Pharmakon, Dr Scott Von

In ancient Greece the Pharmakon was the shaman/magician/doctor who healed the collective through the catalytic sacrifice of a part of the collective. The pharmakos was the sacrificed victim given a psychoactive substance and subject to a practice of ritual exclusion, attack, or death. A pharmakon came to be known as the substance used for healing but the original form would correspond to what is closer now to homeopathic medicine in which a substance which poisons or toxifies is given in order to provoke a catalytic transformative reaction in the individual body and/or mind. I have pointed out that this in fact was always already the original method of medicine used in all traditional medicine until it was replaced by rational, allopathic, and material medicine – none of which are useless in themselves but which have misunderstood the art of healing appropriate to the human psychosomatic being. (Orgonomy: Integral Medicine & Psychiatry)

Homeopathic medicine arose as a response to the overdevelopment of rational, allopathic, material medicine with a empirical, homeopathic, psychoenergetic medicine. I have also pointed out that the pharmakon or homeopathic healing method can be a practice such as acupuncture instead of or in conjunction with a substance. In this sense, Freud continued this return to the pharmakon to the extent that he developed a form of psychic healing which used a return to and confrontation with the original trauma previously hidden through repression or other defense but able to be recovered through techniques of anamnesis decoded from dreams, symptoms, accidents, jokes and other traces through a dialectical process similar to Socrates’ original method. In fact it could be said that psychoanalysis combines the ancient Greek medicine of the pharmakon with Socratic philosophical dialogue.

Derrida critiqued Plato’s attempt to separate techne and logos and cleanse the pharmakon from it’s ambivalent and experiential nature. The instantiation of the Platonic and Aristotelian academy provided an ideological vision of knowledge based on the Greek city-state as a completion of man: a premature ideal of the completion of the phenomenology of spirit later revisited by Hegel. As opposed to this I have proclaimed the impossibility of defining the completion of spirit or Being itself whether mathematically, politically or otherwise. Rather Being is becoming: an art studio or scientific laboratory or medical clinic of the real in which that which is given as Idea, Form, Archetype, Law, or Fact conditions process contingently but gives rise to the invention of unknown variations of the same. This idea was described in somewhat similar terms in Lautman’s mathematical philosophy as the true message of Plato but if so then it is a Socratic and/or Neoplatonic Plato much different from the Academic Plato which has come to dominate the last two millennia.

The philosophical and mathematical nature of Being I have just sketched out makes homeopathic medicine and psychoanalytic psychiatry essential models of doing philosophy and science and they hold the key to a final re-connecting of art and science or techne and logos in a poetic philosophy of the future. It also gives rise to an answer to the failed analysis and project of Hegel, Marx, and Kojeve in the phenomenology of spirit and the completion of history. The problem is that Hegel and his followers still maintain the vision of the state and knowledge in an ideological and visionary form as opposed to what I call Autopoesis: Sovereign Co-Creation. Bataille initially pointed the way through a critique of Kojeve’s extension of Hegel/Marx by opposing a form of sovereignty explicated by Nietzsche (through Christ) to the state envisioned by Plato, Hegel and Marx. In Hegel’s phenomenology he already opposes the Greek city state as a recognition of human subjectivity based on the struggle of the slave turned warrior to the immanent recognition of every human in his essential being proclaimed by Christ and used as the basis for the Roman-Christian empire of bourgeoise Europe. In this sense Nietzsche rehabilitated the original message of Christ as the imitation of Christ the warrior of immanent non-mastery or what I would call autopoetic sovereignty.

Two thousand years later – and two hundred years after Hegel – Bataille still points to this unresolved conflict between the Hegelian-Marxist vision of the ideal State of humanity in “communism” and the Nietzschean refrain of singular cases of individuated (super)humans who have no need or interest in creating a common good for all but rather recognize one another in their radical difference and continue to innovate though the struggle to overcome themselves. These (super)humans who inhabit the world at the end of history no longer need work or war but rather engage in continual co-creation in which there are neither winners nor losers but collaborators – which even appear some times to be destroyers. Thus history is over for the logoic recording of time, money, and knowledge is no longer needed. Rather play predominates and game theory replaces law.