In the West, "the obligation to confess is now relayed through so many different points, is so deeply ingrained in us, that we no longer perceive it as the effect of a power that constrains us; on the contrary, it seems to us that truth, lodged in our most secret nature, demands only to surface" (60).
"With these confessed truths, we are a long way from the learned initiations into pleasure, with their technique and their mystery" (62).
Foucault's remarks on confession really struck a chord with me; I'm still grappling with what it means about Western society's course and current discourses. Some flailing thoughts, questions, and concerns:
Western society uses confession as a tool of power; it's our way of producing truth. Where does this put "truth"? It is not something lodged in our most secret nature; is the correct question to ask now "how should we then access truth" or should we avoid the concept of truth and the quest for it, and instead pursue these "learned initiations into pleasure"?
If torture accompanied confession since the Middle Ages "like a dark shadow," what does this say about even "the most defenseless tenderness" confessions? Are these, too, (say, confessions shared between loved ones) inherently produced from a sort of violence?
Someone (I forget, sorry!) in another blog post/comment mentioned Foucault's experimentation with sado-masochism as a means to attempt an asymmetrical sexual power. Is this, as a possible lifestyle option, torture divorced from confession? Does he write elsewhere of the connection between torture and sex?