A lot of Americans still believe the free market place can fulfill, if left alone, our all our needs when it surely hasn’t so far. The pharmaceutical industry is really good at reinforcing this illusion. They make pills to do that, like the blue pill in “The Matrix,” the pill that Morpheus tells Neo will make, “you wake up in your bed and believe whatever you want to believe,” even that you are not still dreaming.
Funny word, “pharmaceutical,” it comes from the ancient Greek word pharmakon which can mean remedy, or poison. With out a hint of irony the pharmaceutical industry, as part of a mercilessly capitalist system, makes the poisonous environment the their remedies are marketed as cure for. They make the ills to sell the pills. They market their potions as a real world “Soma,” that all-purpose wonder drug in “Brave New World,” which author Aldous Huxley says has “All the advantages of Christianity and alcohol; none of their defects.” Right.
“‘Life’s just much too hard today,’ I hear ev’ry mother say. The pursuit of happiness just seems a bore.” That was written in 1965. Mick and Keith also observed, “And though she’s not really ill, there’s a little yellow pill She goes running for the shelter of a mother’s little helper.” And it’s still true today,
See the enslaved litter carriers of the god-king corporations. They are deceived by pills and spectacles, made to believe that they are pursuing, and will eventually capture happiness. but what they are actually doing is enabling the point-one-percent crowd to capture its happiness—wealth, power, celebrity—at the expense of their own.
Then there are the standers-by flushed with a potent paradoxical mix of desire and disgust. Do they want to hang out with the god kings or tear them down? Are they fans, fanatics, or worse? “In morals what begins in fear usually ends in wickedness; in religion what begins in fear usually ends in fanaticism. Fear, either as a principle or a motive, is the beginning of all evil.” says 19th century British essayist Anna Jameson.
I forgot to mention that pharmakos also means scapegoat in addition to healer/poisoner. In the bad old days pharmakoi were chosen from those already suffering the ills of a society, the crazies, cripples, slaves, or foreigners etc. to be blamed for the universal suffering. The theory was that pharmakoi were poisoned so the society could be cured. These individuals were banished, beaten or even killed in hopes that that would would end the suffering at large.
There is no record of it ever working. So why do we keep doing any of it? Why do we keep buying pills or dreams from the creators of our ills or nightmares doubling down their potency and our weakness. Or blaming the weakest among us and letting the true criminals get away? I don’t know. Are we, too, all fanatics or worse?