Most points of view… are too pointed.
Hmm… it’s starting to rain. I wonder if I should go into a shop. If I do I’ll probably miss my bus, and then I’ll have to wait for the next one. And if it keeps raining I’ll miss that one and have to wait for the next one, and the next one… hmm… and then it’ll get dark, and the shop will close, and they’ll throw me out after the last bus leaves, and I’ll have to spend the night in the rain, and in the dark… hmm… unless I hitch-hike, but no one will stop for a wet donkey, not with a new car, unless someone does, someone with an old car that smells worse than a wet donkey… hmm… or someone who doesn’t bathe, or has bad intentions, or has a rifle, or owns a forced-labor copper mine… and I’ll be donkey-napped and flown to the mine on a private jet smuggling contraband, and military secrets, and I’ll be forced to work in the mine day and night, living on coca leaves and betel nut… hmm… knowing that the future of the world lays in my hooves if I can only escape and steal back the secrets, and I’ll have to bribe the guards, or sneak away while they’re smoking, and slip into the hills and build a raft, and sail it to the sea where I’ll board a steamer… hmm… and I’ll cross the Atlantic, until the ship hits an ice burg and sinks, and I’ll climb into a lifeboat which I’ll sail through the wreckage pulling out survivors… hmm… and they’ll all be grateful, all except one, the one who is a guard from the mine and has been following me, and is going to kill me the minute we reach Greenland…
Hey… it stopped raining.
Today’s question, said Pablo, is: “When is it too late?”
Too late for what? said Morton.
I didn’t do it, said Emma Lou.
Too late for planting? said Frank.
“Lateness,” said Glouster, is “arriving or remaining after the due, usual, or proper time.”
The proper time? said Chelsea. Who decides what is the proper time?
Your boss does, said Frank.
Or your teacher, said Glouster.
Or whoever makes the rules, said Morton.
Whoever has the power, said Emma Lou.
Michel Foucault, said Glouster, said: “The strategic adversary is fascism… the fascism in us all, in our heads and in our everyday behavior, the fascism that causes us to love power, to desire the very thing that dominates us.
Am I a fascist? said Chelsea.
I don’t think you’re a fascist, said Morton.
What’s a fascist? said Frank.
“Fascism,” said Glouster, is “a political philosophy, movement, or regime that exalts nation and often race above the individual and stands for a central autocratic government headed by a dictatorial leader, severe economic and social regimentation, and forcible suppression of opposition.”
That doesn’t sound like me, said Chelsea.
It can also mean, said Glouster, “a tendency toward or actual exercise of strong autocratic or dictatorial control.”
Dictatorial control? said Morton.
A dictator, said Glouster, is “someone granted absolute power, often ruling oppressively.”
Do I have absolute power? said Chelsea.
Foucault goes on to say, said Glouster, “It is my hypothesis that the individual is not a pre-given entity which is seized upon by the exercise of power. The individual, with his identity and characteristics, is the product of a relation of power exercised over bodies, multiplicities, movements, desires, forces.”
Seized on by the exercise of power? said Frank.
Does that mean, said Chelsea, that I’m a victim.
Both a victim, said Emma Lou, and a dictator.
Foucault adds, said Glouster, that “there is no power relation without the correlative constitution of a field of knowledge, nor any knowledge that does not presuppose and constitute at the same time power relations.”
Isn’t that a vicious circle? said Chelsea.
Yes, said Glouster.
How did we get caught, said Frank, in this vicious circle?
We were talking, said Emma Lou, about who decides what is too late and what is not too late.
Sometimes, said Frank, nature decides what is too late.
Yes, said Morton, like when it’s too late to plant pumpkins in order to have a good harvest in the fall.
Does that mean, said Chelsea, that nature is a fascist?
A fascist, said Emma Lou, that desires to be exploited by itself.
But I am a part of nature, said Morton. Does that mean I’m constantly exploiting myself?
Yes, said Emma Lou.
So if I grow a pumpkin, said Morton, then make a pumpkin pie, then eat it, I’m exploiting myself?
Yes, said Emma Lou.
In that case, said Morton, I should try to exploit myself more often.
When is it too late, said Chelsea, to plant pumpkins for a good harvest?
I don’t know, said Morton, I’ve never planted a pumpkin.
You haven’t? said Chelsea.
No, said Morton, I’ve always exploited the pumpkin someone else planted.
That’s shameful, said Chelsea.
Is it? said Morton.
What if, said Emma Lou, the person who planted the pumpkin derived pleasure from Morton’s exploitation of the pumpkin?
You mean, said Frank, the pleasure one gets from sharing with someone else?
Exactly, said Emma Lou.
That’s a good question, said Chelsea.
What would Foucault say? said Frank.
I’m not sure, said Glouster, I suppose he would say that the act of sharing is an act of exploitation, a disguised power-play designed to manipulate the recipient into a position of gratitude and subservience.
I think, said Chelsea, the world would be a better place if more of us went around exploiting each other by sharing.
Heraclitus, said the professor, was a Greek who wrote, “You can’t step into the same river twice…” Why would anyone step into a river? said Blurtso, that’s what bridges are for. You can’t step into the same river, continued the professor, because the river is always changing, and when you step in a second time, it’s a different river, and you are changing too, and are not the same as when you first stepped in. In fact, repetition is a myth, it’s impossible… I’m sorry, said Blurtso, I’m afraid I wasn’t listening, could you repeat that?