Thoughts on evolutionary and reformist socialism - Page 2 - Politics Forum.org | PoFo

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As either the transitional stage to communism or legitimate socio-economic ends in its own right.
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#14860620
Senter wrote:No, you're right. Though we speak of greed, the mechanics of capitalism are sufficient for producing maximum profit. Imagine 3 companies each manufacturing PVC pipe. Each company must keep their stock prices up or they suffer financial difficulties and ultimately could fail. So they must keep stock prices high by keeping earnings high. They must increase the value of the company in various ways or one of the other 2 will out-do them and put them out of business. Competition requires increasing earnings and profits. And the Supreme Court has said that the first obligation of a corporation is to maximize profits. And that also translates into bigger compensation packages for the top executives and Board members.


Since they are run by the workers, the workers watch out for the workers and profits are not held as primary. People are. Example: in 60 years of operation, Mondragon has never laid off any members due to economic declines, recession, or other financial hardships. The member-workers have always voted to take cuts in pay so as to keep everyone employed once retained earnings ran out. When Fagor, the original "subsidiary" of Mondragon, failed due to market pressures, Mondragon found alternate employment for every worker at other branches.

Profits are not primary because they are not private "owner" profits. They belong to all the members and distributed according to the Articles of Incorporation based on a worker's earnings. And the members vote on how much of the retained earnings to keep as company assets for expansion, maintenance, and future needs, and how much to put aside for workers' "rainy day fund", and how much to distribute as "bonuses".

And BTW, employee-owned businesses have higher productivity, morale, sales and wages, according to analysts. Rutgers University, which has studied the topic extensively, has found that employee ownership boosted company productivity by an average of 4 percent, while profits went up 14 percent.

https://vtdigger.org/2017/05/17/senators-look-take-vermont-worker-owner-effort-nationwide/

Ah, so your emphasis on not being driven by profit primarily isn't so much about the dissolution of the law of value but the way in which company decisions are managed in regards to maintaining profit and other interests unlike the distant shareholder whose concern is purely their stock.

I think the positive part is that it helps to give legitimacy that workers largely run a company, a point against the specialty anyone might place on administration/managerial peeps.
https://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1894-c3/ch27.htm
The co-operative factories of the labourers themselves represent within the old form the first sprouts of the new, although they naturally reproduce, and must reproduce, everywhere in their actual organisation all the shortcomings of the prevailing system. But the antithesis between capital and labour is overcome within them, if at first only by way of making the associated labourers into their own capitalist, i.e., by enabling them to use the means of production for the employment of their own labour. They show how a new mode of production naturally grows out of an old one, when the development of the material forces of production and of the corresponding forms of social production have reached a particular stage. Without the factory system arising out of the capitalist mode of production there could have been no co-operative factories. Nor could these have developed without the credit system arising out of the same mode of production. The credit system is not only the principal basis for the gradual transformation of capitalist private enterprises into capitalist stock companies, but equally offers the means for the gradual extension of co-operative enterprises on a more or less national scale. The capitalist stock companies, as much as the co-operative factories, should be considered as transitional forms from the capitalist mode of production to the associated one, with the only distinction that the antagonism is resolved negatively in the one and positively in the other.


Though might qualify that they in themselves may not lead to socialism but may play an important precipitating part in it, more a supporting factor than a determining one.
From president of the corporation in 2001
Our clients cannot guarantee us steady workloads, so we have to have a number of people on temporary contracts. We live in a market economy. That we cannot change.

It's originator seems in the realm of evolutionary socialists in the extent that they don't really accept class struggle and seek to alleviate it in the manner that reformists aim to.
https://www.researchgate.net/publication/248995771_The_origins_of_Mondragon_Catholic_co-operativism_and_social_movement_in_a_Basque_valley_1941-59
In his commencement address for the Professional School’s graduating class of 1948, Arizmendiarrieta announced that the time had come to unite the efforts of all these social actors into one institutionalized co-operative initiative. ‘It is not enough for the bosses to do good works; the workers need to participate in them also. It is not enough for the workers to dream great reforms, the bosses need to concur. It is not enough for the authorities to make great efforts and sacrifices, the people need to associate themselves with these authorities.’Some sort of corporative entity was needed to facilitate co-operation between two classes for a common good, and to provide a Catholic social alternative to Marxist class conflict.29


https://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1864/10/27.htm
But there was in store a still greater victory of the political economy of labor over the political economy of property. We speak of the co-operative movement, especially the co-operative factories raised by the unassisted efforts of a few bold “hands”. The value of these great social experiments cannot be overrated. By deed instead of by argument, they have shown that production on a large scale, and in accord with the behests of modern science, may be carried on without the existence of a class of masters employing a class of hands; that to bear fruit, the means of labor need not be monopolized as a means of dominion over, and of extortion against, the laboring man himself; and that, like slave labor, like serf labor, hired labor is but a transitory and inferior form, destined to disappear before associated labor plying its toil with a willing hand, a ready mind, and a joyous heart. In England, the seeds of the co-operative system were sown by Robert Owen; the workingmen’s experiments tried on the Continent were, in fact, the practical upshot of the theories, not invented, but loudly proclaimed, in 1848.

At the same time the experience of the period from 1848 to 1864 has proved beyond doubt that, however excellent in principle and however useful in practice, co-operative labour, if kept within the narrow circle of the casual efforts of private workmen, will never be able to arrest the growth in geometrical progression of monopoly, to free the masses, nor even to perceptibly lighten the burden of their miseries. It is perhaps for this very reason that plausible noblemen, philanthropic middle-class spouters, and even keep political economists have all at once turned nauseously complimentary to the very co-operative labor system they had vainly tried to nip in the bud by deriding it as the utopia of the dreamer, or stigmatizing it as the sacrilege of the socialist. To save the industrious masses, co-operative labour ought to be developed to national dimensions, and, consequently, to be fostered by national means. Yet the lords of the land and the lords of capital will always use their political privileges for the defense and perpetuation of their economic monopolies. So far from promoting, they will continue to lay every possible impediment in the way of the emancipation of labor. Remember the sneer with which, last session, Lord Palmerston put down the advocated of the Irish Tenants’ Right Bill. The House of Commons, cried he, is a house of landed proprietors. To conquer political power has, therefore, become the great duty of the working classes. They seem to have comprehended this, for in England, Germany, Italy, and France, there have taken place simultaneous revivals, and simultaneous efforts are being made at the political organization of the workingmen’s party.

One element of success they possess — numbers; but numbers weigh in the balance only if united by combination and led by knowledge. Past experience has shown how disregard of that bond of brotherhood which ought to exist between the workmen of different countries, and incite them to stand firmly by each other in all their struggles for emancipation, will be chastised by the common discomfiture of their incoherent efforts.


An extra piece on co-ops for the heck of it.
Spoiler: show
https://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1866/08/instructions.htm
It is the business of the International Working Men's Association to combine and generalise the spontaneous movements of the working classes, but not to dictate or impose any doctrinary system whatever. The Congress should, therefore, proclaim no special system of co-operation, but limit itself to the enunciation of a few general principles.

(a) We acknowledge the co-operative movement as one of the transforming forces of the present society based upon class antagonism. Its great merit is to practically show, that the present pauperising, and despotic system of the subordination of labour to capital can be superseded by the republican and beneficent system of the association of free and equal producers.

(b) Restricted, however, to the dwarfish forms into which individual wages slaves can elaborate it by their private efforts, the co-operative system will never transform capitalist society. to convert social production into one large and harmonious system of free and co-operative labour, general social changes are wanted, changes of the general conditions of society, never to be realised save by the transfer of the organised forces of society, viz., the state power, from capitalists and landlords to the producers themselves.

(c) We recommend to the working men to embark in co-operative production rather than in co-operative stores. The latter touch but the surface of the present economical system, the former attacks its groundwork.

(d) We recommend to all co-operative societies to convert one part of their joint income into a fund for propagating their principles by example as well as by precept, in other words, by promoting the establishment by teaching and preaching.

(e) In order to prevent co-operative societies from degenerating into ordinary middle-class joint stock companies (societes par actions), all workmen employed, whether shareholders or not, ought to share alike. As a mere temporary expedient, we are willing to allow shareholders a low rate of interest.



So I think co-ops are good but it certainly has its critics.
Rosa Luxemburg has good thoughts on co-ops in her critique of Bernstein, the original evolutionary socialist.
But they perhaps only stick to the extent that one shares in the same sentiments as Bernstein as an evolutionary.
Though I still worry that people may lack the theoretical clarity in which it won't be socialism even if there are a bunch of workers co-ops, because a socialist revolution isn't of the Proudhon sense of just changing ownership of property, but as I assert earlier, addressing the 'estranged' labor that exists with capitalism.
http://libcom.org/files/marx,%20marginalism%20and%20modern%20sociology%20-%20clarke.pdf
In France Proudhon, in What is Property? (1840), had identified private property as the contradictory foundation of political economy. For Proudhon, political economy took private property for granted and tried to establish the rationality of a society based on private property. However at every stage political economy itself shows that private property undermines economic rationality by introducing inequality and monopoly. Thus private property undermines the equality of the wage bargain and, indeed, of all exchange relations. Proudhon argued that there is no moral or practical justification for this inequality and concluded that a rational and just society could only be based on the establishment of equality by the equalisation of property.

The limitations of Proudhon’s approach for Marx were that he isolated only one element of political economy for criticism, failing to recognise the connection between private property and the categories of wage-labour, exchange, value, price, money, etc. Therefore Proudhon wanted to abolish private property without abolishing the society which was based on it. The equalisation of property remains a form of property, a form, moreover, which is inconsistent with the continued existence of such phenomena as wage-labour and exchange. Thus, as Marx wrote in The Holy Family (1844), ‘Proudhon makes a critical investigation — the first resolute, pitiless, and at the same time scientific investigation — of the foundation of political economy, private property’, but it is still ‘under the influence of the premises of the science it is fighting against’. Thus ‘Proudhon’s treatise . . . is the criticism of political economy from the standpoint of political economy’ (Marx, 1956, pp. 46, 45).

In that it seems to be that for Marx (based on Simon Clarke's reading) that it's not that private property causes alienated form of labor with exchange value and so on, but that it's alienation causes private property.
http://libcom.org/files/marx,%20marginalism%20and%20modern%20sociology%20-%20clarke.pdf
It is at this point in his analysis, at the very end of the first manuscript, that Marx takes the decisive step, one which has bewildered most of those commentators who have not simply passed it by. Thus far Marx has described the forms of alienated labour characteristic of the capitalist mode of production. He now seems to be moving smoothly to an explanation of alienated labour as the consequence of private property. In alienated labour a social relation between people appears in the form of the subordination of a person to a thing. This social relation is the relation of private property, in which the capitalist appropriates the means of production as his private property, so permitting him to subordinate the labourer to his own will (Bell, 1959, pp. 933–952; Schacht, 1971, p. 107; Oakley, 1984, pp. 63, 66). Thus we find again the ‘hidden premise’ of political economy, already identified by Proudhon and by Engels.

This explanation would be entirely in accord with the orthodox interpretation of Marx’s ‘historical materialism’, for which capitalist social relations are de- fined by the private ownership of the means of production, which implies that property relations are prior to production relations (and which also has the very embarrassing implication that ‘juridical relations’ are prior to ‘economic relations’ (Plamenatz, 1954, Chap. 2; Cohen, 1970)) However this is not the step that Marx takes. He is quite clear that alienated labour is the cause and not the consequence of private property. Before labour can be appropriated in the form of property it must first take the form of alienated labour. Thus the proprietorial relation between a person and a thing expresses a more fundamental social relation between people. The legal form of private property presupposes the social relation of alienated labour:

Thus through estranged labour man . . . creates the domination of the person who does not produce over production and over the product . . . The relationship of the worker to labour creates the relation to it of the capitalist . . . Private property is thus the product, the result, the necessary consequence, of alienated labour (CW, 3, p. 279).

Marx recognised that this argument may seem paradoxical, but he was unequivocal:

True, it is as a result of the movement of private property that we have obtained the concept of alienated labour (of alienated life) in political economy. But analysis of this concept shows that though private property appears to be the reason, the cause of alienated labour, it is rather its consequence . . . Later this relationship becomes reciprocal (CW, 3, pp. 279–80).
...
Although Marx’s theory of alienated labour has been wilfully or unwilfully misinterpreted by almost all the commentators, it is the very foundation not only of his critique of political economy and of Hegel’s philosophy, but also of his critique of the presuppositions of liberal social thought in general. It was this insight which, Marx later acknowledged, ‘served as a guiding thread for my studies’ (Marx, 1968, p. 181). Private property is the hidden presupposition of liberal social thought because it is private property that constitutes the abstract individuality of the bourgeois subject, the individual having been isolated from society through her private appropriation of the conditions and products of her social existence.

If Marx’s critique had remained a critique on the basis of private property, as the orthodox interpretations would have it, it would have remained, like that of Proudhon, a critique on the basis of political economy and, more generally, within the limits of bourgeois social thought. But if the relation of private property between a person and a thing is only the juridical expression of a social relation between people, the abstract individual subject of bourgeois social theory is found to be only a philosophical abstraction, expressing particular social relations of production. The starting point of philosophy and of social theory has to be not the abstract individual, whose social qualities are concealed behind a property relation between the individual and a thing, but the historically developed social relations which characterise a particular form of society. Marx’s apparently innocent argument that private property is the result of alienated labour has devastating implications, for it undermines the apparently a priori character of the fundamental categories of bourgeois thought.
#14861084
Such reductionism, I think I really was on the money with the point about british empiricism and likely 'silly' materialism. Really Mike, have another Crack at Marx, it might be good for your psychological well being because this is just depressing to read :D


My psychological well being is just fine. :D

I've been thinking about how to respond to this post and I think it kind of all boils down to this sort of difference in world view and what you call silly materialism.

I think this comes from studying biology for my degree. Reductionism is drilled into you at every step of the way. This really is the way that I see humanity. Society and all the stuff we believe about ourselves beyond what we can suss out about where we came from and how we function is just an emergent property of consciousness and social interaction which is just an emergent property of a bundle of squishy water filled sacks of goo that transmit charge across their membranes.

I don't know how i'd really change something that has basically become an instinctual way of looking at the world and I'm not sure I would want to change it.

I'm at peace with it all. We will struggle forever for one thing or another. We will be happy, we will be sad, we will suffer, and we will prosper.

And then we will all die and the universe will die and none of it will matter.

In the meantime though fighting over it all is what gives life meaning for us. Our pointless endless struggles are the only point we can find in a pointless world.

And I'm pretty happy all in all. Even if I'm just marching around trying to fight pointless political structures in a pointless political system. At least I'm busy doing something. :)
#14861097
mikema63 wrote:My psychological well being is just fine. :D

I've been thinking about how to respond to this post and I think it kind of all boils down to this sort of difference in world view and what you call silly materialism.

I think this comes from studying biology for my degree. Reductionism is drilled into you at every step of the way. This really is the way that I see humanity. Society and all the stuff we believe about ourselves beyond what we can suss out about where we came from and how we function is just an emergent property of consciousness and social interaction which is just an emergent property of a bundle of squishy water filled sacks of goo that transmit charge across their membranes.

I don't know how i'd really change something that has basically become an instinctual way of looking at the world and I'm not sure I would want to change it.

I'm at peace with it all. We will struggle forever for one thing or another. We will be happy, we will be sad, we will suffer, and we will prosper.

And then we will all die and the universe will die and none of it will matter.

In the meantime though fighting over it all is what gives life meaning for us. Our pointless endless struggles are the only point we can find in a pointless world.

And I'm pretty happy all in all. Even if I'm just marching around trying to fight pointless political structures in a pointless political system. At least I'm busy doing something. :)

I call it silly as adopting Lenin's characterization.
But the question is not so simple as that. It is not a matter of terminology at all. But since terminology plays a most important role in science, Marx uses the term “ideal” in a sense that is close to the “Hegelian” interpretation just because it contains far more meaning than does the popular pseudo-materialistic understanding of the ideal as a phenomenon of consciousness, as a purely mental function. The point is that intelligent (dialectical) idealism – the idealism of Plato and Hegel – is far nearer the truth than popular materialism of the superficial and vulgar type (what Lenin called silly materialism). In the Hegelian system, even though in inverted form, the fact of the dialectical transformation of the ideal into the material and vice versa was theoretically expressed, a fact that was never suspected by “silly” materialism, which had got stuck on the crude – undialectical – opposition of “things outside the consciousness” to “things inside the consciousness”, of the “material” to the “ideal”.

To which I'm not sure how much variability there is yet within a sense of mechanical materialism, and I might be a bit broad with that brush, but it seems to be the traditional conception of materialism in which it takes priority. But it is one sided and necessarily assumes its opposite, idealism.
https://www.marxists.org/archive/pilling/works/capital/pilling2.htm#Pill2
Empiricism, as a theory of knowledge rests upon the false proposition that perception and sensation constitute the only material and source of knowledge. Marx as a materialist, of course, never denied that the material world, existing prior to and independently of consciousness, is the only source of sensation. But he knew that such a statement, if left at that point, could not provide the basis for a consistent materialism, but at best a mechanical form of materialism, which always left open a loop-hole for idealism. It is true that empiricism lay at the foundation of seventeenth- and eighteenth-century materialism in England and France. But at the same time this very empiricist point of view provided the basis for both the subjective idealism of Berkeley and the agnosticism of Hume. How is it possible, starting with the proposition that sensation is the sole source and material of knowledge, to end up either denying the objectivity of the external world (subjective idealism) or denying the possibility of an exhaustive knowledge of that external world (scepticism)? To take the latter case, the argument runs as follows: to men are given directly perceptions and sensations; they provide the only legitimate source of knowledge. But in these perceptions are to be found no internal necessary connections. How do we know that one thing is the cause of another? We see only one thing followed by another; if this is constantly repeated we come to expect the second whenever the first occurs. This is merely a psychological expectation, not a causal connection. These were essentially the conclusions drawn by Hume from the empiricist theory of knowledge. It followed that any statements about the objectivity of the categories of philosophy or science (causality, interaction, law, etc.) are purely metaphysical, reflecting nothing in the sensed material of knowledge. On this view, logical categories are only schemes which we use (purely out of convention and habit) for the organisation of sense-data. But such schemes remain, necessarily, wholly subjective. They are subjective first in relation to the external world, the existence of which, according to scepticism, can never be established; second in relation to the very sense data themselves, since they are determined by the very constitution of the subject – that is by the aggregate of the individual’s former psychical experiences.

And idealists and materialist will touch upon a truth but deny the other in much of the many unnecessary dualities.

I had suspected that your education had given you abstract labor that made that most natural, which doesn't need to be done away with, such knowledge is really knowledge.
But the point is to see that abstractions whilst relating to reality aren't reality itself, so that you maintain an explicit sense of not holding absolute truth in mind. And I think my opposition of reductionisms comes from what I see as explaining one scale of things doesn't actually illuminate any understanding of the higher level. Society for example can not be explained by resorting to explanations of biology.
https://www.docdroid.net/uOmptrL/asc287-connell-raewyn-gender-differences-and-bodies-pp28-52.pdf#page=6
The idea of natural differences runs into difficulties on several fronts. Sociobiological explanations of human kinship, for instance, foundered when the predictions from genetics failed to match the realities of kinship systems actually documented by anthropologists (Sahlins 1977). It seems that social logic works independently of genetic logic. The explanation of gender hierarchy by a hormonal "aggression advantage' founders when it is discovered that higher testosterone levels follow from social dominance as much as they precede it (Kemper 1990)

Geary's argument, being recent and sophisticated, is particularly worth attention. Geary's account of sexual selection is based on individuals making choices that maximize their genetic payoff, very like firms in a free market maximizing their utilities in neo-classical ecnomic models. Geary can't really 'see' society as a reality, so his arguments don't have any place for institutionalized gender arrangements. For instance, in discussing the higher levels of violence among men than among women, all he can see is male vs male competition for reproductive resources; he cannot see military institutions, collective struggles, gendered interests and cultural definitions of manhood and womanhood. it is characteristic of this literature that Geary speaks constantly of 'males' and 'females', not 'men' and 'women'.

Lacking any account of social process, Geary constnatly falls back on evolutionary speculation to explain the facts of social life. it comes as a slight shock, after reading this 400-page monograph calling on the name of science and published by so august an institution as the American Psychological Association, to realize that the entire argument is speculation. Not one sex difference in psychological characteristics has actually been shown to result from evolutionary mechanisms.

Theordore Kemper (1990) argues that we need to replace the idea of natural differnece with a more complex chain of social-biologica-socail causation. Body-machine models of gender assume that hte machine runs by itself: that biological causation is indepdnent of society. But there have been no human (or even hominid) bodies outside society for a very long time. Social processes cna be traced for 2.5 million years, give or take a few weeks. (This is the approximate age of the earlist hand-tool cultures so far discovered by archaeologists (Semaw 2000). The discoery of such industries proves the social transmission of specific techniques for making stone tools, over this length of time.)

Biology itself might be reduced to quantum mechanics/physics. A smaller scale doesn't constitute a more significant truth than the other. To which I suspect this relates well to Engel's sense of dialectics as quantitative build up into qualitative change. Things erupt into more complex phenomenon that isn't reducible to the sum of its parts.

To which the large indifferent universe is a cool scale but I don't really accept it in that it just makes one insignificant by means of relative scale, if one chooses to look at a smaller scale, its harder to make things so insignificant.
Look at Story #1: All the Difference in The World to help illustrate my point, its very brief.
And that sense of indifference I imagine comes from capitalism, having displaced the 'halo' of things.
Instead of God, we now as a new narrative (not that evolution theory is untrue, but it doesn't give that sense of meaning, though atheists try and make reality/nature godly).

Which might be interpreted that facts just dispelled our religious illusions, but the same basis for religion exists in the modern day but in new form, a reduced form, the monied relation is the value of everything, to be exploited for profit, anything else is irrelevant, except of course to our nature and want of something more.


Your last sentence does seem in the realm of Camus' emphasis that we should think Sisyphus is happy despite the absurdity of his toil. Which I think it might illustrate something in that living life is better than merely contemplating it. Those who experience the alienation but have the time to ponder it too long often lack sight of any crack of hope and implode. Though to be alive is to assert one's will against such structures, the sort of liveliness that is inspiring in any legitimate revolutionary figure, that gives cause for people to dream and dare to want something more. Which many will dismiss as mere fantasy, but that's just the emotional precondition to action, to which emotions do not negate the truth of things.
It is an assertion of one's self against the inhuman.
http://www.lacan.com/zizrobes.htm
For this reason, John Brown is the KEY political figure in the history of US: in his fervently Christian "radical abolitionism," he came closest to introducing the Jacobin logic into the US political landscape: "John Brown considered himself a complete egalitarian. And it was very important for him to practice egalitarianism on every level. /.../ He made it very clear that he saw no difference, and he didn't make this clear by saying it, he made it clear by what he did." [12] Today even, long after slavery was abolished, Brown is the dividing figure in American collective memory; those whites who support Brown are all the more precious - among them, surprisingly, Henry David Thoreau, the great opponent of violence: against the standard dismissal of Brown as blood-thirsty, foolish and insane, Thoreau [13] painted a portrait of a peerless man whose embracement of a cause was unparalleled; he even goes as far as to liken Brown's execution (he states that he regards Brown as dead before his actual death) to Christ. Thoreau vents at the scores of those who have voiced their displeasure and scorn for John Brown: the same people can't relate to Brown because of their concrete stances and "dead" existences; they are truly not living, only a handful of men have lived.

We aren't meant to deny our existence and have it projected in the fantasies of an after life nor in the advertisements that sell dreams of what their commodities can provide even though rationally we know they are illusions.
So we deny our desires and accept the inhuman and that's understandable, i struggle to do simple tasks let alone commit myself to such an ambitious task. We all attempt to find our happiness, but can know that its not a necessary one although its a difficult one to get past.
#14863044
@Wellsy that post of yours above...it brought back a lot of memories about "Albert Camus" "La Peste" and existentialism and so many other thoughts.

I think the reality is we are all connected to each other, and with time and with further advances in science, and in technology, there might be a way of proving just how deeply humanity is connected to each other, and that there is a place in physics, biology, among other natural sciences, the study of what Carl Jung called the 'collective consciousness'. Sort of like the cloud stores data in the ether, and keeps everything recorded in some suspended state of being. I think we might get there someday. If we do? We might have to acknowledge finally that everything we do, and everything we are, is recorded, and is in existence. But does it have transcendence? Maybe. Who knows?

All I know is that I find human beings very fascinating creatures capable of beautiful and sublime thoughts and acts, and also capable of terrible acts of ruthless and horrific actions, without any sane justification. It suggests duality. And that is in keeping with many religious and scientific views of this world. Contradictions. Duality. Opposites. Yet in harmony. How to reconcile that? Out of chaos comes order, and out of order comes chaos.

You write a lot about everything. A thinking man. That pleases me. It always will.
#14863168
Tainari88 wrote:@Wellsy that post of yours above...it brought back a lot of memories about "Albert Camus" "La Peste" and existentialism and so many other thoughts.

I think the reality is we are all connected to each other, and with time and with further advances in science, and in technology, there might be a way of proving just how deeply humanity is connected to each other, and that there is a place in physics, biology, among other natural sciences, the study of what Carl Jung called the 'collective consciousness'. Sort of like the cloud stores data in the ether, and keeps everything recorded in some suspended state of being. I think we might get there someday. If we do? We might have to acknowledge finally that everything we do, and everything we are, is recorded, and is in existence. But does it have transcendence? Maybe. Who knows?

All I know is that I find human beings very fascinating creatures capable of beautiful and sublime thoughts and acts, and also capable of terrible acts of ruthless and horrific actions, without any sane justification. It suggests duality. And that is in keeping with many religious and scientific views of this world. Contradictions. Duality. Opposites. Yet in harmony. How to reconcile that? Out of chaos comes order, and out of order comes chaos.

You write a lot about everything. A thinking man. That pleases me. It always will.

What part of the post did you feel resonated with Alber Camus' The Plague?
I've not read the book so I can't really speculate much of an association.

Indeed, it would appear to Marx on his basis of identifying both a human nature in general (across human history) and particular (expression of that nature in a historical context) identifies the social nature of humans.
To which I would like to share a summary of four elements of alienation asserted to be identified by Marx. To continue the previous part of trying to exemplify what alienation is for Marx, and that to understand it requires first understanding his sense of human nature that gives him a sort of naturalist morality that isn't strictly delinated from fact, in that it makes sense that things should be done in accordance with one's nature.
[url]https://www.marxisthumanistinitiative.org/philosophy-organization/marx’s-human-nature-distinguishing-essence-from-essentialism.html[/url]
Spoiler: show
These are the results of the historic moment of production; but there is alienation to be found in the actual act of production. Marx (2007, p. 72) say that “the product is after all but the summary of the activity of production. If then the product of labor is alienation, production itself must be active alienation, the alienation of activity, the activity of alienation.” The worker’s alienation from the product is laid out as the first of four primary aspects of alienation. The activity of alienation is the second.

This second feature of alienated activity is that the act of production is not under the laborer’s control. In capitalism, it is under the control of the capitalist. The worker does not get to exercise his intrinsic nature in work, but takes orders from the alien forces of the market and his capitalist exploiter. In so doing, Marx writes, in one of his most humanistic passages:
He does not affirm himself but denies himself, does not feel content but unhappy, does not develop freely his physical and mental energy but mortifies his body and ruins his mind. The worker therefore only feels himself outside his work, and in his work feels outside himself. He feels at home when he is not working, and when he is working he does not feel at home. [Marx 2007, p. 72]

The evidence Marx posits as proof of this first aspect of the theory of alienation is that man avoids work “like the plague” once he leaves work. If spontaneous work is the consummate fulfillment of man’s intrinsic nature, he ought to revel in it; but by being denied his essential being, he recoils from more labor. Since what is essentially human is now negated, man therefore only feels free and active in his “animal functions – eating, drinking, procreating…what is animal becomes human and what is human becomes animal.” This ultimately leads to “self-estrangement” (Marx 2007, pp. 72–3).

The third aspect of alienation is that man is alienated from his species being. “In practice and in theory he adopts the species (his own as well as those of other things) as his object, but – and this is only another way of expressing it – also because he treats himself as the actual, living species; because he treats himself as a universal and therefore a free being.” In capitalism, man no longer produces for the fellow members of his species; this form of producing is foreign to him. His only reasons for producing now are to satisfy his individual means of subsistence. In abstract political economy, and in the real world, workers now work for themselves as individuals, and not for their class or species. “Free, conscious activity,” as man’s characteristic form of labor, is nonexistent; labor is now coerced, and since it is now performed in a perfunctory manner, it ceases to be “conscious activity.”

The fourth aspect of alienation is a direct corollary of the previous problems. If man is alienated from his species being, he is consequently alienated from his fellow species, i.e., other men. Marx (2007, p. 77) points out that, if “that man’s species nature is estranged [alienated] from” him, then it necessarily follows that he is estranged from other men, as all men share the same “essential nature.” And that essential nature is to produce as a species-being.

Marx is seeing alienated labor in a historical moment predicated upon specific social and material conditions. Alienated labor is not insurmountable, nor is it necessary. Marx believes the act of producing one’s product for one’s fellow man, of one’s own free and conscious volition, is an objective measurement of the consummation of man’s fulfilled life activity. If man is a species-being, man can return to free production through class struggle. Marx retained this adamant view that man was not always alienated into his late years. Thus, he states in the Grundrisse:

What requires explanation is not unity of living and active human beings with the natural, inorganic conditions of their exchange of matter with nature, and therefore their appropriation of nature; nor, of course, is this the result of an historical process. What we must explain is the separation between these inorganic conditions of human existence and this active being, a separation which is posited in its complete form only in the relationship between wage labour and capital. [Marx (1857–8)]
It is the disunity of man from his natural way of life that is fully consummated under the capitalist mode of alienated production.

I contend that human nature plays a necessary role in the Marxian theory of alienation. The EP Manuscripts read in a very dialectical fashion. Marx is constructing a dialectical argument. Ultimately, he is stating that man is alienated from the product of his labor, the act of production, his fellow man, and thus himself. All four moments in the productive process lead to the amalgamation of his single theory of alienation.

It's from this nature and it's tension with the existing conditions that emancipating ourselves from capitalism's irrationality is human emancipation, as opposed to simply political emancipation. Without such a asserted human essence, humans would simply be in accordance with the existing state of affairs and there would be no basis for Marx to assert the ill fit of capitalism with people.
Because people are already molded by the pre-existing circumstances, it's just that it's damaging to the asserted human essence/nature.
http://ethicalpolitics.org/ablunden/works/honneth.htm
the commodity relation in which one relates to the other as an independent agent and measures their worth on the same yardstick as one’s own, important as it is in the construction of modernity, is the root cause of the decline in solidarity.

Where we relate to one another in terms of property than we do our social nature.

I'm still yet to clarify things in regards to the 'objective' (too crude a term for the traditional sense) nature of culture. It seems also important to a sense of freedom, not as abstract object that is devoid of being influenced, but one that as a real existing person is influenced by things but can use such 'material' to form the new things.
That what is new doesn't come from no where, but does emerge from what already exists into a new qualitative form and content.
To help with this I've sometimes focused on the work of Evald Ilyenkov as I think he carries on the legacy of Vygotsky who I think contributes substantial theoretical understanding to the Marxist project. I'm trying to grasp it in his sense of ideality to which there are some debates.
But thus far, crudely it seems that language seems to epitmize the ideal form which we all share in. How lost one is if they lack shared language with others, or even the internalized and implicit sense of culture that fosters intimacy, where one doesn't just know the words but the implicit rules of how to interact.
Through a shared sense of culture one is able to see objects in the same way and collaborate with ease.
Spoiler: show
http://ethicalpolitics.org/ablunden/pdfs/An_interdisciplinary_concept_of_activity.pdf
Firstly, Cole showed (in press) that activities cannot be ‘modeled’ by action systems lifted out of the cultural contexts to which they are indigenous and dropped into another cultural context. Cross cultural researchers had underestimated, according to Cole’s findings, the extent to which the presuppositions of standard interviewing and test procedures are implicit in the use of certain types of artifact, styles of speech and so on. This meant for example, that standard psychological tests used as part of scientific activity, would fail when implemented with people belonging to a different culture to which the practice of scientific research is foreign. For example, people who were quite unfamiliar with being asked questions, the answers to which were obvious and already known to the questioner, solely in order to test their intelligence or whatever, would respond to such questions in ways that bore no relation to the test design. The ways in which questions were construed by the subjects on one hand, and by the experimenters, on the other hand, were quite different.

Secondly, Cole found (1997) that psychological work with experimental subjects could only succeed to the extent that both the researcher and the experimental subject shared a common aim (even if they had different motives). This could happen if an adult subject was part of a culture where scientific experimentation was widely understood and supported, but in many cases it could only be achieved by the researcher focusing on achieving something that the experimental subject wanted to achieve, in the hope that scientific insights would come as a by-product of the subject doing what she wanted to do anyway. For example, in order to effectively study a learning process, it was necessary to actually help someone learn something they really wanted to learn.

Generally speaking the actions and artifacts used in the scenario have to be indigenous to the culture of the experimental subject and the scenario must be either itself a normal part of the subject’s culture, or so constructed that the way in which it is construed within the subject culture is transparent.

Under these conditions it is possible for the two parties to share a common ‘project’. Otherwise ambiguity, misunderstanding and failures of communication prevail. Where subjects are not committed to a common project, one and the same action or artifact, for example an interview question, could figure in two different activities. This is the relevance of the ‘hermeneutic circle’: each action is interpreted by a subject on the basis of a presumption of the activity or project of which it is a part, but a project can only be perceived through the actions by which it is instantiated. This is how cross-cultural misunderstandings occur.

So in this sense, there are perhaps delineations between those which we seem to have a stronger thread with than others, which is probably solidified in abstract identities like that of nationalism, that one relates to others in a shared project, this is most progressive in opposing colonialism and imperialism but then becomes reactionary as a tool to foster war from powerful states seeking to attack others.
So there is some collective consciousness, but I think it is up for debate to what extent it's reach is. It'd be like asking where does a culture stop in terms of how internalized it is by people? It makes me think of class consciousness in this regard as a not heuristic.
http://ethicalpolitics.org/ablunden/pdfs/SP-talk.pdf
Class consciousness means a social class, sharing common conditions of life, and a social movement organised around a demand for justice and a vision of the future. But these two entities are never actually identical. Class consciousness is the unity of two opposites which are never absolutely identical.

The important part I find is the shared project of justice and a particular future, the limits of this isn't of a strict size as it grows and diminishes at various times.
This I think plays a sense in shared culture, it could be more implicit, not yet realized in the explicit awareness of people, unaware of those that share similar thoughts until it emerges in action.
But if one was asked to delineate how prevalent and strong a movement was, I imagine there may be some good proxies. And similarly could do the same with culture, although it won't have the strict limits that some want in their concepts, because reality is of course messy and not so independent of things as a concept can be analytically.
But if one zoomed in on an individual in their mind, of course everything we do or don't do has significance, it might not be changing the world suddenly but it has impact though the degree of that impact may be murky. What is the range of influence that any particular person can have? Often the influence of a person is based on how others adhere and perceive them, the power of a single person not within themselves but in their mass of support. But we objectify our subjectivity in many objects, and which is the way in which everything we do has some existence, it has a material form. Although it might not last for ever, many things lost over time (entropy).

In that chaos I tend to emphasize a dominance, in that I specify that the harmony doesn't necessarily exist as much as a constant conflict/tension between things that do keep one another in balance, but stability emerges from one thing subduing another rather than both having equal standing.
I always like to quote this passage as a snarky prod at what I consider moderate views.
Spoiler: show
https://www.marxists.org/archive/ilyenkov/works/positive/positii.htm
The reader has probably already managed to notice how often and persistently the magical word equilibrium is repeated in the quotations from those texts. Yes, here we are dealing not simply with a word, but a genuine symbol – a symbol of faith, a fundamental and key category of the logic of their thinking. No matter where their arguments originate, or where they lead to, they inevitably begin with equilibrium and end with equilibrium.

From their works the reader discovers that equilibrium is not simply or solely an equal balance on the scales with which everyone is familiar from personal experience, but it is something much more important and universal, something metaphysical.

It turns out that this magical concept contains within it both the secret of life and the secrets of the functioning of social organisms, and even the mysteries of all cosmic systems and events. It turns out that all these mysteries, secrets and enigmas are simple and easy. One only has to apply to them the magical 'lock pick' – and they become transparent and simple.

It turns out that the entire infinite Universe strives to achieve equilibrium. Thus the history of mankind, the history of social organisms (people, lands, states and civilisations), is directed towards and yearns for equilibrium.

Immediately, everything becomes clear: both the condition of economic and political relations and the organisational principle of the living body of the frog, and the direction of the evolution of the solar system.

It is remarkable that in not one of the works of the Machists will we find an intelligible explanation of the meaning of this word. They all prefer to explain it by means of examples. But throughout the entire system of such examples, the actual meaning of this 'empirio-symbol' clearly shines through: it is first of all a state of inviolable rest and immobility. It is the absence of any noticeable changes or deviations, the absence of motion.

Equilibrium means the absence of any state of conflict, of any contradictions whatsoever, i.e. of forces which pull in different, contradictory directions. And where is this seen? You will never see such a state, even in the shop, even in the example of the scales. Even here equilibrium is only a passing result, an ephemeral effect, which is achieved at precisely that moment because two opposing forces are directed at each end of the lever: one presses upward, and the other presses downward.

In the Russian language, equilibrium means: 'A state of immobility, of rest, in which a body is under the influence of equal and opposing forces.' But according to the logic of Machism, the presence of opposing forces exerting pressure at one point (or on one body) is already a bad state of affairs. It resembles the state which is designated in Hegelian language as contradiction, as 'a body's state of discomfort', in which two opposing forces exert pressure, either squeezing the body from two opposite sides or tearing it in half.

Such an understanding of equilibrium is therefore unacceptable for the Machists. How could it possibly be that equilibrium turns out to be only the passing and quickly disappearing result of contradiction, the result of the action of opposites applied at one point, i.e. the very state which every living organism tries to escape as soon as possible, and by no means the state which it supposedly is striving to achieve.

Here then arises the concept of equilibrium which the Machists want to counterpose to contradiction, which is the presence of two opposing forces. It is a state in which two opposing forces have ceased to exist and therefore no longer squeeze or tear apart the ideal body (or the equally ideal point of their application). The forces have ceased to exist and have disappeared, but the state which they have established at a given point still remains. Equilibrium is a state of this kind. A state characterised by the absence of any opposing forces whatsoever, be they internal or external, physical or psychic.

In this form, equilibrium is the ideal. It is the ideal model of the cosmos and the psychics, the fundamental philosophical category of Machism, and the starting point of Machist arguments about the cosmos, about history, and about thinking. The aspiration to escape once and for all from all contradictions whatsoever from whatever kind of opposing forces, is the striving for equilibrium.

In addition to all the rest, equilibrium finds under these conditions all the characteristics which ancient philosophy describes with the words 'inner goal', 'objective goal', and 'immanent goal'. According to Machist logic, equilibrium is by no means a real state, given in experience, even if in passing, but only the ideal and the goal of nature, man, and being in general.

Such an equilibrium is static, complete, disturbed by nothing, an equilibrium of rest, an equilibrium of immobility, a state of 'suspension in the cosmic void'. It is the ideal model of the Machist Bogdanovian concept of equilibrium.

I share this in that I wonder what harmony is meant to mean, instead I use the term stability because I'm not so sure how harmonious things are for the suppressed side in some things.
It's harmonious to the dominant side, which is why they feel that to change anything is absolute horror, chaos, anarchy the end of the world, because it's the possible end of their status quo.
I imagine for some that they do not see the tension because they in a sense treat things as independent from one another where there is a necessarily presupposition of the other if one is to consider the reality of a thing.
To ask what is necessary for this to exist, presupposes the existence of all sorts of other things.
But many treat an object in isolation, abstracted from it's relations and ignore the relevance of one thing to another. Such as how since the beginning of capitalist relations becoming dominant, there co-exists severe poverty yet abundance, one of the most glaring contrasts that has become normal.


Whilst I doubt that capitalist economy is blameworthy for all that is terrible in humans, it sure as hell doesn't help to alleviate a lot of it, as the economy stands in conflict with human interest much of the time. A real human interest in the universal sense although some may express a politics that is instead a particular class interest, universalizing their particular.
Spoiler: show
http://libcom.org/files/marx,%20marginalism%20and%20modern%20sociology%20-%20clarke.pdf
Marx’s theory of alienated labour provides a way beyond the antinomies of modern sociology, which seek to reconcile the subjective rationality of capitalism with its objective irrationality on the basis of an abstract concept of the individual and an abstract concept of reason. The world of alienated labour is not a world under the rule of instrumental reason, but a profoundly irrational and contradictory world in which any form of rationality is subverted by the systematic dissociation of the intentions of human actors from the outcome of social action. This dissociation is not the result of the arbitrary intervention of unforeseen circumstances, but is the systematic result of the alienated forms of social labour through which human sociability is imposed by the subordination of the individual to a thing. Thus ‘alienation’ is not the result of a subjective attitude to labour, the expression of a ‘reified consciousness’, but is an objective characteristic of the social forms of capitalist production and reproduction, of which ‘reification’ is the subjective expression. Similarly the reified consciousness cannot be seen as an expression of the deformed Reason of the Enlightenment, since it is the alienated forms of social labour which define the limits of the rationality of that Reason. Competition imposes the ‘rationality’ of capitalism on individuals as an objective force, submitting capitalists no less than the working class to its contradictory logic, but in abstraction from the fragmentation of social relations imposed by the rule of competition, which is only another expression of the alienated forms of social labour, the ‘rationality’ of capitalism is profoundly irrational. Finally, if capitalism is profoundly irrational, domination cannot be seen as immanent in the rationalist project of the Enlightenment, but on the contrary, that project leads to the radical critique of the stunted reason of capitalism.6

The contradictions of capitalism do not derive from the contradiction between one form of reason and another, whether between formal and substantive rationality, or between capitalist and proletarian reason, but from the contradictions inherent in the irrationality of alienated forms of social production. The irrational ity of capitalism is an ‘unintended consequence’ of subjectively rational action, but it is a consequence which is systematically embedded in, and determined by, forms of social relation whose social character is not given immediately, arising from social interaction between people engaged in co-operative activity, but is imposed on people by the mediated form of social relations, in which the social character of their labour confronts them in the form of a thing. It is Marx’s demystification of the ‘fetishism of commodities’ through his analysis of the value-form that makes it possible to penetrate the apparently objective character of this social determination to re-establish its human origins

For Marx the fetishism of commodities is not simply an ideological mystification, to be referred back to a constitutive subject, whether that subject be a class interest or the dominative interest of reason itself. The fetishism of commodities is only the reflection of a real social process, constituted by the social relations of alienated labour. It really is the case that social labour only appears in the form of a thing, and it really is the case that the products of labour confront the labourer as an objective power. However, alienation is not the expression of an ideological process of ‘reification’ in which subjectivity is eradicated. Alienation is a process which starts from labour as the subjective element which is never effaced. It is not that human powers become incorporated in things, but that human qualities appear in the form of the properties of things. It is not that social relations appear as relations between things, but that social relations appear in the form of relations between things. These forms of appearance arise not because relations between things replace or conceal relations between persons, but because relations between persons are mediated by things. Thus reification does not constitute a self-sufficient world which is imposed on human beings, but rather a world which is only constituted and reproduced through human activity, and so a world which can always be reclaimed by that activity.


Well I'll be thinking a bit less as I get increasingly busier now that I've made it to NM and am about to get married this Saturday. Still refining my vows and lot of paper work that follows getting married as an immigrant.
#14863180
@Wellsy Wellsy, my field of study is anthropology. As you know it comes from the Greek of anthropos and logos. Knowledge of mankind. I like studying anything related to human behavior, thought, culture and etc. Everything that comes with the study of how humans behave and the reasons why.

History is a big part of knowing how to identify how humans behave. What happens when human beings have similar pressures and conditions? How do they react? We are all the same species. It is fascinating to know that we once had two separate species of human beings. One of them died out. The Neanderthals. What factors made them die off? There are theories.

Anyway, what is very important to keep in mind when dealing with evolutionary theory and human beings? Is that evolution happens to groups. Never individuals. The power for all change and the power for all progress is group based. If any political, economic or social change is going to happen in human society--it will have to be group based and be applied to a group consciousness. Individuality is really anti-human. In every sense.

That is what many political and economic philosophies that emphasize selfishness, and individuality fail to address realistically--they put some elite or individual needs above what is best for the entire society? They are not going to work in the long term. Marx realized long ago that people derive meaning from their work and their social interactions by having a sense of empathy and a sense of belonging and connection to themselves and to each other. The problem always worsens or becomes intolerable, when human beings create systems in which people feel isolated, ostracized and alienated from both their work, and other human beings.

Large, urban centers create a lot of issues with human beings. Mostly because they have a lot of human beings milling around them.....all day......and superficial contacts and superificial interactions like shopping at the store or getting in a taxi and talking to the driver....but they don't feel loved, understood, connected and appreciated deeply and with complete solidarity with any of those people. They are strangers and don't feel like those people have any interest in them as human beings. So? Alienation sets in. It is like being in a life boat and feeling thirsty for sweet drinkable water, and all you have around you is salt water that will dehydrate you and not satisfy you...you are out in the ocean without the sweet water to survive.

Despite our many inventions, we are still on a very deep level small tribal, mammals with a great need for deep connections. The only societies that will satisfy us? Has to take into account who we are on a biological level. We have curved hands when we sleep in repose. Why? You know why. We were arboreal creatures. We evolved in the trees and needed to have our hands ready to grip a tree branch on short notice. Yet how many years have we been sleeping on mats, beds and far from trees? A long time. Yet we still have the same instincts.

Capitalism doesn't feed the need for a deep belonging. A sense of connection that defines us as biological beings. What will? That is the future. We have many things that has improved our lives by having easy access to energy, water, shelter and food. But we have not been good at creating satisfying connection. The alienation of our own labor? It is a real thing.

How satisfying are strictly commercial relationships? If it doesn't benefit us in some deeper level?

Camus talks about how humans question their existence. Have a hard time finding meaning when they don't really feel connected to anything. Even one's self. That is what happens when you are removed from nature and dwell with other people who just don't care about you or love you or feel any real connection to your continued presence. You are left with nothing to struggle for. And human beings struggle well when they have something to continue to live for beyond their own small individual lives.

Did you read Viktor Frankl's book? "Man's Search for Meaning". He was in a Nazi Concentration camp and the people who did not give up on living basically had to find a reason for struggling everyday when surrounded by such horrific inhumane surroundings. It stripped people bare down to their very essence. He became the founder of "Logotherapy"a type of psychological theory about how human beings find meaning in the world.

It is very interesting.
#14863215
Tainari88 wrote:
Spoiler: show
@Wellsy Wellsy, my field of study is anthropology. As you know it comes from the Greek of anthropos and logos. Knowledge of mankind. I like studying anything related to human behavior, thought, culture and etc. Everything that comes with the study of how humans behave and the reasons why.

History is a big part of knowing how to identify how humans behave. What happens when human beings have similar pressures and conditions? How do they react? We are all the same species. It is fascinating to know that we once had two separate species of human beings. One of them died out. The Neanderthals. What factors made them die off? There are theories.

Anyway, what is very important to keep in mind when dealing with evolutionary theory and human beings? Is that evolution happens to groups. Never individuals. The power for all change and the power for all progress is group based. If any political, economic or social change is going to happen in human society--it will have to be group based and be applied to a group consciousness. Individuality is really anti-human. In every sense.

That is what many political and economic philosophies that emphasize selfishness, and individuality fail to address realistically--they put some elite or individual needs above what is best for the entire society? They are not going to work in the long term. Marx realized long ago that people derive meaning from their work and their social interactions by having a sense of empathy and a sense of belonging and connection to themselves and to each other. The problem always worsens or becomes intolerable, when human beings create systems in which people feel isolated, ostracized and alienated from both their work, and other human beings.

Large, urban centers create a lot of issues with human beings. Mostly because they have a lot of human beings milling around them.....all day......and superficial contacts and superificial interactions like shopping at the store or getting in a taxi and talking to the driver....but they don't feel loved, understood, connected and appreciated deeply and with complete solidarity with any of those people. They are strangers and don't feel like those people have any interest in them as human beings. So? Alienation sets in. It is like being in a life boat and feeling thirsty for sweet drinkable water, and all you have around you is salt water that will dehydrate you and not satisfy you...you are out in the ocean without the sweet water to survive.

Despite our many inventions, we are still on a very deep level small tribal, mammals with a great need for deep connections. The only societies that will satisfy us? Has to take into account who we are on a biological level. We have curved hands when we sleep in repose. Why? You know why. We were arboreal creatures. We evolved in the trees and needed to have our hands ready to grip a tree branch on short notice. Yet how many years have we been sleeping on mats, beds and far from trees? A long time. Yet we still have the same instincts.

Capitalism doesn't feed the need for a deep belonging. A sense of connection that defines us as biological beings. What will? That is the future. We have many things that has improved our lives by having easy access to energy, water, shelter and food. But we have not been good at creating satisfying connection. The alienation of our own labor? It is a real thing.

How satisfying are strictly commercial relationships? If it doesn't benefit us in some deeper level?

Camus talks about how humans question their existence. Have a hard time finding meaning when they don't really feel connected to anything. Even one's self. That is what happens when you are removed from nature and dwell with other people who just don't care about you or love you or feel any real connection to your continued presence. You are left with nothing to struggle for. And human beings struggle well when they have something to continue to live for beyond their own small individual lives.

Did you read Viktor Frankl's book? "Man's Search for Meaning". He was in a Nazi Concentration camp and the people who did not give up on living basically had to find a reason for struggling everyday when surrounded by such horrific inhumane surroundings. It stripped people bare down to their very essence. He became the founder of "Logotherapy"a type of psychological theory about how human beings find meaning in the world.

It is very interesting.

I think there can be an individuality conceived that is positive, but it certainly isn't the egotist variant that arises under capitalism in which self interest is still by some who maintain the obsolete point that self-interest overlaps with social interest.
Which is a point that loses favor the moment it becomes clear the working class has an independent interest.
http://libcom.org/files/marx,%20marginalism%20and%20modern%20sociology%20-%20clarke.pdf
This denial of the independent interest of the working class could not survive the growth of trade unionism, working class political agitation, and the wider movement for social reform. A more pragmatic approach to the problem of order was called for than was allowed by political economy, and this approach was provided by various schools of sociology and historicism. However the abandonment of the laws of political economy removed any coherent basis on which to address the ‘problem of order’, and so to evaluate proposed reforms. Political economy had provided a model of the ideal society, based on the rational individual, against which to judge misguided reformist schemes. The pragmatic approach to social reform provided no means of setting limits to the demands for reform, which escalated with the legalisation of trades unions, the extension of the franchise, and the growth of working class parties. Without an adequate liberal solution to the ‘problem of order’, which could recognise the necessity for social reform while confining reformist ambitions within appropriate limits, there appeared to be nothing to stop the inexorable advance of social reform towards socialism.

The liberal response to the socialist challenge was provided by the marginalist revolution in economics, which set political economy on a rigorously subjective and individualist foundation. The basis of the marginalist revolution was the replacement of the classical cost of production theory of value with a subjective theory of value. The primary significance of this change was to undermine the classical theory of distribution, according to which the revenues of different classes were determined by different laws, and were evaluated in terms of their contribution to the growth of production. For marginalism the determination of revenues was integrated into the theory of exchange, as revenues were identified with the prices of the commodities from which they derived. The question of distribution was then a question of the initial allocation of resources, which was not a concern of the economist but a matter for moral and political judgement. Thus marginalism rescued political economy from the socialist challenge by removing questions of distribution from the domain of economics. The rationality of capitalism no longer lay in its dynamic efficiency as a system of production, based on the productive employment of the surplus product, but in its allocative efficiency as a system of provision for human needs. The ‘problem of order’ was therefore redefined as the problem of reconciling the efficiency of capitalist relations of production and exchange with the equity of capitalist relations of distribution.

On the other hand have the likes of Max Stirner (egoism) who emphasizes self interest in opposition to society. To which I think Marx in seeing the social nature of people emphasizes and argues that there is a shared rational self interest. It's when we identify shared problems and collabroate on what should be done about them that the activity of people starts to realize the form and content Marx emphasizes I think. That it becomes the new way of life. But this is of course under attack, such organization is fragmented by those that are threatened by such talk and activity.

Marx emphasizes a rich individuality which I think is based in that we find freedom through others and not in isolation, that individuality emerges from society but for a substantive individuality requires to push human necessity back by advancing production (not within itself, but with conscious reason). The majority are deprived for the massive abundance that exists in the form of capital in the world which could provide a standard of living for most that would allow people to freely engage in personal pursuits more comfortably rather than be grinded down by the necessary competition of markets.

I agree with you in regards to that kind of social alienation and isolation although I wonder if part of that is kind of a natural occurrence of such largely populated areas.
In that I think it would be overwhelming for there to be a lack of civil inattention.
Although, this doesn't mean that if this is maintained that in other ways people can't find a sense of community more substantively or feel connected to a bigger human project. Part of that I think is required in overturning the chaos of the economy that will reportion labor brutally, lot of people losing their jobs, their skill becoming irrelevant and having to move far and wide to survive. Rather than that more long term planted and enduring sense, which I think you emphasize, which is where one can begin to establish longer term relations.
To which I suspect its with friends and family we might be able to do something non-alienated. When you cook a meal for one's family because you love them, and its a great meal, you enjoy it and they appreciate it. You really get to feel your labor fulfilling yourself and others, it's not mediated in a commodity, its rather direct. Same way we might use our skills to help others and not at a cost, but because they needed help and we could help them.
The things that stand in contrast to the sort of consciousness that develops of being to deeply embodied by the market's function.


Indeed, commodities cannot satsify and in fact I would say they actively require the fostering of an unsatisfied desire (more than having a need fulfilled) so that they can direct desires to commodities (mass consumerism/marketing).
http://braungardt.trialectics.com/projects/my-papers/subject-ego-person/
For Kierkegaard, the human self is a double relation. The relation between finite and infinite is only a “negative unity.” We have seen that this relation is represented in Lacanian theory as the tension between the signifier and the real, or the One and the Other. This “negative unity,” the absence of a relationship between the finite and the infinite, or between man and woman, defines for Lacan the subject, and the self, or the ego, is the result of a negation of this negativity. The relation becomes a self for Kierkegaard when it – on a secondary level –relates to itself as well. Therefore he defines the human subject as “a relation which relates itself to its own self, and in relating itself to its own self relates itself to another.”[Kierkegaard, Sickness unto Death, I A a.[/ref] The self constitutes itself in the relationship to the object, which becomes the material of its self-realization. The human subject expresses itself through the way in which it exists in the world (Heidegger’s “Daseinsweise”). As such, it is its own totality that supersedes abstract or philosophical notions of the universal, of being, or of God. 21 Computers can simulate almost every human behavior – and in many cases they vastly outperform their human “originals.” But those abilities do not make them subjects. They may be able to think, but they don’t relate to their thinking in the way humans do – they cannot, for instance, commit suicide. For this reason, thought remains secondary against the reality of existence for the subject.

We have to be a mass of individuals for such propaganda to effectively function. Part of a larger whole but still in a sense individuated. Which I think results in the sense of being a unique individual simultaneously as we replicate the same social behaviour of others. We can do what we want but not want what we want, and so our desires are manipulated unconsciously/socially so that we can still feel free to do as we please though of course what we do is confined within the set coordinates of what is acceptable and wanted within the system's smooth functioning.
http://www.lacan.com/freedom.htm
In a way, liberalism is here even the worst of the three, since it NATURALIZES the reasons for obedience into the subject's internal psychological structure. So the paradox is that "liberal" subjects are in a way those least free: they change the very opinion/perception of themselves, accepting what was IMPOSED on them as originating in their "nature" - they are even no longer AWARE of their subordination.


In the same vein of how i speak of most of us being walking "dead" and revolutionary figures exemplifying being alive, I guess the struggle expresses a will for something. To me its the tension between the ideal and actuality, one desires for something that may even in some cases be unobtainable, but the drive can lead to a new coordinates that set new starting position for perhaps different ideals.
Dreams are dangerous for what they can inspire, and everyone has them, but they can be satisfied moderately in the advertising of some commodity, the experience of some film. Which isn't inherently bad in itself that people should seek such pleasures but that it can't give them a deep contentment that they may want.

I have not read his book, though I have heard of him.
I find it interesting to look at such examples of therapy and relate it to the sense that philosophy is a kind of therapy.
Spoiler: show
http://rickroderick.org/302-heidegger-and-the-rejection-of-humanism-1993/
But in any case, let me give you what I think is the powerful account, and then its criticism; the final, sort of, punch line of it. With Heidegger we choose a project in full awareness that being is always being towards death. For Heidegger this doesn’t cripple our action, but it makes us see that just like if we wanted to write a beautiful poem, we would plan an incredibly grand last stanza, or whatever. When we choose a project, we want to choose one that will make of our life a complete thing, a thing with meaning; a connected story, a story worth telling. So that’s the ideas that… the recognition of one’s own nothingness and one’s own death as the ultimate possibility… this recognition and acceptance frees us for our projects.

It allows us, for one thing, to engage in a bit of what I consider… if you wanted to sum up the wisdom of the east, you know, Oriental wisdom in just one sentence, it might be something like “Don’t sweat the small stuff”. I mean, there was a real well known Buddhist who told me “I can sum up the dao and the gita; all of that for you quickly… It’s this: Don’t sweat the small stuff. You westerners, you spend all your time sweating the small stuff…” Heidegger here says “Look, if you really internalise as a part of your self story that you too will be dead, gone, nothing, that that will be a freeing and liberating experience, but you have to be able to like… “work through it”, as it were, to use a psychoanalytic phrase “To work through it”.

Well what does it allow us to escape from? Well I actually have to say that this moment in existentialism has certainly been good for me, I think. It’s been a healthy thing for me. It cut short therapy, I went to a therapist once, I went three times, and on the third visit I went “Oh by the way I have a question. Why are we born to suffer and die?” and she went [unintelligible mumble], and that was the end of therapy for me. I figured that if she couldn’t help me with my fundamental problem, she wasn’t going to do much good on the trivial problems. I mean, I had a big problem: why are we born to suffer and die? She just went [utter nonsense]… she just went “Well I can write you a prescription for some Valium”, and I said “No thanks, I drink, I don’t need it” [crowd laughter] I belong to a large club; I am a drunkard… no, anyway…
...
Now for me that’s kind of a kick, because that means if I screw up today, tomorrow, or right now I am not going to worry about it too much. I am going to feel free to engage in my project without worrying about what “they” told me about how I should do philosophy. So I think there is a moment of truth, or a moment of interest in Heidegger’s account. Also it’s made me rather short and sharp with smalltalk, it really does. I mean, it makes me… where people go “Oh gee, you know, the weather today is just, you know” [agitated noises] I am sorry, but I prefer conversations about sex, religion, politics, and of course being a man: sports. But if it’s not something that, you know, grabs me, I feel perfectly free to go “That’s chatter, I haven’t have time for it… be dead soon, can’t do it”

Makes me think that if someone isn't getting to some big questions, they haven't asked enough questions about the supposedly small things, because it seems to me that ask enough questions always end up at the big ones. Can try and ignore such things but ignoring don't do much. I sometimes jump between a sense of caring a great deal and distancing myself and not caring about somethings.
It's kind of a cool of period, because wreck yourself if stuck too long in such thoughts I imagine. Got to get back to the small stuff and enjoy the everyday, the small things, the texture of things, a good meal or drink, a good time with a friend.
#14863225
@Wellsy there is a guy named Clotaire Ripaille. I am not sure about the spelling. He is a French anthropologist and has a background in human psychology. He specializes in doing focus groups and studies on what human beings fear, how to get people to be manipulated to think the way you want them to and to be more pushed into consuming and buying things that are marketed to them--that appeals to their reptilian brain tendencies.

People fall for that crap all the time Wellsy. What does our reptilian brains fear? Losing our territory, losing our jobs, sharing things we can't afford to lose possession of....having something there telling us---you lose this and your very existence is threatened. Experts know how to market and how to manipulate. You got people who are scientists who do studies at Target stores that literally say, "Target pregnant women and new parents. They are so exhausted and so short on time that they will buy anything and add on impulse buying just to not have to go to another store on another trip. They feel guilty of being cheap by not spending on their baby. Get them!"

Sheer manipulation. The free market doesn't put in efforts on things that are not about consumption and are about really hard and long term necessary things. Like respecting human beings needs and investing in security and tapping and developing inner potential so that human beings are not trapped into debt and into producing profit without any security for that worker or person. It is problematic Wellsy.
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