demands for ceaseless vigilance, continual incitement to guilt, architectural reconstruction, family honor, medical advance were all mobilized in a campaign obviously doomed to failure from the start -- if its goal was, in fact, the elimination of masturbation. However, if that campaign is read as the production of power and not as restriction of sexuality, it succeeded admirably..." (D. & R., p. 171 - 2). Sexuality, especially aberrant sexuality, was a fictitious entity produced by bio-power in order to maintain the regulative effect on the use of human productive and reproductive energies for the good of society; hence all the fear-mongering about the epidemic of children's masturbation that continued for almost two centuries in the West aimed primarily at the maintenance of people's belief in such dangerous thing as "infantile sexuality" and their consequent surveillance and discipline of the children.

Socialisation des conduites procréatrices: "socialisation économique par le biais de toutes les incitations ou freins apportés, par des mesures 'sociales' ou fiscales, à la fécondité des couples; socialisation politique par la responsabilisation des couples à l'égard du corps social tout entier (qu'il faut limiter ou au contraire renforcer [i.e. the adjustment of birth-rate to social needs]); socialisation médicale, par la valeur pathogène, pour l'individu et l'espèce, prêtée aux pratiques d'un contrôle des naissances." (HS 138) Thus "the couple, in the eye of the state, now had a duty to the body politics; they must protect it from pathogenic influences that a careless sexuality might increase and limit (or reinvigorate) the population by a careful attention to the regulation of procreation. Maladies or lapses in the couple's sexual vigilance would easily lead, it was held, to the production of sexual perverts and genetic mutants. The failure to monitor one's sexuality carefully could lead to the dangerous decline of health for both the individual family and for the social body." (D & R, p. 172)

Psychiatrisation du plaisir pervers: "By the end of the nineteenth century sex had been isolated or, in Foucault's reading, constructed as an instinct. This instinctual drive, it was held, operated both on the biological and psychic level. It could be perverted, distorted, inverted, and warped; it could also function naturally in a healthy manner. In each case, the sexual instinct and the nature of the individual were intimately connected. Science -- sexual science -- constructed a vast schema of anomalies, of perversions, of species of deformed sexualities... mixoscopophiles, gynecomasts, presbyophiles, sexoesthetic inverts, and dyspareunist women... A whole new arena was opened for the detailed chronicling and regulation of individual life. For the psychiatrists, sexuality penetrated every aspect of the pervert's life; hence every aspect of his life must be known. Whereas 'the sodomite had been a temporary aberration; the homosexual was now a species'... What had been a set of prohibited acts now turned into symptoms of a signifying mix of biology and action. Once again, 'the machinery of power that focused on this whole alien strain did not aim to suppress it, but rather to give it an analytical, visible, and permanent reality'... All behavior could now be classified along a scale of normalization and pathologization of this mysterious sexual instinct. Once a diagnosis of perversion was scientifically established, corrective technologies -- for the good of the individual and of society -- could and must be applied... So, as in the other three strategies, the body, the new sexual sciences, and the demand for regulation and surveillance were connected. They were brought together in a cluster by the concept of a deep, omnipresent, and significant sexuality which pervaded everything it came into contact with -- which was almost everything." (D & R, p. 172 - 3)

Much of the feminist memory of the "patriarchal oppression of women" is actually derived from the control and discipline of women's body within the monogamous nucleus family by these sexual dispositives (which require also the exclusion of this body from the public sphere). What, for example, Mary Daly has designated as the modern Western form of the perennial "sado-rituals" of patriarchal oppression -- gynecology ("gynocide by the holy ghosts of medicine and therapy") -- grew largely out of the dispositives classed as the hysterization of women. "... the massacre of the wise women/healers [assumed 'witches'] during the witchcraze was followed by the rise of man-midwives who eventually became dignified by the name 'gynecologists'." (Gyn/Ecology, 1978, 1990, p. 224) This actually means the transition to bio-power/ bio-politics: positive control, regulation, maximization (in terms of efficacy, not in terms of "quantity" produced), through the objectification of its aberrations, of the female reproductive capacity.2

Out of these dispositives it came to pass that at this formative period of capitalism (one kind of mass economy) the Western people started seeing sex as constitutive of the very essence of a human subject, "the belief that the body and its desires, seen through a prism of interpretation, is the deepest form of truth about a particular individual and about human beings in general." (D & R, p. 175) The use of the term "subject" is not accidental, but indicates that here, among the sexual dispositives, the technologies for the maximization of life-processes (bio-power) operate by making persons "confess", i.e. by constituting them as "talking subjects" (this ended in psychoanalysis and medical examination), whereas among the disciplinary techniques (and demography as well) they operate through the reduction to and the shaping of muted, docile, but forceful "objects". (C.f. "confessional technologies", below.)

The subjectifying and objectifying technologies of bio-power

The rise of bio-power is intimately associated with the development of capitalism (or, more generally, mass economy: for the other form of mass economy, "communism", uses it too). "[le développement du capitalisme] n'a pu être assuré qu'au prix de l'insertion contrôlée des corps dans l'appareil de production et moyennant un ajustement des phénomènes de population aux processus économiques" (p. 185: "the development of capitalism could not have been assured except at the price of a controlled insertion of bodies into the mechanisms of production and through an adjustment of the phenomena of populations to the economic processes"). Efficient production requires, for example, bodies of greater force and yet with greater docility, and efficient consumption -- the basis of production -- calls for demographic regulations; we should above all keep in mind that in Western Europe at the end of the Medieval period (1500s) advances in agricultural techniques had permitted significant increase in population size; then it makes sense for these concerns: "l'ajustement de l'accumulation des hommes sur celle du capital, l'articulation de la croissance des groupes humains sur l'expansion des forces productives et la répartition differentielle..." (p. 186; "the adjustment of the accumulation of men to that of capitals, and the articulation of the increase of people onto the expansion of productive forces and the differential redistribution..."). This is the essence of modern bio-power, bio-politique: "ce qui fait entrer la vie et ses mécanismes dans le domaine des cauculs explicites et fait du pouvoir-savoir un agent de transformation de la vie humaine" (p. 188; "that which makes life and its mechanisms enter into the domain of explicit calculation and makes of power-knowledge an agent for the transformation of human life"). The overall context for the rise of bio-power is the convergence of population-increase, the beginning of mass economy and industrialization, and (what is considered the remote origin of bio-power) intensified interstate competition. The following discussion of its "immediate" origin (middle-class) turns on the first two.

D. The Immediate Origin of Bio-Power: Foucault's Genealogy of Racism and Psychoanalysis

The historicity of this correlation between capitalism and bio-power is hence the "contact between history and biology", in Foucault's own words (p. 186). The greater agricultural productivity set in motion in Western Europe during the beginning of the "classic age" had finally freed the Western Europeans from the constancy of death-threat posed by famine and epidemics3; these no longer loomed constantly above. Within this new space of prosperity and population growth Western men became conscious of the possibility of explicitly taking life (or rather its biological processes: production, consumption, and reproduction) into account, of explicitly calculating out policies and reorganizing institutions in order to enhance these processes. This is the "immediate" origin of bio-power. The "remote" origin of bio-power has to do with the European Interaction Sphere: The political context of Western Europe at the time reinforced this tendency toward explicit control and enhancement of life-processes. All European states were engaged in fierce competitions, internally with the Church and externally with one another, which pressured them to exact ever more power from their populations and natural geography (now scientifically objectified, calculated, quantified, and exploited to the maximum). The intensity of the competition within the European Interaction Sphere from 1500 onwards resulted in the internal consolidation of each state therein into a nation-state (with a higher level of metabolism) with bio-power, mass government and capitalism (industrial mass economy) as the form of metabolism peculiar to it that fuelled it with the larger amount of energy that it needed. This will be elaborated upon in the next chapter.

Ultimately, however, it is the second law of thermodynamics that grounds society as a dissipative structure in terms of its social metabolism called "economy". Naturally, economy is expected to augment its dissipative rate by accessing the next higher level of dissipative economy; thus the transition from luxury consumption of an elite minority to that of the masses occurred in European modernity. This is the relationship between bio-power and the second law, insofar as bio-power grounds the social aspect of the mass market economy, the metabolic mode of the nation-state, while mass government/politics the other, its political aspect. Both mechanisms, bio-power and mass government, helped also the integration of the supraorganism which is simply another facet of a higher metabolism. Hence the very remote origin of bio-power is the second law of thermodynamics.

Here, in this chapter, we are primarily concerned with the immediate origin of bio-power: the rise of the middle-class.

In so far as it is in the bourgeoisie that the "market" way first crystallized, it is to be expected that the locus of the (immediate) origin of bio-power would be the bourgeoisie. Foucault described this in Histoire de la sexualité vol. 1 from p. 161 to 173. As the locus for the development of capitalism, the bourgeoisie crystallized and gradually predominated in the European society at the end of the Medieval time at the expense of the nobility. It affirmed its identity against the decaying nobility by taking over the latter's emblem, blood and genealogy, and transforming them into bio-medical concepts of sexuality and heredity. It promoted its domination by attempting to expand its forces, its health, its vigor, and ultimately its life-processes. The beginning of sexual dispositives and bio-power: in short, the bourgeoisie realized that its domination and self-preservation depended on its ability to maximize its life-processes, and sexuality occupied the central role in this attempt. At the end of the 1700s, it created pedagogy to regulate infantile sexuality (the pedagogization of children's sex), medicine to control female sexuality (the hysterization of women), and demography to adjust birth rate to the overall production and consumption rate of society. Permeating the bourgeois concern was the fear of class degeneration through un-regulated sexual activities, and the maintenance of class domination through maintenance of class members' health and productivity. Their "femme oisive" must fulfill her conjugal and parental (i.e. reproductive) duty by keeping her sexuality in concert with the overall rational plan to maximize the class' health and productivity (this bourgeois concern with the maximization of efficient and efficacious motherhood for the purpose of the expansion of social metabolism and the power of the class/society/nation is what in feminists' memory is called "the oppression of women", as indicated); children must not go astray in their sexual development for fear of jeopardizing the future of the class. These led to the rise of the medicine of sex in the second half of the nineteenth century, around two axes: the medicine of sexual perversions which grew out of the concern with female and infantile "abnormal" sexuality endangering the future of the class; and the eugenic programs which grew out of the analysis of heredity which "plaçait le sexe (les relations sexuelles, les maladies vénériennes, les alliances matrimoniales, les perversions) en position de 'responsabilité biologique' par rapport à l'espèce: non seulement le sexe pouvait être affecté de ses propres maladies, mais il pouvait, si on ne le contrôlait pas, soit transmettre des maladies, soit en créer pour les générations futures..." (The socialization of procreative conducts, and concomitantly the psychiatrization of sexual perversions.) "D'où le projet médical mais aussi politique d'organiser une gestion étatique des mariages, des naissances et des survies; le sexe et sa fécondité doit être administré" (p. 156; "... which placed sex [sexual relations, venereal diseases, matrimonial alliances, perversions] in the position of 'biological responsibility' in relation to the species: not only can sex be affected by its own diseases, but if not controlled, it can either transmit diseases, or create them for future generations... hence the medical and also the political project of organizing a state administration of marriages, births, and survival; sex and fertility must be administrated"). Hereditary diseases (phtism, hemiplegism) led to sexual perversions; sexual perversions led to hereditary problems (rachitism, sterility), resulting in class/racial/species degeneration. From this ensemble perversion-hérédité-dégénérescence was born that peculiar evil of European modernity, racism. (We are here focusing on the population side, the demographic concern and its relation with the sexual dispositives; for the side of the discipline of the body, see next section.)

The "immediate" origin of racism is the movement of eugenics associated with the attempt of the bourgeoisie to maximize its productive power in order to maintain capitalistic hegemony. Its remote origin, of course, lies further in the formation of the nation-state, which, in its competition with other nation-states, objectified its population as national resources and calculatively increased its metabolism through bio-political measures in order to extract maximum energy from them. In fact, nationalized racism became possible, as in Germany in the early twentieth century, after the bourgeoisie took over the government of nation-state and became identical with it. In France, this take-over occurred at the decisive moment of French Revolution. (In England, the take-over completed itself in the parliamentary reform of 1832, when Great Britain finally was ruled -- in terms of parliamentary representations -- jointly by the middle-class and aristocracy.) From then on, the class racism of the bourgeoisie (its eugenics, demographic sciences, and medicine/psychiatry of sex, in correlation with the maintenance and maximization of its productivity and health, and the fear of degeneration) could be exalted into state-run racism, into the totalitarian racial state, and converted into genocide, in which a nation turned a portion of its own population into targets of destruction, as in the case of Nazi Germany. Though such process was carried to its logical conclusion only in Germany, the buddings were present in other Protestant nation-states as well, namely Britain and the United States. Indeed it is only when in the first instance the bourgeoisie objectified itself, and then the nation-state its population, into a sort of "human" resource on a par with the "natural" resources of the nation's geography, whose forces, productivity and hence contribution to the nation's power could be quantified, manipulated and exploited to maximize the nation's economic and military power, that the very concept of "race" emerged. The consideration of "people" as quantifiable and exploitable resources (as in eugenics, demographic sciences and psychiatry) generated for the first time in human history the biological concept of race and species, and the concerns associated with race and species became those over their "survival". Wars were waged, public policies formulated, and even the left-wing, liberal, self-proclaimed "resistance" against power (their search for "justice" for the oppressed) were organized, all in the name of "survival", "living condition/standard", or any other biological concerns. How much a parting from the old, aristocratic times when wars were waged, policies formulated, and reforms or revolutions proclaimed in the abstract name of the "glory" of the king, of God, of God's kingdom, in the name of salvation, etc. Thus on the side of the discipline of the body, correlative with the rise of racism from the demographic side and mediated with this under the whole rubric of eugenics, was witnessed the science of the objectification of the human body with quantifiable forces and intelligence (body-metrics, craniometrics, the hereditary constitution of criminals, the discourse on I.Q. [more of this in the next section]; the structure of the whole outgrowth of racism-eugenics-anthropometrics from bio-power is shown in the diagram below). And thus the competitive Other was, in the same vein, "studied" empirically as a different, inferior species or race: "specimens" of them were taken, their cranial size measured and compared (insofar as racial superiority was considered to lie in the superiority of the intellect), body proportions quantified and compared, and every visible "physical" characteristics (from skin pigment to the quality and the amount of body hair) documented and quantified. "Anthropology" was initiated as a "scientific" discipline to document these studies of the (inferior) Other in competition with or exploited by the European Self. Racial genesis became a topic of scientific discussion, resulting in the three-fold great division of the human "race" or "species": Negroid, Mongoloid, and Caucasoid (and sometimes the additional Australoid); which are however, as we know today, something of a false categorization in so far as each "race" was supposed to match up with a singular origin of racial genesis exclusive of the other two. But none was mono-genetic, as testified by evidences of historical linguistics. Languages were classified to reflect racial genesis, language typology mapped out, and its correlation with cultural forms speculated upon (how inferior or less evolved peoples speaking inferior or less evolved languages produced inferior or less evolved cultural forms.) This situation is very different from the prejudices and ethnic conflicts elsewhere generated by mutual tribal hatred and competition and cultural mis-understanding and non-appreciation, which never prompted the natives to measure the brain-volume of the prejudiced-against, to take specimens of the inferior, to discourse of their inferiority in quantifiable, metabolic- and productivity-based, genetic/hereditary and brain-measurement terms (which are what judgments of civilizedness usually come down to). This is why it must be said that racism as the peoples in the Western world know it, has really no parallel elsewhere outside European modernity since the 1500s; racism is a peculiar function of European modernity non-existent among non-Europeans; in a sense the peoples of the non-European world, whether civilized or tribal, were, before their Europeanization, before they learned racism from Europeans, not even capable of racism, since they did not live in a structural, scientific and quantified world-view which would enable them to objectify the Other that they despised into a biological race; instead, they possessed no more than a "functional" world-view in which the Other always only appeared as conscious people (i.e. with a personality) permeated through and through by a definite ethnicity (i.e. customs, rituals, and language in the communication sense), never as a biological "machine" of certain "racial disposition", a definite body proportion and cranial capacity.

That racism is an European invention of modern time in accord with the structure of modernity and is non-existent among other peoples is usually overlooked by everybody, certainly by public talk, and sometimes even by distinguished scholars. This is the result of the non-appreciation of its scientific, and so bio-power basis, and of understanding it only on the surface level of unfamiliarity and mis-appreciation of a foreign culture, which is a natural human condition. Worse, sometimes it is simply understood as a person's psychological response to his or her maladaptation to the existing social and economic condition, as a consequence of his or her search for a scapegoat on whom to blame for the maladaptation experienced and to vent feelings of frustration; while the deepest root of modern racism stretches down into the structure of history, into the formation of nation-state, of democracy and bio-power as its regulative mechanisms, into the rise of capitalism as the new metabolic mode of human association, correlative to nation-state, and into the supplantation of the aristocracy by the bourgeoisie as the new ruler of the new state, the nation-state. Thus the root of racism stretches ultimately back into the second law of thermodynamics whose pressures prompted the growth of the bourgeois, mass market economy with its greater dissipative capacity out of the older, aristocratic economy with relatively less energy dissipation. (We shall see later, of course, that the disintegration of racism is eventually also a product of the metabolic growth of society, just as the "liberation of women" is.)

In the case of Nazi Germany, which remains the only nation in history where the process from "bourgeois revolution" to nationalized racism completed its cycle, the totalitarian racial state of Hitler's invention is of course the result of multiple causes organized in stratified layers, and not created single-handedly by the atmosphere of bio-power presiding in the bourgeoisie that ruled the nation. The tradition of bourgeois eugenic bio-politics may be considered as the bottommost layer, supplying the necessary, moulding context for the racial utopian dream of the Nazi officials and the bio-political eugenic measures (i.e. racial purification and the extermination of Jewish "contagions" and of any other burdens to the overall survival of the race) that they implemented to reach their utopian dream. This may be said to be the necessary, though not sufficient, condition of the genocidal racism of the Nazi's. This bourgeois dream of racial utopian however, it must be said, was closely intertwined with another important aspect of European modernity, as Eric Voegelin has observed: the degradation or secularization of Christianity, which permitted messianic spirits of the West to re-formulate God's Kingdom in Heaven, which man will only reach at Death, at the End of History, into the Perfect State or Socialist Paradise on Earth, which man can himself create, through revolution, within History, in fact as the structure of History necessarily demands. This is the phenomenon of Western exhaustion with Christianity -- European men were so tired of waiting for one and a half millennium for the coming of God's Kingdom never-to-come and the return of Christ never-to-return that they dissolved their anticipation and decided that Paradise could be achieved through men's own effort instead of being eternally waited for. As the messianic spirit dissolved in this process into "revolutionaries" everywhere in Europe, the Dream of Paradise inherent in Western culture infused into bio-politics to generate the Nazi dream of Perfect Socialist Racial Utopia. On top of this layer we may discern the causal factor of next-importance which popular mind understands: the unfamiliarity and un-usedness, prevalent among the German population, to the newly-arrived Jewish immigrants from Eastern Europe. Then next, on the surface, we find Hitler's own personality: his childhood experience which induced in him the messianic spirit that governed his life, his frustration with the cosmopolitan world in early adulthood (Vienna and Munich), his immersion in anti-Semitic, bio-eugenic mythic literature at the same time, etc. And on the same level, we must also locate the very structure of democracy that enabled a minority of criminally minded social outcasts to normalize their criminal tendencies by imposing them on the whole community as national "policies".

We have seen that racism is the result of eugenic, bio-politics of the bourgeoisie aiming for the maximization of their life processes, their health, longevity, life-quality or living standard, productivity and reproduction adjusted to productivity and consumption rate. Ultimately, for their power and survival. It is only ironic that this bio-politics aiming at the maximization of life actually led to the destruction of life on a hitherto unseen and unimagined scale. Insofar as life and survival were conceived in terms of the survival of the "fittest" -- this is only natural since the state of European Interaction Sphere at the time, gradually growing into a Global Interaction Sphere, was still one of military competition only coupled with economic trade -- the survival of one "race" meant the destruction of the other in competition with it. Insofar as the survival of the race could be maximized by ridding it of "burdens to the races" and of all sorts of "contagions", this survival also implied the extermination of these other lives that were burdens and diseases. As the purpose of war shifted from abstract ideal of kingly and supranatural glory to concrete, earthly survival of a Volk, the scale of war incidentally enlarged and became ever more destructive. From Life, one reaches Death. Death has always been the precondition, the reverse side of Life. And Power has always been organized around Life and Death. That is, Power on Life, around Life and Death. But Foucault is tempted to see a transition in the manifestation of power from Death to Life, occurring at the transition from aristocratic rule to bourgeois rule in European society. In the aristocratic rule, the Sovereign King manifests his Power, and hence Power on Life, through his power to impose Death. Should the King be offended, should he need to defend his Life, he shows his power by imposing Death on the offender. Otherwise he takes no action. But bio-power of modernity takes action always on people's lives, regulating them, maximizing them. Foucault's observation of the transition and of the greater amount of Death demanded by modern emphasis on Life is worth citing in full length. The power of the King is:

... le droit de faire mourir ou de laisser vivre... Et peut-être faut-il rapporter cette forme juridique à un type historique de société où le pouvoir s'exerçait essentiellement comme instance de prélèvement, mécanisme de soustraction, droit de s'approprier une part de richesses, extorsion de produits, de biens, de services, de travail et de sang, imposée aux sujets. Le pouvoir y était avant tout droit de prise: sur les choses, le temps, les corps et finalement la vie; il culminait dans le privilège de s'en emparer pour la supprimer.

Or l'occident a connu depuis l'âge classique une très profonde transformation de ces mécanismes du pouvoir. Le "prélèvement" tend à n'en plus être la forme majeure, mais une pièce seulement parmi d'autres qui ont des fonctions d'incitation, de renforcement, de contrôle, de surveillance, de majoration et d'organisation des forces qu'il soumet: un pouvoir destiné à produire des forces, à les faire croître et à les ordonner plutôt que voué à les barrer, à les faire plier ou à les détruire. Le droit de mort tendra dès lors à se déplacer ou du moins à prendre appui sur les exigences d'un pouvoir qui gère la vie et à s'ordonner à ce qu'elle réclament. Cette mort, qui se fondait sur le droit du souverain de se défendre ou de demander qu'on le défende, va apparaître comme le simple envers du droit pour le corps social d'assurer sa vie, de la maintenir ou de la développer. Jamais les guerres n'ont été plus sanglantes pourtant que depuis le XIXe siècle et, même toutes proportions gardées, jamais les régimes n'avaient jusque-là pratiqué sur leurs propres populations de pareils holocaustes. Mais ce formidable pouvoir de mort - et c'est peut-être ce qui lui donne une part de sa force et du cynisme avec lequel il a repoussé si loin ses propres limites - se donne maintenant comme le complémentaire d'un pouvoir qui s'exerce positivement sur la vie, qui entreprend de la gérer, de la majorer, de la multiplier, d'exercer sur elle des contrôles précis et des régulations d'ensemble. Les guerres ne se font plus au nom du souverain qu'il faut défendre; elles se font au nom de l'existence de tous; on dresse des populations entières à s'entre-tuer réciproquement au nom de la nécessité pour elles de vivre. Les massacres sont devenus vitaux. C'est comme gestionnaire de la vie et de la survie, des corps et de la race que tant de régimes ont pu mener tant de guerres, en faisant tuer tant d'hommes. Et par un retournement qui permet de boucler le cercle, plus la technologie des guerres les a fait virer à la destruction exhaustive, plus en effet la décision qui les ouvre et celle qui vient les clore s'ordonnent à la question nue de la survie. La situation atomique est aujourd'hui au point d'aboutissement de ce processus: le pouvoir d'exposer une population à une mort générale est l'envers du pouvoir de garantir à une autre son maintien dans l'existence. Le principe: pouvoir tuer pour pouvoir vivre, qui soutenait la tactique des combats, est devenu principe de stratégie entre États; mais l'existence en question n'est plus celle, juridique, de la souveraineté, c'est celle, biologique, d'une population. Si le génocide est bien le rêve des pouvoirs modernes, ce n'est pas par un retour aujourd'hui du vieux droit de tuer; c'est parce que le pouvoir se situe et s'exerce au niveau de la vie, de l'espèce, de la race et des phénomènes massifs de population. (La Volonté de savoir, p. 178 - 80)

It seems today that the threat of exhaustively destructive war is retreating, and that on the global scene war is rapidly being replaced by international commerce which makes nations ever more interdependent and discourages old-fashioned warfare among them. Indeed, the Global Interaction Sphere which European imperialism first initiated is changing shape, i.e. becoming more integrated after the World War period. Pouvoir tuer pour pouvoir vivre ("the power to kill in order to live"), this principal strategy between states which led to World Wars, was valid in the period of Global Interaction Sphere during which the constituent nation-states therein were less integrated into a whole, less interdependent in their respective metabolism, in their economies. Today the greater internal integration of the Global Interaction Sphere, the greater metabolic/economic interdependency among its constituent nation-states, allows inter-national commerce to overshadow inter-national military conflicts as the chief interactional medium. Is bio-power then, or the ever more intensified emphasis on life processes ("living standard") in the modern world, no longer bringing its reverse, Death, onto the scene as its logical consequence? Quite untrue. The incessant attempt to "raise the living standard" around the world, which is the attempt to implant global consumer society, is rapidly ushering in global environmental disaster, which will culminate, finally, in the extinction of the human species, and of millions more other species. Once again, the struggle to maximize life is about to bring in the opposite, Total Death, ironically. Even the total death of all multicelled organisms which use oxygen to release the energy from consumed food (aerobic organisms). (This is essentially the reversal of the oxygen crisis two billion years ago: today, the CO2 crisis: putting CO2 back into the atmosphere.) In the end, it seems, after the Cold War, it will not be the older version of bio-maximization, Kampf um Dasein, which would kill off All, but the new version of bio-maximization: "riches and prosperity."

On the other side than racism and lying within the center of it, or maybe even, as Foucault suggests, in reaction against it, the sexual dispositives evolved into psychoanalysis. But before diving into the origin of psychoanalysis we need to take note of "confessional technology" as the "type" running through the dispositives, as indicated. "Confessional technology" is a specific manifestation of the larger, what is called the "pastoral power". Foucault defines this in "The Subject and Power" (D & R, ibid., p. 208 - 226). First, the origin of this is the structure of modern nation-state (thus the origin intermediate between the "immediate origin" of bio-power, i.e. the rise of the bourgeois, and its remote origin, i.e. the European Interaction Sphere): "I don't think that we should consider the 'modern state' as an entity which was developed above individuals, ignoring what they are and even their very existence, but on the contrary as a very sophisticated structure, in which individuals can be integrated, under one condition: that this individuality would be shaped in a new form, and submitted to a set of very specific patterns." (p. 214) This relates to the very theme of this thermodynamic interpretation of history: society or state seen as like an organism, an open dissipative structure formed on the level above multicellularity; and the internal building of this structure requiring greater and greater integration of its components (i.e. us), which means the elimination of our original individuality and our reshaping into new forms corresponding to the functions of the greater, thus totalitarian, organism, just as the individual cells composing our body, both ontogenically and phylogenically, have had to erase their original individuality and reshape themselves into the specialized forms which the functionings of the whole organism "delegate", dictate, to them: the process of normalization; and the technologies for this normalization which are part of the topic of this chapter. Power thus has two aims: the increase of productivity and normalization. In this respect thus Foucault continues: "In a way, we can see the state as a modern matrix of individualization [reshaping, normalization], or a new form of pastoral power." Then characteristics: "(1) We may observe a change in its objective. It was no longer a question of leading people to their salvation in the next world, but rather ensuring it in this world. And in this context, the world salvation takes on different meanings: health, well-being (that is, sufficient wealth, standard of living), security, protection against accidents. A series of 'worldly' aims took the place of the religious aims of the traditional pastorate, all the more easily because the latter, for various reasons, had followed in an accessory way a certain number of these aims; we only have to think of the role of medicine and its welfare function assured for a long time by the Catholic and Protestant churches." (p. 215) (2) The "new officials" of pastoral power are the police ("We should not forget that in the 18th century the police force was not invented only for maintaining law and order, nor for assisting governments in their struggle against their enemies, but for assuring urban supplies, hygiene, health and standards considered necessary for handicrafts and commerce." Ibid.), welfare societies, families mobilized in a new way (e.g. as in the sexual dispositives), medicine, hospitals, schools, and the like. (3) "Finally, the multiplication of the aims and agents of pastoral power focused the development of knowledge of man [and of course women] around two poles: one, globalizing and quantitative, concerning the population; the other, analytical, concerning the individual." (Ibid.) Conclusion: "And this implies that power of a pastoral type, which over centuries -- for more than a millennium -- had been linked to a defined religious institution, suddenly spread out into the whole social body; it found support in a multitude of institutions. And, instead of pastoral power and a political power, more or less linked to each other, more or less rival, there was an individualizing 'tactic' which characterized a series of power: those of family, medicine, psychiatry, education, and employers." (Ibid.) It thus seems that Foucault is continuing Max Weber as when the latter, in The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism, tried to demonstrate that the Protestant work ethic and rationalism so important for the development of capitalism came about by the Protestant sects' carrying the disciplinary procedures ensuring salvation in the next world out of the monasteries and spreading it out into the worldly society as a whole to build this awesome dissipative organism called modern mass-economy. This phenomenon, the derivation of Western modernity from the secularization (immanentization) of Christianity, will become the focus of study in Division Two, but not here yet.

Whereas in the old time of Catholicism the pastors required everyone to confess weekly in a "secret booth" about sins in order to ensure for the person his or her eternal salvation, within the sexual dispositives a "'technical incitement to talk about sex' [that innermost secret 'truth' of humanness] developed as an adjunct to the administrative concern for the welfare of the population": and this is how a particular aspect of the pastoral power, incitement to confession, was taken out of the Church and spread into the world, into the institutions of normalization to ensure the "intraworldly salvation" of the population (health, "normality", productivity). The "technologies of confession" did not confine themselves only within the pseudo-sciences of sexual dispositives, but became as well the basic procedure within the successful ("true") science of medicine, in the form of medical examination, which of course required also the patient's confession. (D & R., p. 173) The "secularization of salvation" thus entailed a shift, in the secrets demanded to be confessed, from "sins" blocking one's entry into the eternal paradise, to sexual fantasies, fears, and traumas and bodily dysfunctions blocking one's entry into the economic society as a "productive, healthy" member. The "interplay of confession, truth, and power". (Ibid., p. 174) "Foucault uses the example of the order given to Christians at the beginning of the 13th century that they must confess all of their sins at least once a year; things have changed considerably since then. He also shows that... As early as the 16th century, the confessional techniques unmoored themselves from a purely religious context and began to spread to other domains, first pedagogy, then to prisons and other institutions of confinement, and later, in the 19th century, to medicine... From its Christian origins, confession became a general technology. Through it, the most particular individual pleasures, the very strings of the soul could be solicited, known, measured, and regulated... The major move toward placing confession, and especially sexual confession, in a power nexus occurred in the 19th century, when the individual was persuaded to confess to other authorities, particularly to physicians, psychiatrists, and social scientists." (p. 175 - 6) (It should be noted that Foucault noticed a shift -- of the two things an organism does, eating and reproducing -- from the preoccupation with food and diet during antiquity [e.g. the Greeks were more interested in food than sex] to that with sex during modernity. "Food was still much more important during the early Christian days than sex. For instance, in the rules for monks, the problem was food, food, food. Then you can see a very slow shift during the Middle Ages when they were in a kind of equilibrium... and after the 17th century it was sex." Interview with Foucault, Berkeley, 1983; D & R, p. 229. The import of this important insight will be seen in the American context: next.) This secularization of confession seems to have proceeded in two stages: "In the first, the subject was capable, through confession, of putting his desires into an appropriate discourse. The listener provoked, judged, or consoled the subject, but the essential intelligibility of the discourse was still accessible, at least in principle, to the subject himself... not only confession of madness, but also the patient's own recognition of madness were the essential dimension of the cure. In the second stage, roughly contemporary with Freud, the subject was no longer considered capable of making his own desires fully intelligible to himself, although he still had to confess them in speech... The subject now needed an interpretative Other to listen to his discourse and also to bring it to fruition, to master it. Yet despite this fundamental detour, the subject still had to acknowledge, and thus establish for himself, the truth of this expert interpretation. Individuality, discourse, truth, and coercion were thereby given a common localization." (D & R., p. 180) The dispositives considered so far were of the first stage, and the birth of psychoanalysis, which in a sense unified all four dispositives into the one, talking cure, was of the second.

Psychoanalysis however originated within the particular dispositive of the hysterization of women. Charcot at Paris was already trying to generalize hysteria by divorcing the symptoms of hysteria from women's reproductive organs and attribute their cause to mental ideas, as he "proved" that hypnotic suggestion (infusing ideas into the patient) could produce identical symptoms. Men therefore could also be hysteric. (J. N. Ibister, Freud, 1985; p. 48) Freud picked up this idea, but then moved away from Charcot's view of hypnosis ("that hypnotism was a physiological phenomenon identical at core to certain of the phenomena in hysteria") and toward Bernheim's (that hypnotism and hysteria were similar because of a common psychological explanation -- "that human beings were suggestible"). (Ibid., p. 52) Finally Freud adopted Josef Breuer's "cathartic method" (the talking cure, "chimney sweeping"). (p. 56) Freud used this with Frau Emmy von N (Fanny Moser) who had symptoms of ticking, clicking and stammering in speech, etc., and established that "hysterics suffer mainly from reminiscences". "The mind is a system which seeks to release nervous energy in order to maintain the energy of the psychical apparatus at its lowest possible level". (Rather like thermodynamic heat flow: entropy-increase seeking equilibrium.) "The process whereby the mind seeks to reduce nervous tension or minimize unpleasure [from unpleasant past memories] was... 'the pleasure principle'" and defence mechanism: the conversion of the memories to less obvious ways, i.e. symptoms. Catharsis then served to release energy (p. 59). But -- in accordance with the spirit of the era -- the memories were always sexual (p. 61; although Freud tended to mis-represent his situation as if he were alone in the endeavor to pin all human behaviors on sexuality). At first catharsis remained within the framework of the traditional confessional technology: Bernheim used hypnosis to make his (female) patients remember forgotten memories; Freud had used "the pressure technique" (pressing the patient's head with his hands; p. 61). The essence of the effectiveness of such confessional technology lay in patient's complete trust in the doctor (p. 62). The purpose of therapy/catharsis was, as the name suggests, purification (of the psyche). Later the "pressure technique" shifted to "free association" (relying more on the patient now than on the doctor). People of the time were not completely oblivious to the original religiosity in the new secular form, as seen from one review of Freud's Studies of Hysteria (1895): "Anna O's treatment had 'long been recognized in the Roman Church, by the institution of confession.'" (p. 66) Freud was in the process -- and he was aware of this later on (p. 80) -- of creating a secular religion as a substitute for Christianity, although in structure psychoanalysis seems more like a secular version of the second mode of salvation (salvation through anamnesis of the divine [in this case, the essence, sexuality] within) rather than the first (salvation through the gracious act of an external divinity, which Christianity is; in the secular version, of course, "salvation" means psychological liberation from the demons of traumatic memories). Compare Orphism, or even Buddhism, for example: so similar to it is psychoanalysis.

The precise transition to the second stage of confessional technology occurred however with Freud's controversial turn from the external cause of traumatic memories to an internal cause. The traumatic memories of these female patients (the most famous, Anna O, i.e. Bertha Pappenheim, who, most ironically, "was to become a pioneer feminist and social worker in Germany"; p. 54) were all about molestations by their fathers, etc. during their childhood. "From these revelations Freud formed his first theory about neurosis -- 'the seduction theory'. The cause of neurosis is childhood sexual trauma, a trauma that can remain hidden and unassimilated in the unconscious mind to erupt later in terrifying symptoms... [But then] he had been veiled by the medical community who refused to believe that so many good respectable fathers could be guilty of perversions." (Andrea Nye, Feminist Theory and the Philosophies of Man, p. 156) What to do? While reading Johann Weier who suggested (1563) "that the confessions of women charged with being witches and being in the league with the devil were... fantasies and delusions... [and that] such poor women should be treated with compassion rather than persecuted", Freud drew the analogy that "all perverse sexual actions -- whether the confession of witches or those of his patients -- are 'always alike, always have a meaning, and are based on a pattern which can be understood'." (Isbister, ibid., p. 76) He thus abandoned the "seduction theory" and saw these memories of sexual trauma as fantasized, i.e. as the result of his great discovery, "the infantile sexuality", that "infants and children experience sexual feelings toward their parents" (p. 82). The female patients "imagined up" (fabricated unbeknownst to themselves) molestations by their fathers because they sexually desired their father. Marie Balmary (Psychoanalyzing Psychoanalysis, trans., 1982) and Jeffrey Masson (The Assault on Truth, 1984) had exposed much of the psychological motivations behind Freud's sudden shift from the external to the internal cause of the "memories" (summarized by Nye, ibid., p. 154 - 163). Andrea Nye (ibid.) herself found the reason for it in patriarchy's mechanism of socializing the son toward the violently dominant father and away from the abused mother.4 However, I tend to see this shift as fitting into the general trend of this era to objectify human beings as self-contained machines of inherently good or bad quality and hence to explain human behaviors entirely with internal biological or psychological (i.e. constitutional) causes (hence also the tendency to see the criminality of the criminals as emanating entirely from the bad constitution of the criminal person, independent of environmental factors). The second stage was thus accomplished: the expert's interpretation ("These molestations never happened! It's all your fantasies, your unconscious desires which you don't know about.") overrode the patient's self-interpretation ("No! But they did really happen!"). Since the "cure" consisted in the patient's eventual acceptance of the expert's better interpretation of his or her own self, the beneficial, normalizing effect -- for the women, the acceptance of penis-envy (i.e. never being able to be a man) and the resignation to the destiny of having babies as the only substitute for a penis -- of psychoanalysis for formative capitalism which required strict sexual division of labor was clear.

Foucault however emphasizes that psychoanalysis was essentially a middle-class movement; when the sexual dispositives (of the first stage), originally invented by the middle-class to increase and maintain their bio-hegemony in society, spread from there to the lower working class, they invented this secular religion to demarcate themselves from the lower people: they had a "repressed" unconscious that they had to liberate. It was also a reaction against the growing racism.

Psychoanalysis served its function of normalization at a time when the neurological and gynecological sciences, due to insufficient technology -- were backward and generally unproductive. The doctors, in their overzealous attempt to discover the truth of the female body in order to control and maximize its reproductive capacity, had instead produced countless casualties, among whom Emma Eckstein by Freud and Fliess.5 As soon as technology had advanced enough (e.g. CAT scan) to allow direct view and manipulation of the material, physical sources of human psychology and behavior, i.e. the neurotransmitters flowing between nerve cells, psychoanalysis lost its value, and became marginalized as in the U.S., where medication has been aggressively supplanting talk therapy, since it is so much easier and costs so much less to feed people pills than to "talk to them" in order to normalize them into "productive members of society". This trend goes hand in hand with the humanization of gynecology and the feminist takeover of certain sexual dispositives (next section).

This massive modern scheme of "intraworldly salvation" means that the chain of modern institutions of hospitals, therapy, clinics, social services (welfare, rehabilitation centers, housing departments, etc.), even prisons... is the modern equivalent of the Church ("extraworldly salvation") in medieval time.


1. For a more comprehensive summary, c.f. Hubert Dreyfus and Paul Rabinow, Michel Foucault: Beyond Structuralism and Hermeneutics, 1982, p. 128 - 133.

2. Mary Daly lists the founding fathers and developers of gynecology: J. Marion Sim (America), who founded the Women's Hospital in New York. The most "monomaniacal and ambitious" among his professionals and "object of adulation at the Harvard Medical School" (p. 225). Charles Meigs, who, in the year of the first Women's Right's Convention, 1848, "was advising his pupils that their study of female organs would enable them to understand and control the very heart, mind, and soul of woman" (p. 227). Sex being the essence of the human subject, sexual organs are then the essence of the female subject (the reproducer). The English Issac Baker Brown (1858) invented cliterodectomy to "cure" female masturbation (like the fear-mongering over children's masturbation: the reinforcement of the reduction of women to efficacious reproductive machines). "In 1852 Dr. Augustus Kinsley Gardner let out a battle cry against 'disorderly women', including women's rightists, Bloomer-wearers, and midwives." (Ibid.) Denouncing "un-disciplined" mothers. "In the 1860s Dr. Issac Ray and his contemporaries proclaimed that women are susceptible to hysteria, insanity, and criminal impulses by reason of their sexual organs." Hysterization of women. Objectification of aberration as means to reinforce the heterosexual norm. Thus also "Dr. Robert Battey's invention of 'female castration', that is, removal of the ovaries to cure 'insanity'." (Ibid.) Then the craze over ovariotomy: "it was claimed to elevate the moral sense of the patients, making them tractable, orderly, industrious, and cleanly." Disciplinary. "'Disorderly' women were handed over to gynecologists by husbands and fathers for castration and other forms of radical treatment. Such doctors as S. Weir Mitchell combined anesthesia and knife, forcing a 'rest-cure' upon the castrated victim." (p. 228) The feminist perspective of these gynaecological practices, as exemplified by Daly, is thus: "to keep women supine, objectified, and degraded... By their combined efforts, these specialists keep many women in the state of perpetual patients whose bodies and minds are constantly invaded by foreign objects -- knives, needles, speculums, carcinogenic hormone injections and pills, sickening self-images, festering fixations, debilitating dogmas." "To the extent that [the gynecologists] are successful, their female patients are paralyzed by lack of Self-respect, for these doctors engender the debilitating disease of self-hatred" (p. 230). Our perspective is of course that these, instead of ritually destroying women's Being and making them worship men (Daly's claim later on), were really just disciplinary measures for efficacious motherhood, meant to increase the power of the state (the supraorganism) and its economy (metabolism), not the power of men over women. Hence once the nation-state has gone beyond its formative phase, and women are mobilized for public production in the new phase (consumerism), these practices inevitably give way to the new dispositives (below) championed this time by the feminists (!) who now serve as the new "normalizers" (in place of gynecologists) to make women massively productive (and, by a twist of irony, reproductive at the same time: c.f. "The Problem of Cultural Feminism"). Although Daly claims that gynecology arose in response to the first wave of feminism (p. 227), we see the coincidence in timing between the two as indicating the budding diverging trends of the nation-state with mass economy (further explored in Chapter 4: "The Liberation of Women"): (1) the need for efficacious reproductive machines (proponents: the gynecologists); (2) the concomitant, yet contradictory need to mobilize women for political integration and economic production (proponents: the feminists). The second need was slightly ahead of its time, hence the partial success of the first wave feminists; and the second need for mobilization was at times contradictory to the first need for efficacious reproducers, hence gynecologists sometimes wanted to operate on the feminists as "disorderly women" (un-displined mothers).

3. J. M. Roberts (The Pelican History of the World) distinguishes two phases in population growth in Europe since the 1500s. First phase (1500 - 1750), a slow and steady growth; second phase, a much accelerated growth accompanied by major social changes (p. 512 - 4). "In 1500 Europe had about 80 million inhabitants, two centuries later she had less than 150 million and in 1800 slightly less than 200 million" (p. 514). This growth was faster than in the rest of the world: in 1500 Europe's population was 1/5 of the world; in 1800, 1/4. (Ibid.) As for life-expectancy: "At birth a French peasant of the 18th century had a life expectancy of about 22 years and only a roughly 1 in 4 chance of surviving infancy... much the same as those of an Indian peasant in 1950 or an Italian under imperial Rome. Comparatively few people would have survived their 40s..." (Ibid.) And "[a]s in the Middle Ages, women tended still to die before men". (Ibid.) Famine and plaque however was becoming more and more local phenomena (p. 515; 517). Life therefore was only starting to get better after the 1500s, but after 1750 became so much better. The main cause for the betterment of life was, of course, advances in agriculture: the gradual integration of farm products in market economy and technical innovations in farming. Expertise in intensive cultivation started in the Low Countries (in addition to better drainage and better pasture for a larger animal population) and spread out from there to the rest of Europe (especially England, where these new techniques were improved upon) (p. 516). One must also remember that during the 1500s the economic vitality of Europe shifted from the Mediterranean to the North-western area.

The second phase witnessed an even more radical revolution in food production. "In the 18th century European agriculture was already capable of obtaining about 2 & 1/2 times the yield on its seed normal in the Middle Ages... Yields would go up to still more spectacular levels. From about 1800, it has been calculated, Europe's agricultural productivity grew at a rate of about 1% a year" (p. 649). "By 1750 English agriculture was the best in the world. The most advanced techniques were practised and the integration of agriculture with a commercial economy had gone furthest in England... European farmers came to England to observe methods, buy stock and machinery, seek advice" (p. 650). The English farmers benefited greatly from the cessation of war in the English soil since 1650 (ibid.). Concurrent with the massive population growth was the equally massive urbanization. "London, Paris and Berlin in 1800 had, respectively, about 900,000, 600,000, and 170,000 inhabitants. In 1900 the corresponding figures were 4.7 million, 3.6 million and 2.7 million. In that year, too, Glasgow, Moscow, St Petersburg and Vienna also had more than a million inhabitants each." Urbanization was most marked, of course, "in the relatively few countries were industrialization first made headway" (p. 657). Bio-power, as the management and maximization of population-resources, is to be considered in light of these demographic and social changes.

4. The primal story of the pact between the brothers (Nye, p. 159): "Once there was a family headed by a brutal authoritarian father who in secret had a tendency to abuse his wife, his daughters and any women who came under his power. Sometimes he even abused his sons. His sons were uneasy about their father and about other men but they were men themselves. Therefore, they knew they were supposed to respect their father and learn to like him. One son [the psychoanalyst], however, listened to his mother, his nurse, and the talk of other women. He became very uneasy. The women told him of crimes that his father and other fathers had committed against women and about their suffering. But this son was also a man. He knew that he too had to become a father. Then he made the discovery. There was only one solution. The women were lying, they were in love with the father and wanted to be seduced. They had only fantasized the father's mistreatment. Now the son knew that he had been guilty also; he had suspected his father out of jealousy. And he repented. Now all the sons could come together, celebrating the father's memory and rejoicing that the father had committed no faults. Now they could follow in the father's footsteps and if accusations were made by the women or by any younger sons who happened to listen to women, the men would know what to say."

5. "Freud had referred a patient, Emma Eckstein, also apparently seduced as a child, to his friend Fliess for a bizarre operation on her nose that was supposedly to correct the structural defects [in addition to menstrual problems] caused [so he believed!] by masturbation. Fliess botched the operation..." (Nye, p. 157) "After the operation she suffered from persistent infection and haemorrhage, expelling from the nose sometimes 'two bowlfuls of pus'... Finally Freud called in another doctor. Eventually, along with the pus and blood, a large piece of gauze was expelled... that Fliess had left in the wound. The damage, however, was done [nearly fatal!]. Eckstein continued to suffer and was, according to one witness, permanently disfigured." (Ibid., p. 170) At this period, the doctors operating on women were groping in the dark about the feminine secret.

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