The Symbol of Greed and Profit – Part II
Welcome Back, In Part I I spoke about Understanding some mythology to get the point of the article. The second part is going to focus on some of the mythologies I am referring to so we can come full circle on the medical industry and its symbolism.
Aesculapius was a fairly important figure in the Greek pantheon. He was the son of Apollo and Coronis (a nymph), and was taught healing by Chiron, the centaur, when he was young. He got so good at healing, he was able to restore life to the dead. His symbol was and remains a single snake, entwined around a eucalyptus branch. Seems fitting that his symbol should become that of the medical profession, doesn’t it? Read on…
Mercury, as many are aware, is the messenger god of the Olympians. Like most Olympic gods, however, he carried several attributes. In addition to delivering messages, he was also associated with trickery, greed, wealth and on occasion, death. He was also known as the protector of thieves. His staff became one of his symbols. Mercury, fleet of foot, and swift, is far more commonly known by the winged foot than the winged staff encircled by two vipers.
The vipers are a symbol of trickery, deceit, stealth and death. This in contrast to common grass (or non-venomous) snakes, which were the symbol of everything from throwing off the past to live again (as a snake shedding its skin), to wisdom, health and vitality.
This begs the question, why would the modern medical community use the symbol that means deceit, trickery, greed and death instead of the one that means healing and wisdom?
Even the names of the gods of the Greeks and Romans have meaning today. The name of Mercury is where we get the words “mercenary,” “mercantile” and “mercurial.”
Mercenary, while most often associated with soldiers for hire, simply means, for sale to the highest bidder, and implies an evil nature. Mercantile deals with trade for profit. While not necessarily evil, the connotation is profit over service. Mercurial, while not popularly used these days, means unstable or fickle.
It would be difficult to believe that the controlling interests in “Merck” are not aware of the origins of the name they chose. Throwing a “k” on the end of a word does little to change its meaning.
Knowledge of the symbols, while not answering any questions about the medical establishment, certainly begs a few. Are they aware of their faux pas? Does the caduceus expose the industry’s true intentions, or are they simply living up to the personality represented by the symbol they’ve adopted?
One thing is certain. Removing the shroud of mystery from a symbol stands to make one wonder what else he may not understand about familiar symbols and their origins. Failure to understand symbols could lead to an embarrassing situation when using a restroom. It could also lead to a life threatening situation when seeking health care.
Symbolism is a power method of popular mind control. The fact that most people of my generation refuse to read, and the vast majority of the following generation have a vague notion of what books are, scares the hell out of me. We don’t study the history of the world, so we can’t see it repeating itself right before our very eyes.
At the very beginning of the movie Apocalypto, there are a few quotes which ring true. The most important of these is the first one. William Durant was quoted as having said, “A great civilization is not conquered from without until it has destroyed itself from within.” This is in reference to the civilization in the film, Mayans, but rings true to any student of rise and fall of the great civilizations of history.
This one is no exception (and by that I mean, the one in which we live). We’re tracking Rome in her fall almost to the day. The voice of the minority is the one that is trying in vain to make the pseudo-educated masses see the light of reason, and to no avail.