New Foucault book on Philosophical Health

Announcing the publication today of a new book by Michel Foucault, a previously unpublished manuscript edited by Elisabetta Basso on Binswanger and the philosophical mental health approach called daseinsanalysis. It’s an early work that shows Foucault’s early interest for another way in mental health, more attuned with the philosophical care of the non-automated self. I have not read it yet, but should receive the volume in the following days (it’s in French only for the moment).

Binswanger et l’analyse existentielle  

Michel Foucault

How to Become a Philosopher

Behind the apparent randomness of the world, its chaos-like features, the plethora of anecdotal facts, and the variety of our inner moods and outer fortunes, the human mind has been tempted throughout history to believe in a universal logic, a meaningful movement of the world-spirit towards the accomplishment of a grander masterplan. This higher cosmological logic governing our destinies has sometimes been called Providence in belief systems that put much emphasis on a human-like divinity, a God which is a self, a sort of cosmic person. While philosophers may believe in a certain divinity of the universe, it is more often than not as an omnipresent and immanent mindful field, nothing too human-like a priori, not an isolated super-individual, but rather the mind field that unites all there is, all there was and all that remains to be. I call this universal field the Creal, or Creative Real. The way the Creal manifests itself and becomes various realities is a process I call crealectics.

The main philosopher’s interest in not in affirming that there is, for certain, an all-encompassing masterplan. But people of knowledge tend to believe that our highest mission, as human beings, is to find out if there is such a plan or order, by attempting to decipher signs of it. In fact, this is what philosophers, shamans, mages, and some scientists have been doing since the beginning of human cultures throughout the world: try to make sense of the possibility of a cosmic rationality.

We may of course live on this planet as if the ultimate ground of events were randomness, a creative chaos without direction, a web of patterns without intention, a multifarious becoming without purpose; such is sometimes the view of physicalistic science. Modern science has been able to ascribe mathematical laws into the material fabric of the world, but in so doing it has sometimes ripped the universe of any higher meaning, building on an ontology of chance governed by material tendencies but no deep orientation.

For a philosopher, truth should not be boring. I am aware that such a statement is controversial, and that while we may find philosophers who like me tend to aestheticize truth (rather than anesthetize it) – Nietzsche for example –, many forms of knowledge seem to proud themselves of their austerity and lack of playful appeal, perhaps because the poker-face apparence of seriousness brings more credibility or funding. One may or may not find it intellectually stimulating to believe that the highest and only overarching principle of the cosmos is pure randomness; a collision of bodies in an infinite pool table, the knowledge of which could be only metric. One may or may not find it exciting to postulate a universal masterplan, and to try, in the manner of a cosmic detective, to make sense of it. But in fact, this is also what serious scientists are doing in the end. By serious I personally mean anyone that is not only over-preoccupied with calculations, measurements, numbers, statistics, finances, career titles, localized security.

Truth seekers are adventurers for whom seeking is a reward in itself, a higher intellectual sport. You don’t have to kill the animal in the end to enjoy the hunting, especially if that hunt is a cognitive challenge. This is why affirming dogmatically that there is a cosmological masterplan is less important than playing the game of chasing it and recklessly trying to unveil it.

I invite you to become, as you read the Real, a detective of the crealectic masterplan or to imagine what such a detective would do in the process of performing such an ambitious enquiry. Look around you for signs, for hyper-personal meaning, for a self-transcendent logic behind the immature language of normality, the chatter of subservient media and the somnambulism of the norms of tribes, corporations or nations. To stop believing that there is nothing more to life than what most people are talking about, you may now become a philosopher, that is, a conscientious objector of banality, a deep listener and, perhaps, a decipherer of the riddles of Creal.

Summer Dive (Poem)

a poem by Luis de Miranda

O daring life! Life resurrected, from fields of attunement to drops of conspicuity,

Anonymous shelters for the hungry and lone,

Storms of whispers, waves of now, songs of vacuity,

And the essence of love exhilarated to the bone

In sparkling explosions of liquid liberation,

Exuding the net of our regeneration…

We sing for the despaired, the forceless, the ready to renounce

Yet aspiring to breaths of enlivenment underneath their perceptive wells,

Not yet exhausted but confused, searching for a bounce

Outside the ring of repetition and the anxiety of their cells,

Blind to the field of creation that supports their revival

Behind the epileptic screens of organized survival…

At every hour we can dive by the rejuvenating rock

Into the waters of infinity, shouting deliriously against the mechanic

Imposed not by life, but by the administrative blocks

Which secrete their illusion of power into our body electronic,

Splash! We dive by virtue of goodwill, faithful to our generous inflexion,

Confident in the ever-renewed flow of our imagination…

In times of ingratitude, thou shall not cease to give!

In times of somnambulism, stay awake and real!

Your bare arm does not need tricks up its sleeve

If it speaks signs within the field of Creal.