Thursday, March 18, 2010

Self-reliance and Catharsis Part 2

Today I'm no longer interested in healing as some triumphal return, a rise to the surface to tell one’s story. And I only am escaped alone to tell thee... It may still be the book one makes out of the body’s passion—I haven’t let go of that yet. But to treat it as a triumph—or failure—of the individual, a journey of self-transformation or self-invention, is to remain captive to a peculiarly American enterprise.

To be the hero or victim of one’s story is to deny the lines of power that innervate and enervate our bodies, charge us with relation. One need only consider the opposition to universal coverage to be reminded of how self-reliance, that core neoliberal doctrine, so thoroughly informs beliefs about health and healing in this country—and informs much of contemporary literature associated with it.

What would an anti-cathartic poetics of healing look like? Am I ready to let go of catharsis? Or, ready to bring it back to the visceral rather than the sentimental, a counter to pernicious influence?

I dreamt we were susceptive to language

that care might be agency’s complement

and form never more than condition
passing as body

(from Armies of Compassion)

1 comment:

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