Krasis & Askesis; Justice & Purity

Justice is krasis: the proper mixture of things, according to the pertinent formal recipe (as in a mixing bowl, a krater (cf. Plato’s Receptacle and our “crater”), a word present in our “theocracy” and “democracy” and “bureaucracy”) that a thing enacts as it becomes. But krasis is possible only in the absence of any accretions that ought not to be present in a thing. Any such accretions drive out what ought to be present in a thing; for, there is only so much room in things. The purpose of askesis, then, is to eliminate from life and from oneself all the accretions that have built up since birth, and that interfere – or could or might interfere – with justice. When we pray that a man may proceed through life “unspotted from the world,” we ask that his adventures may not prompt deformations of his character that push it further away from its original justice by way of such accretions – such deformations being the “spots.”

Properly done, askesis is comparable to the process that we undergo in chiropractic, when the deformities that cascade from an initial compensation for the pain of a wound are worked out of the body. It is also comparable to the ideal of psychoanalysis, in which accumulated neuroses are unwound one by one, until the psyche is restored to its initial pure unblemished equilibrium.

All of this triggered by contemplation of the purity of the ocean; the purity of nature, as compared with man and his societies. In wild nature, unjust accretions are eliminated quickly as the whole system homeostatically seeks equilibrium – krasis. In domesticated nature, it can take a bit longer.

5 thoughts on “Krasis & Askesis; Justice & Purity

  1. Pingback: Krasis & Askesis; Justice & Purity | Reaction Times

  2. A chiropractor is a type of physician and he should be bound by the Hippocratic Oath, first of all, to do no harm. The attending physicians of our North American body-politic are busy-bodies who ceaselessly “do” things to the patient (they meddle legislatively and regulatively with everything) and they therefore only do harm.

    • Dr. Bertonneau, perhaps I read too much into your comment, but are you implying that chiropractors do harm through their manipulations? I’m not trying to spark a debate on the efficacy of chiropractic; I’m just curious.

      Also in the “just curious” department: certain treatments, such as surgery and chemotheraphy, involve harm along with the treatment. In the case of surgery, there is the slicing of living flesh and sometimes the breaking of bones; in chemotheraphy, side effects include the killing of healthy cells, such as hair folicles. Do you take such treatment to be in violation of the Hippocratic Oath? I ask because I know that you would not have mentioned the Hippocratic Oath without there being well-reasoned thinking behind what you say, and am curious as to what your thoughts are.

      As for the last part: amen! It never ceases to amaze me how much legislation passes each year, and that legislative bodies are considered “inefficient” or “non-productive” if they don’t churn out masses of needless laws and regulations.

      • “Are you implying that chiropractors do harm through their manipulations?”

        Only the bad ones. Ditto only the bad teachers, the bad legislators, and the bad bootleggers.

        Incidentally, the words chiropractic and surgery (whose Greek origin the French honor when they spell it chirurgerie) have the original meaning of a “laying on of hands.” χέρι is Greek for “hand.”


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