Foucault on Philosophy

“The movement by which, not without effort and uncertainty, dreams and illusions, one detaches oneself from what is accepted as true and seeks other rules – that is philosophy. The displacement and transformation of frameworks of thinking, the changing of received values and all the work that has been done to think otherwise, to do something else, to become other than what one is – that, too, is philosophy.” – Michel Foucault, from “The Masked Philosopher” in The Essential Foucault.

We of the dancing moose are genuinely delighted by this quote. (Hat tip to our simian brethren for the recommendation.) For the first time we can say, with a straight face, “the dancing moose is a philosopher”.

Despite having read a bunch of philosphers’ writings and discovering that the questions they were asking were similar to questions I found interesting, even after watching the book I was writing trawl deeper and deeper philosophical waters, I had somehow never been comfortable identifying with the term philosopher, perhaps struck by the sneaking suspicion the word was synonymous with wanker.

However, the sense of philosophy and philosopher Foucault describes above describes well the process the moose is engaged in; it also describes well the intellectual component of the spiritual/mystical path, and some of the practical effects of “occult” or consciousness change techniques. Philosophy is an active process leading towards enlightenment.

One Response to “Foucault on Philosophy”

  1. April 19th, 2006 | 7:49 pm

    […] Writings on magic, consciousness change, mysticism and spirituality, and some philosophers contain most of the world’s accumulated wisdom on how to go about this process of transformation. (They also give a lot of practical advice on becoming more aware, accepting, flexible, effective, compassionate, strong, peaceful, happy, etc. These seem to be something we lost when we lost religion as a guiding component of our world-view, but they will be very useful in the times ahead, and we can bring them back into our lives on our own terms.) […]