Reflection for "What is wrong with us"?

 “What is wrong with us”?
– Interesting readings and references…in this context:

Politics and Sovereign Power
Considerations on Foucault; 

 Reflections and essays around “the political philosophy of Claude Lefort” are worth noting for  contemplation on the problems of “the Ethiopian Political Order”; ie. sovereignity, governance, cultural development and rights etc.

Above all “the Reason of the State” and its historical development. Yes, “State”, which I would still define , to make it simple and intelligible or demysitify it from its complexity and non-transparence for the “common man”; as : an “embodiment of a collective Intelligence” to interpret the following statement (out of the Atachment), which has a lot to say and on which we could reflect much to see through the problem of politics (and the lack of peace) in our region: Ethiopia; i.e. The Ethiopian State.

The State, “An embodiment of Collective Intelligence”, which claims the right of ontological development; and if hampered in this process by human agents as well as by exterior forces, elements which are not organically linked in the process, would be a cause of a lot of pain in its constitution, resulting in wars and social conflicts, difficult to be dealt with, since “mini” intelligences and the collective intelligence are involved in the tension. The collective, with its highly consumed evoluion and revolution and the mini-s claiming for a new existence, whereas a political imperative could have resolved the tension through “Aufhebung”/ sublationto a higher complexity/ of their higher mutual existence to the benefit of all.

I = h * q * q

I  (Intelligence, the Axis for the human hemisphere, manifested and embodied in the “State” / as the tritpartite of (human) power, law and knowledge) = h (humanity, the Axis of the social plane) and (q as an axis of the cultural plane, qualified as quality of music) q*q  (h alluding to zoe and q to bios; or human power to Intelligence, law to humanity (laws and rights) and knowledge to quality of music, the limit of culture)


Interesting thoughts from and on Claude Lefort…..

For instance for the role of religion in modern politics implicit or explicit..visible or invisible………….

Gilles Labelle

For more on “CONFIGURATIONS OF POWER, LAW and Knowledge”

Brian C. J. Singer

Politics and Sovereign Power

Considerations on Foucault
Brian C.J. Singer and Lorna Weir
Foucault’s critique of early modern political theory aimed at displacing
sovereignty as the principle of intelligibility of power. In the genealogical
literature since Foucault, sovereignty has become a residual category lacking
analytic specificity, largely displaced by governance, in turn equated with
politics. We argue that Foucault and the Foucauldians have not understood
that the flourishing of governance has presupposed a symbolic regime with
a division of knowledge–power–law characteristic of the democratic
sovereign. The conflation of governance with politics, together with the
sliding of sovereignty under governance, has left Foucauldians unable to
diagnose the dangers present in varying possible sovereignty–governance


“Dillon’s (1995, 2004) formulation of biopolitics owes much to Agamben, reading the inclusive
exclusion of zoe¯ (the type of life human and animals both share) as defining
the space of politics in the ancient polis, while in the modern period sovereignty
proliferates bare life by the fusing of zoe¯ with bios (cultural forms of
life) when securing health became one of sovereignty’s main functions.

For Dillon (2004: 84), ‘[t]o analyze a regime of security is . . . to analyse a regime
of politics in which governance and sovereignty intersect”.

“To speak of power is to
speak of its place in the construction of the order, coherence and intelligibility
of a larger world. And how one understands that world depends, in good
part, on how one presents power as a meaningful construct. This is why we
speak of ontologies of power: the latter are integral to the establishment of
a meaningful world in its generality, even as the introduction of the term
‘sovereignty’, and the shift from a monarchic to a democratic sovereign,
implies a change of cosmology or, to use Lefort’s expression, of ‘symbolic
regime’. With this latter shift, and the separation of knowledge and law from
power that it entails, the meaning of the binaries that structure one’s basic
sense of the world – true or false, real or unreal, possible or impossible, just
or unjust, etc. – is altered. Needless to say, the character of the symbolic
regime underpins the terms and forms of governance.”

“Our remarks herein can be situated as a contribution to recent theorizing
about the state of exception (or at least one particularly extreme type
of this state), which we have conceptualized as the collapse of the tripartite
symbolic regime of modernity – law, power, knowledge – when the antecedent
reference is to a democratic sovereign. In this state of exception the
governmental notion of population fuses with the conception of the sovereign
people, producing in effect the oxymoron of a sovereign population
that can no longer appoint or summon its representatives but can only be
represented, ostensibly for its own protection. Following Schmitt, we understand
the state of exception to be characterized by the suspension of law,
declared to no longer apply under conditions interpreted as emergency –
even as the play of division characteristic of the democratic sovereign is
suspended by the designation of an (internal) enemy. In the black hole of
the alternative modernity that ensues from the fusion of government and
sovereignty, the limits of juridical law are annulled, with power operating
by decree, in secret, sundered from the democratic sovereign.”

“We are arguing that the democratic sovereign is the condition of possibility
for the formation of national population as a governmental concept;
the ‘people’ makes possible national ‘population’. In his commentaries on
Foucault’s conceptualization of the Holocaust in Society Must Be Defended,
Agamben (2002: 84) argues for the non-equivalence of ‘people’ and ‘population’,
with ‘people’ being constituted as ‘an essentially political body’, and
‘population’ as ‘an essentially biological body’ to be regulated and optimized.13
A people is not a population, but during the early to mid-20th century,
people and population became the shadow of each other: ‘With the emergence
of biopower, every people is doubled by a population; every democratic
people is, at the same time, a demographic people’ (Agamben, 2002:
84, emphasis in original). The doubling of people and population is exemplified,
Agamben argues, by the 1935 Nuremberg decrees that racialized
citizenship, categorizing Jews as residents of Germany rather than citizens,
prohibiting marriage between Jews and non-Jews, and mandating compulsory
medical examinations for couples prior to marriage with the intent of
protecting the German Volk against damage to its hereditary health (Erbgesundheit).
Between political categorization by people and nation and demographic/
biological categorization by population lies what Agamben (2002: 84)
calls a ‘caesura’.”
“The caesura to which Agamben refers pauses between and conjoins two
radically heterogeneous discourses: a veridical governmental knowledge of
population and the political representation of the people as sovereign. With
respect to Agamben’s discussion of the Shoah, what he calls the ‘biological’
population was also racialized, and one must ask the historical question of
how the sovereign people came to be equated with a racialized population.
An additional and properly theoretical question must also be raised: what is
the error in equating a people with a population?
Agamben repeatedly emphasizes the closeness of people and population,
whereas we would maintain their distance. In Homo Sacer (1998: 176–80)
Agamben argues that the people as ‘titular’ democratic sovereign has its
double in the people as impoverished, leading to demands on the democratic
sovereign to abolish/reduce poverty, demands that result in the proliferation
of bare life. In this reading democracy becomes a machine for the production
of bare life. Our understanding of the relation between sovereign people
and governed population is in some senses a Foucauldian response to
Agamben, though based on a much more robust concept of (democratic)
sovereignty than Foucault’s, with sovereignty and governance having incommensurable
epistemological differences – what we call the symbolic and the
veridical (Weir, forthcoming 2008). Attention must be called to the dangers
that result from the collapse of the knowledge-power distinction in the modern
symbolic regime, which results in the impossible fusion of the symbolic and
the veridical, as well as the reconstruction of both the symbolic register of the
political and the veridical register of expertise normed by the distinction of
truth and error.”

“Unlike Agamben, our primary emphasis is focused
not on Foucault’s weak theorization of the relation between sovereignty and
law, but on the governance-sovereignty relation. Where Agamben theorizes
sovereignty as ‘the sphere in which it is permitted to kill without committing
homicide and without celebrating a sacrifice – that is, life that may be
killed but not sacrificed’ (Agamben, 1998: 83), a sphere originating in ancient
Rome in the practice of creating homines sacri, we have followed the
interpretation of most intellectual historians in dating the use of the term
sovereignty to the growth of territorial powers independent of the Papacy
beginning in the 14th century and the subsequent extension of public law
during the late Renaissance. In Agamben’s (1998: 28) conceptualization,
sovereignty ‘is not exclusively a political concept’ but also an ontological
one (p. 44). The result is to treat bare life/homo sacer as part of the inevitable
tragedy of Western political thought from its inception, rendering the
state of exception almost inevitable. In Agamben’s thought, all modern sovereigns
appear as totalitarian, with the democratic, monarchical, fascist and
communist sovereigns made equivalent: a counsel of despair. In his conception
of sovereignty the differing articulations of law, power and knowledge
are not examined, an elision that results in the inevitable fusion of governance
and sovereignty. The state of exception and bare life spread without
check as sovereignty is conceived to have no specificity other than the
power of the ban, a single, dark point whose remit expands without limit
in modernity as its limits are never theorized.”

“The fusion of government with sovereignty coupled with the elision of
law in the state of exception forms a limit articulation of law–power–knowledge
in the symbolic regime of modernity. Generally, the articulation of
the three terms demands their separation/difference, as underscored by the
separation/articulation of governance and democratic sovereignty. The different
forms that such articulations may take produce a substantive area of
inquiry that needs further theoretical and empirical research. The articulation
(and, thereby, the establishment of the frontiers) between juridical and
governmental forms of knowledge and their respective forms of power will
prove particularly sensitive because, typically, constituted out of contestation.
In effect, individuals, institutions, social or political movements, or the
government itself seek to modify the law–governance articulation, which
thus becomes symptomatic of the play of division in democracy. When acts
of government are explicitly tied to law, they often find themselves before
the glare of the public sphere, where they must justify themselves under

“In this article we have argued against the tendency to equate power
with government, and government with the political. The problem with
governance is, on the contrary, that it seeks to avoid the space of the political,
even as it refuses to allow power to speak in its own name. It prefers
to examine powers that are audible at best only indirectly, which prefer to
hide in the language of non-political savoirs. Governance prefers its politics
outside of the space of the political properly speaking, where power is forced
to reveal itself in the spaces that it has claimed to vacate. Now, we would
be the last to deny that such an exercise is not without its uses, but it seems
to have come at the expense of examining what is happening where power
appears most vocal, i.e. in the place of sovereignty. Thus the tendency to
ignore the implications of what, traditionally, was termed regime change,
and notably the more unpleasant versions. Sometimes it seems as if the state
of exception was not to be considered exceptional, as if it reflected some
sort of logical end-point in governance’s ineluctable, if unconscious, imperial
ambitions. In our view, behind such tendencies lies another, theoretical
failure: a failure to understand that power, even after the ancien regime, is
still tied to the symbolic and constituted within a larger symbolic order.”

“Democracy supposes, whether implicitly or explicitly, the reference to a
sovereign,17 even as the position of that sovereign has shifted since the
decline of absolutism. And this shift, we have argued, entails a set of larger
changes in – and changes in the relations between – power, law and knowledge,
with enormous implications not just for the expressions of the political
but for the character of governance itself. This is what is missed when
governance appears without an outside.”
****************************End Extracts.****************

A symbolic Order,  which is dis-covered in due course of the human development, not only to a limited section of an enlightened stratum of a community.  May be  “Dasein and Authenticity”
calling for a democratic model in modernity counter to an order , which calls for a divine legitimacy, due to the development of the community in its “collective intelligence”, i.e. The modern State.

What is this symbolic Order? Or How would it be conceptualized? Under different conditions?
Given the human agency is compatible to whot it articulates and propagates?

“changes in the relations between – power, law and knowledge”

The Problem is:
These relations have hardly changed in the case of Ethiopia….from the radical christian orthodox ideological
backdrop to that of the radical left, which just gives a lip service to the democratic state model, since it has failed in the correct apreciation of its “Dasein”. It has fallen dramatically and is afraid of its resolution to be “There”; i.e. to be Free.


This entry was posted in standard. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s