foucault - madness and civilisation

began: night 10/11.11.2023. this time i'm beginning the journal from the actual start, not when i'm in half or so which makes much more sense. after the first entry this journal was suspended since i fell out with the person i was reading this book with, unfortunately, and so i've been not touching it for a while for the reasons for emotional hygiene. rest assured, though, that foucault will be continued.

back to the list here


i've so far read the first chapter of it. ok, so for the beginning i have to say this is written in a comfortable, approachable style - at least in translation - foucault makes himself known as a good writer and historian, very much appreciable - compared to, say, hegel, this is insanely easy to read. in honesty, even compared to nietzsche, who uses metaphors and weird double meanings quite a lot.

otoh: for the introduction he began a bit too late for where he was going to actually start out - he's not keeping strictly to chronology; it's not in any way misleading but it is mildly chaotic. the introduction works, as much as it led him to sort of begin in the middle and then go back. out of the other things - he references nietzsche an awful lot and i can see his influence on foucault, as someone familiar with nietzsche; so this is hilarious to observe. he also references freud, my other babygirl. clearly, he had some of the same influences i did, though starting out i knew he would be roughly of the same current as me. i have joked before about the pain of having relatively a lot in common with foucault, given his controversial opinion on the age of consent (which i strongly condemn); i see that he was intelligent and talented enough that i can read it as a compliment if i do ever get compared to him, though. that's good.

i really enjoy the way he reconstructs historic narratives - these are, i see, these "discourses" foucault is known for portraying; he's actually good at it.

now to the actual content: i was particularly entertaining by the late medieval portrayal of insanity as the deep darknes, a water element, associated with the sea, deep, dark and cold masses of water, empty, endless, the connection to apocalypse, the final confrontation between the good and evil, where madness plays a specific role - before a violent confrontation of two extremes formed a new world, with new natural laws, new relations between species and new moral and spiritual reality, deconstruction of the old world is necessary. it's a reset - one must keep in mind that in medieval christian-centric understanding both the natural sciences and the moral, spiritual and societal construct were ruled by stable, timeless sets of rules, set by god himself; so called natural order, in which the laws the material world is based on are unchanged in time and circumstances as they represent divine intent.

the remains and traces of this mentality would later be seen, among other things, in kant's unfortunate creation that is the categorical imperative - "moral law in me", objective, resulting directly from other processes the material and by extension nature is ruled by; this is a reflection of that old christian world mentality. thus these objective laws would need to be abolished in order for things that aren't permitted by them to happen; that includes the apocalypse - for the metaphysical to take its place on earth, the material must stop being limited in ways it is as is; for the struggle to result in a new world without death of diseases, a world where resurrected dead would walk alive again and predatory animals would graze next to their former prey, the laws that shape the current state of things must stop functioning; these laws do not account for what is of a supernatural character, they are a limited, selective piece of the supernatural; they reflect but a tiny piece of divinity.

therefore: they must first be abolished - for new laws to emerge, there must be a point where the old isn't in power anymore, and the new hasn't been shaped and established yet - here: madness, understood as a deeeper power that's essentially the ancient greek chaos. these impacted by it possessing a gift of horrible power as they turn away from the material, they turn away to where the fabric of reality is thin; it's the power that calls to the saints and tempts the hermits with forbidden knowledge one may gain at the cost of losing their connection to material reality.

it's an aspect that i'll get to, in my own analysis of foucault, though the above paragraphs were already half my interpretation and half rephrasing; anyway, from that view foucault progresses to where, at the end of the medieval and with beginning of renaissance, madness becomes tied to reason as its reverse - now bound to each other, they impact each other necessarily; they're linked - it's the tails of the heads that is reason. indeed, now it becomes less of its own thing, and is given a more partial character; here it also becomes the reverted genius, the necessary "other side" of talent and artistic inspiration waiting behind a line one must approach closely to get to something new that no one has thought of yet; and indeed that also makes sense. at times also a reverse of life - a state close to death, the way life itself is tied to the material. it opens the gate for future medicalisation; now however it's less of a peculiar blessing-curse, and more of another side to what gives one talent, intelligence and sensitivity; the way foucault here references freud's instincts of life and instinct of death (call of the void) is accurate.

from me: the phenomena foucault describes identify, from my pov, in sort of an intuitive way, the relation between madness and the unconscious; i mean unconscious, not subconscious here, in freud's understanding of the subconscious as pre-conscious, not-realised, repressed thoughts that manifest in direct ways but that one doesn't allow to vocalise, to put into words, give a shape to and realise; freudist unconscious represents deep, instinctive processes, and manifests itself through dreams - mentions of this construct are foundhere, in my journal of the last book of freud's that i read.

the logic of dreams is the logic of the unconscious processing - it is infantile, it is the processing paths that remained from our early childhoods, often containing things we don't identify with, as we've developed strong responses of repulsion or other negative feelings that leave us with unpleasant responses to even a mere thought of certain things we could have otherwise exhibited a tendency for; these unrealised tendencies lay within the unconscious. it associates things based on coincidence in time and space or similarity of names and appearances rather than causations - in that way, the joke about how a blacksmith in the village murdered someone and a tailor was hanged for it, because the village had only one blacksmith but two tailors and someone had to be punished, is found comedic specifically because it reflects the logic of the unconscious. another thing that characterises it is its ability to fantasise and easily mistake wishes and fears for reality. etc.

madness, as we know it presently, is heavily the manifestation of the unconscious into the external world and conscious perception - psychosis, for one, includes the specific wishful and magical thinking, obsessions and loose associations that can also be encountered in dreams, and that reflect "leaking of" the unconcious into the reality as perceived - created - by reason. on creation of reality by reason and logic: schopenhauer; specifically, the parts about "raw" sensation material being processed in a way that "makes sense" only after putting it to logical cliches within the brain - which i agree with; the same theory followed by nietzsche, also from schopenhauer - later significantly confirmed by modern neuroscience. now my apologies if i sound pretentious, it's 04 am and i just barely have the energy to explain it.

in any event - in insanity, like mania or psychosis, processing typical for the unconscious manifests in areas that should be constructed by reason, according to the frameworks it operates on, and not the oneiric patterns of the unconscious. in personality disorders, the line stating where and how much the unconscious can interact with conscious processing tends to be specifically thin, hence easy "slips" and less obvious "leaks" of unconscious thinking, and the separation between conscious and subconscious reasoning is also less so. the same in dissociative disorders. myself, as someone unfortunately notably mentally ill, i would know a lot of my "insanity" originates from proximity of that dark abyss, that void containing potentially everything and capable of mixing all informations i know in patterns that escape the normal logic of processing; that void probably indeed creates, albeit indirectly, the joke, and wide variety of absurds and remote associations that come and go as i watch them, most of the time, from a quiet island of relatively grounded perception.

one can easily see here the connection between this portrayal of madness as both a deep, dark, illogical and deconstructing power that tempts one with forbidden knowledge of life and death and awaits on the verge of cosmos, and madness as the "reversal", antimatter of the same power that births genius, as simply instinctive (non-medical, non-psychoanalytic) portayals of the unconscious; the terrifying darkness of the mind, the melting pot in which all external output ever registered by the senses is undergoing constant stirring, forming weird, uncanny shapes, and once again melting back to shapeless cosmos/chaos/whatever one wants to understand it as. it is where the madness awaits - encountering it too closely and slipping inside results in losing grasp of "reality" via senses and losing the logical, orderly framework one usually conceptualises the world in.

so that for today on madness and the unconscious, which is also the melting pot of new ideas, as it possess the ability to combine and conceptualise new things one would normally not think of, as these things don't result from the information according to the rules they know - because they know a world where these things don't exist yet; they may only emerge in the head of someone who never saw or knew them if they emerge anew as an absurd, from the unconscious chaos of forms and shapes. this and goodnight.


second chapter of "madness and civilisation". an isolated sentence about perception caught my attention - indeed, the assumption that the people of "back then" were "insensitive" and lacked the modern sophisticated, nuanced view of things, and that's why they acted in "inhumane" ways they acted - misleading; it implies an absence of "higher" understanding of morality, sociology, psychology etc being the reason for that behaviour. a negativity, a lack, an imperfect, unfinished modern realisation, more primitive, crude, incomplete. there's definitely this strong modern assumption that cruelty of past systems resulted from having the same tendency as modern humans do, but not having all the same tools to conceptualise it and act it out in the modern way.

meanwhile, as foucault rightfully notes, they had a clear, complete and coherent reasoning behind these actions; it's not down to insensitivity, it's down to having their own reasons. they weren't doing it because they were missing the point - they were acting in complete coherence and harmony with their own point. this is a common mistake of approaching past societal mindsets from the point of bias of modernity as well as misunderstanding of cultural progress, and thus perception of these frameworks as incomplete, failed and not fully developed modern frameworks instead of their own, separate and independent frameworks.

misunderstandng of both biological and cultural evolution as linear and thus being able to look at oneself as the current, recent peak of evolution, the newest version, the last update, and everything chronologically past as imperfect, immature forms of yourself leading up to you in development like childhood and adolescence lead up to an adult self - common mistake; humans have a tendency to both see humanity as the "goal", the "final product" and the crowning of evolution as a process, the evolution itself as linear, and to see cultural evolution as linear process of development from "savage" humanity to "civilised", where societal, political and mental changes form following steps leading up farther and farther into sophistication, complexity and superiority - once again, a misled reasoning; societal, historic realiies change according to random factors, any framework that emerges anew can disappear once again in favour of old mentalities in new contexts, and is entirely contextual and relative in general; as for the modern man, for whom all the roads lead up to him, he can, with his form, turn out to be a temporary whim of history, a passing trend, a tendency that gets reverted and maybe then returns; it's more of a sinusoid, or multiple overlapping sinusoids, as mentalities and frameworks disappear and make comebacks - here an interesting place to consider nietzsche's "eternal return" - it's not linear whatsoever and moreso resembles a model with multiple linked variables.

so yes - my point is mainly that foucault is fully right to notice that these actions did not result from lack of modern sensitivity or any other lack, absence, immaturity or incomplete form of morals and reasoning, but rather from a complete, coherent and active framework of morals and reasonings which simply differs a lot from what we celebrate in xxi century.

this is once again, i suppose, the matter of how he portrays history via "discourses", localised explorations of culture as it was in the time, without references and comparisons to modernity; i support this, of course while not fully free of the bias of his times in reasoning, this is the only way one can write history in a way future generations can actually benefit from, not having to decode it twice - from the language of whatever was "modernity" to the writer, and then the framework of the time they are writing on.

i've come to like foucault as a historian a lot - i like his approach of history, i like how direct and immmersive it is, and how he describes it in a neutral way, as an observer true to the content he witnesses, not as a narrator. i feel certain kinship with him in this approach.

another thing that i paid attention to - the impact of protestant mentality on relegating charity and aid for the poor to the state, from the church and the individuals, and the way it led to isolation and severe desensitisation of the society - increasing alienation and cruelty in approach. the protestant mentality which transformed the poor from an integral part of the public sphere, carrying their own cross and providing chances for christians to exhibit mercy and perform good deeds, into an outcast rebel who spits in the face of the community - comming with the notion that poverty is a punishment from god, and that labour is an obligation, part of the constitution of fallen world due to the original sin, in that not performing it, which is results in poverty, is a sort of disobedience to god himself, a refusal to accept his conditions to living on earth - the sin of sloth is an act of active rebellion against destiny.

the ideas of predestination and overall destined positions in the society, determined by god and not to be questioned - protestant invention and the sorce of protestant order - eventually led to obligating the state to resolve the problem of poverty, moreso for moral reasons of maintaining that god-given societal order by punishing sinners and economic parasites like beggers, and forcing them into assimilation into the order, than anything else. the state is what creates and maintains, and manages the order of functions now seen as sanctified, the poor aren't now an inegral part of god's order with their own role, but rather their stuation results from opposing god and refusing to take on the chores and obligations of work and assimilating into the hierarchic structures of protestant society; thus, instead of being helped and serving as opportunities for others to act on their altruism - that's a mentality possibly adapted from jewish culture, where the rich should be grateful to the poor for giving them a chance to be "good people" - they're now to be punished, "corrected" and re-assimilated into the orderly christian life, then and only then they may be part of the community; the catholics soon followed, but one must note it is deeply, in its nature, protestant, the focus on chore and obligation towards the society, and on obligation to accept one's misery as punishment instead of a chance as well.

with that, another gate towards medicalisation is open - madness is not often a blessing or curse, a suprenatural elevated state - it is now a flawed constitution of someone unable to perform in their god-given role, and thus a sinner for whom moral weakness doens't allow to take to their destinated struggle. if it is a weakness, it is a flaw of consitution to be fixed, and that's the first sign towards future perception as a form of illness which should be cured, corrected and fixed.

there also - interesting remark about moral character of "correction houses", and work in them not having much economic usage but rather ethical usage as an attempt to adapt the poor, the outcasts, wanderers and other "asocial elements" into the "natural order", where work existed as human destiny and chore. this mentality where "asocial elements" are capable of disrupting order due to their lack of ability or willingless to conform will make a comeback during the holocaust - the "black triangles", several centuries later.

another interesting part - with relegation of responsibility for mercy and charity onto the institution of the state, the onus is taken from individuals, who "no longer fear not feeding a starving jesus, as there's now public institutions that help out the poor and jesus would not come as one of these immoral wanderers who would not take the chance the state offers them and would instead beg" - heavy paraphrase, but with maintained meaning; individuals are now free of the obligation of care for the poor, and extending their own, personal resources for charity; they are free of obligation of compassion and personal concern. there happens a separation - that responsibility is now assigned to the state, a collective and emotionless entity with no actual face, it's oursourced from inividual consciences who get to, well, simply not care, as it's not their job anymore. that prepares the ground for general collective apathy towards societally caused misery - outsourcing of the "obligation" of empathy towards specific institutions, collective beings who out of their nature can't exhibit it, but can take the irritating chore off an inividual who in return can freely only care about themself and, identifying with the state as an entity which allegedly represents them, feel superiority over these for whom the state aid wasn't enough, or who rejected it. rejection of this form is now seen as individual choice of a poor, who can suffer any consequences - they no longer deserve or need compasison, because their state is now willing and a choice; they have rejected the chance to escape it.

personally i care litle about societal obligations and i want things like poverty eliminated because i believe they limit individuals in their development to their full potential; i don't have strong feelings on the individual obligation for care, but i do see in it a chance for much more personal involvement in issues of the community, in such a way the individual human could act on their natural social species instincts, including their natural caring instincts, for the benefit for everyone involved; relegating it to faceless institutions has removed that personal involvement and detached the individuals, liberating them from the notion that they ought to care about other people. to me, no one should be obligated to care about other people; i hate the sense of moral obligation - but caring about other people comes to most naturally; it's the matter of their evolutionary predispositions, their millions of years of evolution; humans as a species are not solitary - acting on these instincts aids and whole community and benefits the individual, as most have a natural tendency to derive happiness from such involvement - so arguably, this detachment also took away from the individual the happiness of their personal impact on wellbeing of the community as a whole, the self-realisation, which years later they would try to take back on the way of democracy, for many reasosn imperfect.

it is important to remember that, as implied by foucault, the economic exploitation of the poor has industrialised itself towards actual material benefit for the rich later, and started out as an attempt of "moral correction" through labour - the ties between morality and the state, morality and the institutions, institutionalised morality. in such the way the state is what individuals outsource, and task a faceless collective with instaead, aiming for economisation of human instincts - doesn't work well; outsourcing and insitutionalising virtue, mercy and other takes away personal involvement with it, and leads to mass apathy and ignorance, which is exhibited very much by the modern society; the construct of state is which keeps people separate from each other and their own causes, via an unnecessary collective middleman which as an institution has no concern of its own, but liberalises the outsourcing individuals from the task of concern; it results in cocnern disappearing.


the time has come.

ok i owe you a word of explanation on why i actually abandoned this book for so long: i was reading it together with someone very dear to me back then, whom i had to cut off for personal reasons of no one's actual fault. interacting with foucault made me sad for a good while, which passed as i healed from the loss, but then i entered seasonal depression, and consequently i kept feeling trying to touch foucault again would make me feel worse. so i put it on hold for what was apparently half a year.

nevertheless, when i promise i would get to something, i always do; even if it takes a while. so this week, which was a holiday week in my country, i've motivated myself to get back to it. i have to say i actually really enjoy it so far, and find it causes me no grief, so there probably shouldn't be any more months long hiatuses with this book.

i've finished the first part of the book - the first 5 chapters; i've had some very interesting reflections on it. despite questionable beliefs about the age of consent, foucault is a great historian and sociologist (once again proof that morality has nothing to do with talent) - i have not caught enough of his philosophy so far to see how do i rate him in this area, since that first half of the book was mainly descriptive. i do notice we share authorities, though - as he refers to nietzsche and freud repeatedly; i've known in the past foucault and i had a similar background philosophically and i know he considered himself a nietzschean, which makes me further wonder how did he walk towards postmodernism from that.

i was asked recently what my issues with postmodernism were. long story, but the answer i gave was more of less that most of the things considered achievements of postmodernism existed before - such as questioning objective morality (nietzsche, freud), questioning and deconstructing societal hierarchies as non-inherent (marx, young hegelians otherwise) - while the main impact it has appears to be blurring the meaning of words and making discussion of overarching material realities and societal relations of power more difficult if not impossible. essentially: boiling everything to an individual perception and lack of schemes excludes productive discussion and organisation, and it's probably more beneficial to look for shared points. i've been guilty of condemning currents or philosophers too quickly before properly getting into them - big mistake i made with freud in my early 20s - so i've been hesistant to speak negatively of postmodernism before i at least read derrida to look into the linguistic analysis and philosophy of language it created, which is considered its most valuable heritage. with this in mind, i refuse to completely condemn postmodernism, but if there's value in what it left behind it would probably mostly be located there, and perhaps in some influences on third-wave feminism.

but back to foucault.

the first part is mainly descriptive, as i said - it tells of various developments the concept of madness/insanity has been through since the middle ages up to xixth century, evolving from a call of the deep in the middle ages to the other side of the coin of reason in renaissance, to an element of un-reason in xviith century, to what it was in classicism of xviiith - a matter of public morality and ultimate moral failure; perceived as a temptation to resist, it was seen as a choice and weakness of will. why a temptation to resist, though? well, allow me to explain this.

essentially, this whole book discusses the cultural history of the idea of madness and how the current psychiatry essentially originated in the xixth century from two currents of thought. one has existed since the middle ages and also existed in the arabic world outside of europe, where madness is mainly a legal category - in europe that was represented by the ideas in catholic church canon laws - for these who can't be fully responsible for themselves and make decisions. ironically they were back then moreso approached as ill, the court could identify someone as mad but only a medic could confirm it. it was more of a legal-medical category, concept and idea, while in the classicism era in europe of xviiith century it started to be perceived mostly as a moral and social category, and that's what started locking the insane up with criminals, prostitutes, beggars, thiefs, homosexuals and whoever else was seen as a threat to moral order; that's when it became significantly a matter of organs of the state and/or community (i.e. neighbors, family) rather than a medic to identify whoever was "spreading depravity" which "insanity" was a part of. the "hospitals" for the insane from back then didn't get more medical care than normal prisons did (i.e. a "residing" medic who visited once a week), and the attempts at diagnosis moved away from categories which were to do with one's inability to take responsibility for themself to categories which were to do with moral depravity and being... "unreasonable". "unreasonable" how?

the answer is: this specific understanding of madness originated from the "age of reason" categories, the same ones that produced kant with his godforsaken categorical imperative (and in kant's times it was a debate whether medical opinion was even necessary to deem someone insane, smething obvious to canonic judges in the middle ages). a good example foucault quoted: when people as a society stopped believing in magic they stopped seeing dark magicians as a threat in terms of supernatural, but started seeing them as a threat to societal harmony since they fooled others either by malice or insanity and thus caused commotion, and on account of that they were locked up. that era specifically equated "reason" and logic with its own morality and customs - kant's categorical imperative was just a direct product of the era. an era which has moved from objective morality as a part of religion, and moved to objective morality as a part of nature - which hasn't yet achieved the state of individualism that would allow for making morality a personal matter. it's unsurprising kant thought "moral law" was just obvious as laws of logic and nature - while before religion and morality were one thing, that epoque identified reason but didn't separate morality from it, and so the insane were grouped in with everyone else who wasn't seen as reasonable - everyone who threatened the protestant (it was worse in these countries) order.

this sentiment of the era that morality is logical and can be deduced from the laws of nature and laws of thought is something still present in conservative mentalities, i notice - i see it in arguments about abortion, for one, as suggesting that 'not killing the unborn' is not only immoral for arbitrary reasons - like god's will - or pragmatic reasons, but also somehow illogical, somehow insulting to 'facts', as in natural 'facts' there's some hints hidden on how humans should handle things between each other - a starry sky above me, moral law inside me - oh well! obviously, i've always laughed in their faces about it since it's a pretty damn absurd sentiment. nevertheless though, this notion of objective, logical wrong and right, good and evil, one that can be measured and studied on part with natural sciences - that's a sentiment of classicism, alright.

but i digress. once again, back to foucault.

very interesting argument he brings up is how in the asylums labour was used as "corrective punishment" and not to make the insane productive - they were supposed to work as much as they physically could until they "repented" and only then could get labour suitable for their sex and skills. in general a very interesting narrative. foucault argues that going back to rare medical practices taken then with insanity (some isolated cases were "treated" in normal hospitals or allowed to stay with the impoverished and sick in hotel-dieu in france) as a sign of progress to modern psychiatry is foolish - actually it was the other way around, they were a relic of the middle ages. a relic of the times dating back when insanity was a matter of the person and their relation to the world, while the conceptualisation of madness as a matter of community and the person who disrupted the community and its "godly" order being "mad" was newer. i later noticed foucault actually appears to believe the modern psychiatry is heritage of the chronologically first current, while the classicism era one existed in isolation as a phenomenon of its own, but also mentions a synthesis in xixth century - kind of incoherent; i would agree that it was, in fact, a synthesis - i'll get to that.

it appears - to me at least - that's the second current that created xixth century psychiatry. foucault does note at a point there was a new movement in the other direction which began with synthetising the idea of not being able to be responsible for self legally with the idea of societal insanity, and created the new idea of insanity as an illness, but that new synthesis inherited to a level the classicism era methods, just with different principles - isolation now not as punishment but as a way of treatment, and the mental asylums of the xixth century were a result of this more "humanitarian" fused approach.

even then, he notes, these genuinely insane were often showed off in public - there was a distinction between these 'just' insane in the way of immorality, and these whose minds have genuinely lost control - the former were hidden to avoid a scandal, the latter showed off. asylum tourism has then been at its absolute height. why? to symbolise the complete fall of humanity; these were used as a cautionary tale for what happens when a human doesn't keep themself in discipline and falls to their instincts - madness perceived as a failure of will. foucault touched a bit on the inhumane treatment of these too, and a specific approach towards them equating them to animals who need to be trained - and a transition from insane animalistic human to a well behaved animal removing a contradiction and being considered madness being 'cured' in the eyes of the era. it was 'cured' then, because its essence was a human losing their humanity - removing external functioning of a human would render them just an animal in its natural state. hence why some psychotic individuals were used for field labour as beasts of burden. brutal, isn't it. i can't deny a twisted logic being present there behind that.

in general this book shows very well how the whole idea of madness is significantly constructed - the new cultural developments (philosophical, political) such as the french revolution caused a conceptual transition of the "unreasonable" from the sphere of immorality to the sphere of pathology seen in terms of lack of health - from the sphere of morals to the sphere of medicine. that's a new perception, not quite the middle ages perception, but also not the classicism perception of madness as straying away from the only logical, societal and moral order, which was a much wider category. the xixth century would perceive unreasonability as a pathology, but not a moral failure, and synthetise these approaches.

anyway. that's for foucault, but while reading that i actually realised a certain thing. the xixth century psychiatry didn't really have ideas of things such as personality disorders. the xixth century is when madness was tied to not being productive and "functional", but functional people were left alone. i have to say i do make up npd nietzsche jokes for teh lulz, but unironically i think if nietzsche explained his ideas to a modern psychiatrist he would get an npd diagnosis. ideas such as the will to power and rejection of morality as an empty idea which were just 'controversial philosophy in xixth century would get him a diagnosis now. in the xixth century - if i were a man, of course - i would not be considered pathological. i would not be considered a "sociopath", many were capable of murder and didn't feel empathy as a normalised thing then. which brings me to the conclusion that the whole idea of a "sociopath" is incredibly modern. possibly too modern for foucault to note it. the medieval discourse would deal with whether an individual can be responsible for their crimes or not. classicism saw being a criminal and insanity as the same immorality. but only xxth and xxist century psychiatry invented such a thing as a type of personality who is inherently more inclined for immorality even if they're not actually doing it, and yet can be responsible if they do. it's a new idea. functionally insane people who are capable of labour and otherwise taking responsibility for themsleves but still insane are a new invention, an invention of xxth century. constructed, as are all other thought schemes of this kind.

at one point in the xxth century there was a new movement which stopped being only concerned with whether you're functional or not, and kind of went similar direction as the classicism understanding, where it's a matter of being able to conform to morality and customs too. incapability or hardship with said conforming is a pathology. as such, personality disorders are entirely constructed, though i don't think they "aren't real" in the sense that there aren't people who have the specific set of traits and meet the criteria, moreso constructed in the sense that the criteria were set to "capture" several most common patterns of these whose mental and emotional processsing is at odds. these are often also miserable (i.e. in bpd), because the same trauma that causes inability to conform often also causes misery, but i think it was identified and described for the inability to conform aspect, not the misery aspect. the misery of the individual is there as a concern, but not why these categories were made (i.e. aspd was made to identify criminals most likely to reoffend). the idea of what is and isn't a pathology is strongly a product of the era, and i guess the xxth-xxist century era produced the idea of categoriesed types of people who pose a threat to the public morality and also are miserable because they pose a threat for reasons which also cause misery, so misery is part of these categories alright, yet as an afterthought.

nietzsche's theories were seen as morally dubious but not as a pathology in categories of health which they would nowadays, and my 'sociopathy' would be seen as a moral reflection on me in xixth century, but not as kind of sickness; that's a new invention, like, of last 50 years - the idea of sociopathy as a pattern of processing which means that you are in need of supervision because there's a contradiction betweeen how you process and the societally accepted order and morality.

which brings me to what therapy is presently, which i believe it has two functions, one is indeed to help the person who is miserable, but another is a supervising function - a similar way back then wanting and agreeing to perform labour meant "signing the pact of societal morality and order again", nowadays i believe going to therapy for some years and being therapised if you're one of the commonly identified kinds of sociopath (here used as personality disorder in general, though it also specifically means aspd and less specifically mostly cluster b in general) is kind of an act of cooperation, a condition to be accepted in the wider, normal society - you've shown your willingness to cooperate, someone who can be trusted and is respectable keeps an eye on you and has confirmed it, therefore you're safe to be let among the normal people. interesting way to conceptualise it, saying as someone who does go to therapy, for a variety for personal reasons, and has found it a degree of helpful, albeit flawed.

i'll keep you updated on foucault to the best of my ability!

trace your footsteps home...