The secret of illness is
How to apply the concept of illness
Taken from a spontaneous interview by phone.
Questions of a U.S. American to KRANKHEIT IM RECHT about:
What is human species? How do you apply the concept of illness in your daily work?
As to your question about our view of illness as the lacking of human species: We think that as to animals there already exists a species for the animals. The species of animals is reality for the animals, and they live within their species. But as to mankind there does not yet exist a species. This species exists only as a lack of species. The human species appears in form of illness, it appears as illness as it is usually seen every day, but not usually understood as such a lack. The human species does not exist, it only exists as a lack of species. And this lack you may experience in your being ill, and as we think it is not so that sometimes I am ill and sometimes I am not ill, I am save or sound or something like this. But illness is a condition for everyone who lives on earth in a general way. This is also meant philosophically, and - above all - it is also meant in a quite practical sense. In illness you may have the experience that you as a single one are not an entirely complete person: something lacks. Something is in you which goes also beyond your singularity.
Illness as scarcity, this appears also in the German expression, literally translated: "What are you lacking?" ("What's up with you?"). Illness as scarcity is a connection between you and other people, a connection between you and the conditions you live in, and also a connection between you and the cosmos. And from all these connections there are influences. But most time you experience these influences only in a passive way. But change these connections and relations actively, and you may experience that you are not a single one within the limits of your own skin, but there is something within you, that goes beyond and aims at more. The target or the aim of mankind or of everyone on earth is to grow up to an existence which is more than a single human being within its own skin. This is an experience that you are more than that which is within your own skin, you are also relation to other people, you are relation to plants, to stones, to all what exists. This is an experience in illness, and if you learn to make use of this you can turn it into an activity, into a way of life. Then the force of illness [Krankheitskraft] is not compelled, e.g., to make a "cancer" in your body, but you are able to grow together with others, to act collectively to reach a common aim, or to grow together with others in direction to an active connection with other things.
Some perhaps have the opinion, an animal has the same illnesses as a human being. They think the illness of human beings is nothing specific, not the lacking of species. This may seem so. But it is only appearing so, and appearances are deceptive. The essence of illness of the human beings is totally different from the illness of the animals. The main difference is: only human beings can handle illness, can do something consciously, but animals cannot do it consciously or cannot handle it. They have to suffer it, they are only suffering. But as a human being you are able to do more than suffering from illness, you can work with illness like you work with tools. But it is a more complex, also a more difficult doing, than to apply a simple tool, like e.g. to knock a nail with a hammer to get it into the wall.
To give an example, how to do this. We have the five moments of the concept of illness. The first moment is alienation. Alienation is alienation from the species (and not alienation from nature). And from this moment of illness, alienation, you can deduce activities. For example: when people come to us, to KRANKHEIT IM RECHT, and speak with us we think: oh, alienation, first moment of the concept of illness: what do we have to know? What do we have to ask these people so that we are able to understand their specific way of alienation? This as a condition to be active together with them in a specific manner.
The second moment is wage-dependant labour [Lohnarbeit]. And we think, it is very important to know what the people work, e.g. if they work in a factory in difference to working as a teacher. Or if they have not any working place. Because all this is important to understand the illness, the specifity [Besonderheit] of the illness of the very people.
The third moment of the concept of illness - the first was alienation, the second was labour - the third moment of the concept of illness is (human) species, or that is to say, to be constrained to be your own species on your own, to be your own species against yourself, a part of you against the "rest" of you. It is a little difficult. You can read on this subject, about species in relation with itself [Selbstbegattung] for example with the German philosopher Hegel. Hegel has written something on human species in difference to the species of animals. There he wrote: In the right way you form a species by being an active community with others, working on matters you change by this working, and you are changing yourself collectively by doing this work. But this is not possible under the condition of Capitalism and under the condition of Iatrocapitalism, because the doctors divide people into different diagnoses, and by this they separate them from each other. And so the change that is included in illness remains limited on your own consciousness, on your own body, instead of illness being the drive to achieve, together and collectively with others, changes in the world.
To be your own species against yourself, that means: a part of your body opposes itself as an "individual" against the "rest" of your body, and you have a headache for example or you have some other aches. And then there is an interrelationship, a destructive interrelationship, but there is also a fight to overwhelm this condition. And then for example you produce fever. And this is the turning point. Because now it is no longer that one part of your body is apart and acts against the "rest" of your body, but the entire body and your consciousness is concerned with and involved in this feverish process. So the separation between the separated and disconnected part with the whole, this separation is overcome, this is the way changing all, and by which this kind of specific illness is overcome. This kind of process of illness shows you, although in a crippled way, how to create the process of producing human species.
The pathopractic way, the uncrippled way, of this process would be that you together with other people, all in groups, collectively make changes within the world, changing also themselves by their activities. And it is not important what is the value of this, or if you are worth something or the other are worth something or not. Also it is not of main importance the effect, the result, but what is important, is the doing itself, the active living, in process with the outside. All this was concerning the third moment of the concept of illness: species or species divided in oneself [Selbstbegattung].
The fourth moment of the concept of illness is capitalism. We say: in the same time and in the same way as people create capital, not only money, but supervalue, plusvalue, in the same time and in the same way they accumulate illness in the unconscious way as you see it every day. The more they get rich in respect to value, the more they get poor in respect to themselves. Because that what could be force of human species [Gattungskraft] is converted into commodities and plusvalue. And so we say: there is an identity between illness and capitalism: to the extend as capitalism grows and upgrows and proliferates in every part of society and within the isolated ones, to that extend illness is growing and upgrowing. But usually and normally in a destructive way.
The fifth moment of this concept of illness
is the revolutionary process. And this fifth
moment includes all the four other moments of the concept of illness. Because
you have to turn this four moments: alienation, labour, lack of human
species, and capitalism, you
have to change all these four moments within this
process to create human species.