Self-governing as doubling?


The assumption of ‘self governing’ requires a doubling of sorts.  Must it be built on a splitting of the self into its governing and the governed elements, into subject and object, into soul as separate from the body.  To become an ethical subject capable of governing me as an ethical object, I should be able to step away from myself.

Rhetorical consistency requires that free will/choice and self-governing also hang out with each other in the same neighbourhood. It also requires the terms such as destiny and their cognates be kept at a bay.

The rhetoric of self-governance will have holes in it if it wasn’t linked with well-defined ends as well as incentives to attain them. This explains the clusters of rewards and punishments that accompany freewill/choice and self-governing subjects.  The right or wrong choice does not have any meaning except in relation to a discourse that rewards the right and punishes the wrong.

Self-governing cannot be a new idea! It must have been always there, in one form or other. A discourse completely free of all traces of self-governance must be able to replace self-governing subjects by the marionettes. Such a pure state only comes across as a lamentation prompted by extreme helplessness.

But how might the religious discourse differ from the secular? Some stray thoughts: The former doubles the God, placing it both outside and inside of the soul where the latter doubles the ‘man’, dividing the soul from the body, and turning, as Foucault put it in his Discipline and Punish, soul into the prison of the body [In his words: “The soul is the effect and instrument of political anatomy; the soul is the prison of the body”—Michel Foucault in Discipline and Punish, pg. 30.” The soul of self-governing subject, then, emerges on the registers of a scientific study of ‘man’s’ nature, and is also used to govern the self in turn—by being educated into a self-governing citizen.

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About Irfan

I am an independent researcher and blogger interested in everything under the sun, but more so in the philosophy and history of education and education reform generally, and specifically in the so-called post colonial contexts

One Response to “Self-governing as doubling?”

  1. Thought provoking post!!!

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