Revolutionary Hope - Politics | PoFo

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By Wellsy
I'm wondering what peoples' thoughts are on the importance and function of creating hope/morale in workers and through what means it is achieved, as well as any concerns or associated thoughts one has on the matter. Such as personal experiences in oration, direct action and so on to inspire something in others. Whether such a task is to be limited to certain ends or areas perhaps, and a cool head in other circumstances.

This has come to my attention through bits and pieces of written thoughts I've collected.
One concern I saw was the more effective one criticizes the state of things, the more daunting the criticized problem can seem.
In fact, Foucault himself, because he holds a radical anarchist position is caught in what I would call “the critics’ paradox”.

The more powerfully the critic paints the ills of the society and the fragility of the self and the struggle it undergoes to be a human; the more powerful our account is, the more hopeless the people feel who could do anything about it. On the other hand, if we don’t paint the account in such a powerful way then people tend to underestimate what they are up against, so you have got a critic’s dilemma. Foucault clearly has picked the path where he doesn’t care if you feel powerless or not; that’s your problem, you have got to do something about it, so he draws out all the mechanisms of control to the maximum so that you understand them.

And this sort of paralysis seems to be of great concern for those that want to agitate people to act on such problems.
Stated bluntly: no revolutionary movement can grow if its theorists essentially deny Bloch's "principle of hope," which it so needs for an inspired belief in the future; if they deny universal History that affirms sweeping common problems that have besieged humanity over the ages; if they deny the shared interests that give a movement the basis for a common struggle in achieving a rational dispensation of social affairs; if they deny a processual rationality and a growing idea of the Good based on more than personalistic (or "intersubjective" and "consensual") grounds; if they deny the powerful civilizatory dimensions of social development (ironically, dimensions that are in fact so useful to contemporary nihilists in criticizing humanity's failings); and if they deny historical Progress. Yet in present-day theoretics, a series of events replaces History, cultural relativism replaces Civilization, and a basic pessimism replaces a belief in the possibility of Progress. What is more sinister, mythopoesis replaces reason, and dystopia the prospect of a rational society. What is at stake in all these displacements is an intellectual and practical regression of appalling proportions--an especially alarming development today, when theoretical clarity is of the utmost necessity. What our times require is a social-analysis that calls for a revolutionary and ultimately popular movement, not a psycho-analysis that issues self-righteous disclaimers for "beautiful souls," ideologically dressed in cloaks of personal virtue.

Which gives me the impression that people need to be shown to abstract further than the problem itself in some cases. To see that in a problem is also the potential for something positive, not guaranteed, but possible under the right conditions that make it possible due to active effort to make it a reality. Though a grounded optimism is harder to achieve the more powerful the criticism where it seems so damning that it really is difficult to see any way around the problem (personally I sense this in regards to ideology and desires to somehow overcome propaganda). Though I maintain optimism in our ability to better understand it and hopefully find a means to be more conscious of ourselves in relation to it, not necessarily invulnerable but more aware to decide on how to act on what ever knowledge we come to.

I've also seen an interesting quote posted by TIG by James Connolly about the importance of the 'Fighting Spirit'.
As one of the earliest organisers of that body, I desire to emphasise also that as a means of creating in the working class the frame of mind necessary to the upbuilding of this new order within the old, we taught, and I have yet seen no reason to reconsider our attitude upon this matter, that the interests of one were the interests of all, and that no consideration of a contract with a section of the capitalist class absolved any section of us from the duty of taking instant action to protect other sections when said sections were in danger from the capitalist enemy. Our attitude always was that in the swiftness and unexpectedness of our action lay our chief hopes of temporary victory, and since permanent peace was an illusory hope until permanent victory was secured, temporary victories were all that need concern us. We realised that every victory gained by the working class would be followed by some capitalist development that in course of time would tend to nullify it, but that until that development was perfect the fruits of our victory would be ours to enjoy, and the resultant moral effect would be of incalculable value to the character and to the mental attitude of our class towards their rulers. It will thus be seen that in our view – and now that I am about to point the moral I may personally appropriate it and call it my point of view – the spirit, the character, the militant spirit, the fighting character of the organisation, was of the first importance. I believe that the development of the fighting spirit is of more importance than the creation of the theoretically perfect organisation; that, indeed, the most theoretically perfect organisation may, because of its very perfection and vastness, be of the greatest possible danger to the revolutionary movement if it tends, or is used, to repress and curb the fighting spirit of comradeship in the rank and file.

Which I personally take as an emphasis on the importance of struggling for meaning/purpose against the cold instrumental rationality that makes human non-human and reduces them to machines in a system (workers/consumer).
Something that Zizek (Disposable Life - Slavoj Zizek - YouTube) tries to turn on its head by discussing the value of useless things. That much that is useless within the logic of capitalism is where we find human values and meaning, the sentimentality that many try to acquire in spite of living under capitalism. That under capitalism and the sort of empiricism it utilizes where it renders the social meaning of things as mere subjectivities. Not as true as the concrete reality as it thinks of the empirical isolated from everything and thus ignores the concrete abstract meaning of things within their relations.
Spoiler: show
Ilyekov then reviews the failure of the empiricism of James Stuart Mill:

“For example, value in general, value as such, may according to Mill be conceived in abstraction, without analysing any of the types of its existence outside the head. This may and must be done precisely for the reason that it does not exist as a real property of objects outside the head. It only exists as an artificial method of assessment or measurement, as a general principle of man’s subjective attitude to the world of things, that is, as a certain moral attitude. It cannot therefore be considered as a property of things themselves, outside the head, outside consciousness.
According to this kind of logic, of which Mill is a classic representative, that is precisely why value should be regarded only as a concept, only as an a priori moral phenomenon independent from the objective properties of things outside the head and opposing them. As such, it exists only in self-consciousness, in abstract thinking. That is why it can be conceived ‘abstractly’, and that will be the correct mode of considering it.”

Hence why everything is so simple for the empiricists as material reality has been rigorously defined in advance as existing outside of the head that much of sophisticated philosophical enquiry into the nature of logic was seen as wasted effort. This mode of thought is the dominant one in western philosophy whereby we can dispense with abstract thought being a reflection of anything in the material world as this is completely fixed, unchangeable or static. All that is required is to gather more knowledge of the real existing state of things whereby we accumulate more understanding of it; a mere piling up of more and more facts about the objects of investigation before us. In this sense abstract thought has no real place in philosophy and definitely not in logic but deserves to be placed in the field of ethics or morals.

Ilyekov dismantles the faults of this system by recourse to the advances in logic made by Hegel.

“Hegel’s main idea is that intellectual abstractions do not take consciousness beyond the empirical stage of cognition, that they are forms of sensual empirical consciousness beyond the empirical stage of cognition, that they are forms of sensual empirical consciousness rather than thought in the strict sense of the term, are notions and not concepts. Confusing the two, identifying notion with concept on the grounds that both are abstractions, is a most characteristic mark of metaphysics in logic, of the logic of metaphysical thinking.”

It is a mistake to conceive thought as a separate entity from empirically presented facts in this view and it is the specific task of logic to move from the abstract contemplation of notions or concepts of the empirically presented facts to work out an abstraction that would express the essence of the presented facts given in our notions and concepts. The problem is in drawing out the generalised expression of the real nature of the object under investigation from the empirically obvious facts. This is far from straight forward and constitutes the real challenge in dialectical logic.

For Hegel the essence or content of objects of investigation cannot be known by examining them in isolation. The thing cannot be known in itself as its essence exists outside of itself and in relation to, or in its connectedness with, other objects or phenomena. As Ilyenkov explains:

“That is why a concept, according to Hegel, does not exist as a separate word, term, or symbol. It exists only in the process of unfolding in a proposition, in a syllogism expressing connectedness of separate definitions, and ultimately only in a system of propositions and syllogisms, only in an integral, well-developed theory. If a concept is pulled out of this connection, what remains of it is mere verbal integument, a linguistic symbol. The content of the concept, its meaning, remains outside it-in series of other definitions, for a word taken separately is only capable of designating an object, naming it, it is only capable of serving as a sign, symbol, marker, or symptom.”

We certainly need to not lose sight of the approximate sense of reality in which we operate...
Bourgeois revolutions, like those of the eighteenth century, storm more swiftly from success to success, their dramatic effects outdo each other, men and things seem set in sparkling diamonds, ecstasy is the order of the day – but they are short-lived, soon they have reached their zenith, and a long Katzenjammer [cat’s winge] takes hold of society before it learns to assimilate the results of its storm-and-stress period soberly. On the other hand, proletarian revolutions, like those of the nineteenth century, constantly criticize themselves, constantly interrupt themselves in their own course, return to the apparently accomplished, in order to begin anew; they deride with cruel thoroughness the half-measures, weaknesses, and paltriness of their first attempts, seem to throw down their opponents only so the latter may draw new strength from the earth and rise before them again more gigantic than ever, recoil constantly from the indefinite colossalness of their own goals – until a situation is created which makes all turning back impossible, and the conditions themselves call out: Hic Rhodus, hic salta! [Here is the rose, here dance!] [NOTE]

That we have to be careful to not fall into error out of the ecstasy of revolutionary acts and their perceived potential. But that it may be just as important to nurture the parts that make us human, something more than the mere instrumental use of people as conceived of within capitalism, but more to the nature of human beings in their relations when they care about one another and for something. This seems to be something that the fascists emphasize much to the neglect of a comprehensive understanding of capitalism and thus leading people a stray when they seek to idealize and romanticize certain things for people to believe in. But then so does a communist when they speak of the proletariat/workers, their struggle and the ultimate end to which it is all done towards.

That it seems in ourselves our passion to understand contains elements not necessarily emphasized within the reasoning to understand things as they are but underpin our drive to act as such. At the core human beings are an emotional creature who would be incapable of making the simplest of decisions if not for their capacity for emotion.
Spoiler: show
p. 118 for start of section, p. 119 for quoted section, Michio Kaku's Physics of the Impossible
Emotions are vital in decision making, as well. People who have suffered a certain kind of brain injury lack the ability to experience emotions. Their reasoning ability is intact, but they cannot express any feelings. Neurologist Dr. Antonio Damasio of the University of Iowa College of Medicine, who has studied people with these types of brain injuries, concludes that they seem "to know, but not to feel."

Dr. Damasio finds that such individuals are often paralyzed in making the smallest decisions. Without emotions to guide them, they endlessly debate over this option or that option, leading to crippling indecision. One patient of Dr. Damasio spent half an hour trying to decide the date of his next appointment.
Scientists believe that emotions are processed in the "limbic system" of the brain, which lies deep in the center of our brain. When people suffer from a loss of communication between the neocortex (which governs rational thinking) and the limbic system, their reasoning powers are intact but they have no emotions to guide them in making decisions. Sometimes we have a "hunch" or a "gut reaction" that propels our decision making. People with injuries that effect the communication between the rational and emotional parts of the brain do not have this ability.

For example, when we go shopping we unconsciously make thousands of value judgments about almost everything we see, such as "This is too expensive, too cheap, too colorful, too silly, or just right." For people with this type of brain injury, shopping can be a nightmare because everything seems to have the same value.

As robots become more intelligent and are able to make choices of their own, they could likewise become paralyzed with indecision. (This is reminiscent of the parable of the donkey sitting between two bales of hay that eventually dies of starvation because it cannot decide which to eat.) To aid them, robots of the future may need to have emotions hardwired into their brains. Commenting on the lack of emotions in robots, Dr. Rosalind Picard of the MIT Media Lab says, "They can't feel what's most important. That's one of their biggest failings. Computers just don't get it."

As Russian novelist Fyodor Dostoevsky wrote, "If everything on Earth were rational, nothing would happen."In other words, robots of the future may need emotions to set goals and to give meaning and structure to their "lives," or else they will find themselves paralyzed with infinite possibilities.
Becoming a socialist is obviously a process that varies with each person, but judging from my own frequent but highly informal inquiries there are certain experiences and insights that have a disproportionate influence in triggering or speeding up this transformation. Among these experiences are the following: undergoing a particularly brutal example of capitalist exploitation (or seeing it happen to one's parents or other loved one); becoming involved in radical political activity, even of a minor sort, and being treated as a socialist by others (it is surprising how many comrades told me that they only knew they were socialists or were becoming socialists when people who disagreed with them said as much); living socialist relationships and finding them humanly more satisfying; having socialist friends and coming to take their assumptions for granted; knowing a socialist whose wisdom or kindness or courage one admires. Among the intellectual events that constitute major breakthroughs in the process of becoming a socialist there are the realizations that one has been consistently lied to; that the personal oppression from which one suffers is shared by others and is socially determined; that the path on which society is traveling leads to economic and social disaster; that the problems of capitalism are inter-related and cannot be solved individually; that classes exist and the class struggle is real; and that the socialist ideal represents a morally superior way of life. This last shows that even though ethics has no place in Marxism (see Lecture 4), people may come to Marxism by an ethical route.

That its good we emphasize a cool head in analyzing things as they are in order to best comprehend what can be done. But being people we certainly contain some concern for the suffering of others under capitalism which many readily see in need of correction.
At the risk of seeming ridiculous, let me say that the true revolutionary is guided by great feelings of love. It is impossible to think of a genuine revolutionary lacking this quality. Perhaps it is one of the great dramas of the leader that he or she must combine a passionate spirit with a cold intelligence and make painful decisions without flinching. Our vanguard revolutionaries must idealize this love of the people, of the most sacred causes, and make it one and indivisible. They cannot descend, with small doses of daily affection, to the level where ordinary people put their love into practice.
Last edited by Wellsy on 25 Jan 2017 15:45, edited 2 times in total.
Great post. I don't believe I saw the word 'empathy' however. Our emotions should be used to guide us toward empathy in our decision making. We, as part of human education, should practice placing our selves in the positions of others. I believe this is where we find an objective frame of mind. Our emotions would then allow us to objectively (to some extent at least) view both sides from our own view. This helps eliminate the extremism of 'idealistic hope' and 'apocalypse fear'. If I can see you as another individual, then I can recognize common ground. Best I can do on a beer post. :D
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By Wellsy
One Degree wrote:Great post. I don't believe I saw the word 'empathy' however. Our emotions should be used to guide us toward empathy in our decision making. We, as part of human education, should practice placing our selves in the positions of others. I believe this is where we find an objective frame of mind. Our emotions would then allow us to objectively (to some extent at least) view both sides from our own view. This helps eliminate the extremism of 'idealistic hope' and 'apocalypse fear'. If I can see you as another individual, then I can recognize common ground. Best I can do on a beer post. :D

This is where based on second hand interpretations I think Hegel and Nietzche as useful. In that I've heard it said that Hegel emphasized looking for the wisdom in one's opposition's view. Which I suppose is easier within his dialectical view than a sort of Aristotelian logic where opposites don't synthesize but contradict each other, so one can't mix the two and if one adopts a position there is only destruction of the other. Because it threatens them to have their view oppose as its an all or nothing process rather than seeing a false dichotomy and the good in both positions.
And with Nietzche, something I think I expressed to you about the difference between having a belief which one holds to be true and the metabelief about others having to adopt your perceived truth.
I would also emphasize that we tend to have emotional reactions to certain words or ideas, that we have become conditioned to emotionally react to which diffuses any engagement with the thing as one simply rejects it out right. Though one is better able to be patient and wait out a knee jerky reaction when one has favorable conditions to be so patient.

I have wondered about the degree which one can empathize with another. That I have an assumption that there is a degree of understanding that one can only obtain through experience that one can only at best simulate through projected feelings and thoughts on what one expects a person to experience under some circumstances. That a method actor who recreates some experiences in order to better play the part might come awfully close to replicating what one feels would be the experience of a person in the characters circumstance. But there's a world of different in replicating facets of an experience and living it, not that empathy is without great effect and merit, but that there is always a gap in truly understanding anyone because we don't live their lives and simply aren't their subjectivity in reaction to those experiences.

I'm kind of wondering now that what really comes into play in regards to revolutionary morale/hope is simply the utility of propaganda that plays with ideology. Though I admit again, I don't have amateur understanding of either of these concepts. But that relating back to my concern that we don't escape ideology and that we are inherently compelled to hold some sort of fictional layer over reality as humans are disposed to creating such meanings, that inspiring morale inevitably means agitating the fictional layer. The more romanticized and passionate side, where I take it some hold a teleology in that they state that humans are all disposed to things like freedom or happiness. That we create things like religion, communism or what ever to give representation to our ideals that aren't actualized in reality, to help cope with reality, to have hope for something more when we're in the shit.
But that even in spite of this fictional reality, we can hold some grasp of reality, that our abstract models can relay important parts of reality so that we can effectively actualize our ideals. Though I suppose I'm expecting to have some concerns as I read through a book on propaganda, that throws my already established doubt into further disarray. Which I imagine I'll have to confront like Albert Camus and the absurdity of life, where I have to simply accept the irrationality of myself and throw myself into that which I find to be the best representation of reality. That one should not be paralyzed by the strongest of skepticism and compelled to an inevitable leap of faith to certain things, whether it be God or whether it be an external reality.

Best I can do on ten beers ;)
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By One Degree
but that there is always a gap in truly understanding anyone because we don't live their lives and simply aren't their subjectivity in reaction to those experiences.

Very true. I believe if we each make an attempt to give others a brief exposure to our ideas of reality, then the ideas that most reflect the reality of the whole will eventually come to be accepted as each person accepts them as their own. We each need to be content with expressing ourselves without the expectation of change in others. This is what dogma (strict adherence to an ideology) prevents. If we feel we need to accept an ideology and lead our lives based upon it and oppose others, then we will fail to reach the best common ideology. Again, my ideals on local autonomy I believe, provide a smaller version where this may be easier to accomplish without the entire world coming to an agreement first. Even then, each community must be open to others, but it is a start. How you get people to accept this first step (not expecting change in others), as a common need, is the tricky part. :cheers:
I do think that trying to find theoretic perfection in a movement or party will be impossible, and is itself a dumb thing to do. One thing I learned from my time with the Socialist Party in Ireland was an approach to this. They were Marxists, and wore that on their sleeve, but they represented the working class and would go out of their way to agitate for lower bin fees or whatever thing the people they represented wanted.

On the one hand, good for them. On the other hand, this wasn't exactly revolutionary stuff, and they were keen to keep guns out of people's hands (which is a hilarious non-issue in Ireland through the eyes of an American).

However, the left has been so broken down that I think we're effectively back at zero. It's going to be the not sexy building trust and organization. I do think that the process of building working class consciousness is the most effective thing we can do right now; to teach (and learn at the same time) how to unionize, and how to organize, and so on and so forth.

Before our eyes we are seeing "the mob," do this very thing in years what it took a century to do last time. Even comparing BLM to Occupy, you can see a certain structure develop in leadership that hadn't existed before, you can sense their need for a direction to help express what needs to be done and why, where Occupy was content to simply be and eventually dissolve.

I remember on the old SE one of the smarter people there once said that Marxism would eventually have to win because it addressed reality, and eventually people would learn that only the square peg goes into the square hole. There seems to be a little bit of this, I think. Luke wrote, "Heaven is at hand;" and indeed, maybe it's right there in plain sight, in that folder with a hammer and sickle where your oppressors wrote, "bad! Don't look in here! Evil!"
Sometimes I wonder what world I'm living in. Just reading now where Carl Icahn is saying Trump's election marks the end of a dangerous slide toward socialism. Apparently we just dodged the socialist bullet. I have no doubt that he sincerely believes this, along with, I dunno, maybe 20 or 25% of Americans.

At the same time, we have the Democratic Socialists of America (the Cornel West group) experiencing explosive growth numbers in their membership coinciding with Trump's accession. This is not revolutionary, but at least it's hope. Hope, and a lot of work, will be right prescription, I believe. If we are truly beaten back to zero, we should take that as an opportunity, not a death sentence.
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By Wellsy
Was watching this and thinking about its emphasis on Simple Rick and the Rick that rebelled and replaced him, where his happy experience/memory became a commodity.

And what it captured was of course the real form in which fantasies of rebellion become part of the system's maintenance.
Spoiler: show
An interesting example of the processes of articulation is the reggae music of Rastafarian culture. Bob Marley, for example, had international success with songs articulating the values and beliefs of Rastafari. This success can be viewed in two ways. On the one hand, it signals the expression of the message of his religious convictions to an enormous audience worldwide; undoubtedly for many of his audience the music had the effect of enlightenment, understanding and perhaps even conversion to, and bonding for those already convinced of, the principles of the faith. On the other hand, the music has made and continues to make enormous profits for the music industry (promoters, Island Records, etc.). What we have is a paradox in which the anti-capitalist politics of Rastafari are being articulated in the economic interests of capitalism: the music is lubricating the very system it seeks to condemn; that is, the politics of Rastafari are being expressed in a form which is ultimately of financial benefit to the dominant culture (i.e. as a commodity which circulates for profit). Nevertheless, the music is an expression of an oppositional (religious) politics, and it may circulate as such, and it may produce certain political and cultural effects. Therefore, Rastafarian reggae is a force for change that paradoxically stabilizes (at least economically) the very forces of power it seeks to overthrow

Another example, in some ways more compelling than that of reggae, is the music of the American counterculture. It inspired people to resist the draft and to organize against Amerika’s war in Vietnam; yet, at the same time, its music made profits (over which it had no control) that could then be used to support the war effort in Vietnam. The more Jefferson Airplane sang ‘All your private property/Is target for your enemy/ And your enemy/Is We’,14 the more money RCA Records made. The proliferation of Jefferson Airplane’s anti-capitalist politics increased the profits of their capitalist record company. Again, this is an example of the process of articulation: the way in which dominant groups in society attempt to ‘negotiate’ oppositional voices on to a terrain which secures for the dominant groups a continued position of leadership. The music of the counterculture was not denied expression (and there can be little doubt that this music produced particular cultural and political effects), but what is also true is that this music was articulated in the economic interests of the war-supporting capitalist music industry.15 As Keith Richards of The Rolling Stones said,

We found out, and it wasn’t for years that we did, that all the bread we made for Decca was going into making black boxes that go into American Air Force bombers to bomb fucking North Vietnam. They took the bread we made for them and put it into the radar section of their business. When we found that out, it blew our minds. That was it. Goddam, you find out you’ve helped kill God knows how many thousands of people without really knowing it (quoted in Storey 2009: 92).

There is the sense that the fantasies such sentiments play on whilst perhaps prompting some resonance with a person's deep feelings of alienation and such, can paradoxically reinforce the source (as in part of a broader system) of their alienation. There is a reciprocal relationship between dissatisfaction that gives rise to fantasies, a relation between disenchantment and being enchanted with illusions of overcoming that which alienates. Though of course this hope is what is argued as necessary, but it of course has been quashed through time and having to rebuild.

And what this gets me thinking to is how this seems to be an attitude characteristic of postmodernist works.
It seems that in real world experience, it comes as a consequence of people's disillusionment with past socialist projects and the effective dismantling of workers organization in developed world.
Then this is expressed in things like post-structuralism/modernism which I speculate is a kind of idealism in that it wants to identify an essence behind things and since they can't find one, there is no essence (if I'm understanding correctly).
Spoiler: show
To make a specific and not a vague characterisation of post-structuralism, I shall confine myself to comments on certain key passages of Foucault's Archaeology of Knowledge. While Foucault himself moved on from this position, this work remains a landmark for the emergence of post-structuralism. A critique of Foucault is particularly important, because he expresses in clear, well-argued form - and has been very influential in this - the rejection of "grand narratives", the rejection of the possibility of grasping from the universe of appearances, periods, tendencies, sequences and so on; in short, the possibility of finding within history that which is Essential. Essence is important, because Essence exists not just behind Appearance, in some beyond, but exists materially in its own right, side-by-side with the inessential. Unless we can see what is essential in the system of oppression we confront, then it is impossible to fight against it.
Three things to note about this paragraph:

The deletion of the materiality of the traces renders them into total discontinuity and this total discontinuity is characteristic of Foucault's method; it also expresses the spirit of his times, with the rise of finite mathematics over analysis, the rise of digital technology over analogue electronics, the abandonment of macro-economics and the turn to micro-economics, and the universal egoism flowing from the "beginning of history" in the mid-1960s;
The critique of continuity is exclusively based on the structuralist conception of "system".
Although the focus on "general history", i.e. the entire culture, rejecting presupposed divisions, continues the project of the Frankfurt School which had its roots in Lukacs's and Korsch's attempts to reconstitute Marxism with its genuine Hegelian conceptions of totality, as a "post-structuralist", Foucault has completely missed this conception.
The danger here then is that the structuralism 's constitution of meaning by a system, albeit a closed and static system, will be taken to the point of extremity by the shattering of the totality into generalised egoism.
Much of the philosophy and cultural criticism of our times is an exaggeration and a degeneration from this project, and some do better here and there, but I think a critique of what Foucault here expresses can suffice to deal with the Essence of what I understand by "post-modern theory". I would like to tackle this program at three levels:

firstly, it is not an adequate method for the analysis of discourse, although it does make true and significant warnings against the kind of metaphysic which is characteristic of structuralism;
secondly, it leads to a politics which does work which is essential preparation for liberation, but still fundamentally reinforces dominant forms of oppression, that is to say, it constitutes a form of progressive bourgeois ideology;
thirdly, it is an ideological expression of its times.
The essential methodological error which is common to positivism, structuralism and post-structuralism is the inability to perceive the essence of processes and to understand and distinguish between Essence and the abstract quantitative reflection of the data of perception; the inability to work with true Notions rather than abstract universals. The struggle to identify Essence within Appearance is an interminable one and the tendency of any of us to operate uncritically with the static categories of yesterday inescapable. It is but the problem of living in a world which one must also reject. One must reject, but one must live.
Moreover, Marx argued, reasoning based on contemplation of such abstract objects will necessarily lapse into methodological idealism, eschewing material determinations as mere appearances that distract from a proper appreciation of the nature of reality, rather than being the absolute starting place for a proper understanding of reality.

But I think the emphasis on organizing seems to be the conclusion that keeps coming back as the solution to this, it becomes an emphasis of praxis. One learns and sees things through their struggle and not as a passive academic. To which some post-structuralist/PoMo might have been activists in some degree, but I do wonder to the extent of their struggle and how deeply shook they were by happenings of the world.
It does seem creating the conditions of unity through struggle is the breeding ground for a bulwark against such thinking, to be of people in their cause rather than distant, which I take was a strength of the Bolsheviks.
Spoiler: show
Workers feel their alienation as dehumanisation against which they tend to struggle for self-realisation. Moreover, it is through such collective struggles that they tend to change as the need for solidarity engenders a more socialistic attitude. So in 1853 Marx wrote that “the continual conflicts between masters and men are…the indispensable means of holding up the spirit of the labouring classes, of combining them into one great association against the encroachment of the ruling class, and of preventing them from becoming apathetic, thoughtless, more or less well-fed instruments of production”.89 Six years earlier he had pointed out how the struggle to form associations (trade unions), became inexplicable to classical political economy once workers began to turn over to the associations, for the sake of association, “a good part of their wages”. “The domination of capital has created for this mass a common situation, common interests.” Consequently, whereas political economy was able only to understand atomised individualism, Marx showed how a new social rationality emerged within the working class.90 Marx thus suggests not only that workers feel compelled to struggle against the power of capital, but that in so doing they begin to create modes of existence, which also offer a virtuous alternative to the egoism characteristic not only of capitalist society generally, but also of working class life within that society.

When communist workmen gather together, their immediate aim is instruction, propaganda, etc. But at the same time, they acquire a new need—the need for society—and what appears as a means has become an end. This practical development can be most strikingly observed in the gatherings of French socialist workers. Smoking, eating, and drinking, etc, are no longer means of creating links between people. Company, association, conversation, which in turn has society as its goal, is enough for them. The brotherhood of man is not a hollow phrase, it is a reality, and the nobility of man shines forth upon us from their work worn figures.91

By forming and being active within trade unions and working class political parties, workers create institutions through which they change themselves. Working together in such institutions becomes a day to day practice that both presupposes the need for solidarity and engenders a spirit of solidarity within the working class. The virtues or character traits that are thus promoted stand in direct opposition to the competitive individualism of the capitalist marketplace.

These struggles provide the basis for Marx’s involvement in the “creation of an independent organisation of the workers’ party”.92 Because he insisted that socialism can only come from below, he realised that it will necessarily emerge out of sectional and fragmented struggles which create differences between more and less advanced workers, and consequently results in the emergence of socialist leaders.93 As John Molyneux has argued, Marx’s conception of the revolutionary party “absolutely ruled out” both the “conspiratorial” idea of the party of as a small elite acting for the working class and the “authoritarian view” of the party handing orders down to the class from above. Against both of these models, Marx firmly established “the concept of leadership won on the basis of performance in the class struggle”.94
The divergence between “leaders” and “masses” was brought out with particular clarity and sharpness in all countries at the end of the imperialist war and following it. The principal reason for this was explained many times by Marx and Engels between the years 1852 and 1892, from the example of Britain. That country’s exclusive position led to the emergence, from the “masses”, of a semi–petty-bourgeois, opportunist “labour aristocracy”. The leaders of this labour aristocracy were constantly going over to the bourgeoisie, and were directly or indirectly on its pay roll. Marx earned the honour of incurring the hatred of these disreputable persons by openly branding them as traitors. Present-day (twentieth-century) imperialism has given a few advanced countries an exceptionally privileged position, which, everywhere in the Second International, has produced a certain type of traitor, opportunist, and social-chauvinist leaders, who champion the interests of their own craft, their own section of the labour aristocracy. The opportunist parties have become separated from the “masses”, i.e., from the broadest strata of the working people, their majority, the lowest-paid workers. The revolutionary proletariat cannot be victorious unless this evil is combated, unless the opportunist, social-traitor leaders are exposed, discredited and expelled. That is the policy the Third International has embarked on.

It makes me think that the fantasies expressed in messages such as music or consumption of some commodity is that that it's an alienated form of what one wants. In the same way that slave morality/christian values are an alienated form of making virtue of that which one can't do in the first place because one lacks the power and will and so makes a virtue of one's impotence.
But such affection for such things can be a partial sign of how it resonates and to create a reality of that fantasy.
And once that happens, one is no longer alienated from one's will and desires but is seeking to affirm them.
I come to see that the talk about revolutionaries as truly being alive isn't about some emotional stupor but is in fact a sign of one's affirmation to life and their will put upon the world.
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.

Such a drive is necessarily radical/revolutionary and thus dangerous and has to be fostered into passivity.
And so the route out of such hopelessness is necessarily found in the steps towards organizing people and making them active. And all radical politics is necessarily active as it agitates for change, seeks to unleash energy welled up in frustration. Which is why fascism occurs at times of crisis as an outlet of that welled up discontent that would disrupt the system and threaten it.
he growing proletarianization of modern man and the increasing formation of masses are two aspects of the same process. Fascism attempts to organize the newly created proletarian masses without affecting the property structure which the masses strive to eliminate. Fascism sees its salvation in giving these masses not their right, but instead a chance to express themselves. The masses have a right to change property relations; Fascism seeks to give them an expression while preserving property. The logical result of Fascism is the introduction of aesthetics into political life. The violation of the masses, whom Fascism, with its Führer cult, forces to their knees, has its counterpart in the violation of an apparatus which is pressed into the production of ritual values.

There is much to learn from past examples, but one also necessarily learns through their struggle, things that are perhaps not so visible to those that don't learn about reality in their contemplation. As they don't interact with the world that give feedback to a sense of what things are like. But this is the point of praxis, it's through interacting with the world that we come to learn and understand it, the bridge between the passive materialism and the active idealism of people into one.
Spoiler: show
School often doesn’t just fail to cultivate this capacity once it has arisen, but rather actively deadens it. And it does so precisely using the notorious “principle of visual learning.” It is not difficult to understand how this happens.

The fact is that, since this principle is taken as a panacea, as a “bridge” between verbally acquired knowledge and the object, it focuses the pedagogue not on facilitating a real encounter between the person (the student) and the object, but just the opposite – towards the painstaking prevention of any such encounter, towards the removal of the object from the process of instruction.

The fact is that, instead of the object – in the serious, materialistic understanding of the word – the person is never presented with the object that he ought to compare and contrast with the formulas that have been given to him verbally. He is given something completely different that is only externally similar to it. What exactly? Artificially and previously chosen “visual examples” that illustrate (i.e. confirm) the correctness of the assertions – the verbally formed statements that have been presented to him. In other words, instead of the real object, the student is presented with an artificially selected fragment of object reality that just precisely agrees with its verbal description, i.e. a graphical equivalent of the given abstraction.

As a result, the student develops a particular mentality whose insidiousness is only observed later on. From the very beginning, his attention is focused on actively searching for just those sensibly perceived phenomena that precisely agree with their own description – on singling out those “properties” of the object that have already been uniquely expressed by verbal formulas, by a “noncontradictory system of statements.” The student thus develops a mentality for which the word (language) becomes not a means for mastering the surrounding world, but just the opposite, the surrounding world becomes an external means for learning and practicing verbal formulas. Here, only the latter turn out to be the object of learning that is genuinely mastered.

And this is achieved precisely by means of the “principle of visuality,” by systematically presenting the student with only such sensibly perceived things, cases and situations that precisely agree with their verbal description, i.e. that are nothing but a materialized abstract conception – i.e. “objects” specially prepared in order to agree with a verbally given instruction, formula, or “rule.”

Any “visual aid” (or any real thing from the surrounding world used as a “visual aid”) creates only an illusion of the concreteness of knowledge, of the concreteness of understanding, and at best it makes it easier for the person to learn formulas, to understand formulas, i.e. abstract schemas, for here the “visual aid” is just a particular case of “truth” enclosed in a formula or word. This is precisely how one derives the notion of the self-sufficiency of abstract “schemas,” unavoidably accompanied by the idea that an individual sensibly perceived “object” (or case, or situation) is nothing but a more-or-less random “example,” i.e. a more-or-less random “embodiment” of an abstractly general rule.

It is natural that there cannot and should not arise any polemical relationship between a “general rule” assimilated in verbal form and a specially selected (or made) “example” that supports it. Any disagreement, any lack of correspondence between one and the other can have only one cause – an incorrectness in the verbal expression, an incorrectness in the use of words. If the words have been used correctly, then the “general rule” and the “particular case” will fit each other precisely. There is no difference between them in content – these are one and the same formula, except that in one case it is presented “visually” and in the other case “nonvisually,” i.e. as the meaning of certain word–signs.

Of course, when we have such an artificial relationship between the general formula and the “particular case,” the problem of correlating them does not require (and therefore does not develop) the capacity for imagination – the ability to construct an image from the mass of “impressions” or unorganized sensations. Here, this ability is simply not needed, for the image of the thing is presented ready-made, and the whole problem has been reduced to merely expressing it in words. After all, a “visual aid” is not the thing but a ready-made image of the thing – it has been created independent of the activity of the student – by the artist who prepared it by strictly following verbal instructions, or else by the pedagogue who gave him this image in verbal form. In either case, as an “object,” as a reality existing outside of, prior to, and completely independent of the activity of cognition, the student is presented with an image that has been previously organized by words, and the student has to do only one thing – to make the inverse translation of this image into verbal form. The student thinks that he is describing an “object,” but in fact he is only reproducing an “alienated” – a visually embodied – verbal formula, which has been used (but not by him) to create the image that was presented to him. The student thus learns only how to reproduce ready-made images – images that have already received their citizenship in the world of language. He does not produce the image, for he never encounters any object – any “raw material” for the image – that has not already been processed by words. This has already been done for him by the pedagogue or the artist.

Thus, the student goes from a ready-made image to its verbal expression – this kind of learning is operating by the skin of its teeth. However, the decisive part of the path of cognition – to go from the object to an image (and then back from this image to the object) – remains outside the range of the student’s activity. In school, he is never confronted with the problem of correlating the image with the object – instead of the object, he is always given a ready-made image as a substitute. The corresponding ability of course never develops, since no activity with the object has taken place. What the student really acts with is an image – one that was created outside of his own mind. That is, he acts with a materialized conception.
By mikema63
That was a fantastic episode of Rick and Morty and exemplified why I love the show. It was able to make me feel deeply uncomfortable.

For me, alienation is one of the most troubling things that face most people here in the west. Many of us do, of course, face material struggle but it is orders of magnitude different than in the rest of the world or in the past.

I have a suspicion that socialist movements in, say, the US would have better luck using that alienation over the direct themes of economic and class struggle they normally use.

TiG is right of course that you guys are at square one when it comes to that sort of organizing.

On a tangent, I sometimes think that Marx's alienation while being a difficult topic to fight is incomplete. Lots more than the factory are alienating. Indeed I think a lack of ignorance about the universe is alienating, reality is alienating.

We are bundles of atoms that stumbled it's way into a pattern capable of wanting the impossible and being desperate for meaning that doesn't exist.

Building a chair by hand doesn't really give your life any more meaning than putting in a piece on an assembly line. It's just the same nostalgia for a simpler time that is a theme in that Rick and Morty episode.

I'll give the thread a proper read tomorrow and add more thoughts if I have any.
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By Wellsy
mikema63 wrote:On a tangent, I sometimes think that Marx's alienation while being a difficult topic to fight is incomplete. Lots more than the factory are alienating. Indeed I think a lack of ignorance about the universe is alienating, reality is alienating.

We are bundles of atoms that stumbled it's way into a pattern capable of wanting the impossible and being desperate for meaning that doesn't exist.

Building a chair by hand doesn't really give your life any more meaning than putting in a piece on an assembly line. It's just the same nostalgia for a simpler time that is a theme in that Rick and Morty episode.

Except I don't think Marx calls for a 'simpler' time, that's more to the likes of reactionary socialists and such who idealize the past and wish to return to pre-capitalism rather than pursue socialism. Marx identifies capitalist relations as being the source of alienation not just in terms of your labor is not your own but our relation to one another is obscured and reversed to one of commodities.
There is a lot of talk in the Occupy Wall Street movement about ending “corporate personhood”. The problem with this demand is that the legal status of corporate personhood is just the icing on the cake. In a capitalist society corporations are much more like people than people are. Capital is the active subject and people its object. This is what Marx means by “subject/object inversion.” Rather than people being the active agents of the social order it is the “objective” logic of the market that dominates subjects. Blind economic laws rule and people obey. Money becomes more powerful than life. Corporations become people and exert more power in society than individuals or even social movements. While people run around in the street with signs begging the system to take notice of them, the cold-logic of capital becomes the active agent in society, using the body of the worker like a passive expendable commodity, subordinating societies, governments and even nature itself to the impersonal motives of profit.

The crazy thing is that this “objective” world is still just the product of our own creation. We actively reproduce it everyday. This is what makes Marx’s critique of capitalism so powerful: The world we live in, despite the incredibly disempowering structure of our current situation, is always only the result of our own actions and we do have the ability to collectively change it. But in order to exercise such collective power we must break with the capitalist mode of production.

One doesn't think of social relations when you go to the supermarket and purchase food, all the products being developed by people. Instead, those relations are abstracted and reduced to things such as prices and relations between commodities. Rationally one knows people underpin the system but we don't really see the social nature of the system in living through it at all. This is how we can feel so passive to the laws of the market, we don't yet realize our collective agency, we are all held to the whims of the market's logic regardless its catastrophic consequences a lot of the time. Even the most powerful are still held to the law of value, because it's very real, it doesn't fade away from belief but is based in the nature of our real world relations.
And what is the capitalist mode of production, fundamentally? It is an inversion of subject and object. Rather than subjects exercising a creative control over their destiny through their work they find themselves pressed-down upon, thwarted and controlled on all sides by the alienation of the market. The products of our creation stand opposed to us, dominating us, controlling our actions and causing untold suffering and violence.
Now, if overcoming this subject/object inversion requires more than just eliminating its personifications as class actors, what must be done? The answer, and I am influenced very much by Kliman on this issue, is to address the problem of creating a society with “directly social labor”. In short, such a society would not be ruled by the market because labor would not be disciplined by socially necessary labor time.

But I think need to see how Marx's view of alienation relates to religion, which is seen as a displacement of the humanist ideals of man for their inability to be realized and the task is to create a real existing 'brotherhood' of humanity rather than an alienated form like that of God.
Spoiler: show
Let’s look at what Marx had to say about the critique of religion. He says in the famous Introduction:

“The foundation of irreligious criticism is: Man makes religion, religion does not make man. Religion is indeed the self-consciousness and self-esteem of man who has either not yet won through to himself or has already lost himself again. But man is no abstract being squatting outside the world. Man is the world of man, state, society. This state and this society produce religion, which is an inverted consciousness of the world, because they are an inverted world. Religion is the general theory of this world, ... its moral sanction, its solemn complement and its universal basis of consolation and justification. It is the fantastic realization of the human essence since the human essence has not acquired any true reality. The struggle against religion is therefore indirectly the struggle against that world whose spiritual aroma is religion.

“Religious suffering is at one and the same time the expression of real suffering and a protest against real suffering. Religion is the sigh of the oppressed creature, the heart of a heartless world and the soul of soulless conditions. It is the opium of the people.”

Atheism was therefore not just attacking the symptom instead of the disease, but was attacking the means by which the masses bore their suffering.
For Marx, this is precisely what is of principal value in the relation of love. It is love that allows humans to understand that the satisfaction of their needs does lie in other human beings. The other human being becomes an object for his lover, a being with objective, independent reality. This is a basic principle in Marx's moral conception and in his philosophy as a whole. The interaction between, and mutual dependence upon, fellow human beings is what leads to consciousness, language, and in fact forms the entire basis of human social development. In so far as Christian morality teaches us to seek love and approval in an alien god rather than in one another, and to deny the satisfaction of our needs as an important task for human beings, it is inhuman, alienating, and destructive.
Kautsky articulates a third point of difference between Marxist and Kantian morality: because Kant thinks that the Moral Law will always contradict human beings' own interests and desires, he does not see morality as a historical phenomenon that can pass away in the course of human social development. Kant instead defers the resolution of this contradiction to the “Realm of Ends,” which cannot be realized except through God.
Marx and Engels accuse Kriege of misrepresenting communism as “a religion of love” (“Circular Against Kriege”, MECW 6:46), rather than presenting it as a science of human progress and development, because to follow Kriege's reasoning would be essentially to take up a religious attitude towards humanity as a new god rendered into pseudo-materialist terms. We do not “belong to mankind,” to which we must constantly sacrifice our individual self-interest. One should be “worried about oneself”--it is in fact this concern with oneself and one's own circumstances that can be linked together with an argument for rational social control over society's resources. There is no need for a moral leap across some perceived gap between one's self-interest and the general interest of society.

Man's alienation isn't just a matter between him and objects, but from other people, our sense of belonging is more firmly based in our relations to other beings as our nature is inherently social.
The idea is to bring the consciousness of man that has been seen as existent outside them in an alienated way into a self consciousness that is realized in actuality, where humanity is directly social. Which is to be done through the manner in which man itself can set about to create things purposely, because man as distinct from animal can think (self-reflexively) what one wants and go about it unlike animals that just have an instinctual knowing to do certain things. Our knowing comes through our socialization and interaction of society.

Now to get back to religion, we've been on a long path to see our own subjectivity, as both something within us but in a way truly existant (not as some superfluous illusion as it might be for empiricists).
t is quite true that the “real talers” are in no way different from the gods of the primitive religions, from the crude fetishes of the savage who worships (precisely as his “god”!) an absolutely real and actual piece of stone, a bronze idol or any other similar “external object”. The savage does not by any means regard the object of his worship as a symbol of “God”; for him this object in all its crude sensuously perceptible corporeality is God, God himself, and no mere “representation” of him.

The very essence of fetishism is that it attributes to the object in its immediately perceptible form properties that in fact do not belong to it and have nothing in common with its sensuously perceptible external appearance.

When such an object (stone or bronze idol, etc.) ceases to be regarded as “God himself” and acquires the meaning of an “external symbol” of this God, when it is perceived not as the immediate subject of the action ascribed to it, but merely as a “symbol” of something else outwardly in no way resembling the symbol, then man’s consciousness takes a step forward on the path to understanding the essence of things.

We've been in a long process of disrupting the inverted consciousness which has relied on changing our relations to the world itself. Overcoming capitalism would be the final step to overcoming this inversion and becoming truly conscious, but it wouldn't be truth found through one's mind but through the changing of the world, not as passive philosopher but revolutionary who creates the conditions that underpin our consciousness.
Evald Ilienkov worked out an original conception of ideality which was a creative development of Marx's theory of consciousness. It is well known that Marxist tradition has always insisted that knowledge derives from praxis. Following in that tradition, Ilyenkov suggested defining specific components of practical activity which directly form general impressions and abstractions. There are invisible schemes of praxis or operations, stereotypes and instructions of common human activity. Such components carry general information from things to mind. According to Ilyenkov, ideality is a form of human activity that is caused by forms of things which are drawn into the 'anthroposphere'. Thus, he strived to advance the principle of materialism and deduced a property of ideality from certain aspects of material praxis. As a result, ideality is an material-immaterial phenomenon that is born in the external material activity of people and corresponds to the facts, but at the same time ideality or schemes of activity do not contain materiality. Material praxis, by means of inner structures, takes a thing's measurements and carries this general information from the physical world into the world of human spirit. Ilyenkov's conception of ideality partially resembles Bridgman's conception of operational pragmatism.

And what I'm thinking in in the realm of existential despair is that it seems to be situated in a talk of God solving it or in our modern context, since God is dead, the attempt to accept meaninglessness or attempt to create meaning.
But this tendency I think is the result of an alienation that has displaced God and reduced things to a bare minimum.
The bourgeoisie has stripped of its halo every occupation hitherto honoured and looked up to with reverent awe.

And I think in this, 'god is dead' world we live, there attempts to bring back that wonder in a naturalistic/material form but they neglect the social being of man that has been disrupted so that we are so thoroughly alienated.
Spoiler: show
Stirner's writings might have been dismissed at the time of their publication, had they not been quite so effective against their principal target: the ethical humanism of Ludwig Feuerbach. Feuerbach famously argued in The Essence of Christianity that “God” was merely an abstraction and personification of man's qualities. “The Divine Being,” he wrote, “is nothing other than the being of man himself, or rather, the being of man abstracted from the limits of the individual man or the real, corporeal man, and objectified, i.e., contemplated and worshiped as another being, as a being distinguished from his own”47 (Feuerbach, The Fiery Brook, p.111). The oppressive, alienating nature of religion would be overcome once God was replaced by “Man” as a divinity for himself, and human beings shed their pious attitude toward the abstraction, God, and took up a new one toward the abstraction, Man, recognizing that what had previously been regarded as a superhuman being was in fact only an objectification and deification of human qualities.

Feuerbach's humanism was developed to solve the problem of alienation, but in fact it only seemed to reproduce the problem, this time with the abstraction “Man” raised to the level of a divinity. Stirner argued that Feuerbach's humanism simply replaced a religious fear of God, and a Christian ethic of self-renunciation, with a religious sacrifice of the individual for the good of abstract “Man.” Stirner rejected the problem of alienation, and also any quest for personal development or self-improvement, on the grounds that these cause individuals to adopt a religious, self-denying attitude to their possible, unalienated, better selves. Even to suggest that individuals should develop their own talents and capacities is to suggest that they sacrifice themselves in the interest of an alien “good cause.”

Marx (as did many of the Young Hegelians) recognized the importance of Stirner's book as a critique of Feuerbach's ethical humanism. A mere change in thought would not resolve the problem of alienation or do away with the self-renunciation of the individual which was characteristic of religious practice. However, Stirner himself made the same mistakes he accused Feuerbach of, lapsing into idealism and attributing to “causes” powers over human beings which they simply could not have (as though it were really the “causes,” the “fixed ideas,” that had led human beings astray, and not the real relations between human beings that had given rise to these ideas in the first place). Accordingly, Stirner's proposed solution to the problem was one that could be carried out entirely in the realm of thought: individuals had simply to choose to pursue their own narrow self-interest as an egoistic cause. “
Marx's critique of Stirner's ethical egoism displays a philosophical continuity with his explication of the distinction between abstract and concrete individuality in his doctoral dissertation, and the statement, “abstract individualism is freedom from being, not freedom in being” might be just as at home here as it is in that earlier work. For Stirner, the problem of alienation can simply be swept away through a further retreat of the private individual into herself as her only cause or concern, which she opposes to social concerns. Mutual dependencies and interrelations among human beings are regarded as illusory, at best, and dangerously deceptive, at worst. Not only does Stirner's brand of ethical egoism call on the individual to embrace asocial behavior and attitudes, but it argues that the individual should satisfy herself at her present level of development, whatever that may be, rather than strive to further that development. It posits the human person as a static, isolated atom, rather than as a concrete individual, developing and existing within society, and for whom the problem of alienation can only be resolved through a transformation of society, brought about through coordinated human action aimed at common goals.

Though this alienation is a necessary pre-condition to the capacity for us to build a world in which is directly social and conscious of itself, rather than have relations obscured, to have our consciousness inverted. The idea is that this sense of meaningless and alienation will fall with capitalist relations dissolution, the want of God would lose it's material basis because man will no longer be alienated from one another and themselves.
The sentimentality of things has gone with capitalist production and relations, but its through that we have lost ourselves but also have the ability to better understand ourselves. As a condition to overcoming capitalism requires a large degree of self consciousness.
Rick and Morty is a continuation of our times, just as the existentialism of those French Philosophers and the recent PoMo thinkers is a sign of their times. It resonates because it reflects much that is simply true of our modern circumstance.
I sense that within Marxism there is a possible teleology in the sense that it's our self-reflexivity and conscious understanding of things that can allow us to set purpose to our actions. This is seen just in the basis of how we reconcile our means and end, how we bring our perfect ideals and abstractions in accordance with reality as it is. Which there is a degree of error as we learn about reality as we interact with it.

This isn't a great response in that I can't really boil down effectively the line of thought that starts with Feurbach's critique of religion, Stirners critique of it thinking of a universal man in the abstract to Marx which critiques Stirner and goes beyond Feurbach's inadequate solution to human alienation. And I haven't really fleshed out the social nature of man which I think can be interpreted in a deflated way and not given a true sense of how interconnected our human nature is to one another.
There is also the part that not sure about explaining the historical side of how the ideality and holiness of things from the earlist days were seen as inherent in things and then over time we began to abstract more, and the history of humanity has been to it's self realization. That the breaking down of things into particulars, fragmenting it has been a wonderful development under capitalism and expressed in modern science. The only difficulty is that many are unable to reconnect such particular points into a holistic perspective that gives things their sense. But looking at Walter Benjamin's point about how the aura of things have changed with technology allow mass reproduction of the same images (an idea copied in John Berger's Ways of Seeing), might also help get a sense of this ideality in things and it being contingent on relations, the sort of ego/subjectivity that are seen in things (an immaterial essence) but is a reflection of that thing as constituted in it's relations as experienced by us.
Eh this is gobbily goop, not really as explicit in explaining this sense of religion through time, especially since it's quite speculative on my part.
The Immortal Goon wrote:I remember on the old SE one of the smarter people there once said that Marxism would eventually have to win because it addressed reality,

Sounds like a low bar for smartness, because Marxism is based on EVADING the reality that the factory owner contributes to production while the landowner doesn't. And it will always lose in the end because it is based on that objective dishonesty.
By Sivad
Truth To Power wrote:Marxism is based on EVADING the reality that the factory owner contributes to production while the landowner doesn't.

Marxism doesn't deny the contributions of factory owners, it just points out that they take far more than they create and that private ownership is unnecessary and unjustified.
By Decky
Truth To Power wrote:Sounds like a low bar for smartness, because Marxism is based on EVADING the reality that the factory owner contributes to production while the landowner doesn't. And it will always lose in the end because it is based on that objective dishonesty.

Why do you persist with this nonsnese? Marxists hate landoweners. Aristicrats tend to get shot when Marxists come to power. You are living in a fantasy world.
Going forward, people will need to recognise the inevitable link between terrorism and property rights. Having less freedom is the only practical way to create peace and equality
Sivad wrote:Marxism doesn't deny the contributions of factory owners,

Yes, it does. Watch:
it just points out that they take far more than they create

But in fact, they don't. They take far LESS than they create because like workers, they have to pay landowners for doing nothing. And without the factory owner, the workers would still be effectively the slaves of landowners, as they were before factory owners rescued them. See how that works?
and that private ownership is unnecessary and unjustified.

Which it isn't and isn't, as we are seeing proved yet again in Venezuela.

Marxism is simply the error of blaming factory owners for what landowners have done to workers. That's all.
The Immortal Goon wrote:And the worker?

Knows he doesn't have what it takes to be a factory owner, who is actually his ally, and so aligns himself with the landowner who is his true enemy and oppressor because he might have what it takes to buy a little postage stamp of land.
Decky wrote:Why do you persist with this nonsnese? Marxists hate landoweners.

They only hate them for being rich, like factory owners, not for removing people's rights to liberty, because factory owners don't do that.
Aristicrats tend to get shot when Marxists come to power.

Only because they are rich. Marxism does not -- refuses to -- distinguish between great wealth earned by the factory owner's commensurate contributions to production and great wealth stolen by the landowner's exercise of privilege.
You are living in a fantasy world.

I'm not the one still imagining Marxism has something relevant to say about economic relationships.
The Immortal Goon wrote:Then he has to be educated and armed.

He still won't have what it takes, especially if he is armed: that's where the landowner's power comes from, not the factory owner's.
Thomasmariel wrote:Going forward, people will need to recognise the inevitable link between terrorism and property rights.

Which you imagine to be....?
Having less freedom is the only practical way to create peace and equality

Especially of the Procrustean variety....
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