Re: Drug Gaze

Perhaps it would be appropriate to recall here Derrida's (a student,
colleague and critic of Foucault's) "Plato's Pharmacy." Derrida focuses on
the ambiguous and polysemic meaning of the Greek word "pharmakon" in Plato's
"Phaedrus." His treatment of the subject as I recall (although it has been
some years since I've read the piece) emphasizes the ameliorative effects of
philosophy and calls into question whether or not it is some kind of
"pharmakon" or drug, a medicine that heals or can be used to intoxicate,
befuddle and even poison the listeners, interlocutors and participants of
philosophical discussions because "pharmakon" can mean both medicine and
poison. The polysemic meaning of such a word is also related to the person
of Socrates himself and Derrida goes to some length to show that there is a
veiled aspect to the dialogue with regard to whether or not Socrates is
healthy or evil for Athens. (It is the only dialogue that takes place
outside the city.) Obviously, eventually Socrates, the personification of
philosophical pharmakonic discourse, is censured and poisoned by the city
that gave him his identity and a place to practice his philosophical

I might add also that such a thematic resonates theologically in the
judeo-christian tradition as Christ was crucified in order to take away the
sins of the world although one must still exercise tremendous double think
since one will perennially hear from the pulpit that the Jews of Jesus' time
made the mistake of thinking that one man's death could atone for their
sins. Of course, Jesus himself is purported to have said this very thing
although he lamented the fact that it had to happen. So "Christian history"
can be regarded from this angle as 2000 years of attempting to rectify the
murder of an innocent man who was in some sense God himself. In order to
break the cycle of an eye for an eye it was necessary for God himself to
play out the logic of this morality and thereby throw into sharp relief the
lack of necessity for the drama of the passion.

Thus viewed from this angle the historic figures of Jesus and Socrates give
great weight to the virtue, some might argue the responsibility, to use
drugs in order keep us from committing the same sin again - the sin of
committing violence against the wise. So really the question is: Is it
possible and conceivable that the use of drugs can be a deterrent to such
hubristic acts. Of course, abuse of drugs can also lead to a deranged state
of mind so there is a danger in not using drugs as well as in the use of

We might also note here that Jesus' first miracle was to turn water into
wine at a wedding party.



>From: HealantHenry@xxxxxxx
>Reply-To: foucault@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
>To: foucault@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
>Subject: Re: Drug Gaze
>Date: Sat, 28 Jun 2003 10:29:17 EDT
>In a message dated 6/28/03 10:27:15 AM, jehms@xxxxxxxxx writes:
> >A genealogy of the concept of 'drug' would be
> >interesting I think.
>A genealogy of the concept "addiction" would be helpful, too.

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