On Human Sexuality and The Use of Pleasure by Michel Foucault

This post borrows heavily from the philosophical work of Michel Foucault for the purpose of explaining the phenomenon of electronic targeted assaults, and the psychotronic torture of Targeted Individuals, and how perversions rooted in human sexuality play into the power and control structures of the phenomenon. It was originally published on March 31, 2019, over Proclivities’ Principle Wisdom — In man’s unceasing endeavor to manage his affairs and appetites, throughout time with unyielding skill and determination, there are phenomenons and peculiarities to consider. (wordpress.com)

The Deployment of Sexuality

“……it is up to us to extract the truth of sex, since this truth is beyond its grasp; it is up to sex to tell us OUR truth, since sex is what holds it in darkness……In Diderot‘s tale, the good genie Cucufa discovers at the bottom of his pocket, in the midst of worthless things — consecrated seeds, little pagodas made of lead, and moldy sugar-coated pills — the tiny silver ring whose stone, when turned, makes the sexes one encounters speak. He gives it to a curious sultan. Our problem is to know what marvelous ring confers a similar power on us, and on which master‘s finger it has been placed; what game of power it makes possible or presupposes, and how it is that each one of us has become sort of attentive and imprudent sultan with respect to his own sex and that of others. It is this magical ring, this jewel which is so indiscreet when it comes to making others speak, but so ineloquent concerning one‘s own mechanism, that we need to render loquacious in its turn; it is what we have to talk about…..What is this patience or eagerness to constitute it as the secret, the omnipotent cause, the hidden meaning, the unremitting fear? What is it that we demand of sex, beyond its possible pleasures, that makes us so persistent? What is this patience or eagerness to constitute it as the secret, the omnipotence cause, the hidden meaning, the unremitting fear?”

[Power] is the aphrodisia of its pleasure. …..by what force is one transported by the pleasure and desire that makes him or her exercise his power over another? What’s more, what force creates this active desire in the human psyche with the will and desire to dominate and control, which runs so parallel to the conquering of another in the act of sexual intercourse? This is the question that must be answered in order for us to uncover the secrets that seem so hidden from our understanding of the human psyche.

Objective 1

The manner in which power and desire are joined to one another; they consider them to be linked in a more complex and primary way than through the interplay of a primitive, natural, and living energy welling up from below, and a higher-order seeking to stand in its way; thus one should not think that desire is repressed, for the simple reason that the law is what constitutes both desire and the lack of with it is predicated. Where there is desire, the power relation is already present: an illusion, then, to denounce this relation for a repression exerted after the event; but vanity as well, to go questing after a desire that is beyond the reach of power.

…..the fact that there is no escaping from power, that it is always-already present, constituting that very thing which one attempts to counter it with. . . .. As to the idea of power-repression, you have retained its most fragile theoretical element, and this in order to criticize it; you have retained the most sterilizing political consequence of the idea of power-law, but only in order to preserve it from your own use.

The aim of the inquirers that follow is to move less toward a “theory” of power than toward an “analytics” of power: that is, toward a definition of the specific domain formed by relations of power, and toward a determination of the instruments that will make possible its analysis…..[The] juridico-discursive…is this conception that governs both the thematic of repression and the theory of the law as constitutive of desire. In other words, what distinguishes the analysis made in terms of the repression of instincts from that made in terms of the law of desire is clearly the way in which they each conceive of the nature and dynamics of the drives, not the way in which they conceive of power. They both rely on a common representation of power which, depending on the use made of it and the position it is accorded with respect to desire, leads to two contrary results: either to the promise of a “liberation,” if power is seen as having only an external hold on desire, or, if it is constitutive of desire itself, to the affirmations: you are always-already trapped.

Some principle features of political power:

1. The negative relation. It never established any connection between power and sex that is not negative: rejection, exclusion, refusal, blockage, concealment, or mask. Where sex and pleasure are concerned, power can “do” nothing but say no to them; what it produces, if anything, is absences and gaps; it overlooks elements, introduces, discontinuities, separates what is joined, and marks off boundaries. Its effects take the general form of limit and lack.

2. The insistence of the rule. Power is essentially what dictates its law to sex. This means first of all that sex is placed by power in a binary system: licit and illicit, permitted and forbidden. Secondly, power prescribes an “order” for sex that operates at the same time as a form of intelligibility: sex is to be deciphered on the basis of its relation to the law. And finally, power acts by laying down the rule: power’s hold on sex is maintained through language, or rather through the act of discourse that creates, from the very fact that it is articulated, a rule of law. It speaks, and that is the rule. The pure form of power resides in the function of the legislator, and its mode of action with regard to sex is a juridico-discursive character.

3. The cycle of prohibition: Thou shalt not go near, thou shalt not touch, thou shalt not consume, thou shalt not experience pleasure, thou shalt not speak, thou shalt not show thyself; ultimately thou shalt not exist, except in darkness and secrecy. To deal with sex, power employs nothing more than a law of prohibition. Its objective: that sex renounce itself. Its instruments: the threat of a punishment that is nothing other than the suppression of sex. Renounce yourself or suffer the penalty of being suppressed; do not appear if you do not want to disappear. Your existence will be maintained only at the cost of your nullification. Power constrains sex only through a taboo that plays on the alternative between two nonexistences.

4. The logic of censorship. This interdiction is thought to take three forms: affirming that such a thing is not permitted, preventing it from being said, denying that it exists. Forms that are difficult to reconcile. But it is here that one imagines a sort of logical sequence that characterizes censorship mechanisms: it links the inexistent, the illicit, and the inexpressible in such a way, that each is at the same time, the principle and the effect of the others: one must not talk about what is forbidden until it is annulled in reality; what is inexistent has no right to show itself, even in the order of speech where its inexistence is declared; and that which one must keep silent about is banished from reality as the thing that is tabooed above all else. The logic of power exerted on sex is the paradoxical logic of a law that might be expressed as an injunction of nonexistence, non-manifestation, and silence.

5. The uniformity of the apparatus. Power over sex is exercised in the same way at all levels. From top to bottom, in its overall decisions and its capillary interventions alike, whatever the devices or institutions on which it relies, it acts in a uniform and comprehensive manner; it operates according to the simple and endlessly reproduced mechanisms of law, taboo, and censorship: from state to family, from prince to father, from the tribunal to the small change of everyday punishments, from the agencies of social domination to the structures that constitute the subject himself, one finds a general form of power, varying in scale alone. This form is the law of transgression and punishment, with its interplay of licit and illicit. Whether one attributes to it the form of the prince who formulates rights, of the father who forbids, of the censor who enforces silence, or of the master who states the law, in any case, one schematizes power in a juridical form, and one defines its effects as obedience. Confronted by a power that is law, the subject who is constituted as subject — who is “subjected” — is he who obeys. To the formal homogeneity of power in these various instances corresponds the general form of submission in the one who is constrained by it — whether the individual in question is the subject opposite the monarch, the citizen opposite the state, the child opposite the parent, or the disciple opposite the master. A legislative power on one side, and an obedient subject on the other.

…..it is a power that only has the force of the negative on its side, a power to say no; in no condition to produce, capable only of posting limits, it is basically anti-energy. This is the paradox of its effectiveness: it is incapable of doing anything, except to render what it dominates incapable of doing anything either, except for what this power allows it to do. And finally, it is a power whose model is essentially juridical, centered on nothing more than the statement of the law and the operations of taboos. All the modes of domination, submission, and subjugation are ultimately reduced to an effect of obedience.

…..power is tolerable only on conditions that it mask a substantial part of itself. Its success is proportional to its ability to hide its own mechanisms. ….For it, secrecy is not in the nature of an abuse; it is an indispensable to its operation. Not only because power imposes secrecy on those whom it dominates, but because it is perhaps just as indispensable to the latter: would they accept it if they did not see it as a mere limit placed on their desire, leaving a measure of freedom — however slight — intact? Power as a pure limit set on freedom is, at least in our society, the general form of its acceptability.

The following describes the successful arrangement of power within a nation, state, community, group, and family

Historically, power developed out of a dense, entangled, an array of conflicting powers, powers tied to the direct or indirect dominion over the land, to the possession of arms, to serfdom, to bonds of suzerainty and vassalage. If these institutions were able to implant themselves, if, by profiting from a whole series of tactical alliances, they were able to gain acceptance, this was because they presented themselves as agencies of regulation, arbitration, and demarcation, as a way of introducing order in the midst of these powers, of establishing a principle that would temper them and distribute them according to boundaries and a fixed hierarchy. Faced with the great myriad clashing forces, these great forms of power function as a principle of right that transcended all the heterogeneous claims, manifesting the triple distinction of forming a unitary regime, of identifying its will with the law, and of acting through mechanisms of interdiction and sanction…..In Western societies since the Middle Ages, the exercise of power has always been formulated in terms of the law.

A tradition dating back to the eighteenth or nineteenth century has accustomed us to place absolute monarchic power on the side of the unlawful: arbitrariness, abuse, caprice, willfulness, privileges and exceptions, the traditional continuance of accomplished facts.

…..the manner in which power was and is exercised, requires that we conceive of it first. In order to be given power, that possessed power must be conceived by an audience or individual. You cannot give power to someone who you do not recognize as a legitimate source. This becomes maddening, or at the least frustrating, to the person who possessing perceived power, yet cannot be effective in precipitating change. [monarchies]….continuously overstepped the legal framework and set itself above the laws…..

….the principle which held that law had to be the very form of power, and that power always had to be exercised in the form of law…..revealed itself during the nineteenth century in which a much more radical criticism of the law showed concern “that the legal system itself was merely a way of exerting violence, of appropriating that violence for the benefit of the few, and of exploiting the dissymmetries and injustices of domination under cover of general law.” But this critique of law is still carried out on the assumption that, ideally and by nature, power must be exercised in accordance with a fundamental lawfulness.

At bottom, despite the differences in epochs and objectives, the representation of power has remained under the spell of monarchy. In political thought and analysis, we still have not cut off the head of the king.

Hence the importance that the theory of power gives to the problem of right and violence, law and illegality, freedom and will, and especially the state and sovereignty (even if the latter is questioned insofar as it is personified in a collective being and no longer a sovereign individual). To conceive of power on the basis of thee problems is to conceive of it in terms of a historical form that is characteristic of our societies: the juridical monarchy. Characteristic yet transitory. For while many of its forms have persisted to the present, it has gradually been penetrated by quite new mechanisms of power that are probably irreducible to the presentation of law. As we shall see, these power mechanisms, are, at least in part, those that, beginning in the eighteenth century, took charge of men’s existence, men as living bodies. And if it is true that the juridical system was useful for representing, albeit, in a none exhaustive way, a power that was centered primarily around deduction (prélèvement) and death, it is utterly incongruous with the new methods of power whose operation is not ensured by right but by technique, not by law but by normalization, not by punishment but by control, methods that are employed on all levels and in forms that go beyond the state and its apparatus. We have been engaged for centuries in a type of society in which the juridical is increasingly incapable of coding power, of serving as its system of representation.

We shall try to rid ourselves of a juridical and negative representation of power, and cease to conceive of it in terms of law, prohibition, liberty, and sovereignty. But how then do we analyze what has occurred in recent history with regard to this thing — seemingly one of the most forbidden areas of our lives and bodies — that is sex? How, if not by way of prohibition and blockage, does power gain access to it? Through which mechanisms, or tactics, or devices? But let us assume in turn that a somewhat careful scrutiny will show that power in modern societies has not in fact governed sexuality through law and sovereignty; let us suppose that historical analysis has revealed the presence of a veritable “technology” of sex, one that is much more complex and above all much more positive than the mere effect of a “defense” could be; this being the case, does this example — which can only be considered privileged one, since power seemed in this instance, more than anywhere else, to function as prohibition — not compel one to discover principles for analyzing power which does not drive from the system of right and the form of law? … We must at the same time conceive of sex without the law, and power without the king.

What makes man the most dangerous animal on the planet? His ability to build power structures and play social games with others? One must consider the magnificent scale of war and the art of deception through counter-intelligent measures, espionage, to fully appreciate the grand effects of what a power really constitutes.




Victim of gang stalking & electronic torture. I write about feminism and gender difference. Email: TheSpeculumOfTheOther@yahoo.com

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Karen Barna

Karen Barna

Victim of gang stalking & electronic torture. I write about feminism and gender difference. Email: TheSpeculumOfTheOther@yahoo.com

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