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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 British Columbia, 1969 A THESIS SUBMITTED IN PARTIAL FULFILMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF MASTER OF ARTS in 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 this thesis i n partial fulfilment of the requirements for an advanced degree at the University of British Columbia, I agree that the Library shall make i t freely available for reference and study. I further agree that permission for extensive copying of this thesis for scholarly purposes may be granted by the Head of my Department or by his representatives. It i s understood that copying or publication of this thesis for financial gain shall not be allowed without my written permission. Department of Anthropology and Sociology The University of British Columbia Vancouver 8, Canada Date August 30, 1973 Abstract Marx's concept of alienation has proven to be a subject of con-troversy for many social theorists. One of the more provocative treat-ments of this concept has been outlined by Jean-Paul Sartre. Drawing heavily on Marxism's Hegelian tradition, Sartre portrays alienation as being a crucial element in the formation of the individual's perception of social reality. An appreciation of Sartre's project and i t s relevance to Marxist theory necessitates the examination of the origins and develop-ment of the concept of alienation. For this purpose, a brief account of Hegel's usage of the term is followed by a discussion of Feuerbach's efforts to counter Hegelian idealism with an exp l i c i t l y materialist per-spective. Alienation makes i t s f i r s t appearance in Marx's work with the publication of the Economic and Philosophical Manuscripts of 1844 and the concept was to be a topic of concern throughout Marx's l i f e . In particular, his analysis of commodity fetishism in his later work shows an obvious connection with alienation. Georg Lukacs' presentation of the reification of consciousness is a valuable addition to the exami-nation of the fetishism of commodities. Lukacs provides numerous i n -sights concerning the relationship between alienation and commodity fetishism as well as offering a useful articulation of the role of con-sciousness in Marxist theory. Lukacs' contribution is especially helpful in clarifying 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 materialistic perspective f a i t h f u l to the basic tenents of Marxism. i i i i i In addition, Sartre employs the notion of reification as well as that of alienation in his psychoanalytic approach. His technique is intended to illuminate the class biases inherent in the consciousness of each i n d i -vidual, a proposal which finds an immediate application in explaining the distorted awareness which petit bourgeois intellectuals such as Lukacs and Sartre himself bring to the study of Marx's method. Table of Contents Chapter Page INTRODUCTION 1 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 alienation occupies a controversial position with-in Marxist social theory. It appears at different junctures and with varying significance throughout the course of Marx's work. Recently, the concept of alienation has proven to be a major concern of academics subscribing to very different interpretations of Marx's theory. For example, while Jean-Paul Sartre (1963:61-62) tends to regard alienation 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 alienation to be an anachronism, an a r t i -fact from Marx's pre-scientific apprenticeship. In fact, Althusser re-gards the concept of alienation as one of the major obstacles to the development of an authentic representation of Marx's project. Both Sartre and Althusser are highly respected theorists. Both claim to have un-covered the definitive reading of Marxist theory, yet they take diametri-cally opposed positions with respect to the notion of alienation. The disclosure of the "true" function of alienation in Marx's conceptual scheme is 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 later development at the hands of Marx. However, this is not intended to be an exhaustive treat-ment of the history of this concept. Instead, i t i s merely designed to situate the discussion in 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 aliena-tion to be an integral component of Marx's thought. 1 2 This investigation begins with an account of Hegel's usage of the concept of alienation. Hegel uses the term to describe a transitory moment in the self-creation of Spirit. He considers his notion of S p i r i t to refer to an Absolute Being3 an idealist construct which em-braces both the natural and the social realms. Alienation refers to a c r i t i c a l moment when individual humans, agents of S p i r i t 3 f a i l to recog-nise that the world about them is simply Spirit in objectified form. Instead, they regard the social and natural domains to be alien. In Hegel's estimation, this lack of recognition constitutes the self -alienation of Spirit. Ludwig Feuerbach opposes Hegel's thesis, posing a materialist critique which discredits the Hegelian notion of Spirit. According to Feuerbach, S p i r i t is simply a refinement of the religious conception of God, and as such is subject to similar criticisms as those directed at theology. God, Feuerbach argues, is l i t t l e more than a projection of human consciousness. It represents an idealised version of human essence. 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 spiritual deities are mistakenly perceived to be the creators of humanity rather than the human creations which they are in actuality. Feuerbach's remarks proved to be extremely helpful to Karl Marx in his attempts to determine the social 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 alienation of labour constitutes the basis for a l l forms of human alienation. In particular, he directs his attention to 3 the examination of alienated conditions in societies in which the capi-t a l i s t mode of production predominates. By the time of the publication of Capital in 1865, Marx has generated a more thorough analysis of how the prevalence of commodity production has distorted the relations be-tween people as well as between individuals and their products. Marx's notion of commodity fetishism refers to the situation in which commodi-ties predominate to the extent that social 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 is extremely suggestive. Later theorists argue that this concept con-tains numerous insights which are useful to the understanding of the . transition from "false consciousness" to "class consciousness." For ex-ample, Georg Lukacs believes that i t s elaboration could assist in the raising of the consciousness of the working class. He argues that i t is only through an awareness of the actual character of capitalist society that the.working class can come to recognise i t s position of exploitation. However, as long as the proletariat suffers from the distorted conscious-ness associated with commodity production, the likelihood of the estab-lishment of a collective movement whose goal is the elimination of the causes of alienated consciousness remains remote indeed (Lukacs, 1970: 69-70). What Lukacs proposes is an intensive study of the nature of alienated consciousness with the intention of illuminating possible prac-tices which could lead to the dispelling of "false consciousness." He 4 argues that the mystifications stemming from commodity production can be detected in virtually a l l aspects of capitalist culture. In particular, he focuses on the practices of bureaucrats and scientists as i l l u s t r a t i v e of how the distorted consciousness associated with commodity fetishism is inscribed in the products of mental labour. The pursuit of isolated facts at the expense of an awareness of how phenomena interact within the social totality i s judged by Lukacs to be an especially pronounced characteristic of intellectual activity in advanced capitalist society. This lack of sensitivity to the dialectical nature of the social whole is 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 profitable elaborations of Marx's thought. For example, his intention is to outline how capitalist culture as a whole reinforces and perpetuates the mystified consciousness which is a consequence of alienated labour. In effect, this can be interpreted to be a step towards a general critique of daily l i f e in capitalist society. Lukacs confines himself to outlining the social con-ditions which militate against the development of class consciousness. His principal concern is with the distorted awareness which is a result of alienated labour and how this mystified consciousness hinders the understanding of social reality. These efforts by Lukacs to expand the boundaries of commodity fetishism effectively 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 distortions in the individual. What this entails i s an examination of how each child acquires certain class biased perceptions of the social realm. It is Sartre's contention that these youthful blinders are the consequence of the socialisation process. Sartre's psychoanalytic approach is advanced as a technique specifically intended to reveal how a class bound perception of society is i n s t i l l e d during childhood. This furthers Lukacs1 efforts to determine the sources of rei f i e d consciousness which prevails in advanced capitalist society. In addition, i t is a logical development of Marx's discussion of aliena-tion, one which is of particular significance to the production of social 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 alienation. Chapter 1 FROM HEGEL TO MARX Hegel In an essay written in 1946, Sartre directs a blistering attack at the dogma of Soviet Marxism. Rejecting Stalin's materialism as being mechanistic, Sartre (1955:191) calls for the rediscovery of the dialec-t i c a l nature of Marx's thought. A truly dialectical materialism, Sartre contends, would recognise the synthetic character of the forward movement of consciousness. With each successive totalisation 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 totality of antecedent ideas. The career of Marx's concept of alienation i s no exception to this principle of dialectics. The development of the term can be traced from i t s origins in Hegel's system of philosophy, through a decisive re-formulation by Feuerbach to i t s unique positioning within Marxian social theory. Of course, much that was integral to the concept at i t s idealist formulation has been reworked and modified. Yet i t would be naive to expect to grasp the essence of Marx's use of alienation 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 in the work of Kant. This distinction i s outlined by Kant as involving things as they appear to us and things in themselves. It i s his belief 6 7 that thought always perverts reality by imposing categories upon the perceived objects (Lichtheim, 1971:60). Knowledge i s a tool which mis-construes that which i t i s attempting to know. Consequently, Kant denies the possibility that humans can attain absolute knowledge. The most that we can hope to gain i s some understanding of the nature of the tool of knowledge and the inevitable distortions which i t i n f l i c t s upon the objects of experience (Solomon, 1972:50). Hegel chooses to reject this conventional distinction, adopting a course which emphasizes neither the knowing subject nor the natural world. Instead, Hegel claims that the faculty of knowing and the object of knowledge are essentially one. This is not meant to imply that know-ledge and i t s object cannot be distinguished from each other, but that both are "inseparable aspects of a single experience" (Plamenatz, 1963: 138). Moreover, in sharp contrast to Kant who believes that knowledge is a passive structure which i s capable of being accurately examined, Hegel maintains that knowledge i s in fact active. Any investigation of knowledge w i l l change knowledge; the critique of knowledge i s at the same time the modification of knowledge (Solomon, 1972:51). The crucial element in Hegelian philosophy is Spirit^ a concept at once so equivocal as to prove to be almost indefinable. Hegel judges reality to be the manifestation of Spirit and the development of reality is i t s e l f the development of Spirit. In general terms, S p i r i t is judged to be the active identity or point of fusion of consciousness and reality. Hegel considers the dynamic facet of this identity to be rea-son. He perceives reason to be the certainty of consciousness as i t 8 reveals i t s e l f in reality. The realisation of reason is manifested in such creations as religion, art and philosophy and in such institutions as law and the state. In essence, S p i r i t is "the activity of reason actualising i t s e l f within reality and creating i t " (Rotenstreich, 1965: 32) . Hegel claims that Spirit produces the social and natural world and comes to recognise i t s own nature by reflecting 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 identifies the world as i t s own creation. However, S p i r i t is not immediately aware of this act of self-production. 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 is eventually revealed that this apparently independent realm is nothing other than a manifestation of Spirit i t s e l f . At this juncture, S p i r i t "recognizes that the world is rational (or in t e l l i g i b l e ) because i t is the product of reason; i t recognizes i t s e l f in the world (as Hegel puts it ) and so is at home in the world and is satisfied" (Plamenatz, 1963: 151) . But how does S p i r i t gain this self-awareness? Hegel maintains that i t is 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 is greater than any of the individual consciousnesses through which i t arrives at this state of self-recognition. Spirit^ rather than the human individual, is considered to be the ultimate subject of history for 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 integrity of the human community i s an impor-tant requisite for Spirit's self-realisation. Hegel contends that each person is a manifestation of S p i r i t and that an essential quality of S p i r i t is universality. Only through the unity of the individual with the social substance can universality at the interpersonal level be main-tained. In Hegel's estimation, the principle of human unity is of utmost importance and he considers this solidarity or universality worthy of a l l the sacrifices demanded for i t s attainment (Schacht, 1970:89) . It i s at this point that we encounter Hegel's use—or, more correctly, uses—of the concept of alienation. Hegel i s of the opinion that one must be able to recognise oneself as a separate individual before i t w i l l be possible to realise oneself in unity with others, in universality. This process is considered to be one of self-enrichment of Spirit, with alienation representing but a transitional moment on the road to the attainment of self-knowledge. According to Hegel, the relation of many people to the social substance is one of complete unity. Schacht (1970:46) interprets this to mean that certain individuals are unaware of themselves except in terms of particular social roles. That i s , these persons hold an imme-diate or unreflective identification with the social groups and cate-gories in which they find themselves. Moreover, the recognition of oneself as a particular individual does not inevitably emerge in the course of one's l i f e . A self-conception distinct from that of the social substance (i.e., cultural institutions) i s a phenomenon which has 10 appeared relatively recently and can by no means by considered to be uni-versal even today. Nonetheless, i t is frequently the case that conflicts do force the individual's consciousness back upon i t s e l f . The person no longer identifies with the social substance, but rather comes to limit self-identification to one's own person. Hegel considers this to be a desirable step for he feels that the emergence of a sense of distinct individuality i s a necessary prerequisite to the realisation of Spirit's essential nature. Consciousness must f i r s t extricate i t s e l f from i t s immediate merging with the social substance in order to gain sufficient perspective to enable i t to "grasp the content of experience in i t s truth and actuality" (Solomon, 1972:48). -With the rupture of this i n i t i a l unity, the individual comes to perceive the social substance as being external and "other." A person in this situation i s characterised by Hegel as being self-alienated. It is important to note that Hegel considers the social substance to be not merely the creation of S p i r i t but i t s objectification as well. The social substance is S p i r i t but in objectified form. Therefore, an individual who is alienated from the social substance is in fact alien-ated from objectified Spirit. "In other words, one f a i l s to see that the social substance which seems alien to one is not really so, but rather i s one's own creation and objectification" (Solomon, 1972:54). This i s the f i r s t way in which Hegel employs the term alienation. It re-fers to a perceived r i f t between the individual and the social substance, so that self-identity i s confined to that of the particular person. Solidarity with other persons is abandoned and Spirit finds i t s e l f in a state of self-alienation. 11 This dislocation of the individual and the social substance is only remedied through a further alteration in the individual's conscious-ness. The particular i d e n t i t y — " w i l l f u l self-assertion," Hegel terms i t —must give way to an affirmation of unity. The person for whom the social substance is now seen to be alien must renounce the particular self in favour of a reconciliation with the social substance (Solomon, 1972:54). In this second usage, alienation of the particular self corres-ponds to the negation of the negation. The particular self estranged from the universality transcends this alienated state to unite with the social substance once more. Particularity and willfulness are surrendered in this bid for the re-attainment of unity (Solomon, 1972:44). The relations between these two senses of alienation and the notion of objectification are seldom clearly understood. Schacht (1970: 63) attributes much of the blame for misrepresentation to those people who have based their interpretation of Hegel's usage on Marx's early works. Marx gives the impression that Hegel f a i l s to distinguish between instances of alienation and objectification. Following Marx's lead, numerous theorists have perpetuated this distortion of Hegel's work. Hegel views the creation of the social substance as being an "objectification" of Spirit. This process brings into existence such spiritual formations as law, the state, art and religion. However, objec-t i f i c a t i o n does not necessarily imply alienation; the individual's sense of estrangement is not inherent in each externalisation of Spirit. Hegel indicates that during a stage which he terms the "ethical world," the person remains in a relationship of unity with the existing social 12 substance. Objectifications only take on the appearance of alien enti-ties when the individual undergoes a specific shift in consciousness. Thus, Hegel does differentiate between objectification and the aliena-tion of the substance, although the latter necessarily presupposes the former. Although highly schematic, this account provides a description of the essential elements contained in Hegel's notion of alienation. It i s a concept which Feuerbach is to find especially useful in his own attempts to discredit the Hegelian construct of Spirit. Marx in turn w i l l use much that i s embodied in the original idealist formulation of alienation as well as build upon Feuerbach's modifications and refinements of the term. Feuerbach "Compared with Hegel, Feuerbach has l i t t l e to offer," Marx com-mented in 1865, "yet he marked an epoch" (Lefebvre, 1970:66). Indeed, there can be no denying the awesome achievement of Hegel's conflation of history and philosophy. Philosophers who followed in the German idealist traditions were hard pressed to make any inroads into that imposing structure; in fact, Marx was of the opinion that of a l l the Young Hegelians, only Feuerbach was to produce anything of consequence. Throughout his l i f e , Marx returned periodically to Hegel's work, each time renewing his appreciation of the richness and cl a r i t y of Hegel's dialectical method. Feuerbach's writings, on the other hand, proved to be far less f e r t i l e . 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 materialist critique of Hegeliam metaphysics. In The Essence of Christianity and Lectures on the Essence of Religion, Feuerbach's main concern is to il l u s t r a t e how the notion of God i s simply the misapplication of the conception of the essential nature of human beings (Schacht, 1970:75-76). He perceives religion to be the outcome of the projection of human qualities onto a transparent entity, namely, the image of God. Feuerbach recognizes that the theo-logians of the day unconsciously attribute to God precisely those human attributes which are deficient in the contemporary individual: My doctrine i n belief i s as follows: Theology is anthropology, i.e., that which reveals i t s e l f in the object of religion . . . i s nothing other than the essence of man. In other words, the God of man is nothing other than the divinized essence of man. (Schacht, 1970:76) Feuerbach considers religion and Hegelian philosophy to be sub-ject to the same general criticisms. Hegel himself regards philosophy to be merely a refinement of truths which religion f a i l s to rigorously ex-press. Feuerbach's achievement lie s in recognizing that Hegelian philo-sophy i s primarily a refined version of religion and consequently, i s subject to many of the shortcomings inherent in religion i t s e l f . He sees Hegel's attempt to lend credence to religion by buttressing i t with his philosophy as the cultivation of a fundamentally impoverished position (Schacht, 1970:77). 14 For Feuerbach, humans have created God in 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 disparity between the two natures as being the difference between the individual and God, the division being respected as a "natural" one. In other words, God is endowed with characteristics inaccessible to human beings. Yet Feuerbach contends that by renouncing these attributes we are in fact denying our own essential nature. In religion, we posit an abstract entity in opposition to ourselves and in the process we become estranged from our ideal essence (Schacht, 1970:76). In Feuerbach's estimation, the efforts of Hegel's speculative philosophy to liberate human beings from this alienating formulation have been entirely unsuccessful. Religion has elevated the individual's essential nature to the status of a deity. Any form of reconciliation with this ideal essence i s doomed to failure for religion considers God to be qualitatively distinct from human beings. Furthermore, Feuerbach maintains that Hegel conceptually wrenches the individual from nature in order to effect a future reunion of that which was i n i t i a l l y a unified whole. Hegel argues that S p i r i t is ultimately actualised in the human individual, yet his method demands that, at some point, a distinction be made between Spirit and the phenomenal subject. In contrast, Feuerbach holds that the individual i s a part of nature; thus, he sees Hegel's reconciliation as a false union of that which is essentially one. Feuerbach begins with the concrete individual as the subject, concluding that Spirit is 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 materialistic philosophy. The human individual i s re-leased from a position of subservience to abstract thought and is estab-lished as the true starting-point for philosophy (Avineri, 1969:11). At an earlier juncture, we noted that Hegel considered alienation to be a necessary moment in Spirit's progression to self-consciousness. Alienation i s instrumental to the enrichment of Spirit and consequently, is assigned a positive value in Hegel's system. Despite his generally c r i t i c a l stance, Feuerbach does not deny the worth of alienation. It i s his contention that self-estrangement can be of some benefit to the indi-vidual. The realisation that God is but a projection of human qualities can serve to educate the individual 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 religion. Once human beings have elaborated a mature human philosophy, one which re-places alienated consciousness with a "self-knowing immanence," religion w i l l be rendered obsolete (Rotenstreich, 1965:156-157). Thus, Feuerbach's contribution l i e s in his awareness that the individual must be emancipated from the mystifications of Hegelian philo-sophy. Unfortunately, while his proposed solution does correct many of Hegel's distortions, i t f a i l s in i t s own right to ground metaphysics in concrete reality. "Anthropology" replaces philosophy. Yet i t i s an ahistorical anthropology, one which f a l l s short of fu l l y grasping the 16 lived experience of human individuals, situated as they are within a particular social setting. Marx Marx adopts Feuerbach's transformative method (subject-predicate inversion) but his results are qualitatively distinct from those of the Young Hegelian. Plekhanov (Mandel, 1971:154) observes that i f "Marx began to elaborate his materialist explanation of history by c r i t i c i z i n g Hegel's philosophy of right, he could do so only because Feuerbach had completed his criticism of Hegel's speculative philosophy." Certainly Marx's debt to Feuerbach is unquestionable, but whereas Feuerbach's studies lead him into the realm of anthropology, Marx directs his atten-tion to that of p o l i t i c a l economy. In both instances, the transformative method employed i s essentially the same, yet the outcomes are drastically different. Marx's Contribution to the Critique of Hegel's Philosophy of Right begins not with the dismantling of the Hegelian system i t s e l f but with a criticism of Hegel's p o l i t i c a l philosophy. The social implications of this idealism are examined and only then is the philosophical system as a whole subjected to scrutiny (Avineri, 1969:13). Marx's assault on Hegel's glorification of the existing Prussian state shows his preoccu-pation with the secular manifestations of alienation. This concern stands in conspicuous opposition to that of his contemporaries, who re-stricted their criticism to matters of religion (Meszaros, 1970:73). 17 Religion is only the illusory sun about which man revolves so long as he does not revolve about himself. It is the task of history3 therefore, once the other-world of truth has vanished, to establish the truth of this world. The immediate task of philosophy, which is in the service of history, is to unmask human self-alienation in i t s secular form. Thus the criticism of heaven is transformed into the criticism of earth, the criticism of r e l i g i o n into the criticism of law3 and the criticism of theology into the criticism of p o l i t i c s . (Marx, 1964:44) In contemporary society, Marx argues, a definite schism exists between the p o l i t i c a l state and c i v i l society. It was Hegel's intention in the Philosophy of Right to mediate between these two extremes, thereby resolving the tensions generated by the presence of this gap. Marx con-tends that this project is ill-conceived. In his view, the successful mediation of the two extremes is an impossibility; only with the aboli-tion of the state as a separate realm can the stress be effectively 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 failed to f u l l y appreciate. Hegel is oblivious to the fact that the integrated society of the Middle Ages was no longer a possibility. The emergence of freely exchangeable property and the rise of free trade signalled the end of this state of social 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 any consideration of the common good. Consequently, Marx observes that the private status of the individual was found to be in diametrical opposi-tion to the p o l i t i c a l sphere. The state assumed the appearance of the "heaven of man's universality in contrast to his mundane actuality" (Howard, 1972:62-63). 18 Marx believes that the removal of the state as an entity in opposition to c i v i l society can only be achieved through the establish-ment of democracy. In such a society, every individual i s both a private person and a citizen. The disappearance of the external p o l i t i c a l state fa c i l i t a t e s the emergence of the truly "universal" individual. The need for a r t i f i c i a l mediations is eliminated as the actual, empirical person constitutes the resolution of the hi 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 criticism that bourgeois society separates the individual from the community, each person maintaining distinct identi-ties as public citizen and private individual. Marx claims that the issue of Judaism can best be understood as being yet another facet of the relation between c i v i l society and the state. Marx sees the religious individual as nothing other than an actual person within c i v i l society. Just as we have seen that the social emancipation of the individual i s forthcoming with the abolition of the external p o l i t i c a l sphere, so the social emancipation of the Jew is contingent upon the freeing of society from Judaism. Marx's contemporaries concern themselves with the demand that the issue of religion 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 in religious matters. Marx (Meszaros, 1970:126) recognises the validity of treating religion as a secular question, yet he refuses to concede that the p o l i t i c a l emanci-pation of religion is 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 social conditions which w i l l promote human confirmation rather than human estrangement. What is the secular basis of Judaism? Practical need, self-interest. What is the worldly cult of the Jew? Bargaining. What is his worldly god? Money. Very well! Emancipation from bargaining and money, and thus from practical and real Judaism would be the sel f -emancipation of our era. (Meszaros, 1970:126) The human liberation of the Jewish individual is not a consequence of the removal of the religious question from the p o l i t i c a l arena, but rather is dependent upon the elimination of those social conditions which encourage religious consciousness to flourish in the f i r s t place. Marx extends this argument to embrace virtu a l l y a l l aspects of bourgeois society. The common denominator of alienation reveals i t s e l f not only in considerations of religion and the state but also with reference to economic and family relations (Meszaros, 1970:73). It i s precisely in the area of economics that Marx uncovers the key to the whole question of alienation. In The Economic and Philosophical Manuscripts of 1844, he determines that a l l forms of alienation—be they religious, 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 , alienation of the ind i -vidual's productive activity i s the root cause of a l l human alienation. Successive encounters with Hegelian philosophy and Feuerbachian anthro-pology have involved Marx in the investigation of the relation between the individual and abstract speculation, religion, c i v i l society and the state. The Manuscripts of 1844, mark his f i r s t sustained materialist 20 criticisms of p o l i t i c a l economy in general and private property in par-ticular. As Marx (Meszaros, 1970:126) makes apparent, the notion of alienation, or estrangement, i s to occupy a central position in this critique: "The positive transcendence of private property as the appro-priation 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 religion, family, state, etc., to his human, i.e., social mode of existence. Religious estrangement as such occurs only in the realm of consciousness, of man's inner l i f e , but economic estrangement is that of real l i f e ; i t s tran-scendence therefore embraces both aspects." Marx's concept of alienation was influenced by both Hegelian idealism and Feuerbachian materialism. However, i t was not un t i l The Manuscripts of 1844 that Marx presents a f a i r l y systematic account of his differences with the Hegelian scheme. Marx's distinctive materialist method emerges with these manuscripts. As Marx points out, Hegelians consider human estrangement from the social substance to occur in the realm of thought. Thus, "the whole history of the alienation process and and the whole process of the r e t r a c t i o n of the alienation is therefore nothing but the history of the production of abstract (i.e., absolute) thought—of logical speculative thought" (Marx, 1971:175). In Hegel's estimation, alienation is an alteration in conscious-ness as the individual confronts the phenomenal world. This i s a transi-tory experience in which the person comes to regard the objective realm as being external or estranged. Hegel contends that consciousness surpasses this moment of alienation by recognising that what is perceived 21 to be an external object is nothing other than a projection of conscious-ness i t s e l f . In other words, consciousness is essentially "self-consciousness," for the entity which appears to be a negation of conscious-ness is simply consciousness in a reified or objectified form (Avineri, 1969:97). Hegel's mental contortions may be intriguing yet they are value-less to any programme which intends to bring about a change in the material world. For example, his phenomenology may accurately describe the relation between Master and Slave, but when a l l is said nothing w i l l have been done to alter the situation. Slavery w i l l continue to exist; the social 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 articulation effects no remedy. Social contradictions are reduced to "thought-entities" and the transcendence of these abstract conceptions contributes nothing whatsoever to the alleviation of alienation in capi-t a l i s t society (Meszaros, 1970:62). Therefore, i t is hardly surprising that Marx's critique of Hegel's philosophy begins not with an examination of the "concept" of alienation but with an eye to the actual circumstances under which pro-duction is carried on. He observes that under capitalism the worker's degradation appears to intensify with every increase in the rate of production of commodities. His conclusion is hardly a philosophical one, confined to the plane of ideas and theoretical formulations. On the contrary, Marx declares that: "In order to abolish the idea of 22 private property, the idea of communism is completely sufficient. It takes actual communist action to abolish actual private property" (Mandel, 1971:158). Marx's c a l l for revolutionary action stands in marked contrast to Hegel's p o l i t i c a l conservatism. Hegel's reactionary tendencies do not generally stem from his response to existing social conditions. In fact, his assessment of contemporary events frequently proves to be very progressive. Hegel's conservatism results from his epistemology which tends to confirm rather than c r i t i c i s e existing social conditions. Marx contends that Hegel restricts the abolition of alienation to the realm of consciousness, thereby supporting the view that the actual elimination of alienation i s an impossibility. Idealism affirms a reality which i t finds i t s e l f ill-equipped to change. Spiritual emancipation thereby validates material oppression by omission (Avineri, 1969:99). Nevertheless, Hegel makes an important discovery with his recog-nition of the universal significance of human activity, even i f he does persist in regarding this activity to be an abstract one, Marx i s appre-ciative of Hegel's contribution, yet he does not hesitate to point out the shortcomings of Hegel's perspective. Labour is seen to be human essence in the process of self-constitution, but in Hegel's system self -creation i s perceived to occur only in terms of mental labour. Marx strongly opposes such a lop-sided conception of productive activity. In addition, Marx claims that Hegel neglects the negative aspects of mental labour which are forthcoming in contemporary society. When human activity i s ordinarily viewed in terms of abstract thought and when such 23 labour i s carried on in bourgeois society, the outcome can only be the perpetuation of alienating social conditions (Meszaros, 1970:88). Despite his obvious theoretical deficiencies, Hegel i s not entirely oblivious to the importance of material production for human self-creation. Hegel considers property to be the embodiment of human personality. Consequently, acts of production are judged to be crucial for the development of each individual. According to Hegel, the posses-sion of property provides the person with an objective expression of human freedom and i t is only with the existence of freedom that the indi-vidual's personality can be actualised. Moreover, the actual formation of a particular object i s a process wherein the individual gives expres-sion to personal w i l l . The finished product i s judged to be a reflection of the w i l l , of the personality. Thus, there exists for Hegel an essen-t i a l connection between the production of objects and the realisation of personality (Schacht, 1970:83-84). Hegel approaches the Master-Slave relationship with this recognition in mind. He characterises masters or lords as persons who live off the productive activity of others. As masters do not actively engage in production, they deprive themselves of the means for self-realisation. Productive labour ensures that the individual becomes self-consciously aware. Hegel argues that at least in this respect, the slave occupies a more desirable position than that of the master. Marx was well acquainted with Hegel's examination of property and personality in The Philosophy of Right and with his presentation of the Master-Slave relationship in the Phenomenology of Spirit. In many 24 respects, Marx's treatment of the relationship between property, produc-tion and human self-realisation i s strongly reminiscent of Hegel's formu-lation. For example, Marx does not seem to take exception to Hegel's belief that private property is v i t a l to the actualisation of the i n d i -vidual's personality. The principal difference occurs with Marx's assertion that the present circumstances surrounding production and private property militate against the emergence of t r u e — i . e . , non-alienated—self-realisation. Hegel appreciates the essential connection between self-creation and private property, yet he f a i l s to realise that conditions of capitalist society corrupt this relation. Marx maintains that capitalist conditions are such that workers cannot realise their unique personalities through their productive activity (Schacht, 1970: 84-86). However, i t is not the case that Hegel is completely oblivious to the social contradictions generated by capitalist society. In his Aesthetics, he provides an interesting—albeit convoluted—description of the relationship between poverty and wealth and the alienation that results from this arrangement: Here there appear within this industrial formation and the reciprocal employment of other formations together with their repressions, partly the severest ferocity of poverty and partly, i f misery is to be held at bay, of the individuals who have to seem rich, so as to be freed from work to meet their needs and to be able to devote them-selves to higher interests. In this abundance the constant reflec-tion of a ceaseless dependence has been eliminated, and man is a l l the more remote from the risks of earning his living because he is no longer integrated into the milieu closest to himself, which no longer appears to him as his own work. A l l that surrounds him is no longer his own creation but is . . . 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 social reality. Hegel is aware of the existence of alienation, yet he is unable to recognise i t s cause. Certainly the rich individual suffers from no longer producing objects which reflect his personality. However, Hegel refuses to recognise that in the very contradictions between rich and poor l i e the potential solution to the problem of human alienation. Once productive forces have developed to a certain level, the wholesale transformation of the social system w i l l be possible. The social conditions producing human alienation w i l l be elimi-nated with the removal of the fundamental contradiction between the poor and the wealthy (Mandel, 1971:156-157). The ultimate source of Hegel's short-sightedness i s his commit-ment to the position that the essential nature of human activity is not material production but mental labour. To be sure, Hegel acknowledges the significance of the production of physical objects, but his philoso-phical system considers the activity of "thought-entities" to be i t s centre of reference. In other words, abstract speculative thought con-stitutes the "mediator between Subject and Object" (Meszaros, 1970:87). Marx i s highly c r i t i c a l of this position. It is his contention that productive activity is not primarily a question of thought processes but refers instead to the active involvement of the individual with the physical world. In Marx's scheme, the object i s a concrete entity, not simply a reified form of consciousness. Such creations as religion, art, science, law, etc., are not excluded from the Marxist notion of productive activity, yet i t i s the creation of material objects which is 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 activity to refer specifically to capitalist forms of labour as well as to the fundamental determination of humanity in the onto-logical sense, i.e., the self-mediation of the individual with nature. Marx is aware of the fact that alienation i s not a phenomenon unique to the capitalist mode of production. However, his discussion in The Manu-scripts does tend to be restricted to an examination of the occurrence of alienation in capitalist society. According to Marx, the positive transcendence of alienation necessitates the removal of such second-order mediations as private property, exchange and the division of labour (Meszaros, 1970:78-79). As long as the individual's activity i s dis-torted due to the presence of these particular mediations, the realisa-tion of the human potential i s thwarted. Thus, Marx is concerned with erradication of the historically specific mediations of private property, exchange and the division of labour. Productive activity specific to capitalist social formations results in the alienation of the individual for undistorted self-mediation with nature i s an impossibility in this context. Alienated consciousness i s simply a reflection of the destruc-tive nature of this productive activity (Meszaros, 1970:80-81). The Manuscripts f a l l short of elaborating a comprehensive mater-i a l i s t alternative, but they do contain ample evidence that Marx i s striving to abandon the philosophical blinkers that are the legacy of German idealism. Marx has-obviously made a significant advancement on Hegel's conception of alienation. In place of abstract speculation, 27 Marx endeavours to lay down a c r i t i c a l analysis of a "particular ideology ( p o l i t i c a l economy) through real social contradictions observed empiri-cally" (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 social and economic critique, Marx's thought s t i l l bears the imprint of his youthful contact with idealism. The Manuscripts therefore comprise a transition between the Hegelian and Feuerbachian perspectives and the approach which Engels i s later to term his t o r i c a l materialism. Hegel's dialectics, Feuerbach's materialism and the social facts of p o l i t i c a l economy are fused here in 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 distinct conceptions of aliena-tion. He claims that both anthropological and historical versions appear in The Manuscripts, a juxtaposition of ideas which he regards to be logically irreconcilable. The alleged presence of an anthropological formulation of alienation constitutes a throwback to Feuerbach. The individual in Feuerbach's scheme is viewed as being in a state of eternal harmony with nature; human being and nature are locked in a timeless relationship. The religious alienation to which Feuerbach refers is not perceived to be the outcome of particular social conditions. Rather, alienated consciousness is merely considered to be an error in judgement on the part of the individual. In Feuerbach's estimation, alienation has nothing to do with the social situation confronting the person, nor does i t refer to the specific 28 productive activities in which the individual i s engaged. Moreover, Feuerbach's anthropology posits the existence of a human essence and i t is precisely this component, Mandel (1971:161-162) argues, which makes at least one appearance in The Manuscripts. He cites a particular section in which alienated labour is contrasted to the activity of a generic human being. Two individuals—one alienated, the other idealized — a r e placed side, Marx thus comparing mutilated humanity with species being. In Mandel's opinion, Marx is guilty of f a i l i n g to ground this analysis in a specific historical context. Mandel accuses Marx of speaking in terms of some immutable relationship between the individual and nature, thereby lapsing into an anthropological interpretation of the nature of human alienation. Yet is this a f a i r evaluation of Marx's position? Does Marx actually give a non-historical account of alienated labour? Meszaros, for example, is 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 alienation which neglects the historical setting to be l i t t l e more than mystifi-cation. However, Meszaros believes that i t is precisely Marx's avoidance of a l l illusory formulations that accounts for his success in clarifying social reality. In contrast to his predecessors who at some point abandon the historical context for imaginary resolutions, Marx is viewed as proposing a dialectical theory which never betrays i t s historical underpinnings of self-developing human activity (Meszaros, 1970:42). Meszaros argues that Marx considers the individual to be an integral part of nature's totality. This accounts for the self-mediation of 29 nature in which human beings are conceived to be active elements in the natural domain. Nevertheless, i t i s true that Marx's depiction of this relationship i s not always perfectly clear. For example, we occasionally encounter the notion of individuals creating themselves through inter-action with the natural domain. Here human beings are portrayed as being somehow distinct from nature. For the most part, however, Marx takes pains to emphasise humanity's position within the natural realm. With a conception of the individual 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 implicit dimension of nature (Meszaros, 1970:251). In addition, i t could in fact be argued that Marx does have a precise time period in mind. The passage in question i s a direct attack on p o l i t i c a l economy's efforts to analyse contemporary society. Marx takes his lead from the Outlines of a Critique of P o l i t i c a l Economy in 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 division of labour (Meszaros, 1970: 77). Thus, Meszaros would appear to hold the upper hand in 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 in 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 forgot-ten. At this point, Marx may have l i t t l e more than an inkling of the 30 actual contradictions inherent in the existing mode of production, yet his intuitive 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 is well founded. Despite certain theoretical inadequacies, Marx is able to provide a sound basis for many of his later formulations. With the possible exception of the aforementioned passage, The Manuscripts is consistent in depicting human alienation as tracing i t s roots to specific historical 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 truly i s . In his estimation, the existence of private, property must be explained in light of contemporary social fact. That fact is the phenomenon of alienated labour (Howard, 1972:152). Marx maintains that alienated labour in capitalist society has four distinct 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 alienation of the worker in his product means not only that his labour becomes an object, assumes an. external existence, but that i t exists independently, outside himself, and alien 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 in the form of capital. The more products created, the greater the degree of impoverishment of the individual. 31 The devaluation of the human world increases in direct relation with the increase in 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 in the same proportion as i t produces goods . . • the performance of the work is at the same time i t s objectification. The performance of work appears in the sphere of p o l i t i c a l economy as a vi t i a t i o n of the worker, objectification as a loss and as servi-tude to the object, and appropriation as alienation. (Marx, 1971: 121-122) Under present circumstances, objectification inevitably results in alienation. Rather than f a c i l i t a t i n g the self-realisation of the indi-vidual, the production of objects ensures human oppression. Only with the elimination of ca p i t a l i s t i c mediations can the individual come to benefit from material production (Avineri, 1969:102). It follows logically that workers who find themselves in an alienated relationship to the products of their labour must be alienated in the act of production as well. Estrangement in productive a c t i v i t y — in the process of creation—constitutes a second facet of alienation. The work is external to the worker . . . i t is not part of his nature; . . . Consequently, he does not f u l f i l l himself in his work but denies himself, has a feeling of misery rather than well-being, does not develop freely his mental and physical energies but is physically exhausted and mentally debased. (Marx, 1971:124) Workers no longer willingly engage in work in order to f u l f i l themselves as human beings. Labour is now seen to.be merely a means to an end and not an end in i t s e l f . His work is not voluntary but imposed, forced labour. It is not the satisfaction of a need, but only a means for satisfying other needs. Its alien character i s clearly shown by the fact that as soon as there is no physical or other compulsion i t i s avoided like the plague. (Marx, 1971:125) 32 A consequence of these developments is the generation of two further aspects of alienation. As work is no longer a truly creative activity which serves to actualise 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 activity of animals . . . i.e., his own l i f e i s an object for him, because he is a species-being. Only for this reason i s his activity free activity. Alienated labour reverses the relationship, in that man because he is a self-conscious being makes his l i f e - a c t i v i t y , his being, only a means for his existence. (Marx, 1971:127) The individual ceases to be a free agent, one who consciously de-cides upon personal goals and courses of action. As survival i s now the sole consideration, nature i s perceived to be nothing more than the means for staying alive. Thus alienated labour turns the species l i f e of man, and also nature as his mental species-property, into an alien being and into a means for his individual existence. It alienates from man his own body, external nature, his mental l i f e and his human l i f e . (Marx, 1971: 128-129) The f i n a l outcome is the total destruction of the notion of species-being. The individual 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 alien power, this can only be because i t belongs to a man other than the worker . . . If he is related to the product of his labour, his objectified labour, as to an alien, hostile and indepen-dent object, he i s related in such a way that another alien, hostile, powerful and independent man is the lord of this object. If he is related to his own activity as to unfree activity, then he i s re-lated to i t as activity in the service, and under the domination, coercion and yoke, of another man. (Marx, 1971:130) 33 In sum, individuals in capitalist society are victims of their own productive a c t i v i t i e s . Objects created by some are appropriated by others; the capital thus created oppresses the very workers who produce i t . The human individual originates and perpetuates the conditions of human oppression. These conditions are "none other than the capitalist economic relations: private property is the result 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 alien-ated labour, i t i s rather a consequence of the latter, just as the gods are fundamentally not the cause but the product of confusions of human reason. At a later stage, however, there is a reciprocal i n f l u -ence. (Marx, 1971:131) Marx at no time provides an explanation of how the original state of alienation came into being. He chooses to emphasise the intimate con-nection between private property and alienation. In Marx's later work (1970:51-52) i t becomes evident that the f i r s t instance of private pro-perty is located in the family "where wife and children are the slaves of the husband." Marx regards this form of property to be the outcome of the division of labour which originates in the sexual act. The Holy Family, published in 1845, attests to Marx's continuing concern with the concept of alienation. The following remarks are espe-c i a l l y interesting due to the similarities with the previously cited quo-tation from Hegel's Aesthetics: The propertied class and the class of the proletariat present the same human self-alienation. But the former class finds in this 34 self-alienation 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 proletariat feels annihilated in i t s self-alienation; i t sees in i t i t s power-lessness and the reality of an inhuman existence. In the words of Hegel, the class of the proletariat is 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 is therefore the conservative side, the proletarian, the destructive side. From the former arises the action of preserving the antitheses, from the latter, that of annihilating i t . (Marx, 1956:51) Marx's observation that the phenomenon of alienation encompasses this propertied class as well as the working class is a perceptive one. It shows the profound influence of Hegel's Master-Slave discussion on Marx's own theoretical formulations. Nor does The Holy Family neglect the relationship between capi-t a l i s t mediations and self-estrangement. Marx includes a provocative i l l u s t r a t i o n of his appreciation of this connection. Indications as to how this dehumanising situation must be transcended are implicit in his comments: These massy communist workers, employed, for instance, in the Man-chester or Lyon workshops, do not believe that 'pure thinking' w i l l be able to argue away their industrial masters and their own practi-cal debasement. They are most painfully aware of the difference between being and thinking, between consciousness and life. They know that property, capital, money, wage-labour and the like are no ideal figments of the brain but very practical, very objective sources of their self-alienation and that they must be abolished in a practical, objective way for man to become man not only in think-ing, in consciousness, but in massy being, in l i f e . (Avineri, 1969: 142) In The Holy Family, Marx s t i l l entertains the naive view that the realisation of a socialist society is conceivable merely because the 35 majority of the workers are exploited and without property. Not u n t i l the publication of The German Ideology does Marx identify the social and p o l i t i c a l preconditions essential for the attainment of socialism. The capitalist mode of production with i t s inner contradictions discloses a series of specific potentialities 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 division of labour in the future society. Marx expresses this basic principle of socialism in the course of attacking Adam Smith's treatment of the division of labour. Smith views the division of labour as being a logical distribution of different tasks to people who are seen to be inherently different from each other. Marx, on the other hand, maintains that dissimilar human capacities are actually the consequence of the division of labour. The perpetuation of the capitalist system w i l l only f a c i l i t a t e the continu-ation of this false belief that individuals "naturally" possess varying human potentialities. In Marx's opinion (1970:53), the abolition of the division of labour would guarantee human emancipation from one-sided activity, thereby permitting each individual to develop f u l l y as a whole human being: As long as man remains in natural society, that i s , as long as cleav-age exists between the particular and the common interest, as long, therefore, as activity i s not voluntarily, but naturally divided, man's own deed becomes as alien 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 particular, ex-clusive sphere of activity, 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 his means of livelihood; while in communist society, where nobody has one exclusive sphere of activity but each can become accomplished in any branch he wishes, society regulates the general production and thus makes i t possible for me to do one thing today and another to-morrow, to hunt in the morning, to fish in the afternoon, rear cattle in 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 fixation of social activity, 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 in the hi 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 this time, consists of notebooks to Marx's proposed six volume work, Economics, of which Capital was fated to be the only volume pub-lished. The writing of these notebooks marks the emergence of Marx's mature economic theory. The Grundrisse includes a number of shifts in emphasis from Marx's earlier work: the analysis of exchange is 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 insignificant for their elaboration results in the theory of surplus value. According to Marx, the inception of the capitalist means of pro-duction permits the capitalist class to exploit the use-value of the pro-ductive activity of the working class. Capitalist appropriation generates values far in 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 realised in the act of production i t s e l f , in which capital actually consumes the alien labour. Just as, for 37 capital, labour i s exchanged as a predetermined exchange value against an equivalent in money, so money is exchanged against an equivalent in commodities, which are consumed. In this process of exchange, labour i s not productive, i t becomes productive only for capital; i t can only take out of circulation what i t has already put in; 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 sells his labour to the capitalists, he retains a right only to the price If labour, not to the product of his labour, nor to the value that labour has added to the product. (Marx, 1970:81-82) The appearance of surplus value and the alienation of labour which i t implies result from the historical development of economic productivity. Individuals in primitive society are well integrated into the social sur-roundings, yet they remain relatively impoverished in terms of their human potential. The forces of nature dominate human activity to a considerable extent at this stage, with religious alienation being an obvious outcome of these circumstances. Increased productivity produces an economic surplus, thereby creating suitable conditions for exchange, the division of labour and, eventually, the production of commodities. The economic alienation ensu-ing from the existence of capitalist 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 increas-ingly dominated by the instruments of production. According to Marx (Mandel, 1971:82), alienation intensifies with each new advancement and innovation in the means of production: A l l progress in c i v i l i s a t i o n , therefore, or in other words, any i n -crease in socially productive forces, in 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 result of science, inventions, the division and the combination of labour, improved 38 means of communication, the creation of a. world market, machinery, etc.—do not enrich the worker, but only capital; they only serve, therefore, to increase the power that controls labour s t i l l further; they merely increase the productive powers of capital. Since capi-t a l i s the opposite of the worker, they only increase objective power over labour. Despite these negative elements, the enhancement of the produc-tive forces does create the possibility for the f u l l satisfaction of human needs. It is conceivable that automation can effect the creation of a surplus large enough to make pointless "the base appropriation of other men's labor" (Mandel, 1971:173). Yet the rational u t i l i s a t i o n of labour—both human and mechanical—will be forthcoming only with the introduction of a socialist mode of production. The attainment of such a social transformation w i l l presuppose a heightened awareness of the evils of capitalism on the part of the working class. When the worker recognises the products as being his own and con-demns the separation of the conditions of his realisation as an intolerable imposition, i t w i l l be an enormous progress in conscious-ness; i t s e l f the product of the method of production based on capi-t a l , and a death-knell of capital in 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 con-tinue to be the basis of production. (Marx, 1971:110) The harnessing of mechanisation to socialist principles can bring about the gradual abolition of the division of labour and of commodity production, the root causes of human alienation. With these capitalist mediation, Marx (Mandel, 1972:106) foresees a time when the human poten-t i a l i t y can unfold in a l l i t s richness. In fact . . . when the narrow bourgeois form has been peeled away, what is wealth, i f not the universality of needs, capacities, 39 enjoyments, productive powers, etc., of individuals produced in uni-versal 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 his creative dispositions, without any preconditions other than ante-cedent hi s t o r i c a l evolution which makes the totality of this evolu-t i o n — i . e . , the evolution of a l l human powers as such, unmeasured by any previously established yardstick—an end in i t s e l f ? Marx continues this discussion into Capital, published some eight years after The Grundrisse. By this time, his analysis of human estrange-ment is more finely honed than at any other period of his career. In Capital, Marx argues that alienation in a society with well developed com-modity production is essentially a function of the f e t i s h i s t i c character of the commodities. Contrary to popular belief, Marx does not arrive at a position of holding alienation and commodity fetishism to be identical phenomena. Mandel (1971:184) cautions against making such an erroneous conflation of terms. He points out that the concept of alienation encom-passes a broader scope than the fetishism of commodities. In addition, he notes that Marx refers to the existence of alienation in primitive societies in which commodity production is unknown. Geras makes a similar distinction between the two concepts, indi -cating how Marx has employed the notion of alienation to describe certain relationships from ancient times, through the middle ages, right up to the present day. Alienation's frame of reference is seem to be rela-tively wide, whereas commodity fetishism refers to an his t o r i c a l l y specific period i n which the production and exchange of commodities domi-nate a l l economic relations. Geras (1971:72) also indicates that while alienation in certain periods (the middle ages, for example) tends to be 40 readily apparent, fetishism of commodities is concealed or hidden from view in capitalist societies. In addition, alienation in societies poorly developed i n terms of commodity production is generally identified to be a working class phenomenon. This is not the case with respect to commodity fetishism. 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 is i t s capacity to mystify the existing situation so that "a definite social relation between men . . . assumes, in their eyes, the fantastic form of a relation between things" (Marx, 1967:72). In fact, the thrust of Marx's critique in Capital is directed towards dispelling these illusory appearances so that the true nature of the mechanisms of capitalist society can be disclosed. Marx commits himself to the task of clarifying the "internal rupture" within capitalist society whereby social relations come to be experienced in a manner which obscures their actual character. Thus, Marx's project i s similar to that of a scientist who is faced with "the necessity of constructing reality against appear-ances" (Geras, 1971:124). Commodity fetishism constitutes the prime source of. mystifica-tion in capitalist society for i t resides at the core of the dialectic of commodity production (Shroyer, 1969:124). A commodity is a duality composed of both a use-value and an exchange-value. The idea of use-value is readily understood: human labour transforms an object into 41 something useful or serviceable to the individual. Exchange-value is more problematic. Marx contends that an article created in a capitalist society acquires an. abstract relation i n addition to use-value, i t s objective relation to human labour. This abstract component, exchange-value, refers to the object's worth on the market. In other words, the commodity is considered to have a value with respect to other com-modities, that general value being expressed in 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 dis-closing, the social character of private labour and the social relations between the individual producers." Money relations ultimately determine the meaning of an i n d i -vidual's labour. In turn, this abstract relation acquires a status as the criterion for a l l relations between individuals, their work and their products. As the commodity form extends i t s domination of human productive activity, Marx claims that people experience themselves and their relations to others in terms of this fetishism of commodities. Men's reflection on the forms of social 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 directly opposite to that of their actual historical development. The char-acters that stamp products as commodities, and whose establishment is a necessary preliminary to the circulation of commodities, have already acquired the st a b i l i t y of natural, self-understood forms of social l i f e , before man seeks to decipher, not their h i s t o r i c a l character, for in his eyes they are immutable, but their meaning. . . . (Shroyer, 1969:129) The individual has lost sight of the actual purpose of human labour: the creation of useful objects. P o l i t i c a l economy's myopia—its 42 inab i l i t y to see beyond capitalist mediations—furthers this mystifica-tion by validating the alienated forms of human labour. Thus, the recog-nition 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 in the fact that workers produce use-value for exchange rather than for direct consumption. Similarly, he exposes the content of surplus-value as being the surplus labour time of the worker. Conventional p o l i t i c a l economy, on the other hand, takes exchange-value and surplus-value and dehistoricizes them by viewing them as being natural phenomena. Capitalist social relations are also transformed into natural phenomena. Consequently, the mystify-ing character of fetishism stems from i t s metamorphosis of qualities possessed by such social objects as commodities and capital into proper-ties residing in them as natural things (Geras, 1971:77). Marx's intention i s to eliminate the opacity of these social relations by laying bare the true character of capitalist society. The supersession of capitalism would cleanse society of these distorting ideologies, thereby creating the possibility for a social system in which "the practical 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 his fellow man and Nature" (Geras, 1971:82). Chapter 2 LUKACS An understanding of the concept of alienation i s dependent upon an appreciation of the nature of human consciousness. The work of Georg Lukacs is especially helpful for acquiring this awareness. Lukacs exa-mines certain aspects of consciousness which find only brief mention in Marx's writings. For example, Marx offers an incisive treatment of commodity fetishism but at no time does he provide an adequate account of the process by which "class consciousness" replaces "false conscious-ness." Marx (1963:173) notes the interests which working class members hold in 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 realize i t s exploited position and begins to organise to transform the existing social formation (Howard, 1972:160). This omission is a major shortcoming and has resulted in numerous misun-derstandings on the part of later Marxists. The elaboration of this process was precisely the task undertaken by Georg Lukacs in the early 1920's. Lukacs wishes to c l a r i f y the role of consciousness in the socialist 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 self-serving individualism, he repea-tedly emphasises the need for proletarian co-operation, a solidarity to be cemented with the awareness of both the present social conditions and 43 44 the hi s t o r i c a l interests of the working class as a whole. Lukacs under-stands class consciousness to entail the unity of revolutionary theory and practice: workers are transformed from being objects determined by capitalist relations of production into active subjects, freed to ration-a l l y assert their own collective w i l l . An issue central to Lukacs' discussion of class consciousness is the Marxian notion of totality. This term was originally introduced by Hegel to describe the domination of the whole over the parts. In Hegel's system, the particular interaction which occurs between philosophical categories and sub-categories may be accounted for by referring to the determining influence of the total system on the elements within that system. Marx uses this notion for an examination of concrete social existence, thereby providing the abstract formulation with a materialist content. The usefulness of the concept of totality i s revealed i n his cl 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 in 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 is but one aspect within the social fabric, yet he maintains that an investigation of this component w i l l ultimately lead to the compre-hension of a l l categories of human society (Meszaros, 1970:72). Marx regards the economic base to be the "ultimate determinant" of social reality, yet he i s aware that i t is nevertheless a "determined determinant." It is a dialectical component of the whole and as such must be understood to be immersed in a complex network of interconnections 45 with other aspects of society. It acts upon a l l dimensions of social reality but i t i s acted upon in turn. Thus, the most diverse considera-tions such as art, religion, ethics or.politics are not simply super-structural forms built upon an economic base. They actively influence and modify this base due to their own particular structure and content (Meszaros, 1970:71). These components are regarded by Marx as being processes which constantly interact within a dynamic overall 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 social reality are no longer to be apprehended in their immediacy, i.e., as isolated facts, but rather are to be confronted with an appreciation of their relation to other components and to society in i t s entirety. In this manner, sub-systems such as art, religion, and law are situated within the inclusive movement of the social totality. The interrelatedness of these sub-systems, or partial t o t a l i t i e s , must be recognised i f the mediated nature of social reality is to be correctly understood. Lukacs primarily uses the term mediation to refer to the inter-connection and interaction of the parts within the overall complex. For instance, the legal system must not be examined in isolation from i t s social context. It must be recognised to interact with other par 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 dynami-cally to the social system as a whole. The points of mediation where the various components contact and influence one another must be 46 appreciated i f the actual nature of the legal system of a particular society i s to be understood. The whole issue of immediacy-mediations-totality is a complicated question, one for which Lukacs is never able to supply a comprehensive explanation. He became acquainted with the general problem through his encounter with Hegelian idealism. Lukacs realised that abstractions i n -tended by Hegel to provide a link between a number of theoretical cate-gories suffered from a tendency to become divorced from the process to which they referred. Instead of clarifying the relations between con-cepts, these mediating constructs took on a petrified 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 is not to be effected in the realm of philosophical idealism. The discussion must be firmly rooted in a recognition of the role of "practico-critical activity" as the crucial link between a l l human phenomena (Meszaros, 1970:70). Marx's conception of human labour steers Lukacs away from the ethereal and points him in the direction of sensuous production, with i t s reference in the last instance to the economic dimension. Marx retains the essential aim of the Hegelian pro-gramme—the dissolution of immediacy—yet he drastically alters the content of the project by shifting the frame of reference from idealist philosophy to p o l i t i c a l economy. Marx counters the propensity of bourgeois scientists to view things as static and discrete by treating these entities as dialectical components of a dynamic social totality. 47 Lukacs follows Marx's lead by insisting on the need for an appre-ciation of the interconnections and interactions of partial t o t a l i t i e s in order to comprehend the overall character of social reality. He con-siders this awareness to be an essential requisite of class conscious-ness. As Lukacs makes apparent, class consciousness does not refer to what a typical or representative member of a class thinks or feels. Rather, i t consists of an accurate knowledge of the position 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 is theoretically within reach of anyone in society, the proletariat is the class which is most l i k e l y to act. respon-sibly in light of this knowledge. In Lukacs' opinion, class conscious bourgeoisie who recognise their minority interest, can only pretend that their hegemony i s for the benefit for a l l of society. The proletariat, on the other hand, is in a position to correctly grasp the essential character of capitalist society and to react rationally and appropriately as a result of that understanding. This i s not to infer that the working class could possess absolute knowledge. However, the proletariat does possess the objective possibility of understanding that the realisation of i t s particular 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 prole-tariat combined with the existence of an effective p o l i t i c a l organisation can give birth to a class conscious revolutionary movement which could transform the existing social order. He goes on to claim that the 48 eventual elimination of social classes would produce a situation in which individuals could identify with human consciousness in general. It i s at this point that we encounter Lukacs' controversial discussion of the identical subject-object: the equation of the interests of the class conscious proletariat with those of society as a whole constitutes the merging of the subject and object of social theory. That i s , the individual's aims coincide with the aims of society in general. This union corresponds to the realisation of Hegel's absolute s p i r i t in which the knowing subject fuses with the social whole. As Goldman (1969:51) points out, Lukacs' postulation of this identical subject-object is some-thing of an "apocalyptic vision," a conception which places him in the midst of the idealist camp. In fact, Lukacs' writings are frequently categorically rejected by Marxist theorists simply on the basis of his treatment of this particular subject. Despite these obvious short-comings, Lukacs does offer some helpful insights concerning the nature of the obstacles hindering the development of class consciousness. He indicates that the proletariat must gain an awareness of i t s position in society i f i t is to become a subject capable of asserting i t s own w i l l to establish the hegemony of the working class. Lukacs introduces his concept of reification to account for the barriers which currently s t i f l e the emergence of this class consciousness. The exposition of reific a t i o n comprises the central essay in History and Class Consciousnesss a book whose appearance in 1922 ignited widespread controversy throughout the European Communist movement. Lukacs' thesis flew in the face of the convential Marxism of the day; his theoretical 49 conceptions and their practical implications for revolutionary practice were hotly disputed by leading Marxist theoreticians (Meszaros, 1971:3). History and Class Consciousness prompted especially sharp criticism from advocates of the orthodox materialism f i r s t popularised by Engels. They regarded Lukacs' proposal to revitalise Marxism to be highly suspect. In their estimation, his so-called reassessment of the Hegelian tradition implicit in Marx's writings could only lead to the polluting of Marxism with idealist concepts. However, these orthodox Marxists are themselves placed in a highly questionable position due to their allegiance to Engels. In Dialectics of Nature, Engels takes the position that consciousness is simply a by-product of nature and that both unfold according to the same laws. This marks an attempt to delineate a universal dialectical method, one which includes both human beings and nature within i t s boundaries. This proposition bears a suspicious resemblance to Hegel's belief that human society and nature are governed by an identical set of dialectical principles. Even contemporary Marxists (cf. Lefebvre, 1968:107) w i l l occasionally lapse into this neo-Hegelian perspective, wistfully calling for the resurrection of the notion of the dialectical movement of nature. Thus, i t would appear that these particular Marxists are guilty of the very charges of idealism which they level at such alleged revisionists as Lukacs. In contrast, Lukacs endeavours to avoid the p i t f a l l s inherent in both classical idealism and classical materialism by charting a course between these two extremes. It i s his contention that consciousness i s 50 neither a manifestation of Spirit nor a mere reflection of the objective material world. Lukacs shares Marx's belief that reality i s not the so-called objective world, external to the individual. Both theorists ack-nowledge the fact that the natural, material domain exists; what they wish to make clear i s that human reality involves the shaping of the natural realm through conscious activity. People modify nature and in the process change themselves and their relations to other human beings. This process whereby reality i s altered by the individual includes human consciousness as an important component (Avineri, 1968:71). With this conception of human consciousness in mind, Lukacs pro-ceeds to outline his notion of reification, a term which includes elements drawn from Marx's analysis of commodity fetishism, Simmel's discussion of alienation and Weber's treatment of rationality (Arato, 1972:83). As we have already observed, commodity fetishism consists of the commodity taking on attributes as a "mysterious thing, simply because in i t the social character of man's labour appears to them as an objec-tive character stamped upon the product of that labour: (Marx, 1967:72). The market realtion of commodities does not f a c i l i t a t e the recognition of the role played by human labour in the production of these items. Instead, products of human activity are now regarded to be natural enti-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 social relations, come to resemble relation between things. These relations appear to function in 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 clarifying eternal forces. Fetishism of commodities is a significant aspect of Lukacs' notion of reification.. . Lukacs agrees with Marx that the human relations implicit in commodity relations have so faded from view that i t is d i f -f i c u l t to detect them at a l l . Self-expanding capital, i.e., money generating money, i s perhaps the most notable example of how commodity production leads to a point where the social origins of an entity cease to be apparent. Marx comments that " i t is the capacity of money, or of a commodity, to expand i t s own value independently of reproduction— which is a mystification of capital in i t s most flagrant form" (Lukacs, 1971:94). Increased fragmentation and specialisation in 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 like clock-work. Marx contends that "through the subordination of man to the machine the situation arises in which men are effaced by their labour; in which the pendulum of the clock has become as accurate a measure of the rela-tive activity of two workers as i t is of the speed of two locomotives" (Lukacs, 1971:89). Mechanisation lends i t s e l f to the rational calcula-tion of the time required to perform any activity. Human labour is re-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 actively engaged and more contemplative with each passing day (Stedham Jones, 1971:29). 52 George Simmel (Arato, 1972:83) considers this increasing passivity to be symptomatic of a widening r i f t between what he terms objective cul-ture, the production of things, and subjective culture, the self-creation of individuals through this productive activity. He points out that people may lose awareness and control of their creations. They may come to exist in a world of objects which has a movement of i t s own, a move-ment which is independent of the w i l l of the individual. Simmel locates the source of this loss of control in the growing separation of the individual from products, tools and fellow workers. Thus, Simmel has neatly deduced some important components of Marx's theory of alienation from the passage on commodity fetishism in Capital. However, the two theorists eventually part company for Marx views alienation to be p r i -marily a function of a particular mode of production, whereas Simmel chooses to depict this growing estrangement as an unavoidable consequence of the human condition. Lukacs is not misled by the element of inevitability in 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 historical version of alienated labour alluded to in Marx' critique 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 entities which seem to bear no relation 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 reinforcing phenomena. The concept of reification finds i t s origin in Marx's analysis of p o l i t i c a l economy. Lukacs elaborates upon Marx's observation, seeking to substantiate his claim that the totality of social reality has fallen prey to the destructive influence of commodity production. Lukacs turns to an investigation of business administration and science in order to find evidence to support this view. He discovers that the methods used in both administrative and s c i e n t i f i c practices are those which best serve to divide the world into partial t o t a l i t i e s , isolated complexes which lend themselves to quantitative calculation. At this point, Lukacs incorporates Max Weber's notion of rationality to account for the pre-occupation with calculation and prediction which prevails within these partial systems. Empirical facts are valued as ends in themselves as the objective world is fragmented into successively smaller components in an attempt to gain control over discrete aspects of reality. This concern with precision is a common feature of the bureau-cratic institutions that predominate in an advanced capitalist society. Modern businesses with their rationally ordered systems of technological production demand the existence of an equally logical and predictable administrative organisation. Specialisation and calculability are crucial to the operation of the institutional structure. In fact, Lukacs (1971: 98-99) contends that the same standardisation of the division of labour as exists on the technological level occurs within bureaucracy. Persons engaged in capitalist mental labour s e l l their personal attributes and 54 s k i l l s in much the same fashion as manual workers. It is in fact the case that manual workers face the suppression of a l l mental faculties while their physical labour-power is being exploited. Workers in bureau-cratic positions, on the other hand, experience the appropriation of only one mental faculty or one complex of mental faculties. Nevertheless, the general phenomenon is similar in both instances; the rationalised and specialised nature of both manual and mental labour permits the engagement of only a fraction of the total personality. This routinisa-tion of productive activity means that the individual must adjust to a repititious way of l i f e , the outcome of which is the reification of con-sciousness. Thus, mental labour comes to be dictated by certain conven-tions which seem to exist independent of human design. Principles de-duced from the examination of partial systems now dominate the bureau-crats and scientists who formulated them in the f i r s t place. Lukacs believes that the pervasiveness of rei f i e d consciousness is most graphically revealed in the actual products of mental labour. Here he submits the whole of contemporary philosophy with i t s neo-Kantian and scientistic tendencies to a corrosive review. Even much that passes for Marxism is not spared his devastating critique. What Lukacs charges is that the wholesale application of methods from the natural sciences to the study of social reality t e s t i f i e s to the preva-lence of r e i f i e d consciousness. A case in point is p o l i t i c a l economy's chronic failure to penetrate to the essential dynamic of capitalist soci-ety. Instead of f i r s t examining their premises, p o l i t i c a l economists immediately set out in blind pursuit of social facts. They are insensitive 5 5 to the hi s t o r i c a l character of these facts and to their own cognitive distortions and so persist in uncritically accepting the appearance of the object as given. Lukacs argues that this faith in positivism per-petuates a bourgeois i l l u s i o n which grossly misrepresents social reality (Lichtheim, 1970:67). In Lukacs' opinion, conventional p o l i t i c a l economy neglects the active dimension of society, the dialectical process with a l l the realign-ments and modifications of the partial t o t a l i t i e s which i t entails. In-stead, empirical facts are pursued with no effort being made to appreci-ate the tendencies and counter tendencies emerging in the historical movement. In other words, reif i e d consciousness, with scientism being i t s most sophisticated form, approaches social reality in total ignorance of i t s mediated nature. Oblivious to the existence of these mediations, reif i e d thought encounters the partial t o t a l i t i e s of capitalist society in their immediacy, thereby wrenching these aspects from the complex of actual determinants and examining them in a r t i f i c i a l isolation. Lukacs concludes that consciousness distorted through interaction with such capitalist mediations as private property, exchange, the division of labour—phenomena judged by Meszaros to be second-order mediations—is incapable of recognising the multiplicity of mediated complexes present in the social totality. With labour-power transformed into a commodity and social relations now taking on the appearance of relations between things, this reification of consciousness has become the order of the day in capitalist society. It is important to recognise that Lukacs' critique of rei 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 inclined to make the so-called s c i e n t i f i c distinction between subjective conscious-ness and the objective, i.e., "real," world. For example, Engels sub-scribes to a version of historical materialism in which the theorist approaches social reality with the rigor of a scientist. Such a perspec-tive 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 individual to grasp "nature just as i t exists without any foreign admixture" (Althusser, 1971:40). With one stroke, Engels has completely eliminated the question of con-sciousness from the discussion of Marxist materialism. In i t s place, he proposes a theoretical framework which looks suspiciously like a species of positivism. The controversy over the nature of the science of Marxism is one which continues to this day. Louis Althusser (1971:14) provides a useful description of the basic tendencies involved in this dispute. He claims that Marxism embodies a tension between a philosophical dimension and a sc i e n t i f i c dimension. According to Althusser, a powerful faction arguing for the primacy of philosophy can effect a shift towards subjectivism. When a science-oriented group is in the ascendent, philosophy is sup-pressed in favour of positivism. These are very crude distinctions but they do shed some light on the struggle being waged within the ranks of Marxism. This dispute can be illustrated in 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 fact, there is evidence to suggest that even his belated encounter with Hegel f a i l s to cleanse Lenin of his scientistic leanings. Traces of this tendency appear to be present in Lenin's concept of the Communist party as a vanguard which is privy to an objective understanding of history. Needless to say, Lenin realises that i t would be suicidal to ignore the role of the "subjective factor," i.e., class consciousness, in the revolutionary movement. Yet he never wavers in his belief that the party must be comprised of a highly educated e l i t e , individuals versed in the s c i e n t i f i c knowledge necessary to catalyse and direct the a c t i v i -ties of the proletariat (Lichtheim, 1970:63-64). Lukacs' criticism of Lenin's position suffers from an over-emphasis of the role of consciousness in bringing about a radical trans-formation 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 precipitating a v i r t u a l l y spontaneous overthrow of the capitalist system (Lichtheim, 1970:64-65). Lichtheim's account is 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 theoreti-cal perspective of either Lenin or Lukacs. It is true, however, that Lukacs' preoccupation with the issue of consciousness is often at the expense of an examination of structural considerations. Nevertheless, he is 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 subjectivity 58 and objective fact. In addition, he correctly rejects any view of human cognition which claims that consciousness is simply a reflection of the material world. Lukacs (1971) recalls that the human essence i s the "ensemble of social relations" and he declares that i t i s only with the abolition of objectified relations that the individual can be reconstituted as a truly human being. A person's level of awareness of the hierarchy of mediated complexes indicates "the degree of clarity to which a man has attained concerning the foundations of his existence in these relations, i.e., the degree of consciousness of himself" (Lukacs, 1971:185). As the individual penetrates the immediacy of these perceived complexes and begins to appreciate their mediated nature, action designed to eliminate the rei f i e d character of these relations can begin. Lukacs maintains that increased awareness coupled with favourable material conditions w i l l eventually lead to the practical abolition of the mode of production which generated these reifications in the f i r s t place. It is Lukacs' contention (1971:163) that social reality in i t s immediacy appears in an identical manner for both the working class and the bourgeoisis. Yet he asserts that the process involved in raising consciousness to a level sensitive to the actual relations of human society i s a function of one's social experience. In Lukacs' estimation, working class individuals are more lik e l y to dispel the mystifying effects of immediacy than are members of the bourgeoisie, a distinction which attests to the qualitative difference between the social existences of the two classes. This observation recalls the aforementioned comments 59 in The Holy Family concerning the dissimilarities in the self-alienation of property-owner and worker. Both persons, are victims of alienation but whereas the capitalist 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 total enslavement. Lukacs claims that as the proletariat becomes aware of i t s exploited situation, i t begins to recognise the necessity for col-lective 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 rei f i e d relations. Lukacs presents a sophisticated account of how rei f i e d conscious-ness is propagated by alienated labour and how i t tends to perpetuate i t -self in turn. He speaks of how the consciousness of both the manual and mental worker is so severely distorted and fragmented that a l l phenomena are viewed as isolated facts rather than as components of a dynamic pro-cess. In fact, Lukacs (1971:68) claims that reification in advanced capitalist society i s so pervasive that workers commonly regard them-selves to be l i t t l e more than commodities. But how is i t possible to induce an awareness of the totality of social reality in consciousnesses which have been so thoroughly fragmented? Class consciousness supposedly demands the recognition of the position of one's class in the social whole. How can individual workers gain a perspective of their collective predicament when reification i s virtually all-encompassing? As theory, Lukacs' remarks on the relation between immediacy, mediation and totality are quite impressive. However, they become a bit troublesome when they are related to the existing reality and the need 60 for practical action. Lukacs develops a theory of reification which seems to be logically 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-line the steps necessary to overcome the immediacy of reified conscious-ness. Unfortunately, he f a i l s to realise this goal. In addition, his concluding section on the subject-object of history i s an open invita-tion to have his entire discussion dismissed as the work of an idealist. Lukacs i s ultimately pressured into recanting much of History and Class Consciousness in order to maintain favour with the Communist Party. In his introduction to the 1967 edition, he discredits the notion of the identical subject-object as being a metaphysical construct and cr i t i c i s e s his over-exuberance in equating objectivation with the r e i f i -cation of the proletariat. Certainly a retraction is warranted in both instances, but Lukacs permits his exercise in self-criticism 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 insights con-tained in History and Class Consciousness (Lichtheim, 1970:72). For example, portions of Lukacs' elaboration of the question immediacy-mediations-totality are useful additions to Marxist analysis. Lukacs insists that in order to acquire an accurate grasp of p o l i t i c a l economy, the individual must have an appreciation of the interaction between subsystems and the relation of these partial complexes to the social totality. The fetish-character of capitalist production may re-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 instantly c l a r i f y other fields such as p o l i t i c s , law, culture, etc. The investigation must begin anew with each change in focus. The aspect or complex in question must be viewed in light of i t s unique position within the intricate system of mediated relations (Meszaros, 1970:71). An examination of these partial t o t a l i t i e s can disclose helpful insights into the tendencies implicit in either the social system as a whole or in one particular class within that system. For example, major contradictions inherent in a specific class may be revealed in i t s partial t o t a l i t i e s long before they are evidenced in the movement of the social class in i t s entirety. Lukacs points to the propensity of dramatists to use family conflicts as subject-matter for tragedies, thus enabling them to vividly expose social 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 portraits of the social upheavals of their age that i t is only now, with the aid of his t o r i c a l materialism, that i t has become at a l l possible for theory to do justice to these a r t i s t i c insights" (Lukacs, 1971:176). Lukacs' appreciation of the family as a partial totality i s an important contribution to social theory. It provides a useful focus for investigations into the dialectical nature of social reality. In particu-lar, the examination of the dynamics of the family w i l l prove to be invaluable to Jean-Paul Sartre in his efforts to establish a psycho-analytic 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 directly encountered, given and transmitted from the past. The tradition of a l l the dead gener-ations weighs like a nightmare on the brain of the l i v i n g . And just when they seemed engaged in revolutionising themselves and things, in creating something that has never yet existed, precisely in such periods of revolutionary c r i s i s they anxiously conjure up the spirits of the past to their service and borrow from their names, battle cries and costumes in order to present the new sense of world history in 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. Ironically, the people most guilty of resurrecting ancient slogans to account for contemporary events are a l l too often the very individuals who characterise themselves as being followers of Marx. Cherishing his formulations as eternal truths, they remain oblivious to the fact that Marxian analysis is anything but a dog-matic reciting of chapter and verse from the classic texts. These people view Marxism as a static body of laws and principles to be preserved at a l l cost—and heaven help existing reality i f i t doesn't quite f i t the Procrustean bed. They f a i l to recognise that Marxism is a dynamic system of thought and not a fixed conceptual grid to be applied mechanically to explain social reality. Marxism is a method which must be continuously amplified and refined and whose sole purpose for being is to f a c i l i t a t e the abolition of social classes. In order to realise 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 is absolutely essen-t i a l i f Marxists are to maintain a v i t a l system of analysis, one whose sensitivity to external historical conjunctures is enhanced by a constant scrutiny of i t s internal theoretical composition. C r i t i c a l examination w i l l inevitably result in the inclusion of new categories to replace those outmoded by the changing social situation. Consequently, i t be-comes obvious that Marxists can i l l - a f f o r d to reject bourgeois theories in a wholesale fashion. Concepts and categories commonly associated with bourgeois ideology must be selectively incorporated i f Marxian theory is to be a useful tool 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 in a wholesale fashion. Concepts and categories commonly associated with bourgeois ideology must be selectively incorpor-ated i f Marxian theory is to be a useful tool for each successive gener-ation (Brewster, 1966:29). Certain people feel that one area where Marxism seems to be especially negligent is in the examination of personality formation. A charge that i s frequently made by bourgeois social scientists i s that Marxist theory sacrifices an understanding of the individual due to i t s preoccupation with the dynamics of social classes. This may prove to be a valid criticism—certainly 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 criticisms. Daniel Bell's comments in The End of Idology are representative of these inept attacks: 64 The irony, however, is that in moving from 'philosophy' to 'reality' . . . Marx himself had moved from one kind of abstraction to another. For in his system, self-alienation becomes transformed: man as 'generic man' (i.e., Man writ Large) becomes divided into classes of men. The only social reality i s not Man, not the individual, but economic classes. Individuals count for nought. (Bell, 1965:365-366) Bell's remarks appear to stem from a misinterpretation of Marxian social theory. In fact, Marx argues that human nature is not a substance inherent in each person but rather, consists of a dialectical construct, i.e., a dynamic complex of social relations present within a specific historical context (Shroyer, 1969:182). According to Marxist theory, i t is a gross distortion of human reality to consider the individual as opposed to or isolated from society as a whole. Individuality must be understood to be a process, an on-going interaction between the person, other individuals and the non-human natural world. What Bell presumes is that Marxism perceives people to exist only as members of economic classes; therefore, individuals are entirely reduced to being abstrac-tions of the group. On the basis of these judgments, he concludes that while Marxist social theory can accommodate the idea of social classes, an authentic concept of the individual cannot be formulated on i t s epis-temological foundations (Schaff, 1970:68). Bell's accusations may be in error yet they do disclose a notable omission in Marx's theory: a detailed analysis of the dynamics of human personality. One can appreciate Marx's dictum that a person is at once product and producer, a locus of interaction of the social relations present at a specific instant. The contention that human activity i s mediated by factors as diverse as social institutions, language and 65 personal and cultural history seems equally acceptable. Yet when Marxists point to the complexity of this process as providing a sufficient explan-ation for the existence of distinct persons—each personality being unde-niably unique—certain observers cannot help but feel short changed. To account for individual differences by casually referring to the intricacy and i r r e p l i c a b i l i t y of human character is considered by some to beg the question. One could argue that the absence of a comprehensive treatment of personality is not surprising given the overall intention of Marx's pro-ject. If society i s to be transformed, priority 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 fa i t h f u l to the general principles of Marxism have since been formulated, but whether Marx himself planned to embark on such a pro-gramme remains doubtful. We do know that the body of his work l i e s i n -complete: shortly prior to his death Marx greeted an inquiry as to the proposed date of publication of his complete works with the acid retort that "they would f i r s t have to be written" (Nicolaus, 1968:41). It is now widely known that Marx intended to produce his magnum opus, a study comprised of six sections to be collectively entitled Economics3 of which only one part, Capital, was to actually appear in print. Nevertheless, i t is highly unlikely that Marx viewed the inves-tigation of individual psychology to be one of the more pressing concerns of the day. Marx's neglect of this dimension is 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 precisely this man, arises at a determined period and in a given country i s naturally pure chance. But, lack-ing Napoleon, another man would have f i l l e d his place . . . The same is true of a l l chance events and of a l l that appears to be chance in history. The farther removed the province which we are exploring is from the economy, and the more i t cloaks i t s e l f in an abstract ideo-logical character, the more chance we find in i t s development . . . But trace the middle axis of the curve . . . This axis tends to be-come parallel to that of economic development. In Engels' estimation, people are l i t t l e more than contingencies, chance occurrences within the limitations determined by their class origins. The unique qualities and traits which characterise individual personalities are dismissed as being minor variants of "an abstract ideological character" (Sartre, 1963b:56). Engels' pronouncements have undoubtedly jeopardized the overall cred 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 in orientation have only served to obscure many of Marx's fundamental tenets. Marcuse's attempt to wed Freud with Marx is a case in point. Surely this exercise w i l l remain stillborn as long as theorists such as Marcuse cling to such non-dialectical irredu-cibles as sexual and aggressive instincts (Kupers, 1971:37). Jean-Paul Sartre (1969:50-51) provides a useful summation of the controversy surrounding proposals to integrate a theory of individual psychology with Marxism. He maintains that "everyone knows and everyone admits . . . that psychoanalysis and Marxism should be able to find the 67 mediations necessary to allow a combination of the two. Everyone adds, of course, that psychoanalysis is not primary, but that correctly coupled and rationalized with Marxism, i t can be useful. Likewise, everyone says that there are American sociological notions which have a certain validity, and that sociology in general should be used . . . Everyone agrees on a l l this. Everyone in fact says i t — b u t who has tried to do i t ? " It i s apparent that there is no question in Sartre's mind that the merging of a particular psychoanalytical method with Marxist social theory i s a legitimate proposition. What is problematic, Sartre argues, is the actual formulation of a psychoanalytic approach which w i l l ade-quately c l a r i f y those issues which traditionally have proven to be so troublesome for Marxist analysis. It i s this very task which Sartre (1963b :56) has taken upon himself to complete. In sum, he claims to have accomplished the chore of articulating a hierarchy of mediations which w i l l account for the presence of a specific person as a member of a particular class within a certain society at a given historical moment. Sartre harbours no illusions that his method of psychoanalysis i s in competition with Marxism proper. He believes his approach to be a parasitical 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 insertion of the individual in the particular social class. The family i s considered to be the v i t a l mediator between the class and the person; i t is within this primary unit that children unwittingly don 68 the social roles imposed upon them by adults, both parents and " s i g n i f i -cant others." Here the individual i s confronted with class values which, in the uncertain depths of childhood, are internalized as virtual abso-lutes . As Adam Schaff (1970:99) indicates, any personality theory must include an adequate treatment of those irrational 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 theo-r i s t s . Yet Sartre (1963b:62) provides a convincing discussion of this very topic. He observes that, for the majority of us, our beliefs and prejudices are virtua l l y unsurpassable precisely because they have f i r s t been experienced during childhood. Irrational responses and resistances to reason are artifacts of these early years, a period when class i n -terests are interiorized as personal shackles. His psychoanalytic scheme tries to determine the extent to which individuals are able to discard these youthful fetters. It 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 entirely ascribed to the individual's confrontation with the means of production as either a capitalist extracter of surplus value or a proletarian victim of that process of exploitation. He claims that many attitudes and pre-judices are acquired prior to leaving the family i t s e l f . A non-dogmatic Marxism is one which w i l l allow for the integration of psychoanalysis as a method for revealing how each child f i r s t lives the reality of the social class within the confines of the home. Only with the inclusion of 69 this technique can Marxism lay claim to being an authentic totalization of existing social knowledge (Darling, 1965:110). Antonio Gramsci is 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 particular, he confirms Marx's conception of the individual as being a process, a focal point of active realtionships in which the individual, other people and the natural world are intertwined. Gramsci realizes that i f one's own individuality is a totality of speci-f i c relations, personal changes w i l l modify the overall complex in which the individual i s embedded. Self-consciousness entails an awareness of this present totality yet i t also demands an appreciation of the histor-i c a l process of which this present totalization i s but a moment. There-fore, Gramsci maintains that i t is insufficient to simply examine the totality of interconnections at a given instant; in addition, one must comprehend how the various relations came into being and changed over time. In Gramsci's estimation, each individual i s both the "synthesis of contemporary relationships" and the "summary of the entire past" (Manzani, 1957:48). Sartre's expressed aim (1963b:60) i s to penetrate this past. He is 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 history." Sartre directs his attention to the study of the person's lived experience, seeking to disclose the exact historical sequence whereby the individual acted in terms of the poss i b i l i t i e s at hand and was acted upon in 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 feasible by f i r s t isolating certain i n i t i a l determinations and then tracing the person's progress through a succession of choices and actions (Manser, 1971:346-347). The approach used by Sartre i s essentially a variation 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 history, social structure and biography and his adaptation of Lefebvre's scheme is admirably suited to this task. Human groups, according to Sartre, must be understood with reference to both a horizontal complexity and a vertical complexity. The horizontal complexity corresponds to the social structure. It involves the specific relations of the group to the dominant social institutions. The historical dimension i s accounted for in the vertical complexity, which refers to group activities sur-viving from the past and to the particular sequence by which the in s t i t u -tions came to be formed. Sartre captures the interaction of these two components with respect to a particular individual by employing a pro-cedure consisting of three distinct stages. The f i r s t phase is one of situating the person within the social structure. This involves a straightforward Marxist analysis of the society as a whole and of the class position of the individual within the social system. The second phase consists of a regressive exploration of the person's history. At this point, Sartre introduces his psychoanalytic approach in order to 71 amplify the conventional Marxist account. The f i n a l moment entails moving from past to present in an attempt to grasp the current situation of the individual. This phase is concerned with the integration of the social structure and the particular biography within an historical move-ment. Sartre claims that his threefold method "will progressively deter-mine a biography . . . by examining the period, and the period by study-ing the biography" (Weinstein, 19.71:346). Consequently, Sartre maintains that his method w i l l lay bare the unique reality of the individual and at the same time w i l l contribute to an appreciation of the prevailing social conditions. For example, he speaks of how the study of the child Flaubert enriches one's under-standing of the French petit bourgeois of the 1830's. The existing class values of this period are made concrete by focussing on the situa-tion of Flaubert, the son of a successful physician. In fact, Sartre (1963b:61) proposes that an historical examination of psychoanalytic monographs would be very instructive in terms of documenting the modifi-cations of the family structure and the social class over a period of time. Here we are reminded of Lukacs' emphasis on the study of partial t o t a l i t i e s such as the family to assist in 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 sus-picion that many Marxists tend to be satisfied with l i t t l e more than a general description of class characteristics. He wishes to enhance this 72 somewhat superficial understanding by presenting a concrete account of class values, one which is grounded in the detailed analysis of specific individuals. Sartre (1969:45) claims that each person internalizes various determinations such as the family, the relations of production, the social institutions and the lived experience and that these interior-izations are revealed in the individual's beliefs and actions. He con-siders his psychoanalytic technique to be a useful instrument for illu 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 individual lived specific family relations during childhood. Sartre (1963b:31) agrees with Engels' statement that " i t i s men themselves who make their history, but within a given environment which conditions them." Sartre is seeking to identify the dynamics involved in this predicament of the individual being both a product and a producer of history. He i s intrigued with the notion that people, conditioned by the social situations in which they find themselves, are nevertheless able to surpass these existing circumstances, altering or conditioning their environment in turn. Sartre f i r s t concerns himself with the process whereby a person moves beyond the existing situation. It i s here that he introduces his concepts of project and praxis. Sartre regards the project to be the person's choice of one course of action from among a number of alterna-tives. This collection or group of possible actions does not remain fixed, but rather is continuously being modified in accordance with the changing social circumstances. Praxis refers to the actual surpassing of 73 the existing situation in order to realise the particular end outlined in the project i t s e l f . Thus, any purposeful human activity i s regarded by Sartre to constitute praxis. Sartre's notions of project and praxis are not original. They bear a marked resemblance to ideas contained in Marx's conception of human labour. This similarity i s perhaps best illustrated in a section in Capital where Marx differentiates 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 architect in the construction of her c e l l s . But what distinguishes the worst architect from the best of bees i s this: that the architect raises his structure in his imagination be-fore he erects i t in reality. At the end of every labour process we get a result that already existed in the imagination of the labourer at i t s commencement. He not only effects a change of form in the material on which he works, but also realizes 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 probability, Marx would concur with Sartre that i t i s by trans-cending existing circumstances towards particular goals that individuals objectify their projects and contribute to the unfolding of human history. He would undoubtedly share Sartre's view that the particular courses of action feasible at any given moment are determined by the existing social conditions. What Sartre attempts to outline i s how the choice of pro-jects i s also influenced by the particular history of the individual. He insists that the original childhood project—what he terms the funda-mental 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 in terms of the courses of action conceivable at that time and Sartre argues that this realm of possibilities w i l l reflect the class values and biases held by parents and other significant persons in the child's l i f e . In sum, Sartre intends to outline the procedure by which a person comes to adopt a unique—albeit class-biased—perception of reality, a perspective which w i l l affect a l l choices made and actions taken in the future. It i s at this point that Sartre (1963b:62) introduces his par-ticular interpretation of Marx's concept of alienation. He maintains that in the eyes of most Marxists, "everything seems to happen as i f men experienced their alienation and their reification f i r s t in their own work, whereas in actuality each one lives i t f i r s t as a child, in his parent's work." In Sartre's opinion, people continue to liv e this alienation, this fundamental deviation. Products of their parents' design, they are never f u l l y able to overcome this early distortion of character. It 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 alien-ation. Nevertheless, Sartre's use of alienation is problematic in this context. It is highly debatable whether his term is in fact compatible with the Marxian concept. Richard Schacht, for one, believes that Sartre has undeniably broadened the traditional applications of alienation but that he does remain f a i t h f u l to the essential principles of Marxism. Alienation i s generally used in reference to conventional work situations, 75 a restriction which Schacht (1971:238) considers to be excessively narrow. In Schacht's opinion, Sartre has added interesting and useful dimensions to the concept without sacrificing any aspect of the original formulation. Unfortunately, Sartre himself sheds l i t t l e light on this contro-versy. During his career, he has employed the concept of alienation in a variety of ways. However, since becoming a Marxist he has neglected to e x p l i c i t l y outline his current version of the term. As a result, we are forced to construct our own interpretation of Sartre's concept on the basis of an investigation of his earlier writings. For the most part, Sartre's present usage of alienation appears to be a conflation of elements drawn from Husserl, Hegel, Marx—with a l i t t l e Lukacs added for good measure. Of course, his particular rendering is 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 his earlier thoughts as a reformulation of other theorists. Sartre f i r s t employs the term alienation in Being and Nothing-ness. This particular 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 person—a woman, for example—comes to realise that others are subjects for themselves as she is for herself, she is compelled to recognise that in their eyes she has an object-character as well as a subject-character. Moreover, she must acknowledge that their view of her has as much validity as hers of them. The other person thus serves as a type of mirror in which she perceives that she is not wholly subject, but also has the character of an object. Here she 76 experiences herself as something "other," something "alien" to her in her subjectivity. 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 in Sartre's description of being caught off guard while peeking through a key-hole. Moments before, he was totally absorbed in spying on an intimate scene and was not conscious of being engaged in a shameful act. When he does realise that another person has discovered him in this compromising posi-tion, he recoils in shame. The look of the other person causes him to self-consciously reflect upon his appearance in the eyes of that person. He comes to see himself in terms of certain qualities 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 in the position of passing judgment on myself as an object, for i t is as an, object that I appear to the Other" (Solomon, 1972:306). Sartre regards this momentary "alienation" from active "subjec-tive" consciousness to be a common occurrence in everyday l i f e . He i s quick to point out that the particular identity or character which we recognise by the process of self-reflection i s not our definitive essence. Here Sartre recalls Marx's belief that the individual does not have a fixed personality, but rather i s engaged in a lifelong process of self-creation. Thus, the specific character or property revealed through reflection i s not a static "self," but simply a moment in the individual's l i f e . In Sartre's example, his self-identification as a "peeping Tom" is merely a transitory judgment, a fleeting assessment of 77 his earlier non-reflective act of spying. This phenomenon of self-consciousness occupies an important position in Sartre's theory. The occurrence of self-reflection i s con-sidered to be decisive to the gaining of an awareness of one's partic-ular situation in the world. Moreover, Sartre insists that i t is only through the acknowledgment of the consciousness of others that sel f -recognition comes into being (Solomon, 1972:306-308). This view is strongly reminiscent of Hegel's contention that self-consciousness i n -volves distinguishing between oneself and other objects in the material world. Hegel also maintains that one's sense of self-esteem depends on being perceived by other people to be a unique individual. In other words, he judges mutual recognition between individuals to be essential for human well-being. Hegel argues that at f i r s t a person wishes ack-nowledgment from others without granting recognition in return, a struggle for self-recognition which finds i t s most noteworthy expression in Hegel's discussion of the Master-Slave relationship (Plamenatz, 1963: 152-154). Sartre characterizes this struggle for self-recognition as being an attempt to avoid being objectified in the eyes of other people. Each person wishes to be seen as an active self-creating subject, not as a fixed entity comprised of static properties (Solomon, 1972:305). Yet with every objectification of a project, the specific intentions of the individual are revealed. Other people are free to infer the presence of changeless personal characteristics on the basis of these significations. Hegel, for one, is especially sensitive to the detrimental 78 aspects of this tendency to objectify human beings. He judges the a t t r i -bution of fixed qualities to be harmful to the ongoing creation of self. A series of words or deeds may be construed by others to be an adequate representation of the individual. The person, in turn, may come to view these momentary externalisations as being self-definitive absolutes. Hegel terms such objectifying consciousness "abstract thinking." To illu 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 in the murderer except the abstract fact that he is a murderer, and to annul a l l other human essence in him with this simple quality" (Shroyer, 1971:88). But how can such abstract thinking be avoided? Certainly a case could be made for i t being a universal feature of the human species, restricted neither to a particular historical period nor a specific group of people. Peter Berger and Stanley Pullberg (1966:74) are two contemporary sociologists who follow this line of reasoning. They main-tain that the tendency to define oneself and others in terms of fixed characteristics in inherent in the human condition. Trenton Shroyer (1971:88-90) agrees that this propensity to objectify i s a real possi-b i l i t y for a l l individuals, yet he argues that an adequate comprehension of each externalisation i s sufficient to prevent abstract thinking. In other words, distortive 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 dialectical process of human self-creation must be acknowledged by both parties. Any breakdown in self-reflection or 79 mutual-recognition w i l l promote the occurrence of abstract thinking. Lukacs' discussion of the reification of consciousness seems especially useful at this juncture. Reified thought is seen to be a pro-duct of a specific capitalist social formation in which there is a proliferation of specific types of institutions necessary to the market. The historical dimension of reification is revealed by the fact that such institutions as a bureaucratic state apparatus and highly developed commercial and legal systems are unique to advanced capitalist society. It logically follows that the existence of these social conditions could only f a c i l i t a t e the occurrence of abstract thinking. Reified minds are predisposed to consider a l l phenomena as isolated empirical facts rather than as f i n i t e moments in a dynamic movement. Consequently, an i n d i v i -dual's actions, words and gestures w i l l in a l l likelihood be treated as statements of the static nature of the person's character. Therefore, i t could be argued that this tendency to view people as having fixed personalities is l i k e l y to be especially prevalent in advanced capitalist society. Reification of consciousness hinders mutual recognition and non-distortive self-reflection. Abstract thinking thereby acquires a historical dimension. Sartre appears to agree with Lukacs' premise that reification i s a consequence of capitalist society. For his own purposes he further narrows this focus, concentrating on the unique events which occur in the formative years of childhood. We have witnessed how the nature of self-reflection i s an important consideration in both Hegel's formulation of abstract thinking and Lukacs' notion of reification. Sartre seems to 80 be equally appreciative of this phenomenon. His own version of aliena-tion and reific a t i o n emphasises the significance of the self-reflective act during a person's early years. The self-recognition process of the child and the prevalence of reified consciousness amongst adults combine to provide the substance of Sartre's application of Marx's concept of alienation. One of Sartre's basic theses is that a person exists within specific social conditions and makes choices and decisions on the basis of the objective possibilities available. Yet during childhood, the individual acts without clearly comprehending the actual nature of the existing social context. Particular 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 in a situation only vaguely understood by the child. This groping to comprehend social reality and to move beyond what are often bewildering predicaments is 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 efforts to make sense of lived situa-tions are s t i l l experienced in our activities as adults. Sartre (1963b: 100-106) argues that these early distortions are inscribed in our daily pursuits and that the course of our lives w i l l reflect the unfolding of variations on these i n i t i a l distortions.. He perceives the individual's l i f e to evolve in spirals with the same deviations being repeatedly en-countered at different levels of integration and complexity. To some extent, these childhood legacies are prototypes of the 81 reifications of consciousness which people w i l l encounter as adults. Yet Sartre maintains that these youthful distortions are more profound, more fundamental, for they originate at a time when the individual i s i l l -equipped to make sense of them. Invariably, they supply the person with a self-definition which w i l l be reinforced and perpetuated into adulthood. Thus, these early alienations remain as components of a reified identity, a self-image to be defended at a l l cost. The intransigence of these i n i t i a l self-conceptions is 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 like any others, because the original choice functions at a moment and at a period where there is s t i l l neither history nor conscious practice nor possibility of deliberate consciousness." In other words, fundamental deviations are artifacts from a time when acts of self-reflection 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 in Sartre's study of the French playwright, poet, novelist and thief, Jean Genet. Born in Paris in 1910, Genet was aban-doned by his mother shortly after birth. He was soon adopted and went to liv e with his foster parents in the rural village of Mettray. By the time he was ten, Genet had been caught stealing on various occasions and was sentenced to a term in a local reformatory. Successive convictions for theft resulted in periods of imprisonment in a series of correctional schools. By the time he was twenty, Genet had served a short stint in the Foreign Legion which was followed by a period of wandering through Europe. 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. This work was followed by a number of novels, plays and poems. After ten convictions for theft in 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 instru-mental in petitioning for Genet's release (Cooper, 1964:68). Sartre argues that Genet is one of those persons, a l l too rare, who gain an awareness of their childhood distortions. In fact, the intention of Sartre's psychoanalytic technique i s to determine whether individuals remain partially or wholly engulfed by these early flaws or whether they come to recognise these distortions of character, as did Genet. Genet was raised in a rural community which placed a high value on the ownership of property. According to Sartre, the boy began to steal in a half-comprehending attempt to compensate for his constant obligation to be grateful 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 violations when Genet was accosted and declared to be a thief. It is for this reason that Sartre considers Genet's case to be exceptional for, at a young age, he was l i t e r a l l y i n -formed who he was. The majority of his l i f e has been devoted to inter-nalizing this judgment imposed on him by adults, a verdict which he i n i t i a l l y considered to be the definitive pronouncement of society. Genet determines that this decisive event occurred when he was ten years old. Playing alone in the kitchen, he was about to take a knife 83 from a drawer when he realised that he was being watched. At this instant, Genet experienced himself as an object in the eyes of this onlooker. His unreflective actions were now objective statements of the nature of his character. Under the gaze of another person, Genet in effect came to his senses for the f i r s t time. The boy who lacked an identity was now con-firmed. Genet does not contest the stigma conferred upon him. He acknow-ledges the reifying pronouncement, assuming himself to be this particular object, fixed for a l l time by the judgment of others; "The thief was a monstrous principle which had been residing unperceived within him and which was now disclosed as his Truth, his eternal essence" (Cooper, 1964c: 72). What was but a momentary "alienation" of his unreflective subjec-t i v i t y became a lasting reification.of consciousness. Sartre views Genet's identification as a thief to be crucial to his future development. The remainder of the biography is an attempt to depict the events of Genet's future years as being elaborate variations on this original c r i s i s . Sartre recognises that this fundamental deviation may not have been the consequence of one specific event. Genet himself refers to a variety of occasions—real or imaginary—when the "melodious child" in him was k i l l e d by a "vertiginous word" (Cooper, 1964c:71). This assassination may have been the result of one incident or of a succession of accusations of a similar type. It may well be simply a condensation of Genet's ex-perience of himself as perceived by others during a particular stage of his childhood. The role played by particular social values was extremely crucial 84 to the formation of young Genet's perception of the world. The adults who function here as mediators in the socialisation process introduce the child to a class-biased conception of reality, 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 his own in order to achieve legitimacy in the eyes of the community. The local authori-ties, responsive to the virtua l l y sanctified status of private property, identify 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 in this provincial community. Sartre contends that Genet's future activities as a self-professed thief are in reaction to these values. Published in the early 1950's, Sartre's study of Genet tes t i f i e s to the existential philosopher's heightened sensitivity to the impact of social factors upon a person's development. The relation between class values and childhood fixations i s touched upon in 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 definition of individual freedom (1969:45) has shrunk in 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 totally conditioned social being someone who does not render back completely what his conditioning has given him. Which makes of Genet a poet when he had been rigorously conditioned to be a thief." 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 particular family. Here Lukacs' recognition of the importance of the family i s explored in depth. It i s in the home that class possibilities are made concrete. It i s as children that we liv e our future conditions; i t i s as children that we probe the class determined realm of possi-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 qualities of our future professions. Sartre charac-terises Flaubert as a person who frantically struggles to escape the suffocating demands of his petit bourgeois family and who realises pro-jects as an adult which vividly attest to these smothering conditions of childhood. Flaubert's progress begins with the child who feels deprived of affection due to the attention conferred upon his brother, a b r i l l i a n t medical student. Sartre believes that Flaubert strives to be different from his successful brother by i n i t i a l l y electing to be inferior to him. Flaubert reacts by f i r s t becoming a mediocre student and then entering law school, a profession which he realises his physician father holds in 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, 1 1 once again seeking to hold success at bay. Sartre traces Flaubert's movement through repeated breakdowns to his eventual profession as a com-mitted writer. Sartre indicates how each crucial phase in Flaubert's l i f e appears to be only a repetition of his i n i t i a l childhood identity c r i s i s . 86 In a recent interview, Sartre refers to Flaubert's comprehension of the origins of his particular orientation, his unique being-in-the-world. He i s alleged to have once made the statement that "you are doubt-less like myself, you a l l have the same terrifying and tedious depths." (Sartre (1969:49) considers this to be an accurate assessment of the nature of psychoanalysis: the individual makes periodic dizzying revela-tions only to find that in each instance the discovery exposes the same fundamental complex. Sartre (1963b:106) comes to the conclusion that in a l l i t s myriad forms, the project which is the individual's l i f e is essentially the struggle to transcend original skews and deviations, the residue of childhood alienations. The individual lives or exists these reifications, surpassing them yet preserving them in each act. Therefore, one's personal history seems to unfold with the same c r i t i c a l deviations being broached, yet always in superficially new guises and at different levels of intensity. Andre Gorz is one person who has employed Sartre's method in an effort to understand his own history. The Traitor is Gorz's account of this exercise, a programme of self-analysis 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 insightful and obscure. At times Gorz's style i s virtually impenetrable, yet certain passages bear quoting in f u l l . Their complexity attests to the contortions this petit bourgeois intellectual was compelled to undergo in order to realise his project: the fusion of his personal biography with Marxism. Much of the book is written in the third person in an abvious attempt by Gorz to gain a clearer perspective of the nature of his history. It is not u n t i l 87 he has exhaustively probed both his own lived experience and the social context of his youth that he is able to integrate his own biography and the social structure within a historical movement. With the completion of this task, he is re-established as the subject, as " I . " At one point Gorz (1959:271-272) recounts an early realisation that others around him perceived him to be an individual with particular qualities. It provides an excellent example of Sartre's notion of childhood alienation: This body i t s e l f was stolen from him, i t spoke to others in a lan-guage he did not know; he was spoken by his body. Unrealizable sig-nifications, intentions he was certain he did not have because he did not understand them, came to inhabit him from outside, estab-lishing themselves, lik e parasites that eat away the flesh or, worse s t i l l , the consciousness, without his 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 in his presence in the third 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 in at the age of two, he f e l t their eyes, their silence upon him; "I suppose h e ' l l be engineer," his mother said in her encouraging voice; for them, he beat on the wheels wildly; 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 ecsta-sies. They saw something on him he was ignorant of, he "told" them something he did not know, they expected him to play a role. He did not understand them, he did not understand his role. They terror-ized him. He hated them. His entire childhood was spent under this tyranny of identification, for he was required to identity himself with the role, with the ego his mother wanted him to play and neces-sarily imputed to him because that was how she wanted to see him. Gorz (1959:272-273) then speaks of how this early self-image is is interiorised and confirmed. Each project, each action is formulated with reference to this re i f i e d identity, a self-concept incorporated during childhood. I suppose this i s what is meant by 'moral consciousness' (or the superego), this image of yourself which is always shown to you as 88 what you are, and which, since in fact you are nothing else, you should be from now on, lest you lose yourself in the shadows of being nothing. You interiorize the requirement to identify yourself and, in 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 in your intentions and behavior that confirm i t — t h e rest, li k e the dark side of the moon remaining un-known (but not unconscious) for you. Gorz is especially perceptive in his analysis of how this i n i t i a l identity becomes a deeply embedded aspect of a person's self-conception. In effect, he outlines how a momentary alienation i s perpetuated as an ongoing rei f i c a t i o n : The dialectical process of the choice . . . seems to me as follows: originally there was a complex, an irrational attitude assumed in childhood to avoid a situation the child has no means of dealing with rationally . . . If the original project survives instead of f a l l i n g into oblivion with the rest of childish attitudes, i t can do so only to the degree that i t has become more than the original complex i t was at the start. It is not the attitude of the child's original nonidentification with his mother which is perpetuating i t s e l f , but a project of nonidentification which discovers in events forever new reasons for development, forever new possibilities for refusing iden-t i f i c a t i o n , and forever new significations for this refusal. Once Gorz (1959:290) becomes aware of these crucial determinations, he is able to begin to r i d his consciousness of i t s more severe distortions. That i s , he embarks on a project of dereification. With increased sensi-t i v i t y to his own deviations, he becomes more responsive to the unique character of other people: This i s the point I have reached. The 'complex of nonidentification,' since I have recognized i t , has drained like an abscess. Instead of keeping the world at a distance like an enemy who must not be allowed to get a grip on me, I am learning to yield to i t ; to see i t , to begin with, to taste i t s density, my presence within i t , to list e n to a man talking in the depths of his speech (instead of listening only to surface of what he s a y s ) . . . . 89 Gorz makes a number of insightful comments in the course of un-veiling his own original choice of self. His autobiographical sketch is drawn from his daily journal and i t s dialectical unfolding provides an extremely rich and intricate account of his personal development. New discoveries lead to new investigations and actions which in turn promote new levels 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 social relations": I no longer believe, as at the outset of this work, that a man can change radically, can liquidate his original choice. But I am now convinced that by careful analysis of his empirical situation, he can discover in his choice potential significations that permit him to reach positive conclusions. This is 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, in view of a positive action. Finally, Gorz (1959:297-298) undertakes an examination of his situation and of the s k i l l s that he has developed in the course of his career. He reaches the conclusion that the primary resource which he possesses is his talent for writing: Among other things I have learned that I shall never be through be-ginning again; that my world is this white paper, my l i f e the a c t i -vity of covering i t . I once thought l i f e would be possible when I had said everything; and now I realize that l i f e , for me, is to write; to start out each time trying 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 principal creative outlet available to him, yet he realises the inherent deficiencies of this fundamentally p r i -vate, highly specialised activity. He recognises too, the potential 90 p i t f a l l s i t offers the petit bourgeois intellectual who claims i t for a lifelong vocation. Here his apprehension matches that of another petit bourgeois intellectual, his mentor, Jean-Paul Sartre (1964:82): "For a long time I treated my pen as a sword. Now I realise how helpless we are. It does not matter: I am writing, I shall 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 compo-nent of any revolutionary movement. They have taken i t upon themselves to devote their energies to i t s production and refinement. Sartre has travelled a long and circuitous route to arrive at his present position. In the i n i t i a l stages of his 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 particular form according to the free selection of a project which one made for 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 totally and una-voidably predefined. This was considered by Sartre to be merely a pro-cess of self-deception whereby individuals denied their freedom and their responsibility for their actions (Macintyre, 1971:29). As Sartre out-lined in his early biographical portraits 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 crucial moments of self-definition in a person's l i f e . The publication of Being and Nothingness in 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 his belief that individuals are solely responsible for the making of their own lives as increasingly less acceptable. Each of his portraits 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 specific project. Sartre went so far as to admit that children have a tendency to align themselves with the conventions of the immediate com-munity, yet he denied that the attraction to these norms was i r r e s i s -table. If individuals chose to uncritically embrace the values of the surrounding society, their principal motive for doing so was based on bad faith: they wished to sacrifice their personal liberty in order to find protection and guidance through compliance with their class (McMahon, 1967:6). While Sartre gradually came to give greater emphasis to the role of early conditioning, he s t i l l held to the belief that people are free to choose what course their lives w i l l take. Nevertheless, Sartre (1964:129) f i n a l l y recognises late in his l i f e that his own history can-not be judged to be truly self-defined: 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 in my soul, pointed to my star; I didn't see i t , but I saw their fingers pointing; I believed in the adults who claimed to believe in me. Sartre estimates that i t took him thirty years to r i d himself of the idealism inherited from this petit bourgeois upbringing. In fact, his disgust with the self-serving character of his class dates from an early age. However, i t was not u n t i l years later that he was able to appreciate how his solitary 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 distortions which he had internalised as a child and which he continued to express in the existential individualism of his literature and philosophy. Sartre re-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 repu-tation is based (Laing, 1969:15). Sartre's trance-like state was not due to any lack of exposure to Marxism. The intellectual circles of which he was a part were highly receptive to l e f t wing thought. Sartre (1963:18) recalls that he f i r s t studied Capital and The German Ideology at university: "I found everything perfectly clear, and I really understood absolutely nothing. To under-stand is to change, to go beyond oneself. This reading did not change me." Sartre approached Marxism as he would any other philosophical discipline. It was an exercise in logic, an interesting account to be mulled over and digested but certainly not something which could lead to a wholesale re-working of his consciousness. Sartre claims that i t was not Marx's words but the reality of the working class that i r r e s i s t i b l y attracted petit bourgeois intellectuals like himself. The limited knowledge that this academic had of the daily experience of the proletariat was great enough to p u l l a l l his "acquired culture out of shape." The contradiction between his intellectual pursuits and his aware-ness of the oppressed position of the majority of society was not to be overcome u n t i l Sartre had uncovered the origins of his particular percep-tions 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 con-ditioning—was forced to acknowledge that his vision of reality was coloured by prejudices inherited from his class. It was at this point that Sartre discovered the r e i f i e d nature of his consciousness. This tireless defender of individualism i s faced with the realisation that the fundamental impulse of his philosophy originates in a childhood devi-ation, a class-bound reification of consciousness. This disclosure prompts Sartre to trace the development of his own thought and, in the process, to outline a method for documenting the lived experience of every individual. His psychoanalytic technique is the product of these labours. It represents a concerted attempt to demystify the ideological content of human consciousness by employing a novel interpretation of the concept of alienation. Sartre believes that he has attained an awareness of his own class biases. Certainly there has been a notable shift in the orienta-tion of his writings. But can Sartre's present work be judged to be wholly beyond reproach? It may well be true that Sartre has purged him-self of much of his early idealism, yet does not a tendency towards individualism linger to this day: How does one justify his massive pro-ject devoted to the l i f e of Flaubert, a nineteenth-century novelist? Is this the product of a petit bourgeois intellectual who has gained a sensi-t i v i t y to his class biases and who i s trying to use his s k i l l s to further the revolutionary movement? Sartre has adapted Marx's notion of aliena-tion to better understand the nature of individuality in general and his own in particular. But why this preoccupation with the question of the 94 singular human being when the attainment of Marxism's goal requires the mobilization of a collective body? Sartre's novel treatment of aliena-tion may be theoretically sound. It may accurately capture the lived experience of certain individuals within capitalist society. But what i s i t s practical value to a revolutionary social movement? CONCLUSION Lukacs and Sartre speak as petit bourgeois intellectuals and they rank as two of the most conscious members of their class. They are both capable of producing perceptive accounts of what i t means to be re-moved from direct contact with the machinery of capitalist production. This i s at once the strength and the weakness of their presentations. For example, Lukacs seeks to isolate the mechanisms needed to activate the working class as a revolutionary force. Unfortunately, his argument, as theoretically polished as i t might be, suffers from a lack of exper-ience of the very class which he is 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 capitalist exploitation. Consequently, Lukacs and other theorists li k e him frequently discover that their constituency i s re-stricted to persons similar to themselves, university-trained i n t e l l e c -tuals who have the time and the inclination to explore obscure reaches of dialectical reasoning. As we have witnessed, Lukacs is pessimistic that a well developed class awareness can emerge amongst the proletariat. Nevertheless, one suspects that Lukacs' findings are primarily the logical outcome of his own thought processes rather than accurate observations of objective social conditions. His theoretical formulations occasionally appear to take on a l i f e of their own. That i s , they seem more inclined to reflect the internal logic of Lukacs' thought than to depict the existing circum-stances of the working class which they are endeavouring to describe. In 95 96 sum, Lukacs' presentation of the notion of reification may provide a provocative addition to the Marxist exposition of alienation and com-modity fetishism. However, i t i s highly questionable whether his expo-sition adequately captures the actual situation of working class individuals. Louis Althusser provides an interesting commentary on the pos-sible distortions which a person of Lukacs' background can bring to the analysis of social 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 directly exper-ienced the exploitive character of capitalist 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 in comprehen-ding Capital for i t presents an account of their daily existence. The second group of readers are those persons who have never encountered capitalist exploitation first-hand and who are governed in both conscious-ness and practice by the dominant ideology, the ideology of the bour-geoisie. Althusser contends that these people w i l l have considerable d i f f i c u l t y in overcoming their " p o l i t i c a l incompatability" with the content of Capital. The theoretical material contained in Capital f a i l s to coincide with the ideas which these people carry in their heads, "ideas which they 'rediscover' in their practices (because they put them there in the f i r s t place)" (Althusser, 1971:74). Althusser maintains that in a l l likelihood these individuals w i l l come to a faulty under-standing of Marx's project. These observations are extremely s i g n i f i -cant, yet Althusser neglects to include a comprehensive treatment of this 97 question. Instead, he chooses to account for these different interpreta-tions of Capital by simply referring to the existence of proletarian "class instinct" as opposed to bourgeois "class instinct." It i s at this juncture that Sartre's work gains considerable credibility as being a notable contribution to Marxist theory. His ap-proach is especially helpful in illuminating Althusser's remarks on "class instincts" and in disclosing the reasons for Lukacs' shortcomings. In general, Sartre seems to be more successful than Lukacs i f only be-cause he appears to possess a greater sensitivity to his class biases. He i s aware to some extent that his prejudices disqualify him as a spokes-man for the working class. Certainly there can be l i t t l e question that Sartre i s most persuasive as an articulate representative of that small grouping of petit bourgeois intellectuals who recognise the need for revolutionary change. Perhaps more than any other Marxist theoretician, Sartre has captured the character of his class, the lived experience of the petit bourgeoisie. Sartre has employed the Marxist concept of alienation to account for the formation of his particular perception of reality. In the process, he has developed a method which permits other persons to c l a r i f y their own experience and to gain a greater apprecia-tion of the distortions which they i n f l i c t upon any activity, theoretical or practical. As Sartre indicates, every scientist i s a part of the sc i e n t i f i c f i e l d ; the individual must be aware of personal deviations i f social reality i s to be fa i t h f u l l y described. It seems obvious that Sartre's findings are anything but routine contributions to the revolu-tionary theorist's conceptual tool-kit. His technique of psychoanalysis 98 offers an incisive procedure for the c l a r i f i c a t i o n of the distortions which each petit bourgeois intellectual brings to the study of social phenomena. It seems reasonable to conclude that i t is the petit bourgeoisie rather than the proletariat who is l i k e l y to receive the most immediate benefits from an application of Sartre's method. This is because i t is precisely those petit bourgeois intellectuals like Sartre and Lukacs who seem to suffer the most serious long term effects of childhood mystifi-cations. Andre Gorz (1959:60) is particularly convincing in his discus-sion of this problem. He claims that members of the bourgeoisie and petit bourgeoisie " w i l l probably carry into their adult l i f e the com-plexes and religious 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 is the work of human beings." He adds that this mystified situation i s especially aggravated in advanced capitalist societies where the develop-ment of technology has minimized the opportunity for people to achieve a consciousness of themselves as being the actual creators of the social order. Gorz (1959:229) also supplies a useful commentary on the indi -vidualism that typifies the majority of his class. He remarks that for most petit bourgeois intellectuals involvement in collective activities is a threatening prospect. They choose instead to form their projects with the intention of making themselves distinct, of individualising themselves. In light of these comments i t becomes evident that the petit bourgeois intellectual who recognises the need to establish the hegemony 99 of the working class is faced with an exceedingly arduous task. Althusser (1971:11-12) declares that in order to become Marxist-Leninist philosophers, petit bourgeois individuals must undergo a revolutionising of their ideas. They must submit to a long and painstaking programme of re-education, and "internal struggle" to overcome deeply entrenched biases and distortions. In contrast to this drastic process of sel f -transformation, Althusser considers the predicament confronting the working class individual to be much less severe. Certainly the prole-tariat requires educating to move to a position of class consciousness. Yet for the most part education is a l l that is needed and not the whole-sale remoulding of thought that is the fate of each petit bourgeois revolutionary. Sartre's intensely individualistic preoccupation with psycho-analysis appears to be vindicated with these remarks. His is a technique designed to c l a r i f y the composition 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 petit bourgeois intellectual is to become a useful resource for the purposes of the working class. To be sure, Sartre continually emphasises that this approach is a parasiti-cal ideology which w i l l be subsumed by Marxism as a whole. This neatly characterises his own position and that of petit bourgeois intellectuals li k e him: parasitical ideologues u n t i l such time as they have recognised their own class bound limitations and have embarked upon that radical self-transformation that is necessary i f they are to be of use to the working class cause. The individualistic impetus which typifies the reality of the petit bourgeoisie must be turned against i t s e l f . Sartre's 100 method for isolating those reifications peculiar to each individual i s a move in this direction. It reflects Gramsci's advice (Manzani, 1957:18) that "a beginning of a critique of one's own world view entails a con-sciousness of one's self," an awareness of one's self as the product of a historical process. The concept of alienation i s the central element in Sartre's thesis. Nevertheless, this term which serves as the point of articula-tion of his psychoanalytic method bears l i t t l e immediate resemblance to Hegel's original formulation. Alienation has undergone a number of modi-fications prior to i t s appearance i n Sartre's exposition. Feuerbach was the instigator of alienation's f i r s t major overhaul, rescuing the concept from i t s precarious perch in Hegel's idealist scheme and setting i t firmly within a materialist framework. Marx was quick to improve upon Feuerbach's reworking. He uncovered the essential nature of the notion by exposing i t s relation to human labour. Exchange, private property and the division of labour are judged to be the culprits as Marx pinpoints the ultimate cause of human alienation. Lukacs then attempted to extend the boundaries of the term by examining the corruptive influence of com-modity production upon society in general. He was particularly concerned with documenting how the distorted consciousness associated with the alienated mode of labour hinders the development of a class conscious proletariat. Sartre rounds off 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 his provocative account of the child's i n i t i a l 101 encounter with class biases. Sartre proposes a psychoanalytic method which is intended to aid individuals in achieving some degree of sensi-t i v i t y to the distorted character of their consciousness. Whether or not Sartre himself w i l l be successful in combatting his own class biases remains to be seen. Certainly a requisite for such an undertaking is the placing of one's self at the service of the working class. This i n -volves the replacing of self-directed, isolated labours with collective activity directed at furthering the well-being of the proletariat as a whole. References Althusser, Louis. 1970 For Marx. New York: Vintage Books. 1971 Lenin and Philosophy and other Essays. New York: Monthly Review. Arato, Andrew. 1972 "Georg Lukacs: the Search for a Revolutionary Subject." Pp. 80-106 in Dick Howard and Karl E. Klare (eds.), The Unknown Dimen-sion: European Marxism Since Lenin. New York: Basic Books, Inc. Avineri, Shlomo. 1968 The Social and P o l i t i c a l Thought of Karl Marx. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Bell, Daniel. 1960 The End of Ideology. Glencoe, 111.: Free Press. Berger, Peter and Thomas Luckman. 1967 The Social Construction of Reality. Garden City, N.Y.: Double-day & Co. Brewster, Ben. 1966a "Comment: Reification and the Sociological Critique of Conscious-ness." New Left Review 35:72-77. 1966b "Presentation of Gorz on Sartre." New Left Review 37:29-32. Cooper, D. G. 1964a "Sartre on Genet." New Left Review 25:69-73. 1964b "Question of Method." Pp. 31-64 in R. D. Laing and D. G. Cooper (eds.), Reason and Violence. London: Tavistock Publications. 1964c "Sartre on Genet." Pp. 67-90 in R. D. Laing and D. G. Cooper (eds.), Reason and Violence. London: Tavistock Publications. Cumming, Robert Denoon. 1965 "Introduction." Pp. 3-47 in Robert Denoon Cumming (ed.), The Philosophy of Jean-Paul Sartre. New York: Random House. Darling, Brian. 1965 "Search For a Method." Studies on the Left 5. Vol. 12:107-113. Desan, Wilfred. 1966 "The Marxism of Jean-Paul Sartre. Garden City, N.Y.: Doubleday & Co. Geras, Norman. 1971 "Essence and Appearance: Aspects of Fetishism in Marx's Capital." New Left Review 66:69-85. 102 103 Giachetti, Romano. 1972 "Antonio Gramsci: The Subjective Revolution." Pp. 147-168 in Dick Howard and Karl E. Klare (eds.), The Unknown Dimension: European Marxism Since Lenin. New York: Basic Books, Inc. Girardin, Jean-Claude. 1972 "Sartre's Contribution to Marxism." Pp. 307-321 in Dick Howard and Karl E. Klare (eds.), The Unknown Dimension: European Marxism Since Lenin. New York: Basic Books, Inc. Goldmann, Lucien. 1969 The Human Sciences & Philosophy. London: Jonathan Cape. Gorz, Andre. 1959 The Traitor. New York: Simon Schuster. 1966 "Sartre and Marx." New Left Review 37:33-52. Hernandez, Angel. 1972 "The Development of Marx's Economic Thought." New Left Review 72:93-104. Howard, Dick. 1972 The Development of the Marxian Dialectic. Carbondale: Southern I l l i n o i s University Press. Klare, Karl E. 1972 "The Critique of Everyday Life , the New Left, and the Unrecog-nizable Marxism." Pp. 3-33 in Dick Howard and Karl E. Klare (eds.), The Unknown Dimension: European Marxism Since Lenin. New York: Basic Books, Inc. Terry. "Radical Therapy Needs Revolutionary Theory." Pp. 35-46 in Jerome Agel (ed.), The Radical Therapist. New York: Ballantine Books. Laing, R. D. 1969 The Polit i c s of the Family. Toronto: Hunter Rose. Lefebvre, Henri. 1968 Dialectical Materialism. London: Jonathan Cape. Lichtheim, George. 1970 Lukacs. London: Fontana/Collins. 1971 From Marx to Hegel. New York: Herder and Herder. Macintyre, Alstair. 1971 "Existentialism." Pp. 1-58 in Mary Warnock (ed.), Sartre. Garden City, N.Y.: Doubleday & Co. 104 Mandel, Ernest. 1971 The Formation of the Economic Thought of Karl Marx. Pp. 154-186. New York: Monthly Review Press. 1972 "A Reply." New Left Review 72:104-108. Mans er, Anthony. 1971 "Praxis and Dialectic and Sartre's Critique." Pp. 337-356 in Mary Warnock (ed.), Sartre. Garden City, N.Y.: Doubleday & Co. Manzani, Carl (ed.) 1957 The Open Marxism of Antonio Gramsci. New York: Cameron Asso-ciates . McMahon, Joseph H. 1967 Humans Being: The World of Jean-Paul Sartre. Chicago: Univer-sity of Chicago Press. Marx, Karl. 1963 The Poverty of Philosophy. New York: International Publishers. 1964 "Contribution to the Critique of Hegel's Philosophy." Pp. 43-59 in T. B. Bottompre (ed.), Early Writings. 1967 Capital. Vol. 1. New York: International Publishers. 1970a The German Ideology. New York: International Publishers. 1970b The Grundisse. David Mclellan (ed.). London: Macmillan. 1971 The Economic and Philosophical Manuscripts of 1844. Dirk Struik (ed.). New York: International Publishers. Marx, Karl and Frederick. 1970 The German Ideology. New York: International Publishers. Meszaros, Istvan. 1970 Marx's Theory of Alienation. London: Merlin Press. 1971 "Introduction." Pp. 1-4 in Istvan Meszaros (ed.), Aspects of History and Class Consciousness. London: Routledge and Kegan Paul Ltd. 1972 "Lukacs' Concept of Dialectic." Pp. 34-85 in G. H. R. Parkinson (ed.), Georg Lukacs. New York: Random House. Nicolaus, Martin. 1968 "The Unknown Marx." New Left Review 48:41-61. Nizan, Paul. 1968 Aden, Arabie. New York: Monthly Review. Oakley, John. 1972 "Marxism and Ideology: II Althusser and Ideology." Marxism To-day. Vol. 16, No. 9:276-281. O'Neill, John. 1972 "On Theory and Criticism in Marx." Pp. 72-97 in Paul Walton 105 and Stuart Hall (ed.), Situating Marx. London: Human Context Books. Parkinson, G. H. R. 1970 "Introduction." Pp. 1-33 in G. H. R. Parkinson (ed.), Georg Lukacs: The Man, his work and his ideas. New York: Random House. Parsons, Howard L. 1965 "Existentialism and. Marxism in Dialogue." Pp. 90-124 in Herbert Aptheker (ed.), Marxism and Alienation. New York: Humanities Press. Plamenatz, John. 1963 Man and Society. Vol. 2. London: Longmans. Rotenstreich, Nathan. 1965 Basic Problems of Marxism. New York: Bobbs-Merrill Company, Ltd. Sartre, 1959 1963a 1963b 1964 1965 1968 1969 Jean-Paul. "Foreward: Rats and Men." Pp. 1-36 in Andre Gorz, The Traitor. Saint Genet. New York: Mentor Books. Search For a Method. New York: Random House. The Words. New York: Fawcett Premier Books. Situations. New York: Fawcett Premier Books. The Psychology of the Imagination. New York: Washington Square Press. "Itinerary of a Thought." New Left Review 58:43-66. Schacht, Richard. 1971 Alienation. Garden City, N.Y.: Doubleday & Co. Schaff, Adam. 1970 Marxism and the Human Individual. New York: McGraw-Hill. Shroyer, Trenton 0. 1971 Alienation and the Dialectical Paradigm. Ann Arbor, Michigan: University Microfilms. Sohn-Rethel, Alfred. 1972 "Mental and Manual Labour in Marxism." Pp. 44-71 in Paul Walton and Stuart Hall (eds.), Situating Marx. London: Camelot Press Ltd. Solomon, Robert C. 1972 From Rationalism to Existentialism. New York: Harper & Row. Sontag, Susan. 1969 "Sartre's Saint Genet." Pp. 100-106 in Susan Sontag, Against Interpretation. New York: Dell. 106 Stedman Jones, Gareth. 1971 "The Marxism of the Early Lukacs." New Left Review 70:27-66. Walton, Paul. 1972 "From Alienation to Surplus Value: Developments in the Dialectic of Labour." Pp. 15-36 in Paul Walton and Stuart Hall (eds.), Situating Marx. London: Human Context Books. Weinstein, Michael A. and Deena. 1971 "Sartre and the Humanist Tradition in Sociology." Pp. 357-386 in Mary Warnock (ed.), Sartre. Garden City, N.Y.: Doubleday & Co. 


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