Friday, August 30, 2019

short excerpt from 'notes on the bullshit-industrial complex'

Noam Chomsky once noted that Michel Foucault– often cited as among the post-structuralist and postmodernist thinkers although he didn’t like these labels - was actually intelligible if you sat him down and had a normal conversation.

(Unlike many of the other French philosophers).

Chomsky explains, ‘I don’t particularly blame Foucault [for obscurantism], it’s such a deeply rooted part of the corrupt intellectual culture of Paris that he fell into it pretty naturally, though to his credit, he distanced himself from it.’

Interestingly, Foucault confessed to his friend the American philosopher John Searle, that he intentionally complicated his writings to appease his French audience.

Searle has revealed that Foucault privately admitted this to him,

"In France you must make 25 percent incomprehensible, otherwise people won’t think it’s deep–they won’t think you’re a profound thinker."

The French structuralist Pierre Bourdieu claimed it was markedly worse than that. The BS quotient in the ‘works’ of Jacques Derrida, for example, is probably closer to 100%.

Foucault concurred, saying that Derrida practiced the method of obscurantisme terroriste (terrorism of obscurantism).

“He writes so obscurely you can’t tell what he’s saying, that’s the obscurantism part, and then when you criticize him, he can always say, ‘You didn’t understand me; you’re an idiot.’ That’s the terrorism part.”

But a background theory is mandatory.


This is a short excerpt from the chapter 'Notes on the bullshit-industrial complex' in Eaon's forthcoming second book 'Shot By Both Sides: What We Have Here is a Failure To Communicate'. The book will be available towards the end of 2019.