We have a responsibility to care for our own bodies, but our culture tends to thematise the bodies of desire and to ignore the bodies of care—ill bodies in need of self-care and social care.
The discussion of care has a long philosophical tradition. Philosophy of Care retraces some episodes in this tradition—beginning with Plato and ending with Alexander Bogdanov, having passed through Hegel, Heidegger, Bataille and many others. The central question is who the proper subject of care is? Should I care for myself or trust the others, the system, the institutions? Here, the concept of the self-care becomes a revolutionary principle that confronts the individual with the dominating mechanisms of control.
“The Covid pandemic and other ongoing crises made us all aware that the work of care in all its forms—healthcare, care for the old, care for the victims of natural and social catastrophes, up to self-care—is the type of work that defines our epoch. However, this notion is not exempt from ideological mystifications: from times immemorial, the rich and powerful justify their wealth and power by claiming they care for the needy. Groys analyzes the notion (and practice) of care in all its dimensions, from authentic solidarity to devious manipulations and New Age spiritualist self-care. Philosophy of Care is a book for everyone who wants to understand where we are today and why we are in such a mess … in short, it is a book for everyone.”
“Boris Groys has deepened the intellectual project of Art History in ways that will be felt for decades to come. With The Philosophy of Care, he expands and focuses the question of care to encompass the physical and the symbolic, the self and the other, value and life, recognition and recovery. The future is defined by the fragility of life—individual life, collective life and planetary life—and the omnipresence of death. Groys offers us a new version of ‘the common task’ that binds us all.”