Disciplines of the Body

From Lacanian Ink, by Alain Badiou; translated by Susan Spitzer

—Absolutely! Glaucon excitedly exclaimed. Pamper your body, stay “in shape”: that’s the creed of the upper classes. You always see them huffing and puffing at their tennis game, doing push-ups on their desks, practicing their golf swing out on their patios, and getting their faces remodeled, like Frankenstein’s creature, by the big-name plastic surgeons.

—They’d be better off studying philosophy, reading real books, learning poems by heart or reviewing the math they’ve forgotten since the days when they sweated over differential equations in order to pass the exam for getting into the Elite. And they’d be even better off modestly and carefully inquiring into the life of the vast majority of their fellow citizens. This fetishism of the body, this obsession with health everywhere stands in the way of the incorporation into truths, even the most ordinary ones. Someone starts talking to you about philosophy and you reply “headache,” or they talk about painting and you rattle off all your little bumps and bruises, and God forbid they should try to discuss serial music, well, then you start in on the whole saga of your bouts of diarrhea and lumbago.

—I’ve seen guys like that! Amantha agreed. I can’t stand them!

Art: Barbara Probst.
Exposure #27, N.Y.C. 249 W. 34th Street, 05.25.04, 9:27p.m., 2004
Ultrachrome ink on cotton paper
2 parts 112 x 168 cm/44 x 66 inches each
Edition of 5


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