A curious growth in thinking has been presented to modern society since the post-war period; One which consistently serves to reinforce, and at the same time undermine, the epistemological assumptions and societal structures that make up the fabric of modern discourse and political society. This is the phenomenon of conspiracy theory. The term is thoroughly a value-laden word that must be addressed with utmost caution. A naïve or limited Genealogy of such a term could theoretically be possible; conspiracy can be seen as an alternative series of epistemologies and even ontologies which highlight the array of ways in which alienated modern humanity can express one's self in relation to society as a whole, and some are as vast as to effect the view of Humanity to reality as a whole. But ultimately all conspiracies are conceived and are in relation to the signal force of power: who holds power, and who manipulates power as such. Into the debate about this relationship between power and society, we have the works of Michel Foucault. With his unique genealogical and bodiless view of power, we have an impasse between his way of viewing power relations with that of conspiracy. That is why through a solid exploration of the foundations of conspiratorial thinking, along with a keen reference to the works of Aldous Huxley, we shall explore the contrastive relationship to the dynamics of power/knowledge in Foucault, along with the key differences on how Huxley undergirds Foucauldian normalization, and how Conspiracy theory is a product of the regimes of power/knowledge.
Figuring The Conspiratorial Worldview And Psychology.
To begin with, we shall establish a major point of contention between Foucault and the conspiratorial view of reality1. Foucault actively argued against his Nietzschean view of power:
one, which represses, normalizes, disciplines, creates regimes of truth, and also grows or gestates the populace and provokes creativity, as essentially bodiless, and without agency. There is not an active conspiracy (or collusion) of medical experts and professionals of all knowledge regimes to pacify and normalize society writ large, but rather a diversity and complexity of factors, starting in the 18th century, which lead to the disciplinary evolution of modern power2. This is a point I will come to later, but it is important to place Foucault’s thinking on the directional view of power conspiracy theorists have as merely alternative epistemic navel gazing, of finding profound connection in the upsurges of disciplinary action and normalization.
This apt difference in the way in which Foucault and conspiratorial thinking see power is integral to understanding the ontological-political framework both are grounded in the famed works of Gary Allen, one of the first thinkers to bring conspiracy to the forefront of modern political discourse in the 1970s and 80s, outlines the conspiratorial world view as the “hidden picture” of society at large, that “we believe the picture painters of the mass media are artfully creating landscapes for us which hide the real picture”3. Our very view of reality is being carefully crafted by the influential and powerful. However, the conspiracists anticipate the pull back, the reaction to their accusations of mass social manipulation and exploitation. Thus most
academics and those in what Foucault would call the professional and medical classes outright dismiss such claims as irrational or beyond reproach, even pathological and acutely paranoid;
However, the conspiracy theorist operates very similarly to any political philosopher or public policy thinker, operating on a whole series of normative assumptions that wish to exclude deception and subtle manipulation from the acts of the political that ought to operate with complete transparency4. But there are dangers in conspiracy theory, such as the possibility of not addressing the underlying structures of society, which produce mass disinformation and domination (this is the Chomskyan criticism at least)5
A pinnacle aspect of conspiracy theory is its confrontation point with the reality of society at large. There are a number of ways in which information, via sophisticated techniques to the conspiracy theorist, has influenced the very unconscious itself. There are the “official” stories, and the way in which authority presents information as being legitimate, which the conspiracy theorists view with suspicion, especially when there is good evidence to suggest that the present information given has been actively shifted to benefit the narratives of the powerful. There simply is not enough information or technical ability among the common masses to come to a definitive conclusion about any particular world event or major geopolitical shift, thus playing on the background suspicion people have of most public institutions67. In a large way, the conspiracy theorist is maintaining their normative assumptions and their grasp towards an authentic way of being. By rebelling against the present conditions of the information systems that create our societally influenced identity, the conspiracy theorist ensures their total cleansed and free state of being by not conforming to the subliminal affective control mechanisms of the elite. Everywhere, from advertisement to medical training and education, the conspiracy against modern humanity is implemented on the unconscious level and must be combated with a thorough understanding of the alternative histories and symbolic instruments used by the controllers8. They see the various fruits of psychic manipulation and colonization everywhere. There is a need to maintain the rebellious "No" towards the structures of society that to them, have been erected out of deception, control, hidden intents, etc.. This psychic colonization is ubiquitous in the globalized media, entertainment industry, etc.. Shaping our worldview and redirecting psychic investment towards trivialities and “officialized” narratives9.
The Rebellious "No" And The Scope Of The Conspiracy
It is said that a conspiracy is not an effective or even plausible explanation of current geopolitical framework or societal (institutionalized) discourse if it is not totalizing. By that I mean the scope of the conspiracy must be as grand as to not play into the usual criticism of people undermining or exposing the conspiracy. It must encompass all social relations and all of academic and layman discourse, thus becoming an epistemological view of the world at large. Those who gather information, who engage in the “information war” fueled by modern globalized communication and discourse are those who face counter-methods of power: most notably the
normalization of popular discourse that views the “conspiracy theory” in the conditioned pejorative sense10. In fact some would go so far as to say that the conspiracy shapes the very consciousness we inhabit, that every mental effect, every disposition towards media and political, institutional discourses is conditioning us psychically; a metaphysics of power and conspiracy is thus produced, one that represses humanity at every turn, in time going beyond mental conditioning to a more pure state of control via linguistic and psychic manipulation, to the point of a continual self-tyranny11. Similar to the way in which the Foucauldian Panopticon system normalizes to the point of self-surveillance and internalization of power, almost anticipating social expectations and norms.12
We shall see this totalizing end of freedom in the works of Huxley. But for now, we shall point out the similarities in this regard to Foucault with the conspiratorial worldview. The “painted pictures’ of society is a literal manifestation of normalization. Since with the wide scale investment (as the story goes) that the Globalist put into the television media, humanity has been undergoing an odd and altogether shocking degree of normalized control and passivity. Power to Foucault is one that produces, and not merely represses. It is an upsurge, and a non-material emergentism, which grows from a complex coalescence of societal forces, and is ubiquitous. It can test the various outgrowth of resistance to strengthen the better methods and techniques of repression, normalization, and growth of the subject- hence a subject is created from power, and further normalized into power relations when acts of residence take place. Power anticipates, so even the revolutionary deals in power relations, since there is no escaping the fact; to Foucault, that power is the very nature of our emergent self, and it does not merely repress, but allows for growth, and is deeply embedded in virtually all social relations and relations to one's self13.
The techniques for gathering and normalizing individuals in society (without the need of a controller) and what instills the ideology of power are called "disciplinary action." However, power is
not solely defined in negative terms, but produces reality for Foucault14. Electronic media (television, the internet etc.) present images and words as instruments of communication rather than artistic or philosophical abstractions. Thus symbols are colonized and appropriated to create self-contained worlds within the images that distract, normalize, repress, and create the growth of social forces Foucault points to in power. To Media Theorist Neil Postman, it inhibits consumption, worriment, fear, and emotive diffusion. The self-contained images of the media in all its forms create whole new levels of reality; Pseudo-reality, Pseudo-events, which displace the ‘real” events that take place in the world. Thus information systems grow around such self-contained images that are not subject to history, and do not point towards prior events or casual relations, therefore are a self-contained world of effects that control and divert attention15. Postman does a good job of underlying Foucauldian discipline from a quasi-conspiracy lens.
To Foucault Truth is a result of power. It is the regimes of truth which produce the power/knowledge dynamic, in fact, power cannot function without the accompanying discourses of truth that allow for its functioning16. Transitions in media fuel new epistemologies and bodies of knowledge that power can creep into, grow, test the upsurges and fluidity of the regimes of truth found within those new mediums. The way we speak of things influences the discourse and social landscape writ large. The new media epistemology of television, of the moving image and sound replacing print media, alters the way in which we think of things. Nothing escapes the epistemological basis of the image and media, not education, friendship, work, etc.. The new epistemologies of the electro-image take form, and to the conspiracy theorist, this is a fundamental shift in the power of repression and domination wielded by the controllers of the image, since manipulated electronic media informs every discourse17. Electro-media has become the dominant culture, the background radiation of all social interaction, and has managed to totalize its relation towards the human psyche and our capacity for meaning1819. Electro-media encompasses all forms of social discourse; therefore it is a perfect tool of power to normalize and psychically colonize the masses. It informs every venue of civilization, from the courtroom, the law office, the school, the prison, etc. The very roots of our epistemological foundations are embedded in this newer venue of information technology. Hence new regimes of truth in this electro-media complex produce these discourses which power finds so productive20. How we define ourselves comes from our relation to the immersive experience of electro-media; school children are monitored during “computer time” to see what is going on, even in the data mining of television reception and internet usage/social media being sold to corporations. To Foucault, this is a direct example of the processes of disciplinary action that are embedded in the body since the time of infancy and childhood.
The latent symbols and subliminal phrasing of words in advertisement is a tool of control to the conspiracy theorist, one that is all pervasive, designed to produce discourse which is essential to the growth of the various institutions and industries that power inhabits. For instance: the consumption of goods and the creation of Pseudo-demand, or the increasing institutionalization of life within government apparatuses, thus creating new managerial classes and procedural, regulatory regimes21. To get back to the second question of this chapter, that of the Rebellious "No", the conspiracy theorist must resist the forces of surveillance and normalization. The one thing that remains a constant is a near universal belief among conspiracy theorists that the rebellion against social manipulation will lead to the return of a greater liberty that may or may not have been present in a bygone era of individualism and political transparency22. But we shall see how, to Foucault, this primordial state of liberty is impossible for the conspiracy theorist.
The Monolith Of Power
Now that I have elucidated the basic and almost universal disposition of the conspiracy theorist, I shall cover the limitations (perhaps even the folly) of comparing and graphing conspiracy/alternative political thought onto the works of Foucault. The conspiracy theorist sees
life, politics, and history itself as an eternal struggle, similar, yet in contrast to the way, Marx saw dialectical history. It is not a matter of overthrowing class or the false consciousness of the proletariat, inflicted on them by bourgeoisie moralism and capitalist commodity fetishism ( as it was to Marx,) rather the opposite: the historical struggle of individualism versus collectivism. Between the unseen hidden forces wishing to crush the individual, and the various ideologies of the 20th century, which have been informed by collectivism at their roots23. However the indelible fact to Foucault, and to the horror of the conspiracy theorist, is that there is no outside to power, and the salvation of a latent primal freedom, if we were to assert such an entity, cannot begin to take form outside of power-relations and regimes of power. Knowledge: power produces knowledge to Foucault, even the discourse among conspiracy theorists themselves is an outgrowth of power, a creation of new knowledge that power manifests. To Foucault, it is even a dangerous assertion to think of power as repression-only, and that the professional and academic classes which take up the task of the intellectual and the specialist to find new techniques of normalizing the body and categorizing all pieces of data into a unity. Even rebellions against the state are soon reconstituted into this apparatus of power, and the old regimes retained, making way for new knowledge created out of resistance to state power. For power does not only manifest at the state level, but constitutes all forms of knowledge and subjectivity24. Thus the task of the Rebellion the Conspiracy theorist holds up is received by endless countermeasures and reconstituting of power.
To Foucault, the conspiracy theorist or revolutionary can find no solace in a critique of the professional classes, for they have a tendency of explaining away such attempts at resistance, forming new knowledge around this alternative political opinion. For instance: the asylum Foucault points to as the flattening arena of societal moralism. The family before the 19th century was the primary mode of caring for the “mad” or the mentally ill, until the institutions of madness formed around new regimes of knowledge. The asylum is a place of pure morality, where the mad are so, and society by reflection is “sane.” A secular religion, Foucault puts it, were social morality is sustained, and the mad are “purified” of their sickness via conformity, normalization, flattening of differences, and the constant affirmation of the “sanity” of society by condemning the “insane”25. This flattening of political discourse is similar to the experience of the asylum. It is in a way, the pathologization of political discourse, the asylum extends to every reach of society for both Foucault and the conspiracy theorist. Indeed, the very language around conspiracy theory is designed to revolve around this pathologization; that it is a symptom of “irrationality” or “paranoia”, or that it simply goes outside of the limits of proper political discourse in its challenges to the various “official” stories provided by governments around major geopolitical events26.
When speaking of power, one must gauge the scope of its efficacy in everyday life, and without this distinction, a mature representation of the political landscape cannot be achieved27. Here we refer to power as a monolithic and totalizing structure, which extends into the farthest reaches of our personal psychic space, and ordinary behavioral patterns; to Foucault there is a much greater impact of power, for it is all present in our subjective experience. Simply put, power invades the body, and over time constitutes the subject. To Foucault, power operates out of normalization and out of surveillance in its relation to knowledge28. Knowledge constitutes a large part of our sense of our selves; therefore if knowledge is constituted of power, then the subject is merely a manifestation of power29. Thus with the arrival of disciplinary power in the 19th century, new discourses formed from the professional classes that were a way of power developing new knowledges.
The conspiracy theorist claims that our knowledge is produced from a disruption by the disciplinary procedures of power or those who enforce them. Here Foucault and conspiracy shares a common agreement over the monolithic attributes of power in disciplinary action; for instance, prisons to Foucault cannot help but produce criminality of all sorts in order to remain a vital function in society, thus a whole system of power is put in place, where criminals are vilified and derided as societal detritus, even the guards are caught up in this structure of power, playing a role as it were. To Foucault this even extends beyond the disciplinary actions of the prisons: spilling over into schools, barracks, the workplace, etc. It is so pervasive (of course coming out of the assumption that all knowledge is constituted and created by power) that we learn to self-police, and self-actualize our own subjugated state without conscious realization 30. In this analysis of the effects of power, the conspiracy theorist would concur that this process of disciplinary normalization is all pervasive in society. Even the sort of “order out of chaos” the conspiracy theorists talk about in regards to the military industrial complex as one that is vital to creating war, sustaining military presence, and manufacturing arms31. However, the first analysis of power Foucault gives, that power constitutes the subject, is an area of difficulty for the conspiracy theorist, and one that we will explore in the coming paragraphs. For now, we shall focus on precisely those lines of similitude between Foucault’s position on power and the conspiratorial worldview by concretizing them in the works of Aldous Huxley.
Our Panoptic New World: Huxley and Panopticism.
Among the conspiracy theorists, it is difficult to find particularly savvy voices that, aside from being well versed in politics, economics, and information gathering, are affluent and trained in philosophic discourse. Aldous Huxley brings a wealth to the debate in terms of scholarly attributes and philosophic depth, and was pinnacle in the formation of conspiratorial thought in the minds of the common people via fiction and popular lecturing. He is the perfect companion philosophically to Foucault’s exploration of modern disciplinary regimes, and provides a philosophic grounding to the claims of conspiracy theory.
The only way to appreciate Huxley’s political analysis is to let him speak for himself in his most penetrating analysis of the modern world:
There will be, in the next generation or so, a pharmacological method of making people love their servitude, and producing dictatorship without tears, so to speak, producing a kind of painless concentration camp for entire societies, so that people will ,in fact, have their liberties taken away from them, but will rather enjoy it, because they will be distracted from any desire to rebel by propaganda or brainwashing, or brainwashing enhanced by pharmacological methods. And this seems to be the final revolution.32.
Here we have a complete ontological account of normalization and discipline in Huxley’s Brave New World, a prediction on the shape of new forms of political control in the modern world. It will create an environment where new people will be raised in the totalized universe of control and colonized psychic control. The “final revolution” perpetuated on the masses will be a total planetization of being; In essence the final revolution will be a state of being completely amnesic,
disconnected from any residual recollection of a “free” past or psyche which is not implanted with normalization and disciplinary action. In this we see a more poetic and startling description of Foucault’s notion of power constituting the subject, and the self being an outgrowth of the regimes of truth we encounter in society at large that are produced by power/knowledge.
Huxley underpins the Foucauldian analysis on medicalized discourse that were produced in the 19th century. To Foucault, a key aspect of disciplinary power is the creation of power/knowledge discourses that share connections in other fields of normalizing specializations. They arise out of complex mechanisms and ways of viewing the subject from a professional lens. Thus for example, the creation of medicalized discourse around infantile sexuality involved psychiatry, the policing of children on the part of parents, the total increased rigidity of sexuality, and then when one grows up, criminality and law enforcement around prostitution33. The same goes for Huxley’s dark prediction of the medical and psychopharmacological regimes of knowledge in the near future and being put in place now: the over medication of children in the public school system lays the foundation for future medical discourses and behavioral normalization. The frequency of the medication a child is taught to take at a certain time, the number of increased dosages, the chains of medication taken as the child grows older, from passive levels of ADHD medication to psychotropic SSRIs with a variety of known and unknown side effects, sometimes as young as 5 years of age. The willingness on the part of a variety of professionals, from schoolteachers and administrators, to pharmaceutical experts and doctors to invade and somatize the infantile psyche with pharmaceutical intervention is the creation of a new system of control and passivity with the outgrowth of pharmacological technology34. To Foucault, this is a natural outgrowth of a school system that grew to rely on statistical data of the children, constant surveillance and regimented activity, and the constant vigilance of the “deviant” or “disruptive” child that is subsequently brandished as an outlier or delinquent, and colored by the institutional pedagogy and medical discourses surrounding such non-normalized behavior, only now at the psycho-chemical level35.
To the dystopian vision of Huxley, the world is controlled by a eugenicist regime, of the ultimate ends in normalization and surveillance; Huxley saw (echoing Fromm) that modern life has a detrimental effect on ones psyche, and a state of living in perpetual neurosis. Caught up on the trivialities of current events, and suffering in an increasingly centralized, over-organized society, we are in the last throes of resistance, and will soon have any notion of liberty or limited
government control relegated to merely a whisper of the past36.
For Foucault, it is not just the central, state orientated gaze, but the ocular gaze itself, and the presence of the eye being the key role in disciplinary action. This constant surveillance by every imaginable social discourse around revolving institutions, especially those of medical and educational regimes, and this seeing for Foucault (or rather what is not presently seen) is important for the tolerability of people towards this constant process of discipline. The Guards in the prison see and discipline each other as much as the they do to the inmates37; Units of measurement, well regulated time periods, and various methodological systems of gathering new knowledge about the multiplicities of social bodies. The way of ensuring such flow of power is the Bentham style Panopticon system. As Bentham saw the central guardhouse looking out to all of the cells, and the prisoners not knowing for sure who is watching them or when, so our modern surveillance state does the task of normalization in the constant ocular authoritarian gaze of the other, and no one, whether politician or Plebian, is immune from the ubiquitous nature of power38. The system Huxley envisions in the future is also reliant on propaganda and self-policing, such effective propaganda, formation of popular sentiments, and meme spreading is an effective tool of control for the elites.
Huxley takes up the Foucauldian analysis of power in regards to the aspects of allowing for resistance in certain areas and then creating new discourses of knowledge around said resistances, enacting counter-resistance and assimilation via new discourses of truth are the new pseudo-freedoms. To illustrate this point, Huxley looks at the sexual revolution as an account of this resistance testing of power. Power is not merely repressive but productive to Huxley, as it is for Foucault; It gauged the resistance of the sexual revolution, and used the pacifying power of sexuality, and worldly pleasure to its advantage. Hence people are no longer keen on resistance in personal/sexual spaces since power is not taken to be oppressive in this capacity, or has forsaken the older forms of judicial and dictatorial repression (with thou shalt not commandments), but rather allows for behavioral/sexual freedoms to work over the masses, making them docile and malleable, literally being repressed not by what we hate, but by what we love39. Thus appeasement in one area, and the invasion of power in another provides good cover for the embedding of power’s sexualized discourses and surveillance, which repression simply restricted and could not have produced.
The product of the Panopticon society to Huxley is constant surveillance producing an environment of mutual distrust, of self-censorship and inauthentic modes of being under a totalitarian regime. The confessional mode of society is also played out in the painless prison camps of mental colonization; people confess the sins of transgressive thought to the rulers and commissars of society, and confession (and subsequent cleansing of one's self to power) is a key aspect of all dictatorial regimes, be it the purging of “capitalist literature” from Maoist China, or closing one's ears and eyes to “degenerate” art in Nazi Germany, all confessed to the controllers ones digressions from the central platform40. Foucault believed the confessional act is important to the politics of sexuality, and sexualized political discourse. Confession of one's perversions, taboos, and desires is an invaluable technique for producing truth to Foucault, all reinforced by the confessional act to the litany of medical and specialized professionals designated to plucking the human psyche of content. Confession becomes political, in that we think it to be an act of liberation, to “tell the truth” in the context of our discursive regimes of truth is an inherent tool of control. A reinforcement of taboo and repression in the confessional act is had, and power can thus gain new insights and create new discourses once the psychic life of the populace is told in confession. Thus it becomes a ritualistic act of the subject, where truth becomes ascertained to further produce normalizing discourses once the neurosis and taboo around sexuality is confessed. An over-sexualized world is one of confession, and not a repression of sex, but a further investment of power within sex via confession and docility41. In other words power invests in the promotion of sexuality: and the professional classes of psychiatrists and therapists turn sexuality into a new body of sexual knowledge, and create new methods of collecting data on sexuality, which become politicized and further the ends of power to more effectively normalize the masses in such areas as consumerism in a sexualized media, pacifying our resistance to power by primarily shifting our attention to behavioral, and not political freedoms (as Huxley puts it) etc... Confession, truth, and political repression go hand in hand to Foucault and the conspiracy theorist and provide effective tools for disciplinary power.
Bodiless Power Contra The Conspiracy: Hoy And Foucault.
Huxley, despite strengthening Foucault’s claims, still falls short (as to conspiracy thinking in general) of grasping power in the Foucauldian sense. To Huxley there still is a sense of primordial (pre-power influenced) freedom; The “education for liberty” as Huxley puts it, can potentially give people insight and offer a genuine resistance to power that can engage us, and bring us back to that original position of freedom the conspiracy theorists aim for in their exposure and resistance to the institutions of power42. As Davis Cozens Hoy illuminates, Foucault does not consider this to be a key explanation of power or our possible “freedom” from it. Therefore, as we have mentioned before, we need to elucidate this impasse between Foucault and the conspiracy worldview.
The processes of power to Foucault do not have a body so to speak. The Panopticon system of society arises out of these social forces, and any actor, whether oppressor or the oppressed, engages in this relationship of surveillance and normalization. Power furthers and intensifies itself, but Foucault does not believe there can be an agent behind the veil of society guiding social forces to act in a certain way. There is a lack of consciously motivated conspirators outside of the network of power. It is a network, and not a grid, for a grid has a boundary outside, but to Foucault to speak of an “outside” or an external guiding hand to power is nonsensical, or a paranoid epistemology43. Foucault is placed in opposition to the “repression-only” schools of political philosophy in regards to the nature of power, and it is clear that power is a productive force, and not merely a negative for Foucault; Both the Frankfurt school, which is predominantly Marxist in nature, which believes in a false-consciousness narrative that is being perpetrated on the proletarian masses by the capitalist controllers, and the voluntarism theory of Steven Lukes, which focuses on the actions of individual agents in power relations, and is mainly focused on power-over one subject from the other, along with conspiracy, are in the repression only camp.
Furthermore, the Marxist notion of Ideological critique, where our interests are subverted by the powerful, and replaced with false ones, is missing the picture to Foucault44. Ideological critique
claims to find the hidden dominate ideologies in common actions of the masses, and conspiracy theory in the abstract combines the Marxist element of subversion and mental colonization, and the Lukes theory of individual agents who are dominated or are holding dominance over others. To Foucault, all three of them fall short of the real nature of power as he saw it; power is merely an emergence from social relations, and might not even exist according to Hoy (as he is implying Foucault is a nominalist in regards to power, which is to say power is wholly dependent on the relations between subjects). Power is dynamic and active, and does not only flow one way, but rather acts as a matrix where both oppressed and oppressor enter a web of relations without power emanating from a central point. Like Nietzsche before, Foucault sees power as productive, and creates as well as represses, or else the new discourses of truth and the technologies of the regimes of power could not have come into being, for if power only repressed, then subjects and social relations would not produce anything45. Power as coming from a globalist or class structure that only represses and dominates is an exaggerated hermeneutic to Foucault. And here we find the impenetrable barrier between Foucault and the global conspiracy.
The conspiracy theorist (like the Marxist, although without the class structure or Marxian solutions to the global conspiracy) hold that knowledge is the emancipated agency the subject gains from power, as Huxley clearly outlines. But Foucault, being nominalist in regard to power (if we are to take Hoy’s approach at face value) believes that knowledge is created by power, and cannot produce the space of liberty outside power that the repression only theorists crave46. Power is no longer located in any globalist entity or sovereign to Foucault, therefore the space outside of power is a mute point, since any engagement of resistance to power will either shift the relationship of who has power temporarily, and will be reconstituted as the same expression of power, but within a different regime or revolutionary vanguard. The conspiracy theorist is also entirely focused on rebelling against power and purging one's consciousness of manipulation, and has not given a solid answer of how to defeat the globalists besides raising awareness, which is similar to the Marxist rebellion against false consciousness. One action of power occurs or another, and not an action occurs that leads us outside of power, thus the total field of possibilities are always expressed in relation to power, especially since the subject is direct manifestation of power to Foucault. Furthermore, theses repression only schools ignore the Nietzschean impulse in Foucault to posit power as creative, that power is not just the falsehood of subversion, but allows for truth (as being a manifestation of power, or rather the will to power in Nietzsche47.
This is the problem in the heart of the purifying and primordial expression of freedom in conspiracy thinking. It is evident that in the Foucauldian sense, conspiracy theory can only arise
out of the regimes of power/knowledge and the discourses of truth. For Foucault, disciplinary regimes are not beholden to a singular source of power, but a whole series of techniques, technologies, and skills of normalization that invade and even constitute the social corpus. Foucault believes the self, in order to remain stable and conditioned and shaped by discipline and power must adopt this state of total subversion by power; hence the creation of the Docile body, which is conditioned by normalization in every institution of society, from school regiments to the workplace regulations, in every direction, power legions, wounds, invades, and ultimately constitutes the body and reaffirms its docility. The subject is within the flow of power that power itself constitutes the modern subject48. Therefore, the attempt to free the subject from power relations, what the conspiracy theorist holds dear, is a futile and meaningless exercise in the Foucauldian sense. Power constitutes the body, for instance, the capacity and specialization we take up as a result of school or military-like discipline from a young age49. The historical and cultural developments we identify with have arisen from the result of numerous procedural developments in technology, disciplinary techniques, and the regimes of truth that have developed in a particular society and cultural corpus. To say that there is a place for an identity before or outside the workings of power is not only neglecting the productive and life-giving capacities of power, but to claim the self is a static entity that is continually corrupted, and not an ever-flowing nominal totality of forces shaped by power, and expressed in the traces power makes on the body.
All that we have explored above in terms of the conspiracy worldview, from the rebellious no, the psychic colonization and normalization of the subject, and the idea of primordial freedom is the result of the discourses of power to Foucault; It is merely a way of making sense of the ubiquitous and bodiless aspects of power by claiming a group or many groups of professional classes manipulate the fabric of our innermost selves to destroy any vestige of free humanity. The model of power to Foucault is a historical one of dominated subjectivities, and rather than seeing history as a development of globalist interests and fabrication (as conspiracy does) history to Foucault is the chaotic series of upsurges, and not a causal or structural entity as a grand conspiracy would have it. The Panopticon gaze was not adopted into the systems of surveillance and normalization, such as the insane asylum, but was in the spirit of the erection of such institutions to begin with, hence the reading-into these techniques of discipline as a concerted effort adopted after the fact is meaningless to Foucault. He wishes to place the development of disciplinary techniques that are individual and globalized in their development50. Conspiracy discourse can only be possible in the regimes of Truth that are manifested by power. The various micro and macro issues of conspiracy discourse are the products of the development of Bio-power, or the various methods and techniques developed to subject the body and create docility and production in them51. Thus the conspiracy theorist plays a role in illuminating these techniques of surveillance and control, but what they do not realize is that this further exposure has strengthened the capacity of bodiless bio-power to capture resistances, subvert them, and render the conspiracy theorist into just another agent on the network of power-relations.
To give an example of this subversion of conspiratorial resistance, one needs to look at the Federal Reserve banking system created in 1913, fractional reserve banking and the creation of debt and continual cycles of booms and busts, the manipulation of interest rates by governments aiding corporate and banker interests, and the enslavement of the masses via debt, inflation and the threat of economic ruin is a pinnacle of total control in the eyes of conspiracy theorists. Control of the currency and low interest rates led to consumer spending, the government monopolizing the banking industry and ensuring their debts were compensated for in times of recession. The government and the banks colluded to increase control over the economic system and the federal reserve has been exploiting the creation of monetary bubbles in various industries, from internet technologies to the housing market ever since52. The creation of money and the modern banking system is another process of the outgrowth of new technologies and discourses around economic and financial instrumentation. It is at least partially true that the collusion of corporations, banks, and governments in the conspiratorial analysis indeed took place, but to separate them from the network of power as free entities that can manipulate power to their advantage would be a mistake in the Foucauldian sense. The manipulation of the economy was ingrained into the Federal Reserve System because it was the most convenient way to handle money in the new century, and thus has shaped discourses around the way in which governments and financial interests view monetary policy and the sum-totality of world financial relations as a whole. The need of the conspiracy theorist to topple this system of financial domination will only mean the evolution of such methods of financial control by power to accommodate such a temporary gap in the reach of its biopower, as any attempt by a revolutionary vanguard to test the ability of the totalizing force of power.
In conclusion we have highlighted the mindset and practice of conspiracy theory, compared it to the relation of productive power in Foucault and how conspiracy negates the creative and positive potential of the ubiquitous bodiless power to produce new discourses and knowledge rather than just repress. We have seen how in terms of Panopticism, psychoanalytic medicine and sexuality, Aldous Huxley as conspiracy theorist excellence, has supported Foucault and gave legitimacy to the claims of the conspiracy theorist. However, we have taken all of what we know about conspiracy theory, and concluded that it is another outgrowth of the discourses of Bio-power, and not immune from the total network of power, thus destroying the illusion that we can achieve the fantasy of a return to a primordial freedom.
Conspiracy: a view of epistemology, albeit one of hiddenness, the foundations of knowledge being hidden and distorted by societal forces and those who control them. In this we need to express caution in the term conspiracy theory, which is imperfect.. we shall focus on the grand,totalizing, rather than micro-instances of conspiracies that are unclear. ↩
Stone, Lawrence, An Exchange With Michel Foucault, The New York Review Of Books. March, 31, 1983. ↩
Allan, Gary and Abraham, Larry. None Dare Call It Conspiracy. Concord Press, April, 28, 1972. Pg. 4. ↩
Coady, David. Are Conspiracy Theorists Irrational? Episteme: A Journal of Social Epistemology. Vol.2 Is. 4. 2007. Pg. 194-196. ↩
Coady, Pg. 197-198. ↩
Dentith, Matthew Richard. In Defense Of Conspiracy Theorists. Thesis Defense, University of Auckland, 2012. Pg. 91-93. ↩
It is important to note that conspiracy can transcend political boundaries, present in both the left and the right. So an investigation of conspiracy must be taken without political and ideological distortions. we may even establish a crucial difference between what is a warranted conspiracy, such as collusion of interests by governments and corporations, and what is with empirical evidence, an absurd set of conspiracies, such as the moon landing hoax, or inter-dimensional reptilian overlords, etc.. each conspiracy at some level must conform to the standards of justifiable evidence and belief. Dentith, Pg. 80-83. ↩
Jones, Alex. Endgame: Blueprint For Global Enslavement. Infowars. Com, Jones Productions, 2009. Full length Doc. ↩
Icke, David. Children Of The Matrix. Bridge Of Love Publication. April, 1, 2001. Pg. 5-7. ↩
Foucault, Panopticism. Pg. 204. ↩
Foucault, Michel. Power/Knowledge: Body/Power. Ed. Gordon, Colin. Vintage Books. 1972, Pg. 56-59. ↩
Foucault, The Means Of Correct Training. Pg. 204-205. ↩
Postman, Neil. Amusing Ourselves To Death: Public Discourse In The Age Of Show Business. Penguin Books. 1985. Pg. 74-76. ↩
Foucault, Power/Knowledge, Pg. 93. ↩
Postman, Pg. 27-29. ↩
Postman, Pg. 78-80. ↩
For the sake of clarity, we shall treat the conspiratorial view of the totalizing of power in the repressive sense in all forms of human culture and society on the face of it. the political taxonomy the conspiracy theorists have developed towards modernity, and that falls into the pejorative psychologizing of them. ↩
Postman, Pg. 92-93. ↩
Jones, Alex. Endgame: Blueprint For Global Enslavement. Infowars. Com, Jones Productions, 2009. Full length Doc. ↩
Foucault, Tow Lectures. Pg. 59-61. ↩
Foucault, Michel. Madness And Civilization: a History Of Insanity In The Age Of Reason. Vintage Books. 1965. Pg. 255-258. ↩
Coady, Pg. 200-202. ↩
Hoy. Pg. 123. ↩
Foucault, Prison Talk, Pg. 52-53. ↩
Hoy, Pg. 132-133. ↩
Foucualt, Michel. The Focuault Reader. Illegalities and Delinquency.. Ed. Paul Rabinow, Vintage Books. Jan 2010. Pg. 226-229. ↩
Chin, Larry. Steering The Masses Towards Total War. Global Research: Center for Research on Globalization. Nov, 16, 2015. ↩
Huxley, Aldous. The Ultimate Revolution. Lecture, University Berkeley. Mar 20, 1962. ↩
Foucault, The Repressive Hypothesis. Pg. 326-327. ↩
Gaviria, Marcela. The Medicated Child. PBS: Frontline Doc. WGBH educational foundation. Jan, 8, 2008. ↩
Foucault, The Repressive Hypothesis. Pg. 316-317. ↩
Huxley, Aldous. Brave New World Revisited. Aldous Huxley: Complete Essays, Volume VI: 1956-1963. Ed. Baker, Robert S. Sexton, James. Ivan R. Dee Publications. 2002. Pg. 232-234. ↩
Rajchman, John. Foucault’s Art Of Seeing. MIT Press. Vol.44. Spring, 1988. Pg. 94-96. ↩
Foucault, Panopticism. Pg. 207-211. ↩
Huxley, Brave New World Revisited. Pg. 236-238. ↩
Huxley, Brave New World Revisited, Pg. 260-261. ↩
Foucault, Michel. The History Of Sexuality: An Introduction. Trans. Hurley, Robert. Vintage Books. March, 1990. Pg. 59-65. ↩
Huxley, Brave New World Revisited. Pg. 290-293. ↩
Wisnicki, Adrian, S. Conspiracy, Revolution, And Terrorism From Victorian Fiction To The Modern Novel. Routledge Press. 2008. Pg. 117-118, 122. ↩
Hoy, David, Couzens. Foucault: A Critical Reader. Blackwell Publishers. 1986. Pg. 124-125. ↩
Hoy. Pg. 128-130. ↩
Hoy. Pg. 134-135. ↩
Hoy. Pg. 138-139. ↩
Foucault, the Body Of The Condemned. Pg. 175-177. ↩
Foucault, Docile Bodies., Pg. 182, 184. ↩
Forrester, John. Foucault Now, Current Perspectives In Foucault Studies. Ed. Faubion, James. Mar, 2014., Polity Books, Wiley. Pg. 112-118. ↩
Foucault, A history Of Sexuality. Pg. 140-142. ↩
Edward, G. Griffin. The Creature From Jekyll Island, A Second Look At The Federal Reserve. Amer media. May, 1998. Pg. 12-18. ↩