Academic journal article Romanian Journal of Artistic Creativity

Poison Most Genteel

Academic journal article Romanian Journal of Artistic Creativity

Poison Most Genteel

Article excerpt

The way to kill with kindness (Shakespeare)

Empirical tradition goes that the safest (i.e. hard to detect) way to kill somebody is by poison; more specifically, using the kind of poison that is already there, in the body (cf. Cooper 1974). To paraphrase a well-known catchphrase, "murder most rare" (given worldwide authority by pulp fiction books and movies), this is the "most genteel" (i.e. least detectable) approach to murder. It is not, to be sure, the kind of killing that a true knight will consider; or, come to think of him, a genuine saga hero. "It is too cowardly," they will confess ... and, one might add, "too womanly," too feminine. How else could we account for the most numerous suicides by women, unwilling as they are to waste their beauty? (cf. Kellecher&Kellecher 1998)

And how else could we see the reason why the "registered mark" of the Borgia killings was poison, an intricate, almost occult, approach to an immoral gesture that, paradoxically so, acquired an esthetic quality about it? Why so? For one thing, because creativity and criminality and, by the way, schizophrenia as well, are essentially identical in as far as their commitment to the principles of divergent thinking is concerned. It is just the feedback that is a matter of difference. The so-called "big C".

Creativity is enthusiastically embraced by multitudes, the "less than orthodox" Creativity is considered dangerous and, as the case be, outside the Zeitgeist morality. It so happens that the latter one might just as well recuperate its position and be accepted in its own right, but originally it was seen as criminal--e.g. the celebrated cases of Oscar Wilde (jailed for homosexuality and pedophilia), Galileo Galilei (sentenced to death for believing that the Earth is not the center of the universe), Egon Schiele (put to public shame because of his nude, underage girls in his paintings; and finally jailed for lewdness).

The criminality of creative individuals is thus a twofold event: 1) creative acts/ products viewed as criminal by society; 2) life styles viewed as criminal by society. The wedding cake, on the other hand, might well be a good metaphor/ model for the widespread disposition of criminal justice: 1) a handful of famous cases at the top; 2) a good many 'real crimes' in the next, lower tier; 3) most of the felonies still lower; 4) the great majority of misdemeanors down at the bottom.

Coming back to poison, it is arguably acknowledged to be the most creative act in the field (cf. Kayne 1995), if for anything at least for the special (ized) knowledge it implies, of a pharmaceutical order. It is now our contention to hypothesize that the most creative poisoning is the one whose basic ingredient is an element that has already made the human body its own home.

Let as now enumerate these 'special' elements (cf. McLaughlin 1980) in the body of an average 70 kg, and the form they are present under:

Chromium (glucose tolerance factor)--2 mg

Copper (enzyme cofactor)--90 mg

Fluoride (bones and teeth)--2600 mg

Nickel (enzyme component)--7 mg

Potassium (electrolyte, mostly inside cells)--225 g

Selenium(enzyme, antioxidant)--14 mg

Sodium (electrolyte, mostly outside cells)--90 mg

Tin (not known)--14 mg.

It is ultimately a matter of stress, under the circumstances: an excess of something brings forth a self-ruining response by the body (cf. Mann 2000). Too much oxygen could damage the brain or even kill premature babies and deep-sea divers; too much water, likewise, could kill the people dying of thirst by disrupting the salt balance in their blood, thus stopping the heart muscle. The same principle of 'too much' goes for all the lot of the above-mentioned elements. Most of the above hardly qualify for efficient weaponry, though.

From the smoke into the smother (Shakespeare)

Chromium, an essential element for human life (unless upwards of 2 mg, and even several times this amount), with a daily intake in the range of 15-100 ug, is needful for the body to digest the energy molecule glucose--its absence causes mild diabetes, and its (highly infrequent) deficiency is treated with a soluble chromium (III) salt; it can be found in egg yolk, potatoes, carrots, calf's liver, peanuts, black pepper, grape juice, oysters. …

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