“The political, ethical, social, philosophical problem of our days is not to try to liberate the individual from the state, and from the state’s institutions, but to liberate us both from the state and from the type of individualization which is linked to the state. We have to promote new forms of subjectivity through the refusal of this kind of individuality which has been imposed on us for several centuries.” – Michel Foucault, “The Subject and Power”

“Although almost all of the intellectuals in France have felt, since the revolution, that society is in a major crisis which puts it in peril, there is presumably a consensus among administrators, expressed in their memos to each other, that things are basically in hand and that the general welfare and productivity of the population is constantly improving. It should be obvious that, even if there were a general consensus as to the state of the society, this would only prove that an orthodoxy had taken hold, not that the sense of things had assumed the status of objective truth.” – Hubert L. Dreyfus and Paul Rabinow, Michel Foucault: Beyond Structuralism and Hermeneutics

“The advance of bio-power is contemporary with the appearance and proliferation of the very categories of anomalies—the delinquent, the pervert, and so on—that technologies of power and knowledge were supposedly designed to eliminate. The spread of normalization operates through the creation of abnormalities which it then must treat and reform. By identifying the anomalies scientifically, the technologies of bio-power are in a perfect position to supervise and administer them. This effectively transforms into a technical problem—and thence into a field foe expanding power—what might otherwise be construed as a failure of the whole system of operation. Political technologies advance by taking what is essentially a political problem, removing it from the realm of political discourse, and recasting it in the neutral language of science. Once this is accomplished the problems have become technical ones for specialists to debate. In fact, the language of reform is, from the outset, an essential component of these political technologies. Bio-power spread under the banner of making people healthy and protecting them. When there was resistance, or failure to achieve its stated aims, this was construed as further proof of the need to reinforce and extend the power of the experts. A technical matrix was established. By definition, there ought to be a way of solving any technical problem. Once this matrix was established, the spread of bio-power was assured, for there was nothing else to appeal to; any other standards could be shown to be abnormal or to present merely technical problems. We are promised normalization and happiness through science and law. When they fail, this only justifies the need for more of the same. Once the hold of bio-power is secure, what we get is not a true conflict of interpretations about the ultimate worth or meaning of efficiency, productivity, or normalization, but rather what might be called a conflict of implementations. The problem bio-power has succeeded in establishing is how to make the welfare institutions work; it does not ask, What do they mean?” – Hubert L. Dreyfus and Paul Rabinow, Michel Foucault: Beyond Structuralism and Hermeneutics

“In disciplinary technology, the internal organization of space depends on the principle of elementary partitioning into regular units. This space is based on a principle of presences and absences. In such a simple coding, each slot in the grid is assigned a value. These slots facilitate the application of discipline to the body. . . . Individuals are placed, transformed, and observed with an impressive economy of means. For the most efficient and productive operation, it is necessary to define beforehand the nature of the elements to be used; to find individuals who fit the definition proposed; to place them in the ordered space; to parallel the distribution of functions in the structure of space in which they will operate. Consequently, all of space within a confined area must be ordered; there should be no waste, no gaps, no free margins; nothing should escape.” – Hubert L. Dreyfus and Paul Rabinow, Michel Foucault: Beyond Structuralism and Hermeneutics

“We have lost the symbolic value of the family meal; our festal days no longer remind us of human continuity or a vie antérieure common to all, but are monstrously corrupted and humiliated by a consumer society. The institutions we have devised to make daily life more harmonious continue to impose themselves as obstacles between feeling and value. We live with objects so secularised that we can only suppose behind them a void, an absence. The first result is that increasingly meaning becomes not a natural aura surrounding objects, events, and relationships but the work of will, spasmodic and synthetic. Meaning is invented, instigated, and produced by an imagination determined upon that labour.” – Denis Donoghue, The Sovereign Ghost

“It is at the moment when agrarian capitalism begins to establish itself that the means of stabilizing it in written balance accounts appears and it is also at the moment when social hierarchization is affirmed that writing constructs its first genealogists. . . . The appearance of writing is not fortuitous; after millennia of maturation in the systems of mythographic representation the linear notation of thought emerges at the same time as metal and slavery.” – André Leroi-Gourhan, La geste et la parole (quoted by Jacques Derrida in Of Grammatology (trans. Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak))

“Societies have assumed their final form: no longer is anything changed except by arms and cash. And since there is nothing to say to people besides give money, it is said with placards on street corners or by soldiers in their homes.” – Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Emile (quoted by Jacques Derrida in Of Grammatology (trans. Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak)) (emphasis in original)

“Writing may not have sufficed to consolidate human knowledge, but it may well have been indispensable to the consolidation of dominions. To bring the matter nearer to our own time: the European-wide movement towards compulsory education in the nineteenth century went hand in hand with the extension of military service and with proletarization. The struggle against illiteracy is thus indistinguishable from the increased powers exerted over the individual citizen by the central authority. For it is only when everyone can read that Authority can decree that ‘ignorance of law is no defence.’ “ – Claude Lévi-Strauss (quoted by Jacques Derrida in Of Grammatology (trans. Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak))

“A distinction can always be made between weapons and tools on the basis of their usage (destroying people or producing goods). But although this extrinsic distinction explains certain secondary adaptations of a technical object, it does not preclude a general convertibility between the two groups, to the extent that it seems very difficult to propose an intrinsic difference between weapons and tools. . . . And yet we have the feeling that there are many internal differences, even if they are not intrinsic, in other words, logical or conceptual, and even if they remain approximate. At first approximation, weapons have a privileged relation with projection. Anything that throws or is thrown is fundamentally a weapon, and propulsion is its essential moment.” – Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari, A Thousand Plateaus (trans. Brian Massumi)

“One of the fundamental tasks of the State is to striate the space over which it reigns, or to utilize the smooth spaces as a means of communication in the service of striated space. It is a vital concern of every State not only to vanquish nomadism but to control migrations and, more generally, to establish a zone of rights over an entire ‘exterior,’ over all of the flows traversing ecumenon. If it can help it, the State does not dissociate itself from a process of capture of flows of all kinds, populations, commodities or commerce, money or capital, etc. There is still a need for fixed paths in well-defined directions, which restrict speed, regulate circulation, relativize movement, and measure in detail the relative movements of subjects and objects.” – Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari, A Thousand Plateaus (trans. Brian Massumi)

“Unlike natural persons, corporations have limited liability for their owners and managers, perpetual life, separation of ownership and control, and favorable treatment of the accumulation and distribution of assets that enhance their ability to attract capital and to deploy their resources in ways that maximize the return on their shareholders’ investments. Unlike voters in U.S. elections, corporations may be foreign controlled. Unlike other interest groups, business corporations have been effectively delegated responsibility for ensuring society’s economic welfare; they inescapably structure the life of every citizen. It might also be added that corporations have no consciences, no beliefs, no feelings, no thoughts, no desires. Corporations help structure and facilitate the activities of human beings, to be sure, and their personhood often serves as a useful legal fiction. But they are not themselves members of We the People by whom and for whom our Constitution was established.” – Justice John Paul Stevens, United States Supreme Court, Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission (internal quotes and citations omitted)

“Whoever appears in a photograph or whoever is glimpsed in its frame always stands in a certain set of relations with others. Neither the photographer who is invested with ownership rights over the photograph as object, nor the work of art constructed as the center of gravity of the discourse of art, are capable of erasing the photographed persons or any other participants in the event of photography from the civil space in which they are present and whose coming into being they demand from those who observe them.” – Ariella Azoulay, Civil Imagination: A Political Ontology of Photography

“Corporations are great and appalling things. They take you and shape you in nearly nothing flat, twist and swivel you. And they do it without overt persuasion, they do it with smiles and nods, a collective inflection of the voice. You stand at the head of a corridor and by the time you walk to the far end you have adopted the comprehensive philosophy of the firm.” – Don DeLillo, Underworld

“The whole of psychoanalysis is an immense perversion, a drug, a radical break with reality, starting with the reality of desire; it is a narcissism, a monstrous autism: the characteristic autism and the intrinsic perversion of the machine of capital. At its most autistic, psychoanalysis is no longer measured against any reality, it no longer opens to any outside, but becomes itself the test of reality and the guarantor of its own test: reality as the lack to which the inside and the outside, departure and arrival, are reduced.” – Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari, Anti-Oedipus (trans. Robert Hurley, et al.)

“The truth is that sexuality is everywhere: the way a bureaucrat fondles his records, a judge administers justice, a businessman causes money to circulate; the way the bourgeoisie fucks the proletariat; and so on. And there is no need to resort to metaphors, any more than for the libido to go by way of metamorphoses. Hitler got the fascists sexually aroused. Flags, nations, armies, banks get a lot of people aroused.” – Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari, Anti-Oedipus (trans. Robert Hurley, et al.)

“There is no longer any need of belief, and the capitalist is merely striking a pose when he bemoans the fact that nowadays no one believes in anything anymore. Language no longer signifies something that must be believed, it indicates rather what is going to be done, something that the shrewd or the competent are able to decode, to half understand.” – Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari, Anti-Oedipus (trans. Robert Hurley, et al.)

“Writing has never been capitalism’s thing. Capitalism is profoundly illiterate. The death of writing is like the death of God or the death of the father: the thing was settled a long time ago, although the news of the event is slow to reach us.” – Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari, Anti-Oedipus (trans. Robert Hurley, et al.)

“All writing is so much pig shit—that is to say, any literature that takes itself as an end or sets ends for itself, instead of being a process that ‘ploughs the crap of being and its language,’ transports the weak, the aphasiacs, the illiterate. At least spare us sublimation. Every writer is a sellout. The only literature is that which places an explosive device in its package, fabricating a counterfeit currency, causing the superego and its forms of expression to explode, as well as the market value of its form of content.” – Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari, Anti-Oedipus (trans. Robert Hurley, et al.)

“If desire is repressed, it is because every position of desire, no matter how small, is capable of calling into question the established order of a society. Not that desire is asocial, on the contrary. But it is explosive . . . no society can tolerate a position of real desire without its structures of exploitation, servitude, and hierarchy being compromised.” – Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari, Anti-Oedipus (trans. Robert Hurley, et al.)

“Imagine never belonging to your own body. Your own body never belonging to you. Imagine you were programmed only to say yes when a man pulls the string. Imagine when you say no, it’s like men can’t hear it. Like you are just a doll who says yes and Momma and sleepy. Like when they lay you down, your eyes close, and you don’t remember anything that happens next. Imagine the world that tells you this is your fault.” — Shaindell Beers, “Playing Dolls” (emphases in original)

“When subjects, individuals, or groups act manifestly counter to their own class interests—when they rally to the interests and ideals of a class that their own objective situation should lead them to combat—it is not enough to say: they were fooled, the masses have been fooled. It is not an ideological problem, a problem of failing to recognize, or of bring subject to, an illusion. It is a problem of desire, and desire is part of the infrastructure. Preconscious investments are made, or should be made, according to the interests of the opposing classes. But unconscious investments are made according to positions of desire.” – Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari, Anti-Oedipus (trans. Robert Hurley, et al.) (emphasis in original)

“The astonishing thing is not that some people steal or that others occasionally go out on strike, but rather that all those who are starving do not steal as a regular practice, and all those who are exploited are not continually out on strike: after centuries of exploitation, why do people still tolerate being humiliated and enslaved, to such a point, indeed, that they actually want humiliation and slavery not only for others but for themselves?” – Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari, Anti-Oedipus (trans. Robert Hurley, et al.) (emphasis in original)

“Inspiration is not the exclusive privilege of poets or artists generally. There is, has been, and will always be a certain group of people whom inspiration visits. It’s made up of all those who’ve consciously chosen their calling and do their job with love and imagination. It may include doctors, teachers, gardeners – and I could list a hundred more professions. Their work becomes one continuous adventure as long as they manage to keep discovering new challenges in it. Difficulties and setbacks never quell their curiosity. A swarm of new questions emerges from every problem they solve. Whatever inspiration is, it’s born from a continuous ‘I don’t know.’ There aren’t many such people. Most of the earth’s inhabitants work to get by. They work because they have to. They didn’t pick this or that kind of job out of passion; the circumstances of their lives did the choosing for them. Loveless work, boring work, work valued only because others haven’t got even that much, however loveless and boring – this is one of the harshest human miseries.” – Wislawa Szymborska, “Nobel Lecture” (trans. Stanislaw Baranczak and Clare Cavanagh)