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Sartre's contribution to Marx's concept of alienation Bogardus, John Arthur 1973

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SARTRE'S CONTRIBUTION TO MARX'S CONCEPT OF ALIENATION  by  JOHN BOGARDUS B.A., University of B r i t i s h Columbia, 1969  A THESIS SUBMITTED IN PARTIAL FULFILMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF MASTER OF ARTS  i n the Department of Anthropology and Sociology  We accept this thesis as conforming to the required standard  THE UNIVERSITY OF BRITISH COLUMBIA August, 1973  In presenting  t h i s thesis i n p a r t i a l f u l f i l m e n t of the requirements f o r  an advanced degree at the University of B r i t i s h Columbia, I agree that the Library s h a l l make i t f r e e l y available for reference  and  study.  I further agree that permission for extensive copying of t h i s thesis for scholarly purposes may by his representatives.  be granted by the Head of my Department or  It i s understood that copying or publication  of t h i s thesis for f i n a n c i a l gain s h a l l not be allowed without my written permission.  Department of Anthropology and  Sociology  The University of B r i t i s h Columbia Vancouver 8, Canada  Date  August 30,  1973  Abstract Marx's concept of a l i e n a t i o n has proven to be a subject of controversy for many s o c i a l t h e o r i s t s .  One  of the more provocative t r e a t -  ments of this concept has been outlined by Jean-Paul Sartre.  Drawing  heavily on Marxism's Hegelian t r a d i t i o n , Sartre portrays a l i e n a t i o n as being a c r u c i a l element i n the formation of the individual's perception of s o c i a l r e a l i t y .  An appreciation  to Marxist theory necessitates  of Sartre's project and i t s relevance  the examination of the origins and develop-  ment of the concept of a l i e n a t i o n .  For t h i s purpose, a b r i e f account of  Hegel's usage of the term i s followed by a discussion of Feuerbach's e f f o r t s to counter Hegelian idealism with an e x p l i c i t l y m a t e r i a l i s t perspective.  Alienation makes i t s f i r s t appearance i n Marx's work with the  publication of the Economic the concept was  and Philosophical  Manuscripts  of 1844  to be a topic of concern throughout Marx's l i f e .  p a r t i c u l a r , his analysis of commodity fetishism shows an obvious connection with a l i e n a t i o n .  and In  i n his l a t e r work  Georg Lukacs'  presentation  of the r e i f i c a t i o n of consciousness i s a valuable addition to the examination of the fetishism of commodities.  Lukacs provides numerous i n -  sights concerning the relationship between alienation and  commodity  fetishism as well as o f f e r i n g a useful a r t i c u l a t i o n of the r o l e of consciousness i n Marxist theory.  Lukacs' contribution i s especially h e l p f u l  i n c l a r i f y i n g the nature of Sartre's project.  Both theorists seek to  outline an exposition of consciousness which counters i d e a l i s t i c excesses with a m a t e r i a l i s t i c perspective  f a i t h f u l to the basic tenents of Marxism.  ii  iii In addition, Sartre employs the notion of r e i f i c a t i o n as well as that of a l i e n a t i o n i n h i s psychoanalytic approach.  His technique i s intended to  illuminate the class biases inherent i n the consciousness  of each i n d i -  v i d u a l , a proposal which finds an immediate application i n explaining the distorted awareness which p e t i t bourgeois  i n t e l l e c t u a l s such as  Lukacs and Sartre himself bring to the study of Marx's method.  Table of Contents Chapter  1.  Page  INTRODUCTION  1  FROM HEGEL TO MARX  6  Hegel  6  Feuerbach  12  Marx  16  2.  LUKACS  43  3.  SARTRE  62  CONCLUSION  95  REFERENCES  102  iv  INTRODUCTION  The concept of a l i e n a t i o n occupies a controversial p o s i t i o n withi n Marxist s o c i a l theory.  I t appears at d i f f e r e n t junctures and with  varying significance throughout the course of Marx's work.  Recently,  the concept of a l i e n a t i o n has proven to be a major concern of academics subscribing to very d i f f e r e n t interpretations of Marx's theory. For example, while Jean-Paul Sartre (1963:61-62) tends to regard a l i e n a t i o n as one of the key terms within Marxian thought, a concept which may prove to be the cement which holds the whole apparatus together, Louis Althusser (1970:239) considers a l i e n a t i o n to be an anachronism, an a r t i fact from Marx's p r e - s c i e n t i f i c apprenticeship.  In f a c t , Althusser r e -  gards the concept of alienation as one of the major obstacles to the development of an authentic representation of Marx's project. and Althusser are highly respected theorists.  Both Sartre  Both claim to have un-  covered the d e f i n i t i v e reading of Marxist theory, yet they take diametric a l l y opposed positions with respect to the notion of a l i e n a t i o n . The disclosure of the "true" function of alienation i n Marx's conceptual scheme i s not the fundamental purpose here.  An attempt w i l l  be made to trace the evolution of the term from i t s Hegelian roots, through i t s reformulation by Feuerbach, to i t s l a t e r development at the hands of Marx.  However, this i s not intended to be an exhaustive t r e a t -  ment of the history of this concept.  Instead, i t i s merely designed to  situate the discussion i n order to permit a sympathetic yet c r i t i c a l examination of the ideas of Georg Lukacs and Sartre who consider a l i e n a tion to be an i n t e g r a l component of Marx's thought. 1  2  This investigation begins with an account of Hegel's usage of the concept of a l i e n a t i o n .  Hegel uses the term to describe a transitory  moment i n the s e l f - c r e a t i o n of Spirit. S p i r i t to refer to an Absolute  Being  3  He considers h i s notion of an i d e a l i s t construct which em-  braces both the natural and the s o c i a l realms.  Alienation refers to a  c r i t i c a l moment when i n d i v i d u a l humans, agents of S p i r i t nise that the world about them i s simply Spirit  3  f a i l to recog-  i n o b j e c t i f i e d form.  Instead, they regard the s o c i a l and natural domains to be a l i e n .  In  Hegel's estimation, this lack of recognition constitutes the s e l f a l i e n a t i o n of  Spirit.  Ludwig Feuerbach opposes Hegel's thesis, posing a m a t e r i a l i s t c r i t i q u e which d i s c r e d i t s the Hegelian notion of Spirit.  According to  Feuerbach, S p i r i t i s simply a refinement of the r e l i g i o u s conception of God, and as such i s subject to similar c r i t i c i s m s as those directed at theology.  God, Feuerbach argues, i s l i t t l e more than a projection of  human consciousness. essence.  I t represents an i d e a l i s e d version of human  Unfortunately, most people are so mystified that they are unable  to recognise that God and S p i r i t axe constructs of human consciousness. These s p i r i t u a l d e i t i e s are mistakenly perceived to be the creators of humanity rather than the human creations which they are i n a c t u a l i t y . Feuerbach's remarks proved to be extremely h e l p f u l to K a r l Marx i n h i s attempts to determine the s o c i a l conditions which promote human alienation.  Marx's early probings into p o l i t i c a l economy lead him to  conclude that the a l i e n a t i o n of labour constitutes the basis for a l l forms of human a l i e n a t i o n .  In p a r t i c u l a r , he directs h i s attention to  3 the examination of alienated conditions i n societies i n which the capit a l i s t mode of production predominates. of Capital  By the time of the publication  i n 1865, Marx has generated a more thorough analysis of how  the prevalence of commodity production has distorted the relations between people as well as between individuals and their products.  Marx's  notion of commodity fetishism refers to the s i t u a t i o n i n which commodit i e s predominate  to the extent that s o c i a l relations come to be viewed  as relations between things.  Human debasement has developed to the point  where the products of human labour dominate the actual producers (Marx, 1971:121-123). Marx's account of the mystifying character of commodity fetishism i s extremely suggestive.  Later theorists argue that this concept con-  tains numerous insights which are useful to the understanding of the . t r a n s i t i o n from " f a l s e consciousness" to "class consciousness."  For ex-  ample, Georg Lukacs believes that i t s elaboration could a s s i s t i n the r a i s i n g of the consciousness of the working c l a s s .  He argues that i t i s  only through an awareness of the actual character of c a p i t a l i s t society that the.working class can come to recognise i t s position of exploitation. However, as long as the p r o l e t a r i a t suffers from the distorted consciousness associated with commodity production, the l i k e l i h o o d of the establishment of a c o l l e c t i v e movement whose goal i s the elimination of the causes of alienated consciousness remains remote indeed (Lukacs, 69-70).  1970:  What Lukacs proposes i s an intensive study of the nature of  alienated consciousness with the intention of illuminating possible practices which could lead to the d i s p e l l i n g of " f a l s e consciousness."  He  4 argues that the mystifications stemming from commodity production can detected i n v i r t u a l l y a l l aspects of c a p i t a l i s t culture.  be  In p a r t i c u l a r ,  he focuses on the practices of bureaucrats and s c i e n t i s t s as i l l u s t r a t i v e of how  the distorted consciousness associated with commodity fetishism  i s inscribed i n the products of mental labour. facts at the expense of an awareness of how  The pursuit of isolated  phenomena interact within  the s o c i a l t o t a l i t y i s judged by Lukacs to be an especially pronounced c h a r a c t e r i s t i c of i n t e l l e c t u a l a c t i v i t y i n advanced c a p i t a l i s t society. This lack of s e n s i t i v i t y to the d i a l e c t i c a l nature of the s o c i a l whole i s considered to be a major stumbling block to the attainment of an accurate perception  of the nature of class society.  As w i l l become apparent, Lukacs' presentation  suffers from some  major flaws, yet i t does provide a number of p r o f i t a b l e elaborations Marx's thought.  For example, his intention i s to outline how  of  capitalist  culture as a whole reinforces and perpetuates the mystified consciousness which i s a consequence of alienated labour.  In e f f e c t , t h i s can  be  interpreted to be a step towards a general c r i t i q u e of d a i l y l i f e i n c a p i t a l i s t society.  Lukacs confines himself  to o u t l i n i n g the s o c i a l con-  ditions which m i l i t a t e against the development of class consciousness. His p r i n c i p a l concern i s with the distorted awareness which i s a r e s u l t of alienated labour and how  this mystified consciousness hinders the  understanding of s o c i a l r e a l i t y .  These e f f o r t s by Lukacs to expand the  boundaries of commodity fetishism e f f e c t i v e l y clear the path for the unique project of Jean-Paul Sartre. Sartre extends Lukacs' general discussion to include an in-depth  5 account of the origins of class d i s t o r t i o n s i n the i n d i v i d u a l . this e n t a i l s i s an examination of how  What  each c h i l d acquires certain class  biased perceptions of the s o c i a l realm.  I t i s Sartre's contention that  these youthful blinders are the consequence of the s o c i a l i s a t i o n process. Sartre's psychoanalytic approach i s advanced as a technique intended to reveal how during childhood.  specifically  a class bound perception of society i s i n s t i l l e d  This furthers Lukacs  1  e f f o r t s to determine the sources  of r e i f i e d consciousness which prevails i n advanced c a p i t a l i s t society. In addition, i t i s a l o g i c a l development of Marx's discussion of a l i e n a t i o n , one which i s of p a r t i c u l a r s i g n i f i c a n c e to the production of s o c i a l theory.  Sartre has made a notable contribution to Marxism, the importance  of which can only be appreciated with an awareness of the evolution and refinement  of the concept of a l i e n a t i o n .  Chapter 1 FROM HEGEL TO MARX  Hegel  In an essay written i n 1946, Sartre directs a b l i s t e r i n g attack at the dogma of Soviet Marxism.  Rejecting Stalin's materialism as being  mechanistic, Sartre (1955:191) c a l l s f o r the rediscovery of the d i a l e c t i c a l nature of Marx's thought.  A t r u l y d i a l e c t i c a l materialism, Sartre  contends, would recognise the synthetic character of the forward movement of consciousness.  With each successive t o t a l i s a t i o n of consciousness,  ideas are at once continued and surpassed.  New dimensions may be added  but this does not mean that previous formulations have been discarded. Each idea retains within i t s e l f the t o t a l i t y of antecedent ideas. The career of Marx's concept of a l i e n a t i o n i s no exception to this p r i n c i p l e of d i a l e c t i c s .  The development of the term can be traced  from i t s origins i n Hegel's system of philosophy, through a decisive r e formulation by Feuerbach to i t s unique positioning within Marxian s o c i a l theory.  Of course, much that was i n t e g r a l to the concept at i t s i d e a l i s t  formulation has been reworked and modified.  Yet i t would be naive to  expect to grasp the essence of Marx's use of a l i e n a t i o n without  having  f i r s t explored the term's Hegelian heritage. It was Hegel's unique task to correct the philosophical dichotomy between subject and object which finds i t s most complete expression i n the work of Kant.  This d i s t i n c t i o n i s outlined by Kant as involving  things as they appear to us and things i n themselves. 6  I t i s his belief  7  that thought always perverts r e a l i t y by imposing categories upon the perceived objects (Lichtheim, 1971:60). construes that which i t i s attempting  Knowledge i s a tool which mis-  to know.  Consequently, Kant denies  the p o s s i b i l i t y that humans can a t t a i n absolute knowledge. that we can hope to gain i s some understanding  The most  of the nature of the t o o l  of knowledge and the i n e v i t a b l e d i s t o r t i o n s which i t i n f l i c t s objects of experience  upon the  (Solomon, 1972:50).  Hegel chooses to reject this conventional d i s t i n c t i o n ,  adopting  a course which emphasizes neither the knowing subject nor the natural world.  Instead, Hegel claims that the f a c u l t y of knowing and the object  of knowledge are e s s e n t i a l l y one. This i s not meant to imply that knowledge and i t s object cannot be distinguished from each other, but that both are "inseparable aspects of a single experience" 138).  (Plamenatz, 1963:  Moreover, i n sharp contrast to Kant who believes that knowledge  i s a passive structure which i s capable of being accurately examined, Hegel maintains  that knowledge i s i n fact a c t i v e .  Any i n v e s t i g a t i o n of  knowledge w i l l change knowledge; the c r i t i q u e of knowledge i s at the same time the modification of knowledge (Solomon, 1972:51). The c r u c i a l element i n Hegelian philosophy i s Spirit^  a concept  at once so equivocal as to prove to be almost indefinable. Hegel judges r e a l i t y to be the manifestation of Spirit is itself  the development of Spirit.  and the development of r e a l i t y  In general terms, S p i r i t i s judged  to be the active i d e n t i t y or point of fusion of consciousness and reality. son.  Hegel considers the dynamic facet of this i d e n t i t y to be rea-  He perceives reason to be the certainty of consciousness  as i t  8 reveals i t s e l f i n r e a l i t y .  The r e a l i s a t i o n of reason i s manifested i n  such creations as r e l i g i o n , art and philosophy and i n such i n s t i t u t i o n s as law and the state.  In essence, S p i r i t i s "the a c t i v i t y of reason  a c t u a l i s i n g i t s e l f within r e a l i t y and creating i t " (Rotenstreich,  1965:  32) . Hegel claims that Spirit  produces the s o c i a l and natural world  and comes to recognise i t s own nature by r e f l e c t i n g on the product of i t s labours.  That i s , Spirit  expresses i t s e l f by creating the world and  attains f u l l knowledge of i t s e l f as i t i d e n t i f i e s the world as i t s own creation. production.  However, S p i r i t i s not immediately aware of this act of s e l f S p i r i t constructs the world but i n i t i a l l y f a i l s to recognise  the world as being an outcome of i t s creative powers.  Nevertheless, i t  i s eventually revealed that this apparently independent realm i s nothing other than a manifestation of Spirit  itself.  At this juncture, S p i r i t  "recognizes that the world i s r a t i o n a l (or i n t e l l i g i b l e ) because i t i s the product of reason; i t recognizes i t s e l f i n the world (as Hegel puts i t ) and so i s at home i n the world and i s s a t i s f i e d " (Plamenatz,  1963:  151) . But how does S p i r i t gain this self-awareness?  Hegel maintains  that i t i s only through the medium of f i n i t e minds that S p i r i t can achieve knowledge i t s e l f .  Yet he hastens to add that S p i r i t i s greater  than any of the i n d i v i d u a l consciousnesses through which i t arrives at this state of s e l f - r e c o g n i t i o n .  Spirit^  rather than the human i n d i v i d u a l ,  i s considered to be the ultimate subject of history f o r Hegelian idealism regards human beings to be merely agents which have been activated by S p i r i t (Rotenstreich, 1965:32).  9 Nevertheless, the i n t e g r i t y of the human community i s an important requisite for Spirit's  s e l f - r e a l i s a t i o n . Hegel contends that each  person i s a manifestation of S p i r i t and that an essential quality of S p i r i t i s universality.  Only through the unity of the i n d i v i d u a l with  the s o c i a l substance can u n i v e r s a l i t y at the interpersonal tained.  l e v e l be main-  In Hegel's estimation, the p r i n c i p l e of human unity i s of  utmost importance and he considers this s o l i d a r i t y or u n i v e r s a l i t y worthy of a l l the s a c r i f i c e s demanded for i t s attainment (Schacht, 1970:89) . It i s at this point that we encounter Hegel's u s e — o r , more c o r r e c t l y , u s e s — o f the concept of a l i e n a t i o n .  Hegel i s of the opinion  that one must be able to recognise oneself as a separate i n d i v i d u a l before i t w i l l be possible universality. of Spirit,  to r e a l i s e oneself i n unity with others, i n  This process i s considered to be one of self-enrichment  with alienation representing but a t r a n s i t i o n a l moment on the  road to the attainment of self-knowledge. According to Hegel, the r e l a t i o n of many people to the s o c i a l substance i s one of complete unity.  Schacht (1970:46) interprets  this  to mean that certain individuals are unaware of themselves except i n terms of p a r t i c u l a r s o c i a l r o l e s .  That i s , these persons hold an imme-  diate or unreflective i d e n t i f i c a t i o n with the s o c i a l groups and categories i n which they f i n d themselves.  Moreover, the recognition of  oneself as a p a r t i c u l a r i n d i v i d u a l does not inevitably emerge i n the course of one's l i f e .  A self-conception  d i s t i n c t from that of the  s o c i a l substance ( i . e . , c u l t u r a l i n s t i t u t i o n s ) i s a phenomenon which has  10 appeared r e l a t i v e l y recently and can by no means by considered to be u n i v e r s a l even today.  Nonetheless, i t i s frequently the case that c o n f l i c t s  do force the individual's  consciousness back upon i t s e l f .  The person no  longer i d e n t i f i e s with the s o c i a l substance, but rather comes to l i m i t s e l f - i d e n t i f i c a t i o n to one's own person.  Hegel considers this to be a  desirable step for he feels that the emergence of a sense of d i s t i n c t i n d i v i d u a l i t y i s a necessary prerequisite to the r e a l i s a t i o n of essential nature.  Consciousness must f i r s t extricate  itself  Spirit's  from i t s  immediate merging with the s o c i a l substance i n order to gain s u f f i c i e n t perspective to enable i t to "grasp the content of experience i n i t s truth and a c t u a l i t y "  (Solomon, 1972:48). -With the rupture of this  i n i t i a l unity, the i n d i v i d u a l comes to perceive the s o c i a l substance as being external and "other." A person i n this situation i s characterised by Hegel as being  self-alienated.  It i s important to note that Hegel considers the s o c i a l substance to be not merely the creation of S p i r i t but i t s o b j e c t i f i c a t i o n as w e l l . The s o c i a l substance i s S p i r i t but i n o b j e c t i f i e d form.  Therefore, an  i n d i v i d u a l who i s alienated from the s o c i a l substance i s i n fact a l i e n ated from o b j e c t i f i e d Spirit.  "In other words, one f a i l s to see that  the s o c i a l substance which seems a l i e n to one i s not r e a l l y so, but rather i s one's own creation and o b j e c t i f i c a t i o n " (Solomon, 1972:54). This i s the f i r s t way i n which Hegel employs the term a l i e n a t i o n .  It re-  fers to a perceived r i f t between the individual and the s o c i a l substance, so that s e l f - i d e n t i t y i s confined to that of the particular person. S o l i d a r i t y with other persons i s abandoned and Spirit state of s e l f - a l i e n a t i o n .  finds i t s e l f  in a  11 This d i s l o c a t i o n of the i n d i v i d u a l and the s o c i a l substance i s only remedied through a further a l t e r a t i o n i n the individual's consciousness.  The p a r t i c u l a r i d e n t i t y — " w i l l f u l s e l f - a s s e r t i o n , " Hegel terms i t  —must give way to an affirmation of unity.  The person for whom the  s o c i a l substance i s now seen to be a l i e n must renounce the p a r t i c u l a r s e l f i n favour of a r e c o n c i l i a t i o n with the s o c i a l substance 1972:54).  (Solomon,  In t h i s second usage, a l i e n a t i o n of the p a r t i c u l a r s e l f corres-  ponds to the negation of the negation.  The p a r t i c u l a r s e l f estranged  from the u n i v e r s a l i t y transcends t h i s alienated state to unite with the s o c i a l substance once more.  P a r t i c u l a r i t y and w i l l f u l n e s s are surrendered  i n this b i d f o r the re-attainment of unity  (Solomon, 1972:44).  The relations between these two senses of a l i e n a t i o n and the notion of o b j e c t i f i c a t i o n are seldom c l e a r l y understood.  Schacht  (1970:  63) attributes much of the blame for misrepresentation to those people who have based t h e i r interpretation of Hegel's usage on Marx's early works.  Marx gives the impression that Hegel f a i l s  instances of a l i e n a t i o n and o b j e c t i f i c a t i o n .  to distinguish between  Following Marx's lead,  numerous theorists have perpetuated t h i s d i s t o r t i o n of Hegel's work. Hegel views the creation of the s o c i a l substance as being an " o b j e c t i f i c a t i o n " of Spirit.  This process brings into existence such  s p i r i t u a l formations as law, the state, art and r e l i g i o n . t i f i c a t i o n does not necessarily of estrangement  However, objec-  imply alienation; the individual's sense  i s not inherent i n each externalisation of Spirit.  Hegel  indicates that during a stage which he terms the " e t h i c a l world," the person remains i n a relationship of unity with the existing s o c i a l  12 substance.  O b j e c t i f i c a t i o n s only take on the appearance of a l i e n e n t i -  t i e s when the i n d i v i d u a l undergoes a s p e c i f i c s h i f t i n consciousness. Thus, Hegel does d i f f e r e n t i a t e between o b j e c t i f i c a t i o n and the a l i e n a t i o n of the substance, although the l a t t e r necessarily presupposes the former. Although highly schematic, this account provides a description of the  e s s e n t i a l elements contained i n Hegel's notion of a l i e n a t i o n .  It i s  a concept which Feuerbach i s to f i n d especially useful i n h i s own attempts to  d i s c r e d i t the Hegelian construct of Spirit.  Marx i n turn w i l l use  much that i s embodied i n the o r i g i n a l i d e a l i s t formulation of a l i e n a t i o n as w e l l as b u i l d upon Feuerbach's modifications and refinements of the term. Feuerbach "Compared with Hegel, Feuerbach has l i t t l e to o f f e r , " Marx commented i n 1865, "yet he marked an epoch" (Lefebvre, 1970:66).  Indeed,  there can be no denying the awesome achievement of Hegel's conflation of h i s t o r y and philosophy. Philosophers who followed i n the German i d e a l i s t t r a d i t i o n s were hard pressed to make any inroads into that imposing structure; i n f a c t , Marx was of the opinion that of a l l the Young Hegelians, only Feuerbach was to produce anything of consequence. Throughout h i s l i f e , Marx returned p e r i o d i c a l l y to Hegel's work, each time renewing h i s appreciation of the richness and c l a r i t y of Hegel's d i a l e c t i c a l method. be f a r less f e r t i l e .  Feuerbach's writings, on the other hand, proved to Clearly they marked a decisive advancement on  13 Hegelian idealism; yet i t was apparent  that the depth and incisiveness  which characterised Hegel's scheme were sadly lacking i n Feuerbach's contributions.  Nevertheless, Feuerbach's accomplishment was nothing less  than the positioning of the corner-stone on which Marx was to construct his m a t e r i a l i s t c r i t i q u e of Hegeliam metaphysics. In The Essence Religion,  of Christianity  and Lectures  on the Essence of  Feuerbach's main concern i s to i l l u s t r a t e how the notion of  God i s simply the misapplication of the conception of the e s s e n t i a l nature of human beings (Schacht, 1970:75-76).  He perceives r e l i g i o n to  be the outcome of the projection of human q u a l i t i e s onto a transparent e n t i t y , namely, the image of God. Feuerbach recognizes that the theologians of the day unconsciously a t t r i b u t e to God p r e c i s e l y those human attributes which are d e f i c i e n t i n the contemporary i n d i v i d u a l : My doctrine i n b e l i e f i s as follows: Theology i s anthropology, i . e . , that which reveals i t s e l f i n the object of r e l i g i o n . . . i s nothing other than the essence of man. In other words, the God of man i s nothing other than the divinized essence of man. (Schacht, 1970:76) Feuerbach considers r e l i g i o n and Hegelian philosophy to be subj e c t to the same general c r i t i c i s m s .  Hegel himself regards philosophy to  be merely a refinement of truths which r e l i g i o n f a i l s to rigorously express.  Feuerbach's achievement l i e s i n recognizing that Hegelian p h i l o -  sophy i s primarily a refined version of r e l i g i o n and consequently, i s subject to many of the shortcomings  inherent i n r e l i g i o n i t s e l f .  He sees  Hegel's attempt to lend credence to r e l i g i o n by buttressing i t with h i s philosophy as the c u l t i v a t i o n of a fundamentally (Schacht, 1970:77).  impoverished  position  14 For Feuerbach, humans have created God i n their own essential image.  This image does not coincide with the individual's  actual nature  but rather, represents an idealised conception of the human essence. Theologians present the d i s p a r i t y between the two natures as being the difference  between the i n d i v i d u a l and God, the d i v i s i o n being respected  as a "natural" one. In other words, God i s endowed with inaccessible  to human beings.  characteristics  Yet Feuerbach contends that by renouncing  these attributes we are i n fact denying our own essential nature.  In  r e l i g i o n , we posit an abstract entity i n opposition to ourselves and i n the process we become estranged from our i d e a l essence (Schacht, 1970:76). In Feuerbach's estimation, the e f f o r t s of Hegel's speculative philosophy to l i b e r a t e human beings from t h i s alienating have been e n t i r e l y unsuccessful.  formulation  Religion has elevated the individual's  essential nature to the status of a deity.  Any form of r e c o n c i l i a t i o n  with t h i s i d e a l essence i s doomed to f a i l u r e for r e l i g i o n considers God to be q u a l i t a t i v e l y d i s t i n c t from human beings.  Furthermore, Feuerbach  maintains that Hegel conceptually wrenches the i n d i v i d u a l from nature i n order to e f f e c t a future reunion of that which was i n i t i a l l y a u n i f i e d whole.  Hegel argues that S p i r i t i s ultimately  actualised  i n the human  i n d i v i d u a l , yet his method demands that, at some point, a d i s t i n c t i o n be made between Spirit  and the phenomenal subject.  In contrast, Feuerbach  holds that the i n d i v i d u a l i s a part of nature; thus, he sees Hegel's r e c o n c i l i a t i o n as a f a l s e union of that which i s e s s e n t i a l l y one. Feuerbach begins with the concrete i n d i v i d u a l as the subject, concluding that Spirit  i s merely a projection  of human consciousness.  Where Hegel  15 depicted thought to be the subject and existence to be the predicate, Feuerbach effects an inversion by asserting the primacy of the existing concrete subject over that of thought.  Thus, Hegel's mystifying idealism  gives way to a m a t e r i a l i s t i c philosophy.  The human i n d i v i d u a l i s r e -  leased from a p o s i t i o n of subservience to abstract thought and i s established as the true starting-point for philosophy (Avineri, 1969:11). At an e a r l i e r juncture, we noted that Hegel considered a l i e n a t i o n to be a necessary moment i n Spirit's  progression to self-consciousness.  Alienation i s instrumental to the enrichment of Spirit i s assigned a p o s i t i v e value i n Hegel's system.  and consequently,  Despite h i s generally  c r i t i c a l stance, Feuerbach does not deny the worth of a l i e n a t i o n . his  It i s  contention that self-estrangement can be of some benefit to the i n d i -  vidual.  The r e a l i s a t i o n that God i s but a projection of human q u a l i t i e s  can serve to educate the i n d i v i d u a l as to the nature of human essence. Yet Feuerbach predicts that ultimately a f u l l y developed  anthropology  would eliminate the need for the continued existence of r e l i g i o n .  Once  human beings have elaborated a mature human philosophy, one which r e places alienated consciousness with a "self-knowing immanence," r e l i g i o n w i l l be rendered obsolete (Rotenstreich, 1965:156-157). Thus, Feuerbach's contribution l i e s i n h i s awareness that the i n d i v i d u a l must be emancipated from the mystifications of Hegelian p h i l o sophy.  Unfortunately, while h i s proposed solution does correct many of  Hegel's d i s t o r t i o n s , i t f a i l s i n i t s own right to ground metaphysics i n concrete r e a l i t y .  "Anthropology"  replaces philosophy.  Yet i t i s an  a h i s t o r i c a l anthropology, one which f a l l s short of f u l l y grasping the  16 l i v e d experience of human i n d i v i d u a l s , situated as they are within a particular social setting. Marx Marx adopts Feuerbach's transformative method (subject-predicate inversion) but h i s results are q u a l i t a t i v e l y d i s t i n c t from those of the Young Hegelian.  Plekhanov  (Mandel, 1971:154) observes that i f "Marx  began to elaborate h i s m a t e r i a l i s t explanation of history by c r i t i c i z i n g Hegel's philosophy of r i g h t , he could do so only because Feuerbach had completed h i s c r i t i c i s m of Hegel's speculative philosophy."  Certainly  Marx's debt to Feuerbach i s unquestionable, but whereas Feuerbach's studies lead him into the realm of anthropology, Marx directs h i s attention to that of p o l i t i c a l economy.  In both instances, the transformative  method employed i s e s s e n t i a l l y the same, yet the outcomes are d r a s t i c a l l y different. Marx's Contribution Right  to the Critique  of Hegel's  Philosophy  of  begins not with the dismantling of the Hegelian system i t s e l f but  with a c r i t i c i s m of Hegel's p o l i t i c a l philosophy.  The s o c i a l implications  of this idealism are examined and only then i s the philosophical system as a whole subjected to scrutiny (Avineri, 1969:13).  Marx's assault on  Hegel's g l o r i f i c a t i o n of the existing Prussian state shows h i s preoccupation with the secular manifestations of a l i e n a t i o n .  This concern  stands i n conspicuous opposition to that of h i s contemporaries, who res t r i c t e d t h e i r c r i t i c i s m to matters of r e l i g i o n (Meszaros, 1970:73).  17 Religion i s only the i l l u s o r y sun about which man revolves so long as he does not revolve about himself. I t i s the task of history therefore, once the other-world of truth has vanished, to e s t a b l i s h the truth of this world. The immediate task of philosophy, which i s i n the service of history, i s to unmask human s e l f - a l i e n a t i o n i n i t s secular form. Thus the c r i t i c i s m of heaven i s transformed into the c r i t i c i s m of earth, the criticism of r e l i g i o n into the criticism of law and the criticism of theology into the criticism of p o l i t i c s . (Marx, 1964:44) 3  3  In contemporary society, Marx argues, a d e f i n i t e schism exists between the p o l i t i c a l state and c i v i l society. i n the Philosophy  of Right  I t was  Hegel's intention  to mediate between these two extremes, thereby  resolving the tensions generated by the presence of t h i s gap. tends that t h i s project i s i l l - c o n c e i v e d . mediation of the two  In h i s view, the  Marx consuccessful  extremes i s an i m p o s s i b i l i t y ; only with the a b o l i -  t i o n of the state as a separate realm can the stress be e f f e c t i v e l y relieved. Marx perceives  the growing separation  of c i v i l society and  the  state to be an h i s t o r i c a l occurrence, a fact which Hegel has f a i l e d to f u l l y appreciate.  Hegel i s oblivious to the fact that the  society of the Middle Ages was  no longer a p o s s i b i l i t y .  integrated  The emergence  of f r e e l y exchangeable property and the r i s e of free trade s i g n a l l e d the end of this state of s o c i a l unity.  C i v i l society became free from a l l  p o l i t i c a l constraints; economic enterprise operated independent of consideration  of the common good.  Consequently, Marx observes that  private status of the i n d i v i d u a l was t i o n to the p o l i t i c a l sphere.  the  found to be i n diametrical opposi-  The state assumed the appearance of the  "heaven of man's u n i v e r s a l i t y i n contrast to his mundane a c t u a l i t y " (Howard, 1972:62-63).  any  18 Marx believes that the removal of the state as an entity i n opposition to c i v i l society can only be achieved through the e s t a b l i s h ment of democracy.  In such a society, every i n d i v i d u a l i s both a private  person and a c i t i z e n .  The disappearance of the external p o l i t i c a l state  f a c i l i t a t e s the emergence of the t r u l y "universal" i n d i v i d u a l . for  The need  a r t i f i c i a l mediations i s eliminated as the actual, empirical person  constitutes the resolution of the h i s t o r i c a l contradiction between c i v i l society and the p o l i t i c a l domain (Howard, 1972:67). "On the Jewish Question," an essay written concurrently with the Critique,  again poses the c r i t i c i s m that bourgeois society separates the  i n d i v i d u a l from the community, each person maintaining d i s t i n c t i d e n t i t i e s as public c i t i z e n and private i n d i v i d u a l .  Marx claims that the  issue of Judaism can best be understood as being yet another facet of the r e l a t i o n between c i v i l society and the state.  Marx sees the r e l i g i o u s  i n d i v i d u a l as nothing other than an actual person within c i v i l society. Just as we have seen that the s o c i a l emancipation of the i n d i v i d u a l i s forthcoming with the a b o l i t i o n of the external p o l i t i c a l sphere, so the s o c i a l emancipation of the Jew i s contingent upon the freeing of society from Judaism. Marx's contemporaries concern themselves with the demand that the issue of r e l i g i o n be removed from the realm of p o l i t i c s , arguing that each person should have the f i n a l decision i n r e l i g i o u s matters. Marx (Meszaros, 1970:126) recognises the v a l i d i t y of treating r e l i g i o n as a secular question, yet he refuses to concede that the p o l i t i c a l emancipation of r e l i g i o n i s the f i n a l step to human emancipation.  Religion i s  19 seen to be a product of an alienated mentality.  Only the  transformation  of c i v i l society can bring into existence s o c i a l conditions which w i l l promote human confirmation rather than human estrangement.  What i s the secular basis of Judaism? P r a c t i c a l need, s e l f - i n t e r e s t . What i s the worldly cult of the Jew? Bargaining. What i s his worldly god? Money. Very w e l l ! Emancipation from bargaining and money, and thus from p r a c t i c a l and r e a l Judaism would be the s e l f emancipation of our era. (Meszaros, 1970:126) The human l i b e r a t i o n of the Jewish i n d i v i d u a l i s not a consequence of the removal of the r e l i g i o u s question from the p o l i t i c a l arena, but rather i s dependent upon the elimination of those s o c i a l conditions which encourage r e l i g i o u s consciousness  to f l o u r i s h i n the f i r s t  place.  Marx extends this argument to embrace v i r t u a l l y a l l aspects of bourgeois society.  The common denominator of a l i e n a t i o n reveals i t s e l f not only  in considerations of r e l i g i o n and the state but also with reference to economic and family r e l a t i o n s (Meszaros, 1970:73). It i s p r e c i s e l y i n the area of economics that Marx uncovers the key to the whole question of a l i e n a t i o n . Manuscripts  In The Economic  and  Philosophical  of 1844, he determines that a l l forms of a l i e n a t i o n — b e they  r e l i g i o u s , p o l i t i c a l , moral, a r t i s t i c — t r a c e their ultimate origins to the phenomenon of alienated labour.  That i s , a l i e n a t i o n of the i n d i -  vidual's productive a c t i v i t y i s the root cause of a l l human a l i e n a t i o n . Successive encounters with Hegelian philosophy and Feuerbachian anthropology have involved Marx i n the investigation of the r e l a t i o n between the i n d i v i d u a l and abstract speculation, r e l i g i o n , c i v i l society and state.  The Manuscripts  of 1844, mark his f i r s t sustained m a t e r i a l i s t  the  20  c r i t i c i s m s of p o l i t i c a l economy i n general and private property i n particular.  As Marx (Meszaros, 1970:126) makes apparent, the notion of  a l i e n a t i o n , or estrangement, i s to occupy a central position i n this c r i t i q u e : "The p o s i t i v e transcendence of private property as the approp r i a t i o n of human l i f e , i s therefore, the positive transcendence of a l l estrangement—that  i s to say, the return of man from r e l i g i o n , family,  state, etc., to h i s human, i . e . , s o c i a l mode of existence. Religious estrangement as such occurs only i n the realm of consciousness, of man's inner l i f e , but economic estrangement i s that of r e a l l i f e ; i t s transcendence therefore embraces both aspects." Marx's concept of a l i e n a t i o n was influenced by both Hegelian idealism and Feuerbachian materialism. Manuscripts his  However, i t was not u n t i l The  of 1844 that Marx presents a f a i r l y systematic account of  differences with the Hegelian scheme.  method emerges with these manuscripts.  Marx's d i s t i n c t i v e m a t e r i a l i s t  As Marx points out, Hegelians  consider human estrangement from the s o c i a l substance to occur i n the realm of thought.  Thus, "the whole history of the a l i e n a t i o n process and  and the whole process  of the r e t r a c t i o n of the a l i e n a t i o n i s therefore  nothing but the history of the production of abstract ( i . e . , absolute) thought—of l o g i c a l speculative thought" (Marx, 1971:175). In Hegel's estimation, a l i e n a t i o n i s an a l t e r a t i o n i n consciousness as the i n d i v i d u a l confronts the phenomenal world.  This i s a t r a n s i -  tory experience i n which the person comes to regard the objective realm as being external or estranged.  Hegel contends that consciousness  surpasses t h i s moment of a l i e n a t i o n by recognising that what i s perceived  21 to be an external object i s nothing other than a projection of consciousness i t s e l f .  In other words, consciousness i s e s s e n t i a l l y  "self-  consciousness," for the entity which appears to be a negation of consciousness i s simply consciousness i n a r e i f i e d or o b j e c t i f i e d form  (Avineri,  1969:97). Hegel's mental contortions may be i n t r i g u i n g yet they are valueless to any programme which intends to bring about a change i n the material world.  For example, h i s phenomenology may  accurately describe  the r e l a t i o n between Master and Slave, but when a l l i s said nothing w i l l have been done to a l t e r the s i t u a t i o n .  Slavery w i l l continue to exist;  the s o c i a l substance which provides the basis for alienated forms of consciousness w i l l remain unaltered.  In addition, Hegel's documentation  of the "unhappy consciousness" may be eloquent, but i t offers no solution. Its a r t i c u l a t i o n effects no remedy.  Social contradictions are reduced  to "thought-entities" and the transcendence of these abstract conceptions contributes nothing whatsoever to the a l l e v i a t i o n of a l i e n a t i o n i n capit a l i s t society (Meszaros, 1970:62). Therefore, i t i s hardly surprising that Marx's c r i t i q u e of Hegel's philosophy begins not with an examination of the "concept" of alienation but with an eye to the actual circumstances under which production i s carried on.  He observes that under capitalism the worker's  degradation appears to i n t e n s i f y with every increase i n the rate of production of commodities.  His conclusion i s hardly a philosophical  one, confined to the plane of ideas and t h e o r e t i c a l formulations. the contrary, Marx declares that: "In order to abolish the idea  of  On  22  private property, the idea takes actual  of communism i s completely s u f f i c i e n t .  communist action to abolish actual  It  private property" (Mandel,  1971:158). Marx's c a l l f o r revolutionary action  stands i n marked contrast  to Hegel's p o l i t i c a l conservatism. Hegel's reactionary tendencies do not generally stem from h i s response to existing s o c i a l conditions.  In  f a c t , h i s assessment of contemporary events frequently proves to be very progressive.  Hegel's conservatism results from h i s epistemology which  tends to confirm rather than c r i t i c i s e existing s o c i a l conditions.  Marx  contends that Hegel r e s t r i c t s the a b o l i t i o n of alienation to the realm of consciousness, thereby supporting the view that the actual elimination of a l i e n a t i o n i s an i m p o s s i b i l i t y . finds i t s e l f ill-equipped to change.  Idealism affirms a r e a l i t y which i t S p i r i t u a l emancipation thereby  validates material oppression by omission (Avineri, 1969:99). Nevertheless, Hegel makes an important discovery with h i s recogn i t i o n of the universal significance of human a c t i v i t y , even i f he does p e r s i s t i n regarding this a c t i v i t y to be an abstract one, Marx i s apprec i a t i v e of Hegel's contribution, yet he does not hesitate to point out the shortcomings of Hegel's perspective.  Labour i s seen to be human  essence i n the process of s e l f - c o n s t i t u t i o n , but i n Hegel's system s e l f creation i s perceived to occur only i n terms of mental labour. Marx strongly opposes such a lop-sided conception of productive a c t i v i t y .  In  addition, Marx claims that Hegel neglects the negative aspects of mental labour which are forthcoming i n contemporary society.  When human  a c t i v i t y i s o r d i n a r i l y viewed i n terms of abstract thought and when such  23 labour i s carried on i n bourgeois society, the outcome can only be the perpetuation of alienating s o c i a l conditions (Meszaros, 1970:88). Despite h i s obvious t h e o r e t i c a l d e f i c i e n c i e s , Hegel i s not e n t i r e l y oblivious to the importance of material production for human self-creation. personality.  Hegel considers property to be the embodiment of human Consequently, acts of production are judged to be c r u c i a l  for the development of each i n d i v i d u a l .  According to Hegel, the posses-  sion of property provides the person with an objective expression of human freedom and i t i s only with the existence of freedom that the i n d i vidual's personality can be actualised. Moreover, the actual formation of a p a r t i c u l a r object i s a process wherein the i n d i v i d u a l gives expression to personal w i l l .  The finished product i s judged to be a r e f l e c t i o n  of the w i l l , of the personality. Thus, there exists for Hegel an essent i a l connection between the production of objects and the r e a l i s a t i o n of personality (Schacht, 1970:83-84).  Hegel approaches the Master-Slave  relationship with this recognition i n mind.  He characterises masters or  lords as persons who l i v e off the productive a c t i v i t y of others.  As  masters do not a c t i v e l y engage i n production, they deprive themselves of the means for s e l f - r e a l i s a t i o n .  Productive labour ensures that the  i n d i v i d u a l becomes self-consciously aware.  Hegel argues that at least  i n this respect, the slave occupies a more desirable position than that of the master. Marx was well acquainted with Hegel's examination and personality i n The Philosophy the Master-Slave  of Right  of property  and with h i s presentation of  relationship i n the Phenomenology  of Spirit.  In many  24 respects, Marx's treatment of the relationship between property, product i o n and human s e l f - r e a l i s a t i o n i s strongly reminiscent of Hegel's formulation.  For example, Marx does not seem to take exception to Hegel's  b e l i e f that private property i s v i t a l to the a c t u a l i s a t i o n of the i n d i vidual's personality. The p r i n c i p a l difference occurs with Marx's assertion that the present circumstances surrounding production and private property m i l i t a t e against the emergence of t r u e — i . e . , alienated—self-realisation.  non-  Hegel appreciates the e s s e n t i a l connection  between s e l f - c r e a t i o n and private property, yet he f a i l s to r e a l i s e that conditions of c a p i t a l i s t society corrupt this r e l a t i o n .  Marx maintains  that c a p i t a l i s t conditions are such that workers cannot r e a l i s e their unique personalities through their productive a c t i v i t y (Schacht,  1970:  84-86). However, i t i s not the case that Hegel i s completely oblivious to the s o c i a l contradictions generated by c a p i t a l i s t society. Aesthetics,  In h i s  he provides an i n t e r e s t i n g — a l b e i t convoluted—description of  the relationship between poverty and wealth and the alienation that results from this arrangement: Here there appear within this i n d u s t r i a l formation and the r e c i p r o c a l employment of other formations together with their repressions, partly the severest f e r o c i t y of poverty and p a r t l y , i f misery i s to be held at bay, of the individuals who have to seem r i c h , so as to be freed from work to meet t h e i r needs and to be able to devote themselves to higher i n t e r e s t s . In this abundance the constant r e f l e c tion of a ceaseless dependence has been eliminated, and man i s a l l the more remote from the r i s k s of earning h i s l i v i n g because he i s no longer integrated into the m i l i e u closest to himself, which no longer appears to him as h i s own work. A l l that surrounds him i s no longer h i s own creation but i s . . . produced . . . by others than himself. (Mandel, 1971:156)  25  This statement provides a good example of Hegel's consummate s k i l l for mystifying s o c i a l r e a l i t y .  Hegel i s aware of the existence of  a l i e n a t i o n , yet he i s unable to recognise i t s cause.  Certainly the  r i c h i n d i v i d u a l suffers from no longer producing objects which r e f l e c t his personality. However, Hegel refuses to recognise that i n the very contradictions between r i c h and poor l i e the potential solution to the problem of human a l i e n a t i o n .  Once productive forces have developed  to a  certain l e v e l , the wholesale transformation of the s o c i a l system w i l l be possible.  The s o c i a l conditions producing human alienation w i l l be e l i m i -  nated with the removal of the fundamental contradiction between the poor and the wealthy (Mandel, 1 9 7 1 : 1 5 6 - 1 5 7 ) . The ultimate source of Hegel's short-sightedness i s h i s commitment to the position that the e s s e n t i a l nature of human a c t i v i t y i s not material production but mental labour.  To be sure, Hegel acknowledges  the significance of the production of physical objects, but h i s philosop h i c a l system considers the a c t i v i t y of "thought-entities" to be i t s centre of reference.  In other words, abstract speculative thought con-  s t i t u t e s the "mediator between Subject and Object" (Meszaros, Marx i s highly c r i t i c a l of this position.  1970:87).  I t i s h i s contention that  productive a c t i v i t y i s not primarily a question of thought processes but refers instead to the active involvement physical world.  of the i n d i v i d u a l with the  In Marx's scheme, the object i s a concrete e n t i t y , not  simply a r e i f i e d form of consciousness.  Such creations as r e l i g i o n , a r t ,  science, law, etc., are not excluded from the Marxist notion of productive a c t i v i t y , yet i t i s the creation of material objects which i s deemed to  26 be the fundamental form of human production (Schacht, 1970:87). In The Manuscripts  of 1844, Marx chooses to use the conception  of productive a c t i v i t y to refer s p e c i f i c a l l y to c a p i t a l i s t forms of labour as w e l l as to the fundamental determination of humanity i n the ontol o g i c a l sense, i . e . , the self-mediation of the i n d i v i d u a l with nature. Marx i s aware of the fact that a l i e n a t i o n i s not a phenomenon unique to the c a p i t a l i s t mode of production. scripts  However, h i s discussion i n The Manu-  does tend to be r e s t r i c t e d to an examination of the occurrence  of a l i e n a t i o n i n c a p i t a l i s t society. transcendence  According to Marx, the positive  of alienation necessitates the removal of such second-  order mediations as private property, exchange and the d i v i s i o n of labour (Meszaros, 1970:78-79).  As long as the individual's a c t i v i t y i s d i s -  torted due to the presence of these p a r t i c u l a r mediations, the r e a l i s a tion of the human p o t e n t i a l i s thwarted.  Thus, Marx i s concerned with  erradication of the h i s t o r i c a l l y s p e c i f i c mediations of private property, exchange and the d i v i s i o n of labour.  Productive a c t i v i t y s p e c i f i c to  c a p i t a l i s t s o c i a l formations results i n the alienation of the i n d i v i d u a l for undistorted self-mediation with nature i s an i m p o s s i b i l i t y i n this context.  Alienated consciousness i s simply a r e f l e c t i o n of the destruc-  t i v e nature of this productive a c t i v i t y (Meszaros, 1970:80-81). The Manuscripts  f a l l short of elaborating a comprehensive mater-  i a l i s t a l t e r n a t i v e , but they do contain ample evidence that Marx i s s t r i v i n g to abandon the philosophical b l i n k e r s that are the legacy of German idealism.  Marx has-obviously made a s i g n i f i c a n t advancement on  Hegel's conception of a l i e n a t i o n .  In place of abstract speculation,  27 Marx endeavours to lay down a c r i t i c a l analysis of a " p a r t i c u l a r ideology ( p o l i t i c a l economy) through r e a l s o c i a l contradictions observed empiric a l l y " (Mandel, 1971:174).  Nevertheless, i t cannot be said that Marx  has completely purged himself of the residue of the Hegelian system. While undeniably moving towards a rigorous s o c i a l and economic c r i t i q u e , Marx's thought s t i l l bears the imprint of h i s youthful contact with idealism.  The Manuscripts  therefore comprise a t r a n s i t i o n between the  Hegelian and Feuerbachian perspectives and the approach which Engels i s l a t e r to term h i s t o r i c a l materialism.  Hegel's d i a l e c t i c s , Feuerbach's  materialism and the s o c i a l facts of p o l i t i c a l economy are fused here i n a unique—albeit  incomplete—synthesis.  One important  consequence of this conflation i s the emergence of  what Mandel (197.1:165) judges to be two d i s t i n c t conceptions of a l i e n a tion.  He claims that both anthropological and h i s t o r i c a l versions appear  i n The Manuscripts,  a juxtaposition of ideas which he regards to be  logically irreconcilable.  The alleged presence of an anthropological  formulation of a l i e n a t i o n constitutes a throwback to Feuerbach.  The  i n d i v i d u a l i n Feuerbach's scheme i s viewed as being i n a state of eternal harmony with nature; human being and nature are locked i n a timeless relationship.  The r e l i g i o u s a l i e n a t i o n to which Feuerbach refers i s not  perceived to be the outcome of p a r t i c u l a r s o c i a l conditions. alienated consciousness  Rather,  i s merely considered to be an error i n judgement  on the part of the i n d i v i d u a l . In Feuerbach's estimation, a l i e n a t i o n has nothing to do with the s o c i a l s i t u a t i o n confronting the person, nor does i t refer to the s p e c i f i c  28  productive a c t i v i t i e s i n which the i n d i v i d u a l i s engaged. Feuerbach's anthropology  Moreover,  posits the existence of a human essence and i t  i s p r e c i s e l y this component, Mandel (1971:161-162) argues, which makes at least one appearance i n The Manuscripts.  He cites a p a r t i c u l a r  section i n which alienated labour i s contrasted to the a c t i v i t y of a generic human being.  Two  i n d i v i d u a l s — o n e alienated, the other idealized  — a r e placed side, Marx thus comparing mutilated humanity with species being.  In Mandel's opinion, Marx i s g u i l t y of f a i l i n g to ground this  analysis i n a s p e c i f i c h i s t o r i c a l context.  Mandel accuses Marx of  speaking i n terms of some immutable relationship between the i n d i v i d u a l and nature, thereby lapsing into an anthropological i n t e r p r e t a t i o n of the nature of human a l i e n a t i o n . Yet i s this a f a i r evaluation of Marx's position? actually give a n o n - h i s t o r i c a l account of alienated labour?  Does Marx Meszaros,  for example, i s at least as c r i t i c a l as Mandel of the shortcomings of an anthropological approach.  He considers any presentation of a l i e n a t i o n  which neglects the h i s t o r i c a l setting to be l i t t l e more than m y s t i f i cation.  However, Meszaros believes that i t i s p r e c i s e l y Marx's avoidance  of a l l i l l u s o r y formulations that accounts for h i s success i n c l a r i f y i n g social reality.  In contrast to h i s predecessors who  at some point  abandon the h i s t o r i c a l context for imaginary resolutions, Marx i s viewed as proposing a d i a l e c t i c a l theory which never betrays i t s h i s t o r i c a l underpinnings  of self-developing human a c t i v i t y (Meszaros, 1970:42).  Meszaros argues that Marx considers the i n d i v i d u a l to be an i n t e g r a l part of nature's t o t a l i t y .  This accounts for the self-mediation of  29 nature i n which human beings are conceived to be active elements i n the natural domain.  Nevertheless, i t i s true that Marx's depiction of this  relationship i s not always perfectly clear. encounter  For example, we occasionally  the notion of individuals creating themselves through  action with the natural domain. somehow d i s t i n c t from nature.  inter-  Here human beings are portrayed as being  For the most part, however, Marx takes  pains to emphasise humanity's position within the natural realm. With a conception of the i n d i v i d u a l as a self-mediating being of nature, each person i s thereby considered to be "inherently h i s t o r i c a l " for  history i s regarded by Marx to be an i m p l i c i t dimension of nature  (Meszaros, 1970:251).  In addition, i t could i n fact be argued that Marx  does have a precise time period i n mind.  The passage i n question i s a  d i r e c t attack on p o l i t i c a l economy's e f f o r t s to analyse contemporary society.  Marx takes h i s lead from the Outlines  of a Critique  of P o l i t i c a l  Economy i n which Engels portrays alienation as being the outcome of the present mode of production, an economic formation which perpetuates the existence of private property and the d i v i s i o n of labour (Meszaros, 1970: 77). Thus, Meszaros would appear to hold the upper hand i n this dispute.  The whole controversy might well be.ignored i f . i t were not for  the fact that i t serves to illuminate undeniable ambiguities contained within The Manuscripts.  Marx's theory i s s t i l l  i n i t s formative stages  and productive insights destined to have long careers are bound to crop up next to observations and formulations soon to be discarded and forgotten.  At t h i s point, Marx may have l i t t l e more than an i n k l i n g of the  30 actual contradictions inherent i n the existing mode of production, yet his i n t u i t i v e grasp of the necessity to c r i t i c i s e theories of p o l i t i c a l economy i s well founded.  Despite certain t h e o r e t i c a l inadequacies,  Marx i s able to provide a sound basis f o r many of h i s l a t e r formulations. With the possible exception of the aforementioned  passage, The  Manuscripts  i s consistent i n depicting human alienation as tracing i t s roots to s p e c i f i c h i s t o r i c a l conditions. In these early writings, Marx makes the observation that p o l i t i c a l economy chooses to accept private property as a given.  That i s , Marx  claims that most theorists merely generate descriptive laws on the basis of the present functioning of the economy.  In contrast, Marx demands  that private property be recognised as the contingency  that i t t r u l y i s .  In h i s estimation, the existence of private, property must be explained i n l i g h t of contemporary s o c i a l f a c t .  That fact i s the phenomenon of  alienated labour (Howard, 1972:152). Marx maintains that alienated labour i n c a p i t a l i s t society has four d i s t i n c t components.  In the f i r s t place, individuals are estranged  from the products of their labour and come to be dominated by them as well. The a l i e n a t i o n of the worker i n h i s product means not only that h i s labour becomes an object, assumes an. external existence, but that i t exists independently, outside himself, and a l i e n to, and that i t stands opposed to him as an autonomous power. (Marx, 1971:122-123)  The objects produced come to subjugate the workers i n the form of c a p i t a l . The more products created, the greater the degree of impoverishment of the i n d i v i d u a l .  31 The devaluation of the human world increases i n d i r e c t r e l a t i o n with the increase i n value of the world of things. Labour does not only create goods; i t also produces i t s e l f and the worker as a commodity, and indeed i n the same proportion as i t produces goods . . • the performance of the work i s at the same time i t s o b j e c t i f i c a t i o n . The performance of work appears i n the sphere of p o l i t i c a l economy as a v i t i a t i o n of the worker, o b j e c t i f i c a t i o n as a loss and as s e r v i tude to the object, and appropriation as alienation. (Marx, 1971: 121-122)  Under present circumstances, o b j e c t i f i c a t i o n inevitably results in alienation.  Rather than f a c i l i t a t i n g the s e l f - r e a l i s a t i o n of the i n d i -  vidual, the production of objects ensures human oppression. the elimination of c a p i t a l i s t i c mediations  Only with  can the i n d i v i d u a l come to  benefit from material production (Avineri, 1969:102). It follows l o g i c a l l y that workers who f i n d themselves i n an alienated relationship to the products of their labour must be alienated i n the act of production as w e l l .  Estrangement i n productive a c t i v i t y —  i n the process of c r e a t i o n — c o n s t i t u t e s a second facet of a l i e n a t i o n . The work i s external to the worker . . . i t i s not part of h i s nature; . . . Consequently, he does not f u l f i l l himself i n h i s work but denies himself, has a f e e l i n g of misery rather than well-being, does not develop f r e e l y h i s mental and physical energies but i s physically exhausted and mentally debased. (Marx, 1971:124) Workers no longer w i l l i n g l y engage i n work i n order to f u l f i l themselves as human beings.  Labour i s now seen to.be merely a means to  an end and not an end i n i t s e l f . His work i s not voluntary but imposed, forced labour. I t i s not the s a t i s f a c t i o n of a need, but only a means f o r s a t i s f y i n g other needs. Its a l i e n character i s c l e a r l y shown by the fact that as soon as there i s no physical or other compulsion i t i s avoided l i k e the plague. (Marx, 1971:125)  32 A consequence of these developments i s the generation of two further aspects of a l i e n a t i o n .  As work i s no longer a t r u l y creative  a c t i v i t y which serves to a c t u a l i s e the individual's humanity, productive labour now simply reduces the person to the status of an animal.  Conscious l i f e - a c t i v i t y distinguishes man from the l i f e a c t i v i t y of animals . . . i . e . , h i s own l i f e i s an object f o r him, because he i s a species-being. Only f o r this reason i s h i s a c t i v i t y free a c t i v i t y . Alienated labour reverses the relationship, i n that man because he i s a self-conscious being makes h i s l i f e - a c t i v i t y , h i s being, only a means f o r h i s existence. (Marx, 1971:127)  The i n d i v i d u a l ceases to be a free agent, one who consciously decides upon personal goals and courses of action.  As s u r v i v a l i s now the  sole consideration, nature i s perceived to be nothing more than the means for staying a l i v e . Thus alienated labour turns the species l i f e of man, and also nature as h i s mental species-property, into an a l i e n being and into a means for h i s i n d i v i d u a l existence. I t alienates from man h i s own body, external nature, h i s mental l i f e and h i s human l i f e . (Marx, 1971: 128-129) The f i n a l outcome i s the t o t a l destruction of the notion of species-being.  The i n d i v i d u a l i s now completely estranged from fellow  human beings. If the product of labour does not belong to the worker, but confronts him as an a l i e n power, this can only be because i t belongs to a man other than the worker . . . I f he i s related to the product of h i s labour, h i s o b j e c t i f i e d labour, as to an a l i e n , h o s t i l e and independent object, he i s related i n such a way that another a l i e n , h o s t i l e , powerful and independent man i s the lord of this object. I f he i s related to h i s own a c t i v i t y as to unfree a c t i v i t y , then he i s r e lated to i t as a c t i v i t y i n the service, and under the domination, coercion and yoke, of another man. (Marx, 1971:130)  33 In sum,  individuals i n c a p i t a l i s t society are victims of t h e i r  own productive a c t i v i t i e s .  Objects created by some are appropriated by  others; the c a p i t a l thus created oppresses it.  the very workers who  produce  The human i n d i v i d u a l originates and perpetuates the conditions of  human oppression.  These conditions are "none other than the c a p i t a l i s t  economic r e l a t i o n s : private property i s the r e s u l t of alienated labour" (Hernandez, 1972:101).  We have, of course, derived the concept of alienated labour (alienated l i f e ) from p o l i t i c a l economy, from an analysis of the movement of private property. But the analysis of this concept shows that a l though private property appears to be the basis and the cause of a l i e n ated labour, i t i s rather a consequence of the l a t t e r , just as the gods are fundamentally not the cause but the product of confusions of human reason. At a l a t e r stage, however, there i s a r e c i p r o c a l i n f l u ence. (Marx, 1971:131) Marx at no time provides an explanation of how of a l i e n a t i o n came into being.  the o r i g i n a l state  He chooses to emphasise the intimate con-  nection between private property and a l i e n a t i o n .  In Marx's l a t e r work  (1970:51-52) i t becomes evident that the f i r s t instance of private property i s located i n the family "where wife and children are the slaves of the husband."  Marx regards this form of property to be the outcome of  the d i v i s i o n of labour which originates i n the sexual act. The Holy Family,  published i n 1845,  concern with the concept of a l i e n a t i o n .  attests to Marx's continuing  The following remarks are espe-  c i a l l y interesting due to the s i m i l a r i t i e s with the previously c i t e d quotation from Hegel's  Aesthetics:  The propertied class and the class of the p r o l e t a r i a t present the same human s e l f - a l i e n a t i o n . But the former class finds i n this  34 s e l f - a l i e n a t i o n i t s confirmation and i t s good, i t s own power: i t has in i t a semblance of human existence. The class of the p r o l e t a r i a t f e e l s annihilated i n i t s s e l f - a l i e n a t i o n ; i t sees i n i t i t s powerlessness and the r e a l i t y of an inhuman existence. In the words of Hegel, the class of the p r o l e t a r i a t i s abased and indignant at that abasement, and indignation to which i t i s necessarily driven by the contradiction between i t s human nature and i t s condition of l i f e , which i s the outright, decisive and comprehensive negation of that nature. Within this antithesis the private owner i s therefore the conservative side, the p r o l e t a r i a n , the destructive side. From the former arises the action of preserving the antitheses, from the l a t t e r , that of a n n i h i l a t i n g i t . (Marx, 1956:51)  Marx's observation that the phenomenon of a l i e n a t i o n encompasses this propertied class as well as the working class i s a perceptive  one.  It shows the profound influence of Hegel's Master-Slave discussion on Marx's own  t h e o r e t i c a l formulations.  Nor does The Holy Family  neglect the r e l a t i o n s h i p between capi-  t a l i s t mediations and self-estrangement.  Marx includes a  i l l u s t r a t i o n of h i s appreciation of this connection. how  provocative  Indications as to  this dehumanising s i t u a t i o n must be transcended are i m p l i c i t i n his  comments: These massy communist workers, employed, for instance, i n the Manchester or Lyon workshops, do not believe that 'pure thinking' w i l l be able to argue away t h e i r i n d u s t r i a l masters and t h e i r own p r a c t i cal debasement. They are most p a i n f u l l y aware of the difference between being and thinking, between consciousness and life. They know that property, c a p i t a l , money, wage-labour and the l i k e are no i d e a l figments of the brain but very p r a c t i c a l , very objective sources of t h e i r s e l f - a l i e n a t i o n and that they must be abolished i n a p r a c t i c a l , objective way for man to become man not only i n thinking, i n consciousness, but i n massy being, i n l i f e . (Avineri, 1969: 142)  In The Holy Family,  Marx s t i l l entertains the naive view that the  r e a l i s a t i o n of a s o c i a l i s t society i s conceivable merely because the  35 majority of the workers are exploited and without property. the publication of The German Ideology  Not u n t i l  does Marx i d e n t i f y the s o c i a l and  p o l i t i c a l preconditions e s s e n t i a l for the attainment  of socialism. The  c a p i t a l i s t mode of production with i t s inner contradictions discloses a series of s p e c i f i c p o t e n t i a l i t i e s which previous oppressed classes are considered to have lacked (Mandel, 1972:10). The German Ideology  also includes the f i r s t comprehensive state-  ment of the absolute necessity to eliminate the d i v i s i o n of labour i n the future society.  Marx expresses  this basic p r i n c i p l e of socialism i n the  course of attacking Adam Smith's treatment of the d i v i s i o n of labour. Smith views the d i v i s i o n of labour as being a l o g i c a l d i s t r i b u t i o n of d i f f e r e n t tasks to people who are seen to be inherently d i f f e r e n t from each other.  Marx, on the other hand, maintains  that d i s s i m i l a r human  capacities are a c t u a l l y the consequence of the d i v i s i o n of labour.  The  perpetuation of the c a p i t a l i s t system w i l l only f a c i l i t a t e the continuation of this f a l s e b e l i e f that individuals "naturally" possess varying human p o t e n t i a l i t i e s .  In Marx's opinion (1970:53), the a b o l i t i o n of the  d i v i s i o n of labour would guarantee human emancipation from one-sided a c t i v i t y , thereby permitting each i n d i v i d u a l to develop f u l l y as a whole human being: As long as man remains i n natural society, that i s , as long as cleavage exists between the p a r t i c u l a r and the common i n t e r e s t , as long, therefore, as a c t i v i t y i s not v o l u n t a r i l y , but n a t u r a l l y divided, man's own deed becomes as a l i e n power opposed to him, which enslaves him instead of being controlled by him. For as soon as the d i s t r i bution of labour comes into being, each man has a p a r t i c u l a r , exclusive sphere of a c t i v i t y , which i s forced upon him and from which he cannot escape. He i s a hunter, a fisherman, a shepherd, of a  36  c r i t i c a l c r i t i c , and must remain so i f he does not want to lose h i s means of l i v e l i h o o d ; while i n communist society, where nobody has one exclusive sphere of a c t i v i t y but each can become accomplished i n any branch he wishes, society regulates the general production and thus makes i t possible for me to do one thing today and another tomorrow, to hunt i n the morning, to f i s h i n the afternoon, rear c a t t l e i n the evening, c r i t i c i s e after dinner, just as I have a mind, without ever becoming a hunter, fisherman, shepherd or c r i t i c . This f i x a t i o n of s o c i a l a c t i v i t y , this consolidation of what we ourselves produce into an objective power above us, growing out of our control, thwarting our expectations, bringing to naught our calculations, i s one of the chief factors i n the h i s t o r i c a l development up t i l l now.  By 1857 Marx's understanding  of p o l i t i c a l economy had deepened  to the extent that he was able to formulate a rigorous synthesis of the phenomenon of alienation.and the labour theory of value.  The  Grundrisse,  written at t h i s time, consists of notebooks to Marx's proposed s i x volume work, Economics, lished.  of which Capital  was  fated to be the only volume pub-  The w r i t i n g of these notebooks marks the emergence of Marx's  mature economic theory.  The Grundrisse  includes a number of s h i f t s i n  emphasis from Marx's e a r l i e r work: the analysis of exchange i s replaced by the examination  of production and Marx now holds the view that workers  s e l l their labour power rather than their labour.  These developments are  not i n s i g n i f i c a n t for their elaboration results i n the theory of surplus value.  According to Marx, the inception of the c a p i t a l i s t means of pro-  duction permits the c a p i t a l i s t class to exploit the use-value of the productive a c t i v i t y of the working class.  C a p i t a l i s t appropriation generates  values f a r i n excess of the exchange-value of this labour, a value which merely allowed for the bare survival of the working class (Walton, 1972:28).  The relationship i s f i r s t r e a l i s e d i n the act of production i t s e l f , i n which c a p i t a l actually consumes the a l i e n labour. Just as, for  37 c a p i t a l , labour i s exchanged as a predetermined exchange value against an equivalent i n money, so money i s exchanged against an equivalent i n commodities, which are consumed. In this process of exchange, labour i s not productive, i t becomes productive only f o r c a p i t a l ; i t can only take out of c i r c u l a t i o n what i t has already put i n ; that i s , a predetermined quantity of goods, which i s as l i t t l e i t s own as i t i s i t s own value . . . while the worker s e l l s h i s labour to the c a p i t a l i s t s , he retains a right only to the price If labour, not to the product of h i s labour, nor to the value that labour has added to the product. (Marx, 1970:81-82)  The appearance of surplus value and the a l i e n a t i o n of labour which i t implies result from the h i s t o r i c a l development of economic productivity. Individuals i n primitive society are well integrated into the s o c i a l surroundings, yet they remain r e l a t i v e l y impoverished potential.  i n terms of their human  The forces of nature dominate human a c t i v i t y to a considerable  extent at this stage, with r e l i g i o u s alienation being an obvious outcome of these  circumstances. Increased productivity produces an economic surplus, thereby  creating suitable conditions for exchange, the d i v i s i o n of labour and, eventually, the production of commodities.  The economic alienation ensu-  ing from the existence of c a p i t a l i s t mediations leads to the formation of classes and the establishment of the state.  The developing means of  production bring about further alienation as the workers become increasingly dominated by the instruments of production.  According to Marx  (Mandel, 1971:82), a l i e n a t i o n i n t e n s i f i e s with each new advancement and innovation i n the means of production: A l l progress i n c i v i l i s a t i o n , therefore, or i n other words, any i n crease i n s o c i a l l y productive forces, i n the productive forces of labour i t s e l f , i f you l i k e — a s they come about as a r e s u l t of science, inventions, the d i v i s i o n and the combination of labour, improved  38 means of communication, the creation of a. world market, machinery, e t c . — d o not enrich the worker, but only c a p i t a l ; they only serve, therefore, to increase the power that controls labour s t i l l further; they merely increase the productive powers of c a p i t a l . Since capit a l i s the opposite of the worker, they only increase objective power over labour.  Despite these negative elements, the enhancement of the product i v e forces does create the p o s s i b i l i t y for the f u l l s a t i s f a c t i o n of human needs.  I t i s conceivable that automation can e f f e c t the creation  of a surplus large enough to make pointless "the base appropriation of other men's labor" (Mandel, 1971:173).  Yet the r a t i o n a l u t i l i s a t i o n of  labour—both human and m e c h a n i c a l — w i l l be forthcoming only with the introduction of a s o c i a l i s t mode of production.  The attainment of such  a s o c i a l transformation w i l l presuppose a heightened awareness of the e v i l s of capitalism on the part of the working class.  When the worker recognises the products as being his own and condemns the separation of the conditions of h i s r e a l i s a t i o n as an intolerable imposition, i t w i l l be an enormous progress i n consciousness; i t s e l f the product of the method of production based on capit a l , and a death-knell of c a p i t a l i n the same way that once the slaves became aware that they were persons, that they did not need to be the property of others, the continued existence of slavery could only vegetate on as an a r t i f i c i a l thing, and could not continue to be the basis of production. (Marx, 1971:110)  The harnessing of mechanisation  to s o c i a l i s t p r i n c i p l e s can bring  about the gradual a b o l i t i o n of the d i v i s i o n of labour and of commodity production, the root causes of human a l i e n a t i o n .  With these c a p i t a l i s t  mediation, Marx (Mandel, 1972:106) foresees a time when the human potent i a l i t y can unfold i n a l l i t s richness.  In fact . . . when the narrow bourgeois form has been peeled away, what i s wealth, i f not the u n i v e r s a l i t y of needs, capacities,  39 enjoyments, productive powers, etc., of individuals produced i n univ e r s a l exchange? What, i f not the f u l l development of human control over the forces of nature—those of his own nature as well as those of so-called 'nature?' What, i f not the absolute elaboration of h i s creative d i s p o s i t i o n s , without any preconditions other than antecedent h i s t o r i c a l evolution which makes the t o t a l i t y of this evolut i o n — i . e . , the evolution of a l l human powers as such, unmeasured by any previously established y a r d s t i c k — a n end i n i t s e l f ?  Marx continues  this discussion into Capital,  years a f t e r The Grundrisse.  published some eight  By this time, his analysis of human estrange-  ment i s more f i n e l y honed than at any other period of his career. Capital,  In  Marx argues that a l i e n a t i o n i n a society with well developed com-  modity production  i s e s s e n t i a l l y a function of the f e t i s h i s t i c  of the commodities.  Contrary  character  to popular b e l i e f , Marx does not a r r i v e at  a p o s i t i o n of holding a l i e n a t i o n and commodity fetishism to be i d e n t i c a l phenomena.  Mandel (1971:184) cautions against making such an erroneous  conflation of terms.  He points out that the concept of a l i e n a t i o n encom-  passes a broader scope than the fetishism of commodities.  In addition,  he notes that Marx refers to the existence of a l i e n a t i o n i n primitive societies i n which commodity production i s unknown. Geras makes a s i m i l a r d i s t i n c t i o n between the two concepts, i n d i cating how  Marx has employed the notion of a l i e n a t i o n to describe certain  relationships from ancient times, through the middle ages, r i g h t up to the present day.  Alienation's frame of reference i s seem to be r e l a -  t i v e l y wide, whereas commodity fetishism refers to an h i s t o r i c a l l y s p e c i f i c period i n which the production and exchange of commodities dominate a l l economic r e l a t i o n s .  Geras (1971:72) also indicates that while  a l i e n a t i o n i n c e r t a i n periods  (the middle ages, for example) tends to be  40 readily apparent, fetishism of commodities i s concealed or hidden from view i n c a p i t a l i s t s o c i e t i e s . In addition, a l i e n a t i o n i n s o c i e t i e s poorly developed i n terms of commodity production i s generally i d e n t i f i e d to be a working class phenomenon. commodity fetishism.  This i s not the case with respect to  With advanced commodity production, even those  persons concerned with extracting the maximum amount of surplus  value  from the worker's labour are as much victims of f e t i s h i s t i c domination as the working class i t s e l f . At least as destructive as commodity fetishism's tendency to dominate i s i t s capacity to mystify the e x i s t i n g s i t u a t i o n so that "a d e f i n i t e s o c i a l r e l a t i o n between men  . . . assumes, i n their eyes, the  f a n t a s t i c form of a r e l a t i o n between things" (Marx, 1967:72). the thrust of Marx's c r i t i q u e i n Capital  In f a c t ,  i s directed towards d i s p e l l i n g  these i l l u s o r y appearances so that the true nature of the mechanisms of c a p i t a l i s t society can be disclosed.  Marx commits himself to the task  of c l a r i f y i n g the " i n t e r n a l rupture" within c a p i t a l i s t society whereby s o c i a l r e l a t i o n s come to be experienced i n a manner which obscures their actual character. who  Thus, Marx's project i s s i m i l a r to that of a s c i e n t i s t  i s faced with "the necessity of constructing r e a l i t y against appear-  ances" (Geras, 1971:124). Commodity fetishism constitutes the prime source of. m y s t i f i c a tion i n c a p i t a l i s t society for i t resides at the core of the d i a l e c t i c of commodity production  (Shroyer, 1969:124).  A commodity i s a duality  composed of both a use-value and an exchange-value.  The idea of use-  value i s r e a d i l y understood: human labour transforms an object into  41 something useful or serviceable to the i n d i v i d u a l . more problematic.  Exchange-value i s  Marx contends that an a r t i c l e created i n a c a p i t a l i s t  society acquires an. abstract r e l a t i o n i n addition to use-value, i t s objective r e l a t i o n to human labour.  This abstract component, exchange-  value, refers to the object's worth on the market.  In other words,  the commodity i s considered to have a value with respect to other commodities, that general value being expressed i n terms of money (Shroyer, 1969:127).  According to Marx (1967:87) i t i s "just this ultimate money  form of the world of commodities that actually conceals, instead of d i s closing, the s o c i a l character of private labour and the s o c i a l relations between the i n d i v i d u a l producers." Money relations ultimately determine the meaning of an i n d i vidual's labour.  In turn, t h i s abstract r e l a t i o n acquires a status as  the c r i t e r i o n f o r a l l relations between i n d i v i d u a l s , t h e i r work and their products.  As the commodity form extends i t s domination of human  productive a c t i v i t y , Marx claims that people experience themselves and their relations to others i n terms of this fetishism of commodities. Men's r e f l e c t i o n on the forms of s o c i a l l i f e , and consequently also, his s c i e n t i f i c analysis of those forms, take a course d i r e c t l y opposite to that of their actual h i s t o r i c a l development. The characters that stamp products as commodities, and whose establishment i s a necessary preliminary to the c i r c u l a t i o n of commodities, have already acquired the s t a b i l i t y of natural, self-understood forms of s o c i a l l i f e , before man seeks to decipher, not their h i s t o r i c a l character, f o r i n h i s eyes they are immutable, but their meaning. . . . (Shroyer, 1969:129) The i n d i v i d u a l has l o s t sight of the actual purpose of human labour: the creation of useful objects.  P o l i t i c a l economy's m y o p i a — i t s  42 i n a b i l i t y to see beyond c a p i t a l i s t mediations—furthers this m y s t i f i c a tion by v a l i d a t i n g the alienated forms of human labour.  Thus, the recog-  n i t i o n of actual relations between persons and products becomes an increasingly d i f f i c u l t undertaking. Marx locates the source of this i l l u s i o n i n the fact that workers produce use-value for exchange rather than for d i r e c t consumption. S i m i l a r l y , he exposes the content of surplus-value as being the surplus labour time of the worker. hand, takes exchange-value  Conventional p o l i t i c a l economy, on the other and surplus-value and dehistoricizes them by  viewing them as being natural phenomena.  C a p i t a l i s t s o c i a l relations  are also transformed into natural phenomena.  Consequently, the mystify-  ing character of fetishism stems from i t s metamorphosis of q u a l i t i e s possessed by such s o c i a l objects as commodities and c a p i t a l into propert i e s residing i n them as natural things (Geras, 1971:77). Marx's intention i s to eliminate the opacity of these s o c i a l relations by laying bare the true character of c a p i t a l i s t society.  The  supersession of capitalism would cleanse society of these d i s t o r t i n g ideologies, thereby creating the p o s s i b i l i t y f o r a s o c i a l system i n which "the p r a c t i c a l relations of everyday l i f e offer to man none but perfectly i n t e l l i g i b l e and reasonable relations with regard to h i s fellow man Nature" (Geras, 1971:82).  and  Chapter 2 LUKACS  An understanding of the concept of a l i e n a t i o n i s dependent upon an appreciation of the nature of human consciousness.  The work of Georg  Lukacs i s e s p e c i a l l y h e l p f u l for acquiring this awareness.  Lukacs  exa-  mines certain aspects of consciousness which f i n d only b r i e f mention i n Marx's writings.  For example, Marx offers an i n c i s i v e treatment of  commodity fetishism but at no time does he provide an adequate account of the process by which "class consciousness" replaces " f a l s e consciousness."  Marx (1963:173) notes the interests which working class members  hold i n common and points to the need for workers to become aware of the antagonistic position of their class with respect to the bourgeoisie. Yet he neglects to present a detailed discussion of the mechanisms whereby the working class comes to r e a l i z e i t s exploited position and begins to organise to transform the existing s o c i a l formation (Howard, 1972:160). This omission i s a major shortcoming and has resulted i n numerous misunderstandings on the part of l a t e r Marxists. The elaboration of this process was precisely the task undertaken by Georg Lukacs i n the early 1920's.  Lukacs wishes to c l a r i f y the r o l e  of consciousness i n the s o c i a l i s t movement and to pinpoint the objective conditions which s t i f l e the emergence of revolutionary class consciousness. Consistently opposing any form of s e l f - s e r v i n g individualism, he repeatedly emphasises the need f o r proletarian co-operation, a s o l i d a r i t y to be cemented with the awareness of both the present s o c i a l conditions and 43  44 the h i s t o r i c a l interests of the working class as a whole.  Lukacs  under-  stands class consciousness to e n t a i l the unity of revolutionary theory and p r a c t i c e : workers are transformed from being objects determined by c a p i t a l i s t r e l a t i o n s of production into active subjects, freed to r a t i o n a l l y assert their own c o l l e c t i v e w i l l . An issue central to Lukacs' discussion of class consciousness i s the Marxian notion of t o t a l i t y .  This term was o r i g i n a l l y introduced by  Hegel to describe the domination of the whole over the parts.  In Hegel's  system, the p a r t i c u l a r i n t e r a c t i o n which occurs between philosophical categories and sub-categories may be accounted for by r e f e r r i n g to the determining influence of the t o t a l system on the elements within that system.  Marx uses this notion for an examination of concrete s o c i a l  existence, thereby providing the abstract formulation with a m a t e r i a l i s t content.  The usefulness of the concept of t o t a l i t y i s revealed i n h i s  c l a r i f i c a t i o n of the nature of p o l i t i c a l economy.  Marx frees the study  of economics from being a narrow, mechanical exercise, one i n which fixed categories are manipulated with l i t t l e awareness of their relationship to each other or to the system as a whole.  He recognises that p o l i t i c a l  economy i s but one aspect within the s o c i a l f a b r i c , yet he maintains that an investigation of this component w i l l ultimately lead to the comprehension of a l l categories of human society (Meszaros, 1970:72). Marx regards the economic base to be the "ultimate determinant" of s o c i a l r e a l i t y , yet he i s aware that i t i s nevertheless a "determined determinant."  It i s a d i a l e c t i c a l component of the whole and as such  must be understood to be immersed i n a complex network of interconnections  45  with other aspects of society. r e a l i t y but  It acts upon a l l dimensions of s o c i a l  i t i s acted upon i n turn.  Thus, the most diverse considera-  tions such as a r t , r e l i g i o n , ethics o r . p o l i t i c s are not simply supers t r u c t u r a l forms b u i l t upon an economic base. and modify t h i s base due  to their own  They a c t i v e l y influence  p a r t i c u l a r structure and  content  (Meszaros, 1970:71). These components are regarded by Marx as being processes which constantly interact within a dynamic o v e r a l l complex.  Social categories  which are commonly viewed by bourgeois science to be discrete elements, isolated and  frozen, are transformed into v i t a l aspects of an ever-  changing whole.  This means that elements of s o c i a l r e a l i t y are  no  longer to be apprehended i n their immediacy, i . e . , as isolated f a c t s , but rather are to be confronted with an appreciation of t h e i r r e l a t i o n to other components and  to society i n i t s entirety.  systems such as a r t , r e l i g i o n , and movement of the s o c i a l t o t a l i t y .  In t h i s manner, sub-  law are situated within the The  inclusive  interrelatedness of these sub-  systems, or p a r t i a l t o t a l i t i e s , must be recognised i f the mediated nature of s o c i a l r e a l i t y i s to be correctly understood. Lukacs primarily uses the term mediation to refer to the connection and  inter-  interaction of the parts within the o v e r a l l complex.  For  instance, the l e g a l system must not be examined i n i s o l a t i o n from i t s s o c i a l context.  It must be recognised to interact with other p a r t i a l  t o t a l i t i e s — p o l i t i c a l ideology, for example—and to be related dynamic a l l y to the s o c i a l system as a whole. the various components contact and  The  points of mediation where  influence one  another must be  46 appreciated i f the actual nature of the l e g a l system of a p a r t i c u l a r society i s to be  understood.  The whole issue of immediacy-mediations-totality i s a complicated question, one f o r which Lukacs i s never able to supply a comprehensive explanation.  He became acquainted with the general problem through h i s  encounter with Hegelian idealism.  Lukacs r e a l i s e d that abstractions i n -  tended by Hegel to provide a l i n k between a number of t h e o r e t i c a l categories suffered from a tendency to become divorced from the process to which they referred.  Instead of c l a r i f y i n g the relations between con-  cepts, these mediating constructs took on a p e t r i f i e d immediacy of their own.  Consequently,  these abstractions only served to aggravate the very  d i f f i c u l t i e s which they had been designed to remedy. His encounter with Marxism makes Lukacs aware that any resolution of this problem i s not to be effected i n the realm of philosophical idealism.  The discussion must be firmly rooted i n a recognition of the  r o l e of " p r a c t i c o - c r i t i c a l a c t i v i t y " as the c r u c i a l l i n k between a l l human phenomena (Meszaros, 1970:70).  Marx's conception of human labour  steers Lukacs away from the ethereal and points him i n the d i r e c t i o n of sensuous production, with i t s reference i n the l a s t instance to the economic dimension.  Marx retains the essential aim of the Hegelian pro-  gramme—the d i s s o l u t i o n of immediacy—yet he d r a s t i c a l l y a l t e r s the content of the project by s h i f t i n g the frame of reference from i d e a l i s t philosophy to p o l i t i c a l economy.  Marx counters the propensity of  bourgeois s c i e n t i s t s to view things as s t a t i c and discrete by treating these e n t i t i e s as d i a l e c t i c a l components of a dynamic s o c i a l t o t a l i t y .  47 Lukacs follows Marx's lead by i n s i s t i n g on the need for an apprec i a t i o n of the interconnections and interactions of p a r t i a l t o t a l i t i e s i n order to comprehend the o v e r a l l character of s o c i a l r e a l i t y . siders this awareness to be an e s s e n t i a l r e q u i s i t e of class ness.  He con-  conscious-  As Lukacs makes apparent, class consciousness does not refer to  what a t y p i c a l or representative member of a class thinks or f e e l s . Rather, i t consists of an accurate knowledge of the p o s i t i o n of one's class within society, a recognition which implies the existence of an understanding of the nature of society as a whole.  Lukacs argues that  while class consciousness i s t h e o r e t i c a l l y within reach of anyone i n society, the p r o l e t a r i a t i s the class which i s most l i k e l y to act. respons i b l y i n l i g h t of t h i s knowledge. bourgeoisie who  In Lukacs' opinion, class conscious  recognise their minority i n t e r e s t , can only pretend that  t h e i r hegemony i s for the benefit for a l l of society.  The p r o l e t a r i a t ,  on the other hand, i s i n a p o s i t i o n to c o r r e c t l y grasp the e s s e n t i a l character of c a p i t a l i s t society and to react r a t i o n a l l y and as a r e s u l t of that understanding.  appropriately  This i s not to i n f e r that the working  class could possess absolute knowledge.  However, the p r o l e t a r i a t does  possess the objective p o s s i b i l i t y of understanding that the r e a l i s a t i o n of i t s p a r t i c u l a r interest would lead to the betterment of society as a whole (Parkinson, 1970:10-11). In Lukacs' opinion, self-awareness on the part of the prolet a r i a t combined with the existence of an e f f e c t i v e p o l i t i c a l organisation can give b i r t h to a class conscious revolutionary movement which could transform  the e x i s t i n g s o c i a l order.  He goes on to claim that the  48 eventual elimination of s o c i a l classes would produce a s i t u a t i o n i n which individuals could i d e n t i f y with human consciousness  i n general.  It i s at this point that we encounter Lukacs' controversial discussion of the i d e n t i c a l subject-object: the equation of the interests of the class conscious p r o l e t a r i a t with those of society as a whole constitutes the merging of the subject and object of s o c i a l theory.  That i s , the  individual's aims coincide with the aims of society i n general.  This  union corresponds to the r e a l i s a t i o n of Hegel's absolute s p i r i t i n which the knowing subject fuses with the s o c i a l whole.  As Goldman (1969:51)  points out, Lukacs' postulation of this i d e n t i c a l subject-object i s something of an "apocalyptic v i s i o n , " a conception which places him i n the midst of the i d e a l i s t camp.  In f a c t , Lukacs' writings are frequently  c a t e g o r i c a l l y rejected by Marxist theorists simply on the basis of his treatment of this p a r t i c u l a r subject.  Despite these obvious short-  comings, Lukacs does offer some h e l p f u l insights concerning  the nature of  the obstacles hindering the development of class consciousness.  He  indicates that the p r o l e t a r i a t must gain an awareness of i t s p o s i t i o n i n society i f i t i s to become a subject capable of asserting i t s own  will  to e s t a b l i s h the hegemony of the working c l a s s . Lukacs introduces his concept of r e i f i c a t i o n to account for the b a r r i e r s which currently s t i f l e the emergence of this class  consciousness.  The exposition of r e i f i c a t i o n comprises the central essay i n History Class  Consciousness  s  a book whose appearance i n 1922  and  ignited widespread  controversy throughout the European Communist movement.  Lukacs' thesis  flew i n the face of the convential Marxism of the day; h i s t h e o r e t i c a l  49 conceptions  and their p r a c t i c a l implications for revolutionary practice  were hotly disputed by leading Marxist theoreticians (Meszaros, 1971:3). History  and Class  Consciousness  prompted e s p e c i a l l y sharp c r i t i c i s m from  advocates of the orthodox materialism f i r s t popularised by Engels.  They  regarded Lukacs' proposal to r e v i t a l i s e Marxism to be highly suspect. In their estimation, h i s so-called reassessment of the Hegelian  tradition  i m p l i c i t i n Marx's writings could only lead to the p o l l u t i n g of Marxism with i d e a l i s t concepts. However, these orthodox Marxists are themselves placed i n a highly questionable p o s i t i o n due to their allegiance to Engels. Dialectics  of Nature,  In  Engels takes the p o s i t i o n that consciousness i s  simply a by-product of nature and that both unfold according to the same laws.  This marks an attempt to delineate a universal d i a l e c t i c a l method,  one which includes both human beings and nature within i t s boundaries. This proposition bears a suspicious resemblance to Hegel's b e l i e f that human society and nature are governed by an i d e n t i c a l set of d i a l e c t i c a l principles.  Even contemporary Marxists  (cf. Lefebvre, 1968:107) w i l l  occasionally lapse into this neo-Hegelian perspective, w i s t f u l l y c a l l i n g for the resurrection of the notion of the d i a l e c t i c a l movement of nature. Thus, i t would appear that these p a r t i c u l a r Marxists are g u i l t y of the very charges of idealism which they l e v e l at such alleged r e v i s i o n i s t s as Lukacs. In contrast, Lukacs endeavours to avoid the p i t f a l l s inherent i n both c l a s s i c a l idealism and c l a s s i c a l materialism by charting a course between these two extremes.  I t i s his contention that consciousness i s  50  neither a manifestation of Spirit material world.  nor a mere r e f l e c t i o n of the objective  Lukacs shares Marx's b e l i e f that r e a l i t y i s not the so-  c a l l e d objective world, external to the i n d i v i d u a l .  Both theorists ack-  nowledge the fact that the natural, material domain e x i s t s ; what they wish to make clear i s that human r e a l i t y involves the shaping of the natural realm through conscious a c t i v i t y .  People modify nature and i n  the process change themselves and their relations to other human beings. This process whereby r e a l i t y i s altered by the i n d i v i d u a l includes human consciousness as an important component (Avineri, 1968:71). With this conception of human consciousness i n mind, Lukacs proceeds to outline h i s notion of r e i f i c a t i o n , a term which includes elements drawn from Marx's analysis of commodity fetishism, Simmel's discussion of a l i e n a t i o n and Weber's treatment of r a t i o n a l i t y (Arato, 1972:83).  As we have already observed, commodity fetishism consists of  the commodity taking on attributes as a "mysterious thing, simply because i n i t the s o c i a l character of man's labour appears to them as an object i v e character stamped upon the product of that labour: (Marx, 1967:72). The market r e a l t i o n of commodities does not f a c i l i t a t e the recognition of the r o l e played by human labour i n the production of these items. Instead, products of human a c t i v i t y are now regarded to be natural e n t i ties responding to non-human powers.  Commodity relations take on the  appearance of relations between natural objects and market a c t i v i t i e s , comprised of s o c i a l r e l a t i o n s , come to resemble r e l a t i o n between things. These relations appear to function i n accordance with natural laws, a misconception perpetuated by p o l i t i c a l economists who formulate the laws  51 of the market place as though they were c l a r i f y i n g eternal forces. Fetishism of commodities i s a s i g n i f i c a n t aspect of Lukacs' notion of r e i f i c a t i o n . . . Lukacs agrees with Marx that the human r e l a t i o n s i m p l i c i t i n commodity r e l a t i o n s have so faded from view that i t i s d i f f i c u l t to detect them at a l l .  Self-expanding c a p i t a l , i . e . , money  generating money, i s perhaps the most notable example of how  commodity  production leads to a point where the s o c i a l origins of an entity cease to be apparent.  Marx comments that " i t i s the capacity of money, or of  a commodity, to expand i t s own value independently of r e p r o d u c t i o n — which i s a m y s t i f i c a t i o n of c a p i t a l i n i t s most flagrant form" (Lukacs, 1971:94). Increased fragmentation and s p e c i a l i s a t i o n i n the production process has a mystifying effect on the consciousness of the worker as well.  A distorted awareness arises from the fact that individuals are  commonly faced with specialised tasks which must be repeated l i k e clockwork.  Marx contends that "through the subordination of man  to the machine  the s i t u a t i o n arises i n which men are effaced by their labour; i n which the pendulum of the clock has become as accurate a measure of the r e l a t i v e a c t i v i t y of two workers as i t i s of the speed of two locomotives" (Lukacs, 1971:89).  Mechanisation lends i t s e l f to the r a t i o n a l c a l c u l a -  tion of the time required to perform any a c t i v i t y .  Human labour i s r e -  duced to being a function of the machine, as a predetermined work schedule comes to rule the individual's every move.  Forced to comply with  the laws of this mechanised system, human consciousness becomes less a c t i v e l y engaged and more contemplative with each passing day (Stedham Jones, 1971:29).  52 George Simmel (Arato, 1972:83) considers this increasing p a s s i v i t y to be symptomatic of a widening r i f t between what he terms objective c u l ture, the production of things, and subjective culture, the s e l f - c r e a t i o n of individuals through this productive a c t i v i t y . people may  He points out that  lose awareness and control of their creations.  They may  to exist i n a world of objects which has a movement of i t s own,  come  a move-  ment which i s independent of the w i l l of the i n d i v i d u a l . Simmel locates the source of this loss of control i n the growing separation of the i n d i v i d u a l from products,  tools and fellow workers.  Thus, Simmel has  neatly deduced some important components of Marx's theory of a l i e n a t i o n from the passage on commodity fetishism i n Capital.  However, the  two  theorists eventually part company for Marx views a l i e n a t i o n to be p r i marily a function of a p a r t i c u l a r mode of production, whereas Simmel chooses to depict this growing estrangement as an unavoidable consequence of the human condition. Lukacs i s not misled by the element of i n e v i t a b i l i t y i n Simmel's presentation  (Arato, 1972:97).  He makes f u l l use of the perceptive fea-  tures of Simmel's account, but maintains his basic allegiance to the h i s t o r i c a l version of alienated labour alluded to i n Marx' c r i t i q u e of p o l i t i c a l economy.  Lukacs agrees with Marx that commodities take on the  appearance of natural objects, independent e n t i t i e s which seem to bear no r e l a t i o n to human productivity.  These commodities appear to be  governed by natural powers, forces which come to dominate the very people who  are responsible for their creation.  On the basis of these observa-  tions, Lukacs concludes that the separation of the worker from the product  53 and the f e t i s h i s t i c character of commodities are mutually r e i n f o r c i n g phenomena. The concept of r e i f i c a t i o n finds i t s o r i g i n i n Marx's analysis of p o l i t i c a l economy.  Lukacs elaborates upon Marx's observation, seeking  substantiate his claim that the t o t a l i t y of s o c i a l r e a l i t y has prey to the destructive influence of commodity production.  to  fallen  Lukacs turns  to an investigation of business administration and science i n order to f i n d evidence to support this view.  He discovers that the methods used  i n both administrative and s c i e n t i f i c practices are those which best serve to divide the world into p a r t i a l t o t a l i t i e s , i s o l a t e d complexes which lend themselves to quantitative c a l c u l a t i o n . At this point, Lukacs incorporates Max  Weber's notion of r a t i o n a l i t y to account for the pre-  occupation with c a l c u l a t i o n and prediction which p r e v a i l s within these p a r t i a l systems.  Empirical facts are valued as ends i n themselves as  the objective world i s fragmented into successively smaller components i n an attempt to gain control over discrete aspects of r e a l i t y . This concern with p r e c i s i o n i s a common feature of the bureauc r a t i c i n s t i t u t i o n s that predominate i n an advanced c a p i t a l i s t society. Modern businesses with their r a t i o n a l l y ordered systems of technological production demand the existence of an equally l o g i c a l and predictable administrative organisation.  S p e c i a l i s a t i o n and c a l c u l a b i l i t y are c r u c i a l  to the operation of the i n s t i t u t i o n a l structure.  In f a c t , Lukacs (1971:  98-99) contends that the same standardisation of the d i v i s i o n of labour as exists on the technological l e v e l occurs within bureaucracy.  Persons  engaged i n c a p i t a l i s t mental labour s e l l their personal attributes and  54 s k i l l s i n much the same fashion as manual workers.  I t i s i n fact the  case that manual workers face the suppression of a l l mental f a c u l t i e s while their physical labour-power i s being exploited. Workers i n bureauc r a t i c positions, on the other hand, experience the appropriation of only one mental faculty or one complex of mental f a c u l t i e s .  Nevertheless,  the general phenomenon i s similar i n both instances; the r a t i o n a l i s e d and specialised nature of both manual and mental labour permits the engagement of only a f r a c t i o n of the t o t a l personality.  This r o u t i n i s a -  t i o n of productive a c t i v i t y means that the i n d i v i d u a l must adjust to a r e p i t i t i o u s way sciousness.  of l i f e , the outcome of which i s the r e i f i c a t i o n of con-  Thus, mental labour comes to be dictated by certain conven-  tions which seem to exist independent  of human design.  P r i n c i p l e s de-  duced from the examination of p a r t i a l systems now dominate the bureaucrats and s c i e n t i s t s who  formulated them i n the f i r s t place.  Lukacs believes that the pervasiveness of r e i f i e d  consciousness  i s most graphically revealed i n the actual products of mental labour. Here he submits the whole of contemporary philosophy with i t s neoKantian and s c i e n t i s t i c tendencies to a corrosive review.  Even much  that passes for Marxism i s not spared h i s devastating c r i t i q u e .  What  Lukacs charges i s that the wholesale application of methods from the natural sciences to the study of s o c i a l r e a l i t y t e s t i f i e s to the prevalence of r e i f i e d consciousness.  A case i n point i s p o l i t i c a l economy's  chronic f a i l u r e to penetrate to the e s s e n t i a l dynamic of c a p i t a l i s t s o c i ety.  Instead of f i r s t examining  immediately  their premises, p o l i t i c a l  set out i n b l i n d pursuit of s o c i a l f a c t s .  economists  They are i n s e n s i t i v e  55  to the h i s t o r i c a l character of these facts and to their own distortions and so persist the object as given.  cognitive  i n u n c r i t i c a l l y accepting the appearance of  Lukacs argues that this f a i t h i n positivism per-  petuates a bourgeois i l l u s i o n which grossly misrepresents s o c i a l r e a l i t y (Lichtheim, 1970:67). In Lukacs' opinion, conventional p o l i t i c a l economy neglects the active dimension of society, the d i a l e c t i c a l process with a l l the r e a l i g n ments and modifications of the p a r t i a l t o t a l i t i e s which i t e n t a i l s .  In-  stead, empirical facts are pursued with no e f f o r t being made to appreciate the tendencies and counter tendencies emerging i n the h i s t o r i c a l movement.  In other words, r e i f i e d consciousness, with scientism being  i t s most sophisticated form, approaches of i t s mediated nature.  s o c i a l r e a l i t y i n t o t a l ignorance  Oblivious to the existence of these mediations,  r e i f i e d thought encounters the p a r t i a l t o t a l i t i e s of c a p i t a l i s t society i n their immediacy, thereby wrenching  these aspects from the complex of  actual determinants and examining them i n a r t i f i c i a l i s o l a t i o n .  Lukacs  concludes that consciousness distorted through i n t e r a c t i o n with such c a p i t a l i s t mediations as private property, exchange, the d i v i s i o n of labour—phenomena judged by Meszaros to be second-order m e d i a t i o n s — i s incapable of recognising the m u l t i p l i c i t y of mediated complexes present i n the s o c i a l t o t a l i t y .  With labour-power  transformed into a commodity  and s o c i a l r e l a t i o n s now taking on the appearance of r e l a t i o n s between things, this r e i f i c a t i o n of consciousness has become the order of the day i n c a p i t a l i s t society. It i s important to recognise that Lukacs' c r i t i q u e of r e i f i e d  56 consciousness i s not confined to a discussion of bourgeois philosophy. He points out that certain schools of Marxist thought are i n c l i n e d to make the so-called s c i e n t i f i c d i s t i n c t i o n between subjective consciousness and the objective, i . e . , " r e a l , " world.  For example, Engels sub-  scribes to a version of h i s t o r i c a l materialism i n which the theorist approaches s o c i a l r e a l i t y with the rigor of a s c i e n t i s t .  Such a perspec-  t i v e would be admirable i f i t were not for the fact that Engels believes that this s c i e n t i f i c attitude w i l l enable the i n d i v i d u a l to grasp just as i t exists without any foreign admixture"  "nature  (Althusser, 1971:40).  With one stroke, Engels has completely eliminated the question of consciousness from the discussion of Marxist materialism.  In i t s place, he  proposes a t h e o r e t i c a l framework which looks suspiciously l i k e a species of positivism. The controversy over the nature of the science of Marxism i s one which continues to this day.  Louis Althusser (1971:14) provides a useful  description of the basic tendencies involved i n this dispute.  He claims  that Marxism embodies a tension between a philosophical dimension and a s c i e n t i f i c dimension.  According to Althusser, a powerful f a c t i o n arguing  for the primacy of philosophy can e f f e c t a s h i f t towards subjectivism. When a science-oriented group i s i n the ascendent, philosophy i s suppressed i n favour of positivism.  These are very crude d i s t i n c t i o n s but  they do shed some l i g h t on the struggle being waged within the ranks of Marxism. This dispute can be i l l u s t r a t e d i n George Lichtheim's  account  (1970:64-65) of the differences which allegedly exist between Lukacs'  stance and that of Lenin.  In Lichtheim's opinion, Lenin favours a ver-  sion of p o s i t i v i s t i c materialism during the early stages of his career. In f a c t , there i s evidence to suggest that even his belated encounter with Hegel f a i l s to cleanse Lenin of h i s s c i e n t i s t i c leanings.  Traces of  this tendency appear to be present i n Lenin's concept of the Communist party as a vanguard which i s privy to an objective understanding of history.  Needless to say, Lenin r e a l i s e s that i t would be s u i c i d a l to  ignore the r o l e of the "subjective factor," i . e . , class consciousness, i n the revolutionary movement.  Yet he never wavers i n h i s b e l i e f that the  party must be comprised of a highly educated e l i t e , individuals versed i n the s c i e n t i f i c knowledge necessary to catalyse and d i r e c t the a c t i v i t i e s of the p r o l e t a r i a t (Lichtheim, 1970:63-64). Lukacs' c r i t i c i s m of Lenin's position suffers from an overemphasis of the r o l e of consciousness i n bringing about a r a d i c a l transformation of society.  At one point he comes to the untenable conclusion  that a spark of c r i t i c a l self-awareness could f i r e the revolutionary zeal of the working class, thereby p r e c i p i t a t i n g a v i r t u a l l y spontaneous overthrow of the c a p i t a l i s t system (Lichtheim, 1970:64-65).  Lichtheim's  account i s more useful as a statement of the differences between p o s i t i vism and subjectivism than as an accurate representation of the t h e o r e t i c a l perspective of either Lenin or Lukacs.  It i s true, however, that  Lukacs' preoccupation with the issue of consciousness i s often at the expense of an examination of s t r u c t u r a l considerations.  Nevertheless,  he i s among the f i r s t to draw attention to the tendency of certain Marxists to re-establish a neo-Kantian schism between personal s u b j e c t i v i t y  58 and objective f a c t .  In addition, he c o r r e c t l y rejects any view of human  cognition which claims that consciousness  i s simply a r e f l e c t i o n of the  material world. Lukacs (1971) r e c a l l s that the human essence i s the "ensemble of s o c i a l r e l a t i o n s " and he declares that i t i s only with the a b o l i t i o n of o b j e c t i f i e d r e l a t i o n s that the i n d i v i d u a l can be reconstituted as a t r u l y human being.  A person's l e v e l of awareness of the hierarchy of  mediated complexes indicates "the degree of c l a r i t y to which a man has attained concerning  the foundations  i . e . , the degree of consciousness the i n d i v i d u a l penetrates  of his existence i n these r e l a t i o n s ,  of himself" (Lukacs, 1971:185).  As  the immediacy of these perceived complexes and  begins to appreciate their mediated nature, action designed to eliminate the r e i f i e d character of these r e l a t i o n s can begin.  Lukacs maintains  that increased awareness coupled with favourable material conditions w i l l eventually lead to the p r a c t i c a l a b o l i t i o n of the mode of production which generated these r e i f i c a t i o n s i n the f i r s t place. It i s Lukacs' contention  (1971:163) that s o c i a l r e a l i t y i n i t s  immediacy appears i n an i d e n t i c a l manner for both the working class and the bourgeoisis. consciousness  Yet he asserts that the process involved i n r a i s i n g  to a l e v e l s e n s i t i v e to the actual r e l a t i o n s of human  society i s a function of one's s o c i a l experience.  In Lukacs' estimation,  working class individuals are more l i k e l y to d i s p e l the mystifying effects of immediacy than are members of the bourgeoisie, a d i s t i n c t i o n which attests to the q u a l i t a t i v e difference between the s o c i a l existences of the two classes.  This observation r e c a l l s the aforementioned comments  59 i n The Holy Family  concerning the d i s s i m i l a r i t i e s i n the s e l f - a l i e n a t i o n  of property-owner  and worker.  Both persons, are victims of a l i e n a t i o n  but whereas the c a p i t a l i s t clings to the i l l u s i o n of having some control over commodity production, the worker sees the same process as one of t o t a l enslavement.  Lukacs claims that as the p r o l e t a r i a t becomes aware  of i t s exploited s i t u a t i o n , i t begins to recognise the necessity for c o l l e c t i v e action.  What were once passive objects transfixed by commodity  fetishism are now active subjects consciously organising to r i d society of the source of i t s r e i f i e d r e l a t i o n s . Lukacs presents a sophisticated account of how r e i f i e d consciousness i s propagated by alienated labour and how i t tends to perpetuate i t s e l f i n turn.  He speaks of how the consciousness of both the manual and  mental worker i s so severely distorted and fragmented  that a l l phenomena  are viewed as isolated facts rather than as components of a dynamic process.  In f a c t , Lukacs  (1971:68) claims that r e i f i c a t i o n i n advanced  c a p i t a l i s t society i s so pervasive that workers commonly regard themselves to be l i t t l e more than commodities.  But how  i s i t possible to  induce an awareness of the t o t a l i t y of s o c i a l r e a l i t y i n consciousnesses which have been so thoroughly fragmented?  Class consciousness supposedly  demands the recognition of the position of one's class i n the s o c i a l whole.  How  can i n d i v i d u a l workers gain a perspective of their c o l l e c t i v e  predicament when r e i f i c a t i o n i s v i r t u a l l y  all-encompassing?  As theory, Lukacs' remarks on the r e l a t i o n between immediacy, mediation and t o t a l i t y are quite impressive.  However, they become a b i t  troublesome when they are related to the existing r e a l i t y and the need  60 for p r a c t i c a l action.  Lukacs develops a theory of r e i f i c a t i o n which  seems to be l o g i c a l l y sound—so sound that i t would appear that he has l e f t himself no avenue of escape.  Lukacs' expressed purpose i s to out-  l i n e the steps necessary to overcome the immediacy of r e i f i e d consciousness.  Unfortunately, he f a i l s to r e a l i s e t h i s goal.  concluding section on the subject-object  In addition, h i s  of history i s an open i n v i t a -  tion to have his entire discussion dismissed as the work of an i d e a l i s t . Lukacs i s ultimately pressured into recanting much of and Class Party.  Consciousness  History  i n order to maintain favour with the Communist  In his introduction to the 1967 e d i t i o n , he d i s c r e d i t s the notion  of the i d e n t i c a l subject-object  as being a metaphysical construct and  c r i t i c i s e s his over-exuberance i n equating objectivation with the r e i f i cation of the p r o l e t a r i a t .  Certainly a r e t r a c t i o n i s warranted i n both  instances, but Lukacs permits his exercise i n s e l f - c r i t i c i s m to get out of hand.  Successive recantations  intended to win the blessing of the  Party lead him to b e l i t t l e or abandon many of the valuable tained i n History  and Class  Consciousness  (Lichtheim,  insights con-  1970:72).  For example, portions of Lukacs' elaboration of the question immediacy-mediations-totality are useful additions to Marxist analysis. Lukacs i n s i s t s that i n order to acquire an accurate grasp of p o l i t i c a l economy, the i n d i v i d u a l must have an appreciation of the i n t e r a c t i o n between subsystems and the r e l a t i o n of these p a r t i a l complexes to the social totality.  The fetish-character of c a p i t a l i s t production may r e -  quire an economic analysis to illuminate i t s mystifying nature, but this does not mean that conclusions  drawn from such an inquiry can be expected  61 to i n s t a n t l y c l a r i f y other f i e l d s such as p o l i t i c s , law, culture, etc. The investigation must begin anew with each change i n focus.  The aspect  or complex i n question must be viewed i n l i g h t of i t s unique position within the i n t r i c a t e system of mediated relations (Meszaros, 1970:71). An examination of these p a r t i a l t o t a l i t i e s can disclose h e l p f u l insights into the tendencies i m p l i c i t i n either the s o c i a l system as a whole or i n one p a r t i c u l a r class within that system.  For example, major  contradictions inherent i n a s p e c i f i c class may be revealed i n i t s p a r t i a l t o t a l i t i e s long before they are evidenced i n the movement of the s o c i a l class i n i t s e n t i r e t y .  Lukacs points to the propensity of dramatists to  use family c o n f l i c t s as subject-matter f o r tragedies, thus enabling them to v i v i d l y expose s o c i a l currents which might otherwise pass unnoticed. He remarks that "an Aeschylus or a Shakespeare draw pictures of family l i f e that provide us with such penetrating and authentic p o r t r a i t s of the s o c i a l upheavals of their age that i t i s only now,  with the aid of  h i s t o r i c a l materialism, that i t has become at a l l possible for theory to do j u s t i c e to these a r t i s t i c i n s i g h t s " (Lukacs, 1971:176). Lukacs' appreciation of the family as a p a r t i a l t o t a l i t y i s an important contribution to s o c i a l theory.  I t provides a useful focus for  investigations into the d i a l e c t i c a l nature of s o c i a l r e a l i t y .  In p a r t i c u -  l a r , the examination of the dynamics of the family w i l l prove to be invaluable to Jean-Paul Sartre i n h i s e f f o r t s to establish a psychoanalytic method compatible with Marxism.  Chapter 3  SARTRE  Men make their own history, but they do not make i t just as they please; they make i t under circumstances d i r e c t l y encountered, given and transmitted from the past. The t r a d i t i o n of a l l the dead generations weighs l i k e a nightmare on the brain of the l i v i n g . And just when they seemed engaged i n revolutionising themselves and things, i n creating something that has never yet existed, p r e c i s e l y i n such periods of revolutionary c r i s i s they anxiously conjure up the s p i r i t s of the past to their service and borrow from their names, b a t t l e c r i e s and costumes i n order to present the new sense of world history i n this time-honoured disguise and this borrowed language. (Marx, 1963:15)  Marx's comments are as appropriate today as when they were f i r s t written over one hundred years ago.  I r o n i c a l l y , the people most g u i l t y  of resurrecting ancient slogans to account f o r contemporary events are a l l too often the very individuals who followers of Marx.  characterise themselves as being  Cherishing h i s formulations as eternal truths, they  remain oblivious to the fact that Marxian analysis i s anything but a dogmatic r e c i t i n g of chapter and verse from the c l a s s i c texts.  These people  view Marxism as a s t a t i c body of laws and p r i n c i p l e s to be preserved at a l l c o s t — a n d heaven help existing r e a l i t y i f i t doesn't quite f i t the Procrustean bed.  They f a i l to recognise that Marxism i s a dynamic system  of thought and not a fixed conceptual grid to be applied mechanically to explain s o c i a l r e a l i t y .  Marxism i s a method which must be continuously  amplified and refined and whose sole purpose f o r being i s to f a c i l i t a t e the a b o l i t i o n of s o c i a l classes. In order to r e a l i s e this project, Marxists must be prepared to discard obsolete categories and to adopt any aspects of new theories 62  63  which are deemed to be useful.  This responsiveness i s absolutely essen-  t i a l i f Marxists are to maintain a v i t a l system of analysis, one whose s e n s i t i v i t y to external h i s t o r i c a l conjunctures i s enhanced by a constant scrutiny of i t s i n t e r n a l t h e o r e t i c a l composition.  C r i t i c a l examination  w i l l inevitably r e s u l t i n the inclusion of new categories to replace those outmoded by the changing s o c i a l s i t u a t i o n .  Consequently, i t be-  comes obvious that Marxists can i l l - a f f o r d to reject bourgeois theories i n a wholesale fashion.  Concepts and categories commonly associated with  bourgeois ideology must be s e l e c t i v e l y incorporated i f Marxian theory i s to be a useful t o o l for each successive generation (Brewster, 1966:29). Consequently, i t becomes obvious that Marxism can i l l - a f f o r d to reject bourgeois theories i n a wholesale fashion. Concepts and categories commonly associated with bourgeois ideology must be s e l e c t i v e l y incorporated i f Marxian theory i s to be a useful tool for each successive generation (Brewster, 1966:29). Certain people f e e l that one area where Marxism seems to be especially negligent i s i n the examination of personality formation.  A  charge that i s frequently made by bourgeois s o c i a l s c i e n t i s t s i s that Marxist theory s a c r i f i c e s an understanding of the i n d i v i d u a l due to i t s preoccupation with the dynamics of s o c i a l classes.  This may prove to be  a v a l i d c r i t i c i s m — c e r t a i n l y i t warrants a direct response.  In most  instances, however, the accusations are so poorly formulated that Marxist theoreticians can avoid giving a comprehensive reply simply by pointing to the obvious poverty of such c r i t i c i s m s . The End of Idology  Daniel B e l l ' s comments i n  are representative of these inept attacks:  64 The irony, however, i s that i n moving from 'philosophy' to ' r e a l i t y ' . . . Marx himself had moved from one kind of abstraction to another. For i n h i s system, s e l f - a l i e n a t i o n becomes transformed: man as 'generic man' ( i . e . , Man writ Large) becomes divided into classes of men. The only s o c i a l r e a l i t y i s not Man, not the i n d i v i d u a l , but economic classes. Individuals count for nought. ( B e l l , 1965:365366)  B e l l ' s remarks appear to stem from a misinterpretation of Marxian s o c i a l theory.  In f a c t , Marx argues that human nature i s not a substance  inherent i n each person but rather, consists of a d i a l e c t i c a l construct, i . e . , a dynamic complex of s o c i a l relations present within a s p e c i f i c h i s t o r i c a l context (Shroyer, 1969:182).  According to Marxist theory, i t  i s a gross d i s t o r t i o n of human r e a l i t y to consider the i n d i v i d u a l as opposed to or i s o l a t e d from society as a whole.  I n d i v i d u a l i t y must be  understood to be a process, an on-going i n t e r a c t i o n between the person, other individuals and the non-human natural world.  What B e l l presumes  i s that Marxism perceives people to exist only as members of economic classes; therefore, individuals are e n t i r e l y reduced to being abstractions of the group.  On the basis of these judgments, he concludes that  while Marxist s o c i a l theory can accommodate the idea of s o c i a l classes, an authentic concept of the i n d i v i d u a l cannot be formulated on i t s epistemological foundations (Schaff, 1970:68). B e l l ' s accusations may be i n error yet they do disclose a notable omission i n Marx's theory: a detailed analysis of the dynamics of human personality.  One can appreciate Marx's dictum that a person i s at once  product and producer, a locus of i n t e r a c t i o n of the s o c i a l r e l a t i o n s present at a s p e c i f i c instant.  The contention that human a c t i v i t y i s  mediated by factors as diverse as s o c i a l i n s t i t u t i o n s , language and  65 personal and c u l t u r a l h i s t o r y seems equally acceptable.  Yet when Marxists  point to the complexity of this process as providing a s u f f i c i e n t explanation for the existence of d i s t i n c t persons—each personality being undeniably u n i q u e — c e r t a i n  observers cannot help but f e e l short changed.  To  account for i n d i v i d u a l differences by casually r e f e r r i n g to the i n t r i c a c y and i r r e p l i c a b i l i t y of human character i s considered by some to beg  the  question. One  could argue that the absence of a comprehensive treatment of  personality i s not surprising given the o v e r a l l intention of Marx's project.  I f society i s to be transformed, p r i o r i t y must be accorded to the  study of mass movements, not to the in-depth probings of the individual's psyche (Schaff, 1970:98).  Admittedly, personality theories which claim  to be f a i t h f u l to the general p r i n c i p l e s of Marxism have since been formulated, but whether Marx himself planned to embark on such a programme remains doubtful.  We do know that the body of his work l i e s i n -  complete: shortly p r i o r to his death Marx greeted an inquiry as to the proposed date of publication of his complete works with the acid r e t o r t that "they would f i r s t have to be written" (Nicolaus, 1968:41). now widely known that Marx intended  It i s  to produce his magnum opus, a study  comprised of s i x sections to be c o l l e c t i v e l y e n t i t l e d Economics  of which  3  only one part, Capital, Nevertheless,  was  to a c t u a l l y appear i n p r i n t .  i t i s highly u n l i k e l y that Marx viewed the inves-  t i g a t i o n of i n d i v i d u a l psychology to be one of the more pressing concerns of the day.  Marx's neglect of this dimension i s regrettable i f only  because i t l e f t the door open for such disastrous formulations  as  66 produced by people such as Fredrick Engels, Marx's chief collaborator: That such a man, and p r e c i s e l y this man, arises at a determined period and i n a given country i s n a t u r a l l y pure chance. But, lacking Napoleon, another man would have f i l l e d h i s place . . . The same i s true of a l l chance events and of a l l that appears to be chance i n h i s t o r y . The farther removed the province which we are exploring i s from the economy, and the more i t cloaks i t s e l f i n an abstract ideol o g i c a l character, the more chance we find i n i t s development . . . But trace the middle axis of the curve . . . This axis tends to become p a r a l l e l to that of economic development.  In Engels' estimation, people are l i t t l e more than contingencies, chance occurrences within the l i m i t a t i o n s determined by t h e i r class origins.  The unique q u a l i t i e s and t r a i t s which characterise i n d i v i d u a l  personalities are dismissed as being minor variants of "an abstract i d e o l o g i c a l character" (Sartre, 1963b:56). Engels' pronouncements have undoubtedly jeopardized the o v e r a l l c r e d i b i l i t y of Marxism.  Unfortunately, recent attempts to explore the  psychological aspects of class society have met with l i t t l e better success.  For the most part, those contemporary personality theories  which purport to be Marxist i n o r i e n t a t i o n have only served to obscure many of Marx's fundamental tenets. Marcuse's attempt to wed Marx i s a case i n point.  Freud with  Surely this exercise w i l l remain s t i l l b o r n as  long as theorists such as Marcuse c l i n g to such n o n - d i a l e c t i c a l i r r e d u c i b l e s as sexual and aggressive i n s t i n c t s (Kupers, 1971:37). Jean-Paul Sartre (1969:50-51) provides a useful summation of the controversy surrounding proposals to integrate a theory of i n d i v i d u a l psychology with Marxism.  He maintains  that "everyone knows and everyone  admits . . . that psychoanalysis and Marxism should be able to f i n d the  67 mediations necessary to allow a combination  of the two. Everyone adds,  of course, that psychoanalysis i s not primary, but that correctly coupled and r a t i o n a l i z e d with Marxism, i t can be u s e f u l .  Likewise,  everyone says that there are American s o c i o l o g i c a l notions which have a certain v a l i d i t y , and that sociology i n general should be used . . . Everyone agrees on a l l t h i s .  Everyone i n fact says i t — b u t who has  t r i e d to do i t ? " It i s apparent that there i s no question i n Sartre's mind that the merging of a p a r t i c u l a r psychoanalytical method with Marxist s o c i a l theory i s a legitimate proposition. What i s problematic, Sartre argues, i s the actual formulation of a psychoanalytic approach which w i l l adequately c l a r i f y those issues which t r a d i t i o n a l l y have proven to be so troublesome for Marxist analysis.  I t i s this very task which Sartre  (1963b :56) has taken upon himself to complete. accomplished  In sum, he claims to have  the chore of a r t i c u l a t i n g a hierarchy of mediations which  w i l l account for the presence of a s p e c i f i c person as a member of a p a r t i c u l a r class within a certain society at a given h i s t o r i c a l moment. Sartre harbours no i l l u s i o n s that h i s method of psychoanalysis i s i n competition with Marxism proper.  He believes h i s approach to be a  p a r a s i t i c a l technique, a methodology which w i l l be eventually accepted as yet another aspect of Marxism as a whole. Sartre's psychoanalytic method (1963b :60-62) endeavours to reveal the point of i n s e r t i o n of the i n d i v i d u a l i n the p a r t i c u l a r s o c i a l c l a s s . The family i s considered to be the v i t a l mediator between the class and the person; i t i s within this primary unit that children unwittingly don  68 the s o c i a l roles imposed upon them by adults, both parents and " s i g n i f i cant others."  Here the i n d i v i d u a l i s confronted with class values which,  i n the uncertain depths of childhood, are internalized as v i r t u a l absolutes . As Adam Schaff (1970:99) indicates, any personality theory must include an adequate treatment of those i r r a t i o n a l elements which seem to be a universal aspect of human behaviour.  He cautions that this i s a  d i f f i c u l t undertaking, one a l l too frequently ignored by Marxist theorists.  Yet Sartre (1963b:62) provides a convincing discussion of this  very topic.  He observes that, for the majority of us, our b e l i e f s and  prejudices are v i r t u a l l y unsurpassable p r e c i s e l y because they have f i r s t been experienced during childhood.  I r r a t i o n a l responses and resistances  to reason are a r t i f a c t s of these early years, a period when class i n terests are i n t e r i o r i z e d as personal shackles.  His psychoanalytic scheme  t r i e s to determine the extent to which individuals are able to discard these youthful f e t t e r s .  I t focuses on adults with an eye to illuminating  those early deviations which are never to be wholly  transcended.  Thus, Sartre cautions that class biases should not be e n t i r e l y ascribed to the individual's confrontation with the means of production as either a c a p i t a l i s t extracter of surplus value or a proletarian v i c t i m of that process of exploitation.  He claims that many attitudes and pre-  judices are acquired p r i o r to leaving the family i t s e l f .  A non-dogmatic  Marxism i s one which w i l l allow f o r the integration of psychoanalysis as a method for revealing how each c h i l d f i r s t l i v e s the r e a l i t y of the s o c i a l class within the confines of the home.  Only with the i n c l u s i o n of  69 this technique can Marxism lay claim to being an authentic t o t a l i z a t i o n of existing s o c i a l knowledge (Darling, 1965:110). Antonio Gramsci i s one person who has recognised the necessity for just such an "open" Marxism, a v i t a l and comprehensive overview of social reality.  In p a r t i c u l a r , he confirms Marx's conception of the  i n d i v i d u a l as being a process, a f o c a l point of active realtionships i n which the i n d i v i d u a l , other people and the natural world are intertwined. Gramsci r e a l i z e s that i f one's own i n d i v i d u a l i t y i s a t o t a l i t y of specif i c r e l a t i o n s , personal changes w i l l modify the o v e r a l l complex i n which the i n d i v i d u a l i s embedded.  Self-consciousness e n t a i l s an awareness of  this present t o t a l i t y yet i t also demands an appreciation of the h i s t o r i c a l process of which this present t o t a l i z a t i o n i s but a moment.  There-  fore, Gramsci maintains that i t i s i n s u f f i c i e n t to simply examine the t o t a l i t y of interconnections at a given instant; i n addition, one must comprehend how the various relations came into being and changed over time.  In Gramsci's estimation, each i n d i v i d u a l i s both the "synthesis of  contemporary r e l a t i o n s h i p s " and the "summary of the entire past"  (Manzani,  1957:48). Sartre's expressed aim (1963b:60) i s to penetrate this past.  He  i s intent upon locating those childhood conditionings which w i l l enable him to discover how an individual's actions are influenced by "not only the present determinations but also the weight of his h i s t o r y . "  Sartre  d i r e c t s h i s attention to the study of the person's l i v e d experience, seeking to disclose the exact h i s t o r i c a l sequence whereby the i n d i v i d u a l acted i n terms of the p o s s i b i l i t i e s at hand and was acted upon i n turn.  He believes that the unique composition of personal experience should be accessible to a properly applied psychoanalytic technique.  That i s , the  reconstruction of an individual's history should be f e a s i b l e by f i r s t i s o l a t i n g certain i n i t i a l determinations and then tracing the person's progress through a succession of choices and actions (Manser, 1971:346347). The approach used by Sartre i s e s s e n t i a l l y a v a r i a t i o n on the progressive-regressive and analytico-synthetic method f i r s t outlined by Henri Lefebvre.  Sartre proposes to c l a r i f y the intersection of h i s t o r y ,  s o c i a l structure and biography and h i s adaptation of Lefebvre's scheme i s admirably suited to this task.  Human groups, according to Sartre,  must be understood with reference to both a horizontal complexity and a v e r t i c a l complexity. s o c i a l structure.  The horizontal complexity corresponds to the  I t involves the s p e c i f i c r e l a t i o n s of the group to  the dominant s o c i a l i n s t i t u t i o n s . for  The h i s t o r i c a l dimension i s accounted  i n the v e r t i c a l complexity, which refers to group a c t i v i t i e s sur-  v i v i n g from the past and to the p a r t i c u l a r sequence by which the i n s t i t u tions came to be formed.  Sartre captures the i n t e r a c t i o n of these two  components with respect to a p a r t i c u l a r i n d i v i d u a l by employing a procedure consisting of three d i s t i n c t stages.  The f i r s t phase i s one of  s i t u a t i n g the person within the s o c i a l structure.  This involves a  straightforward Marxist analysis of the society as a whole and of the class position of the i n d i v i d u a l within the s o c i a l system.  The second  phase consists of a regressive exploration of the person's history.  At  t h i s point, Sartre introduces h i s psychoanalytic approach i n order to  71  amplify the conventional Marxist account. moving from past to present  The f i n a l moment e n t a i l s  i n an attempt to grasp the current s i t u a t i o n  of the i n d i v i d u a l . This phase i s concerned with the integration of the s o c i a l structure and the p a r t i c u l a r biography within an h i s t o r i c a l movement.  Sartre claims that his threefold method " w i l l progressively deter-  mine a biography . . . by examining the period, and the period by studying the biography" (Weinstein, 19.71:346). Consequently, Sartre maintains that his method w i l l lay bare the unique r e a l i t y of the i n d i v i d u a l and at the same time w i l l contribute to an appreciation of the p r e v a i l i n g s o c i a l conditions. speaks of how  For example, he  the study of the c h i l d Flaubert enriches one's under-  standing of the French p e t i t bourgeois of the 1830's.  The e x i s t i n g  class values of this period are made concrete by focussing on the s i t u a tion of Flaubert, the son of a successful physician.  In f a c t , Sartre  (1963b:61) proposes that an h i s t o r i c a l examination of  psychoanalytic  monographs would be very i n s t r u c t i v e i n terms of documenting the modifications of the family structure and the s o c i a l class over a period of time.  Here we are reminded of Lukacs' emphasis on the study of p a r t i a l  t o t a l i t i e s such as the family to a s s i s t i n the comprehension of the movement of society as a whole.  Sartre has merely extended Lukacs'  proposition to include the consideration of the biography of an i n d i v i dual within a family. In part, Sartre's investigation has been prompted by his susp i c i o n that many Marxists tend to be s a t i s f i e d with l i t t l e more than a general description of class c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s . He wishes to enhance this  72 somewhat s u p e r f i c i a l understanding by presenting a concrete account of class values, one which i s grounded i n the detailed analysis of s p e c i f i c individuals.  Sartre (1969:45) claims that each person i n t e r n a l i z e s  various determinations such as the family, the relations of production, the s o c i a l i n s t i t u t i o n s and the lived experience and that these i n t e r i o r izations are revealed i n the individual's b e l i e f s and actions.  He con-  siders h i s psychoanalytic technique to be a useful instrument f o r i l l u s t r a t i n g how  the present attitudes and behaviour of a person can be  more f u l l y comprehended through an awareness of how that i n d i v i d u a l l i v e d s p e c i f i c family r e l a t i o n s during childhood. Sartre (1963b:31) agrees with Engels' statement that " i t i s men themselves who make their h i s t o r y , but within a given environment which conditions them."  Sartre i s seeking to i d e n t i f y the dynamics involved i n  this predicament of the i n d i v i d u a l being both a product and a producer of h i s t o r y .  He i s intrigued with the notion that people, conditioned by  the s o c i a l situations i n which they find themselves, are nevertheless able to surpass these existing circumstances, a l t e r i n g or conditioning t h e i r environment  i n turn.  Sartre f i r s t concerns himself with the process whereby a person moves beyond the existing s i t u a t i o n . concepts of project and praxis.  I t i s here that he introduces h i s  Sartre regards the project to be the  person's choice of one course of action from among a number of a l t e r n a tives.  This c o l l e c t i o n or group of possible actions does not remain  f i x e d , but rather i s continuously being modified i n accordance with the changing s o c i a l circumstances.  Praxis refers to the actual surpassing of  73 the e x i s t i n g s i t u a t i o n i n order to r e a l i s e the p a r t i c u l a r end outlined i n the project i t s e l f .  Thus, any purposeful human a c t i v i t y i s regarded  by Sartre to constitute praxis. Sartre's notions of project and praxis are not o r i g i n a l . bear a marked resemblance to ideas contained human labour. i n Capital  They  i n Marx's conception of  This s i m i l a r i t y i s perhaps best i l l u s t r a t e d i n a section  where Marx d i f f e r e n t i a t e s between human and non-human pro-  duction:  A spider conducts operations which resemble those of a weaver, and a bee puts to shame many an a r c h i t e c t i n the construction of her c e l l s . But what distinguishes the worst architect from the best of bees i s t h i s : that the architect raises his structure i n his imagination before he erects i t i n r e a l i t y . At the end of every labour process we get a r e s u l t that already existed i n the imagination of the labourer at i t s commencement. He not only e f f e c t s a change of form i n the material on which he works, but also r e a l i z e s a purpose of his own. (Marx, 1967:178) In Sartre's terminology, the imagined goal corresponds to the project; the actual building of the structure refers to human praxis. In a l l p r o b a b i l i t y , Marx would concur with Sartre that i t i s by transcending e x i s t i n g circumstances towards p a r t i c u l a r goals that individuals o b j e c t i f y t h e i r projects and contribute to the unfolding of human h i s t o r y . He would undoubtedly share Sartre's view that the p a r t i c u l a r courses of action f e a s i b l e at any given moment are determined by the e x i s t i n g s o c i a l conditions.  What Sartre attempts to outline i s how the choice of pro-  j e c t s i s also influenced by the p a r t i c u l a r history of the i n d i v i d u a l . He i n s i s t s that the o r i g i n a l childhood project—what he terms the fundamental choice of s e l f — w i l l greatly influence the future attitudes and  74 behaviour of the person (Laing and Cooper, 1964:23).  This i n i t i a l choice  w i l l be made i n terms of the courses of action conceivable at that time and Sartre argues that this realm of p o s s i b i l i t i e s w i l l r e f l e c t the class values and biases held by parents and other s i g n i f i c a n t persons i n the child's l i f e .  In sum, Sartre intends to outline the procedure by which  a person comes to adopt a u n i q u e — a l b e i t class-biased—perception of r e a l i t y , a perspective which w i l l affect a l l choices made and actions taken i n the future. It i s at this point that Sartre (1963b:62) introduces his part i c u l a r i n t e r p r e t a t i o n of Marx's concept of a l i e n a t i o n . He maintains that i n the eyes of most Marxists, "everything seems to happen as i f men experienced  t h e i r a l i e n a t i o n and t h e i r r e i f i c a t i o n f i r s t in their  own  work, whereas i n a c t u a l i t y each one l i v e s i t f i r s t as a c h i l d , in his parent's  work."  In Sartre's opinion, people continue to l i v e this  a l i e n a t i o n , this fundamental deviation.  Products of their parents'  design, they are never f u l l y able to overcome this early d i s t o r t i o n of character.  I t now becomes apparent that Sartre regards the c r i t i c a l  juncture of psychoanalysis  and Marxism to hinge on the notion of a l i e n -  ation. Nevertheless, context.  Sartre's use of a l i e n a t i o n i s problematic  i n this  I t i s highly debatable whether his term i s i n fact compatible  with the Marxian concept.  Richard Schacht, for one, believes that Sartre  has undeniably broadened the t r a d i t i o n a l applications of a l i e n a t i o n but that he does remain f a i t h f u l to the e s s e n t i a l p r i n c i p l e s of Marxism. Alienation i s generally used i n reference to conventional work s i t u a t i o n s ,  75 a r e s t r i c t i o n which Schacht (1971:238) considers to be excessively narrow. In Schacht's opinion, Sartre has added interesting and useful dimensions to the concept without  s a c r i f i c i n g any aspect of the o r i g i n a l formulation.  Unfortunately, Sartre himself sheds l i t t l e l i g h t on this controversy.  During h i s career, he has employed the concept of a l i e n a t i o n i n  a v a r i e t y of ways.  However, since becoming a Marxist he has neglected  to e x p l i c i t l y outline h i s current version of the term. are forced to construct our own  As a r e s u l t , we  i n t e r p r e t a t i o n of Sartre's concept on  the basis of an i n v e s t i g a t i o n of h i s e a r l i e r writings.  For the most  part, Sartre's present usage of a l i e n a t i o n appears to be a c o n f l a t i o n of elements drawn from Husserl, Hegel, Marx—with a l i t t l e Lukacs added for good measure.  Of course, h i s p a r t i c u l a r rendering i s hardly a straight  forward synthesis of these components.  Sartre's notion bears i t s own  unmistakeable cast, as much the consequence of a reworking of h i s e a r l i e r thoughts as a reformulation of other t h e o r i s t s . Sartre f i r s t employs the term a l i e n a t i o n i n Being and ness.  Nothing-  This p a r t i c u l a r version seems to be l i t t l e more than a l i t e r a l  application of the one introduced by the German phenomenologist, Edmund Husserl.  According to Husserl, as a p e r s o n — a woman, for example—comes  to r e a l i s e that others are subjects for themselves as she i s for h e r s e l f , she i s compelled to recognise that i n t h e i r eyes she has an objectcharacter as w e l l as a subject-character.  Moreover, she must acknowledge  that their view of her has as much v a l i d i t y as hers of them.  The  other  person thus serves as a type of mirror i n which she perceives that she i s not wholly subject, but also has the character of an object.  Here she  76  experiences herself as something "other," something " a l i e n " to her i n her s u b j e c t i v i t y .  In short, she experiences her "alienation" (Schacht,  1971:228). An i l l u s t r a t i o n of this phenomenon can be found i n Sartre's description of being caught o f f guard while peeking through a key-hole. Moments before, he was t o t a l l y absorbed i n spying on an intimate scene and was not conscious of being engaged i n a shameful act.  When he does  r e a l i s e that another person has discovered him i n this compromising t i o n , he r e c o i l s i n shame.  posi-  The look of the other person causes him to  self-consciously r e f l e c t upon h i s appearance i n the eyes of that person. He comes to see himself i n terms of certain q u a l i t i e s and properties: he self-consciously recognises himself to be a "peeping Tom."  In Sartre's  words, "by the mere appearance of the Other, I am put i n the position of passing judgment on myself as an object, f o r i t i s as an, object that I appear to the Other" (Solomon, 1972:306). Sartre regards this momentary " a l i e n a t i o n " from active "subject i v e " consciousness to be a common occurrence i n everyday l i f e .  He i s  quick to point out that the p a r t i c u l a r i d e n t i t y or character which we recognise by the process of s e l f - r e f l e c t i o n i s not our d e f i n i t i v e essence.  Here Sartre r e c a l l s Marx's b e l i e f that the i n d i v i d u a l does not  have a fixed personality, but rather i s engaged i n a l i f e l o n g of  self-creation.  process  Thus, the s p e c i f i c character or property revealed  through r e f l e c t i o n i s not a s t a t i c " s e l f , " but simply a moment i n the individual's l i f e .  In Sartre's example, h i s s e l f - i d e n t i f i c a t i o n as a  "peeping Tom" i s merely a transitory judgment, a f l e e t i n g assessment of  77 his e a r l i e r non-reflective act of spying. This phenomenon of self-consciousness occupies an position i n Sartre's theory.  important  The occurrence of s e l f - r e f l e c t i o n i s con-  sidered to be decisive to the gaining of an awareness of one's p a r t i c ular s i t u a t i o n i n the world.  Moreover, Sartre i n s i s t s that i t i s only  through the acknowledgment of the consciousness  of others that s e l f -  recognition comes into being (Solomon, 1972:306-308).  This view i s  strongly reminiscent of Hegel's contention that self-consciousness i n volves distinguishing between oneself and other objects i n the material world.  Hegel also maintains  that one's sense of self-esteem depends on  being perceived by other people to be a unique i n d i v i d u a l .  In other  words, he judges mutual recognition between individuals to be e s s e n t i a l for human well-being.  Hegel argues that at f i r s t a person wishes ack-  nowledgment from others without granting recognition i n return, a struggle for self-recognition which finds i t s most noteworthy expression i n Hegel's discussion of the Master-Slave relationship (Plamenatz,  1963:  152-154). Sartre characterizes this struggle for s e l f - r e c o g n i t i o n as being an attempt to avoid being o b j e c t i f i e d i n the eyes of other people.  Each  person wishes to be seen as an active s e l f - c r e a t i n g subject, not as a fixed entity comprised of s t a t i c properties (Solomon, 1972:305).  Yet  with every o b j e c t i f i c a t i o n of a project, the s p e c i f i c intentions of the i n d i v i d u a l are revealed.  Other people are free to i n f e r the presence of  changeless personal c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s on the basis of these s i g n i f i c a t i o n s . Hegel, for one, i s especially s e n s i t i v e to the detrimental  78 aspects of this tendency to o b j e c t i f y human beings.  He judges the a t t r i -  bution of fixed q u a l i t i e s to be harmful to the ongoing creation of s e l f . A series of words or deeds may be construed by others to be an adequate representation of the i n d i v i d u a l .  The person, i n turn, may come to view  these momentary externalisations as being s e l f - d e f i n i t i v e absolutes. Hegel terms such objectifying consciousness "abstract thinking." To i l l u s t r a t e this phenomenon, he cites the attitude of many people upon being confronted with a person convicted of murder: "This i s abstract thinking: to see nothing i n the murderer except the abstract fact that he i s a murderer, and to annul a l l other human essence i n him with this simple q u a l i t y " (Shroyer, 1971:88). But how can such abstract thinking be avoided?  Certainly a case  could be made f o r i t being a universal feature of the human species, r e s t r i c t e d neither to a p a r t i c u l a r h i s t o r i c a l period nor a s p e c i f i c group of people.  Peter Berger and Stanley Pullberg (1966:74) are two  contemporary s o c i o l o g i s t s who follow this l i n e of reasoning.  They main-  t a i n that the tendency to define oneself and others i n terms of fixed c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s i n inherent i n the human condition. Trenton Shroyer (1971:88-90) agrees that this propensity to o b j e c t i f y i s a r e a l p o s s i b i l i t y for a l l i n d i v i d u a l s , yet he argues that an adequate comprehension of each externalisation i s s u f f i c i e n t to prevent abstract thinking. In other words, d i s t o r t i v e conclusions can be avoided i f both the actor and the observer are able to reconstruct the nature of the project behind the act.  Thus, the d i a l e c t i c a l process of human s e l f - c r e a t i o n must be  acknowledged by both p a r t i e s .  Any breakdown i n s e l f - r e f l e c t i o n or  79  mutual-recognition  w i l l promote the occurrence of abstract thinking.  Lukacs' discussion of the r e i f i c a t i o n of consciousness seems especially  useful at this juncture.  Reified  thought i s seen to be a pro-  duct of a s p e c i f i c c a p i t a l i s t s o c i a l formation i n which there i s a proliferation  of s p e c i f i c types of i n s t i t u t i o n s  necessary to the market.  The h i s t o r i c a l dimension of r e i f i c a t i o n i s revealed by the fact that such i n s t i t u t i o n s  as a bureaucratic state apparatus and highly developed  commercial and l e g a l systems are unique to advanced c a p i t a l i s t society. It l o g i c a l l y follows that the existence of these s o c i a l conditions could only f a c i l i t a t e the occurrence of abstract thinking. predisposed  to consider a l l phenomena as isolated  than as f i n i t e moments i n a dynamic movement.  Reified minds are  empirical facts rather  Consequently, an i n d i v i -  dual's actions, words and gestures w i l l i n a l l likelihood  be treated as  statements of the s t a t i c nature of the person's character.  Therefore,  i t could be argued that this tendency to view people as having fixed personalities i s l i k e l y to be especially society.  Reification  prevalent i n advanced c a p i t a l i s t  of consciousness hinders mutual recognition and  non-distortive s e l f - r e f l e c t i o n .  Abstract thinking thereby acquires a  h i s t o r i c a l dimension. Sartre appears to agree with Lukacs' premise that r e i f i c a t i o n i s a consequence of c a p i t a l i s t society.  For his own purposes he further  narrows this focus, concentrating on the unique events which occur i n the formative years of childhood.  We have witnessed how  the nature of  s e l f - r e f l e c t i o n i s an important consideration i n both Hegel's formulation of abstract thinking and Lukacs' notion of r e i f i c a t i o n .  Sartre seems to  80 be equally appreciative of this phenomenon.  His own version of a l i e n a -  t i o n and r e i f i c a t i o n emphasises the s i g n i f i c a n c e of the s e l f - r e f l e c t i v e act  during a person's early years.  The s e l f - r e c o g n i t i o n process of the  c h i l d and the prevalence of r e i f i e d consciousness  amongst adults combine  to provide the substance of Sartre's application of Marx's concept of alienation. One of Sartre's basic theses i s that a person exists within s p e c i f i c s o c i a l conditions and makes choices and decisions on the basis of the objective p o s s i b i l i t i e s a v a i l a b l e .  Yet during childhood,  the  i n d i v i d u a l acts without c l e a r l y comprehending the actual nature of the existing s o c i a l context.  P a r t i c u l a r patterns of behaviour are learned,  contradictory requests made by adults are frequently experienced,  anxious  attempts to break free of confusing situations occasionally o c c u r — a l l this takes place i n a s i t u a t i o n only vaguely understood by the c h i l d . This groping to comprehend s o c i a l r e a l i t y and to move beyond what are often bewildering predicaments i s considered by Sartre to provide  the  basis for the fundamental quirks and deviations of a person's character. The reverberations of our i n i t i a l e f f o r t s to make sense of l i v e d s i t u a tions are s t i l l experienced  i n our a c t i v i t i e s as adults.  Sartre (1963b:  100-106) argues that these early d i s t o r t i o n s are inscribed i n our d a i l y pursuits and that the course of our l i v e s w i l l r e f l e c t the unfolding of variations on these i n i t i a l d i s t o r t i o n s . . He perceives the individual's l i f e to evolve i n s p i r a l s with the same deviations being repeatedly countered at d i f f e r e n t levels of integration and  en-  complexity.  To some extent, these childhood legacies are prototypes  of the  81 r e i f i c a t i o n s of consciousness which people w i l l encounter as adults.  Yet  Sartre maintains that these youthful distortions are more profound, more fundamental, f o r they originate at a time when the i n d i v i d u a l i s i l l equipped to make sense of them.  Invariably, they supply the person with  a s e l f - d e f i n i t i o n which w i l l be reinforced and perpetuated into adulthood. Thus, these early alienations remain as components of a r e i f i e d i d e n t i t y , a self-image to be defended at a l l cost.  The intransigence of these  i n i t i a l self-conceptions i s a function of the novel circumstances of childhood.  As Andre Gorz (1959:58) points out, "complexes surviving from  childhood are neither explicable nor soluble by Marxist analysis as alienations l i k e any others, because the o r i g i n a l choice functions at a moment and at a period where there i s s t i l l neither history nor conscious practice nor p o s s i b i l i t y of deliberate consciousness."  In other words,  fundamental deviations are a r t i f a c t s from a time when acts of s e l f r e f l e c t i o n were either minimal or altogether lacking. The f i r s t comprehensive  treatment of the concept of fundamental  deviation i s to be found i n Sartre's study of the French playwright, poet, novelist and t h i e f , Jean Genet.  Born i n Paris i n 1910, Genet was aban-  doned by h i s mother shortly after b i r t h .  He was soon adopted and went to  l i v e with his foster parents i n the r u r a l v i l l a g e of Mettray.  By the  time he was ten, Genet had been caught stealing on various occasions and was sentenced to a term i n a l o c a l reformatory. for  theft resulted i n periods of imprisonment  schools.  Successive convictions  i n a series of correctional  By the time he was twenty, Genet had served a short s t i n t i n  the Foreign Legion which was followed by a period of wandering Europe.  through  82 Genet's travels were frequently interrupted by prison terms and i t was  during one of these sentences that he wrote his f i r s t book, Our  Lady of the Flowers. and poems.  This work was  followed by a number of novels,  plays  After ten convictions for theft i n France alone, Genet  escaped- l i f e imprisonment when granted a pardon by the President of the Republic.  Such public figures as Picasso, Cocteau and Sartre were i n s t r u -  mental i n p e t i t i o n i n g for Genet's release (Cooper, 1964:68). argues that Genet i s one of those persons, a l l too rare, who  Sartre gain an  awareness of their childhood d i s t o r t i o n s . In f a c t , the intention of Sartre's psychoanalytic  technique i s to determine whether individuals  remain p a r t i a l l y or wholly engulfed by these early flaws or whether they come to recognise these d i s t o r t i o n s of character, as did Genet. Genet was  raised i n a r u r a l community which placed a high value  on the ownership of property.  According  to Sartre, the boy began to  s t e a l i n a half-comprehending attempt to compensate for his  constant  obligation to be g r a t e f u l for a l l that he received as a ward of the State.  His acts of thievery, l i t t l e more than unreflected diversions,  were transformed into objective v i o l a t i o n s when Genet was declared to be a t h i e f .  It i s for this reason that Sartre  Genet's case to be exceptional f o r , at a young age, he was formed who  he was.  accosted  and  considers literally in-  The majority of his l i f e has been devoted to i n t e r -  n a l i z i n g this judgment imposed on him by adults, a verdict which he i n i t i a l l y considered  to be the d e f i n i t i v e pronouncement of society.  Genet determines that this decisive event occurred when he ten years o l d .  Playing alone i n the kitchen, he was  was  about to take a knife  83 from a drawer when he r e a l i s e d that he was being watched.  At this instant,  Genet experienced himself as an object i n the eyes of this onlooker.  His  u n r e f l e c t i v e actions were now objective statements of the nature of h i s character.  Under the gaze of another person, Genet i n effect came to h i s  senses for the f i r s t time. firmed.  The boy who  lacked an i d e n t i t y was now  Genet does not contest the stigma conferred upon him.  con-  He acknow-  ledges the r e i f y i n g pronouncement, assuming himself to be this p a r t i c u l a r object, fixed for a l l time by the judgment of others; "The thief was monstrous p r i n c i p l e which had been residing unperceived within him which was now  disclosed as h i s Truth, h i s eternal essence"  a  and  (Cooper, 1964c:  72). What was but a momentary "alienation" of h i s u n r e f l e c t i v e subject i v i t y became a l a s t i n g r e i f i c a t i o n . o f consciousness.  Sartre views Genet's  i d e n t i f i c a t i o n as a thief to be c r u c i a l to h i s future development. remainder of the biography  The  i s an attempt to depict the events of Genet's  future years as being elaborate v a r i a t i o n s on this o r i g i n a l c r i s i s . Sartre recognises that this fundamental deviation may consequence of one s p e c i f i c event.  not have been the  Genet himself refers to a variety of  o c c a s i o n s — r e a l or imaginary—when the "melodious c h i l d " i n him k i l l e d by a "vertiginous word" (Cooper, 1964c:71).  was  This assassination  may have been the r e s u l t of one incident or of a succession of accusations of a similar type.  I t may w e l l be simply a condensation of Genet's ex-  perience of himself as perceived by others during a p a r t i c u l a r stage of his  childhood. The r o l e played by p a r t i c u l a r s o c i a l values was  extremely  crucial  84 to the formation of young Genet's perception of the world.  The adults  who function here as mediators i n the s o c i a l i s a t i o n process introduce the c h i l d to a class-biased conception of r e a l i t y , a frame of reference accepted by the youngster as the natural order of things (Gorz, 1959:59). The orphan sees the necessity to obtain possessions of h i s own i n order to achieve legitimacy i n the eyes of the community.  The l o c a l authori-  t i e s , responsive to the v i r t u a l l y s a n c t i f i e d status of private property, i d e n t i f y Genet to be a criminal and banish him to a reformatory.  The  harsh punishment handed down to the ten year old delinquent underlines the high value attributed to ownership i n this p r o v i n c i a l community. Sartre contends that Genet's future a c t i v i t i e s as a self-professed thief are i n reaction to these values. Published i n the early 1950's, Sartre's study of Genet t e s t i f i e s to the e x i s t e n t i a l philosopher's heightened  s e n s i t i v i t y to the impact of  s o c i a l factors upon a person's development.  The r e l a t i o n between class  values and childhood fixations i s touched upon i n this biography, but the subject does not receive a f u l l treatment u n t i l the recent appearance of Sartre's study of Flaubert.  By this time, Sartre's controversial  d e f i n i t i o n of i n d i v i d u a l freedom (1969:45) has shrunk i n proportion u n t i l today he subscribes to a more modest version, one that i s compatible with Marxism.  He now asserts that freedom i s limited to that "small  movement which makes of a t o t a l l y conditioned s o c i a l being someone who does not render back completely what h i s conditioning has given him. Which makes of Genet a poet when he had been rigorously conditioned to be a t h i e f . "  85 It i s with Sartre's comments on Flaubert that i t becomes apparent how each of us serves our class apprenticeship within the context of our p a r t i c u l a r family.  Here Lukacs' recognition of the importance of the  family i s explored i n depth. are made concrete.  I t i s i n the home that class p o s s i b i l i t i e s  I t i s as children that we l i v e our future conditions;  i t i s as children that we probe the class determined realm of p o s s i b i l i t i e s open to us and s e l e c t — i n greater or lesser degrees of awareness — t h e attributes and q u a l i t i e s of our future professions.  Sartre charac-  t e r i s e s Flaubert as a person who f r a n t i c a l l y struggles to escape the suffocating demands of his p e t i t bourgeois family and who r e a l i s e s proj e c t s as an adult which v i v i d l y a t t e s t to these smothering conditions of childhood. Flaubert's progress begins with the c h i l d who feels deprived of a f f e c t i o n due to the attention conferred upon his brother, a b r i l l i a n t medical student.  Sartre believes that Flaubert s t r i v e s to be d i f f e r e n t  from his successful brother by i n i t i a l l y e l e c t i n g to be i n f e r i o r to him. Flaubert reacts by f i r s t becoming a mediocre student and then entering law school, a profession which he r e a l i s e s h i s physician father holds i n disdain.  When faced with the prospect of gaining some degree of respec-  t a b i l i t y as an attorney, Flaubert responds with attacks of "hysteria,  11  /  once again seeking to hold success at bay. Sartre traces Flaubert's movement through repeated breakdowns to his eventual profession as a committed w r i t e r .  Sartre indicates how each c r u c i a l phase i n Flaubert's  l i f e appears to be only a r e p e t i t i o n of h i s i n i t i a l childhood crisis.  identity  86 In a recent interview, Sartre refers to Flaubert's comprehension of the o r i g i n s of h i s p a r t i c u l a r orientation, h i s unique being-in-theworld.  He i s alleged to have once made the statement that "you are doubt-  less l i k e myself, you a l l have the same t e r r i f y i n g and tedious depths." (Sartre (1969:49) considers this to be an accurate assessment of the nature of psychoanalysis: the i n d i v i d u a l makes periodic dizzying revelations only to find that i n each instance the discovery exposes the same fundamental complex.  Sartre (1963b:106) comes to the conclusion that i n  a l l i t s myriad forms, the project which i s the i n d i v i d u a l ' s l i f e i s e s s e n t i a l l y the struggle to transcend o r i g i n a l skews and deviations, the residue of childhood a l i e n a t i o n s . The i n d i v i d u a l l i v e s or exists these r e i f i c a t i o n s , surpassing them yet preserving them i n each act.  Therefore,  one's personal h i s t o r y seems to unfold with the same c r i t i c a l deviations being broached, yet always i n s u p e r f i c i a l l y new  guises and at d i f f e r e n t  l e v e l s of i n t e n s i t y . Andre Gorz i s one person who  has employed Sartre's method i n an  e f f o r t to understand h i s own h i s t o r y .  The Traitor  i s Gorz's account of  t h i s exercise, a programme of s e l f - a n a l y s i s which spanned eight years. It i s a d i f f i c u l t book, f i l l e d with sections both i n s i g h t f u l and obscure. At times Gorz's s t y l e i s v i r t u a l l y impenetrable, bear quoting i n f u l l . p e t i t bourgeois  yet c e r t a i n passages  Their complexity attests to the contortions this  i n t e l l e c t u a l was  compelled to undergo i n order to r e a l i s e  h i s project: the fusion of h i s personal biography with Marxism.  Much of  the book i s written i n the t h i r d person i n an abvious attempt by Gorz to gain a clearer perspective of the nature of h i s h i s t o r y .  I t i s not u n t i l  87 he has exhaustively probed both h i s own l i v e d experience and the s o c i a l context of h i s youth that he i s able to integrate h i s own biography and the s o c i a l structure within a h i s t o r i c a l movement.  With the completion  of this task, he i s re-established as the subject, as " I . " At one point Gorz (1959:271-272) recounts an early r e a l i s a t i o n that others around him perceived him to be an i n d i v i d u a l with p a r t i c u l a r qualities.  I t provides an excellent example of Sartre's notion of  childhood a l i e n a t i o n :  This body i t s e l f was stolen from him, i t spoke to others i n a language he did not know; he was spoken by h i s body. Unrealizable s i g n i f i c a t i o n s , intentions he was certain he did not have because he did not understand them, came to inhabit him from outside, establ i s h i n g themselves, l i k e parasites that eat away the f l e s h or, worse s t i l l , the consciousness, without h i s being able to turn around and see them. He became for others an Odd L i t t l e Person of whom they spoke i n h i s presence i n the t h i r d person, a strange object (playing with the l i t t l e wheels on the bars of the kind of cage they put him i n at the age of two, he f e l t t h e i r eyes, their silence upon him; "I suppose h e ' l l be engineer," h i s mother said i n her encouraging voice; f o r them, he beat on the wheels w i l d l y ; something was expected of him, what was an "engineer?") before whom grown-up men got down on a l l fours and made faces and ladies went into high-pitched ecstas i e s . They saw something on him he was ignorant of, he " t o l d " them something he did not know, they expected him to play a r o l e . He did not understand them, he did not understand h i s r o l e . They t e r r o r ized him. He hated them. His entire childhood was spent under this tyranny of i d e n t i f i c a t i o n , for he was required to i d e n t i t y himself with the r o l e , with the ego h i s mother wanted him to play and necess a r i l y imputed to him because that was how she wanted to see him.  Gorz (1959:272-273) then speaks of how this early self-image i s i s i n t e r i o r i s e d and confirmed.  Each project, each action i s formulated  with reference to this r e i f i e d i d e n t i t y , a self-concept incorporated during childhood.  I suppose this i s what i s meant by 'moral consciousness' (or the superego), this image of yourself which i s always shown to you as  88 what you are, and which, since i n fact you are nothing else, you should be from now on, l e s t you lose yourself i n the shadows of being nothing. You i n t e r i o r i z e the requirement to i d e n t i f y yourself and, i n order to conform to the ego presented to you, you apply yourself to producing i t by 'censoring' what contradicts i t — t h a t i s , by thematizing only those elements i n your intentions and behavior that confirm i t — t h e r e s t , l i k e the dark side of the moon remaining unknown (but not unconscious) for you.  Gorz i s especially perceptive i n h i s analysis of how this i n i t i a l i d e n t i t y becomes a deeply embedded aspect of a person's self-conception. In e f f e c t , he outlines how a momentary a l i e n a t i o n i s perpetuated as an ongoing r e i f i c a t i o n :  The d i a l e c t i c a l process of the choice . . . seems to me as follows: o r i g i n a l l y there was a complex, an i r r a t i o n a l attitude assumed i n childhood to avoid a s i t u a t i o n the c h i l d has no means of dealing with r a t i o n a l l y . . . If the o r i g i n a l project survives instead of f a l l i n g into o b l i v i o n with the rest of c h i l d i s h attitudes, i t can do so only to the degree that i t has become more than the o r i g i n a l complex i t was at the s t a r t . I t i s not the attitude of the child's o r i g i n a l n o n i d e n t i f i c a t i o n with h i s mother which i s perpetuating i t s e l f , but a project of n o n i d e n t i f i c a t i o n which discovers i n events forever new reasons f o r development, forever new p o s s i b i l i t i e s f o r refusing ident i f i c a t i o n , and forever new s i g n i f i c a t i o n s for this r e f u s a l .  Once Gorz (1959:290) becomes aware of these c r u c i a l determinations, he i s able to begin to r i d h i s consciousness of i t s more severe d i s t o r t i o n s . That i s , he embarks on a project of d e r e i f i c a t i o n .  With increased sensi-  t i v i t y to h i s own deviations, he becomes more responsive to the unique character of other people: This i s the point I have reached. The 'complex of n o n i d e n t i f i c a t i o n , ' since I have recognized i t , has drained l i k e an abscess. Instead of keeping the world at a distance l i k e an enemy who must not be allowed to get a grip on me, I am learning to y i e l d to i t ; to see i t , to begin with, to taste i t s density, my presence within i t , to l i s t e n to a man talking i n the depths of h i s speech (instead of l i s t e n i n g only to surface of what he s a y s ) . . . .  89  Gorz makes a number of i n s i g h t f u l comments i n the course of unv e i l i n g h i s own  o r i g i n a l choice of s e l f .  His autobiographical sketch i s  drawn from h i s d a i l y journal and i t s d i a l e c t i c a l unfolding provides extremely r i c h and i n t r i c a t e account of h i s personal development. discoveries lead to new new  an New  investigations and actions which i n turn promote  l e v e l s of understanding.  Gorz's entries (1959:290) gain force and  c l a r i t y as he gradually refines his comprehension of his own  unique  "ensemble of s o c i a l r e l a t i o n s " :  I no longer believe, as at the outset of this work, that a man can change r a d i c a l l y , can l i q u i d a t e h i s o r i g i n a l choice. But I am now convinced that by careful analysis of h i s empirical s i t u a t i o n , he can discover i n h i s choice p o t e n t i a l s i g n i f i c a t i o n s that permit him to reach p o s i t i v e conclusions. This i s the whole question. You are never asked to change yourself altogether, but to learn to employ your resources, with f u l l knowledge of the case, i n view of a p o s i t i v e action.  F i n a l l y , Gorz (1959:297-298) undertakes an examination of his s i t u a t i o n and of the s k i l l s that he has developed i n the course of h i s career.  He reaches the conclusion that the primary resource which he  possesses i s his talent for w r i t i n g : Among other things I have learned that I s h a l l never be through beginning again; that my world i s t h i s white paper, my l i f e the a c t i v i t y of covering i t . I once thought l i f e would be possible when I had said everything; and now I r e a l i z e that l i f e , for me, i s to write; to s t a r t out each time t r y i n g to say everything and to begin again immediately afterward, because everything s t i l l remains to be said.  Gorz sees this to be the p r i n c i p a l creative outlet available to him, yet he r e a l i s e s the inherent d e f i c i e n c i e s of this fundamentally p r i vate, highly s p e c i a l i s e d a c t i v i t y .  He recognises  too, the p o t e n t i a l  90 p i t f a l l s i t offers the p e t i t bourgeois i n t e l l e c t u a l who claims i t f o r a l i f e l o n g vocation.  Here h i s apprehension matches that of another p e t i t  bourgeois i n t e l l e c t u a l , h i s mentor, Jean-Paul Sartre (1964:82): "For a long time I treated my pen as a sword.  Now I r e a l i s e how helpless we are.  It does not matter: I am writing, I s h a l l write books; they are needed: they have a use a l l the same." Gorz and Sartre know that theory alone cannot make a revolution; yet both maintain that i t i s a necessary component of any revolutionary movement.  They have taken i t upon themselves  to devote their energies to i t s production and refinement. Sartre has t r a v e l l e d a long and circuitous route to a r r i v e at his  present p o s i t i o n .  In the i n i t i a l stages of h i s career, Sartre per-  ceived each person to be a completely undetermined  being.  An individual's  l i f e , Sartre argued, took on i t s p a r t i c u l a r form according to the free selection of a project which one made f o r oneself and continues to make for  oneself at each instant.  Many people behave as though they are pre-  determined, pursuing courses of action as i f they were t o t a l l y and unavoidably predefined.  This was considered by Sartre to be merely a pro-  cess of self-deception whereby individuals denied t h e i r freedom and their r e s p o n s i b i l i t y f o r their actions (Macintyre, 1971:29).  As Sartre out-  l i n e d i n h i s early biographical p o r t r a i t s of Tintoretto and Baudelaire, the i n i t i a l awareness of this freedom and the resultant choice of a personal project comprised the c r u c i a l moments of s e l f - d e f i n i t i o n i n a person's l i f e . The publication of Being  and Nothingness  i n the early 1940's  marked the f i r s t comprehensive presentation of Sartre's philosophy of  91 freedom.  Yet with the passage of time, he came to regard h i s b e l i e f that  individuals are s o l e l y responsible for the making of t h e i r own increasingly less acceptable.  l i v e s as  Each of h i s p o r t r a i t s of painters and  writers contains sections which stress the importance of the  formative  years with respect to the child's conscious decision to embark upon a s p e c i f i c project.  Sartre went so far as to admit that children have a  tendency to a l i g n themselves with the conventions of the immediate community, yet he denied that the a t t r a c t i o n to these norms was table.  irresis-  I f individuals chose to u n c r i t i c a l l y embrace the values of the  surrounding society, their p r i n c i p a l motive for doing so was  based on  bad f a i t h : they wished to s a c r i f i c e their personal l i b e r t y i n order to find protection and guidance through compliance with their class (McMahon, 1967:6).  While Sartre gradually came to give greater emphasis to the  r o l e of early conditioning, he s t i l l held to the b e l i e f that people are free to choose what course their l i v e s w i l l take.  Nevertheless,  Sartre  (1964:129) f i n a l l y recognises l a t e i n his l i f e that his own history cannot be judged to be t r u l y s e l f - d e f i n e d :  I had not chosen my vocation; i t has been imposed upon me by others. . . . The grown-ups who were i n s t i l l e d i n my soul, pointed to my star; I didn't see i t , but I saw t h e i r fingers pointing; I believed i n the adults who claimed to believe i n me. Sartre estimates that i t took him t h i r t y years to r i d himself of the idealism inherited from this p e t i t bourgeois upbringing.  In f a c t ,  his disgust with the s e l f - s e r v i n g character of h i s class dates from an early age.  However, i t was not u n t i l years l a t e r that he was  appreciate how  able to  his s o l i t a r y revolt against the hypocrisy of the  92  bourgeoisie embodied elements of the ideology which he found to be so repugnant.  Gradually, he came to understand the class d i s t o r t i o n s which  he had i n t e r n a l i s e d as a c h i l d and which he continued  to express i n the  e x i s t e n t i a l individualism of h i s l i t e r a t u r e and philosophy.  Sartre r e -  cently confirmed that he did not wake from this "post-infancy  hypnotic  state" u n t i l he had already written most of the works on which his reputation i s based (Laing, 1969:15). Sartre's trance-like state was not due to any lack of exposure to Marxism.  The i n t e l l e c t u a l c i r c l e s of which he was  receptive to l e f t wing thought. studied Capital  a part were highly  Sartre (1963:18) r e c a l l s that he  and The German Ideology  first  at u n i v e r s i t y : "I found everything  p e r f e c t l y c l e a r , and I r e a l l y understood absolutely nothing. stand i s to change, to go beyond oneself.  To under-  This reading did not change  me."  Sartre approached Marxism as he would any other philosophical d i s c i p l i n e . It was  an exercise i n l o g i c , an i n t e r e s t i n g account to be mulled over and  digested but c e r t a i n l y not something which could lead to a wholesale r e working of h i s consciousness.  Sartre claims that i t was  not Marx's words  but the r e a l i t y of the working class that i r r e s i s t i b l y attracted p e t i t bourgeois i n t e l l e c t u a l s l i k e himself.  The l i m i t e d knowledge that this  academic had of the d a i l y experience of the p r o l e t a r i a t was  great enough  to p u l l a l l h i s "acquired culture out of shape." The contradiction between h i s i n t e l l e c t u a l pursuits and his awareness of the oppressed p o s i t i o n of the majority of society was  not to be  overcome u n t i l Sartre had uncovered the origins of his p a r t i c u l a r perceptions of the world.  In time, the philosopher whose reputation was  based  93  upon his conception of free w i l l — t h e individual's freedom from past conditioning—was forced to acknowledge that h i s v i s i o n of r e a l i t y coloured by prejudices inherited from h i s c l a s s .  was  It was at this point  that Sartre discovered the r e i f i e d nature of h i s consciousness.  This  t i r e l e s s defender of individualism i s faced with the r e a l i s a t i o n that the fundamental impulse of h i s philosophy originates i n a childhood deviation, a class-bound r e i f i c a t i o n of consciousness.  This disclosure  prompts Sartre to trace the development of his own thought and, i n the process, to outline a method for documenting the l i v e d experience of every i n d i v i d u a l . labours.  His psychoanalytic technique i s the product of these  It represents a concerted attempt to demystify the i d e o l o g i c a l  content of human consciousness by employing a novel interpretation of the concept of a l i e n a t i o n . Sartre believes that he has attained an awareness of h i s own class biases.  Certainly there has been a notable s h i f t i n the orienta-  t i o n of h i s w r i t i n g s . But can Sartre's present work be judged to be wholly beyond reproach?  I t may w e l l be true that Sartre has purged him-  s e l f of much of h i s early idealism, yet does not a tendency towards individualism l i n g e r to this day: How  does one j u s t i f y h i s massive pro-  j e c t devoted to the l i f e of Flaubert, a nineteenth-century novelist?  Is  t h i s the product of a p e t i t bourgeois i n t e l l e c t u a l who has gained a sensit i v i t y to h i s class biases and who the revolutionary movement?  i s trying to use h i s s k i l l s to further  Sartre has adapted Marx's notion of a l i e n a -  tion to better understand the nature of i n d i v i d u a l i t y i n general and h i s own i n p a r t i c u l a r .  But why  t h i s preoccupation with the question of the  94 singular human being when the attainment of Marxism's goal requires the mobilization of a c o l l e c t i v e body? t i o n may be t h e o r e t i c a l l y sound.  Sartre's novel treatment of a l i e n a I t may accurately capture the l i v e d  experience of certain individuals within c a p i t a l i s t society. i t s p r a c t i c a l value to a revolutionary s o c i a l movement?  But what i s  CONCLUSION  Lukacs and Sartre speak as p e t i t bourgeois i n t e l l e c t u a l s and they rank as two of the most conscious members of their c l a s s .  They are  both capable of producing perceptive accounts of what i t means to be r e moved from d i r e c t contact with the machinery of c a p i t a l i s t production. This i s at once the strength and the weakness of their presentations. For example, Lukacs seeks to i s o l a t e the mechanisms needed to activate the working class as a revolutionary force.  Unfortunately, his argument,  as t h e o r e t i c a l l y polished as i t might be, suffers from a lack of experience of the very class which he i s trying to catalyse.  Lukacs' class  position may provide him with the opportunity to devote himself to detailed study but these scholarly labours have removed him from direct contact with c a p i t a l i s t exploitation.  Consequently, Lukacs and other  theorists l i k e him frequently discover that their constituency i s r e s t r i c t e d to persons similar to themselves, university-trained i n t e l l e c tuals who have the time and the i n c l i n a t i o n to explore obscure reaches of d i a l e c t i c a l reasoning. As we have witnessed, Lukacs i s pessimistic that a well developed class awareness can emerge amongst the p r o l e t a r i a t .  Nevertheless, one  suspects that Lukacs' findings are primarily the l o g i c a l outcome of h i s own thought processes rather than accurate observations of objective s o c i a l conditions.  His t h e o r e t i c a l formulations occasionally appear to  take on a l i f e of t h e i r own.  That i s , they seem more i n c l i n e d to r e f l e c t  the i n t e r n a l l o g i c of Lukacs' thought than to depict the existing circumstances of the working class which they are endeavouring to describe. 95  In  96 sum, Lukacs' presentation of the notion of r e i f i c a t i o n may provide a provocative addition to the Marxist exposition of a l i e n a t i o n and commodity fetishism. However, i t i s highly questionable whether h i s expos i t i o n adequately captures the actual s i t u a t i o n of working class individuals. Louis Althusser provides an interesting commentary on the poss i b l e distortions which a person of Lukacs' background can bring to the analysis of s o c i a l phenomena.  In Lenin  and Philosophy  and other  Essays,  Althusser (1971:74) refers to the two types of readers who confront Marx's Capital.  The f i r s t are those persons who have d i r e c t l y exper-  ienced the e x p l o i t i v e character of c a p i t a l i s t production.  Althusser  states that these people w i l l have l i t t l e or no d i f f i c u l t y i n comprehending Capital  for i t presents an account of their d a i l y existence.  The  second group of readers are those persons who have never encountered c a p i t a l i s t exploitation first-hand and who are governed i n both consciousness and p r a c t i c e by the dominant ideology, the ideology of the bourgeoisie.  Althusser contends that these people w i l l have considerable  d i f f i c u l t y i n overcoming t h e i r " p o l i t i c a l incompatability" with the content of Capital.  The t h e o r e t i c a l material contained i n Capital  fails  to coincide with the ideas which these people carry i n t h e i r heads, "ideas which they 'rediscover' i n their practices (because they put them there i n the f i r s t p l a c e ) " (Althusser, 1971:74).  Althusser maintains  that i n a l l l i k e l i h o o d these individuals w i l l come to a faulty understanding of Marx's project.  These observations are extremely  signifi-  cant, yet Althusser neglects to include a comprehensive treatment  of this  97 question.  Instead, he chooses to account for these d i f f e r e n t interpreta-  tions of Capital  by simply r e f e r r i n g to the existence of proletarian  "class i n s t i n c t " as opposed to bourgeois "class i n s t i n c t . " It i s at t h i s juncture that Sartre's work gains considerable c r e d i b i l i t y as being a notable contribution to Marxist theory.  His ap-  proach i s e s p e c i a l l y h e l p f u l i n illuminating Althusser's remarks on "class i n s t i n c t s " and i n disclosing the reasons f o r Lukacs'  shortcomings.  In general, Sartre seems to be more successful than Lukacs i f only because he appears to possess a greater s e n s i t i v i t y to h i s class biases. He i s aware to some extent that h i s prejudices d i s q u a l i f y him as a spokesman  for the working c l a s s .  Certainly there can be l i t t l e question that  Sartre i s most persuasive as an a r t i c u l a t e representative of that small grouping of p e t i t bourgeois i n t e l l e c t u a l s who revolutionary change.  recognise the need f o r  Perhaps more than any other Marxist theoretician,  Sartre has captured the character of h i s c l a s s , the l i v e d experience of the p e t i t bourgeoisie.  Sartre has employed the Marxist concept of  a l i e n a t i o n to account f o r the formation of h i s p a r t i c u l a r perception of reality.  In the process, he has developed a method which permits other  persons to c l a r i f y t h e i r own experience and to gain a greater appreciat i o n of the d i s t o r t i o n s which they i n f l i c t upon any a c t i v i t y , t h e o r e t i c a l or p r a c t i c a l .  As Sartre indicates, every s c i e n t i s t i s a part of the  s c i e n t i f i c f i e l d ; the i n d i v i d u a l must be aware of personal deviations i f s o c i a l r e a l i t y i s to be f a i t h f u l l y described.  It seems obvious that  Sartre's findings are anything but routine contributions to the revolutionary theorist's conceptual t o o l - k i t .  His technique of psychoanalysis  98 o f f e r s an i n c i s i v e procedure for the c l a r i f i c a t i o n of the d i s t o r t i o n s which each p e t i t bourgeois  i n t e l l e c t u a l brings to the study of s o c i a l  phenomena. I t seems reasonable to conclude that i t i s the p e t i t bourgeoisie rather than the p r o l e t a r i a t who  i s l i k e l y to receive the most immediate  benefits from an a p p l i c a t i o n of Sartre's method.  This i s because i t i s  p r e c i s e l y those p e t i t bourgeois i n t e l l e c t u a l s l i k e Sartre and Lukacs who seem to suffer the most serious long term effects of childhood m y s t i f i cations.  Andre Gorz (1959:60) i s p a r t i c u l a r l y convincing i n h i s discus-  sion of this problem.  He claims that members of the bourgeoisie and  p e t i t bourgeoisie " w i l l probably carry into their adult l i f e the complexes and r e l i g i o u s values of childhood for lack of occasions to l i q u i date them by the discovery that they make the world and that the world i s the work of human beings."  He adds that this mystified s i t u a t i o n i s  especially aggravated i n advanced c a p i t a l i s t societies where the  develop-  ment of technology has minimized the opportunity for people to achieve a consciousness order.  of themselves as being the actual creators of the s o c i a l  Gorz (1959:229) also supplies a useful commentary on the i n d i -  vidualism that t y p i f i e s the majority of h i s c l a s s . most p e t i t bourgeois  He remarks that for  i n t e l l e c t u a l s involvement i n c o l l e c t i v e a c t i v i t i e s  i s a threatening prospect.  They choose instead to form their projects  with the intention of making themselves d i s t i n c t , of i n d i v i d u a l i s i n g themselves. In l i g h t of these comments i t becomes evident that the p e t i t bourgeois  i n t e l l e c t u a l who  recognises the need to e s t a b l i s h the hegemony  99  of the working class i s faced with an exceedingly arduous task. Althusser (1971:11-12) declares that i n order to become Marxist-Leninist philosophers, p e t i t bourgeois of their ideas.  individuals must undergo a r e v o l u t i o n i s i n g  They must submit to a long and painstaking programme of  re-education, and " i n t e r n a l struggle" to overcome deeply entrenched biases and d i s t o r t i o n s .  In contrast to this drastic process of s e l f -  transformation, Althusser considers the predicament confronting the working class i n d i v i d u a l to be much less severe.  Certainly the prole-  t a r i a t requires educating to move to a p o s i t i o n of class  consciousness.  Yet for the most part education i s a l l that i s needed and not the wholesale remoulding of thought that i s the fate of each p e t i t  bourgeois  revolutionary. Sartre's intensely i n d i v i d u a l i s t i c preoccupation with psychoanalysis appears to be vindicated with these remarks. designed  to c l a r i f y the composition  His i s a technique  of one's make-up and to f a c i l i t a t e  the active self-knowledge demanded i f the p e t i t bourgeois  intellectual  i s to become a useful resource for the purposes of the working class.  To  be sure, Sartre continually emphasises that this approach i s a p a r a s i t i c a l ideology which w i l l be subsumed by Marxism as a whole.  This neatly  characterises his own p o s i t i o n and that of p e t i t bourgeois  intellectuals  l i k e him: p a r a s i t i c a l ideologues u n t i l such time as they have recognised t h e i r own class bound l i m i t a t i o n s and have embarked upon that r a d i c a l self-transformation that i s necessary i f they are to be of use to the working class cause.  The i n d i v i d u a l i s t i c impetus which t y p i f i e s the  r e a l i t y of the p e t i t bourgeoisie must be turned against i t s e l f .  Sartre's  100 method for i s o l a t i n g those r e i f i c a t i o n s peculiar to each i n d i v i d u a l i s a move i n this d i r e c t i o n .  I t r e f l e c t s Gramsci's advice (Manzani, 1957:18)  that "a beginning of a c r i t i q u e of one's own world view e n t a i l s a consciousness of one's s e l f , " an awareness of one's s e l f as the product of a h i s t o r i c a l process. The concept of a l i e n a t i o n i s the central element i n Sartre's thesis.  Nevertheless, this term which serves as the point of a r t i c u l a -  tion of h i s psychoanalytic method bears l i t t l e immediate resemblance to Hegel's o r i g i n a l formulation.  Alienation has undergone a number of modi-  f i c a t i o n s p r i o r to i t s appearance i n Sartre's exposition. the  Feuerbach was  i n s t i g a t o r of alienation's f i r s t major overhaul, rescuing the concept  from i t s precarious perch i n Hegel's i d e a l i s t scheme and setting i t firmly within a m a t e r i a l i s t framework. Feuerbach's reworking.  Marx was quick to improve upon  He uncovered the e s s e n t i a l nature of the notion  by exposing i t s r e l a t i o n to human labour.  Exchange, private property and  the  d i v i s i o n of labour are judged to be the c u l p r i t s as Marx pinpoints  the  ultimate cause of human a l i e n a t i o n .  the  boundaries of the term by examining the corruptive influence of com-  Lukacs then attempted to extend  modity production upon society i n general.  He was p a r t i c u l a r l y concerned  with documenting how the distorted consciousness associated with the alienated mode of labour hinders the development of a class conscious proletariat.  Sartre rounds o f f this progression with a study of the  formative stages of an individual's consciousness. His work i s largely a synthesis of much that has gone before, combining features from Hegel, Marx and Lukacs to produce h i s provocative account of the child's  initial  101 encounter with class biases.  Sartre proposes a psychoanalytic method  which i s intended to aid individuals i n achieving  some degree of sensi-  t i v i t y to the distorted character of t h e i r consciousness. not Sartre himself w i l l be successful i n combatting his own remains to be seen.  Whether or class  biases  Certainly a r e q u i s i t e for such an undertaking i s  the placing of one's s e l f at the service of the working c l a s s .  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