We argue that the world will change, there will be wars, climate change, factors beyond our control and yet somehow to myself it always looks the same.
If we use Marx’s historical materialist theory of history and we look at the underlying causes of societal development and change from the perspective of the collective ways that humans make their living. All the features of society are believed to come from economic activity. This is the idea of the base and the superstructure.
The base and superstructure metaphor covers all of the social relations by which humans produce heir social existence. According to Marx the base includes the material forces of production, that is, the labour and material means of production, and relations of production. This base gives rise to the superstructure, the superstructure being the legal and political institutions, these bodies have a social consciousness that derives from the base and becomes that societies dominant ideology.
From this we gets Marx’s four periods of development.
Primitive Communism: as in co-operative tribal societies.
Slave Society: a development of tribal to city-state; aristocracy is born.
Feudalism: aristocrats are the ruling class; merchants evolve into capitalists.
Capitalism: capitalists are the ruling class, who create and employ the proletariat.
After the development we would then move onto communism. Now Marx believed we would make that move via revolution. I think we we can’t make that move by revolution. I think one of the things the superstructure of capitalism has created is a very strong false consciousness, a term many believe is from Marx but he never actually used it, Engels did though.
“ Ideology is a process accomplished by the so-called thinker. Consciously, it is true, but with a false consciousness. The real motive forces impelling him remain unknown to him; otherwise it simply would not be an ideological process. Hence he imagines false or apparent motives.”
I believe the capitalist society has used language as such to create a strong false consciousness, one much stronger than in the previous periods of history. As such with more access to information we are actually just burying ourselves in the language of slavery. This is why a revolution can never work, as we can not change language and consciousness over night. Language is too strong for that..
At every point of our conception language has been brutally forced upon us. Our language, a deceit to culture and a spell to bind us into blindly following. Try and fight the bonds and they will wrap tighter, slowly suffocating everything that could be considered a new thought. We can never have a liberty of thought whilst we are chastened by the bonds of language.
The words they dictate our very life, they inform our past, they subjugate our truth, they conspire to build our future. We can never have a free future until we learn to break the language that holds us prisoner.
Go, try and free yourself, you will quickly realise that this is an almost futile task. A task made all the more difficult by the false-consciousness of your own devising. These bonds can not be broken in a moment, we need to learn how to break their code and work at it so as not to fall back into the trap.
Everything is ready and waiting to help suck you back in. The media, Christmas, music… We worship the bonds of our own enslavement, somehow not realising that we sing praise to the master of our life. We blame conspiracy theories, using the words that bind us, never realising that we are giving words our sovereignty. Why would we? It hides in plain site. Goading us, challenging us, but we are too weak to properly challenge it. We need to create new rules, realising that most of these rules will be quickly subsumed by the magic of language. We need rules that therefore can not be broken easily.
If we break our current reality, how will we be able to tell? Will we just end up creating a new narrative of the current reality, whilst believing we have been set free? Can we ever truly know? Many truly believe themselves to be free now, so how in the future if we believe we are free can we test that we are free?