Welcome to European Tribune. It's gone a bit quiet around here these days, but it's still going.
The issue is possibly one of semantics, again. Obama bringing along the "end of ideology", or Habermas speaking of a post-modern society, hardly mean that there will be no more ideology. If we look at the context, it (hopefully) means the end of ideological excesses, as in refusing evidence and camping on one's fundamentalist positions.

As to Marx and his historical materialism, this smells to me as we're exactly in the middle of the previous debate about the interraction between science and spirituality.

After all I lean to say that Marx's anti-ideology position was not limited to capitalism. Ideology is more than just a set of ideas, it bears the grain of ideal, of utopia, and as such it is hardly compatible with historical materialism, which deals with society in a, well, scientifical manner.

Free at last! Free at last! Thank God Almighty, we are free at last! (Martin Luther King)

by ValentinD (walentijn arobase free spot franša) on Thu Jun 4th, 2009 at 12:02:40 AM EST
Or otherwise said, ideology is by definition philosophical, human, hence spiritual.
Scientifical materialism reduces the man to his material dimension, the spiritual to emotions as chemical processes, rejects the unseen (indeed claims it doesn't exist), and as such, excludes ideologies from the social life. Which why marxism rejects democracy, free-speech, multi-partitism, all human by excellence.
In the end, maybe the gap will no longer be between left and right, and both will unite against the common enemy: the genuine ideology killer.

Free at last! Free at last! Thank God Almighty, we are free at last! (Martin Luther King)
by ValentinD (walentijn arobase free spot franša) on Thu Jun 4th, 2009 at 12:12:29 AM EST
[ Parent ]
What a pity that the (this time) informed discussion of the nature of ideology is followed by this piece of uninformed nonsense, an example of ideology at its worst:


Scientifical materialism reduces the man to his material dimension, the spiritual to emotions as chemical processes, rejects the unseen (indeed claims it doesn't exist), and as such, excludes ideologies from the social life. Which why marxism rejects democracy, free-speech, multi-partitism, all human by excellence [I'm not sure what this last phrase is supposed to mean].

It's not as if such rubbish hasn't been refuted many times; here's the introduction to such a refutation by Erich Fromm back in 1961:


It is one of the peculiar ironies of history that there are no limits to the misunderstanding and distortion of theories, even in an age when there is unlimited access to the sources; there is no more drastic example of this phenomenon than what has happened to the theory of Karl Marx in the last few decades. There is continuous reference to Marx and to Marxism in the press, in the speeches of politicians, in books and articles written by respectable social scientists and philosophers; yet with few exceptions, it seems that the politicians and newspapermen have never as much as glanced at a line written by Marx, and that the social scientists are satisfied with a minimal knowledge of Marx. Apparently they feel safe in acting as experts in this field, since nobody with power and status in the social-research empire challenges their ignorant statements.[1]

Among all the misunderstandings there is probably none more widespread than the idea of Marx's "materialism." Marx is supposed to have believed that the paramount psychological motive in man is his wish for monetary gain and comfort, and that this striving for maximum profit constitutes the main incentive in his personal life and in the life of the human race. Complementary to this idea is the equally widespread assumption that Marx neglected the importance of the individual; that he had neither respect nor understanding for the spiritual needs of man, and that his "ideal" was the well-fed and wellclad, but "soulless" person. Marx's criticism of religion was held to be identical with the denial of all spiritual values, and this seemed all the more apparent to those who assume that belief in God is the condition for a spiritual orientation.

This view of Marx then goes on to discuss his socialist paradise as one of millions of people who submit to an all-powerful state bureaucracy, people who have surrendered their freedom, even though they might have achieved equality; these materially satisfied "individuals" have lost their individuality and have been successfully transformed into millions of uniform robots and automatons, led by a small elite of better-fed leaders.

Suffice it to say at the outset that this popular picture of Marx's "materialism" -- his anti-spiritual tendency, his wish for uniformity and subordination -- is utterly false. Marx's aim was that of the spiritual emancipation of man, of his liberation from the chains of economic determination, of restituting him in his human wholeness, of enabling him to find unity and harmony with his fellow man and with nature. Marx's philosophy was, in secular, nontheistic language, a new and radical step forward in the tradition of prophetic Messianism; it was aimed at the full realization of individualism, the very aim which has guided Western thinking from the Renaissance and the Reformation far into the nineteenth century.

This picture undoubtedly must shock many readers because of its incompatibility with the ideas about Marx to which they have been exposed. But before proceeding to substantiate it, I want to emphasize the irony which lies in the fact that the description given of the aim of Marx and of the content of his vision of socialism, fits almost exactly the reality of present-day Western capitalist society. The majority of people are motivated by a wish for greater material gain, for comfort and gadgets, and this wish is restricted only by the desire for security and the avoidance of risks. They are increasingly satisfied with a life regulated and manipulated, both in the sphere of production and of consumption, by the state and the big corporations and their respective bureaucracies; they have reached a degree of conformity which has wiped out individuality to a remarkable extent. They are, to use Marx's term, impotent "commodity men" serving virile machines. The very picture of midtwentieth century capitalism is hardly distinguishable from the caricature of Marxist socialism as drawn by its opponents.

What is even more surprising is the fact that the people who accuse Marx most bitterly of "materialism" attack socialism for being unrealistic because it does not recognize that the only efficient incentive for man to work lies in his desire for material gain. Man's unbounded capacity for negating blatant contradictions by rationalizations, if it suits him, could hardly be better illustrated. The very same reasons which are said to be proof that Marx's ideas are incompatible with our religious and spiritual tradition and which are used to defend our present system against Marx, are at the same time employed by the same people to prove that capitalism corresponds to human nature and hence is far superior to an "unrealistic" socialism.

http://www.marxists.org/archive/fromm/works/1961/man/ch01.htm

However, there are many kinds of materialist and idealist philosophies, and in order to understand Marx's "materialism" we have to go beyond the general definition just given. Marx actually took a firm position against a philosophical materialism which was current among many of the most progressive thinkers (especially natural scientists) of his time. This materialism claimed that "the" substratum of all mental and spiritual phenomena was to be found in matter and material processes. In its most vulgar and superficial form, this kind of materialism taught that feelings and ideas are sufficiently explained as results of chemical bodily processes, and "thought is to the brain what urine is to the kidneys."

Marx fought this type of mechanical, "bourgeois" materialism "the abstract materialism of natural science, that excludes history and its process," [3] and postulated instead what he called in the Economic and Philosophical Manuscripts "naturalism or humanism [which] is distinguished from both idealism and materialism, and at the same time constitutes their unifying truth." [4] In fact, Marx never used the terms "historical materialism" or "dialectic materialism"; he did speak of his own "dialectical method" in contrast with that of Hegel and of its "materialistic basis," by which he simply referred to the fundamental conditions of human existence.

http://www.marxists.org/archive/fromm/works/1961/man/ch02.htm



Maybe it's because I'm a Londoner - that I moved to Nice.
by Ted Welch (tedwelch-at-mac-dot-com) on Thu Jun 4th, 2009 at 01:54:04 PM EST
[ Parent ]
But Karl Marx  himself in the Communist Manifesto writes that "communism abolishes ... all religion and all morality, rather than constituting them on a new basis".

Moreover, concerning Marx and Engels' dear baby called scientific socialism, it seems that
Modern socialism, on the other hand, is scientific. just as scientists arrive at their generalizations not by mere speculation, but by observing the phenomena of the material world, so are the socialistic and communistic theories not idle schemes, but generalizations drawn from economic facts.

Scientific socialists apply the inductive method. `They stick to facts. They live in the real world and not in the spiritualist regions of scholasticism. The society we are striving for differs from the present but by formal modifications. Indeed, the society of the future is contained in the present society as the young bird is in the egg. Modern socialism is as yet more of a scientific doctrine than of a political party creed

http://www.marxists.org/archive/dietzgen/works/1870s/scientific-socialism.htm


Free at last! Free at last! Thank God Almighty, we are free at last! (Martin Luther King)

by ValentinD (walentijn arobase free spot franša) on Thu Jun 4th, 2009 at 03:41:16 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I had started a longer reply to this, but am going on a trip and don't have time - which seems wasted anyway as you pay little attention to evidence that shows how wrong you are and you just bluster on.

The bit from the Communist Manifesto does not support your general point about the supposed lack of interest in what may broadly termed "spiritual" matters such as the arts. Try actually reading what Fromm wrote if you can't be bothered to read Marx :


Suffice it to say at the outset that this popular picture of Marx's "materialism" -- his anti-spiritual tendency, his wish for uniformity and subordination -- is utterly false. Marx's aim was that of the spiritual emancipation of man, of his liberation from the chains of economic determination, of restituting him in his human wholeness, of enabling him to find unity and harmony with his fellow man and with nature.

It certainly doesn't support your absurd suggestions that Marx is supposed to reject such things as "free speech" - he was all for it.

Regarding morality and religion he was primarily referring to existing morality and religion which reflected capitalist society and helped to support it. But he also wanted to emphasise his disagreement with those who thought moral urging was the way to bring about change.


This opposition to the ineffectiveness, as well as the illusions, of morality and ethics can be found throughout Marx's writings -- from his early essays and poetry, through The German Ideology to Capital. Needless to say, it is a criticism that he brings not simply against morality and ethics, but against all theories and social institutions. Religion, political economy, as well as the sciences in general were the objects of such criticism. With regard to moral philosophy, Marx's well-known eleventh thesis on Feuerbach captures his view perhaps most succinctly: `The philosophers have only interpreted the world; the point, however, is to change it' (Theses on Feuerbach). As opposed to the moral philosophers and moralists of his time, Marx insisted that any creditable critical theory of man and society must clearly distinguish between appearance and reality. It must relentlessly pursue and analyse `the common wisdom' for the realities it conceals. Furthermore, such an account must show how human society really operates, how it can be and must be changed. In short, any critical science must be illusionless and effective.
...

Marx, however, did not hold that the world could not be changed, or that thinkers (if not critical philosophers) always come upon the scene too late. Indeed, it was the view that philosophers could only interpret the world, not change it, that he criticised in his eleventh thesis on Feuerbach. Rather, Marx's refusal to deal directly with the traditional moral questions which occupied Kant, J.S. Mill, and other moral philosophers was due, in part, to his view that such individual questions are secondary to questions concerning the social systems within which people ask these questions. Only if we understand the nature of social systems -- how they can and morally should be changed -- can we proceed to answer concretely moral questions of a personal and individual nature.

...
[Marx]Only within the community has each individual the means of cultivating his gifts in all directions; hence personal freedom becomes possible only within the community. (MECW, 5:78)

In place of the old bourgeois society, with its classes and classes antagonisms, we shall have an association, in which the free development of each is the condition for the free development of all. (MECW, 6:506)

http://www.marxists.org/reference/subject/philosophy/works/us/brenkert.htm



Maybe it's because I'm a Londoner - that I moved to Nice.
by Ted Welch (tedwelch-at-mac-dot-com) on Sun Jun 7th, 2009 at 07:07:19 PM EST
[ Parent ]
It's strange that you consider my previous post 'bluster' as there is almost entirely quotations from the same source as yours - Marx himself and marxists .org.

We (you and me - or me and Marx, if you like) may have different ideas about what spirituality is though. Marx was materialist, and any idea he might have had about the man's emancipation and 'wholeness', they are all subsumed to his view of what 'spiritual' is.

"This opposition to the ineffectiveness, as well as the illusions, of morality and ethics can be found throughout Marx's writings -- from his early essays and poetry, through The German Ideology to Capital. Needless to say, it is a criticism that he brings not simply against morality and ethics, but against all theories and social institutions"

Your own quotation seems to support my view that the target were morality and ethics in general, and not just those of the capitalist society. My diary too mentions the Marx's view of the idelogy in general as a distortion of reality.

But I don't have a lot of time either right now. I will get back to you later on the reasons I mentioned free speech as well as your citations.

Free at last! Free at last! Thank God Almighty, we are free at last! (Martin Luther King)

by ValentinD (walentijn arobase free spot franša) on Mon Jun 8th, 2009 at 06:08:07 AM EST
[ Parent ]
"The very same reasons which are said to be proof that Marx's ideas are incompatible with our religious and spiritual tradition and which are used to defend our present system against Marx, are at the same time employed by the same people to prove that capitalism corresponds to human nature and hence is far superior to an "unrealistic" socialism."

As to capitalism, that is an economical system. Modern society is made up by capitalism, democracy, fundamental human rights and lot many other things which do take the man in consideration as a whole being, material and spiritual, materialist but also sensible to art, but also  religious, and not just as a talking animal, with basic needs and strictly quantifiable reactions.

It is from this perspective that socialism is considered "unrealistic" or "utopical": ignoring the human, spiritual dimension, as an whole invididual.

Ayn Rand and other libertarian ideologies mistake by going too far in the opposite direction (basically denying the role of the state, or indeed of the community, hence of the society) but, if I remember well, still steering clear from the spiritual side of the humans.

Free at last! Free at last! Thank God Almighty, we are free at last! (Martin Luther King)

by ValentinD (walentijn arobase free spot franša) on Thu Jun 4th, 2009 at 03:48:44 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Capitalism? Spiritual?

Who'da thunk it.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Thu Jun 4th, 2009 at 05:44:04 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Not capitalism. That's an economic model, not an ideology.

Free at last! Free at last! Thank God Almighty, we are free at last! (Martin Luther King)
by ValentinD (walentijn arobase free spot franša) on Fri Jun 5th, 2009 at 06:34:03 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Is communism an ideology or an economic model?

Sweden's finest (and perhaps only) collaborative, leftist e-newspaper Synapze.se
by A swedish kind of death on Fri Jun 5th, 2009 at 12:30:13 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Communism is a political ideology backed by an economic system. The proletarian revolution and subsequent proletarian dictatorship, egalitarianism and future classless society all deal with the organization of the society. In particular this new social organization bases on a specific economic model resulted from those political principles.

This is the theory :) On the other hand marxism turns around the economic model. I find it hard to call marxist dialectics, or the historical materialism and its scientifism a "political philosophy". Hegel was a genuine philosopher, Marx, Engels, Lenin or Trotsky were not. So the political theory may say communism or marxism to be political ideologies. But since I don't think they possess a true political philosophy, I have a hard time with that label.
On the contrary, Marx was the precursor of economists-turned-(pseudo)philosophers that we had in the 20th century.

Free at last! Free at last! Thank God Almighty, we are free at last! (Martin Luther King)

by ValentinD (walentijn arobase free spot franša) on Fri Jun 5th, 2009 at 03:16:10 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The proletarian revolution and subsequent proletarian dictatorship, egalitarianism and future classless society all deal with the organization of the society.

You mean to say that capitalism does not concern itself with the organisation of society?

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Fri Jun 5th, 2009 at 06:32:57 PM EST
[ Parent ]
It does by its consequences but hardly so in terms of political theory. Its goal is not the organization of society. It isn't even identified as an ideology or philosophic current, I don't even know who its inspirational fathers are - the term was I think coined by Marx in his need to define his dialectics; it is an economical system part of liberal and libertarian ideologies, and which Adam Smith was calling "a natural system of liberty".

Free at last! Free at last! Thank God Almighty, we are free at last! (Martin Luther King)
by ValentinD (walentijn arobase free spot franša) on Fri Jun 5th, 2009 at 06:52:10 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Adam Smith's notions of "natural systems" are, however, very much ideological and are extremely concerned with the (just) organisation of society. "Natural justice," in this context, is a term of art that denotes the system of justice in which the supposed impartial spectator can fully enter into the motives of the law and its execution.

Also, empirically speaking the default state of society seems to be some form of clan-based feudalism or clientism, where those family groups who control the repressive power of society also control the means of production. Capitalism - if it is to be distinguishable from feudalism at all - requires a separation of control over the means of production and control of the repressive apparatus of society. This requires some care to be given by the capitalist ideology to the structure of society. Otherwise, it is liable to lapse into plain, old feudalism (as the recent rise of mercenary militias like Blackwater can attest).

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Fri Jun 5th, 2009 at 07:08:50 PM EST
[ Parent ]
We cannot speak of feudalism as an ideology however.

But the important point is that no one structured capitalism as a fullblown ideology. Of course the economical concepts result from the organization of society and produce their effects in the organization of society, you are making a huge mistake of category : the ideological basis of capitalism remains the Enlightenment, the liberal, and further the libertarianist ideologies.

Free at last! Free at last! Thank God Almighty, we are free at last! (Martin Luther King)

by ValentinD (walentijn arobase free spot franša) on Fri Jun 5th, 2009 at 07:39:00 PM EST
[ Parent ]
But the important point is that no one structured capitalism as a fullblown ideology.

That is not correct. Several versions of capitalism have indeed been codified (see e.g. The New Industrial State, Capitalism and Freedom, Principles of the Political Economy).

Even if it were correct, it would be a distinction without meaning. Nothing prevents an ideology from evolving over the course of several successive iterations. In fact, this has happened with essentially every ideology throughout history.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Fri Jun 5th, 2009 at 10:48:01 PM EST
[ Parent ]


It is from this perspective that socialism is considered "unrealistic" or "utopical": ignoring the human, spiritual dimension, as an whole invididual.

This is just rubbish, reminiscent of the crudest anti-communism of the 1950s. It's not true of socialism and certainly not true of Marx's views - see Fromm in my other response. Marx's whole project was to help develop systems within which humans were not alienated by the demands of capitalist systems of work, instead he wanted ones in which people COULD flourish as complete human beings. Even the most cursory reading of Marx would have made that obvious.

Maybe it's because I'm a Londoner - that I moved to Nice.

by Ted Welch (tedwelch-at-mac-dot-com) on Sun Jun 7th, 2009 at 07:19:36 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I understand your issue, but you should have quoted the rest of my paragraph:

"many other things which do take the man in consideration as a whole being, material and spiritual, materialist but also sensible to art, but also  religious, and not just as a talking animal, with basic needs and strictly quantifiable reactions."

The point was not that marxism would not speak about emancipating humans. The point was that 1) the emancipation is at societal rather than at an individual level (and this is where marxists are at odds with libertarians, even today) and 2) that Marx chose to dismiss the spiritual side of the man and only think of it in empirical terms. Or anything in the domain of the subjective cannot be quantified, and exists beyond the scope of socialist scientifism. (and I don't even speak of the other side of the spiritual, metaphysical, paranormal, buddhism etc).


Free at last! Free at last! Thank God Almighty, we are free at last! (Martin Luther King)

by ValentinD (walentijn arobase free spot franša) on Mon Jun 8th, 2009 at 06:24:33 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I think that the discussion would be more informed - or at least more intelligible - if we could agree on what an ideology actually is.

Currently, it is used variously in the sense of party program, quasi-religious dogma, the opposite of Compulsive Centrist Disorder, a generic term of abuse and an investigation into the coherence of a set of (political?) principles. Having the central term under discussion subjected to such a wide variety of definitions strikes me as a recipe for misunderstandings, sidetracks and an all-round low signal-to-noise ratio.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Thu Jun 4th, 2009 at 05:48:56 AM EST
Speaking which...

The Wikipedia page on ideology need SERIOUS clean up and work.  It's atrocious.

"Pretending that you already know the answer when you don't is not actually very helpful." ~Migeru.

by poemless on Thu Jun 4th, 2009 at 10:51:28 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Wow!  I suspect this is the worst writing I have ever read!  I encourage everyone to read it for shock value alone.  I don't know what is scarier, that people are out there writing like this, or that these people consider themselves capable to writing a Wikipedia entry!  This is the literary equivalent to those B movies in MST3000.  I think I'll print it out for posterity.  Never have I read something with so many words but so little attempt to make them carry any meaning.  Not to mention the frightening grammar and parentheses fetish.

"Pretending that you already know the answer when you don't is not actually very helpful." ~Migeru.
by poemless on Thu Jun 4th, 2009 at 11:11:28 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Migeru, was that you?  I didn't even get a chance to print it out.  :(

Leave

The word "ideology" was coined long before the Russians coined "intelligentsia", or before the adjective "intellectual" referred to a sort of person (see substantive), i.e. an intellectual. Thus these words were not around when the hard-headed, driven Napoleon Bonaparte took the word "ideologues" to ridicule his intellectual opponents. Gradually, however, the term "ideology" has dropped some of its pejorative sting, and has become a neutral term in the analysis of differing political opinions.[citation needed] Ideological references are important to many people throughout the world. Karl Marx used the term in his own context often throughout his works.
for a bit.  I want to savor it.  Ideological references are important to many people throughout the world.

"Pretending that you already know the answer when you don't is not actually very helpful." ~Migeru.
by poemless on Thu Jun 4th, 2009 at 11:44:23 AM EST
[ Parent ]
No, I shall not touch that article.

I had enough of the debates over http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Libertarian_socialism years ago.

The brainless should not be in banking. — Willem Buitler

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Jun 4th, 2009 at 11:52:52 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Wikipedia keeps old versions. Go to the History tab. It seems the only edit today was the revision of a troll's work.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Thu Jun 4th, 2009 at 12:02:03 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Several misspellings and typos have been corrected since I posted the original comment.

"Pretending that you already know the answer when you don't is not actually very helpful." ~Migeru.
by poemless on Thu Jun 4th, 2009 at 12:12:59 PM EST
[ Parent ]
univesity inparticulor

Yeah, that was a troll edit. Lasted 3,5 hours before user Lachambre undid it.

Sweden's finest (and perhaps only) collaborative, leftist e-newspaper Synapze.se

by A swedish kind of death on Thu Jun 4th, 2009 at 06:18:37 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I think there's little dispute that
in general, an ideology is a coherent collection of beliefs, a view of the world
while in every day life, what we mean by ideology is a set of political principles defining a way to organize the society.

As to Wikipedia, I for one rather liked this excerpt here:

The philosopher Michel Foucault wrote about the concept of apparent ideological neutrality. Ideology is not the same thing as philosophy. Philosophy is a way of living life, while ideology is an almost ideal way of life for society. Some attribute to ideology positive characteristics like vigor and fervor, or negative features like excessive certitude and fundamentalist rigor.



Free at last! Free at last! Thank God Almighty, we are free at last! (Martin Luther King)
by ValentinD (walentijn arobase free spot franša) on Thu Jun 4th, 2009 at 02:48:34 PM EST
[ Parent ]
ValentinD:
an ideology is a coherent collection of beliefs, a view of the world

Um, no. This would make ideologies no different to mythologies.

It's probably not possible to agree about this, but I'd suggest an ideology is a moral system of political philosophy which is justified in ways which make it appear politically plausible, or even inevitable.

Ideologies include explicit and implicit elements. The implicit elements are the true moral aims of the ideology. These may not be stated explicitly, and may not even be conscious. (E.g. authoritarian conservatives rarely understand what their own motivations actually are.)

The explicit formulation is the cluster of narratives which promotes and evangelises the true aim.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Thu Jun 4th, 2009 at 05:57:24 PM EST
[ Parent ]
What interests me is the word "political". Are ideologies by definition political?
Art world is filled with aesthetical ideologies (like Beyus'), cultural or subcultural ones (like the alternative culture ideology), ethnic ones (like Hitler's race ideology, or the Hindu one in India), scientifism, and in general any set of ideas identified as consistent and coherent.
Could one argue that they all are political ideologies in the end ? I confess I don't know enough about art ideologies to argue here.


Free at last! Free at last! Thank God Almighty, we are free at last! (Martin Luther King)
by ValentinD (walentijn arobase free spot franša) on Fri Jun 5th, 2009 at 06:32:24 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Two words are missing from the phrase above, sorry. It should be:

Art world is filled with aesthetical ideologies (like Beyus'), cultural or subcultural ones (like the alternative culture ideology), then there are ethnic ones (like Hitler's race ideology, or the Hindu one in India), scientifism, and in general any set of ideas identified as consistent and coherent.

Free at last! Free at last! Thank God Almighty, we are free at last! (Martin Luther King)

by ValentinD (walentijn arobase free spot franša) on Fri Jun 5th, 2009 at 03:23:37 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Um, no. This would make ideologies no different to mythologies.
Who's to say they aren't? ;)

   "All right," said Susan, "I'm not stupid. You're saying humans need ... fantasies to make life bearable."

No. Humans need fantasy to be human. To be the place where the falling angel meets the rising ape.

"Tooth fairies? Hogfathers?"

Yes. As practice. You have to start out learning to believe the little lies.

"So we can believe the big ones?"

Yes. Justice. Mercy. Duty. That sort of thing.

"They're not the same at all!"

Take the universe and grind it down to the finest powder and sieve it through with the finest sieve and then show me one atom of justice, one molecule of mercy. And yet you act as if there were some sort of rightness in the universe by which it may be judged.

"Yes. But people have got to believe that or what's the point -- "
    My point exactly.



Peak oil is not an energy crisis. It is a liquid fuel crisis.
by Starvid on Sat Jun 6th, 2009 at 02:16:13 PM EST
[ Parent ]
How does your description of what an ideology is support "ideologies are not mythologies"?

I'm beginning to suspect frames, mythologies, narratives and ideologies are different terms for the same elephant, described by differently blind academic disciplines.

The brainless should not be in banking. — Willem Buitler

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sat Jun 6th, 2009 at 02:28:30 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I think it's better to review the various ways in which the word "ideology" has been used - as he has done. Disagreements often occur because people are using the word in different ways without being aware of it. There is no agreed definition, and the reasons for the different uses often themselves have ideological roots.

Maybe it's because I'm a Londoner - that I moved to Nice.
by Ted Welch (tedwelch-at-mac-dot-com) on Thu Jun 4th, 2009 at 01:59:30 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Everybody more or less agrees that ideology is a system of ideas.
The qualifications then differ, but are quite complementary: an action-oriented system of ideas, a socially conditioned one, a populist one, a misleading utopia meant to conserve the existing social order, the enemy of historical materialism (and of science).
Everybody rushed to explain when ideology arises, why, what is its purpose, how it relates to 'reality' (the summit of ideological hypocrisy, this one), how it is undistinguishable from reality and so on.

Religion is one. Religion begins with the inner man, with  spirituality, goes on to morals, then to a particular view of the world, and ends organizing the society. Ideologies start with a view of the world and how to best organize it, consequently generate a moral system and end up shaping the man.
My claim is that there is no fundamental difference of category between spirituality and ideology.

The last article I quoted makes the assumption that ideologies would be mere products of human spirituality, even when they won't look that way.

Free at last! Free at last! Thank God Almighty, we are free at last! (Martin Luther King)

by ValentinD (walentijn arobase free spot franša) on Thu Jun 4th, 2009 at 03:24:34 PM EST
[ Parent ]


In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes
by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Thu Jun 4th, 2009 at 04:16:11 PM EST


Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.
by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Thu Jun 4th, 2009 at 04:19:29 PM EST
[ Parent ]
"I had 2 fundamental values: markets and religion"
"I lost all my assets in the crisis"
"Now I'm wondering"
"Is God a speculative bubble too?"

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes
by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Thu Jun 4th, 2009 at 04:26:58 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I'm speaking spirituality for now - not down to discussing God - yet! :) That (personification of religion by using human archetypes - or the other way around, in pure chicken or egg manner) may be one of those eminently subjective sides of the huge subject that is religion.

Free at last! Free at last! Thank God Almighty, we are free at last! (Martin Luther King)
by ValentinD (walentijn arobase free spot franša) on Thu Jun 4th, 2009 at 04:26:50 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The question is, how come spirituality can be so subjective, and at the same time capable of being shared by humans. Do humans, as a species, share something spiritual, that puts in contact and in perspective their very personal inner spiritual?

Free at last! Free at last! Thank God Almighty, we are free at last! (Martin Luther King)
by ValentinD (walentijn arobase free spot franša) on Thu Jun 4th, 2009 at 04:28:50 PM EST
[ Parent ]
"Subjective" and "individual" are not - quite - the same thing. Cultures can have - indeed are defined by - subjective narratives that are shared within the culture but not outside it. The fact that they are shared does not make them any less subjective, as any outsider (or dissident) will be quick to point out.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Thu Jun 4th, 2009 at 11:34:15 PM EST
[ Parent ]
"Subjective" and "individual" are not - quite - the same thing. Cultures can have - indeed are defined by - subjective narratives that are shared within the culture but not outside it.

Fair enough, subjective can be found at individual as well as at any grouping level.
Culture and spirituality is not quite the same thing either, btw.
There are culture-transversal spiritualities also. Religion or esoteric beliefs or modern "self-made " spiritualities can be shared by people with different cultural backgrounds.

People can share a collection of such 'subjectivisms' and differ on others, related, or not to the culture(s)  they belong.
Still these subjective... 'influences' touch the individual on a very intimate level, which one might think should make them very personal and difficult to share. How come that still happens then, are there any favourable factors, or criteria. And also -- is culture
- or spirituality - a man-only thing.

Free at last! Free at last! Thank God Almighty, we are free at last! (Martin Luther King)

by ValentinD (walentijn arobase free spot franša) on Fri Jun 5th, 2009 at 03:38:41 PM EST
[ Parent ]
What defines culture? One can belong to several cultures at the same time. I, for instance, belong to the European culture and the physicist culture at the same time. I have cultural identifiers (slang, mannerisms, sense of propriety, in-jokes, etc.) in common with a Japanese or Congolese physicist that I do not share with my fellow Europeans. Similarly, I have cultural identifiers in common with Europeans that I do not share with a fellow physicist who happens to be American or Bolivian.

What you share is not the actual experience of spirituality - that would require telepathic powers. You share a set of expressions that are, agreed to denote expression of spiritual experiences. I would argue, in other words, that you share a (sub)culture. That subcultures cross the bounds of "major" cultures is not an unbearable surprise - as we saw above, the physics subculture is world-wide and touches upon many different cultural spheres.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Fri Jun 5th, 2009 at 06:54:25 PM EST
[ Parent ]
But many experienced extatic states at music concerts, or religious ceremonies, or in other occasions where the feeling of a community as existing as one, in the same spirit, is pretty obvious, even if I agree is not measurable by any scientific method known to date. Even here, for instance, in what regards myself, I now have cultural identifiers (slang, mannerism, a certain sense of a PhD-reminding expression style) that I did not have before. Sometimes I almost (Almost!) feel as an ETer, and which I am almost certain at some moments other feel to in what concern me (even if right now this very passage might produce nervous laughter accesses :D ).

I had this on other websites as well, and I'm sure others did too. Would you call this telepathy, or spirituality shared? Even if by means of cultural identifiers.

Free at last! Free at last! Thank God Almighty, we are free at last! (Martin Luther King)

by ValentinD (walentijn arobase free spot franša) on Fri Jun 5th, 2009 at 07:52:43 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I would call it empathy.

I would really recommend that you get hold of Adam Smith's Theory of Moral Sentiments. It's a cute little book, and it touches upon many aspects of how cultural baggage affects (or doesn't, as the case may be) how one views the world. But do get an unabridged edition - Smith is very thorough; his logic starts on the first page and finishes on the last page, with very little superfluous fluff in between.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Fri Jun 5th, 2009 at 10:58:36 PM EST
[ Parent ]
European Tribune - Comments - Ideology revisited : Dead or Alive? A Non Issue!
A nice touch of skepticism, for a change.
Any Marxism worthy of the name does affirm a "presence," an "ontology," a material reality that cannot be  ignored in any ideology critique. For Marxism this is the premise of historical materialism, which unlike Derrida's deconstruction, clings to the distinctions between different kinds of "ghosts." It situates different specters or ideologies as historical products, not as categories of thought.
Because Derrida was a true philosopher, while Marx was a mere Hegel-impregnated atheist bourgeois?
Source here.

If you don't have any arguments against Marx, as you don't because you have swallowed caricatures of his views, just call him names. In fact in your source, we find that Derrida, who has taken the trouble to study what Marx actually said, is far from sharing your view:


Derrida forcefully explains that the so-called end of Marxism, the death of Marx, and the attempts to exorcise Marx's spirit(s) and specter(s), are all forms of political dogma that he rejects. He also maintains, in his exchange with his critics, that he has never been engaged in such a project.

http://www.iath.virginia.edu/pmc/text-only/issue.500/10.3.r_anshen.txt

Another example:


Hegel was a genuine philosopher, Marx, Engels, Lenin or Trotsky were not. So the political theory may say communism or marxism to be political ideologies. But since I don't think they possess a true political philosophy, I have a hard time with that label.

What is the evidence for that as far as Marx is concerned ? Is it that Hegel was a professor of philosophy and Marx was not ?  The more important question is who was the more important thinker ? Clearly Marx, and partly because he correctly saw that Hegel's approach to history - not surprisingly for a "genuine philosopher" - mistakenly placed far too much emphasis on ideas. Very few historions these days would ignore the crucial role of the means and relations of production, even if they are not marxist historians. Due to this insight Marx then studied economics, rather reluctantly, as well as politics and cultural analysis. In this he was true to the spirit of Hegel, who emphasised that things were connected, while putting it into practice more fully and more critically:


Hegel purports to demonstrate that thought can find a place for all kinds of phenomena of the modern world. Anything, indeed, that is to be discovered existing there has to be shown to be there of necessity. However miserable people may be in such situations, they will be consoled when they hear how it is all for the best `in the end'. The dialectic moves on past their misery, majestically carrying `us' - `we who look on' - to the heights of the Absolute.

In Marx, on the contrary, the forms demonstrate in their movement the way the dialectical trick works. They show us, step by step, how the inhuman relations inside which we live our lives disguise themselves as `natural'. This is the direct opposite of his `great master'. Hegel locks the gates of our inhuman prison, fixing to them the sign `Freedom'. Marx wants to show us, not just that we are imprisoned, certainly not a utopian picture of what lies beyond the walls, but how we locked ourselves in and thus how to get out, that is, to live as humans.

http://www.marxists.org/reference/archive/smith-cyril/works/millenni/smith4.htm



Maybe it's because I'm a Londoner - that I moved to Nice.
by Ted Welch (tedwelch-at-mac-dot-com) on Sun Jun 7th, 2009 at 06:39:42 PM EST
If you don't have any arguments against Marx ... just call him names. In fact in your source, we find that Derrida, who has taken the trouble to study what Marx actually said, is far from sharing your view:
Derrida forcefully explains that the so-called end of Marxism, the death of Marx, and the attempts to exorcise Marx's spirit(s) and specter(s), are all forms of political dogma that he rejects

I cut out the ad-hominem part of this excerpt of your post. Whether I 'swallowed' or not is no argument in this discussion.
Further on, you clearly did not understand my point - no doubt because you didn't have time enough to read it carefully.

So. Do I call Marx 'names'. No, I asked myself a question, related to this part of my citation:

"Any Marxism worthy of the name does affirm a "presence," an "ontology," a material reality that cannot be  ignored in any ideology critique. For Marxism this is the premise of historical materialism, which unlike Derrida's deconstruction, clings to the distinctions between different kinds of "ghosts." It situates different specters or ideologies as historical products, not as categories of thought.
"

This paragraph confirms the impression one gets from Marx's works, that alll he was busy with was crafting his materialism on top the Hegel-inspired historical dialectic idea. Marx never bothered with 'categories of thought'. What he interested him, was to build an ideology, that is, as you can read elsewhere in my diary, an action-motivated distortion of reality.

There is much to say for a comparison between Hegel and Marx. Suffice it to point out here that Hegel is interested by the present as a time of the God-Reason, he sees the ancient age, or the christian age, as different ages of the Reason. Marx sees them as pre-capitalist times. Hegel speaks of thesis and antithesis, Marx is about workers vs capitalists. Hegel's idealism is an almost metaphysical attempt to explain the world. Marx predicts the working class will triumph over exploiters and bring about the proletarian dictatorship. Marx's empirical realities - relations of productions - have priority over and determine laws, religions, ethics, or philosophical  theories. There cannot be something more obvious than the fact that Marx reduces history of mankind to a matter of means of production, and the man to his work and possessions, as if people never happened to dream, fight or revolt regardless of their possessions - or lack thereof.
Hegel deals in philosophical concepts, Marx in ideological ones. One is a philosopher, the other is a revolutionary. One is spiritual, the other materialist - in the end, yet another kind of Hegelian dialectics.

Free at last! Free at last! Thank God Almighty, we are free at last! (Martin Luther King)

by ValentinD (walentijn arobase free spot franša) on Mon Jun 8th, 2009 at 04:43:34 PM EST
[ Parent ]
who was the more important thinker ? Clearly Marx, and partly because he correctly saw that Hegel's approach to history - not surprisingly for a "genuine philosopher" - mistakenly placed far too much emphasis on ideas.

You're making a mistake of category.
The issue is not that one put too much emphasis on concepts, while the other put his finger on the real thing (means of production).
The issue is that one, as a genuine philosopher, kept his reflexion at the abstract level, while the other reduced the continuous conflict of ideas at a conflict of classes. I see this as a dire simplification for someone to still deserve to be called a philosopher. No matter how important the relations of productions are in the society, they are far from being responsible of every thing ever happened in history, be it social relationship or .

Lenin and the rest of the gang were even less worthy of even a pretence of philosophy. Suffice it to look at his works.
In "What is to be done" Lenin argues that the proletariat can only achieve a successful "revolutionary consciousness" through the efforts of a vanguard party composed of full-time professional revolutionaries, and that such a party could only achieve its aims through a form of disciplined organization known as "democratic centralism".

I feel like saying: Bull Shit. There you have the very description by which we recognize a dictatorship.
Call this a political theory if you like, but Marxism-Leninism, a "philosophy" ?  Pah-lease.

Objective moral truth. Emancipation as a species thing

Free at last! Free at last! Thank God Almighty, we are free at last! (Martin Luther King)

by ValentinD (walentijn arobase free spot franša) on Mon Jun 8th, 2009 at 05:01:36 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The last line in my previous post is there by mistake. It deserves space for itself, because both are very important to understand marxist ideologies. Objective moral truth is actually dismissed by Marx as impossible, since ethics are a result of the social organization which, as we know, is determined by who owns the means of production. And there you have the moral relativism where there is no value worthy of the name: Marxism survived in socialist libertarianism.

As to the Emancipation of the man, Marx never meant it at the individual level, but globally. Mankind was supposed to emancipate. The man was merely the little wheel inside.


Free at last! Free at last! Thank God Almighty, we are free at last! (Martin Luther King)

by ValentinD (walentijn arobase free spot franša) on Mon Jun 8th, 2009 at 05:10:12 PM EST
[ Parent ]
So how would you describe freedom?you do seem to have a rather simplistic negative freedom view, whereas there is a whole range of views of what it consists of.

Your argument appears to be that which is a carricature of views of Positive freedom , Dismissing Marx as not being a Philosopher (The study of whom by Philosophers would have, you'd have thought have spotted that he wasn't worthy of attention long ago)

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.

by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Mon Jun 8th, 2009 at 05:38:42 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Your question is pertinent. My argument though is no caricature of any view of freedom. I simply defended my slightly provocative statement about Marx by commenting on his methodology. To me it seems like the guy was obssessed with means of production. This sounds exactly like some economists today, who are so completely deep down in their economical bubble that imagine the World must reduce to matters of inflation, deflation, currency and freemarkets. Buttheads.

Freedom, even though I don't feel like defining it in a negative way, does raise the question of ethics. Deserves some thinking, I guess.

Free at last! Free at last! Thank God Almighty, we are free at last! (Martin Luther King)

by ValentinD (walentijn arobase free spot franša) on Mon Jun 8th, 2009 at 06:07:23 PM EST
[ Parent ]
"Your argument appears to be that which is a carricature of views of Positive freedom"

Actually we cannot speak about freedom without speaking about its subject: the man, and without understanding his inner workings. I dare not elaborate on Positive Freedom from a Social Darwinism point of view...


Free at last! Free at last! Thank God Almighty, we are free at last! (Martin Luther King)

by ValentinD (walentijn arobase free spot franša) on Thu Jun 11th, 2009 at 06:02:42 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Objective moral truth is actually dismissed by Marx as impossible, since ethics are a result of the social organization

Well, yes. Irrespective of how one analyses the way in which social organisation arises, this is so self-evidently obvious that I am stunned that you would flag it as spurious.

Marxism survived in socialist libertarianism.

This statement is chronologically confused: Socialist libertarianism predates Marx's first influential works by half a decade or so.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Mon Jun 8th, 2009 at 05:42:13 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I did not flag it in any possible way, what ever could possibly have made you think that ? :)
This must be some sort of contagious disease for some here on ET, putting words in people's mouths. I did not argue about the value of "objective moral truth", just like I have never supported Mme. Thatcher.

But while commenting on Marx's distorted view of society as a pure resultant of relations of productions, I suddenly remembered that modern progressives even today use to put anything on the "back" of the society, be it order, category, ethics, all seem to be a matter of societal constraints, of which the Man must of course be liberated.

This deserves a diary, because it is linked with ceebs' question above. I just don't feel like doing it, because I feel the ideological tide behind. And since I came to realise that ideology is builtin, and an affective rather than rational matter, one cannot argue with it - or would at least need a more neutral ground.


Free at last! Free at last! Thank God Almighty, we are free at last! (Martin Luther King)

by ValentinD (walentijn arobase free spot franša) on Mon Jun 8th, 2009 at 05:57:21 PM EST
[ Parent ]
But while commenting on Marx's distorted view of society as a pure resultant of relations of productions, I suddenly remembered that modern progressives even today use to put anything on the "back" of the society, be it order, category, ethics, all seem to be a matter of societal constraints, of which the Man must of course be liberated.

From which Man can be liberated. Can and must are not - quite - the same thing; the former is a matter of fact, while the latter is a matter of policy.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Mon Jun 8th, 2009 at 06:34:13 PM EST
[ Parent ]
We are speaking of ideologies, best (IMHO) described by the expression: "action-oriented [read: policy-driven] distortion of reality". I'm not sure if the Man can or cannot be liberated, but certain ideologies say he should be.

Free at last! Free at last! Thank God Almighty, we are free at last! (Martin Luther King)
by ValentinD (walentijn arobase free spot franša) on Tue Jun 9th, 2009 at 09:46:25 AM EST
[ Parent ]
That is a very non-standard view of what "ideology" means.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Wed Jun 10th, 2009 at 06:05:57 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Not so non standard, when you took a closer look. Karl Marx himself had already postulated that economic relationships must be identified with reality to discredit ideology, which is supposed to be a false and distorted view of reality
(see for instance this book, p.41).

Daniel Bell later added the idea of "action-oriented", which can also be found in dictionaries:


Ideology
a form of social or political philosophy in which practical elements are as prominent as theoretical ones. It is a system of ideas that aspires both to explain the world and to change it.

http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/281943/ideology

Suffice it to put 2 and 2 together, and there it is :)


Free at last! Free at last! Thank God Almighty, we are free at last! (Martin Luther King)

by ValentinD (walentijn arobase free spot franša) on Wed Jun 10th, 2009 at 08:39:57 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Except that there is no requirement that it is a distortion of reality.

It is a description of reality that is used to justify certain policy goals (it's more than that, but that's a minimalist definition).

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Thu Jun 11th, 2009 at 07:57:38 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Well you are right, of course. But after Marx, and then others
(of which I quoted Mannheim, Habermas -- Zizek! and his "for discourse analysis, the very notion of an access to reality unbiased by any discursive devices or conjunctions with power is ideological" )

described ideology as a distorted view, I have to say I could not find any serious argument of the contraire.

I particularly agree with Zizek: Marx was fighting ideology and predicting (and acting for!) its death, even as he was building one of the most important, sweeping, terrifying ideologies of all times!
The trick, is that he pretended to be an non-ideologue, a man of applied science.
A bit like myself before, which you very accurately noticed at that time, and remarked that "rational pragmatism" looks a lot like Marx's scientifical methods. So I added humanism, but then the doctrine of humanism is largely atheist, even a-spiritual, well, materialistic, really.

But I do think ideology in general (not just in politics) is a distortion of reality - ie, a mirror image distorted to say something.
Suffice it to look at ideologies in Arts. What any true artist actually does, is to propose his Universe to the public: that is, his own, personal, subjective view of reality, and we enter it and appreciate his work mostly in that respect.


Free at last! Free at last! Thank God Almighty, we are free at last! (Martin Luther King)

by ValentinD (walentijn arobase free spot franša) on Thu Jun 11th, 2009 at 05:30:10 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Did you know Zizek keeps a poster of Stalin in his entryway?  There's practically no other decor in his apartment.  Just Stalin.

"Pretending that you already know the answer when you don't is not actually very helpful." ~Migeru.
by poemless on Thu Jun 11th, 2009 at 05:34:35 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Well Céline too wrote Bagatelles pour un massacre or L'École des cadavres right before WW2 begins, and is considered by some an antisemite author, which doesn't stop him from being one of the biggest modern French writers. Or Sartre, a fan of Mao, which doesn't make him less famous a philosopher. I could go oooon and oooooon...

Free at last! Free at last! Thank God Almighty, we are free at last! (Martin Luther King)
by ValentinD (walentijn arobase free spot franša) on Thu Jun 11th, 2009 at 05:41:09 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Oh I am not questioning his fame.  I just find your agreement with him interesting.  Encouraging, but unexpected.

"Pretending that you already know the answer when you don't is not actually very helpful." ~Migeru.
by poemless on Thu Jun 11th, 2009 at 05:45:49 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I like Céline's style too, which doesn't mean I agree with his radical antisemitism.

Free at last! Free at last! Thank God Almighty, we are free at last! (Martin Luther King)
by ValentinD (walentijn arobase free spot franša) on Thu Jun 11th, 2009 at 05:47:38 PM EST
[ Parent ]
You didn't say you liked Zezek's style, you said you particularly agreed with something he wrote.

Anyway...  Just sharing...  Go back to whatever you were doing.

"Pretending that you already know the answer when you don't is not actually very helpful." ~Migeru.

by poemless on Thu Jun 11th, 2009 at 05:49:19 PM EST
[ Parent ]
lol no problem, 'zjust that -- if you look carefully, I also agreed with JakeS about pragmatists' "scientific methods". Does that make me a closet revolutionary? :P

Free at last! Free at last! Thank God Almighty, we are free at last! (Martin Luther King)
by ValentinD (walentijn arobase free spot franša) on Thu Jun 11th, 2009 at 05:53:36 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Hey! I resent the implication that I'm a "closet" revolutionary - I like to think that I'm quite open and above-board about the kind of revolution I'd like to see ;-)

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Thu Jun 11th, 2009 at 06:49:46 PM EST
[ Parent ]

Occasional Series