of the all dominating
medical doctors’ class’ programme
Transparency-Retranslation (Transparenz-Rueckuebertragung) of our translation of Jean-Paul Sartre’s Preface to: SPK – Aus der Krankheit eine Waffe machen (SPK - Turn Illness into a Weapon) into English (including the publisher’s annotations, biased and partisan, but absolutely essential and indispensable in the class-interest of the patients’ class, being in confrontation and steadily on a collision-course).
The following texts will be included in the next edition of SPK – Turn Illness into a Weapon.
and guide at present.
Unlike others, we did not need to run after Sartre. As soon as Sartre, at those times 67 years old, had held the typewritten German manuscript before his eyes, his poor eyesight was forgotten. He immediately set himself to work, without hesitating, and wrote down his preface. But even thereafter, he did not stop. Such a way of advancing, even if made against an opposing wind, and even for scentless and tasteless people, does in no way smack of a Good Samaritan service, and certainly of no expert accommodation estimate either, not even remotely. By keeping phone-contact with the lawyers of the SPK, he was supporting and sustaining the several weeks lasting meetings of the pan-European SPK-supporters at the University of Heidelberg during the following semester break. So, always attentive and critical, he dissuaded the participants of the support meetings, who at times counted more than 1.000 people, from calling their meetings a Tribunal. Sartre: "You would have to execute your verdict against the culprits, and in your book you have already called them by their names. Where this is not possible, what you really are performing is an Enquête (counter-inquiry), and not yet a tribunal, at least for the time being".
Sartre was first and foremost an activist, a partisan activist, an activist who took sides on the only correct side, and his intellect was anything else but a short-bowled one. Readers, literati, even translators should keep that in mind, especially in view of his Speech to the Comrades (namely and self-evidently confrontation-patients), in the following transferred in a counter-throw (Sartre: "ob-jet", "jeté devant", Gegenwurf), comparing, contrasting and completing the facsimile print of the autograph (ver-gleichender Gegenwurf zum Faksimile-Druck des Autograph).
By the way, and to say it in the words of Marx (cf. Preface to "The Capital"), it appears that in the publishing business they are up to "treat (another) dead dog". If Marx, at those times, had referred very appraisingly to the dialectics of Hegel, one – with regards to Sartre, apart and beyond his works on dialectics (878 pages) – ought to refer to all those of his texts that take illness as substance and subject, thus as the utopathic human species (in Sartre: "mother", in a certainly abstractifying back projection. Indeed, a poor signifier in poor times!). From the editorial-technical and the inconvenience-technical side, there is really nothing to be waited for. After all, any stench blows from overseas west: ex occidente foetor; but ex oriente – after a little glowing light, glowing from the matter dialectics – likewise. To play the editorial gravediggers’ part? that shit-game is not ours. Not with "Konkret", and with Gallimard neither. And the HEAL-treatment has served its time, because, after all, what even dead dogs, just like buried texts from the wider context of the new-revolution by the force of illness, do not need in the least, is a HEAL-treatment.
Translations done by third hands extraneous to the matter are subject to our legal reservations. Whoever, especially as a scientist or academic, shies away from the consequences of a penal and civil action, has got in our English version and its re-translation into English the best measure
Werner Heisenberg, too, the father of the Hiroshima-bomb, had contacted the SPK once a time. He was totally contrite.
Whereas blockheads and media shit heads have been stressing against Sartre up to the present the totally contrary point of view of the really alone all dominating medical doctors’ class and their state and police bailiffs in the normoisie megasect.
Werner Schork has witnessed the SPK to Sartre. Whenever I think of them, they are present.
April 17, 1972
With most great interest I have read your book. Anti-psychiatry ought to be changed radically and thoroughly. Your book would make that possible. However, this alone probably matters in the least. What really matters, I have found in your book. Because, and that is obvious, your book is based on a coherent and consistent practical work, the aim of which is to do away with all therapeutic methods when dealing with mental illness. Also, all other therapeutic methods, too, are only so-called healing methods, fundamentally and from their very outset falling far too short from their professed aim.
If I try to summarize the whole correctly, you, speaking in the terms of Marx, conceive illness as alienation, because alienation is already by itself the general characteristic of a capitalist society. So you are totally right, and you have well done to seize and work on all illnesses treating them firstly as the products of capitalist alienation. Thus, in 1845, in his book "On the Condition of the Working-Class in England" already Engels himself had observed that by the means of capitalist industrialization there has been created a world, "in which only that sort of men is still able to feel at home that has been dehumanized and degraded, both intellectually as with respect to the totalizing embodiment of its habits (bezueglich des Gesamtkoerperlichen ihrer Gewohnheiten). This sort of men that is still able to feel at home in such conditions has decayed and descended to the level of the beast, is therefore ill in medical regards, hence physically morbid".
Thus, Engels continually refers to the totality of this sort of men that is struck by illness without exception, because this class of human beings, violently atomized into single beings, has been and is being crippled permanently and systematically into sub-humans. This both externally and internally. All this is surely the work of the atomizing violences of the system. This illness can be conceived, in the sense of a totalizing object (gesamtgegenstaendlich), as one great damage, which has been inflicted and is inflicted again and again anew on those who are depending on wage-labor, alltogether inflicted by illness. And at the same time this damaged life is the visible rebellion against this totality of damage, which has reduced them – with or without their knowledge – to the state of mere objects. Although the social conditions and relations have changed profoundly since 1845, alienation as such continues to be the same, now as then. And it will remain so, as long as the Capitalist system does. And that is so, because alienation is – as you say – the prerequisite and result of all economic activity in Capitalism. Illness is – as you say – the only possible form and the only possible way (methodos) to live in Capitalism. It is true that the psychiatrist, too, is a wage-dependent worker, is – as everybody else is, and we ourselves included – an ill creature. But what, in the end, is raising him above all ill people and above his kind is merely the circumstance that the class, in which he rules, has empowered him and his kind with all the power arsenals required to have the members of the suppressed class interned or/and subject to wage dependent work. And there is no further need to mention that no treatment ("cure") whatsoever, let alone "healing" ("Heilung"), is able to master illness, ever, least of all within the dominating system. Every sort of therapy – and each one is, in any way, nothing but a so-called one – is, in reality, only the restoration of one’s capability to work, and nothing else. Either way, you will continue to remain an ill person (ein Kranker).
Therefore, there are in the existing society two sorts of people: one is either adapted to fit in, or, according to medical standards, one is norm-less and garbage. Among those adapted to fit in there are, in turn, also two sorts of people, both of them being likewise inconspicuous, but ill, though without having conscience of that: the medical doctor, if not – ultimately and in the department for terminal in-patients (endstationaer) – the psychiatrist himself presents the first of this sort of ill people to the public as a piece of evidence proofing that they comply with the normative standards and that they are valuable. These are the ill ones, whose symptoms and complaints fit in with capitalist production. The second sort of adapted ill people are those whose symptoms and complaints have been re-adapted coercively to capitalist production by the use of therapeutic-terrorist means.
The others, however, are the norm-less and garbage, ill people (krank-Kranke, the ill-ill ones), those who are, by reason of an un-aimed revolt, incapable to do iatro-capitalist wage-labor; an un-aimed revolt that simply becomes manifest in them: disturbing, disgusting, ugly, ‘killjoys’, looser-like, "at best" painful and deplorable. This ill wage-dependent, then, as a patient, is passing, from physician to physician, through the inter/intra-medical chain-reactions of being diagnosed (and there is no need for any specific diagnosis, at that regard they already have become more attentive, not to say shyer (gescheit-gescheut)). That means that the patient passes through the signifiers’ chain, he himself being in each case the signified one – said in the words of Jacques Lacan, which I myself make use of here – , as in the signifiers’ chain each signifier has only another signifier as its object, which the signifier, inevitably, with speech-automatic inevitability and in a widely-dispersed mode, then takes as target, though never meeting with the signified, on which he allegedly refers, as all are highly convinced he would, taking it as a matter of fact; never meeting with the real object of his judgment (Urteilsgegenstand), that is a random object, sometimes it happens to be a patient*. When the patient has thus passed that slithery-slippery-sliding-off-signifiers’ chain, he eventually hooks up with the psychiatrist (only a statistically ascertainable, but never a calculable blow-off-effect, just as with the atomic bomb), landing thus in the psychiatric domain; often enough he lands there also directly, or as terminal station. Nota bene: in this second category of ill people it is dealt with those who are (they themselves) the un-aimed revolt, because by their un-aimed revolt they have been disabled to do capitalist wage-labor.
* Chiamato-citato, trascritto, obliterato, ucciso (cf. ‘scrivere è uccidere’, A. Verdiglione) [Aufgerufen, abgeschrieben, totgemacht].
Called up, registered, written-off, obliterated, killed.
Once called up, the signified patient enters the consulting room of the physician, becomes registered and written-off, having got his end, that means: extinction already with him, as any other object (elephant, tree, barrier, …), too. Thus: to write = to kill. However: Who offends by the force of illness is in the right.
The doctrine of the signifier has got its own dialectics. All the fuss on genetic engineering, which is merely modernistic and nothing else, does not change that, when the doctrine of the signifiers related to illness unfolds its penetrating force, as here, with Sartre.
This policeman, i.e. the psychiatrist, first of all and automatically, because without any particular intervention, casts them out of any law-context by refusing the patient passed through to him – for instance by a medical referral, or, as in most cases, by another policeman – any recourse to the most elementary and self-evident rights. The physician / psychiatrist is of course the accomplice of the atomizing and dismembering violences, because of his being completely entangled with these violences. He picks up the single cases and separates and segregates them, as if it were them – because they appear on the physical or the societal level as disturbing and as trouble-makers – who were to blame for these disturbances, as if it were them who had caused their own misfortune and all the trouble around them. Then he collectivizes these patients, he collects them in a sample* of those that appear to him as being similar among each other, and be it only with regard to one specific particularity, which he produces out of his inner impression as an attributed quality (Anmutungsqualitaet in the sense of Husserl, see also phainomena) that seems suitable to him and "subtly" puzzles it into a specific diagnostic label. What follows then is the assiduous pursuit (im eifrigen Verfolg) of their different behavioral patterns, after the psychiatrist has correlated alternately all these effects that he himself has brought about, so that the presumed unity of their noxiousness (nosology) seems to strike him promptly.
a collective. Frequently used in the medical doctors’ class of nowadays is the term patients’ collective for designating an object of research. And Martin Luther already has most eagerly yearned for a patients’ collective, for the medical doctor’s arse (Arschzt), or, as he says and writes: for the HEILand (the Savior). The one as well as the other "patients’ collective": all the best for the medical doctor’s arse (Arschzt).
Last but not least he takes these artificial products of his own doings for the illnesses themselves, because, prior to that, surely he has searched for and found a suitable category and pigeonholefor everything by classifying and differentiating, that goes without saying. The ill person as such has now been stripped out of his personal and social relations and become atomizingly isolated and thrown back in a specific category (schizophrenia, paranoia, etc.). As a result, the single patient may perceive himself as having been thrown back in a specific category as well as in the "society" of other patients with supposed similarities. In spite of that, and that’s obvious, he can never enter into any societal relation with these other patients. Because in the eyes of the psychiatrist, each of these persons is nothing but the identical, same specimen of the one and same "psychoneurosis"*.
*Confronted with all that by Huber, the Director of Psychiatry Walter Ritter von Baeyer had no other choice but to invoke a so-called social mandate delegated to him to intern the patients and to invoke also the limitations set by the State to the necessary changes. Long live the contrat sociale! Long live the revolution! (which one?). Said in the words of the Director: "I cannot throw stones against window panes, can I?" Huber: "But as to me, I can, and quite a lot more, and more again, the necessity has been proven more than once". The director betook himself to flight, and there was little to prevent him from shattering his head against the glass door. In similar cases concerning his patients, who where trying to flee from electroshocks, there resulted fractures at the skull base. Is it easier to remain a director, or to kill oneself as a director?
Completely in contrast to all this, you have accomplished your goal and set out to focus on, bring leverage to and change the collective basic facts, beyond their various and multiple phenomena: all this is coercively correlated and connected with the capitalist system, as it is the capitalist system that turns everyone into a commodity, and, by consequence, the wage-dependent into things [transformation of the wage-dependent, under alienation and reification (Verdinglichung), into objects and things]. There is no need for me to explain and it is quite clear to you that isolating ill people can only perpetuate their atomization. And it is also quite clear to you that this atomization starts already at the level of the relations of production. Likewise you have already straightened out by your practical work that patients, when they demand to build another society as a whole, they must form a community (Gemeinschaft) first, that is based on mutual agitation; in brief, they must create, first of all, a socialist patients’ collective. That question emerges from the dark of their revolt in illness itself (insofar still un-aimed protest).
You are also right in refusing to see in the physician and in the patient, both of them being ill like everybody else, two distinguishable persons: for, in reality and quite consequentially, it has always been like that, that by the distinction between the psychiatrist and the patient, the psychiatrist has become the sole signifier. (Excursus: signifier: the one who establishes the meaning and the purpose of some-thing (Sinngeber), the interpreter (Deuter), the one who assigns meaning (Be-Deuter) to something, and finally and above all the signifier, the superius maximus; Sartre, of course, knows of the history of the meanwhile millenniums old tradition of the definition-pair: signifier – signified (significant – signifié), for the first time recorded in the philosophy of the Stoics, then with Aristotle, later on with the Swiss De Saussure and the Czech Jakobson, and last but not least with Lacan, because Sartre, according to the previous text, certainly knows all-to well that the devastating dichotomy and the class-antagonistic split between the medical doctor and the patient can probably nowhere else be exemplified better than in the signifier/signified-machinery, which is trimming and flattening the patient into an indifferent-insignificant thing, while it is superiorizing the medical doctor or psychiatrist, placing him in the class of the Gods; because: The physician who is at the same time a philosopher, so already the Stoic School knew to report, becomes equal to the Gods. In other words: it is supposed that above this significant is, at most, nothing but the sky itself. It is impossible to ascend higher, not today and also not in the future, but the crash-down has been programmed long since.) To this it must be added that the outlawed and isolated patient as an ill man in his single illness is the only signified thing as such, the object that is exposed defenselessly to any determination from outside (Fremdbestimmung) (the signified one = indifferent thing, arbitrarily and despotically allocatable, that can be functionalized through and by the interpretations and double-stop-police-arm-lock-meanings (polizeidoppelgriffige Bedeutungen), purposes and intentions of the signifying person, that is the physician or the psychiatrist).
Quite on the contrary: the physician and the patient are a dialectic unit, a dialectic unit, which is the rootslike base for everybody. Once the patients have produced a group-connection, in the inner core of this dialectic relation, and depending on the respective time and circumstances, there is at times the one, at other times the other patient the propelling moment (movens, Moment), and that in the measure in which the patients either insist on the reactionary impetus (Moment) of their illness or they become consciously aware (get a fully conscious idea, cf. Hegel, Spinoza) of their revolt and their true interests and feelings which are suppressed, annihilated and deformed by the existing capitalist society. It is a necessity for the patients to collectivize themselves among each other and to create collectives. This necessity follows from their knowledge, that, beyond its different singleillnesses, it is illness as such that is the basic contradiction in each of them (to be added: Illness as such is the basic contradiction between Illness and the Capital (Grundwiderspruch), the main contradiction being: patients’ class against the medical doctors’ class (Hauptwiderspruch)). Their further knowledge consists in that each single one is at the same time the signifier and the signified one, but in the true patients’ collective it is only the new-revolution in force of illness that is determinant, decisive and significative. So, it becomes necessary for the patients to form collectives, just in order to enable themselves to be in the condition to regard, recognize and acknowledge each other mutually by encountering themselves (sich gegenseitig und einander begegnend in Betracht zu nehmen und anzuerkennen). In this, their own light, they cast each other into the right light, while they are able to uncover, to separate and to keep apart the reactionary motor from the progressive motor. To give an example for the reactionary motor: the bourgeois ideology. Whereas the progressive moments and elements consist in demanding and aiming at a different, another society, another society of which the most important and highest aim is the human species, which still has to be created, but no longer the making of profit. It is out of question that such collectives can never have any interest in their "healing", let alone make that to their aim. That is so, because Capitalism produces the single illnesses in all and in all single ones. And because "healing", in the psychiatric domain by the physicians of the soul, the physicians of the diaphragm*(Seelenarzt), by medical specialists and general practitioners, in general means nothing but the attempt of reintegrating ill people into the existing ill society. That means that, quite on the contrary to this all, collectives of this kind have to struggle with all their bodies’ might (aus Leibeskraeften) to bring illness to its entire explication and evolvement. Therefore it is all about enhancing illness more and more and to drive it to the boil, meaning to bring it up to the point where illness becomes a revolutionary force. The means to achieve this is the collective with its collective becoming conscious.
According to the ancient Greeks, the diaphragm is the location where the soul (psyche, anima) lives by breathing in and out.
As to myself, the encounter with the SPK has struck me like the proverbial lightning strike to the Naturseele (soul of nature, Hegel). For me the flabbergasting impression I experienced with the SPK consists in the fact that the patients – free of any medical individual, i.e. free of an individual pole that signifies them – are producing relations resembling the human species (menschengattungsaehnliche Beziehungen) amidst the existing otherness (mitten im bestehenden Anderen), where anything suchlike does not exist, and that they help each other to get aware of their situation and circumstances in full consciousness and clarity. They are looking at each other, by encountering face-to-face their counter-part, in an undivided and extremely intensified attentiveness. And this means that they act as free subjective entities, as a dialectic unit of signifier and signified. Meanwhile, in all modern psychiatry, especially in its market model: psycho-analysis, the ones who are ill never get to see anybody; because the physicians, just another pre-human nihility (Nullitaet), are sitting behind them prowling around behind their backs. In doing so, they are already fully occupied with taking notes of the patients’ thoughts and feelings, with recording them, maybe only in form of a mnemotechnical report, and at the same time the physicians are already up to categorize them immediately and without any hesitation, and that precisely in the way that the medical doctor considers the only right one, just like that.
That determination of the space-related basic concept (raumbezogene Grundanschaungsform, Kant) in the doctor-patient relation puts the patient into the condition of being nothing else but a mere object, or rather an object/non-object curdled piece of clumped flesh, whereas the physician in this doctor-patient relation finds himself as the one who has been fetishized and turned into the absolute, godlike signifier (Signifizierer). It is in this, then, that his hermeneutics consists: to make slide-off right away signifiers (Signifikanten), untenable and groundless per se, which, for sure, can have only other signifiers (Signifikanten), and then more other signifiers (Signifikanten), as their object (cf. signifiers’ chain, Signifikantenkette); and at the end of that slide stands the assisted dying or mercy-killing, the euthanasia, or, for a better understanding: EuthaNAZIa. And this is the way, the physician deciphers his hermeneutics*, his beautiful message (the most cynical arrogance is really nothing compared to that!), his beautiful, bonny and true message of all what his "philosophy" – and surely all high philosophy of others and in general – after all his categorizing, taking notes and recording has given him at hand as alleged intellectual tool. Moreover, hermeneutics is a secret, the signifier/signified secret of which he alone pretends to be capable of decoding.
For a better understanding and a very free translation.
I am glad of having comprehended the true and real progress the SPK is. What remains for me, is to appreciate and approve in its entirety the fundamental results of your work. If I judge that appropriately, I understand without any doubt that this work can expose you to the worst methods of oppression of which the capitalist society disposes. And I am considering not only the violence potentials of which are making use all those who like being celebrated as the upholders and guarantors of the civilizing and cultural blessings. I am also considering all their appendixes for whom your work cannot but represent the invitation to unchain and unleash all the bloodhounds in state and police. You will be forced to fight by all means, because those who have the command (das Sagen haben) in the existing society, but first of all those who are in charge of managing and curing (das Handeln und Be-handeln), intend to prevent you from continuing your practical work. And for them it is quite enough already, as a first measure, to have shabbily and vilely brought up charges of conspiracy against you.
Despite of this all, however, in the future nobody shall be entitled to judge you on the grounds of feeble-minded detentions, but exclusively on the base of the results you will accomplish and you have accomplished already.
To the previous transparency-retranslation of our English translation
Addendum (Huber, 2003)
Why this, and for whom? Ability for warfaring based on illness (Krankheitskriegstuechtigkeit) and human species’ utopathy (Menschengattungsutopathie) are our pathopracticals. Whoever wants, may read himself dumb and dumber on texts and translations. Not us, not anymore. As means of expression, English and Anglo-American are the flattest and shallowest German dialects. Translations done by third hands extraneous to the matter, as the one that has been published recently, resulting from a French translation of the Preface of Sartre into Turkish, the latter being the 10th foreign language in our repository, are diffusing knowings. We are glad to hear in Turkish that the Sartre Preface is easier to understand than the Koran. But knowings and pathopractically efficient knowledge are excluding each other (Kenntnisse und pathopraktisches Wirkwissen schliessen sich aus). Sartre knew that: when signified ones kill their signifiers, then they are free of signifiers, and their signifiers are dead; the only thing that should be added is that the signifiers continue to remain signifiers, but the signified ones, in all their born life, have never been signifiers and they will never become such as long as they live. For they have no and never had any command and saying (hatten und haben sie doch kein Sagen). And they have overcome once and forever any failure (und das Versagen haben sie ein- fuer allemal ueberwunden).
All philosophy, including particularly that entangled in the dominating signifiers’ thicket, continues to remain the ancient slaveholders’ philosophy. If Sartre was a philosopher, then in and with full knowledge of all that. And not every Marxian and university-averse has been granted the pleasure to decline with brave resoluteness the Nobel Prize; by the way, that was years before the SPK. Late maturing big kids (spaetreife Kindskoepfe) of his Parisian environment had never anything to reproach themselves for, even years later, their own age, of course, the least. Because innate calcification is inhibiting one’s own senescence calcification competitively.
Do I have to regret that I could not make it to explain to Sartre, while he still was alive, the reasons of my affront to this, his preface to SPK - Turn Illness into a Weapon? Getting back to the concluding sentences of Sartre’s Preface there should be reminded that the PF/SPK confrontation-patients, after they were reported to be dead in Paris (what a magnificent contribution to the doctrine of the signifier!), in 1977/78, had long ago begun to make use of every useful, but also every conventionaliter useless means and to develop them (Sartre: You will be forced to fight by all means …). And nothing was holy to us, for nobody so far has been able to name us a purpose that would have been capable to sanctify our means, and who else on earth would sanctify any means, if not the purpose?
If our re-translation of Sartre’s Preface appears to somebody in-determined (free of signifiers! –), perhaps even less alien-determined than Sartre’s autograph, he may match its year of origin 1972 with the death signifier Stammheim, for Sartre and for us of the SPK the year 1973/74, and 1977 for others among others. Against the signifiers, therefore, stands only the self-stigmatization in illness, in Sartre coined upon the Danish king. That, too, can be learned from Sartre. And precisely by re-translation into the only true language, that is by trans-lation and propagation (Uebertragung) of illness, but not by translations, educational training and acquisition of knowings at universities.
The path out of torture is paved with broken medical doctors.
Translation (September 2008):
Kurd Ch. Schager, Dipl.-Angl., M.A.soc.ling. , PF/SPK MFE