Pharmakos Feed

American Bacchae

Tutor Skyped me last night at 3 am. Apropos of whatever was on his mind, he said, "Social Enterprises now have as many bottom lines as there were once gods on Mt Olympus. It takes only two to make tragedy, and three for farce. Soon Ovid's Metamorphoses will be taught in business school. They call it 'story telling.' The best stories drive metrics. If only they might read The Bacchae. Reason rules the polis and the great god Dionysus calls for Hillary's head." Tutor may be drinking again. I worry about him sometimes. "If this is what a lifetime of reading gets you, Tutor," I said, "we are better off ignorant." He said,  "You are in good company." Then he hung up. 

The Wounded Healer

The Healer (Pharmakeus) Healed:

The scapegoat [pharmakos] was the purification [to katharma] in this fashion.

After they had burnt the ugliest man of all – as I said earlier –

for the purification of the city during the greatest disasters,

they sprinkled [errainon] his ash throughout nearly the whole city.

Therefore they called this rite purification [katharma] before scapegoat [pharmakos].

The poisoner [pharmakeus] was he who used drugs to kill.

Who chooses, I wonder, this pharmakos who by taking upon himself the sins of society, heals it? Or does the healer rise up to offer his body for burning, tormented beyond reason by a moral illness that plagues his city? And why, then, is the healer also the poisoner, as the drug (pharmakon) is also the poison? "Physician, Heal thyself!," spoken as the healer burns crackling at the crossroads. Out of such death-play comes satire, as out of death life. For the pharmakos who names the truth in the presence of corrupt power - how that ends is badly. But for whom? Not for the media, not for philanthropy, not for those who head our body politic, and not for me either. For I will stick to the positive and take my meds.