Re-visioning the Eye of God: On the Disciplinary Society’s Will to Omniscience

Questing for the Mindnut

In his interrogation of disciplinary society in Discipline & Punish, Michel Foucault comments on the common Western belief that, “Every detail is important since, in the sight of God, no immensity is greater than a detail” (Foucault, 1977, 140). This notion of the eye of God, the eye that can see all, as particularly concerned with minutiae is central to the development of Western culture and social practice. As Foucault reveals throughout his explication, this will to omniscience is attempted through the discipline of the masses by both physical and psychological division and categorization. However, these means by which Western disciplinary society seeks to possess the eye of God inherently prevents it from seeing all. Rather, Emerson’s concept of the transparent eye provides a more useful blueprint for how man may not only obtain the eye of God, but how he may ultimately become it.

While this essay sadly…

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