I was introduced to Marty by a mutual friend, Patricia Angus, a counselor to wealthy families, who said, "You are both crazy, so you should get along." I can think of no better recommendation for one who would cure moral insanity among the wealthiest and maybe sickest families in all of Christendom.
As an Adept, well-initiated into the sublime mysteries of our Noble Trade, I vouchsafe these truths, formerly guarded under a thousand seals of silence, since Wealth Counseling demands the greatest tact and secretiveness, given the many high crimes and misdemeanors routinely committed by our Ideal Clients, our country's leading families:
- The moral philosopher is a moral physician. The goal is not just to be an expert, but to find the cure in specific cases, in real time, before the patient worsens. (See Seneca, Cicero, and the miracles of Jesus for more on this. The moral philosopher makes the blind see, and can even raise the dead, which is what it will take, for America.)
- Most diseases, including moral diseases, are contagious. We get sick because others around us are sick, and we then spread the sickness to others in our family, in the workplace, and in public places.
- We know that healing and killing are near of kin. The pharmakeus (doctor/murderer/fraud) uses the pharmakon (potion, drug, dose) to cure, but because the disease is social often the only cure is the pharmakon (scapegoat).
- The moral healer is the pharmakon (Jesus, MLK, Oedipus) who takes upon himself the sins of the sick society and cures them by being cast out, burned, blinded, crucified or killed. (Purgation, Catharthis, the Pariah. See Aristotle on Tragedy, Happiness, A Just Society, the role of art as cure.)
- The satirist is the sickest of men, as Socrates was the wisest (since Socrates knew that he knew nothing.) The satirist must cure himself ("Physician, heal thyself!") if he is to heal others.
- Satire can be imaged as surgery without anesthetic, looking much from a distance like torture.
- Satire can be imagined as torture and hanging, "Our Noble Trade," as Dryden called it. Such is the cure for public disorder.
- Still, "Laughter is the best medicine."
- A good doctor, or cosmetic surgeon, doubles as an undertaker. Either way your family gets you back looking better than ever. (This is an old joke, from Junius Martial).
- Amputation of the diseased or corrupted part is sometimes necessary for individuals and for the body politic as well. C.f. Capital crimes.
- The fish rots from the head down, in societies as in families.
- The Fool is the wisest of men because he knows he is a Fool. (For more on this see Diogenes, "The Mad Socrates," as he was called, naked in his Dumpster, raving, like a rabid dog, whose bite makes you run mad yourself. Be careful, though, his dog, from whom we get the term, Cynic, the School to which Diogenes belongs, does bite.)
- The wise Fool Praises Folly to cure Folly.
- A hair of the mad dog cures folly, as art made of lies is the truest of discourse. (See Oscar Wilde, The Decay of Lying and The Importance of Being Earnest for more on this.)
- The Fool takes Folly upon himself as Jesus took our sins, and pays a similar price.(See Oscar Wilde's "Ballad of Reading Goal" for more on what happens to funny guys.)
- The Fool is the Pharmakeus/Pharmakos/Pharmakon who risks his life to tell the joke which may not be funny, to the King unprepared to hear it.
- The Fool is also a Clown. The clown is one drawn from the lower social orders. So humor is drawn from the underworld of society, and of the body.
- Satire deals in shit, blood, pus, orgiastic sexuality, cruelty, criminality, and debauch, the pleasures of Carnival, in Rome and the Middle Ages, the Festival of Saturnalia, the inversion of the social order, the Festival of the Ass, which became God help us, but this is funny! The Feast of the Circumcision, the Feast of Fools.
- God, our god, is already and always castrated, a Hermes whose cock has been knocked off. A dying and reborn god who was born among animals and died among thieves.
- Such is the drunken truth of Carnival, if not communion, in which the body politic is restored, inclusive of the lower social orders, society's gut, anus, and genitals.
- Nothing spreads as quickly as syphillis in a Baptist high school in a good community where abstinence is taught, or laughter in church. (See your home town for more on this. Ask the doctor, or the priest.Consult your own scars.)
- "There but for fortune go !" says the Prince of the Pauper.
- "Dust to dust and ashes to ashes," that is the wisdom of the jakes as well of the Church in Lent, which comes after Carnival.
- "Remember Caesar, that you art mortal," said the slave standing behind the general in the Triumphal procession. Not a joke, but you can see why an expendable slave was given this job. Not even a Fool, let alone a Dynastic Wealth Family Counselor, would volunteer for this duty.
- "Thank you God for not making me like other men," says the Pharisee in the Temple, farting as he prays.
- In Carnival time, the King serves his servants and his wife copulates on the alter with the priest. (Don't take my word for this, for Chrissakes, read Bakhtin's study of Rabelais, a subversive work written in code under Stalin, in the spirit of Democrites and Hippocrates, to heal a body politic dying as is yours, from the head down.)
- The satirist is the goat, the scapegoat. The goat is the randy animal that stinks, whose skin holds the red wine, the wine of the chalice, raised in consecration, "Here is my blood!"
- The satirist is mad, the Fool is mad. Drink! And you will be mad with the blood of the grape.
- For Hermes, Socrates, Terror, the Borders that must be Protected against Transgression, the US Constitution, read this.
- Physician heal thyself! For the Fool this dictum means do not talk about satire unless you can make it funny.
- Moral philosophy, my friends, is no laughing matter. Come let us drink, as Rabelais said.
- The art of poetry, wrote Horace, perhaps the greatest of satirists, he who served Caesar Augustus and Maecenas, and was ultimately rewarded for his meritorious counsel to dynasts with a Sabine Farm, "is like a mirror held up to nature." He meant held up to human nature, as might perhaps a cosmetic surgeon. "On you, Midas," said his Barber, "those asses ears look good." Poetry is a moral art, said Horace, that wraps the pill of truth in a sweet coating so the child, or Emperor, will swallow the bitter dose and be cured despite himself, cured perhaps of the blindness he would not otherwise see.
- The Roman root word for dose, as in medicine or the clap, is also the word for gift. That is pretty funny.
- Sometimes the cure is worse than the disease. The satirist must be quarantined, lest his sick jokes go viral. So Stalin had Mandelstam jailed, tortured and killed for this phrase, which stayed with Stalin, and make him a public joke: "The crag dweller of the Kremlin."
- Art like Brands or Propaganda is a social disease, one cures the other, like homeopathic medicine.
- What else besides disease and fear and moral panic is contagious? Laughter.
- "Bury me face down," said wise Diogenes, "that when the world turns right side up, I may be right side up again." So for what ails us no individual solution is possible. We must right the world to right ourselves.
- A just society is not sold in stores. And, stores, investments, capital, social capital, social investments, double bottom lines, metrics, are all we understand.
- Shirtsleeves to shirtsleeves in three generations
- The first shall be last and the last shall be first
- The meek shall inherit the earth.
- Sic transit gloria
- Nothing gold can stay, as Robert Frost wrote of the VT foliage.
- The Trusted Man, the pillar of this community, says to the King, to whom he owes the utmost duty of loyalty, Shirtsleeves to shirtsleeves, Sire, your empire will be lost, unless you engage me to cure vice and folly, not that you are sick with these, Sire, far from it, but tyhe Princess, Sire, could use a mentor, leave the money in Trust, and let me, Sire, manage it and her. You, Sire, of course will manage yourself, as the wisest among us, Sire.
- I too, as Morals Tutor to America's Leading Families, am available to cure your family, if you are very rich pro bono publico. (Marty, Patricia, Jay and the other Trusted Advisors and Counselors to our Finest Families do charge, but I do it for love. Call me crazy. Their work is consensual, mine not. That is indeed a sick joke. But I am serious about this. I mean to cure, or else at least return you to the family well stuffed and looking good. )
- Yes, I need the money. We are all in bondage to wealth, me too. I am as sick as you. Jesus had the cure, but look where it got him, and how. I may be able to cure you, but it may feel a bit uncomfortable. Bend over, if you would, and try to relax.
- Like surgery, satire takes practice. The surgery backs upon a graveyard. For that matter, though, so does the church.
- When one member of a family is cured, the symptoms often migrate to others in the family, as does the anxiety.
- Laughter heals anxiety because it brings us together in our common humanity, frail, fallible, physical, vicious, full of hate, glorying in each other's pain and subordination, wishing we were gods.
- Laughter reminds us that we are all pieces of shit. You, my dear client, no less than I. "If I had kept that from you, Sire, I would not be doing my job. You are a Fool, Sire, just as I am! Your Homme de Confience is conning you! He is a Flatterer among Knaves! Do not listen to him. Listen to me! I will cure your vices!" (Famous last words.)
Well, I should take a taste of my own bitter medicine, as did Socrates, writhing in his death throes. Let me at least try to be funny, and perhaps that cup will pass from me, or maybe I can pretend to be drunk or mad. For a sacrificial goat you need someone less blemished than I. Besides none of you is sick, and certainly our society is flourishing. Here in Wealth Bondage, the Bower of all Bliss, I am employed at a modest wage, as Dungeon Master to the Stars to give pleasure to our Distinguished Guests, in pantomime. "Give me a penny and I will sing you a song, but give me the penny first," as Jonathan Swift said. In any case, here is my joke:
I train Trusted Advisors to Families of Wealth. I know literally thousands of Trusted Advisors, and not one is a Fool. You could ask them if you don't trust me.
Seriously, I am just joking. Curing Dynastic Wealth in a Democracy is a sore subject. These families are really, really screwed up. I don't mean to make light of it. For someone like Marty or Patricia or Jay to go into these families to cure them is heroic. I mean the moral infirmities of the powerful may be contagious. We could end up as crazy as these families are, but not in a good way. We could end up sicker than our patients. We could carry the plague of materialism ourselves from Great House to Great House. Maybe we should all wear funny hats. At least when Carnival comes again we can dance in masquerade. Shhh, that fat old bitch in the cat suit, no, not the Nun, she is just a hooker like us, the once dancing with The Happy Tutor, is she your client or mine?
I apologize for this post. I am off my meds.