from Foucault, The Courage of the Truth.

I think this pertains to the idea of the social-media archive as forum for parrhesia, for truth procedures, for cultivating tests for the self. The archive is an expression of the “principle of existence as an oeuvre to be fashioned in all its possible perfection." 

It is a place where the attempt to fashion a "beautiful existence” or “true life” collides with the opportunity to play the game of truth, that is, tell uncomfortable truths that may offend an audience with the power to respond with retribution.

The “true life” is no longer given automatically to ordinary people as a reward for their ordinariness. We too must prove our lives are true, are real, are legitimate, to the audiences we marshal on social media. That is, we must demonstrate the productive value of our uniquely wrought subjectivity to experience social recognition that was once built into “traditional” ways of living and participating in a community. In other words, we have to build the community (that once was geographical) as an online audience and hold it together by performing for it perpetually.

In light of Foucault’s late lectures, social-media use can be seen as the contemporary expression of Cynicism. To live the truth as a mode of attention-seeking, as a perpetual provocation to others (a function fulfilled by the social-media archive, as well as by trolling additions to it); to masturbate in public like Diogenes and say, But why are you scandalized?


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