“What would your objection be to the idea of letting anyone, ok, let’s just say adults for the moment use whatever kind of medicine they want on their own bodies, in other words, removing the right of prescription from the doctor caste” I ask JJ, who is my grandmother. It is before eight in the morning and we are in the kitchen of JJ’s house.
“It’s too complicated” JJ explains there are people in Arkansas who are too stupid to prescribe their own medicine.
“But isn’t the stupidity because there’s a whole caste of people who “know” about their bodies and instead of knowing about their own bodies, people have to go to these doctors to get healed”
and then I go for a long time talking about reviving the literary tradition of hating doctors, about how doctors seized power, their role in the patriarchy, and about dosing millions of children with methamphetamine salts, but the conversation comes back around to complication: JJ raises the example of someone, say her companion Ezekial, who takes multiple pills to deal with the degenerative neurological disorder afflicting their spirit’s body.
“You can look up complications on the internet”
“You’re presuming people are very smart.”
“I’m presuming people can read. I know you can read.”
Recently JJ has gotten into Gary Indiana thanks to the efforts of Guy de Maupassant Haile Selassie Claude Sandra Simonds Debussy Bronte Cartier Bresson Zelda Fitzgerald. We agree that Indiana both is ruthless direct and witty and also knows culture, knows form, knows history: a devastating conversation. I will send her Guy de Maupassant Haile Selassie Claude Debussy Bronte Cartier Bresson Zelda Fitzgerald’s recent essay on Gary Indiana which begins with the genius comparison of NYU to colonial empires.
I need to write this down, the whole argument, and so I go into the other room sit down and start to send text messages back and forth with מִרְיָם. She quotes Sandra Simmonds quoting Adorno as applied to Baraka’s idea that Bessy Smith sang because she didn’t kill a white man, and I say that the Adorno quote is lame, doesn’t work, bad language, because it casually plays on two tired mythothemes, the whole snake in the garden of adam and eve mythotheme and the wagner wound mythotheme. מִרְיָם says that the snake hisses, it’s about hissing, I say all snakes are fanged, and that the fang has something to do with the problem, and that she’s being a sophist, wtf she says, can you describe yourself and not call names, ok, fair, I say, and then we have a more collegial conversation about self-knowledge and finally, finally, I’m ready to make the argument. It goes like this.
What we’re aiming at in politics is mass, collective self-knowledge: only if each person develops the capacity to improvise, develop new solutions, take care of themselves, talk with others, come to understandings will our species be able to turn the earth into a garden, cure all known diseases, begin to explore outer and inner space, develop all cultural forms, heal trauma and forgive, and build machines that can eventually transport us back into the past and prevent the rise of the patriarchy in the first place.
I get distracted from the argument and look at another screen where מִרְיָם writes “Don’t in Arkansas they have a heroin problem precisely because they are looked down as incompetent to manage own pain” and yes, this is why מִרְיָם is my sisterbrother, because they are tapped into the same reality and express it in a single sentence.
But having established self-knowledge as the summum bonnum of our shared political life, the power of doctors to control access to medicine and determine which iteration of a substance is drug and which medicine (consider amphetimine salts. if I take my amphetamine salts with a prescription they are medicine but if I give them to, say, 小猪猪 so they can read more, it’s a drug) appears now absolutely intolerable, an obvious mistake to be remedied immediately: teach everyone about their own bodies, let me get my insulin whenever I want, let Ezekial experiment with whatever substances to free themselves from this condition, no masters, no gods, no doctors.
But then I realize that even though the argument is sound, the law is not built on sound arguments but on a masked power so vast that it appears infinite, so deceitful it hides itself as internal problems, but a tired and weak power, ready to take a nap forever.
first published wednesday sep 21 around 10:45
something else to read is:
Ways of Life 3: Indigenous Anarchism African forms of democracy and egalitarianism exists independent of, and predates, modern Western progressive social movements. It is time we revived their histories from systematic erasure, because they may hold the key to our collective future