Escribir es develarse, proyectarse a los demás (Foucault).

"[Correspondence] It is something more than a training of oneself by means of writing, through the advice and opinions one gives to the other: it also constitutes a certain way of manifesting oneself to oneself and to others. The letter makes the writer "present" to the one to whom he addresses it. And present not simply through the information he gives concerning his life, his activities, his successes and failures, his good luck or misfortunes; rather, present with a kind of immediate, almost physical presence. "I thank you for writing to me so often; for you are revealing yourself to me [te mihi ostendis] in the only way you can. I never receive a letter from you without being in your company forthwith. If the pictures of our absent friends are pleasing to us... how much more pleasant is a letter, which brings us real traces, real evidence of an absent friend! For that which is sweetest when we meet face to face is afforded by the impress of a friend's hand upon his letter -recognition."(cita de Seneca, Letters)

To write is thus to "show oneself," to project oneself into view, to make one's own face appear in the other's presence. And by this it should be understood that the letter is both a gaze that one focuses on the addressee (through the missive he receives, he feels looked at) and a way of offering oneself to his gaze by what one tells him about oneself. In a sense, the letter sets up a face-to-face meeting. Moreover Demetrius, explaining in De elocutione what the epistolary style should be, stressed that it could only be a "simple" style, free in its composition, spare in its choice or words, since in it each one should reveal his soul.[cita a Seneca

The reciprocity that correspondence establishes is not simply that of counsel and aid; it is the reciprocity of the gaze and the examination. The letter that, as an exercise, works toward the subjectivation of true discourse, its assimilation and its transformation as a "personal asset." also constitutes, at the same time, an objectification of the soul. It is noteworthy that Seneca, commencing a letter in which he must lay out his daily life to Lucilius, recalls the moral maxim that "we should live as if we lived in plain sight of all men,"12 and the philosophical principle that nothing of ourselves is concealed from god who is always present to our souls. Through the missive, one opens oneself to the gaze of others and puts the correspondent in the place of the inner god. It is a way of giving ourselves to that gaze about which we must tell ourselves that it is plunging into the depths of our heart (in pectis intimum introspicere) at the moment we are thinking.


The work the letter carries out on the recipient, but is also brought to bear on the writer by the very letter he sends, thus involves an "intro spection"; but the latter is to be understood not so much as a decipherment of the self by the self as an opening one gives the other onto oneself.

*M. Foucault, "Self Writing" en Ethics: Subjectivity and Truth (P. Rabinow (ed),  Ethics:Essential Works of Foucault 1954-1984).

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