Whereas under sovereign juridical regimes of power, monopolising the taking of life helped demarcate the territorial integrity of the sovereign whose power was infinite, under biopolitics the very eventual ‘taking place’ of life now becomes the locus of a power for which infinite flux of immanent contingent change is central. ... New tabulations of life, as contingent adaptation whose very circulation amplifies and intensifies all the systemic hazards, risks, dangers, pathologies and epidemics to which it is subject, engender a new space and time of biopolitical existence for the 21st century. Hence: the widespread medicalisation of security discourse and practices – from asymptomatically ill beings and preventative medicine to asymptomatically dangerous beings and preventative war. Hence also: the securitisation of medicine as integral part of the strategy of national resilience for dealing with catastrophic event and terroristic attack ....Thus has the modern been morphing into a new hypersecuring liberal biopolitical positivity in which - the ‘cult of man’ erasing itself biopolitically - the odds on species extinction continue in lethal paradox to shorten remorselessly.Michael Dillon is the apex, the ne plus ultra of contemporary philosophical discourse. Why? It is not because of the subject matter of his work, which is a sort of warmed-over, trendified Foucault (oddly enough, he seems to confuse 'biopower' with 'biopolitics'). No, it is possible to decode the passage, if one invests enough time and labor into such a project. The point is that the subject matter is irrelevant: it serves only as a shaky but sufficient foundation for a cathedral of words. If Homi Bhabha is Romanesque--his impregnable edifices are too dark, too simplistically impenetrable--Dillon is undoubtedly Gothic. His usage of words--long, flying strings of adjectives, occasional grotesque outcroppings of frippery, the sharp and striking peaks of phrase--recalls and reverses Panofsky's insight that Gothic cathedrals were based on the structure of Scholastic argument. Here, the solidity of logic gives way to lightness, to leaping over the abyss. New towers spring up at random next to edifices already established, ancillary chapels accrete in later ages over once-simple apses. Occasionally, a stained-glass window with familiar themes strives vainly to illuminate each nook and cranny of the temple, but its incomprehensible positioning and strange colors only cast it into more darkness. Dillon's cathedrals are grotesque carnivals of bizarrerie.
Like Bakhtin's carnival, Dillon's "medieval postmodernism" (to paraphrase Michael Trachtenberg) dethrones the King, if only for a day. "We do not need argument anymore," it seems to be saying, "for we have perfected the art of saying nothing with words." It is, of course, deficient, because it is still plagued by the vestigial scholarly apparatus of introduction, body, conclusion. In other words, it still pretends to be saying something. But perhaps this chaff, this heritage of earlier days, can be the foundation of new cathedrals. The basilica was shaped like a cross; the later Gothic churches retained the vague outline of this shape with hardly a hint of its original reference. But how much beautiful expression could be drawn from these irrelevant transepts, these fading narthexes!
The postmodernism of the future will embody the spirit of Gothic religion. It will say to us humble seculars: do not trouble yourself with the interpretation of Scripture, for you have other cares and you will get it wrong anyhow. Enjoy, instead, this brilliant, shining monument, which embodies our faith and elevates the heart of everyone concerned! Deleuze has been adopted as an evangelist, and thank God for that; his merging of poetry and philosophy will serve as a way forward for the aesthetic, as an inspiration and as a basis.
For it is merely prejudice to reduce philosophy to argument. If nothing remains to be said, then is it not a greater crime to say something and thus be banal, than to say nothing at all and thus offer the reader some fleeting but fundamental joy? The alternative is politics, the reduction of philosophy to harangue--and this is dangerous and vile in an age which has lost forever the art of rhetoric. Let our structures be ungrounded by such plebeian appeals. We must cultivate consciously the art of saying nothing, but saying it beautifully. That is our only justification.