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Existentialism Is a Humanism

Jean-Paul Sartre 1946

My purpose here is to offer a defence of existentialism against several reproaches that have been laid against it. First, it has been reproached as an invitation to people to dwell in quietism of despair. For if every way to a solution is barred, one would have to regard any action in this world as entirely ineffective, and one would arrive finally at a contemplative philosophy. Moreover, since contemplation is a luxury, this would be only another bourgeois philosophy. This is, especially, the reproach made by the Communists. From another quarter we are reproached for having underlined all that is ignominious in the human situation, for depicting what is mean, sordid or base to the neglect of certain things that possess charm and beauty and belong to the brighter side of human nature: for example, according to the Catholic critic, Mlle. Mercier, we forget how an infant smiles. Both from this side and from the other we are also reproached for leaving out of account the solidarity of mankind and considering man in isolation. And this, say the Communists, is because we base our doctrine upon pure subjectivity upon the Cartesian I think: which is the moment in which solitary man attains to himself; a position from which it is impossible to regain solidarity with other men who exist outside of the self. The ego cannot reach them through the cogito. From the Christian side, we are reproached as people who deny the reality and seriousness of human affairs. For since we ignore the commandments of God and all values prescribed as eternal, nothing remains but what is strictly voluntary. Everyone can do what he likes, and will be incapable, from such a point of view, of condemning either the point of view or the action of anyone else. It is to these various reproaches that I shall endeavour to reply today; that is why I have entitled this brief exposition Existentialism is a Humanism. Many may be surprised at the mention of humanism in this connection, but we shall try to see in what sense we understand it. In any case, we can begin by saying that existentialism, in our sense of the word, is a doctrine that does render human life possible; a doctrine, also, which affirms that every truth and every action imply both an environment and a human subjectivity. The essential charge laid against us is, of course, that of over-emphasis upon the evil side of human life. I have lately been told of a lady who, whenever she lets slip a vulgar expression in a moment of nervousness, excuses herself by exclaiming, I believe I am becoming an existentialist. So it appears that ugliness is being identified with existentialism. That is why some people say we are naturalistic, and if we are, it is strange to see how much we scandalise and horrify them, for no one seems to be much frightened or humiliated nowadays by what is properly called naturalism. Those who can quite well keep down a novel by Zola such as La Terre are sickened as soon as they read an existentialist novel. Those who appeal to the wisdom of the people which is a sad wisdom find ours sadder still. And yet, what could be more disillusioned than such sayings as Charity begins at home or Promote a rogue and hell sue you for damage, knock him down and hell do you homage? We all know how many common sayings can be quoted to this effect, and they

all mean much the same that you must not oppose the powers that be; that you must not fight against superior force; must not meddle in matters that are above your station. Or that any action not in accordance with some tradition is mere romanticism; or that any undertaking which has not the support of proven experience is foredoomed to frustration; and that since experience has shown men to be invariably inclined to evil, there must be firm rules to restrain them, otherwise we shall have anarchy. It is, however, the people who are forever mouthing these dismal proverbs and, whenever they are told of some more or less repulsive action, say How like human nature! it is these very people, always harping upon realism, who complain that existentialism is too gloomy a view of things. Indeed their excessive protests make me suspect that what is annoying them is not so much our pessimism, but, much more likely, our optimism. For at bottom, what is alarming in the doctrine that I am about to try to explain to you is is it not? that it confronts man with a possibility of choice. To verify this, let us review the whole question upon the strictly philosophic level. What, then, is this that we call existentialism? Most of those who are making use of this word would be highly confused if required to explain its meaning. For since it has become fashionable, people cheerfully declare that this musician or that painter is existentialist. A columnist in Clartes signs himself The Existentialist, and, indeed, the word is now so loosely applied to so many things that it no longer means anything at all. It would appear that, for the lack of any novel doctrine such as that of surrealism, all those who are eager to join in the latest scandal or movement now seize upon this philosophy in which, however, they can find nothing to their purpose. For in truth this is of all teachings the least scandalous and the most austere: it is intended strictly for technicians and philosophers. All the same, it can easily be defined. The question is only complicated because there are two kinds of existentialists. There are, on the one hand, the Christians, amongst whom I shall name Jaspers and Gabriel Marcel, both professed Catholics; and on the other the existential atheists, amongst whom we must place Heidegger as well as the French existentialists and myself. What they have in common is simply the fact that they believe that existence comes before essence or, if you will, that we must begin from the subjective. What exactly do we mean by that? If one considers an article of manufacture as, for example, a book or a paper-knife one sees that it has been made by an artisan who had a conception of it; and he has paid attention, equally, to the conception of a paper-knife and to the pre-existent technique of production which is a part of that conception and is, at bottom, a formula. Thus the paper-knife is at the same time an article producible in a certain manner and one which, on the other hand, serves a definite purpose, for one cannot suppose that a man would produce a paper-knife without knowing what it was for. Let us say, then, of the paperknife that its essence that is to say the sum of the formulae and the qualities which made its production and its definition possible precedes its existence. The presence of such-and-such a paper-knife or book is thus determined before my eyes. Here, then, we are viewing the world from a technical standpoint, and we can say that production precedes existence. When we think of God as the creator, we are thinking of him, most of the time, as a supernal artisan. Whatever doctrine we may be considering, whether it be a doctrine like that of Descartes, or of Leibnitz himself, we always imply that the will follows, more or less, from the

understanding or at least accompanies it, so that when God creates he knows precisely what he is creating. Thus, the conception of man in the mind of God is comparable to that of the paperknife in the mind of the artisan: God makes man according to a procedure and a conception, exactly as the artisan manufactures a paper-knife, following a definition and a formula. Thus each individual man is the realisation of a certain conception which dwells in the divine understanding. In the philosophic atheism of the eighteenth century, the notion of God is suppressed, but not, for all that, the idea that essence is prior to existence; something of that idea we still find everywhere, in Diderot, in Voltaire and even in Kant. Man possesses a human nature; that human nature, which is the conception of human being, is found in every man; which means that each man is a particular example of a universal conception, the conception of Man. In Kant, this universality goes so far that the wild man of the woods, man in the state of nature and the bourgeois are all contained in the same definition and have the same fundamental qualities. Here again, the essence of man precedes that historic existence which we confront in experience. Atheistic existentialism, of which I am a representative, declares with greater consistency that if God does not exist there is at least one being whose existence comes before its essence, a being which exists before it can be defined by any conception of it. That being is man or, as Heidegger has it, the human reality. What do we mean by saying that existence precedes essence? We mean that man first of all exists, encounters himself, surges up in the world and defines himself afterwards. If man as the existentialist sees him is not definable, it is because to begin with he is nothing. He will not be anything until later, and then he will be what he makes of himself. Thus, there is no human nature, because there is no God to have a conception of it. Man simply is. Not that he is simply what he conceives himself to be, but he is what he wills, and as he conceives himself after already existing as he wills to be after that leap towards existence. Man is nothing else but that which he makes of himself. That is the first principle of existentialism. And this is what people call its subjectivity, using the word as a reproach against us. But what do we mean to say by this, but that man is of a greater dignity than a stone or a table? For we mean to say that man primarily exists that man is, before all else, something which propels itself towards a future and is aware that it is doing so. Man is, indeed, a project which possesses a subjective life, instead of being a kind of moss, or a fungus or a cauliflower. Before that projection of the self nothing exists; not even in the heaven of intelligence: man will only attain existence when he is what he purposes to be. Not, however, what he may wish to be. For what we usually understand by wishing or willing is a conscious decision taken much more often than not after we have made ourselves what we are. I may wish to join a party, to write a book or to marry but in such a case what is usually called my will is probably a manifestation of a prior and more spontaneous decision. If, however, it is true that existence is prior to essence, man is responsible for what he is. Thus, the first effect of existentialism is that it puts every man in possession of himself as he is, and places the entire responsibility for his existence squarely upon his own shoulders. And, when we say that man is responsible for himself, we do not mean that he is responsible only for his own individuality, but that he is responsible for all men. The word subjectivism is to be understood in two senses, and our adversaries play upon only one of them. Subjectivism means, on the one hand, the freedom of the individual subject and, on the other, that man cannot pass beyond human subjectivity. It is the latter which is the deeper meaning of existentialism. When we say that man chooses himself, we do mean that every one of us must choose himself; but by that we also mean that in choosing for himself he chooses for all men. For in effect, of all the

actions a man may take in order to create himself as he wills to be, there is not one which is not creative, at the same time, of an image of man such as he believes he ought to be. To choose between this or that is at the same time to affirm the value of that which is chosen; for we are unable ever to choose the worse. What we choose is always the better; and nothing can be better for us unless it is better for all. If, moreover, existence precedes essence and we will to exist at the same time as we fashion our image, that image is valid for all and for the entire epoch in which we find ourselves. Our responsibility is thus much greater than we had supposed, for it concerns mankind as a whole. If I am a worker, for instance, I may choose to join a Christian rather than a Communist trade union. And if, by that membership, I choose to signify that resignation is, after all, the attitude that best becomes a man, that mans kingdom is not upon this earth, I do not commit myself alone to that view. Resignation is my will for everyone, and my action is, in consequence, a commitment on behalf of all mankind. Or if, to take a more personal case, I decide to marry and to have children, even though this decision proceeds simply from my situation, from my passion or my desire, I am thereby committing not only myself, but humanity as a whole, to the practice of monogamy. I am thus responsible for myself and for all men, and I am creating a certain image of man as I would have him to be. In fashioning myself I fashion man. This may enable us to understand what is meant by such terms perhaps a little grandiloquent as anguish, abandonment and despair. As you will soon see, it is very simple. First, what do we mean by anguish? The existentialist frankly states that man is in anguish. His meaning is as follows: When a man commits himself to anything, fully realising that he is not only choosing what he will be, but is thereby at the same time a legislator deciding for the whole of mankind in such a moment a man cannot escape from the sense of complete and profound responsibility. There are many, indeed, who show no such anxiety. But we affirm that they are merely disguising their anguish or are in flight from it. Certainly, many people think that in what they are doing they commit no one but themselves to anything: and if you ask them, What would happen if everyone did so? they shrug their shoulders and reply, Everyone does not do so. But in truth, one ought always to ask oneself what would happen if everyone did as one is doing; nor can one escape from that disturbing thought except by a kind of self-deception. The man who lies in self-excuse, by saying Everyone will not do it must be ill at ease in his conscience, for the act of lying implies the universal value which it denies. By its very disguise his anguish reveals itself. This is the anguish that Kierkegaard called the anguish of Abraham. You know the story: An angel commanded Abraham to sacrifice his son; and obedience was obligatory, if it really was an angel who had appeared and said, Thou, Abraham, shalt sacrifice thy son. But anyone in such a case would wonder, first, whether it was indeed an angel and secondly, whether I am really Abraham. Where are the proofs? A certain mad woman who suffered from hallucinations said that people were telephoning to her, and giving her orders. The doctor asked, But who is it that speaks to you? She replied: He says it is God. And what, indeed, could prove to her that it was God? If an angel appears to me, what is the proof that it is an angel; or, if I hear voices, who can prove that they proceed from heaven and not from hell, or from my own subconsciousness or some pathological condition? Who can prove that they are really addressed to me? Who, then, can prove that I am the proper person to impose, by my own choice, my conception of man upon mankind? I shall never find any proof whatever; there will be no sign to convince

me of it. If a voice speaks to me, it is still I myself who must decide whether the voice is or is not that of an angel. If I regard a certain course of action as good, it is only I who choose to say that it is good and not bad. There is nothing to show that I am Abraham: nevertheless I also am obliged at every instant to perform actions which are examples. Everything happens to every man as though the whole human race had its eyes fixed upon what he is doing and regulated its conduct accordingly. So every man ought to say, Am I really a man who has the right to act in such a manner that humanity regulates itself by what I do. If a man does not say that, he is dissembling his anguish. Clearly, the anguish with which we are concerned here is not one that could lead to quietism or inaction. It is anguish pure and simple, of the kind well known to all those who have borne responsibilities. When, for instance, a military leader takes upon himself the responsibility for an attack and sends a number of men to their death, he chooses to do it and at bottom he alone chooses. No doubt under a higher command, but its orders, which are more general, require interpretation by him and upon that interpretation depends the life of ten, fourteen or twenty men. In making the decision, he cannot but feel a certain anguish. All leaders know that anguish. It does not prevent their acting, on the contrary it is the very condition of their action, for the action presupposes that there is a plurality of possibilities, and in choosing one of these, they realize that it has value only because it is chosen. Now it is anguish of that kind which existentialism describes, and moreover, as we shall see, makes explicit through direct responsibility towards other men who are concerned. Far from being a screen which could separate us from action, it is a condition of action itself. And when we speak of abandonment a favorite word of Heidegger we only mean to say that God does not exist, and that it is necessary to draw the consequences of his absence right to the end. The existentialist is strongly opposed to a certain type of secular moralism which seeks to suppress God at the least possible expense. Towards 1880, when the French professors endeavoured to formulate a secular morality, they said something like this: God is a useless and costly hypothesis, so we will do without it. However, if we are to have morality, a society and a law-abiding world, it is essential that certain values should be taken seriously; they must have an a priori existence ascribed to them. It must be considered obligatory a priori to be honest, not to lie, not to beat ones wife, to bring up children and so forth; so we are going to do a little work on this subject, which will enable us to show that these values exist all the same, inscribed in an intelligible heaven although, of course, there is no God. In other words and this is, I believe, the purport of all that we in France call radicalism nothing will be changed if God does not exist; we shall rediscover the same norms of honesty, progress and humanity, and we shall have disposed of God as an out-of-date hypothesis which will die away quietly of itself. The existentialist, on the contrary, finds it extremely embarrassing that God does not exist, for there disappears with Him all possibility of finding values in an intelligible heaven. There can no longer be any good a priori, since there is no infinite and perfect consciousness to think it. It is nowhere written that the good exists, that one must be honest or must not lie, since we are now upon the plane where there are only men. Dostoevsky once wrote: If God did not exist, everything would be permitted; and that, for existentialism, is the starting point. Everything is indeed permitted if God does not exist, and man is in consequence forlorn, for he cannot find anything to depend upon either within or outside himself. He discovers forthwith, that he is without excuse. For if indeed existence precedes essence, one will never be able to explain ones action by reference to a given and specific human nature; in other words, there is no determinism man is free, man is freedom. Nor, on the other hand, if God does not exist, are we provided

with any values or commands that could legitimise our behaviour. Thus we have neither behind us, nor before us in a luminous realm of values, any means of justification or excuse. We are left alone, without excuse. That is what I mean when I say that man is condemned to be free. Condemned, because he did not create himself, yet is nevertheless at liberty, and from the moment that he is thrown into this world he is responsible for everything he does. The existentialist does not believe in the power of passion. He will never regard a grand passion as a destructive torrent upon which a man is swept into certain actions as by fate, and which, therefore, is an excuse for them. He thinks that man is responsible for his passion. Neither will an existentialist think that a man can find help through some sign being vouchsafed upon earth for his orientation: for he thinks that the man himself interprets the sign as he chooses. He thinks that every man, without any support or help whatever, is condemned at every instant to invent man. As Ponge has written in a very fine article, Man is the future of man. That is exactly true. Only, if one took this to mean that the future is laid up in Heaven, that God knows what it is, it would be false, for then it would no longer even be a future. If, however, it means that, whatever man may now appear to be, there is a future to be fashioned, a virgin future that awaits him then it is a true saying. But in the present one is forsaken. As an example by which you may the better understand this state of abandonment, I will refer to the case of a pupil of mine, who sought me out in the following circumstances. His father was quarrelling with his mother and was also inclined to be a collaborator; his elder brother had been killed in the German offensive of 1940 and this young man, with a sentiment somewhat primitive but generous, burned to avenge him. His mother was living alone with him, deeply afflicted by the semi-treason of his father and by the death of her eldest son, and her one consolation was in this young man. But he, at this moment, had the choice between going to England to join the Free French Forces or of staying near his mother and helping her to live. He fully realised that this woman lived only for him and that his disappearance or perhaps his death would plunge her into despair. He also realised that, concretely and in fact, every action he performed on his mothers behalf would be sure of effect in the sense of aiding her to live, whereas anything he did in order to go and fight would be an ambiguous action which might vanish like water into sand and serve no purpose. For instance, to set out for England he would have to wait indefinitely in a Spanish camp on the way through Spain; or, on arriving in England or in Algiers he might be put into an office to fill up forms. Consequently, he found himself confronted by two very different modes of action; the one concrete, immediate, but directed towards only one individual; and the other an action addressed to an end infinitely greater, a national collectivity, but for that very reason ambiguous and it might be frustrated on the way. At the same time, he was hesitating between two kinds of morality; on the one side the morality of sympathy, of personal devotion and, on the other side, a morality of wider scope but of more debatable validity. He had to choose between those two. What could help him to choose? Could the Christian doctrine? No. Christian doctrine says: Act with charity, love your neighbour, deny yourself for others, choose the way which is hardest, and so forth. But which is the harder road? To whom does one owe the more brotherly love, the patriot or the mother? Which is the more useful aim, the general one of fighting in and for the whole community, or the precise aim of helping one particular person to live? Who can give an answer to that a priori? No one. Nor is it given in any ethical scripture. The Kantian ethic says, Never regard another as a means, but always as an end. Very well; if I remain with my mother, I shall be regarding her as the end and not as a means: but by the same token I am in danger of treating as means those who are fighting

on my behalf; and the converse is also true, that if I go to the aid of the combatants I shall be treating them as the end at the risk of treating my mother as a means. If values are uncertain, if they are still too abstract to determine the particular, concrete case under consideration, nothing remains but to trust in our instincts. That is what this young man tried to do; and when I saw him he said, In the end, it is feeling that counts; the direction in which it is really pushing me is the one I ought to choose. If I feel that I love my mother enough to sacrifice everything else for her my will to be avenged, all my longings for action and adventure then I stay with her. If, on the contrary, I feel that my love for her is not enough, I go. But how does one estimate the strength of a feeling? The value of his feeling for his mother was determined precisely by the fact that he was standing by her. I may say that I love a certain friend enough to sacrifice such or such a sum of money for him, but I cannot prove that unless I have done it. I may say, I love my mother enough to remain with her, if actually I have remained with her. I can only estimate the strength of this affection if I have performed an action by which it is defined and ratified. But if I then appeal to this affection to justify my action, I find myself drawn into a vicious circle. Moreover, as Gide has very well said, a sentiment which is play-acting and one which is vital are two things that are hardly distinguishable one from another. To decide that I love my mother by staying beside her, and to play a comedy the upshot of which is that I do so these are nearly the same thing. In other words, feeling is formed by the deeds that one does; therefore I cannot consult it as a guide to action. And that is to say that I can neither seek within myself for an authentic impulse to action, nor can I expect, from some ethic, formulae that will enable me to act. You may say that the youth did, at least, go to a professor to ask for advice. But if you seek counsel from a priest, for example you have selected that priest; and at bottom you already knew, more or less, what he would advise. In other words, to choose an adviser is nevertheless to commit oneself by that choice. If you are a Christian, you will say, consult a priest; but there are collaborationists, priests who are resisters and priests who wait for the tide to turn: which will you choose? Had this young man chosen a priest of the resistance, or one of the collaboration, he would have decided beforehand the kind of advice he was to receive. Similarly, in coming to me, he knew what advice I should give him, and I had but one reply to make. You are free, therefore choose, that is to say, invent. No rule of general morality can show you what you ought to do: no signs are vouchsafed in this world. The Catholics will reply, Oh, but they are! Very well; still, it is I myself, in every case, who have to interpret the signs. While I was imprisoned, I made the acquaintance of a somewhat remarkable man, a Jesuit, who had become a member of that order in the following manner. In his life he had suffered a succession of rather severe setbacks. His father had died when he was a child, leaving him in poverty, and he had been awarded a free scholarship in a religious institution, where he had been made continually to feel that he was accepted for charitys sake, and, in consequence, he had been denied several of those distinctions and honours which gratify children. Later, about the age of eighteen, he came to grief in a sentimental affair; and finally, at twenty-two this was a trifle in itself, but it was the last drop that overflowed his cup he failed in his military examination. This young man, then, could regard himself as a total failure: it was a sign but a sign of what? He might have taken refuge in bitterness or despair. But he took it very cleverly for him as a sign that he was not intended for secular success, and that only the attainments of religion, those of sanctity and of faith, were accessible to him. He interpreted his record as a message from God, and became a member of the Order. Who can doubt but that this decision as to the meaning of the sign was his, and his alone? One could have drawn quite different conclusions from such a series of reverses as, for

example, that he had better become a carpenter or a revolutionary. For the decipherment of the sign, however, he bears the entire responsibility. That is what abandonment implies, that we ourselves decide our being. And with this abandonment goes anguish. As for despair, the meaning of this expression is extremely simple. It merely means that we limit ourselves to a reliance upon that which is within our wills, or within the sum of the probabilities which render our action feasible. Whenever one wills anything, there are always these elements of probability. If I am counting upon a visit from a friend, who may be coming by train or by tram, I presuppose that the train will arrive at the appointed time, or that the tram will not be derailed. I remain in the realm of possibilities; but one does not rely upon any possibilities beyond those that are strictly concerned in ones action. Beyond the point at which the possibilities under consideration cease to affect my action, I ought to disinterest myself. For there is no God and no prevenient design, which can adapt the world and all its possibilities to my will. When Descartes said, Conquer yourself rather than the world, what he meant was, at bottom, the same that we should act without hope. Marxists, to whom I have said this, have answered: Your action is limited, obviously, by your death; but you can rely upon the help of others. That is, you can count both upon what the others are doing to help you elsewhere, as in China and in Russia, and upon what they will do later, after your death, to take up your action and carry it forward to its final accomplishment which will be the revolution. Moreover you must rely upon this; not to do so is immoral. To this I rejoin, first, that I shall always count upon my comrades-in-arms in the struggle, in so far as they are committed, as I am, to a definite, common cause; and in the unity of a party or a group which I can more or less control that is, in which I am enrolled as a militant and whose movements at every moment are known to me. In that respect, to rely upon the unity and the will of the party is exactly like my reckoning that the train will run to time or that the tram will not be derailed. But I cannot count upon men whom I do not know, I cannot base my confidence upon human goodness or upon mans interest in the good of society, seeing that man is free and that there is no human nature which I can take as foundational. I do not know where the Russian revolution will lead. I can admire it and take it as an example in so far as it is evident, today, that the proletariat plays a part in Russia which it has attained in no other nation. But I cannot affirm that this will necessarily lead to the triumph of the proletariat: I must confine myself to what I can see. Nor can I be sure that comrades-in-arms will take up my work after my death and carry it to the maximum perfection, seeing that those men are free agents and will freely decide, tomorrow, what man is then to be. Tomorrow, after my death, some men may decide to establish Fascism, and the others may be so cowardly or so slack as to let them do so. If so, Fascism will then be the truth of man, and so much the worse for us. In reality, things will be such as men have decided they shall be. Does that mean that I should abandon myself to quietism? No. First I ought to commit myself and then act my commitment, according to the time-honoured formula that one need not hope in order to undertake ones work. Nor does this mean that I should not belong to a party, but only that I should be without illusion and that I should do what I can. For instance, if I ask myself Will the social ideal as such, ever become a reality? I cannot tell, I only know that whatever may be in my power to make it so, I shall do; beyond that, I can count upon nothing. Quietism is the attitude of people who say, let others do what I cannot do. The doctrine I am presenting before you is precisely the opposite of this, since it declares that there is no reality

except in action. It goes further, indeed, and adds, Man is nothing else but what he purposes, he exists only in so far as he realises himself, he is therefore nothing else but the sum of his actions, nothing else but what his life is. Hence we can well understand why some people are horrified by our teaching. For many have but one resource to sustain them in their misery, and that is to think, Circumstances have been against me, I was worthy to be something much better than I have been. I admit I have never had a great love or a great friendship; but that is because I never met a man or a woman who were worthy of it; if I have not written any very good books, it is because I had not the leisure to do so; or, if I have had no children to whom I could devote myself it is because I did not find the man I could have lived with. So there remains within me a wide range of abilities, inclinations and potentialities, unused but perfectly viable, which endow me with a worthiness that could never be inferred from the mere history of my actions. But in reality and for the existentialist, there is no love apart from the deeds of love; no potentiality of love other than that which is manifested in loving; there is no genius other than that which is expressed in works of art. The genius of Proust is the totality of the works of Proust; the genius of Racine is the series of his tragedies, outside of which there is nothing. Why should we attribute to Racine the capacity to write yet another tragedy when that is precisely what he did not write? In life, a man commits himself, draws his own portrait and there is nothing but that portrait. No doubt this thought may seem comfortless to one who has not made a success of his life. On the other hand, it puts everyone in a position to understand that reality alone is reliable; that dreams, expectations and hopes serve to define a man only as deceptive dreams, abortive hopes, expectations unfulfilled; that is to say, they define him negatively, not positively. Nevertheless, when one says, You are nothing else but what you live, it does not imply that an artist is to be judged solely by his works of art, for a thousand other things contribute no less to his definition as a man. What we mean to say is that a man is no other than a series of undertakings, that he is the sum, the organisation, the set of relations that constitute these undertakings. In the light of all this, what people reproach us with is not, after all, our pessimism, but the sternness of our optimism. If people condemn our works of fiction, in which we describe characters that are base, weak, cowardly and sometimes even frankly evil, it is not only because those characters are base, weak, cowardly or evil. For suppose that, like Zola, we showed that the behaviour of these characters was caused by their heredity, or by the action of their environment upon them, or by determining factors, psychic or organic. People would be reassured, they would say, You see, that is what we are like, no one can do anything about it. But the existentialist, when he portrays a coward, shows him as responsible for his cowardice. He is not like that on account of a cowardly heart or lungs or cerebrum, he has not become like that through his physiological organism; he is like that because he has made himself into a coward by actions. There is no such thing as a cowardly temperament. There are nervous temperaments; there is what is called impoverished blood, and there are also rich temperaments. But the man whose blood is poor is not a coward for all that, for what produces cowardice is the act of giving up or giving way; and a temperament is not an action. A coward is defined by the deed that he has done. What people feel obscurely, and with horror, is that the coward as we present him is guilty of being a coward. What people would prefer would be to be born either a coward or a hero. One of the charges most often laid against the Chemins de la Libert is something like this: But, after all, these people being so base, how can you make them into heroes? That objection is really rather comic, for it implies that people are born heroes: and that is, at bottom, what such

people would like to think. If you are born cowards, you can be quite content, you can do nothing about it and you will be cowards all your lives whatever you do; and if you are born heroes you can again be quite content; you will be heroes all your lives eating and drinking heroically. Whereas the existentialist says that the coward makes himself cowardly, the hero makes himself heroic; and that there is always a possibility for the coward to give up cowardice and for the hero to stop being a hero. What counts is the total commitment, and it is not by a particular case or particular action that you are committed altogether. We have now, I think, dealt with a certain number of the reproaches against existentialism. You have seen that it cannot be regarded as a philosophy of quietism since it defines man by his action; nor as a pessimistic description of man, for no doctrine is more optimistic, the destiny of man is placed within himself. Nor is it an attempt to discourage man from action since it tells him that there is no hope except in his action, and that the one thing which permits him to have life is the deed. Upon this level therefore, what we are considering is an ethic of action and selfcommitment. However, we are still reproached, upon these few data, for confining man within his individual subjectivity. There again people badly misunderstand us. Our point of departure is, indeed, the subjectivity of the individual, and that for strictly philosophic reasons. It is not because we are bourgeois, but because we seek to base our teaching upon the truth, and not upon a collection of fine theories, full of hope but lacking real foundations. And at the point of departure there cannot be any other truth than this, I think, therefore I am, which is the absolute truth of consciousness as it attains to itself. Every theory which begins with man, outside of this moment of self-attainment, is a theory which thereby suppresses the truth, for outside of the Cartesian cogito, all objects are no more than probable, and any doctrine of probabilities which is not attached to a truth will crumble into nothing. In order to define the probable one must possess the true. Before there can be any truth whatever, then, there must be an absolute truth, and there is such a truth which is simple, easily attained and within the reach of everybody; it consists in ones immediate sense of ones self. In the second place, this theory alone is compatible with the dignity of man, it is the only one which does not make man into an object. All kinds of materialism lead one to treat every man including oneself as an object that is, as a set of pre-determined reactions, in no way different from the patterns of qualities and phenomena which constitute a table, or a chair or a stone. Our aim is precisely to establish the human kingdom as a pattern of values in distinction from the material world. But the subjectivity which we thus postulate as the standard of truth is no narrowly individual subjectivism, for as we have demonstrated, it is not only ones own self that one discovers in the cogito, but those of others too. Contrary to the philosophy of Descartes, contrary to that of Kant, when we say I think we are attaining to ourselves in the presence of the other, and we are just as certain of the other as we are of ourselves. Thus the man who discovers himself directly in the cogito also discovers all the others, and discovers them as the condition of his own existence. He recognises that he cannot be anything (in the sense in which one says one is spiritual, or that one is wicked or jealous) unless others recognise him as such. I cannot obtain any truth whatsoever about myself, except through the mediation of another. The other is indispensable to my existence, and equally so to any knowledge I can have of myself. Under these conditions, the intimate discovery of myself is at the same time the revelation of the other as a freedom which confronts mine, and which cannot think or will without doing so either

for or against me. Thus, at once, we find ourselves in a world which is, let us say, that of intersubjectivity. It is in this world that man has to decide what he is and what others are. Furthermore, although it is impossible to find in each and every man a universal essence that can be called human nature, there is nevertheless a human universality of condition. It is not by chance that the thinkers of today are so much more ready to speak of the condition than of the nature of man. By his condition they understand, with more or less clarity, all the limitations which a priori define mans fundamental situation in the universe. His historical situations are variable: man may be born a slave in a pagan society or may be a feudal baron, or a proletarian. But what never vary are the necessities of being in the world, of having to labor and to die there. These limitations are neither subjective nor objective, or rather there is both a subjective and an objective aspect of them. Objective, because we meet with them everywhere and they are everywhere recognisable: and subjective because they are lived and are nothing if man does not live them if, that is to say, he does not freely determine himself and his existence in relation to them. And, diverse though mans purpose may be, at least none of them is wholly foreign to me, since every human purpose presents itself as an attempt either to surpass these limitations, or to widen them, or else to deny or to accommodate oneself to them. Consequently every purpose, however individual it may be, is of universal value. Every purpose, even that of a Chinese, an Indian or a Negro, can be understood by a European. To say it can be understood, means that the European of 1945 may be striving out of a certain situation towards the same limitations in the same way, and that he may reconceive in himself the purpose of the Chinese, of the Indian or the African. In every purpose there is universality, in this sense that every purpose is comprehensible to every man. Not that this or that purpose defines man for ever, but that it may be entertained again and again. There is always some way of understanding an idiot, a child, a primitive man or a foreigner if one has sufficient information. In this sense we may say that there is a human universality, but it is not something given; it is being perpetually made. I make this universality in choosing myself; I also make it by understanding the purpose of any other man, of whatever epoch. This absoluteness of the act of choice does not alter the relativity of each epoch. What is at the very heart and center of existentialism, is the absolute character of the free commitment, by which every man realises himself in realising a type of humanity a commitment always understandable, to no matter whom in no matter what epoch and its bearing upon the relativity of the cultural pattern which may result from such absolute commitment. One must observe equally the relativity of Cartesianism and the absolute character of the Cartesian commitment. In this sense you may say, if you like, that every one of us makes the absolute by breathing, by eating, by sleeping or by behaving in any fashion whatsoever. There is no difference between free being being as self-committal, as existence choosing its essence and absolute being. And there is no difference whatever between being as an absolute, temporarily localised that is, localised in history and universally intelligible being. This does not completely refute the charge of subjectivism. Indeed that objection appears in several other forms, of which the first is as follows. People say to us, Then it does not matter what you do, and they say this in various ways. First they tax us with anarchy; then they say, You cannot judge others, for there is no reason for preferring one purpose to another; finally, they may say, Everything being merely voluntary in

this choice of yours, you give away with one hand what you pretend to gain with the other. These three are not very serious objections. As to the first, to say that it does not matter what you choose is not correct. In one sense choice is possible, but what is not possible is not to choose. I can always choose, but I must know that if I do not choose, that is still a choice. This, although it may appear merely formal, is of great importance as a limit to fantasy and caprice. For, when I confront a real situation for example, that I am a sexual being, able to have relations with a being of the other sex and able to have children I am obliged to choose my attitude to it, and in every respect I bear the responsibility of the choice which, in committing myself, also commits the whole of humanity. Even if my choice is determined by no a priori value whatever, it can have nothing to do with caprice: and if anyone thinks that this is only Gides theory of the acte gratuit over again, he has failed to see the enormous difference between this theory and that of Gide. Gide does not know what a situation is, his act is one of pure caprice. In our view, on the contrary, man finds himself in an organised situation in which he is himself involved: his choice involves mankind in its entirety, and he cannot avoid choosing. Either he must remain single, or he must marry without having children, or he must marry and have children. In any case, and whichever he may choose, it is impossible for him, in respect of this situation, not to take complete responsibility. Doubtless he chooses without reference to any pre-established value, but it is unjust to tax him with caprice. Rather let us say that the moral choice is comparable to the construction of a work of art. But here I must at once digress to make it quite clear that we are not propounding an aesthetic morality, for our adversaries are disingenuous enough to reproach us even with that. I mention the work of art only by way of comparison. That being understood, does anyone reproach an artist, when he paints a picture, for not following rules established a priori. Does one ever ask what is the picture that he ought to paint? As everyone knows, there is no pre-defined picture for him to make; the artist applies himself to the composition of a picture, and the picture that ought to be made is precisely that which he will have made. As everyone knows, there are no aesthetic values a priori, but there are values which will appear in due course in the coherence of the picture, in the relation between the will to create and the finished work. No one can tell what the painting of tomorrow will be like; one cannot judge a painting until it is done. What has that to do with morality? We are in the same creative situation. We never speak of a work of art as irresponsible; when we are discussing a canvas by Picasso, we understand very well that the composition became what it is at the time when he was painting it, and that his works are part and parcel of his entire life. It is the same upon the plane of morality. There is this in common between art and morality, that in both we have to do with creation and invention. We cannot decide a priori what it is that should be done. I think it was made sufficiently clear to you in the case of that student who came to see me, that to whatever ethical system he might appeal, the Kantian or any other, he could find no sort of guidance whatever; he was obliged to invent the law for himself. Certainly we cannot say that this man, in choosing to remain with his mother that is, in taking sentiment, personal devotion and concrete charity as his moral foundations would be making an irresponsible choice, nor could we do so if he preferred the sacrifice of going away to England. Man makes himself; he is not found ready-made; he makes himself by the choice of his morality, and he cannot but choose a morality, such is the pressure of circumstances upon him. We define

man only in relation to his commitments; it is therefore absurd to reproach us for irresponsibility in our choice. In the second place, people say to us, You are unable to judge others. This is true in one sense and false in another. It is true in this sense, that whenever a man chooses his purpose and his commitment in all clearness and in all sincerity, whatever that purpose may be, it is impossible for him to prefer another. It is true in the sense that we do not believe in progress. Progress implies amelioration; but man is always the same, facing a situation which is always changing, and choice remains always a choice in the situation. The moral problem has not changed since the time when it was a choice between slavery and anti-slavery from the time of the war of Secession, for example, until the present moment when one chooses between the M.R.P. [Mouvement Republicain Poputaire] and the Communists. We can judge, nevertheless, for, as I have said, one chooses in view of others, and in view of others one chooses himself. One can judge, first and perhaps this is not a judgment of value, but it is a logical judgment that in certain cases choice is founded upon an error, and in others upon the truth. One can judge a man by saying that he deceives himself. Since we have defined the situation of man as one of free choice, without excuse and without help, any man who takes refuge behind the excuse of his passions, or by inventing some deterministic doctrine, is a selfdeceiver. One may object: But why should he not choose to deceive himself? I reply that it is not for me to judge him morally, but I define his self-deception as an error. Here one cannot avoid pronouncing a judgment of truth. The self-deception is evidently a falsehood, because it is a dissimulation of mans complete liberty of commitment. Upon this same level, I say that it is also a self-deception if I choose to declare that certain values are incumbent upon me; I am in contradiction with myself if I will these values and at the same time say that they impose themselves upon me. If anyone says to me, And what if I wish to deceive myself? I answer, There is no reason why you should not, but I declare that you are doing so, and that the attitude of strict consistency alone is that of good faith. Furthermore, I can pronounce a moral judgment. For I declare that freedom, in respect of concrete circumstances, can have no other end and aim but itself; and when once a man has seen that values depend upon himself, in that state of forsakenness he can will only one thing, and that is freedom as the foundation of all values. That does not mean that he wills it in the abstract: it simply means that the actions of men of good faith have, as their ultimate significance, the quest of freedom itself as such. A man who belongs to some communist or revolutionary society wills certain concrete ends, which imply the will to freedom, but that freedom is willed in community. We will freedom for freedoms sake, in and through particular circumstances. And in thus willing freedom, we discover that it depends entirely upon the freedom of others and that the freedom of others depends upon our own. Obviously, freedom as the definition of a man does not depend upon others, but as soon as there is a commitment, I am obliged to will the liberty of others at the same time as my own. I cannot make liberty my aim unless I make that of others equally my aim. Consequently, when I recognise, as entirely authentic, that man is a being whose existence precedes his essence, and that he is a free being who cannot, in any circumstances, but will his freedom, at the same time I realize that I cannot not will the freedom of others. Thus, in the name of that will to freedom which is implied in freedom itself, I can form judgments upon those who seek to hide from themselves the wholly voluntary nature of their existence and its complete freedom. Those who hide from this total freedom, in a guise of solemnity or with deterministic excuses, I shall call

cowards. Others, who try to show that their existence is necessary, when it is merely an accident of the appearance of the human race on earth I shall call scum. But neither cowards nor scum can be identified except upon the plane of strict authenticity. Thus, although the content of morality is variable, a certain form of this morality is universal. Kant declared that freedom is a will both to itself and to the freedom of others. Agreed: but he thinks that the formal and the universal suffice for the constitution of a morality. We think, on the contrary, that principles that are too abstract break down when we come to defining action. To take once again the case of that student; by what authority, in the name of what golden rule of morality, do you think he could have decided, in perfect peace of mind, either to abandon his mother or to remain with her? There are no means of judging. The content is always concrete, and therefore unpredictable; it has always to be invented. The one thing that counts, is to know whether the invention is made in the name of freedom. Let us, for example, examine the two following cases, and you will see how far they are similar in spite of their difference. Let us take The Mill on the Floss. We find here a certain young woman, Maggie Tulliver, who is an incarnation of the value of passion and is aware of it. She is in love with a young man, Stephen, who is engaged to another, an insignificant young woman. This Maggie Tulliver, instead of heedlessly seeking her own happiness, chooses in the name of human solidarity to sacrifice herself and to give up the man she loves. On the other hand, La Sanseverina in Stendhals Chartreuse de Parme, believing that it is passion which endows man with his real value, would have declared that a grand passion justifies its sacrifices, and must be preferred to the banality of such conjugal love as would unite Stephen to the little goose he was engaged to marry. It is the latter that she would have chosen to sacrifice in realising her own happiness, and, as Stendhal shows, she would also sacrifice herself upon the plane of passion if life made that demand upon her. Here we are facing two clearly opposed moralities; but I claim that they are equivalent, seeing that in both cases the overruling aim is freedom. You can imagine two attitudes exactly similar in effect, in that one girl might prefer, in resignation, to give up her lover while the other preferred, in fulfilment of sexual desire, to ignore the prior engagement of the man she loved; and, externally, these two cases might appear the same as the two we have just cited, while being in fact entirely different. The attitude of La Sanseverina is much nearer to that of Maggie Tulliver than to one of careless greed. Thus, you see, the second objection is at once true and false. One can choose anything, but only if it is upon the plane of free commitment. The third objection, stated by saying, You take with one hand what you give with the other, means, at bottom, your values are not serious, since you choose them yourselves. To that I can only say that I am very sorry that it should be so; but if I have excluded God the Father, there must be somebody to invent values. We have to take things as they are. And moreover, to say that we invent values means neither more nor less than this; that there is no sense in life a priori. Life is nothing until it is lived; but it is yours to make sense of, and the value of it is nothing else but the sense that you choose. Therefore, you can see that there is a possibility of creating a human community. I have been reproached for suggesting that existentialism is a form of humanism: people have said to me, But you have written in your Nause that the humanists are wrong, you have even ridiculed a certain type of humanism, why do you now go back upon that? In reality, the word humanism has two very different meanings. One may understand by humanism a theory which upholds man as the end-in-itself and as the supreme value. Humanism

in this sense appears, for instance, in Cocteaus story Round the World in 80 Hours, in which one of the characters declares, because he is flying over mountains in an airplane, Man is magnificent! This signifies that although I personally have not built aeroplanes, I have the benefit of those particular inventions and that I personally, being a man, can consider myself responsible for, and honoured by, achievements that are peculiar to some men. It is to assume that we can ascribe value to man according to the most distinguished deeds of certain men. That kind of humanism is absurd, for only the dog or the horse would be in a position to pronounce a general judgment upon man and declare that he is magnificent, which they have never been such fools as to do at least, not as far as I know. But neither is it admissible that a man should pronounce judgment upon Man. Existentialism dispenses with any judgment of this sort: an existentialist will never take man as the end, since man is still to be determined. And we have no right to believe that humanity is something to which we could set up a cult, after the manner of Auguste Comte. The cult of humanity ends in Comtian humanism, shut-in upon itself, and this must be said in Fascism. We do not want a humanism like that. But there is another sense of the word, of which the fundamental meaning is this: Man is all the time outside of himself: it is in projecting and losing himself beyond himself that he makes man to exist; and, on the other hand, it is by pursuing transcendent aims that he himself is able to exist. Since man is thus self-surpassing, and can grasp objects only in relation to his selfsurpassing, he is himself the heart and center of his transcendence. There is no other universe except the human universe, the universe of human subjectivity. This relation of transcendence as constitutive of man (not in the sense that God is transcendent, but in the sense of self-surpassing) with subjectivity (in such a sense that man is not shut up in himself but forever present in a human universe) it is this that we call existential humanism. This is humanism, because we remind man that there is no legislator but himself; that he himself, thus abandoned, must decide for himself; also because we show that it is not by turning back upon himself, but always by seeking, beyond himself, an aim which is one of liberation or of some particular realisation, that man can realize himself as truly human. You can see from these few reflections that nothing could be more unjust than the objections people raise against us. Existentialism is nothing else but an attempt to draw the full conclusions from a consistently atheistic position. Its intention is not in the least that of plunging men into despair. And if by despair one means as the Christians do any attitude of unbelief, the despair of the existentialists is something different. Existentialism is not atheist in the sense that it would exhaust itself in demonstrations of the non-existence of God. It declares, rather, that even if God existed that would make no difference from its point of view. Not that we believe God does exist, but we think that the real problem is not that of His existence; what man needs is to find himself again and to understand that nothing can save him from himself, not even a valid proof of the existence of God. In this sense existentialism is optimistic. It is a doctrine of action, and it is only by self-deception, by confining their own despair with ours that Christians can describe us as without hope.

Written: Lecture given in 1946 Source: Existentialism from Dostoyevsky to Sartre, ed. Walter Kaufman, Meridian Publishing Company, 1989; First Published: World Publishing Company in 1956; Translator: Philip Mairet; Copyright: reproduced under the Fair Use provisions; HTML Markup: by Andy Blunden 1998; proofed and corrected February 2005.

The Falsification of Marx's Concepts


Erich Fromm 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. I shall try to demonstrate that this interpretation of Marx is completely false; that his theory does not assume that the main motive of man is one of material gain; that, furthermore, the very aim of Marx is to liberate man from the pressure of economic needs, so that he can be fully human; that Marx is primarily concerned with the emancipation of man as an individual, the overcoming of alienation, the restoration of his capacity to relate himself fully to man and to nature; that Marx's philosophy constitutes a spiritual existentialism in secular language and because of this spiritual quality is opposed to the materialistic practice and thinly disguised materialistic philosophy of our age. Marx's aim, socialism, based on his theory of man, is essentially prophetic Messianism in the language of the nineteenth century. How can it be, then, that Marx's philosophy is so completely misunderstood and distorted into its opposite? There are several reasons. The first and most obvious one is ignorance. It seems that these are matters which, not being taught at universities and hence not being subjects for examination, are "free" for everybody to think, talk, write about as he pleases, and without any knowledge. There are no properly acknowledged authorities who would insist on respect for the facts, and for truth. Hence everybody feels entitled to talk about Marx without having read him, or at least, without having read enough to get an idea of his very complex, intricate, and subtle system of thought. It did not help matters that Marx Economic and Philosophical Manuscripts, his main philosophical work dealing with his concept of man, of alienation, of emancipation, etc., had not until now been translated into English [2], and hence that some of his ideas were unknown to the English-speaking world.

This fact, however, is by no means sufficient to explain the prevailing ignorance, first, because the fact that this work of Marx's had never before been translated into English is in itself as much a symptom as a cause of the ignorance; secondly, because the main trend of Marx's philosophical thought is sufficiently clear in those writings previously published in English to have avoided the falsification which occurred. Another reason lies in the fact that the Russian Communists appropriated Marx's theory and tried to convince the world that their practice and theory follow his ideas. Although the opposite is true, the West accepted their propagandistic claims and has come to assume that Marx's position corresponds to the Russian view and practice. However, the Russian Communists are not the only ones guilty of misinterpreting Marx. While the Russians' brutal contempt for individual dignity and humanistic values is, indeed, specific for them, the misinterpretation of Marx as the proponent of an economistic-hedonistic materialism has also been shared by many of the antiCommunist and reformist socialists. The reasons are not difficult to see. While Marx's theory was a critique of capitalism, many of his adherents were so deeply imbued with the spirit of capitalism that they interpreted Marx's thought in the economistic and materialistic categories that are prevalent in contemporary capitalism. Indeed, while the Soviet Communists, as well as the reformist socialists, believed they were the enemies of capitalism, they conceived of communism-or socialism -- in the spirit of capitalism. For them, socialism is not a society humanly different from capitalism, but rather, a form of capitalism in which the working class has achieved a higher status; it is, as Engels once remarked ironically, "the present-day society without its defects." So far we have dealt with rational and realistic reasons for the distortion of Marx's theories. But, no doubt, there are also irrational reasons which help to produce this distortion. Soviet Russia has been looked upon as the very incarnation of all evil; hence her ideas have assumed the quality of the devilish. Just as in 1917, within a relatively short time, the Kaiser and the "Huns" were looked upon as the embodiment of evil, and even Mozart's music became part of the devil's territory, so the communists have taken the place of the devil, and their doctrines are not examined objectively. The reason usually given for this hate is the terror which the Stalinists practiced for many years. But there is serious reason to doubt the sincerity of this explanation; the same acts of terror and inhumanity, when practiced by the French in Algiers, by Trujillo in Santo Domingo, by Franco in Spain, do not provoke any similar moral indignation; in fact, hardly any indignation at all. Furthermore, the change from Stalin's system of unbridled terror to Khrushchev's reactionary police state has received insufficient attention, although one would think anyone seriously concerned with human freedom would be aware of and happy with a change which, while by no means sufficient, is a great improvement over Stalin's naked terror. All this gives us cause to wonder whether the indignation against Russia is really rooted in moral and humanitarian feelings, or rather in the fact that a system which has no private property is considered inhuman and threatening. It is hard to say which of the above-mentioned factors is most responsible for the distortion and misunderstandings of Marx's philosophy. They probably vary in importance with various persons and political groups, and it is unlikely that any one of them is the only responsible factor. http://www.marxists.org/archive/fromm/works/1961/man/ch01.htm

The New Forms of Control


Herbert Marcuse A comfortable, smooth, reasonable, democratic unfreedom prevails in advanced industrial civilization, a token of technical progress. Indeed, what could be more rational than the suppression of individuality in the mechanization of socially necessary but painful performances; the concentration of individual enterprises in more effective, more productive corporations; the regulation of free competition among unequally equipped economic subjects; the curtailment of prerogatives and national sovereignties which impede the international organization of resources. That this technological order also involves a political and intellectual coordination may be a regrettable and yet promising development. The rights and liberties which were such vital factors in the origins and earlier stages of industrial society yield to a higher stage of this society: they are losing their traditional rationale and content. Freedom of thought, speech, and conscience were-just as free enterprise, which they served to promote and protect--essentially critical ideas, designed to replace an obsolescent material and intellectual culture by a more productive and rational one. Once institutionalized, these rights and liberties shared the fate of the society of which they had become an integral part. The achievement cancels the premises. To the degree to which freedom from want, the concrete substance of all freedom, is becoming a real possibility, the liberties which pertain to a state of lower productivity are losing their former content. Independence of thought, autonomy, and the right to political opposition are being deprived of their basic critical function in a society which seems increasingly capable of satisfying the needs of the Individuals through the way in which it is organized. Such a society may justly demand acceptance of its principles and institutions, and reduce the opposition to the discussion and promotion of alternative policies within the status quo. In this respect, it seems to make little difference whether the increasing satisfaction of needs is accomplished by an authoritarian or a non-authoritarian system. Under the conditions of a rising standard of living, non-conformity with the system itself appears to be socially useless, and the more so when it entails tangible economic and political disadvantages and threatens the smooth operation of the whole. Indeed, at least in so far as the necessities of life are involved, there seems to be no reason why the production and distribution of goods and services should proceed through the competitive concurrence of individual liberties. Freedom of enterprise was from the beginning not altogether a blessing. As the liberty to work or to starve, it spelled toil, insecurity, and fear for the vast majority of the population. If the individual were no longer compelled to prove himself on the market, as a free economic subject, the disappearance of this kind of freedom would be one of the greatest achievements of civilization. The technological processes of mechanization and standardization might release individual energy into a yet uncharted realm of freedom beyond necessity. The very structure of human existence would be altered; the individual would be liberated from the work world's imposing upon him alien needs and alien possibilities. The individual would be free to exert autonomy over a life that would be his own. If the productive apparatus could be organized and

directed toward the satisfaction of the vital needs, its control might well be centralized; such control would not prevent individual autonomy, but render it possible. This is a goal within the capabilities of advanced industrial civilization, the "end" of technological rationality. In actual fact, however, the contrary trend operates: the apparatus imposes its economic and political requirements for defense and expansion on labor time and free time, on the material and intellectual culture. By virtue of the way it has organized its technological base, contemporary industrial society tends to be totalitarian. For "totalitarian" is not only a terroristic political coordination of society, but also a non-terroristic economictechnical coordination which operates through the manipulation of needs by vested interests. It thus precludes the emergence of an effective opposition against the whole. Not only a specific form of government or party rule makes for totalitarianism, but also a specific system of production and distribution which may well be compatible with a "pluralism" of parties, newspapers, "countervailing powers," etc.[1] Today political power asserts itself through its power over the machine process and over the technical organization of the apparatus. The government of advanced and advancing industrial societies can maintain and secure itself only when it succeeds in mobilizing, organizing, and exploiting the technical, scientific, and mechanical productivity available to industrial civilization. And this productivity mobilizes society as a whole, above and beyond any particular individual or group interests. The brute fact that the machine's physical (only physical?) power surpasses that of the individual, and of any particular group of individuals, makes the machine the most effective political instrument in any society whose basic organization is that of the machine process. But the political trend may be reversed; essentially the power of the machine is only the stored-up and projected power of man. To the extent to which the work world is conceived of as a machine and mechanized accordingly, it becomes the potential basis of a new freedom for man. Contemporary industrial civilization demonstrates that it has reached the stage at which "the free society" can no longer be adequately defined in the traditional terms of economic, political, and intellectual liberties, not because these liberties have become insignificant, but because they are too significant to be confined within the traditional forms. New modes of realization are needed, corresponding to the new capabilities of society. Such new modes can be indicated only in negative terms because they would amount to the negation of the prevailing modes. Thus economic freedom would mean freedom from the economy-from being controlled by economic forces and relationships; freedom from the daily struggle for existence, from earning a living. Political freedom would mean liberation of the individuals from politics over which they have no effective control. Similarly, intellectual freedom would mean the restoration of individual thought now absorbed by mass communication and indoctrination, abolition of "public opinion" together with its makers. The unrealistic sound of these propositions is indicative, not of their utopian character, but of the strength of the forces which prevent their realization. The most effective and enduring form of warfare against liberation is the implanting of material and intellectual needs that perpetuate obsolete forms of the struggle for existence.

The intensity, the satisfaction and even the character of human needs, beyond the biological level, have always been preconditioned. Whether or not the possibility of doing or leaving, enjoying or destroying, possessing or rejecting something is seized as a need depends on whether or not it can be seen as desirable and necessary for the prevailing societal institutions and interests. In this sense, human needs are historical needs and, to the extent to which the society demands the repressive development of the individual, his needs themselves and their claim for satisfaction are subject to overriding critical standards. We may distinguish both true and false needs. "False" are those which are superimposed upon the individual by particular social interests in his repression: the needs which perpetuate toil, aggressiveness, misery, and injustice. Their satisfaction might be most gratifying to the individual, but this happiness is not a condition which has to be maintained and protected if it serves to arrest the development of the ability (his own and others) to recognize the disease of the whole and grasp the chances of curing the disease. The result then is euphoria in unhappiness. Most of the prevailing needs to relax, to have fun, to behave and consume in accordance with the advertisements, to love and hate what others love and hate, belong to this category of false needs. Such needs have a societal content and function which are determined by external powers over which the individual has no control; the development and satisfaction of these needs is heteronomous. No matter how much such needs may have become the individual's own, reproduced and fortified by the conditions of his existence; no matter how much he identifies himself with them and finds himself in their satisfaction, they continue to be what they were from the beginning-products of a society whose dominant interest demands repression. The prevalence of repressive needs is an accomplished fact, accepted in ignorance and defeat, but a fact that must be undone in the interest of the happy individual as well as all those whose misery is the price of his satisfaction. The only needs that have an unqualified claim for satisfaction are the vital ones-nourishment, clothing, lodging at the attainable level of culture. The satisfaction of these needs is the prerequisite for the realization of all needs, of the unsublimated as well as the sublimated ones. For any consciousness and conscience, for any experience which does not accept the prevailing societal interest as the supreme law of thought and behavior, the established universe of needs and satisfactions is a fact to be questioned-questioned in terms of truth and falsehood. These terms are historical throughout, and their objectivity is historical. The judgment of needs and their satisfaction, under the given conditions, involves standards of priority--standards which refer to the optimal development of the individual, of all individuals, under the optimal utilization of the material and intellectual resources available to man. The resources are calculable. "Truth" and "falsehood" of needs designate objective conditions to the extent to which the universal satisfaction of vital needs and, beyond it, the progressive alleviation of toil and poverty, are universally valid standards. But as historical standards, they do not only vary according to area and stage of development, they also can be defined only in (greater or lesser) contradiction to the prevailing ones. What tribunal can possibly claim the authority of decision?

In the last analysis, the question of what are true and false needs must be answered by the individuals themselves, but only in the last analysis; that is, if and when they are free to give their own answer. As long as they are kept incapable of being autonomous, as long as they are indoctrinated and manipulated (down to their very instincts), their answer to this question cannot be taken as their own. By the same token, however, no tribunal can justly arrogate to itself the right to decide which needs should be developed and satisfied. Any such tribunal is reprehensible, although our revulsion does not do away with the question: how can the people who have been the object of effective and productive domination by themselves create the conditions of freedom?[2] The more rational, productive, technical, and total the repressive administration of society becomes, the more unimaginable the means and ways by which the administered individuals might break their servitude and seize their own liberation. To be sure, to impose Reason upon an entire society is a paradoxical and scandalous idea-although one might dispute the righteousness of a society which ridicules this idea while making its own population into objects of total administration. All liberation depends on the conscious. ness of servitude, and the emergence of this consciousness is always hampered by the predominance of needs and satisfactions which, to a great extent, have become the individual's own. The process always replaces one system of preconditioning by another; the optimal goal is the replacement of false needs by true ones, the abandonment of repressive satisfaction. The distinguishing feature of advanced industrial society is its effective suffocation of those needs which demand liberation-liberation also from that which is tolerable and rewarding and comfortable-while it sustains and absolves the destructive power and repressive function of the affluent society. Here, the social controls exact the over. whelming need for the production and consumption of waste; the need for stupefying work where it is no longer a real necessity; the need for modes of relaxation whic1 soothe and prolong this stupefication; the need for maintaining such deceptive liberties as free competition at administered prices, a free press which censors itself, free choice between brands and gadgets. Under the rule of a repressive whole, liberty can be made into a powerful instrument of domination. The range of choice open to the individual is not the decisive factor in determining the degree of human freedom, but what can be chosen and what is chosen by the individual. The criterion for free choice can never be an absolute one, but neither h it entirely relative. Free election of masters does not abolish the masters or the slaves. Free choice among a wide variety of goods and services does not signify freedom if these goods and services sustain social controls over a life of toil and fear-that is, if they sustain alienation. And the spontaneous reproduction of superimposed needs by the individual does not establish autonomy; it only testifies to the efficacy of the controls. Our insistence on the depth and efficacy of these controls is open to the objection that we overrate greatly the indoctrinating power of the "media," and that by themselves the people would feel and satisfy the needs which are now imposed upon them. The objection misses the point. The preconditioning does not start with the mass production of radio and television and with the centralization of their control. The people enter this stage as preconditioned receptacles of long standing; the decisive difference is in the flattening out of the contrast (or conflict)

between the given and the possible, between the satisfied and the unsatisfied needs. Here, the socalled equalization of class distinctions reveals its ideological function. If the worker and his boss enjoy the same television program and visit the same resort places. if the typist is as attractively made up as the daughter of her employer, if the Negro owns a Cadillac, if they all read the same newspaper, then this assimilation indicates not the disappearance of classes, but the extent to which the needs and satisfactions that serve the preservation of the Establishment are shared by the underlying population. Indeed, in the most highly developed areas of contemporary society, the transplantation of social into individual needs is so effective that the difference between them seems to be purely theoretical. Can one really distinguish between the mass media as instruments of information and entertainment, and as agents of manipulation and indoctrination? Between the automobile as nuisance and as convenience? Between the horrors and the comforts of functional architecture? Between the work for national defense and the work for corporate gain? Between the private pleasure and the commercial and political utility involved in increasing the birth rate? We are again confronted with one of the most vexing aspects of advanced industrial civilization: the rational character of its irrationality. Its productivity and efficiency, its capacity to increase and spread comforts, to turn waste into need, and destruction into construction, the extent to which this civilization transforms the object world into an extension of man's mind and body makes the very notion of alienation questionable. The people recognize themselves in their commodities; they find their soul in their automobile, hi-fi set, split-level home, kitchen equipment. The very mechanism which ties the individual to his society has changed, and social control is anchored in the new needs which it has produced. The prevailing forms of social control are technological in a new sense. To be sure, the technical structure and efficacy of the productive and destructive apparatus has been a major instrumentality for subjecting the population to the established social division of labor throughout the modem period. Moreover, such integration has always been accompanied by more obvious forms of compulsion: loss of livelihood, the administration of justice, the police, the armed forces. It still is. But in the contemporary period, the technological controls appear to be the very embodiment of Reason for the benefit of all social groups and interests- to such an extent that all contradiction seems irrational and all counteraction impossible. No wonder then that, in the most advanced areas of this civilization, the social controls have been introjected to the point where even individual protest is affected at its roots. The intellectual and emotional refusal "to go along" appears neurotic and impotent. This is the sociopsychological aspect of the political event that marks the contemporary period: the passing of the historical forces which, at the preceding stage of industrial society, seemed to represent the possibility of new forms of existence. But the term "introjection" perhaps no longer describes the way in which the individual by himself reproduces and perpetuates the external controls exercised by his society. Introjection suggests a variety of relatively spontaneous processes by which a Self (Ego) transposes the "outer" into the "inner." Thus introjection implies the existence of an inner dimension distinguished from and even antagonistic to the external exigencies-an individual consciousness

and an individual unconscious apart from public opinion and behavior[3]. The idea of "inner freedom" here has its reality: it designates the private space in which man may become and remain "himself." Today this private space has been invaded and whittled down by technological reality. Mass production and mass distribution claim the entire individual, and industrial psychology has long since ceased to be confined to the factory. The manifold processes of introjection seem to be ossified in almost mechanical reactions. The result is, not adjustment but mimesis: an immediate identification of the individual with his society and, through it, with the society as a whole. This immediate, automatic identification (which may have been characteristic of primitive forms of association) reappears in high industrial civilization; its new "immediacy," however, is the product of a sophisticated, scientific management and organization. In this process, the "inner" dimension of the mind in which opposition to the status quo can take root is whittled down. The loss of this dimension, in which the power of negative thinking-the critical power of Reason-is at home, is the ideological counterpart to the very material process in which advanced industrial society silences and reconciles the opposition. The impact of progress turns Reason into submission to the facts of life, and to too dynamic capability of producing more and bigger facts of the same sort of life. The efficiency of the system blunts too individuals' recognition that it contains no facts which do not communicate the repressive power of the whole. If the individuals find themselves in the things which shape their life, they do so, not by giving, but by accepting the law of things--not the law of physics but the law of their society. I have just suggested that the concept of alienation seems to become questionable when the individuals identify themselves with the existence which is imposed upon them and have in it their own development and satisfaction. This identification is not illusion but reality. However, the reality constitutes a more progressive stage of alienation. The latter has become entirely objective; the subject which is alienated is swallowed up by its alienated existence. There is only one dimension, and it is everywhere and in all forms. The achievements of progress defy ideological indictment as well as justification; before their tribunal, the "false consciousness of their rationality becomes the true consciousxxx. This absorption of ideology into reality does not, however, signify the "end of ideology. On the contrary, in a specific sense advanced industrial culture is more ideological than its predecessor, inasmuch as today the ideology is in the process of production itself [4>[. In a provocative form, this proposition reveals the political aspects of the prevailing technological rationality. The productive apparatus and the goods and services which it produces "sell" or impose the social system as a whole. The means of mass transportation and communication, the commodities of lodging, food, and clothing, the irresistible output of the entertainment and information industry carry with them prescribed attitudes and habits, certain intellectual and emotional reactions which bind the consumers more or less pleasantly to the producers and, through the latter, to the whole. The products indoctrinate and manipulate; they promote a false consciousness which is immune against its falsehood. And as these beneficial products become available to more individuals in more social classes, the indoctrination they carry ceases to be publicity; it becomes a way of life. It is a good way of life--much better than before--and as a good way of life, it militates against qualitative change. Thus emerges a pattern of one-dimensional thought and

behavior in which ideas, aspirations, and objectives that, by their content, transcend the established universe of discourse and action are either repelled or reduced to terms of this universe. They are redefined by the rationality of the given system and of its quantitative extension. The trend may be related to a development in scientific method: operationalism in the physical, behaviorism in the social sciences. The common feature is a total empiricism in the treatment of concepts; their meaning is restricted to the representation of particular operations and behavior. The operational point of view is well illustrated by P. W. Bridgman's analysis of the concept of length [5]: We evidently know what we mean by length if we can tell what the length of any and every object is, and for the physicist nothing more is required. To find the length of an object, we have to perform certain physical operations. The concept of length is therefore fixed when the operations by which length is measured are fixed: that is, the concept of length involves as much and nothing more than the set of operations by which length is determined. In general, we mean by any concept nothing more than a set of operations; the concept is synonymous with the corresponding set of operations. Bridgman has seen the wide implications of this mode of thought for the society at large:[6] To adopt the operational point of view involves much more than a mere restriction of the sense in which we understand 'concept,' but means a far-reaching change in all our habits of thought, in that we shall no longer permit ourselves to use as tools in our thinking concepts of which we cannot give an adequate account in terms of operations. Bridgman's prediction has come true. The new mode of thought is today the predominant tendency in philosophy, psychology, sociology, and other fields. Many of the most seriously troublesome concepts are being "eliminated" by showing that no adequate account of them in terms of operations or behavior can be given. The radical empiricist onslaught (I shall subsequently, in chapters VII and VIII, examine its claim to be empiricist) thus provides the methodological justification for the debunking of the mind by the intellectuals-a positivism which, in its denial of the transcending elements of Reason, forms the academic counterpart of the socially required behavior. Outside the academic establishment, the "far-reaching change in all our habits of thought" is more serious. It serves to coordinate ideas and goals with those exacted by the prevailing system, to enclose them in the system, and to repel those which are irreconcilable with the system. The reign of such a one-dimensional reality does not mean that materialism rules, and that the spiritual, metaphysical, and bohemian occupations are petering out. On the contrary, there is a great deal of "Worship together this week," "Why not try God," Zen, existentialism, and beat ways of life, etc. But such modes of protest and transcendence are no longer contradictory to the status quo and no longer negative. They are rather the ceremonial part of practical behaviorism, its harmless negation, and are quickly digested by the status quo as part of its healthy diet.

One-dimensional thought is systematically promoted by the makers of politics and their purveyors of mass information. Their universe of discourse is populated by self-validating hypotheses which, incessantly and monopolistically repeated, become hypnotic definitions or dictations. For example, "free" are the institutions which operate (and are operated on) in the countries of the Free World; other transcending modes of freedom are by definition either anarchism, communism, or propaganda. "Socialistic" are all encroachments on private enterprises not undertaken by private enterprise itself (or by government contracts), such as universal and comprehensive health insurance, or the protection of nature from all too sweeping commercialization, or the establishment of public services which may hurt private profit. This totalitarian logic of accomplished facts has its Eastern counterpart. There, freedom is the way of life instituted by a communist regime, and all other transcending modes of freedom are either capitalistic, or revisionist, or leftist sectarianism. In both camps, non-operational ideas are nonbehavioral and subversive. The movement of thought is stopped at barriers which appear as the limits of Reason itself. Such limitation of thought is certainly not new. Ascending modern rationalism, in its speculative as well as empirical form, shows a striking contrast between extreme critical radicalism in scientific and philosophic method on the one hand, and an uncritical quietism in the attitude toward established and functioning social institutions. Thus Descartes' ego cogitans was to leave the "great public bodies" untouched, and Hobbes held that "the present ought always to be preferred, maintained, and accounted best." Kant agreed with Locke in justifying revolution if and when it has succeeded in organizing the whole and in preventing subversion. However, these accommodating concepts of Reason were always contradicted by the evident misery and injustice of the "great public bodies" and the effective, more or less conscious rebellion against them. Societal conditions existed which provoked and permitted real dissociation. from the established state of affairs; a private as well as political dimension was present in which dissociation could develop into effective opposition, testing its strength and the validity of its objectives. With the gradual closing of this dimension by the society, the self-limitation of thought assumes a larger significance. The interrelation between scientific-philosophical and societal processes, between theoretical and practical Reason, asserts itself "behind the back" of the scientists and philosophers. The society bars a whole type of oppositional operations and behavior; consequently, the concepts pertaining to them are rendered illusory or meaningless. Historical transcendence appears as metaphysical transcendence, not acceptable to science and scientific thought. The operational and behavioral point of view, practiced as a "habit of thought" at large, becomes the view of the established universe of discourse and action, needs and aspirations. The "cunning of Reason" works, as it so often did, in the interest of the powers that be. The insistence on operational and behavioral concepts turns against the efforts to free thought and behavior from the given reality and for the suppressed alternatives. Theoretical and practical Reason, academic and social behaviorism meet on common ground: that of an advanced society which makes scientific and technical progress into an instrument of domination. "Progress" is not a neutral term; it moves toward specific ends, and these ends are defined by the possibilities of ameliorating the human condition. Advanced industrial society is approaching the

stage where continued progress would demand the radical subversion of the prevailing direction and organization of progress. This stage would be reached when material production (including the necessary services) becomes automated to the extent that all vital needs can be satisfied while necessary labor time is reduced to marginal time. From this point on, technical progress would transcend the realm of necessity, where it served as the instrument of domination and exploitation which thereby limited its rationality; technology would become subject to the free play of faculties in the struggle for the pacification of nature and of society. Such a state is envisioned in Marx's notion of the "abolition of labor." The term "pacification of existence" seems better suited to designate the historical alternative of a world which-through an international conflict which transforms and suspends the contradictions within the established societies-advances on the brink of a global war. "Pacification of existence" means the development of man's struggle with man and with nature, under conditions where the competing needs, desires, and aspirations are no longer organized by vested interests in domination and scarcity--an organization which perpetuates the destructive forms of this Struggle. Today's fight against this historical alternative finds a firm mass basis in the underlying population, and finds its ideology in the rigid orientation of thought and behavior to the given universe of facts. Validated by the accomplishments of science and technology, justified by its growing productivity, the status quo defies all transcendence. Faced with the possibility of pacification on the grounds of its technical and intellectual achievements, the mature industrial society closes itself against this alternative. Operationalism, in theory and practice, becomes the theory and practice of containment. Underneath its obvious dynamics, this society is a thoroughly static system of life: self-propelling in its oppressive productivity and in its beneficial coordination. Containment of technical progress goes hand in hand with its growth in the established direction. In spite of the political fetters imposed by the status quo, the more technology appears capable of creating the conditions for pacification, the more are the minds and bodies of man organized against this alternative. The most advanced areas of industrial society exhibit throughout these two features: a trend toward consummation of technological rationality, and intensive efforts to contain this trend within the established institutions. Here is the internal contradiction of this civilization: the irrational element in its rationality. It is the token of its achievements. The industrial society which makes technology and science its own is organized for the ever-more-effective domination of man and nature, for the ever-more-effective utilization of its resources. It becomes irrational when the success of these efforts opens new dimensions of human realization. Organization for peace is different from organization for war; the institutions which served the struggle for existence cannot serve the pacification of existence. Life as an end is qualitatively different from life as a means. Such a qualitatively new mode of existence can never be envisaged as the mere by-product of economic and political changes, as the more or less spontaneous effect of the new institutions which constitute the necessary prerequisite. Qualitative change also involves a change in the technical basis on which this society rests--one which sustains the economic and political institutions through which the "second nature" of man as an aggressive object of administration

is stabilized. The techniques of industrialization are political techniques; as such, they prejudge the possibilities of Reason and Freedom. To be sure, labor must precede the reduction of labor, and industrialization must precede the development of human needs and satisfactions. But as all freedom depends on the conquest of alien necessity, the realization of freedom depends on the techniques of this conquest. The highest productivity of labor can be used for the perpetuation of labor, and the most efficient industrialization can serve the restriction and manipulation of needs. When this point is reached, domination-in the guise of affluence and liberty--extends to all spheres of private and public existence, integrates all authentic opposition, absorbs all alternatives. Technological rationality reveals its political character as it becomes the great vehicle of better domination, creating a truly totalitarian universe in which society and nature, mind and body are kept in a state of permanent mobilization for the defense of this universe.

[1] See p. 50. [2] See p. 40. [3] The change in the function of the family here plays a decisive role: its "socializing" functions are increasingly taken over by outside groups and media. See my Eros and Civilization (Boston: Beacon Press, 1955), p. 96ff [Eros & Civ. contents] [4] Theodor W. Adorno, Prismen. Kulturkritik und Gesellschaft (Frankfurt: Suhrkamp, 1955), p. 24 f. [5] P. W. Bridgman, The Logic of Modem Physics (New York: Macmillan, 1928), p. 5. The operational doctrine has since been refined and qualified. Bridgman himself has extended the concept of "operation" to include the "paper-and-pencil" operations of the theorist (in Philipp J. Frank, The Validation of Scientific Theories [Boston: Beacon Press. 1954], Chap. II). The main impetus remains the same: it is "desirable" that the paper-and-pencil operations "be capable of eventual contact, although perhaps indirectly, with instrumental operations." [6] P. W. Bridgman, The Logic of Modern Physics, loc. cit., p. 31.

INTRODUCTION: WHAT IS CRITICAL THEORY AND WHY STUDY IT?


PROFESSOR BOB NOWLAN

"Critical theory" refers to a series of pathways for intellectual inquiry that first emerged with the end of the 18th century European Enlightenment and in particular with the initial widespread waning of intellectual confidence that the newly hegemonic bourgeois society would succeed in realizing Enlightenment ideals. In short, critical theory represents the intellectual articulation of the conviction that modern capitalist society cannot - at least not without significant reformation or substantial transformation - realize the Enlightenment ideal of an enlightened - that is, a rational, just, and humane - society. According to Enlightenment consensus, this (ideal) society is to be one which will genuinely embody the highest values of human civilization, and which will thereby insure steady progress in the attainment of liberty, justice, prosperity, and contentment for all of its citizens.

Critical theory begins by inquiring into what prevents the realization of this Enlightenment ideal. In doing so, critical theory questions and challenges the seeming obviousness, naturalness, immediacy, and simplicity of the world around us, and, in particular, of what we are able to perceive through our senses and understand through the application of our powers of reason. Critical theory is therefore concerned with discovering and uncovering, and with describing and explaining "mediations" - environmental, ecological, physical, physiological, psychological, intellectual, emotional, historical, social, cultural, economic, political, ideological, linguistic, semiotic, aesthetic, religious, ethical, etc. - between "object" and "subject," "event" and "impression," "impression" and "perception," "perception" and "cognition," "cognition" and "reflection," "reflection" and "response," "response" and "reaction," "reaction" and "action," and "action" and "practice." At the same time, "critical theory" also always involves questioning and challenging the passive acceptance that "the way things are" -- or "the way things seem" -simply "is" the "natural" way they necessarily "should" or "must" be. In other words, critical theory questions and challenges the conviction that what is, or what is in the process of becoming, or what appears to be, or what is most commonly understood to be, or what is dominantly conveyed to be, is also at the same time right and true, good and just, and necessary and inevitable: critical theory does not, at least not automatically, accept any of this. Critical theory is always particularly concerned with inquiring into the problems and limitations, the blindnesses and mistakes, the contradictions and incoherences, the injustices and inequities in how we as human beings, operating within particular kinds of structures and hierarchies of relations with each other, facilitated and regulated by particular kinds of institutions, engaged in particular kinds of processes and practices, have formed, reformed, and transformed ourselves, each other, and the communities, cultures, societies, and worlds in which we live.

Critical theory has always occupied tenuous positions within traditional (academic) disciplines, and has always moved restlessly across disciplinary borders; after all, when we think of what critical theory has influenced, we must include such diverse disciplines as sociology, political science, philosophy, economics, history, anthropology, psychology, and even biology and

physics, as well as studies in English and other national, regional, and ethnic languages and literatures. Critical theory, in sum, is by no means merely a province of English Studies, and neither need it be, should it be, nor can it be confined to English Studies alone, or to language and literature studies more generally. Yet the questions that we ask of the texts we read and write and of the discourses we produce and disseminate, in English Studies, are always already sedimented with the weight of extensive historical exchange -- and interchange -- with critical theory, and the answers we seek to these questions eventually require us to engage with and draw upon critical theories far more directly than simply to acknowledge this sedimentation. These questions include, at their most fundamental, why should we, or anyone for that matter, read and write these texts, the texts we privilege, and why should we, or anyone else, be interested in producing and disseminating these discourses, the discourses that are of the greatest importance to us, and why so here and now? What is the value of these texts and discourses? What is their relevance? What is their usefulness? How and why are they different, including different in their kind or degree of value and use, from other kinds of texts and discourses in circulation within contemporary society and culture at large? Any self-reflexive program or department in English Studies today must, therefore, of necessity, include substantial education of its students in critical theory.

Yet the value of education in critical theory extends still further beyond the limits of work conducted within the confines of a particular academic discipline and its attendant array of fields of intellectual inquiry. Throughout the everyday lives of each and every one of us, our ability to make sense of the world around us -- and to orient ourselves to engage in relation to it on the basis of how we make sense -- means that we are continually working with "theories" of one kind or another. At the same time, because our everyday lives also demand that we make numerous judgements according to various standards and criteria and that we then proceed according to the judgements we have made, we are also continually thinking and acting in ways which are at least rudimentarily "critical" as well. Nevertheless, in our everyday lives most of us do not all that often reflect upon precisely what theories are guiding and sustaining us, how so, and why so, nor do we frequently examine how and why we think and act critically in the ways that we do. Moreover, if asked to produce a rigorous intellectual explanation, precisely accounting for and meticulously justifying the theoretical and critical influences upon and determinants of our everyday ways of thinking, understanding, feeling, believing, interacting, communicating, acting, and behaving, most of us would have a very difficult time.A principal aim of studying and learning to think, read, write, and act theoretically is to develop the ability to recognize, understand, explain, account for, and justify the theories that guide and sustain us throughout our everyday lives. Likewise, a principal aim of studying and learning to think, read, write, and act critically is to develop the ability to recognize, understand, explain, account for, and justify the kinds of judgements, the ways in which we make judgements, and the standards and criteria we use in making judgements throughout everyday life.

Because the theories that guide and sustain us and the ways in which we think and act critically in our everyday lives are rarely simply the result of our own uniquely individual creation and

rarely a matter simply of our own autonomously free choice -- especially when we either are not conscious of their effects upon us or are unable to explain, account for, and justify these in a sustained and rigorous fashion -- we are always working according to the influence and the determination of theoretical and critical approaches which are much larger than the space "inside" of our own "heads" or "minds": we are always working according to theoretical and critical approaches which occupy particular places within particular societies and cultures and which are formed as particular products of particular histories and politics. A course in "critical theory" presents an opportunity not only, therefore, to learn about the theoretical and critical approaches of what might often at least initially seem like an elite caste of distant and specialized others -- specific, and frequently famous, named "theorists" and "critics" -- but also, and more importantly, to reflect upon how and why all of us work with the kinds of theoretical and critical approaches we do; where these come from and what gives rise to them; where they lead and what follows from them; which such approaches predominate in what areas of everyday life today, in what places within what societies and cultures, with what uses and effects, toward the advancement of what ends and toward the service of what interests; and what alternative approaches are possible, what alternatives are desirable, what alternatives are necessary, and how do we get from here to there.

In sum, education in critical theory enables the development and refinement of our ability to engage as critical citizens, that is as empowered agents able effectively to question, challenge, and contribute toward the progressive transformation of the prevailing status quo within the communities, societies, and cultures that we work to help maintain and reproduce every day, and in relation to which we are, as such, always not only inescapably interested -- but also vitally important -- participants.

A Philosophy of Life

Sigmund Freud (1932) LADIES AND GENTLEMEN In the last lecture we were occupied with trivial everyday affairs, with putting, as it were, our modest house in order. We will now take a bold step, and risk an answer to a question which has repeatedly been raised in non-analytic quarters, namely, the question whether psychoanalysis leads to any particular Weltanschauung, and if so, to what. Weltanschauung is, I am afraid, a specifically German notion, which it would be difficult to translate into a foreign language. If I attempt to give you a definition of the word, it can hardly fail to strike you as inept. By Weltanschauung, then, I mean an intellectual construction which gives a unified solution of all the problems of our existence in virtue of a comprehensive hypothesis, a construction, therefore, in which no question is left open and in which everything in which we are interested finds a place. It is easy to see that the possession of such a Weltanschauung is one of the ideal wishes of mankind. When one believes in such a thing, one feels secure in life, one knows what one ought to strive after, and how one ought to organise ones emotions and interests to the best purpose. If that is what is meant by a Weltanschauung, then the question is an easy one for psychoanalysis to answer. As a specialised science, a branch of psychology depth-psychology or psychology of the unconscious it is quite unsuited to form a Weltanschauung of its own; it must accept that of science in general. The scientific Weltanschauung is, however, markedly at variance with our definition. The unified nature of the explanation of the universe is, it is true, accepted by science, but only as a programme whose fulfilment is postponed to the future. Otherwise it is distinguished by negative characteristics, by a limitation to what is, at any given time, knowable, and a categorical rejection of certain elements which are alien to it. It asserts that there is no other source of knowledge of the universe but the intellectual manipulation of carefully verified observations, in fact, what is called research, and that no knowledge can be obtained from revelation, intuition or inspiration. It appears that this way of looking at things came very near to receiving general acceptance during the last century or two. It has been reserved for the present century to raise the objection that such a Weltanschauung is both empty and unsatisfying, that it overlooks all the spiritual demands of man, and all the needs of the human mind. This objection cannot be too strongly repudiated. It cannot be supported for a moment, for the spirit and the mind are the subject of scientific investigation in exactly the same way as any nonhuman entities. Psycho-analysis has a peculiar right to speak on behalf of the scientific Weltanschauung in this connection, because it cannot be accused of neglecting the part occupied by the mind in the universe. The contribution of psychoanalysis to science consists precisely in having extended research to the region of the mind. Certainly without such a psychology science would be very incomplete. But if we add to science the investigation of the intellectual and emotional functions of men (and animals), we find that nothing has been altered as regards the general position of science, that there are no new sources of knowledge or methods of research. Intuition and inspiration would be such, if they existed; but they can safely be counted as illusions, as fulfilments of wishes. It is easy to see, moreover, that the qualities which, as we

have shown, are expected of a Weltanschauung have a purely emotional basis. Science takes account of the fact that the mind of man creates such demands and is ready to trace their source, but it has not the slightest ground for thinking them justified. On the contrary, it does well to distinguish carefully between illusion (the results of emotional demands of that kind) and knowledge. This does not at all imply that we need push these wishes contemptuously aside, or underestimate their value in the lives of human beings. We are prepared to take notice of the fulfilments they have achieved for themselves in the creations of art and in the systems of religion and philosophy; but we cannot overlook the fact that it would be wrong and highly inexpedient to allow such things to be carried over into the domain of knowledge. For in that way one would open the door which gives access to the region of the psychoses, whether individual or group psychoses, and one would drain off from these tendencies valuable energy which is directed towards reality and which seeks by means of reality to satisfy wishes and needs as far as this is possible. From the point of view of science we must necessarily make use of our critical powers in this direction, and not be afraid to reject and deny. It is inadmissible to declare that science is one field of human intellectual activity, and that religion and philosophy are others, at least as valuable, and that science has no business to interfere with the other two, that they all have an equal claim to truth, and that everyone is free to choose whence he shall draw his convictions and in what he shall place his belief. Such an attitude is considered particularly respectable, tolerant, broad-minded and free from narrow prejudices. Unfortunately it is not tenable; it shares all the pernicious qualities of an entirely unscientific Weltanschauung and in practice comes to much the same thing. The bare fact is that truth cannot be tolerant and cannot admit compromise or limitations, that scientific research looks on the whole field of human activity as its own, and must adopt an uncompromisingly critical attitude towards any other power that seeks to usurp any part of its province. Of the three forces which can dispute the position of science, religion alone is a really serious enemy. Art is almost always harmless and beneficent, it does not seek to be anything else but an illusion. Save in the case of a few people who are, one might say, obsessed by art, it never dares to make any attacks on the realm of reality. Philosophy is not opposed to science, it behaves itself as if it were a science, and to a certain extent it makes use of the same methods; but it parts company with science, in that it clings to the illusion that it can produce a complete and coherent picture of the universe, though in fact that picture must needs fall to pieces with every new advance in our knowledge. Its methodological error lies in the fact that it over-estimates the epistemological value of our logical operations, and to a certain extent admits the validity of other sources of knowledge, such as intuition. And often enough one feels that the poet Heine is not unjustified when he says of the philosopher: With his night-cap and his night-shirt tatters, He botches up the loop-holes in the structure of the world. But philosophy has no immediate influence on the great majority of mankind; it interests only a small number even of the thin upper stratum of intellectuals, while all the rest find it beyond

them. In contradistinction to philosophy, religion is a tremendous force, which exerts its power over the strongest emotions of human beings. As we know, at one time it included everything that played any part in the mental life of mankind, that it took the place of science, when as yet science hardly existed, and that it built up a Weltanschauung of incomparable consistency and coherence which, although it has been severely shaken, has lasted to this day. If one wishes to form a true estimate of the full grandeur of religion, one must keep in mind what it undertakes to do for men. It gives them information about the source and origin of the universe it assures them of protection and final happiness amid the changing vicissitudes of life, and it guides their thoughts and actions by means of precepts which are backed by the whole force of its authority. It fulfils, therefore, three functions. In the first place, it satisfies mans desire for knowledge; it is here doing the same thing that science attempts to accomplish by its own methods, and here, therefore, enters into rivalry with it. It is to the second function that it performs that religion no doubt owes the greater part of its influence. In so far as religion brushes away mens fear of the dangers and vicissitudes of life, in so far as it assures them of a happy ending, and comforts them in their misfortunes, science cannot compete with it. Science, it is true, teaches how one can avoid certain dangers and how one can combat many sufferings with success; it would be quite untrue to deny that science is a powerful aid to human beings, but in many cases it has to leave them to their suffering, and can only advise them to submit to the inevitable. In the performance of its third function, the provision of precepts, prohibitions and restrictions, religion is furthest removed from science. For science is content with discovering and stating the facts. It is true that from the applications of science rules and recommendations for behaviour may be deduced. In certain circumstances they may be the same as those which are laid down by religion, but even so the reasons for them will be different. It is not quite clear why religion should combine these three functions. What has the explanation of the origin of the universe to do with the inculcation of certain ethical precepts? Its assurances of protection and happiness are more closely connected with these precepts. They are the reward for the fulfilment of the commands; only he who obeys them can count on receiving these benefits, while punishment awaits the disobedient. For the matter of that something of the same kind applies to science; for it declares that anyone who disregards its inferences is liable to suffer for it. One can only understand this remarkable combination of teaching, consolation and precept in religion if one subjects it to genetic analysis. We may begin with the most remarkable item of the three, the teaching about the origin of the universe for why should a cosmogony be a regular element of religious systems? The doctrine is that the universe was created by a being similar to man, but greater in every respect, in power, wisdom and strength of passion, in fact by an idealised superman. Where you have animals as creators of the universe, you have indications of the influence of totemism, which I shall touch on later, at any rate with a brief remark. It is interesting to notice that this creator of the universe is always a single god, even when many gods are believed in. Equally interesting is the fact that the creator is nearly always a male, although there is no lack of indication of the existence of female deities, and many mythologies make the creation of the world begin precisely with a male god triumphing over a female goddess, who is degraded into a monster. This raises the most fascinating minor problems, but we must hurry on. The rest of our enquiry is made easy because this God-Creator is openly

called Father. Psycho-analysis concludes that he really is the father, clothed in the grandeur in which he once appeared to the small child. The religious mans picture of the creation of the universe is the same as his picture of his own creation. If this is so, then it is easy to understand how it is that the comforting promises of protection and the severe ethical commands are found together with the cosmogony. For the same individual to whom the child owes its own existence, the father (or, more correctly, the parental function which is composed of the father and the mother), has protected and watched over the weak and helpless child, exposed as it is to all the dangers which threaten in the external world; in its fathers care it has felt itself safe. Even the grown man, though he may know that he possesses greater strength, and though he has greater insight into the dangers of life, rightly feels that fundamentally he is just as helpless and unprotected as he was in childhood and that in relation to the external world he is still a child. Even now, therefore, he cannot give up the protection which he has enjoyed as a child. But he has long ago realised that his father is a being with strictly limited powers and by no means endowed with every desirable attribute. He therefore looks back to the memory-image of the overrated father of his childhood, exalts it into a Deity, and brings it into the present and into reality. The emotional strength of this memory-image and the lasting nature of his need for protection are the two supports of his belief in God. The third main point of the religious programme, its ethical precepts, can also be related without any difficulty to the situation of childhood. In a famous passage, which I have already quoted in an earlier lecture, the philosopher Kant speaks of the starry heaven above us and the moral law within us as the strongest evidence for the greatness of God. However odd it may sound to put these two side by side for what can the heavenly bodies have to do with the question whether one man loves another or kills him? nevertheless it touches on a great psychological truth. The same father (the parental function) who gave the child his life, and preserved it from the dangers which that life involves, also taught it what it may or may not do, made it accept certain limitations of its instinctual wishes, and told it what consideration it would be expected to show towards its parents and brothers and sisters, if it wanted to be tolerated and liked as a member of the family circle, and later on of more extensive groups. The child is brought up to know its social duties by means of a system of love-rewards and punishments, and in this way it is taught that its security in life depends on its parents (and, subsequently, other people) loving it and being able to believe in its love for them. This whole state of affairs is carried over by the grown man unaltered into his religion. The prohibitions and commands of his parents live on in his breast as his moral conscience; God rules the world of men with the help of the same system of rewards and punishments, and the degree of protection and happiness which each individual enjoys depends on his fulfilment of the demands of morality; the feeling of security, with which he fortifies himself against the dangers both of the external world and of his human environment, is founded on his love of God and the consciousness of Gods love for him. Finally, he has in prayer a direct influence on the divine will, and in that way insures for himself a share in the divine omnipotence. I am sure that while you have been listening to me a whole host of questions must have come into your minds which you would like to have answered. I cannot undertake to do so here and now, but I am perfectly certain that none of these questions of detail would shake our thesis that the religious Weltanschauung is determined by the situation that subsisted in our childhood. It is

therefore all the more remarkable that, in spite of its infantile character, it nevertheless has a forerunner. There was, without doubt, a time when there was no religion and no gods. It is known as the age of animism. Even at that time the world was full of spirits in the semblance of men (demons, as we call them), and all the objects in the external world were their dwellingplace or perhaps identical with them; but there was no supreme power which had created them all which controlled them, and to which it was possible to turn for protection and aid. The demons of animism were usually hostile to man, but it seems as though man had more confidence in himself in those days than later on. He was no doubt in constant terror of these evil spirits, but he defended himself against them by means of certain actions to which he ascribed the power to drive them away. Nor did he think himself entirely powerless in other ways. If he wanted something from nature rain, for instance he did not direct a prayer to the Weathergod, but used a spell, by means of which he expected to exert a direct influence over nature; he himself made something which resembled rain. In his fight against the powers of the surrounding world his first weapon was magic, the first forerunner of our modern technology. We suppose that this confidence in magic is derived from the over-estimation of the individuals own intellectual operations, from the belief in the omnipotence of thoughts, which, incidentally, we come across again in our obsessional neurotics. We may imagine that the men of that time were particularly proud of their acquisition of speech, which must have been accompanied by a great facilitation of thought. They attributed magic power to the spoken word. This feature was later on taken over by religion. And God said: Let there be light, and there was light. But the fact of magic actions shows that animistic man did not rely entirely on the force of his own wishes. On the contrary, he depended for success upon the performance of an action which would cause Nature to imitate it. If he wanted it to rain, he himself poured out water; if he wanted to stimulate the soil to fertility, he offered it a performance of sexual intercourse in the fields. You know how tenaciously anything that has once found psychological expression persists. You will therefore not be surprised to hear that a great many manifestations of animism have lasted up to the present day, mostly as what are called superstitions, side by side with and behind religion. But more than that, you can hardly avoid coming to the conclusion that our philosophy has preserved essential traits of animistic modes of thought such as the over-estimation of the magic of words and the belief that real processes in the external world follow the lines laid down by our thoughts. It is, to be sure, an animism without magical practices. On the other hand, we should expect to find that in the age of animism there must already have been some kind of morality, some rules governing the intercourse of men with one another. But there is no evidence that they were closely bound up with animistic beliefs. Probably they were the immediate expression of the distribution of power and of practical necessities. It would be very interesting to know what determined the transition from animism to religion; but you may imagine in what darkness this earliest epoch in the evolution of the human mind is still shrouded. It seems to be a fact that the earliest form in which religion appeared was the remarkable one of totemism, the worship of animals, in the train of which followed the first ethical commands, the taboos. In a book called Totem and Taboo, I once worked out a suggestion in accordance with which this change is to be traced back to an upheaval in the relationships in the human family. The main achievement of religion, as compared with animism, lies in the psychic binding of the fear of demons. Nevertheless, the evil spirit still has a place in the religious system as a relic of the previous age.

So much for the pre-history of the religious Weltanschauung. Let us now turn to consider what has happened since, and what is still going on under our own eyes. The scientific spirit, strengthened by the observation of natural processes, began in the course of time to treat religion as a human matter, and to subject it to a critical examination. This test it failed to pass. In the first place, the accounts of miracles roused a feeling of surprise and disbelief, since they contradicted everything that sober observation had taught, and betrayed all too clearly the influence of human imagination. In the next place, its account of the nature of the universe had to be rejected, because it showed evidence of a lack of knowledge which bore the stamp of earlier days, and because, owing to increasing familiarity with the laws of nature, it had lost its authority. The idea that the universe came into being through an act of generation or creation, analogous to that which produces an individual human being, no longer seemed to be the most obvious and self-evident hypothesis; for the distinction between living and sentient beings and inanimate nature had become apparent to the human mind, and had made it impossible to retain the original animistic theory. Besides this, one must not overlook the influence of the comparative study of different religious systems, and the impression they give of mutual exclusiveness and intolerance. Fortified by these preliminary efforts, the scientific spirit at last summoned up courage to put to the test the most important and the most emotionally significant elements of the religious Weltanschauung. The truth could have been seen at any time, but it was long before anyone dared to say it aloud: the assertions made by religion that it could give protection and happiness to men, if they would only fulfil certain ethical obligations, were unworthy of belief. It seems not to be true that there is a power in the universe which watches over the well-being of every individual with parental care and brings all his concerns to a happy ending. On the contrary, the destinies of man are incompatible with a universal principle of benevolence or with what is to some degree contradictory a universal principle of justice. Earthquakes, floods and fires do not differentiate between the good and devout man and the sinner and unbeliever. And, even if we leave inanimate nature out of account and consider the destinies of individual men in so far as they depend on their relations with others of their own kind, it is by no means the rule that virtue is rewarded and wickedness punished, but it happens often enough that the violent, the crafty and the unprincipled seize the desirable goods of the earth for themselves, while the pious go empty away. Dark, unfeeling and unloving powers determine human destiny; the system of rewards and punishments, which, according to religion, governs the world, seems to have no existence. This is another occasion for abandoning a portion of the animism which has found refuge in religion. The last contribution to the criticism of the religious Weltanschauung has been made by psychoanalysis, which has traced the origin of religion to the helplessness of childhood, and its content to the persistence of the wishes and needs of childhood into maturity. This does not precisely imply a refutation of religion, but it is a necessary rounding off of our knowledge about it, and, at least on one point, it actually contradicts it, for religion lays claim to a divine origin. This claim, to be sure, is not false, if our interpretation of God is accepted. The final judgment of science on the religious Weltanschauung, then, runs as follows. While the different religions wrangle with one another as to which of them is in possession of the truth, in our view the truth of religion may be altogether disregarded. Religion is an attempt to get control over the sensory world, in which we are placed, by means of the wish-world, which we have

developed inside us as a result of biological and psychological necessities. But it cannot achieve its end. Its doctrines carry with them the stamp of the times in which they originated, the ignorant childhood days of the human race. Its consolations deserve no trust. Experience teaches us that the world is not a nursery. The ethical commands, to which religion seeks to lend its weight, require some other foundation instead, for human society cannot do without them, and it is dangerous to link up obedience to them with religious belief. If one attempts to assign to religion its place in mans evolution, it seems not so much to be a lasting acquisition as a parallel to the neurosis which the civilised individual must pass through on his way from childhood to maturity. You are, of course, perfectly free to criticise this account of mine, and I am prepared to meet you half-way. What I have said about the gradual crumbling of the religious Weltanschauung was no doubt an incomplete abridgment of the whole story; the order of the separate events was not quite correctly given, and the co-operation of various forces towards the awakening of the scientific spirit was not traced. I have also left out of account the alterations which occurred in the religious Weltanschauung itself, both during the period of its unchallenged authority and afterwards under the influence of awakening criticism. Finally I have, strictly speaking, limited my remarks to one single form of religion, that of the Western peoples. I have, as it were, constructed a lay-figure for the purposes of a demonstration which I desired to be as rapid and as impressive as possible. Let us leave on one side the question of whether my knowledge would in any case have been sufficient to enable me to do it better or more completely. I am aware that you can find all that I have said elsewhere, and find it better said; none of it is new. But I am firmly convinced that the most careful elaboration of the material upon which the problems of religion are based would not shake these conclusions. As you know, the struggle between the scientific spirit and the religious Weltanschauung is not yet at an end; it is still going on under our very eyes to-day. However little psychoanalysis may make use as a rule of polemical weapons, we will not deny ourselves the pleasure of looking into this conflict. Incidentally, we may perhaps arrive at a clearer understanding of our attitude towards the Weltanschauung. You will see how easily some of the arguments which are brought forward by the supporters of religion can be disproved; though others may succeed in escaping refutation. The first objection that one hears is to the effect that it is an impertinence on the part of science to take religion as a subject for its investigations, since religion is something supreme, something superior to the capacities of the human understanding, something which must not be approached with the sophistries of criticism. In other words, science is not competent to sit in judgment on religion. No doubt it is quite useful and valuable, so long as it is restricted to its own province; but religion does not lie in that province, and with religion it can have nothing to do. If we are not deterred by this brusque dismissal, but enquire on what grounds religion bases its claim to an exceptional position among human concerns, the answer we receive, if indeed we are honoured with an answer at all, is that religion cannot be measured by human standards, since it is of divine origin, and has been revealed to us by a spirit which the human mind cannot grasp. It might surely be thought that nothing could be more easily refuted than this argument; it is an obvious petitio principii, a begging of the question. The point which is being called in question is whether there is a divine spirit and a revelation; and it surely cannot be a conclusive reply to

say that the question be asked, because the Deity cannot be called in question. What is happening here is the same kind of thing as we meet with occasionally in our analytic work. If an otherwise intelligent patient denies a suggestion on particularly stupid grounds, his imperfect logic is evidence for the existence of a particularly strong motive for his making the denial, a motive which can only be of an affective nature and serve to bind an emotion. Another sort of answer may be given, in which a motive of this kind is openly admitted. Religion must not be critically examined, because it is the highest, most precious and noblest thing that the mind of man has brought forth, because it gives expression to the deepest feelings, and is the only thing that makes the world bearable and life worthy of humanity. To this we need not reply by disputing this estimate of religion, but rather by drawing attention to another aspect of the matter. We should point out that it is not a question of the scientific spirit encroaching upon the sphere of religion, but of religion encroaching upon the sphere of scientific thought. Whatever value and importance religion may have, it has no right to set any limits to thought, and therefore has no right to except itself from the application of thought. Scientific thought is, in its essence, no different from the normal process of thinking, which we all, believers and unbelievers alike, make use of when we are going about our business in everyday life. It has merely taken a special form in certain respects: it extends its interest to things which have no immediately obvious utility, it endeavours to eliminate personal factors and emotional influences, it carefully examines the trustworthiness of the sense perceptions on which it bases its conclusions, it provides itself with new perceptions which are not obtainable by everyday means, and isolates the determinants of these new experiences by purposely varied experimentation. Its aim is to arrive at correspondence with reality, that is to say with what exists outside us and independently of us, and, as experience has taught us, is decisive for the fulfilment or frustration of our desires. This correspondence with the real external world we call truth. It is the aim of scientific work, even when the practical value of that work does not interest us. When, therefore, religion claims that it can take the place of science and that, because it is beneficent and ennobling, it must therefore be true, that claim is, in fact, an encroachment, which, in the interests of everyone, should be resisted. It is asking a great deal of a man, who has learnt to regulate his everyday affairs in accordance with the rules of experience and with due regard to reality, that he should entrust precisely what affects him most nearly to the care of an authority which claims as its prerogative freedom from all the rules of rational thought. And as for the protection that religion promises its believers, I hardly think that any of us would be willing even to enter a motorcar if the driver informed us that he drove without allowing himself to be distracted by traffic regulations, but in accordance with the impulses of an exalted imagination. And indeed the ban which religion has imposed upon thought in the interests of its own preservation is by no means without danger both for the individual and for society. Analytic experience has taught us that such prohibitions, even though they were originally confined to some particular field, have a tendency to spread, and then become the cause of severe inhibitions in peoples lives. In women a process of this sort can be observed to follow from the prohibition against their occupying themselves, even in thought, with the sexual side of their nature. The biographies of almost all the eminent people of past times show the disastrous results of the inhibition of thought by religion. Intellect, on the other hand, or rather, to call it by a more

familiar name, reason is among the forces which may be expected to exert a unifying influence upon men creatures who can be held together only with the greatest difficulty, and whom it is therefore scarcely possible to control. Think how impossible human society would be if everyone had his own particular multiplication table and his own private units of weight and length. Our best hope for the future is that the intellect the scientific spirit, reason should in time establish a dictatorship over the human mind. The very nature of reason is a guarantee that it would not fail to concede to human emotions and to all that is determined by them the position to which they are entitled. But the common pressure exercised by such a domination of reason would prove to be the strongest unifying force among men, and would prepare the way for further unifications. Whatever, like the ban laid upon thought by religion, opposes such a development is a danger for the future of mankind. The question may now be asked why religion does not put an end to this losing fight by openly declaring: It is a fact that I cannot give you what men commonly call truth; to obtain that, you must go to science. But what I have to give you is incomparably more beautiful, more comforting and more ennobling than anything that you could ever get from science. And I therefore say to you that it is true in a different and higher sense. The answer is easy to find. Religion cannot make this admission, because if it did it would lose all influence over the mass of mankind. The ordinary man knows only one truth truth in the ordinary sense of the word. What may be meant by a higher, or a highest, truth, he cannot imagine. Truth seems to him as little capable of having degrees as death, and the necessary leap from the beautiful to the true is one that he cannot make. Perhaps you will agree with me in thinking that he is right in this. The struggle, therefore, is not yet at an end. The followers of the religious Weltanschauung act in accordance with the old maxim: the best defence is attack. What, they ask, is this science that presumes to depreciate our religion, which has brought salvation and comfort to millions of men for many thousands of years? What has science for its part so far accomplished? What more can be expected of it? On its own admission, it is incapable of comforting or ennobling us. We will leave that on one side, therefore, though it is by no means easy to give up such benefits. But what of its teaching? Can it tell us how the world began, and what fate is in store for it? Can it even paint for us a coherent picture of the universe, and show us where the unexplained phenomena of life fit in, and how spiritual forces are able to operate on inert matter? If it could do that we should not refuse it our respect. But it has done nothing of the sort, not one single problem of this kind has it solved. It gives us fragments of alleged knowledge, which it cannot harmonise with one another, it collects observations of uniformities from the totality of events, and dignifies them with the name of laws and subjects them to its hazardous interpretations. And with what a small degree of certitude does it establish its conclusions! All that it teaches is only provisionally true; what is prized to-day as the highest wisdom is overthrown tomorrow and experimentally replaced by something else. The latest error is then given the name of truth. And to this truth we are asked to sacrifice our highest good! Ladies and Gentlemen In so far as you yourselves are supporters of the scientific Weltanschauung I do not think you will be very profoundly shaken by this critics attack. In Imperial Austria an anecdote was once current which I should like to call to mind in this connection. On one occasion the old Emperor was receiving a deputation from a political party which he disliked: This is no longer ordinary opposition, he burst out, this is factious

opposition. In just the same way you will find that the reproaches made against science for not having solved the riddle of the universe are unfairly and spitefully exaggerated. Science has had too little time for such a tremendous achievement. It is still very young, a recently developed human activity. Let us bear in mind, to mention only a few dates, that only about three hundred years have passed since Kepler discovered the laws of planetary movement; the life of Newton, who split up light into the colours of the spectrum, and put forward the theory of gravitation, came to an end in 1727, that is to say a little more than two hundred years ago; and Lavoisier discovered oxygen shortly before the French Revolution. I may be a very old man to-day, but the life of an individual man is very short in comparison with the duration of human development, and it is a fact that I was alive when Charles Darwin published his work on the origin of species. In the same year, 1859, Pierre Curie, the discoverer of radium, was born. And if you go back to the beginnings of exact natural science among the Greeks, to Archimedes, or to Aristarchus of Samos (circa 250 B.C.), the forerunner of Copernicus, or even to the tentative origins of astronomy among the Babylonians, you will only be covering a very small portion of the period which anthropology requires for the evolution of man from his original ape-like form, a period which certainly embraces more than a hundred thousand years. And it must not be forgotten that the last century has brought with it such a quantity of new discoveries and such a great acceleration of scientific progress that we have every reason to look forward with confidence to the future of science. It has to be admitted that the other objections are valid within certain limits. Thus it is true that the path of science is slow, tentative and laborious. That cannot be denied or altered. No wonder that the gentlemen of the opposition are dissatisfied; they are spoilt, they have had an easier time of it with their revelation. Progress in scientific work is made in just the same way as in an analysis. The analyst brings expectations with him to his work, but he must keep them in the background. He discovers something new by observation, now here and now there, and at first the bits do not fit together. He puts forward suppositions, he brings up provisional constructions, and abandons them if they are not confirmed; he must have a great deal of patience, must be prepared for all possibilities, and must not jump at conclusions for fear of their leading him to overlook new and unexpected factors. And in the end the whole expenditure of effort is rewarded, the scattered discoveries fall into place and he obtains an understanding of a whole chain of mental events; he has finished one piece of work and is ready for the next. But the analyst is unlike other scientific workers in this one respect, that he has to do without the help which experiment can bring to research. But the criticism of science which I have quoted also contains a great deal of exaggeration. It is not true to say that it swings blindly from one attempt to another, and exchanges one error for the next. As a rule the man of science works like a sculptor with a clay model, who persistently alters the first rough sketch, adds to it and takes away from it, until he has obtained a satisfactory degree of similarity to some object, whether seen or imagined. And, moreover, at least in the older and more mature sciences, there is already a solid foundation of knowledge, which is now only modified and elaborated and no longer demolished. The outlook, in fact, is not so bad in the world of science. And finally, what is the purpose of all these passionate disparagements of science? In spite of its present incompleteness and its inherent difficulties, we could not do without it and could not put

anything else in its place. There is no limit to the improvement of which it is capable, and this can certainly not be said of the religious Weltanschauung. The latter is complete in its essentials; if it is an error, it must remain one for ever. No attempt to minimise the importance of science can alter the fact that it attempts to take into account our dependence on the real external world, while religion is illusion and derives its strength from the fact that it falls in with our instinctual desires. I must now go on to mention some other types of Weltanschauung which are in opposition to the scientific one; I do so, however, unwillingly, because I know that I am not competent to form a judgment upon them. I hope, therefore, that you will bear this confession in mind in listening to what I have to say, and that if your interest is aroused you will go elsewhere for more trustworthy information. In the first place I ought at this point to name the various philosophical systems which have ventured to draw a picture of the world, as it is reflected in the minds of thinkers whose eyes are as a rule turned away from it. But I have already attempted to give a general characterisation of philosophy and its methods, and I believe I am more unfitted than almost anyone to pass the individual systems under review. I shall ask you, therefore, instead to turn your attention to two other phenomena which, particularly in these days, cannot be ignored.

The Weltanschauung to which I shall first refer is, as it were, a counterpart of political anarchism, and may perhaps have emanated from it. No doubt there have been intellectual nihilists of this kind before, but at the present day the theory of relativity of modern physics seems to have gone to their heads. It is true that they start out from science, but they succeed in forcing it to cut the ground from under its own feet, to commit suicide, as it were; they make it dispose of itself by getting it to refute its own premises. One often has an impression that this nihilism is only a temporary attitude, which will only be kept up until this task has been completed. When once science has been got rid of, some kind of mysticism, or, indeed, the old religious Weltanschauung, can spring up in the space that has been left vacant. According to this anarchistic doctrine, there is no such thing as truth, no assured knowledge of the external world. What we give out as scientific truth is only the product of our own needs and desires, as they are formulated under varying external conditions; that is to say, it is illusion once more. Ultimately we find only what we need to find, and see only what we desire to see. We can do nothing else. And since the criterion of truth, correspondence with an external world, disappears, it is absolutely immaterial what views we accept. All of them are equally true and false. And no one has a right to accuse anyone else of error. For a mind which is interested in epistemology, it would be tempting to enquire into the contrivances and sophistries by means of which the anarchists manage to elicit a final product of this kind from science. One would no doubt be brought up against situations like the one involved in the familiar example of the Cretan who says that all Cretans are liars. But I am not desirous, nor am I capable, of going deeper into this. I will merely remark that the anarchistic theory only retains its remarkable air of superiority so long as it is concerned with opinions about abstract things; it breaks down the moment it comes in contact with practical life. Now the

behaviour of men is guided by their opinions and knowledge, and the same scientific spirit which speculates about the structure of the atom or the origin of man is concerned in the building of a bridge that will bear its load. If it were really a matter of indifference what we believed, if there were no knowledge which was distinguished from among our opinions by the fact that it corresponds with reality, then we might just as well build our bridges of cardboard as of stone, or inject a tenth of a gram of morphia into a patient instead of a hundredth, or take tear-gas as a narcotic instead of ether. But the intellectual anarchists themselves would strongly repudiate such practical applications of their theory.

The other opposing Weltanschauung is to be taken far more seriously, and in this case I very deeply regret the insufficiency of my knowledge. I dare say that you know more about this subject than I do and that you have long ago taken up your position for or against Marxism. The investigations of Karl Marx into the economic structure of society and into the influence of various forms of economic organisation upon all departments of human life have in our day acquired an authority that cannot be denied. How far they are right or wrong in detail, I naturally do not know. I gather that it is not easy even for better informed people to decide. Some of the propositions in Marxs theory seem strange to me, such as that the evolution of forms of society is a process of natural history, or that the changes in social stratification proceed from one another in the manner of a dialectical process. I am by no means certain that I understand these statements rightly; moreover, they do not sound materialistic but like traces of the obscure Hegelian philosophy under the influence of which Marx at one time passed. I do not know how I can throw off the view which I share with other laymen, who are inclined to trace back the formation of classes in society to the struggles which went on from the beginning of history between various human hordes. These hordes differed to a slight degree from one another; and it is my view that social differences go back to these original differences of tribe or race. Psychological factors, such as the amount of constitutional aggressiveness and also the degree of cohesion within the horde, and material factors, such as the possession of better weapons, decided the victory. When they came to live together in the same territory, the victors became the masters and the conquered the slaves. There is no sign in all this of natural laws or conceptual modifications; on the other hand, we cannot fail to recognise the influence which the progressive control over natural forces exerts on the social relationships between men, since men always place their newly won powers at the service of their aggressiveness, and use them against one another. The introduction of metals, of bronze and iron, put an end to whole cultural epochs and their social institutions. I really believe that gunpowder and fire-arms overthrew chivalry and the domination of the aristocracy, and that the Russian despotism was already doomed before the war was lost, since no amount of in-breeding among the ruling families of Europe could have produced a race of Tsars capable of withstanding the explosive force of dynamite. It may be, indeed, that with the present economic crisis which followed upon the Great War we are merely paying the price of our latest triumph over Nature, the conquest of the air. This does not sound very convincing, but at least the first links in the chain of argument are clearly recognisable. The policy of England was based on the security guaranteed by the seas which encircle her coasts. The moment Blriot flew over the Channel in his aeroplane this protective isolation was broken through; and on the night on which, in a time of peace, a German Zeppelin

made an experimental cruise over London, war against Germany became a certainty. Nor must the threat of submarines be forgotten in this connection. I am almost ashamed of treating a theme of such importance and complexity in such a slight and inadequate manner, and I am also aware that I have not said anything that is new to you. I only wanted to call your attention to the fact that the factor of mans control over Nature, from which he obtains his weapons for his struggle with his fellow-men, must of necessity also affect his economic arrangements. We seem to have travelled a long way from the problems of a Weltanschauung, but we shall soon come back to the point. The strength of Marxism obviously does not lie in its view of history or in the prophecies about the future which it bases upon that view, but in its clear insight into the determining influence which is exerted by the economic conditions of man upon his intellectual, ethical and artistic reactions. A whole collection of correlations and causal sequences were thus discovered, which had hitherto been almost completely disregarded. But it cannot be assumed that economic motives are the only ones which determine the behaviour of men in society. The unquestionable fact that different individuals, races and nations behave differently under the same economic conditions in itself proves that the economic factor cannot be the sole determinant. It is quite impossible to understand how psychological factors can be overlooked where the reactions of living human beings are involved; for not only were such factors already concerned in the establishment of these economic conditions but even in obeying these conditions, men can do no more than set their original instinctual impulses in motion their self-preservative instinct, their love of aggression, their need for love and their impulse to attain pleasure and avoid pain. In an earlier lecture we have emphasised the importance of the part played by the super-ego, which represents tradition and the ideals of the past, and which will resist for some time the pressure exerted by new economic situations. And, finally, we must not forget that the mass of mankind, subjected though they are to economic necessities, are borne on by a process of cultural development some call it civilisation which is no doubt influenced by all the other factors, but is equally certainly independent of them in its origin; it is comparable to an organic process, and is quite capable of itself having an effect upon the other factors. It displaces the aims of the instincts, and causes men to rebel against what has hitherto been tolerable; and, moreover, the progressive strengthening of the scientific spirit seems to be an essential part of it. If anyone were in a position to show in detail how these different factors the general human instinctual disposition, its racial variations and its cultural modifications behave under the influence of varying social organisation, professional activities and methods of subsistence, how these factors inhibit or aid one another if, I say, anyone could show this, then he would not only have improved Marxism but would have made it into a true social science. For sociology, which deals with the behaviour of man in society, can be nothing other than applied psychology. Strictly speaking, indeed, there are only two sciences psychology, pure and applied, and natural science. When at last the far-reaching importance of economic conditions began to be realised, the temptation arose to bring about an alteration in them by means of revolutionary interference, instead of leaving the change to the course of historical development. Theoretical Marxism, as put into effect in Russian Bolshevism, has acquired the energy, the comprehensiveness and the exclusiveness of a Weltanschauung, but at the same time it has acquired an almost uncanny resemblance to what it is opposing. Originally it was itself a part of science, and, in its realisation, was built up on science and technology, but it has nevertheless established a ban

upon thought which is as inexorable as was formerly that of religion. All critical examination of the Marxist theory is forbidden, doubts of its validity are as vindictively punished as heresy once was by the Catholic Church. The works of Marx, as the source of revelation, have taken the place of the Bible and the Koran, although they are no freer from contradictions and obscurities than those earlier holy books. And although practical Marxism has remorselessly swept away all idealistic systems and illusions, it has nevertheless developed illusions itself, which are no less dubious and unverifiable than their predecessors. It hopes, in the course of a few generations, so to alter men that they will be able to live together in the new order of society almost without friction, and that they will do their work voluntarily. In the meantime it moves elsewhere the instinctual barriers which are essential in any society, it directs outwards the aggressive tendencies which threaten every human community, and finds its support in the hostility of the poor against the rich, and of the hitherto powerless against the former holders of power. But such an alteration in human nature is very improbable. The enthusiasm with which the mob follow the Bolshevist lead at present, so long as the new order is incomplete and threatened from outside, gives no guarantee for the future, when it will be fully established and no longer in danger. In exactly the same way as religion, Bolshevism is obliged to compensate its believers for the sufferings and deprivations of the present life by promising them a better life hereafter, in which there will be no unsatisfied needs. It is true that this paradise is to be in this world; it will be established on earth, and will be inaugurated within a measurable time. But let us remember that the Jews, whose religion knows nothing of a life beyond the grave, also expected the coming of the Messiah here on earth, and that the Christian Middle Ages constantly believed that the Kingdom of God was at hand. There is no doubt what the answer of Bolshevism to these criticisms will be. Until men have changed their nature, it will say, one must employ the methods which are effective with them today. One cannot do without compulsion in their education or a ban upon thinking or the application of force, even the spilling of blood; and if one did not awake in them the illusions you speak of, one would not be able to bring them to submit to this compulsion. And it might politely ask us to say how else it could be done. At this point we should be defeated. I should know of no advice to give. I should admit that the conditions of this experiment would have restrained me, and people like me, from undertaking it; but we are not the only ones concerned. There are also men of action, unshakeable in their convictions, impervious to doubt, and insensitive to the sufferings of anyone who stands between them and their goal. It is owing to such men that the tremendous attempt to institute a new order of society of this kind is actually being carried out in Russia now. At a time when great nations are declaring that they expect to find their salvation solely from a steadfast adherence to Christian piety, the upheaval in Russia in spite of all its distressing features seems to bring a promise of a better future. Unfortunately, neither our own misgivings nor the fanatical belief of the other side give us any hint of how the experiment will turn out. The future will teach us. Perhaps it will show that the attempt has been made prematurely and that a fundamental alteration of the social order will have little hope of success until new discoveries are made that will increase our control over the forces of Nature, and so make easier the satisfaction of our needs. It may be that only then will it be possible for a new order of society to emerge which will not only banish the material want of the masses, but at the same time meet the cultural requirements of individual men. But even so we shall still have

to struggle for an indefinite length of time with the difficulties which the intractable nature of man puts in the way of every kind of social community. Ladies and Gentlemen Let me in conclusion sum up what I had to say about the relation of psychoanalysis to the question of a Weltanschauung. Psychoanalysis is not, in my opinion, in a position to create a Weltanschauung of its own. It has no need to do so, for it is a branch of science, and can subscribe to the scientific Weltanschauung. The latter, however, hardly merits such a high-sounding name, for it does not take everything into its scope, it is incomplete and it makes no claim to being comprehensive or to constituting a system. Scientific thought is still in its infancy; there are very many of the great problems with which it has as yet been unable to cope. A Weltanschauung based upon science has, apart from the emphasis it lays upon the real world, essentially negative characteristics, such as that it limits itself to truth and rejects illusions. Those of our fellowmen who are dissatisfied with this state of things and who desire something more for their momentary peace of mind may look for it where they can find it. We shall not blame them for doing so; but we cannot help them and cannot change our own way of thinking on their account.

The Social Function of Philosophy


Max Horkheimer 1939

WHEN the words physics, chemistry, medicine, or history are mentioned in a conversation, the participants usually have something very definite in mind. Should any difference of opinion arise, we could consult an encyclopedia or accepted textbook or turn to one or more outstanding specialists in the field in question. The definition of any one of these sciences derives immediately from its place in present-day society. Though these sciences may make the greatest advances in the future, though it is even conceivable that several of them, physics and chemistry for example, may some day be merged, no one is really interested in defining these concepts in any other way than by reference to the scientific activities now being carried on under such headings. It is different with philosophy. Suppose we ask a professor of philosophy what philosophy is. If we are lucky and happen to a specialist who is not averse to definitions in general, he will give us one. If we then adopt this definition, we should probably soon discover that it is by no means the universally accepted meaning of the word. We might then appeal to other authorities, and pore over textbooks, modern and old. The confusion would only increase. Many thinkers, accepting Plato and Kant as their authorities, regard philosophy as an exact science in its own right, with its own field and subject matter. In our epoch this conception is chiefly represented by the late Edmund Husserl. Other thinkers, like Ernst Mach, conceive philosophy as the critical elaboration and synthesis of the special sciences to a unified whole. Bertrand Russell, too, holds that the task of philosophy is that of logical analysis, followed by logical synthesis. He thus fully agrees with L. T. Hobhouse, who declares that Philosophy ... has a synthesis of the sciences as its goal. This conception goes back to Auguste Comte and Herbert Spencer, for whom philosophy constituted the total system of human knowledge. Philosophy, therefore, is an independent science for some, a subsidiary or auxiliary discipline for others. If most writers of philosophical works agree on the scientific character of philosophy, a few, but by no means the worst, have emphatically denied it. For the German poet Schiller, whose philosophical essays have had an influence perhaps even more profound than his dramas, the purpose of philosophy was to bring aesthetic order into our thoughts and actions. Beauty was the criterion of its results. Other poets, like Hlderlin and Novalis, held a similar position, and even pure philosophers, Schelling for instance, came very close to it in some of their formulations. Henri Bergson, at any rate, insists that philosophy is closely related to art, and is not a science. As if the different views on the general character of philosophy were not enough, we also find the most diverse notions about its content and its methods. There are still some thinkers who hold that philosophy is concerned exclusively with the highest concepts and laws of Being, and ultimately with the cognition of God. This is true of the Aristotelian and Neo-Thomist schools. Then there is the related view that philosophy deals with the so-called a priori. Alexander describes philosophy as the experiential or empirical study of the non-empirical or a priori, and of such questions as arise out of the relation of the empirical to the a priori (space, time and deity). Others, who derive from the English sensualists and the German school of Fries and Apelt, conceive of it as the science of inner experience. According to logical empiricists like

Carnap, philosophy is concerned essentially with scientific language; according to the school of Windelband and Rickert (another school with many American followers), it deals with universal values, above all with truth, beauty, goodness, and holiness. Finally, everyone knows that there is no agreement in method. The Neo-Kantians all believe that the procedure of philosophy must consist in the analysis of concepts and their reduction to the ultimate elements of cognition. Bergson and Max Scheler consider intuition (Wesensschau, Wesenserschauung) to be the decisive philosophical act. The phenomenological method of Husserl and Heidegger is flatly opposed to the empirio-criticism. of Mach and Avenarius. The logistic of Bertrand Russell, Whitehead, and their followers, is the avowed enemy of the dialectic of Hegel. The kind of philosophizing one prefers depends, according to William James, on ones character and experience. These definitions have been mentioned in order to indicate that the situation in philosophy is not the same as in other intellectual pursuits. No matter how many points of dispute there may be in those fields, at least the general line of their intellectual work is universally recognized. The prominent representatives more or less agree on subject matter and methods. In philosophy, however, refutation of one school by another usually involves complete rejection, the negation of the substance of its work as fundamentally false. This attitude is not shared by all schools, of course. A dialectical philosophy, for example, in keeping with its principles, will tend to extract the relative truths of the individual points of view and introduce them in its own comprehensive theory. Other philosophical doctrines, such as modern positivism, have less elastic principles, and they simply exclude from the realm of knowledge a very large part of the philosophical literature, especially the great systems of the past. In short, it cannot be taken for granted that anyone who uses the term philosophy shares with his audience more than a few very vague conceptions. The individual sciences apply themselves to problems which must be treated because they arise out of the life process of present-day society. Both the individual problems and their allotment to specific disciplines derive, in the last analysis, from the needs of mankind in its past and present forms of organization. This does not mean that every single scientific investigation satisfies some urgent need. Many scientific undertakings produced results that mankind could easily do without. Science is no exception to that misapplication of energy which we observe in every sphere of cultural life. The development of branches of science which have only a dubious practical value for the immediate present is, however, part of that expenditure of human labor which is one of the necessary conditions of scientific and technological progress. We should remember that certain branches of mathematics, which appeared to be mere playthings at first, later turned out to be extraordinarily useful. Thus, though there are scientific undertakings which can lead to no immediate use, all of them have some potential applicability within the given social reality, remote and vague as it may be. By its very nature, the work of the scientist is capable of enriching life in its present form. His fields of activity are therefore largely marked out for him, and the attempts to alter the boundaries between the several domains of science, to develop new disciplines, as well as continuously to differentiate and integrate them, are always guided by social need, whether consciously or not. This need is also operative, though indirectly, in the laboratories and lecture halls of the university, not to mention the chemical laboratories and statistical departments of large industrial enterprises and in the hospitals.

Philosophy has no such guide. Naturally, many desires play upon it; it is expected to find solutions for problems which the sciences either do not deal with or treat unsatisfactorily. But the practice of social life offers no criterion for philosophy; philosophy can point to no successes. Insofar as individual philosophers occasionally do offer something in this respect, it is a matter of services which are not specifically philosophical. We have, for example, the mathematical discoveries of Descartes and Leibniz, the psychological researches of Hume, the physical theories of Ernst Mach, and so forth. The opponents of philosophy also say that insofar as it has value, it is not philosophy but positive science. Everything else in philosophical systems is mere talk, they claim, occasionally stimulating, but usually boring and always useless. Philosophers, on the other hand, show a certain obstinate disregard for the verdict of the outside world. Ever since the trial of Socrates, it has been clear that they have a strained relationship with reality as it is, and especially with the community in which they live. The tension sometimes takes the form of open persecution; at other times merely failure to understand their language. They must live in hiding, physically or intellectually. Scientists, too, have come into conflict with the societies of their time. But here we must resume the distinction between the philosophical and the scientific elements of which we have already spoken, and reverse the picture, because the reasons for the persecution usually lay in the philosophical views of these thinkers, not in their scientific theories. Galileos bitter persecutors among the Jesuits admitted that he would have been free to publish his heliocentric theory if he had placed it in the proper philosophical and theological context. Albertus Magnus himself discussed the heliocentric theory in his Summa, and he was never attacked for it. Furthermore, the conflict between scientists and society, at least in modern times, is not connected with fundamentals but only with individual doctrines, not tolerated by this or that authority in one country at one time, tolerated and even celebrated in some other country at the same time or soon afterwards. The opposition of philosophy to reality arises from its principles. Philosophy insists that the actions and aims of man must not be the product of blind necessity. Neither the concepts of science nor the form of social life, neither the prevailing way of thinking nor the prevailing mores should be accepted by custom and practiced uncritically. Philosophy has set itself against mere tradition and resignation in the decisive problems of existence, and it has shouldered the unpleasant task of throwing the light of consciousness even upon those human relations and modes of reaction which have become so deeply rooted that they seem natural, immutable, and eternal. One could reply that the sciences, too, and particularly their inventions and technological changes, save mankind from the deep-worn grooves of habit. When we compare present-day life with that thirty, fifty, or a hundred years ago, we cannot truthfully accept the notion that the sciences have not disturbed human habits and customs. Not only industry and transportation, but even art, has been rationalized. A single illustration will suffice. In former years a playwright would work out his individual conception of human problems in the seclusion of his personal life. When his work finally reached the public, he thereby exposed his world of ideas to conflict with the existing world and thus contributed to the development of his own mind and of the social mind as well. But today both the production and reception of works of art on the screen and the radio have been completely rationalized. Movies are not prepared in a quiet studio; a whole staff of experts is engaged. And from the outset the goal is not harmony with some idea, but harmony with the current views of the public, with the general taste, carefully examined and calculated beforehand by these experts. If, sometimes, the pattern of an artistic product does not harmonize with public opinion, the fault usually does not lie in an intrinsic disagreement, but in

an incorrect estimate by the producers of the reaction of public and press. This much is certain: no sphere of industry, either material or intellectual, is ever in a state of complete stability; customs have no time in which to settle down. The foundations of present-day society are constantly shifting through the intervention of science. There is hardly an activity in business or in government which thought is not constantly engaged in simplifying and improving. But if we probe a little deeper, we discover that despite all these manifestations, mans way of thinking and acting is not progressing as much as one might be led to believe. On the contrary, the principles now underlying the actions of men, at least in a large portion of the world, are certainly more mechanical than in other periods when they were grounded in living consciousness and conviction. Technological progress has helped to make it even easier to cement old illusions more firmly, and to introduce new ones into the minds of men without interference from reason. It is the very diffusion and industrialization of cultural institutions which cause significant factors of intellectual growth to decline and even disappear, because of shallowness of content, dullness of the intellectual organs, and elimination of some of mans individualistic creative powers. In recent decades, this dual aspect of the triumphal procession of science and technology has been repeatedly noted by both romantic and progressive thinkers. The French writer Paul Valry has recently formulated the situation with particular cogency. He relates how he was taken to the theater as a child to see a fantasy in which a young man was pursued by an evil spirit who used every sort of devilish device to frighten him and make him do his bidding. When he lay in bed at night, the evil spirit surrounded him with hellish fiends and flames; suddenly his room would become an ocean and the bedspread a sail. No sooner did one ghost disappear, than a new one arrived. After a while these horrors ceased to affect the little boy, and finally, when a new one began, he exclaimed: Voil les btises qui recommencent! (Here comes some more of that nonsense!) Some day, Valry concludes, mankind might react in the same way to the discoveries of science and the marvels of technology. Not all philosophers, and we least of all, share Paul Valrys pessimistic conception of scientific progress. But it is true that neither the achievements of science by themselves, nor the advance in industrial method, are immediately identical with the real progress of mankind. It is obvious that man may be materially, emotionally, and intellectually impoverished at decisive points despite the progress of science and industry. Science and technology are only elements in an existing social totality, and it is quite possible that, despite all their achievements, other factors, even the totality itself, could be moving backwards, that man could become increasingly stunted and unhappy, that the individual could be ruined and nations headed toward disaster. We are fortunate that we live in a country which has done away with national boundaries and war situations over half a continent. But in Europe, while the means of communication became more rapid and complete, while distances decreased, while the habits of life became more and more alike, tariff walls grew higher and higher, nations feverishly piled up armaments, and both foreign relations and internal political conditions approached and eventually arrived at a state of war. This antagonistic situation asserts itself in other parts of the world, too, and who knows whether, and for how long, the remainder of the world will be able to protect itself against the consequences in all their intensity. Rationalism in details can readily go with a general irrationalism. Actions of individuals, correctly regarded as reasonable and useful in daily life, may spell waste and even destruction for society. That is why in periods like ours, we must remember that the best will to create something useful may result in its opposite, simply because

it is blind to what lies beyond the limits of its scientific specialty or profession, because it focuses on what is nearest at hand and misconstrues its true nature, for the latter can be revealed only in the larger context. In the New Testament, They know not what they do refers only to evildoers. If these words are not to apply to all mankind, thought must not be merely confined within the special sciences and to the practical learning of the professions, thought which investigates the material and intellectual presuppositions that are usually taken for granted, thought which impregnates with human purpose those relationships of daily life that are almost blindly created and maintained. When it was said that the tension between philosophy and reality is fundamental, unlike the occasional difficulties against which science must struggle in social life, this referred to the tendency embodied in philosophy, not to put an end to thought, and to exercise particular control over all those factors of life which are generally held to be fixed, unconquerable forces or eternal laws. This was precisely the issue in the trial of Socrates. Against the demand for submission to the customs protected by the gods and unquestioning adaptation to the traditional forms of life, Socrates asserted the principle that man should know what he does, and shape his own destiny. His god dwells within him, that is to say, in his own reason and will. Today the conflicts in philosophy no longer appear as struggles over gods, but the situation of the world is no less critical. We should indeed be accepting the present situation if we were to maintain that reason and reality have been reconciled, and that mans autonomy was assured within this society. The original function of philosophy is still very relevant. It may not be incorrect to suppose that these are the reasons why discussions within philosophy, and even discussions about the concept of philosophy, are so much more radical and unconciliatory than discussions in the sciences. Unlike any other pursuit, philosophy does not have a field of action marked out for it within the given order. This order of life, with its hierarchy of values, is itself a problem for philosophy. While science is still able to refer to given data which point the way for it, philosophy must fall back upon itself, upon its own theoretical activity. The determination of its object falls within its own program much more than is the case with the special sciences, even today when the latter are so deeply engrossed with problems of theory and methodology. Our analysis also gives us an insight into the reason why philosophy has received so much more attention in European life than in America. The geographical expansion and historical development have made it possible for certain social conflicts, which have flared up repeatedly and sharply in Europe because of the existing relationships, to decline in significance in this continent under the strain of opening up the country and of performing the daily tasks. The basic problems of societal life found a temporary practical solution, and so the tensions which give rise to theoretical thought in specific historical situations, never became so important. In this country, theoretical thought usually lags far behind the determination and accumulation of facts. Whether that kind of activity still satisfies the demands which are justly made upon knowledge in this country too, is a problem which we do not have the time to discuss now. It is true that the definitions of many modern authors, some of which have already been cited, hardly reveal that character of philosophy which distinguishes it from all the special sciences.

Many philosophers throw envious glances at their colleagues in other faculties who are much better off because they have a well-marked field of work whose fruitfulness for society cannot be questioned. These authors struggle to sell philosophy as a particular kind of science, or at least, to prove that it is very useful for the special sciences. Presented in this way, philosophy is no longer the critic, but the servant of science and the social forms in general. Such an attitude is a confession that thought which transcends the prevailing forms of scientific activity, and thus transcends the horizon of contemporary society, is impossible. Thought should rather be content to accept the tasks set for it by the ever renewed needs of government and industry, and to deal with these tasks in the form in which they are received. The extent to which the form and content of these tasks are the correct ones for mankind at the present historical moment, the question whether the social organization in which they arise is still suitable for mankind such problems are neither scientific nor philosophical in the eyes of those humble philosophers; they are matters for personal decision, for subjective evaluation by the individual who has surrendered to his taste and temper. The only philosophical position which can be recognized in such a conception is the negative doctrine that there really is no philosophy, that systematic thought must retire at the decisive moments of life, in short, philosophical skepticism and nihilism. Before proceeding further, it is necessary to distinguish the conception of the social function of philosophy presented here from another view, best represented in several branches of modern sociology, which identifies philosophy with one general social function, namely ideology. This view maintains that philosophical thought, or, more correctly, thought as such, is merely the expression of a specific social situation. Every social group the German Junkers, for example develops a conceptual apparatus, certain methods of thought and a specific style of thought adapted to its social position. For centuries the life of the Junkers has been associated with a specific order of succession; their relationship to the princely dynasty upon which they were dependent and to their own servants had patriarchal features. Consequently, they tended to base their whole thought on the forms of the organic, the ordered succession of generations, on biological growth. Everything appeared under the aspect of the organism and natural ties. Liberal bourgeoisie, on the other hand, whose happiness and unhappiness depend upon business success, whose experience has taught them that everything must be reduced to the common denominator of money, have developed a more abstract, more mechanistic way of thinking. Not hierarchical but leveling tendencies are characteristic of their intellectual style, of their philosophy. The same approach applies to other groups, past and present. With the philosophy of Descartes, for example, we must ask whether his notions corresponded to the aristocratic and Jesuit groups of the court, or to the noblesse de robe, or to the lower bourgeoisie and the masses. Every pattern of thought, every philosophical or other cultural work, belongs to a specific social group, with which it originates and with whose existence it is bound up. Every pattern of thought is ideology. There can be no doubt that there is some truth in this attitude. Many ideas prevalent today are revealed to be mere illusions when we consider them from the point of view of their social basis. But it is not enough merely to correlate these ideas with some one social group, as that sociological school does. We must penetrate deeper and develop them out of the decisive historical process from which the social groups themselves are to be explained. Let us take an example. In Descartes philosophy, mechanistic thinking, particularly mathematics, plays an important part. We can even say that this whole philosophy is the universalization of

mathematical thought. Of course, we can now try to find some group in society whose character is correlative with this viewpoint, and we shall probably find some such definite group in the society of Descartes time. But a more complicated, yet more adequate, approach is to study the productive system of those days and to show how a member of the rising middle class, by force of his very activity in commerce and manufacture, was induced to make precise calculations if he wished to preserve and increase his power in the newly developed competitive market, and the same holds true of his agents, so to speak, in science and technology whose inventions and other scientific work played so large a part in the constant struggle between individuals, cities, and nations in the modern era. For all these subjects, the given approach to the world was its consideration in mathematical terms. Because this class, through the development of society, became characteristic of the whole of society, that approach was widely diffused far beyond the middle class itself. Sociology is not sufficient. We must have a comprehensive theory of history if we wish to avoid serious errors. Otherwise we run the risk of relating important philosophical theories to accidental, or at any rate, not decisive groups, and of misconstruing the significance of the specific group in the whole of society, and, therefore, of misconstruing the culture pattern in question. But this is not the chief objection. The stereotyped application of the concept of ideology to every pattern of thought is, in the last analysis, based on the notion that there is no philosophical truth, in fact no truth at all for humanity, and that all thought is seinsgebunden (situationally determined). In its methods and results it belongs only to a specific stratum of mankind and is valid only for this stratum. The attitude to be taken to philosophical ideas does not comprise objective testing and practical application, but a more or less complicated correlation to a social group. And the claims of philosophy are thus satisfied. We easily recognize that this tendency, the final consequence of which is the resolution of philosophy into a special science, into sociology, merely repeats the skeptical view which we have already criticized It is not calculated to explain the social function of philosophy, but rather to perform one itself, namely, to discourage thought from its practical tendency of pointing to the future. The real social function of philosophy lies in its criticism of what is prevalent. That does not mean superficial fault-finding with individual ideas or conditions, as though a philosopher were a crank. Nor does it mean that the philosopher complains about this or that isolated condition and suggests remedies. The chief aim of such criticism is to prevent mankind from losing itself in those ideas and activities which the existing organization of society instills into its members. Man must be made to see the relationship between his activities and what is achieved thereby, between his particular existence and the general life of society, between his everyday projects and the great ideas which he acknowledges. Philosophy exposes the contradiction in which man is entangled in so far as he must attach himself to isolated ideas and concepts in everyday life. My point can easily be seen from the following. The aim of Western philosophy in its first complete form, in Plato, was to cancel and negate onesidedness in a more comprehensive system of thought, in a system more flexible and better adapted to reality. In the course of some of the dialogues, the teacher demonstrates how his interlocutor is inevitably involved in contradictions if he maintains his position too onesidedly. The teacher shows that it is necessary to advance from this one idea to another, for each idea receives its proper meaning only within the whole system of ideas. Consider, for example, the discussion of the nature of courage in the Laches. When the interlocutor clings to his definition that courage means not running away from the battlefield, he is made to realize that in certain situations, such behavior would not be a virtue but foolhardiness, as when the whole army is retreating and a single individual attempts to win the

battle all by himself. The same applies to the idea of Sophrosyne, inadequately translated as temperance or moderation. Sophrosyne is certainly a virtue, but it becomes dubious if it is made the sole end of action and is not grounded in knowledge of all the other virtues. Sophrosyne is conceivable only as a moment of correct conduct within the whole. Nor is the case less true for justice. Good will, the will to be just, is a beautiful thing. But this subjective striving is not enough. The title of justice does not accrue to actions which were good in intention but failed in execution. This applies to private life as well as to State activity. Every measure, regardless of the good intentions of its author, may become harmful unless it is based on comprehensive knowledge and is appropriate for the situation. Summum jus, says Hegel in a similar context, may become summa injuria. We may recall the comparison drawn in the Gorgias. The trades of the baker, the cook, and the tailor are in themselves very useful. But they may lead to injury unless hygienic considerations determine their place in the lives of the individual and of mankind. Harbors, shipyards, fortifications, and taxes are good in the same sense. But if the happiness of the community is forgotten, these factors of security and prosperity become instruments of destruction. Thus, in Europe, in the last decades before the outbreak of the present war, we find the chaotic growth of individual elements of social life: giant economic enterprises, crushing taxes, an enormous increase in armies and armaments, coercive discipline, one-sided cultivation of the natural sciences, and so on. Instead of rational organization of domestic and international relations, there was the rapid spread of certain portions of civilization at the expense of the whole. One stood against the other, and mankind as a whole was destroyed thereby. Platos demand that the state should be ruled by philosophers does not mean that these rulers should be selected from among the authors of textbooks on logic. In business life, the Fachgeist, the spirit of the specialist, knows only profit, in military life power, and even in science only success in a special discipline. When this spirit is left unchecked, it typifies an anarchic state of society. For Plato, philosophy meant the tendency to bring and maintain the various energies and branches of knowledge in a unity which would transform these partially destructive elements into productive ones in the fullest sense. This is the meaning of his demand that the philosophers should rule. It means lack of faith in the prevailing popular thought. Unlike the latter, reason never loses itself in a single idea, though that idea might be the correct one at any given moment. Reason exists in the whole system of ideas, in the progression from one idea to another, so that every idea is understood and applied in its true meaning, that is to say, in its meaning within the whole of knowledge. Only such thought is rational thought. This dialectical conception has been applied to the concrete problems of life by the great philosophers; indeed, the rational organization of human existence is the real goal of their philosophies. Dialectical clarification and refinement of the conceptual world which we meet in daily and scientific life, education of the individual for right thinking and acting, has as its goal the realization of the good, and, during the flourishing periods of philosophy at least, that meant the rational organization of human society. Though Aristotle, in his Metaphysics, regards the self-contemplation of the mind, theoretical activity, as the greatest happiness, he expressly states that this happiness is possible only on a specific material basis, that is, under certain social and economic conditions. Plato and Aristotle did not believe with Antisthenes and the Cynics that reason could forever continue to develop in people who literally led a dogs life, nor that wisdom could go hand in hand with misery. An equitable state of affairs was for them the necessary

condition for the unfolding of mans intellectual powers, and this idea lies at the basis of all of Western humanism. Anyone who studies modern philosophy, not merely in the standard compendia, but through his own historical researches, will perceive the social problem to be a very decisive motive. I need only mention Hobbes and Spinoza. The Tractatus Theologico-Politicus of Spinoza was the only major work which he published during his lifetime. With other thinkers, Leibniz and Kant for instance, a more penetrating analysis reveals the existence of social and historical categories in the foundations of the most abstract chapters of their works, their metaphysical and transcendental doctrines. Without those categories, it is impossible to understand or solve their problems. A basic analysis of the content of purely theoretical philosophical doctrines is therefore one of the most interesting tasks of modern research in the history of philosophy. But this task has little in common with the superficial correlation to which reference has already been made. The historian of art or literature has corresponding tasks. Despite the important part played in philosophy by the examination of social problems, expressed or unexpressed, conscious or unconscious, let us again emphasize that the social function of philosophy is not to be found just there, but rather in the development of critical and dialectical thought. Philosophy is the methodical and steadfast attempt to bring reason into the world. Its precarious and controversial position results from this. Philosophy is inconvenient, obstinate, and with all that, of no immediate use in fact it is a source of annoyance. Philosophy lacks criteria and compelling proofs. Investigation of facts is strenuous, too, but one at least knows what to go by. Man is naturally quite reluctant to occupy himself with the confusion and entanglements of his private and public life: he feels insecure and on dangerous ground. In our present division of labor, those problems are assigned to the philosopher or theologian. Or, man consoles himself with the thought that the discords are merely transient and that fundamentally everything is all right. In the past century of European history, it has been shown conclusively that, despite a semblance of security, man has not been able to arrange his life in accordance with his conceptions of humanity. There is a gulf between the ideas by which men judge themselves and the world on the one hand, and the social reality which they reproduce through their actions on the other hand. Because of this circumstance, all their conceptions and judgments are twosided and falsified. Now man sees himself heading for disaster or already engulfed in it, and in many countries he is so paralyzed by approaching barbarism that he is almost completely unable to react and protect himself. He is the rabbit before the hungry stoat. There are times perhaps when one can get along without theory, but his deficiency lowers man and renders him helpless against force. The fact that theory may rise into the rarefied atmosphere of a hollow and bloodless idealism or sink into tiresome and empty phrasemongering, does not mean that these forms are its true forms. As far as tedium and banality are concerned, philosophy often finds its match in the so-called investigation of facts. Today, at any event, the whole historical dynamic has placed philosophy in the center of social actuality, and social actuality in the center of philosophy. Attention should be drawn to a particularly important change which has taken place along these lines since classical antiquity. Plato held that Eros enables the sage to know the ideas. He linked knowledge with a moral or psychological state, Eros, which in principle may exist at every historical moment. For this reason, his proposed State appeared to him as an eternal ideal of

reason, not bound up with any historical condition. The dialogue on the Laws, then, was a compromise, accepted as a preliminary step which did not affect the eternal ideal. Platos State is a Utopia, like those projected at the beginning of the modern era and even in our own days. But Utopia is no longer the proper philosophic form for dealing with the problem of society. It has been recognized that the contradictions in thought cannot be resolved by purely theoretical reflection. That requires an historical development beyond which we cannot leap in thought. Knowledge is bound up not only with psychological and moral conditions, but also with social conditions. The enunciation and description of perfect political and social forms out of pure ideas is neither meaningful nor adequate. Utopia as the crown of philosophical systems is therefore replaced by a scientific description of concrete relationships and tendencies, which can lead to an improvement of human life. This change has the most far-reaching consequences for the structure and meaning of philosophical theory. modern philosophy shares with the ancients their high opinion of the potentialities of the human race, their optimism over mans potential achievements. The proposition that man is by nature incapable of living a good life or of achieving the highest levels of social organization, has been rejected by the greatest thinkers. Let us recall Kants famous remarks about Platos Utopia: The Platonic Republic has been supposed to be a striking example of purely imaginary perfection. It has become a byword, as something that could exist in the brain of an idle thinker only, and Bruckner thinks it ridiculous that Plato could have said that no prince could ever govern well, unless he participated in the ideas. We should do better, however, to follow up this thought and endeavor (where that excellent philosopher leaves us without his guidance) to place it in a clearer light by our own efforts, rather than to throw it aside as useless, under the miserable and very dangerous pretext of its impracticability. For nothing can be more mischievous and more unworthy a philosopher than the vulgar appeal to what is called adverse experience, which possibly might never have existed, if at the proper time institutions had been framed according to those ideas, and not according to crude concepts, which, because they were derived from experience only, have marred all good intentions. Since Plato, philosophy has never deserted the true idealism that it is possible to introduce reason among individuals and among nations. It has only discarded the false idealism that it is sufficient to set up the picture of perfection with no regard for the way in which it is to be attained. In modern times, loyalty to the highest ideas has been linked, in a world opposed to them, with the sober desire to know how these ideas can be realized on earth. Before concluding, let us return once more to a misunderstanding which has already been mentioned. In philosophy, unlike business and politics, criticism does not mean the condemnation of a thing, grumbling about some measure or other, or mere negation and repudiation. Under certain conditions, criticism may actually take this destructive turn; there are examples in the Hellenistic age. By criticism, we mean that intellectual, and eventually practical, effort which is not satisfied to accept the prevailing ideas, actions, and social conditions unthinkingly and from mere habit; effort which aims to coordinate the individual sides of social life with each other and with the general ideas and aims of the epoch, to deduce them genetically, to distinguish the appearance from the essence, to examine the foundations of things, in short, really to know them. Hegel, the philosopher to whom we are most indebted in many respects, was so far removed from any querulous repudiation of specific conditions, that the King of

Prussia called him to Berlin to inculcate the students with the proper loyalty and to immunize them against political opposition. Hegel did his best in that direction, and declared the Prussian state to be the embodiment of the divine Idea on earth. But thought is a peculiar factor. To justify the Prussian state, Hegel had to teach man to overcome the onesidedness and limitations of ordinary human understanding and to see the interrelationship between all conceptual and real relations. Further, he had to teach man to construe human history in its complex and contradictory structure, to search out the ideas of freedom and justice in the lives of nations, to know how nations perish when their principle proves inadequate and the time is ripe for new social forms. The fact that Hegel thus had to train his students in theoretical thought, had highly equivocal consequences for the Prussian state. In the long run, Hegels work did more serious harm to that reactionary institution than all the use the latter could derive from his formal glorification. Reason is a poor ally of reaction. A little less than ten years after Hegels death (his chair remained unoccupied that long), the King appointed a successor to fight the dragons teeth of Hegelian pantheism, and the arrogance and fanaticism of his school. We cannot say that, in the history of philosophy, the thinkers who had the most progressive effect were those who found most to criticize or who were always on hand with so-called practical programs. Things are not that simple. A philosophical doctrine has many sides, and each side may have the most diverse historical effects. Only in exceptional historical periods, such as the French Enlightenment, does philosophy itself become politics. In that period, the word philosophy did not call to mind logic and epistemology so much as attacks on the Church hierarchy and on an inhuman judicial system. The removal of certain preconceptions was virtually equivalent to opening the gates of the new world. Tradition and faith were two of the most powerful bulwarks of the old regime, and the philosophical attacks constituted an immediate historical action. Today, however, it is not a matter of eliminating a creed, for in the totalitarian states, where the noisiest appeal is made to heroism and a lofty Weltanschauung, neither faith nor Weltanshauung rule, but only dull indifference and the apathy of the individual towards destiny and to what comes from above. Today our task is rather to ensure that, in the future, the capacity for theory and for action which derives from theory will never again disappear, even in some coming period of peace when the daily routine may tend to allow the whole problem to be forgotten once more. Our task is continually to struggle, lest mankind become completely disheartened by the frightful happenings of the present, lest mans belief in a worthy, peaceful and happy direction of society perish from the earth.

The Concept of Dread


Sren Kierkegaard (1844)

In what sense the subject of this deliberation is a theme of interest to psychology, and in what sense, after having interested psychology, it points precisely to dogmatics. THE notion that every scientific problem within the great field embraced by science has its definite place, its measure and its bounds, and precisely thereby has its resonance in the whole, its legitimate consonance in what the whole expresses this notion, I say, is not merely a pium desiderium which ennobles the man of science by the visionary enthusiasm or melancholy which it begets, is not merely a sacred duty which employs him in the service of the whole, bidding him renounce lawlessness and the romantic lust to lose sight of land, but it is also in the interest of every more highly specialised deliberation, which by forgetting where its home properly is, forgets at the same time itself, a thought which the very language I use with its striking ambiguity expresses; it becomes another thing, and attains a dubious perfectibility by being able to become anything at all. By thus failing to let the scientific call to order be heard, by not being vigilant to forbid the individual problems to hurry by one another as though it were a question of arriving first at the masquerade, one may indeed attain sometimes an appearance of brilliancy, may give sometimes the impression of having already comprehended, when in fact one is far from it, may sometimes by the use of vague words strike up an agreement between things that differ. This gain, however, avenges itself subsequently, like all unlawful acquisitions, which neither in civic life nor in the field of science can really be owned. Thus when a person entitles the last section of his Logic "Reality," he thereby gains the advantage of appearing to have already reached by logic the highest thing, or, if one prefers to say so, the lowest. The loss is obvious nevertheless, for this is not to the advantage either of logic or of reality. Not to that of reality, for the contingent, which is an integral part of reality, cannot be permitted to slip into logic. It is not to the advantage of logic, for if logic has conceived the thought of reality it has taken into its system something it cannot assimilate, it has anticipated what it ought merely to predispose. The punishment is clear: that every deliberation about what reality is must by this be made difficult, yea, perhaps for a long time impossible, because this word "reality" will, as it were, require some time to recall to mind what it is, must have time to forget the mistake. Thus when in dogmatics a person says that faith is the immediate, without more precise definition, he gains the advantage of convincing everyone of the necessity of not stopping at faith, yea, he compels even the orthodox man to make this concession, because this man perhaps does not at once penetrate the misunderstanding and perceive that it is not due to a subsequent flaw in the argument but to this proton psendos. The loss is indubitable, for thereby faith loses by being deprived of what legitimately belongs to it: its historical presupposition. Dogmatics loses for the fact that it has to begin, not where it properly has its beginning, within the compass of an earlier beginning. Instead of presupposing an earlier beginning, it ignores this and begins straightway as if it were logic; for logic in fact begins with the most volatile essence produced by the finest abstraction: the immediate. What then logically is correct, namely, that the immediate is eo ipso annulled, becomes twaddle in dogmatics; for to no one could it occur to want to stop

with the immediate (not further defined), seeing that in fact it is annulled the instant it is mentioned, just as a sleepwalker awakes the instant his name is called. Thus when sometimes in the course of investigations which are hardly more than propaedeutic one finds the word "reconciliation" used to designate speculative knowledge, or the identity of the knowing subject and the thing known, the subjective-objective, etc., then one easily sees that the author is brilliant and that by the aid of his esprit he has explained all riddles, especially for those who do not even scientifically take the precaution, which yet one takes in everyday life, to listen carefully to the words of the riddle before guessing it. Otherwise one acquires the incomparable merit of having by one's explanation propounded a new riddle, namely, how it could occur to any man that this might be the explanation. That thought possesses reality was the assumption of all ancient philosophy as well as of the philosophy of the Middle Ages. With Kant this assumption became doubtful. Suppose now that the Hegelian school had really thought through Kant's scepticism (however, this ought always to remain a big question, in spite of all Hegel and his school have done, by the help of the catchwords "Method and Manifestation," to hide what Schelling recognised more openly by the cue "intellectual intuition and construction," the fact, namely, that this was a new point of departure) and then reconstructed the earlier view in a higher form, in such wise that thought does not possess reality by virtue of a presupposition then this consciously produced reality of thought a reconciliation? In fact philosophy is merely brought back to the point where in old days one began, in the old days when precisely the word "reconciliation" had immense significance. We have an old and respectable philosophical terminology: thesis, antithesis, synthesis. They invent a newer one in which mediation occupies the third place. Is this to be considered such an extraordinary step in advance? Mediation is equivocal, for it designates at once the relation between the two terms and the result, that in which they stand related to one another as having been brought into relationship; it designates movement, but at the same time rest. Whether this is a perfection, only a far deeper dialectical test will decide; but for that unfortunately we are still waiting. They do away with synthesis and say "mediation." All right. But esprit requires more, so they say "reconciliation." What is the consequence? It is of no advantage to their propaedeutic investigations, for of course they gain as little as truth thereby gains in clarity, or as a man's soul increases in blessedness by acquiring a title. On the contrary, they have fundamentally confounded two sciences, ethics and dogmatics specially in view of the fact that, having got the word "reconciliation" introduced, they now hint that logic is properly the doctrine about the logos. Ethics and dogmatics contend in a fateful confinium about reconciliation. Repentance and guilt torture out reconciliation ethically, whereas dogmatics in its receptivity for the proffered reconciliation has the historically concrete immediateness with which it begins its discourse in the great conversation of science. What then will be the consequence? That language will presumably have to celebrate a great sabbatical year, in order to be able to begin with the beginning. In logic they use the negative as the motive power which brings movement into everything. And movement in logic they must have, any way they can get it, by fair means or foul. The negative helps them, and if the negative cannot, then quibbles and phrases can, just as the negative itself has become a play on words. [Exempli gratia: Wesen ist was ist gewesen, ist gewesen is the preterite tense of "to be," ergo Wesen is das aufgehoben being "the being which has been." This is a logical movement! If in the

Hegelian logic (such as it is in itself and through the contributions of the School) one were to take the trouble to pick out and make a collection of all the fabulous hobgoblins and kobolds which like busy swains help the logical movement along, a later age would perhaps be astonished to discover that witticisms which then will appear superannuated once played a great role in logic, not as incidental explanations and brilliant observations, but as masters of movement which made Hegel's logic a miracle and gave the logical thoughts feet to walk on, without anybody noticing it, since the long cloak of admiration concealed the performer who trained the animals, just as Lulu [in a play] comes running without anybody seeing the machinery. Movement in logic is the meritorious service of Hegel, in comparison with which it is hardly worth the trouble of mentioning the never-to-be-forgotten merits which Hegel has, and has disdained in order to run after the uncertain I mean the merit of having in manifold ways enriched the categorical definitions and their arrangement.] In logic no movement can come about, for logic is, and everything logical simply is, [The eternal expression of logic is that which the Eleatic School transferred by mistake to existence: Nothing comes into existence, everything is.] and this impotence of logic is the transition to the sphere of being where existence and reality appear. So when logic is absorbed in the concretion of the categories it is constantly the same that it was from the beginning. In logic every movement (if for an instant one would use this expression) is an immanent movement, which in a deeper sense is no movement, as one will easily convince oneself if one reflects that the very concept of movement is a transcendence which can find no place in logic. The negative then is the immanence of movement, it is the vanishing factor, the thing that is annulled (aufgehoben). If everything comes to pass in that way, then nothing comes to pass, and the negative becomes a phantom. But precisely for the sake of getting something to come to pass in logic, the negative becomes something more, it becomes the producer of the opposition, and not a negation but a counterposition. The negative then is not the muteness of the immanent movement, it is the "necessary other," which doubtless-must be very necessary to logic in order to set things going, but the negative it is not. Leaving logic to go on to ethics, one encounters here again the negative, which is indefatigably active in the whole Hegelian philosophy. Here too a man discovers to his amazement that the negative is the evil. Now the confusion is in full swing there is no bound to brilliancy, and what Mme. de Stal-Holstein said of Schelling's philosophy, that it gave a man esprit for his whole life, applies in every respect to the Hegelian philosophy. One sees how illogical movements must be in logic since the negative is the evil, and how unethical they must be in ethics since the evil is the negative. In logic this is too much, in ethics too little; it fits nowhere if it has to fit both places. If ethics has no other transcendence, it is essentially logic; if logic is to have so much transcendence as after all has been left in ethics out of a sense of shame, then it is no longer logic. What I have expounded is perhaps rather prolix for the place where it stands (in relation to the subject with which it deals it is far from being too long), but it is by no means superfluous, since the particular observations are selected with reference to the subject of this work. The examples are taken from the greater world, but what occurs in the great may be repeated in the lesser, and the misunderstanding remains the same, even if the injurious consequences are less. He who

gives himself the airs of writing the System has the great responsibility, but he who writes a monograph can be and ought to be faithful over a little. The present work has taken as its theme the psychological treatment of "dread," in such a way that it has in mind and before its eye the dogma of original sin. It has therefore to take account, although tacitly, of the concept of sin. Sin, however, is not a theme for psychological interest, and it would only be to abandon oneself to the service of a misunderstood cleverness if one were to treat it thus. Sin has its definite place, or rather it has no place, and that is what characterises it. Its concept is altered, and at the same time the mood which properly corresponds to the correct concept is confused, and instead of the endurance of the genuine mood one has the fleeting jugglery of the false mood. [The fact that science, fully as much as poetry and art, assumes a mood both on the part of the producer and on the part of the recipient, that an error in modulation is just as disturbing as an error in the exposition of thought, has been entirely forgotten in our age, when people have altogether forgotten inwardness and appropriation with the characteristic joy they prompt at the thought of all the glory one believed one possessed or through cupidity had renounced, like the dog which preferred the shadow. However, every error begets its own enemy. An error of thought has outside of it as its enemy, dialectics; the absence of mood or its falsification has outside of it its enemy, the comical.] Thus when sin is drawn into aesthetics the mood becomes either frivolous or melancholy; for the category under which sin lies is contradiction, and this is either comic or tragic. The mood is therefore altered, for the mood corresponding to sin is seriousness. Its concept is altered, for whether it becomes comic or tragic, it is either an enduring thing, or a thing which as unessential is annulled [aufgehoben], whereas properly its concept is, to be overcome. In a deeper sense the comical and the tragical have no enemies; the antagonist is either a bogy which makes one weep, or a bogy which makes one laugh. If sin is dealt with in metaphysics, the mood is the dialectical indifference and disinterestedness which thinks sin through as something which cannot resist thought. The concept is altered; for it is true that sin has to be overcome, not however as that to which thought is unable to give life, but as that which exists and as such is everybody's concern. If sin is dealt with in psychology, the mood becomes the persistence of observation, the dauntlessness of the spy, not the ardent flight of seriousness away from and out of sin. The concept becomes a different one, for sin becomes a state. But sin is not a state. Its idea is that its concept is constantly annulled. As a state (de potentia) it is not, whereas de actu or in actu it is and is again. The mood of psychology would be antipathetic curiosity, but the correct mood is the stout-hearted opposition of seriousness. The mood of psychology is the dread corresponding to its discovery, and in its dread it delineates sin, while again and again it is alarmed by the sketch it produces. When sin is treated in such a way it becomes the stronger; for psychology is really related to it in a feminine way. Doubtless there is an element of truth in this state of mind, and doubtless it emerges in every man's life more or less when the ethical makes its appearance; but by such treatment sin becomes not what it is but more or less than it is.

As soon therefore as one sees the problem of sin treated, it is possible at once to see from the mood whether the concept is the right one. For example, as soon as sin is talked about as a sickness, an abnormality, a poison, a disharmony, then the concept too is falsified. Sin does not properly belong in any science. It is the theme with which the sermon deals, where the individual talks as an individual to the individual. In our age scientific self-importance has turned the priests into professorial parish-clerks of a sort, who also serve science and think it beneath their dignity to preach. It is no wonder therefore that preaching has come to be regarded as a pretty poor art. Nevertheless, preaching is the most difficult of all arts, and essentially it is the art which Socrates extols: the art of being able to converse. From this of course it does not follow that there must be someone in the congregation to make answer, or that it might be a help to have someone regularly introduced to speak. When Socrates censured the Sophists by making the distinction that they were able to talk but not to converse, what he really meant was that they were able to say a great deal about everything, but lacked the factor of personal appropriation. Appropriation is precisely the secret of conversation. To the concept of sin corresponds the mood of seriousness. The science in which sin might most plausibly find a place would surely be ethics. About this, however, there is a great difficulty. Ethics is after all an ideal science, and that not only in the sense that every other science is ideal. Ethics bring ideality into reality; on the other hand its movement is not designed to raise reality up into ideality. [If one will consider this more sharply, one will have opportunity to perceive how brilliant it was to entitle the last section of logic "Reality," inasmuch as not even ethics reaches that. The reality with which logic ends signifies therefore in the way of reality no more than that "being" with which it begins.] Ethics points to ideality as a task and assumes that man is in possession of the conditions requisite for performing it. Thereby ethics develops a contradiction, precisely for the fact that it makes the difficulty and the impossibility clear. What is said of the Law applies to ethics, that it is a severe schoolmaster, which in making a demand, by its demand only condemns, does not give birth to life. Only the Greek ethics constituted an exception, due to the fact that it was not ethics in the proper sense but contained an ethical factor. This is evinced clearly in its definition of virtue and in what Aristotle says often but also in Ethica Nicomachea affirms with charming Greek naivete that, after all, virtue alone does not make a man happy and content, but he must have health, friends, earthly goods, be happy in his family. The more ideal ethics is, the better. It must not let itself be disturbed by the twaddle that it is no use requiring the impossible; for even to listen to such talk is unethical, is something for which ethics has neither time nor opportunity. Ethics does not have to chaffer, nor in that way does one reach reality. If that is to be reached, the whole movement must be reversed. This characteristic of ethics, namely, that it is so ideal, is what tempts one in the treatment of it to employ now a metaphysical category, now an aesthetical, now a psychological. But of course ethics above all sciences must withstand temptations, but because there are these temptations no one can write an ethics without having entirely different categories up his sleeve. Sin belongs to ethics only in so far as upon this concept it founders by the aid of repentance. [With regard to this point one will find several observations by Johannes de silentio, author of Fear and Trembling (Copenhagen 1843). There the author several times allows the wishful ideality of the aesthetical to founder upon the exacting ideality of the ethical, in order by these

collisions to let the religious ideality come to evidence, which is precisely the ideality of reality, and therefore is just as desirable as that of aesthetics and not impossible like that of ethics, and to let it come to evidence in such a way that it breaks out in the dialectical leap and with the positive feeling, "Behold, all things have become new!" and in the negative feeling which is the passion of the absurd to which the concept of "repetition" corresponds. Either the whole of existence is to be expressed in the requirement of ethics, or the condition for its fulfilment must be provided and with that the whole of life and of existence begins afresh, not through an immanent continuity with the foregoing (which is a contradiction), but by a transcendent fact which separates the repetition from the first existence by such a cleft that it is only a figure of speech to say that the foregoing and the subsequent state are related to one another as the totality of the living creatures in the sea are related to those in the air and on the land, although according to the opinion of some natural scientists the former is supposed to be the prototype which in its imperfection prefigures everything which becomes manifest in the latter. With regard to this category one may compare Repetition by Constantine Constantius (Copenhagen 1843). This book is in fact a whimsical book, as its author meant it to be, but nevertheless it is so far as I know the first which has energetically conceived repetition and let it be glimpsed in its pregnance to explain the relation between the ethical and the Christian, by indicating the invisible summit and the discrimen rerum where science breaks against science until the new science comes forth. But what he has discovered he has hidden again by arraying the concept in the form of jest which aptly offers itself as a mode of presentation. What has moved him to do this it is difficult to say, or rather it is difficult to understand; for he says himself that he writes this "so that the heretics might not be able to understand him." As he has only wished to employ himself with this subject aesthetically and psychologically, he might have planned it all humoristically, and the effect would have been produced by the fact that the word at one moment signifies everything, and the next moment the most insignificant thing, and the transition, or rather the perpetual falling from the stars, is justified as a burlesque contrast. However, he stated the whole thing pretty clearly on page 34: "Repetition is the interest of metaphysics and at the same time the interest upon which metaphysics founders," etc. This sentence contains an allusion to the thesis that metaphysics is disinterested, as Kant affirmed of ethics. As soon as the interest emerges, metaphysics steps to one side. For this reason the word is italicised. The whole interest of subjectivity emerges in real life, and then metaphysics founders. In case metaphysics is not posited, ethics remains a binding power; presumably it is for this reason he says that "it is a solution of every ethical apprehension." If repetition is not posited, dogmatics cannot exist at all; for in faith repetition begins, and faith is the organ for the dogmatic problems. in the sphere of nature repetition exists in its immovable necessity. In the sphere of spirit the problem is not to get change out of repetition and find oneself comfortable under it, as though the spirit stood only in an external relation to the repetitions of the spirit (in consequence of which good and evil alternate like summer and winter), but the problem is to transform repetition into something inward, into the proper task of freedom, into freedom's highest interest, as to whether, while everything changes, it can actually realise repetition. Here the finite spirit falls into despair. This Constantine has indicated by stepping aside and letting repetition break forth in the young man by virtue of the religious. Therefore Constantine says several times that repetition is a religious category, too transcendent for him, that it is a movement by virtue of the absurd, and on page 42 it is said that eternity is the true repetition. All this Professor Heiberg has failed to observe, but he has very kindly wished by his knowledge (which like his New Year's gift-book is singularly elegant and up-to-date) to help this work to become a tasteful and elegant insignificance, by

pompously bringing the question back to the point where (to recall a recent book) the aesthetic writer in Either/Or had brought it in "The Rotation of Crops." if Constantine were really to feel himself flattered by enjoying in this instance the rare honour which brings him into an undeniably elect company-then to my way of thinking, since it was he who wrote the book, he must have become stark mad. But if on the other hand an author like him, who writes in order to be misunderstood, were so far to forget himself and had not ataraxia enough to account it to his credit that Professor Heiberg had not understood him-then again he must be stark mad. And this I have no need to fear, for the circumstance that hitherto he has not replied to Professor Heiberg indicates that he has adequately understood himself.] If ethics must include sin, its ideality is lost. The more it remains in its ideality, and yet never becomes inhuman enough to lose sight of reality, but corresponds with this by willing to suggest itself as a task for every man, in such a way as to make him the true man, the whole man, the man kat exohin, all the greater is the tension of the difficulty it proposes. In the fight to realise the task of ethics sin shows itself not as something which only casually belongs to a casual individual, but sin withdraws deeper and deeper as a deeper and deeper presupposition, as a presupposition which goes well beyond the individual. Now all is lost for ethics, and it has contributed to the loss of all. There has come to the fore a category which lies entirely outside its province. Original sin makes everything still more desperate that is to say, it settles the difficulty, not, however, by the help of ethics but by the help of dogmatics. As all ancient thought and speculation were founded upon the assumption that thought had reality, so also all ancient ethics upon the assumption that virtue is realisable. Scepticism of sin is entirely foreign to paganism. For the ethical consciousness, sin is what an error is in relation to knowledge, it is the particular exception which proves nothing. With dogmatics begins the science which, in contrast to that science of ethics which can strictly be called ideal, starts with reality. It begins with the real in order to raise it up into the ideality. It does not deny the presence of sin, on the contrary, it assumes it, and explains it by assuming original sin. However, since dogmatics is very seldom treated purely, one will often find original sin drawn into its domain in such a way that the impression of the heterogeneous originality of dogmatics does not strike the eye but is obscured, which happens also when one finds in it a dogma about angels, about the Holy Scripture, etc. Dogmatics therefore should not explain original sin but expound it by assuming it, like that vortex the Greeks talked so much about, a something originating movement, upon which no science can lay its hand. That such is the case with dogmatics will readily be admitted when one finds leisure to understand for a second time Schleiermacher's immortal services to this science. People long ago deserted him when they chose Hegel, and yet Schleiermacher was in the beautiful Greek sense a thinker who could talk of what he has known, whereas Hegel, in spite of his remarkable and colossal learning, reminds us nevertheless again and again by his performance that he was in the German sense a professor of philosophy on a big scale, who tout prix must explain all things. The new science then begins with dogmatics, in the same sense that the immanent science begins with metaphysics. Here ethics finds its place again as the science which has the dogmatic consciousness of reality as a task for reality. This ethic does not ignore sin, and its ideality does not consist in making ideal requirements, but its ideality consists in the penetrating

consciousness of reality, of the reality of sin, yet not, be it observed, with metaphysical frivolity or psychological concupiscence. One readily sees the difference of the movement, and that the ethic of which we are now speaking belongs to another order. The first ethic foundered upon the sinfulness of the individual. So far from being able to explain this, the difficulty had to become still greater and the riddle more enigmatic, for the fact that the sin of the individual widens out and becomes the sin of the whole race. At this juncture came dogmatics and helped by the doctrine of original sin. The new ethics presupposes dogmatics and along with that original sin, and by this it now explains the sin of the individual, while at the same time it presents ideality as a task, not however by a movement from above down, but from below up. It is well known that Aristotle used the name proto philosophia [the first philosophy] and denoted by that more especially metaphysics, although he included also a part of what to our notion belongs to theology. It is entirely natural that in paganism theology should be treated in this place; it evinces the same lack of infinite penetrating reflection which accounts for the fact that in paganism the t heater had reality as a sort of divine worship. If now one will waive the objection to this ambiguity, we might retain this name and understand by proto philosophia the totality of science, we might describe it as ethnic, the nature of it being immanence or use the Greek term "recollection"; and understand by secunda philosophia that of which the nature is "repetition". [Schelling recalled this Aristotelian name to favour his distinction between negative and positive philosophy. By negative philosophy he understood "logic," that was clear enough; on the other hand it was not so clear to me what he really understood by "positive," except in so far as it remained indubitable that positive philosophy was that which he himself provided. However, it is not feasible to go into that, since I have nothing to hold on to, except my own interpretation. Of this Constantine Constantius has reminded us by pointing out that immanence founders upon "interest." It is in fact with this concept that reality first comes into view.] The concept of sin does not properly belong in any science; only the second ethics can deal with its apparition but not with its origin. If any other science were to discuss it, the concept would be confused. For example, coming closer to our theme, if psychology were to do so. What psychology has to deal with must be something in repose, something which abides in a mobile state of quiet, not with an unquiet thing which constantly reproduces itself or is repressed. But the abiding state, that out of which sin constantly becomes (comes into being), not by necessity, for a becoming by necessity is simply a state of being (as is for example the entire history of the plant), but by freedom in this abiding state, I say, which is the predisposing assumption, the real possibility of sin, we have a subject for the interest of psychology. What can properly concern psychology, that for which it can concern itself, is the question how sin can come into existence, not the fact that it exists. In its interest in its object psychology carries the thing so far that it is as if sin were there; but the next thing, the fact that it is there, is qualitatively different from this. To show then that this presupposition for the careful observation of psychology turns out to be more and more comprehensive is the interest of psychology; yea,

psychology is willing to abandon itself to the illusion that hereby sin is really posited. But this last illusion betrays the impotence of psychology and shows that it has served its turn. That human nature must be such that it makes sin possible, is, psychologically speaking, perfectly true; but to want to let this possibility of sin become its reality is shocking to ethics and sounds to dogmatics like blasphemy; for freedom is always possible, as soon as it is it is actual, in the same sense in which it has been said by an earlier philosophy that when God's existence is possible it is necessary. As soon as sin is really posited, ethics is on the spot and follows every step it takes. How it came into being does not concern ethics, except in so far as it is certain that sin came into the world as sin. But still less than with the genesis of sin is ethics concerned with the still life of its possibility. If one would ask more particularly in what sense and to what extent psychology pursues the object of its investigation, it is clear from the foregoing and in itself that every observation of the reality of sin as an object of thought is irrelevant to it, nor as the object of observation does it belong to ethics either, for ethics never acts as observer, but accuses, condemns, acts. In the next place, it follows from the foregoing and is evident in itself that psychology has nothing to do with the details of empirical actuality, except in so far as they are outside of sin. As a science, psychology can never have anything to do with the detail which underlies it, and yet this detail may receive its scientific representation in proportion as psychology becomes more and more concrete. In our age this science, which above all others has leave to intoxicate itself, one might almost say, with the foaming multifariousness of life, has become as spare in its diet and as ascetic as any anchorite. This is not the fault of the science but of its devotees. In relation to sin, on the other hand, this whole content of reality is properly denied to it, only the possibility of it still belongs to it. To ethics of course the possibility of sin never presents itself, and ethics never lets itself be fooled into wasting its time upon such reflections. Psychology, on the other hand, loves them; it sits sketching the contours and measuring the angles of possibility, and no more would let itself be disturbed than would Archimedes. But while psychology thus delves into the possibility of sin, it is without knowing it in the service of another science, which is only waiting for it to be finished in order to begin for its part and help psychology to an explanation. This other science is not ethics, for ethics has nothing whatsoever to do with this possibility. No, it is dogmatics, and here in turn the problem of original sin emerges. While psychology is fathoming the real possibility of sin, dogmatics explains original sin, which is the ideal possibility of sin. On the other hand, the second ethics has nothing to do with the possibility of sin nor with original sin. The first ethics ignores sin, the second ethics has the reality of sin in its province, and here only by a misunderstanding can psychology intrude. If what has been here expounded is correct, one will easily see with what justification I have called this book a psychological deliberation, and will see also how this deliberation, in so far as it brings to consciousness its relation to science in general, properly belongs to psychology and leads in turn to dogmatics. Psychology has been called the doctrine of the subjective spirit. If one will pursue this science a little more precisely, one will see how, when it comes to the problem of

sin, it must change suddenly into the doctrine of the Absolute Spirit. Here is the place of dogmatics. The first ethics presupposes metaphysics, and the second dogmatics; but it also completes it in such a way that here as everywhere the presupposition comes to evidence. This was the task of the introduction. The introduction may be correct -while the deliberation itself dealing with the concept of dread may be entirely incorrect. That remains to be seen.

Character and Social Process


Erich Fromm 1942

THROUGHOUT this book we have dealt with the interrelation of socio-economic, psychological, and ideological factors by analysing certain historical periods like the age of the Reformation and the contemporary era. For those readers who are interested in the theoretical problems involved in such analysis I shall try, in this appendix, to discuss briefly the general theoretical basis on which the concrete analysis is founded. In studying the psychological reactions of a social group we deal with the character structure of the members of the group, that is, of individual persons; we are interested, however, not in the peculiarities by which these persons differ from each other, but in that part of their character structure that is common to most members of the group. We can call this character the social character. The social character necessarily is less specific than the individual character. In describing the latter we deal with the whole of the traits which in their particular configuration form the personality structure of this or that individual. The social character comprises only a selection of traits, the essential nucleus of the character structure of most members of a group which has developed as the result of the basic experiences and mode of life common to that group. Although there will be always deviants with a totally different character structure, the character structure of most members of the group are variations of this nucleus, brought about by the accidental factors of birth and life experience as they differ from one individual to another. If we want to understand one individual most fully, these differentiating elements are of the greatest importance. However, if we want to understand how human energy is channelled and operates as a productive force in a given social order, then the social character deserves our main interest. The concept of social character is a key concept for the understanding of the social process. Character in the dynamic sense of analytic psychology is the specific form in which human energy is shaped by the dynamic adaptation of human needs to the particular mode of existence of a given society. Character in its turn determines the thinking, feeling, and acting of individuals. To see this is somewhat difficult with regard to all our thoughts. Since we all tend to share the conventional belief that thinking is an exclusively intellectual act and independent of the psychological structure of the personality. This is not so, however, and the less so the more our thoughts deal with ethical, philosophical, political, psychological or social problems rather than with the empirical manipulation of concrete objects. Such thoughts, aside from the purely logical elements that are involved in the act of thinking, are greatly determined by the personality structure of the person who thinks. This holds true for the whole of a doctrine or of a theoretical system as well as for a single concept, like love, justice, equality, sacrifice. Each such concept and each doctrine has an emotional matrix and this matrix is rooted in the character structure of the individual. We have given many illustrations of this in the foregoing chapters. With regard to doctrines we have tried to show the emotional roots of early Protestantism and modern authoritarianism. With regard to single concepts we have shown that for the sado-masochistic character, for example, love means symbiotic dependence, not mutual affirmation and union on the basis of equality;

sacrifice means the utmost subordination of the individual self to something higher, not assertion of ones mental and moral self; difference means difference in power, not the realisation of individuality on the basis of equality; justice means that everybody should get what he deserves, not that the individual has an unconditional claim to the realisation of inherent and inalienable rights; courage is the readiness to submit and to endure suffering, not the utmost assertion of individuality against power. Although the word which two people of different personality even when they speak of love, for instance, is the same, the meaning of the word is entirely different according to their character structure. As a matter of fact, much intellectual confusion could be avoided by correct psychological analysis of the meaning of these concepts, since any attempt at a purely logical classification must necessarily fail. The fact that ideas have an emotional matrix is of the utmost importance because it is the key to the understanding of the spirit of a culture. Different societies or classes within a society have a specific social character, and on its basis different ideas develop and become powerful. Thus, for instance, the idea of work and success as the main aims of life were able to become powerful and appealing to modern man on the basis of his aloneness and doubt, but propaganda for the idea of ceaseless effort and striving for success addressed to the Pueblo Indians or to Mexican peasants would fall completely flat. These people with a different kind of character structure would hardly understand what a person setting forth such aims was talking about even if they understood his language. In the same way, Hitler and that part of the German population which has the same character structure quite sincerely feel that anybody who thinks that wars can be abolished is either a complete fool or a plain liar. On the basis of their social character, to them life without suffering and disaster is as little comprehensible as freedom and equality. Ideas often are consciously accepted by certain groups, which, on account of the peculiarities of their social character, are not really touched by them; such ideas remain a stock of conscious convictions, but people fail to act according to them in a critical hour. An example of this is shown in the German labour movement at the time of the victory of Nazism. The vast majority of German workers before Hitlers coming into power voted for Socialist or Communist Parties and believed in the ideas of those parties; that is, the range of these ideas among the working class was extremely wide. The weight of these ideas, however, was in no proportion to their range. The onslaught of Nazism did not meet with political opponents, the majority of whom were ready to fight for their ideas. Many of the adherents of the leftist parties, although they believed in their party programmes as long as the parties had authority, were ready to resign when the hour of crisis arrived. A close analysis of the character structure of German workers can show one reason certainly not the only one for this phenomenon. A great number of them were of a personality type that has many of the traits of what we have described as the authoritarian character. They had a deep-seated respect and longing for established authority. The emphasis of socialism on individual independence versus authority, on solidarity versus individualistic seclusion, was not what many of these workers really wanted on the basis of their personality structure. One mistake of the radical leaders was to estimate the strength of their parties only on the basis of the range which these ideas had, and to overlook their lack of weight. In contrast to this picture, our analysis of Protestant and Calvinist doctrines has shown that those ideas were powerful forces within the adherents of the new religion, because they appealed to needs and anxieties that were present in the character structure of the people to whom they were

addressed. In other words, ideas can become powerful forces, but only to the extent to which they are answers to specific human needs prominent in a given social character. Not only thinking and feeling are determined by mans character structure but also his actions. It is Freuds achievement to have shown this, even if his theoretical frame of reference is incorrect. The determinations of activity by the dominant trends of a persons character structure are obvious in the case of neurotics. It is easy to understand that the compulsion to count the windows of houses and the number of stones on the pavement is an activity that is rooted in certain drives of the compulsive character. But the actions of a normal person appear to be determined only by rational considerations and the necessities of reality. However with the new tools of observation that psychoanalysis offers, we can recognise that so-called rational behaviour is largely determined by the character structure. In our discussion of the meaning of work for modern man we have dealt with an illustration of this point. We saw that the intense desire for unceasing activity was rooted in aloneness and anxiety. This compulsion to work differed from the attitude towards work in other cultures, where people worked as much as it was necessary but where they were not driven by additional forces within their own character structure. Since all normal persons to-day have about the same impulse to work and, furthermore, since this intensity of work is necessary if they want to live at all, one easily overlooks the irrational component in this trait. We have now to ask what function character serves for the individual and for society. As to the former the answer is not difficult. If an individuals character more or less closely conforms with the social character, the dominant drives in his personality lead him to do what is necessary and desirable under the specific social conditions of his culture. Thus, for instance, if he has a passionate drive to save and an abhorrence of spending money for any luxury, he will be greatly helped by this drive supposing he is a small shopkeeper who needs to save and to be thrifty if he wants to survive. Besides this economic function, character traits have a purely psychological one which is no less important. The person with whom saving is a desire springing from his personality gains also a profound psychological satisfaction in being able to act accordingly; that is, he is not only benefited practically when he saves, but he also feels satisfied psychologically. One can easily convince oneself of this if one observes, for instance, a woman of the lower middle class shopping in the market and being as happy about two cents saved as another person of a different character may be about the enjoyment of some sensuous pleasure. This psychological satisfaction occurs not only if a person acts in accordance with the demands springing from his character structure but also when he reads or listens to ideas that appeal to him for the same reason. For the authoritarian character an ideology that describes nature as the powerful force to which we have to submit, or a speech which indulges in sadistic descriptions of political occurrences, has a profound attraction and the act of reading or listening results in psychological satisfaction. To sum up: the subjective function of character for the normal person is to lead him to act according to what is necessary for him from a practical standpoint and also to give him satisfaction from his activity psychologically. If we look at social character from the standpoint of its function in the social process, we have to start with the statement that has been made with regard to its function for the individual: that by adapting himself to social conditions man develops those traits that make him desire to act as he has to act. If the character of the majority of people in a given society that is, the social

character is thus adapted to the objective tasks the individual has to perform in this society, the energies of people are moulded in ways that make them into productive forces that are indispensable for the functioning of that society. Let us take up once more the example of work. Our modern industrial system requires that most of our energy be channelled in the direction of work. Were it only that people worked because of external necessities, much friction between what they ought to do and what they would like to do would arise and lessen their efficiency. However, by the dynamic adaptation of character to social requirements, human energy instead of causing friction is shaped into such forms as to become an incentive to act according to the particular economic necessities. Thus modern man, instead of having to be forced to work as hard as he does, is driven by the inner compulsion to work which we have attempted to analyse in its psychological significance. Or, instead of obeying overt authorities, he has built up an inner authority - conscience and duty which operates more effectively in controlling him than any external authority could ever do. In other words, the social character internalises external necessities and thus harnesses human energy for the task of a given economic and social system. As we have seen, once certain needs have developed in a character structure, any behaviour in line with these needs is at the same time satisfactory psychologically and practical from the standpoint of material success. As long as a society offers the individual those two satisfactions simultaneously, we have a situation where the psychological forces are cementing the social structure. Sooner or later, however, a lag arises. The traditional character structure still exists while new economic conditions have arisen for which the traditional character traits are no longer useful. People tend to act according to their character structure, but either these actions are actual handicaps in their economic pursuits or there is not enough opportunity for them to find positions that allow them to act according to their nature. An illustration of what we have in mind is the character structure of the old middle classes, particularly in countries with a rigid class stratification like Germany. The old middle class virtues frugality, thrift, cautiousness, suspiciousness were of diminishing value in modern business in comparison with new virtues, such as initiative, a readiness to take risks, aggressiveness, and so on. Even inasmuch as these old virtues were still an asset as with the small shopkeeper the range of possibilities for such business was so narrowed down that only a minority of the sons of the old middle class could use their character traits successfully in their economic pursuits. While by their upbringing they had developed character traits that once were adapted to the social situation of their class, the economic development went faster than the character development. This lag between economic and psychological evolution resulted in a situation in which the psychic needs could no longer be satisfied by the usual economic activities. These needs existed, however, and had to seek for satisfaction in some other way. Narrow egotistical striving for ones own advantage, as it had characterised the lower middle class, was shifted from the individual plane to that of the nation. The sadistic impulses, too, that had been used in the battle of private competition were partly shifted to the social and political scene, and partly intensified by frustration. Then, freed from any restricting factors, they sought satisfaction in acts of political persecution and war. Thus, blended with the resentment caused by the frustrating qualities of the whole situation, the psychological forces instead of cementing the existing social order became dynamite to be used by groups which wanted to destroy the traditional political and economic structure of democratic society.

We have not spoken of the role which the educational process plays with regard to the formation of the social character; but in view of the fact that to many psychologists the methods of early childhood training and the educational techniques employed towards the growing child appear to be the cause of character development, some remarks on this point seem to be warranted. In the first place we should ask ourselves what we mean by education. While education can be defined in various ways, the way to look at it from the angle of the social process seems to be something like this. The social function of education is to qualify the individual to function in the role he is to play later on in society; that is, to mould his character in such a way that it approximates the social character, that his desires coincide with the necessities of his social role. The educational system of any society is determined by this function; therefore we cannot explain the structure of society or the personality of its members by the educational process; but we have to explain the educational system by the necessities resulting from the social and economic structure of a given society. However, the methods of education are extremely important in so far as they are the mechanisms by which the individual is moulded into the required shape. They can be considered as the means by which social requirements are transformed into personal qualities. While educational techniques are not the cause of a particular kind of social character, they constitute one of the mechanisms by which character is formed. In this sense, the knowledge and understanding of educational methods is an important part of the total analysis of a functioning society. What we have just said also holds true for one particular sector of the whole educational process: the family. Freud has shown that the early experiences of the child have a decisive influence upon the formation of its character structure. If this is true, how then can we understand that the child, who at least in our culture has little contact with the life of society, is moulded by it? The answer is not only that the parents aside from certain individual variations apply the educational patterns of the society they live in, but also that in their own personalities they represent the social character of their society or class. They transmit to the child what we may call the psychological atmosphere or the spirit of a society just by being as they are - namely representatives of this very spirit. The family thus may be considered to be the psychological agent of society. Having stated that the social character is shaped by the mode of existence of a given society, I want to remind the reader of what has been said in the first chapter on the problem of dynamic adaptation. While it is true that man is moulded by the necessities of the economic and social structure of society, he is not infinitely adaptable. Not only are there certain physiological needs that imperatively call for satisfaction, but there are also certain psychological qualities inherent in man that need to be satisfied and that result in certain reactions if they are frustrated. What are these qualities? The most important seems to be the tendency to grow, to develop and realize potentialities which man has developed in the course of history as, for instance, the faculty of creative and critical thinking and of having differentiated emotional and sensuous experiences. Each of these potentialities has a dynamism of its own. Once they have developed in the process of evolution they tend to be expressed. This tendency can be suppressed and frustrated, but such suppression results in new reactions, particularly in the formation of destructive and symbiotic impulses. It also seems that this general tendency to grow which is the psychological equivalent of the identical biological tendency results in such specific tendencies as the desire for freedom and the hatred against oppression, since freedom is the fundamental condition for

any growth. Again, the desire for freedom can be repressed, it can disappear from the awareness of the individual; but even then it does not cease to exist as a potentiality, and indicates its existence by the conscious or unconscious hatred by which such suppression is always accompanied. We have also reason to assume that, as has been said before, the striving for justice and truth is an inherent trend of human nature, although it can be repressed and perverted like the striving for freedom. In this assumption we are on dangerous ground theoretically. It would be easy if we could fall back on religious and philosophical assumptions which explain the existence of such trends by a belief that man is created in Gods likeness or by the assumption of a natural law. However, we cannot support our argument with such explanations. The only way in our opinion to account for this striving for justice and truth is by the analysis of the whole history of man, socially and individually. We find then that for everybody who is powerless, justice and truth are the most important weapons in the fight for his freedom and growth. Aside from the fact that the majority of mankind throughout its history has had to defend itself against more powerful groups which could oppress and exploit it, every individual in childhood goes through a period which is characterised by powerlessness. It seems to us that in this state of powerlessness traits like the sense of justice and truth develop and become potentialities common to man as such. We arrive therefore at the fact that, although character development is shaped by the basic conditions of life and although there is no biologically fixed human nature, human nature has a dynamism of its own that constitutes an active factor in the evolution of the social process. Even if we are not yet able to state clearly in psychological terms what the exact nature of this human dynamism is, we must recognise its existence. In trying to avoid the errors of biological and metaphysical concepts we must not succumb to an equally grave error, that of a sociological relativism in which man is nothing but a puppet, directed by the strings of social circumstances. Mans inalienable rights of freedom and happiness are founded in inherent human qualities: his striving to live, to expand and to express the potentialities that have developed in him in the process of historical evolution. At this point we can restate the most important differences between the psychological approach pursued in this book and that of Freud. The first point of difference has been dealt with in a detailed manner in the first chapter, so that it is only necessary to mention it here briefly: we look upon human nature as essentially historically conditioned, although we do not minimise the significance of biological factors and do not believe that the question can be put correctly in terms of cultural versus biological factors. In the second place, Freuds essential principle is to look upon man as an entity, a closed system, endowed by nature with certain physiologically conditioned drives, and to interpret the development of his character as a reaction to satisfactions and frustrations of these drives; whereas, in our opinion, the fundamental approach to human personality is the understanding of mans relation to the world, to others, to nature, and to himself. We believe that man is primarily a social being, and not, as Freud assumes, primarily self-sufficient and only secondarily in need of others in order to satisfy his instinctual needs. In this sense, we believe that individual psychology is fundamentally social psychology or, in Sullivans terms, the psychology of interpersonal relationships; the key problem of psychology is that of the particular kind of relatedness of the individual towards the world, not that of satisfaction or frustration of single instinctual desires. The problem of what happens to mans instinctual desires has to be understood as one part of the total problem of his relationship

towards the world and not as the problem of human personality. Therefore, in our approach, the needs and desires that centre about the individuals relations to others, such as love, hatred, tenderness, symbiosis, are the fundamental psychological phenomena, while with Freud they are only secondary results from frustrations or satisfactions of instinctive needs. The difference between Freuds biological and our own social orientation has special significance with regard to the problems of characterology. Freud and on the basis of his findings, Abraham, Jones, and others assumed that the child experiences pleasure at so-called erogenous zones (mouth and anus) in connection with the process of feeding and defecation; and that, either by over-stimulating, frustration, or constitutionally intensified sensitivity, these erogenous zones retain their libidinous character in later years when in the course of the normal development the genital zone should have become of primary importance. It is assumed that this fixation on the pregenital level leads to sublimations and reaction-formations that become part of the character structure. Thus, for instance, a person may have a drive to save money or other objects, because he sublimates the unconscious desire to retain the stool. Or a person may expect to get everything from somebody else and not as a result of his own effort, because he is driven by an unconscious wish to be fed which is sublimated into the wish to get help, knowledge, and so forth. Freuds observations are of great importance, but he gave an erroneous explanation. He saw correctly the passionate and irrational nature of these oral and anal character traits. He saw also that such desires pervade all spheres of personality, mans sexual, emotional, and intellectual life, and that they colour all his activities. But he mistook the causal relation between erogenous zones and character traits for the reverse of what they really are. The desire to receive everything one wants to obtain - love, protection, knowledge, material things in a passive way from a source outside oneself, develops in a childs character as a reaction to his experiences with others. If through these experiences the feeling of his own strength is weakened by fear, if his initiative and self-confidence are paralysed, if hostility develops and is repressed, and if at the same time his father or mother offers affection or care under the condition of surrender, such a constellation leads to an attitude in which active mastery is given up and all his energies are turned in the direction of an outside source from which the fulfilment of all wishes will eventually come. This attitude assumes such a passionate character because it is the only way in which such a person can attempt to realize his wishes. That often these persons have dreams or phantasies of being fed, nursed, and so on, is due to the fact that the mouth more than any other organ lends itself to the expression of this receptive attitude. But the oral sensation is not the cause of this attitude; it is the expression of an attitude towards the world in the language of the body. The same holds true for the anal person, who on the basis of his particular experiences is more withdrawn from others than the oral person, seeks security by making himself an autarchic, self-sufficient system, and feels love or any other outgoing attitude as a threat to his security. It is true that in many instances these attitudes first develop in connection with feeding or defecation, which in the early age of the child are his main activities and also the main sphere in which love or oppression on the part of the parents and friendliness or defiance on the part of the child, are expressed. However, over-stimulation and frustration in connection with the erogenous zones by themselves do not lead to a fixation of such attitudes in a persons character; although certain

pleasurable sensations are experienced by the child in connection with feeding and defecation, these pleasures do not assume importance for the character development, unless they represent on the physical level attitudes that are rooted in the whole of the character structure. For an infant who has confidence in the unconditional love of his mother, the sudden interruption of breast-feeding will not have any grave characterological consequences; the infant who experiences a lack of reliability in the mothers love may acquire oral traits even though the feeding process went on without any particular disturbances. The oral or anal phantasies or physical sensations in later years are not important on account of the physical pleasure they imply, or of any mysterious sublimation of this pleasure, but only on account of the specific kind of relatedness towards the world which is underlying them and which they express. Only from this point of view can Freuds characterological findings become fruitful for social psychology. As long as we assume, for instance, that the anal character, as it is typical of the European lower middle class, is caused by certain early experiences in connection with defecation, we have hardly any data that lead us to understand why a specific class should have an anal social character. However, if we understand it as one form of relatedness to others, rooted in the character structure and resulting from the experiences with the outside world, we have a key for understanding why the whole mode of life of the lower middle class, its narrowness, isolation, and hostility, made for the development of this kind of character structure. [F. Alexander has attempted to restate Freuds characterological findings in terms that are in some ways similar to our own interpretation. (Cf. F. Alexander, The Influence of Psychological Factors upon Gastro-Intestinal Disturbances, Psychoanalytic Quarterly, Vol. XV, 1934) But although his views constitute an advance over Freuds, he has not succeeded in overcoming a fundamentally biological orientation and in fully recognising interpersonal relationships as the basis and essence of these pregenital drives]. The third important point of difference is closely linked up with the previous ones. Freud, on the basis of his instinctivistic orientation and also of a profound conviction of the wickedness of human nature, is prone to interpret all ideal motives in man as the result of something mean; a case in point is his explanation of the sense of justice as the outcome of the original envy a child has for anybody who has more than he. As has been pointed out before, we believe that ideals like truth, justice, freedom, although they are frequently mere phrases or rationalisations, can be genuine strivings, and that any analysis which does not deal with these strivings as dynamic factors is fallacious. These ideals have no metaphysical character but are rooted in the conditions of human life and can be analysed as such. The fear of falling back into metaphysical or idealistic concepts should not stand in the way of such analysis. It is the task of psychology as an empirical science to study motivation by ideals as well as the moral problems connected with them, and thereby to free our thinking on such matters from the unempirical and metaphysical elements that befog the issues in their traditional treatment. Finally, one other point of difference should be mentioned. It concerns the differentiation between psychological phenomena of want and those of abundance. The primitive level of human existence is that of want. There are imperative needs which have to be satisfied before anything else. Only when man has time and energy left beyond the satisfaction of the primary

needs, can culture develop and with it those strivings that attend the phenomena of abundance. Free (or spontaneous) acts are always phenomena of abundance. Freuds psychology is a psychology of want. He defines pleasure as the satisfaction resulting from the removal of painful tension. Phenomena of abundance, like love or tenderness actually do not play any role in his system. Not only did he omit such phenomena, but he also had a limited understanding of the phenomenon to which he paid so much attention: sex. According to his whole definition of pleasure Freud saw in sex only the element of physiological compulsion and in sexual satisfaction the relief from painful tension. The sexual drive as a phenomenon of abundance, and sexual pleasure as spontaneous joy the essence of which is not negative relief from tension had no place in his psychology. What is the principle of interpretation that this book has applied to the understanding of the human basis of culture? Before answering this question it may be useful to recall the main trends of interpretation with which our own differs. 1. The psychologistic approach which characterises Freuds thinking, according to which cultural phenomena are rooted in psychological factors that result from instinctual drives which in themselves are influenced by society only through some measure of suppression. Following this line of interpretation Freudian authors have explained capitalism as the outcome of anal eroticism and the development of early Christianity as the result of the ambivalence towards the father image. 2. The economistic approach, as it is presented in the misapplication of Marxs interpretation of history. According to this view, subjective economic interests are the cause of cultural phenomena, such as religion and political ideas. From such a pseudo-Marxian viewpoint, one might try to explain Protestantism as no more than the answer to certain economic needs of the bourgeoisie. [I call this viewpoint pseudo-Marxian because it interprets Marxs theory as meaning that history is determined by economic motives in terms of the striving for material gain, and not as Marx really meant, in terms of objective conditions which can result in different economic attitudes, of which the intense desire for the gain of material wealth is only one. (This was pointed out in Chapter 1.) A detailed discussion of this problem can be found in E. Fromms Uber Methode und Aufgabe einer analytischen Sozialpsychologie, Zeitschrift fur Sozialforschung. Cf. also the discussion in Robert S. Lynds Knowledge for What?] 3. Finally there is the idealistic position, which is represented by Max Webers analysis, The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism. He holds that new religious ideas are responsible for the development of a new type of economic behaviour and a new spirit of culture, although he emphasises that this behaviour is never exclusively determined by religious doctrines. In contrast to these explanations, we have assumed that ideologies and culture in general are rooted in the social character; that the social character itself is moulded by the mode of existence of a given society; and that in their turn the dominant character traits become productive forces shaping the social process. With regard to the problem of the spirit of Protestantism and capitalism, I have tried to show that the collapse of medieval society threatened the middle class;

that this threat resulted in a feeling of powerless isolation and doubt; that this psychological change was responsible for the appeal of Luthers and Calvins doctrines; that these doctrines intensified and stabilised the characterological changes; and that the character traits that thus developed then became productive forces in the development of capitalism which in itself resulted from economic and political changes. With regard to Fascism the same principle of explanation was applied: the lower middle class reacted to certain economic changes, such as the growing power of monopolies and post-war inflation, with an intensification of certain character traits, namely sadistic and masochistic strivings; the Nazi ideology appealed to and intensified these traits; and the new character traits then became effective forces in supporting the expansion of German imperialism. In both instances we see that when a certain class is threatened by new economic tendencies it reacts to this threat psychologically and ideologically; and that the psychological changes brought about by this reaction further the development of economic forces even if those forces contradict the economic interests of that class. We see that economic, psychological, and ideological forces operate in the social process in this way: that man reacts to changing external situations by changes in himself, and that these psychological factors in their turn help in moulding the economic and social process. Economic forces are effective, but they must be understood not as psychological motivations but as objective conditions: psychological forces are effective, but must be understood as historically conditioned themselves; ideas are effective, but they must be understood as being rooted in the whole of the character structure of members of a social group. In spite of this interdependence of economic, psychological, and ideological forces, however, each of them has also a certain independence. This is particularly true of the economic development which, being dependent on objective factors, such as the natural productive forces, technique, geographical factors, takes place according to its own laws. As to the psychological forces, we have indicated that the same holds true; they are moulded by the external conditions of life, but they also have a dynamism of their own; that is, they are the expression of human needs which although they can be moulded, cannot be uprooted. In the ideological sphere we find a similar autonomy rooted in logical laws and in the tradition of the body of knowledge acquired in the course of history. We can restate the principle in terms of social character: The social character results from the dynamic adaptation of human nature to the structure of society. Changing social conditions result in changes of the social character, that is, in new needs and anxieties. These new needs give rise to new ideas and, as it were, make men susceptible to them; these new ideas in their turn tend to stabilise and intensify the new social character and to determine mans actions. In other words, social conditions influence ideological phenomena through the medium of character; character, on the other hand, is not the result of passive adaptation to social conditions but of a dynamic adaptation on the basis of elements that either are biologically inherent in human nature or have become inherent as the result of historic evolution.
Source: Character and the Social Process (1942), Appendix to Fear of Freedom, Routledge, 1942; Transcribed: by Andy Blunden for the Value_of_Knowledge site, 1998; Proofed: and corrected by Chris Clayton 2006.

Woman as Other
by Simone de Beauvoir (1949)

FOR a long time I have hesitated to write a book on woman. The subject is irritating, especially to women; and it is not new. Enough ink has been spilled in quarrelling over feminism, and perhaps we should say no more about it. It is still talked about, however, for the voluminous nonsense uttered during the last century seems to have done little to illuminate the problem. After all, is there a problem? And if so, what is it? Are there women, really? Most assuredly the theory of the eternal feminine still has its adherents who will whisper in your ear: Even in Russia women still are women; and other erudite persons sometimes the very same say with a sigh: Woman is losing her way, woman is lost. One wonders if women still exist, if they will always exist, whether or not it is desirable that they should, what place they occupy in this world, what their place should be. What has become of women? was asked recently in an ephemeral magazine. But first we must ask: what is a woman? Tota mulier in utero, says one, woman is a womb. But in speaking of certain women, connoisseurs declare that they are not women, although they are equipped with a uterus like the rest. All agree in recognising the fact that females exist in the human species; today as always they make up about one half of humanity. And yet we are told that femininity is in danger; we are exhorted to be women, remain women, become women. It would appear, then, that every female human being is not necessarily a woman; to be so considered she must share in that mysterious and threatened reality known as femininity. Is this attribute something secreted by the ovaries? Or is it a Platonic essence, a product of the philosophic imagination? Is a rustling petticoat enough to bring it down to earth? Although some women try zealously to incarnate this essence, it is hardly patentable. It is frequently described in vague and dazzling terms that seem to have been borrowed from the vocabulary of the seers, and indeed in the times of St Thomas it was considered an essence as certainly defined as the somniferous virtue of the poppy But conceptualism has lost ground. The biological and social sciences no longer admit the existence of unchangeably fixed entities that determine given characteristics, such as those ascribed to woman, the Jew, or the Negro. Science regards any characteristic as a reaction dependent in part upon a situation. If today femininity no longer exists, then it never existed. But does the word woman, then, have no specific content? This is stoutly affirmed by those who hold to the philosophy of the enlightenment, of rationalism, of nominalism; women, to them, are merely the human beings arbitrarily designated by the word woman. Many American women particularly are prepared to think that there is no longer any place for woman as such; if a backward individual still takes herself for a woman, her friends advise her to be psychoanalysed and thus get rid of this obsession. In regard to a work, Modern Woman: The Lost Sex, which in other respects has its irritating features, Dorothy Parker has written: I cannot be just to books which treat of woman as woman ... My idea is that all of us, men as well as women, should be regarded as human beings. But nominalism is a rather inadequate doctrine, and the antifeminists have had no trouble in showing that women simply are not men. Surely woman is, like man, a human being; but such a declaration is abstract. The fact is that every concrete human being is always a singular, separate individual. To decline to accept such notions as the eternal feminine, the black soul, the Jewish character, is not to deny that Jews, Negroes, women exist today this

denial does not represent a liberation for those concerned, but rather a flight from reality. Some years ago a well-known woman writer refused to permit her portrait to appear in a series of photographs especially devoted to women writers; she wished to be counted among the men. But in order to gain this privilege she made use of her husbands influence! Women who assert that they are men lay claim none the less to masculine consideration and respect. I recall also a young Trotskyite standing on a platform at a boisterous meeting and getting ready to use her fists, in spite of her evident fragility. She was denying her feminine weakness; but it was for love of a militant male whose equal she wished to be. The attitude of defiance of many American women proves that they are haunted by a sense of their femininity. In truth, to go for a walk with ones eyes open is enough to demonstrate that humanity is divided into two classes of individuals whose clothes, faces, bodies, smiles, gaits, interests, and occupations are manifestly different. Perhaps these differences are superficial, perhaps they are destined to disappear. What is certain is that they do most obviously exist. If her functioning as a female is not enough to define woman, if we decline also to explain her through the eternal feminine, and if nevertheless we admit, provisionally, that women do exist, then we must face the question what is a woman? To state the question is, to me, to suggest, at once, a preliminary answer. The fact that I ask it is in itself significant. A man would never set out to write a book on the peculiar situation of the human male. But if I wish to define myself, I must first of all say: I am a woman; on this truth must be based all further discussion. A man never begins by presenting himself as an individual of a certain sex; it goes without saying that he is a man. The terms masculine and feminine are used symmetrically only as a matter of form, as on legal papers. In actuality the relation of the two sexes is not quite like that of two electrical poles, for man represents both the positive and the neutral, as is indicated by the common use of man to designate human beings in general; whereas woman represents only the negative, defined by limiting criteria, without reciprocity. In the midst of an abstract discussion it is vexing to hear a man say: You think thus and so because you are a woman; but I know that my only defence is to reply: I think thus and so because it is true, thereby removing my subjective self from the argument. It would be out of the question to reply: And you think the contrary because you are a man, for it is understood that the fact of being a man is no peculiarity. A man is in the right in being a man; it is the woman who is in the wrong. It amounts to this: just as for the ancients there was an absolute vertical with reference to which the oblique was defined, so there is an absolute human type, the masculine. Woman has ovaries, a uterus: these peculiarities imprison her in her subjectivity, circumscribe her within the limits of her own nature. It is often said that she thinks with her glands. Man superbly ignores the fact that his anatomy also includes glands, such as the testicles, and that they secrete hormones. He thinks of his body as a direct and normal connection with the world, which he believes he apprehends objectively, whereas he regards the body of woman as a hindrance, a prison, weighed down by everything peculiar to it. The female is a female by virtue of a certain lack of qualities, said Aristotle; we should regard the female nature as afflicted with a natural defectiveness. And St Thomas for his part pronounced woman to be an imperfect man, an incidental being. This is symbolised in Genesis where Eve is depicted as made from what Bossuet called a supernumerary bone of Adam.

Thus humanity is male and man defines woman not in herself but as relative to him; she is not regarded as an autonomous being. Michelet writes: Woman, the relative being ... And Benda is most positive in his Rapport dUriel: The body of man makes sense in itself quite apart from that of woman, whereas the latter seems wanting in significance by itself ... Man can think of himself without woman. She cannot think of herself without man. And she is simply what man decrees; thus she is called the sex, by which is meant that she appears essentially to the male as a sexual being. For him she is sex absolute sex, no less. She is defined and differentiated with reference to man and not he with reference to her; she is the incidental, the inessential as opposed to the essential. He is the Subject, he is the Absolute she is the Other. The category of the Other is as primordial as consciousness itself. In the most primitive societies, in the most ancient mythologies, one finds the expression of a duality that of the Self and the Other. This duality was not originally attached to the division of the sexes; it was not dependent upon any empirical facts. It is revealed in such works as that of Granet on Chinese thought and those of Dumzil on the East Indies and Rome. The feminine element was at first no more involved in such pairs as Varuna-Mitra, Uranus-Zeus, Sun-Moon, and Day-Night than it was in the contrasts between Good and Evil, lucky and unlucky auspices, right and left, God and Lucifer. Otherness is a fundamental category of human thought. Thus it is that no group ever sets itself up as the One without at once setting up the Other over against itself. If three travellers chance to occupy the same compartment, that is enough to make vaguely hostile others out of all the rest of the passengers on the train. In small-town eyes all persons not belonging to the village are strangers and suspect; to the native of a country all who inhabit other countries are foreigners; Jews are different for the anti-Semite, Negroes are inferior for American racists, aborigines are natives for colonists, proletarians are the lower class for the privileged. Lvi-Strauss, at the end of a profound work on the various forms of primitive societies, reaches the following conclusion: Passage from the state of Nature to the state of Culture is marked by mans ability to view biological relations as a series of contrasts; duality, alternation, opposition, and symmetry, whether under definite or vague forms, constitute not so much phenomena to be explained as fundamental and immediately given data of social reality. These phenomena would be incomprehensible if in fact human society were simply a Mitsein or fellowship based on solidarity and friendliness. Things become clear, on the contrary, if, following Hegel, we find in consciousness itself a fundamental hostility towards every other consciousness; the subject can be posed only in being opposed he sets himself up as the essential, as opposed to the other, the inessential, the object. But the other consciousness, the other ego, sets up a reciprocal claim. The native travelling abroad is shocked to find himself in turn regarded as a stranger by the natives of neighbouring countries. As a matter of fact, wars, festivals, trading, treaties, and contests among tribes, nations, and classes tend to deprive the concept Other of its absolute sense and to make manifest its relativity; willy-nilly, individuals and groups are forced to realize the reciprocity of their relations. How is it, then, that this reciprocity has not been recognised between the sexes, that one of the contrasting terms is set up as the sole essential, denying any relativity in regard to its correlative and defining the latter as pure otherness? Why is it that women do not dispute male

sovereignty? No subject will readily volunteer to become the object, the inessential; it is not the Other who, in defining himself as the Other, establishes the One. The Other is posed as such by the One in defining himself as the One. But if the Other is not to regain the status of being the One, he must be submissive enough to accept this alien point of view. Whence comes this submission in the case of woman? There are, to be sure, other cases in which a certain category has been able to dominate another completely for a time. Very often this privilege depends upon inequality of numbers the majority imposes its rule upon the minority or persecutes it. But women are not a minority, like the American Negroes or the Jews; there are as many women as men on earth. Again, the two groups concerned have often been originally independent; they may have been formerly unaware of each others existence, or perhaps they recognised each others autonomy. But a historical event has resulted in the subjugation of the weaker by the stronger. The scattering of the Jews, the introduction of slavery into America, the conquests of imperialism are examples in point. In these cases the oppressed retained at least the memory of former days; they possessed in common a past, a tradition, sometimes a religion or a culture. The parallel drawn by Bebel between women and the proletariat is valid in that neither ever formed a minority or a separate collective unit of mankind. And instead of a single historical event it is in both cases a historical development that explains their status as a class and accounts for the membership of particular individuals in that class. But proletarians have not always existed, whereas there have always been women. They are women in virtue of their anatomy and physiology. Throughout history they have always been subordinated to men, and hence their dependency is not the result of a historical event or a social change it was not something that occurred. The reason why otherness in this case seems to be an absolute is in part that it lacks the contingent or incidental nature of historical facts. A condition brought about at a certain time can be abolished at some other time, as the Negroes of Haiti and others have proved: but it might seem that natural condition is beyond the possibility of change. In truth, however, the nature of things is no more immutably given, once for all, than is historical reality. If woman seems to be the inessential which never becomes the essential, it is because she herself fails to bring about this change. Proletarians say We; Negroes also. Regarding themselves as subjects, they transform the bourgeois, the whites, into others. But women do not say We, except at some congress of feminists or similar formal demonstration; men say women, and women use the same word in referring to themselves. They do not authentically assume a subjective attitude. The proletarians have accomplished the revolution in Russia, the Negroes in Haiti, the IndoChinese are battling for it in Indo-China; but the womens effort has never been anything more than a symbolic agitation. They have gained only what men have been willing to grant; they have taken nothing, they have only received. The reason for this is that women lack concrete means for organising themselves into a unit which can stand face to face with the correlative unit. They have no past, no history, no religion of their own; and they have no such solidarity of work and interest as that of the proletariat. They are not even promiscuously herded together in the way that creates community feeling among the American Negroes, the ghetto Jews, the workers of Saint-Denis, or the factory hands of Renault. They live dispersed among the males, attached through residence, housework, economic condition, and social standing to certain men fathers or husbands more firmly than they are to

other women. If they belong to the bourgeoisie, they feel solidarity with men of that class, not with proletarian women; if they are white, their allegiance is to white men, not to Negro women. The proletariat can propose to massacre the ruling class, and a sufficiently fanatical Jew or Negro might dream of getting sole possession of the atomic bomb and making humanity wholly Jewish or black; but woman cannot even dream of exterminating the males. The bond that unites her to her oppressors is not comparable to any other. The division of the sexes is a biological fact, not an event in human history. Male and female stand opposed within a primordial Mitsein, and woman has not broken it. The couple is a fundamental unity with its two halves riveted together, and the cleavage of society along the line of sex is impossible. Here is to be found the basic trait of woman: she is the Other in a totality of which the two components are necessary to one another. One could suppose that this reciprocity might have facilitated the liberation of woman. When Hercules sat at the feet of Omphale and helped with her spinning, his desire for her held him captive; but why did she fail to gain a lasting power? To revenge herself on Jason, Medea killed their children; and this grim legend would seem to suggest that she might have obtained a formidable influence over him through his love for his offspring. In Lysistrata Aristophanes gaily depicts a band of women who joined forces to gain social ends through the sexual needs of their men; but this is only a play. In the legend of the Sabine women, the latter soon abandoned their plan of remaining sterile to punish their ravishers. In truth woman has not been socially emancipated through mans need sexual desire and the desire for offspring which makes the male dependent for satisfaction upon the female. Master and slave, also, are united by a reciprocal need, in this case economic, which does not liberate the slave. In the relation of master to slave the master does not make a point of the need that he has for the other; he has in his grasp the power of satisfying this need through his own action; whereas the slave, in his dependent condition, his hope and fear, is quite conscious of the need he has for his master. Even if the need is at bottom equally urgent for both, it always works in favour of the oppressor and against the oppressed. That is why the liberation of the working class, for example, has been slow. Now, woman has always been mans dependant, if not his slave; the two sexes have never shared the world in equality. And even today woman is heavily handicapped, though her situation is beginning to change. Almost nowhere is her legal status the same as mans, and frequently it is much to her disadvantage. Even when her rights are legally recognised in the abstract, longstanding custom prevents their full expression in the mores. In the economic sphere men and women can almost be said to make up two castes; other things being equal, the former hold the better jobs, get higher wages, and have more opportunity for success than their new competitors. In industry and politics men have a great many more positions and they monopolise the most important posts. In addition to all this, they enjoy a traditional prestige that the education of children tends in every way to support, for the present enshrines the past and in the past all history has been made by men. At the present time, when women are beginning to take part in the affairs of the world, it is still a world that belongs to men they have no doubt of it at all and women have scarcely any. To decline to be the Other, to refuse to be a party to the deal this would be for women to renounce all the advantages conferred upon them by their alliance with the superior caste. Man-the-sovereign will provide woman-the-liege with material protection and

will undertake the moral justification of her existence; thus she can evade at once both economic risk and the metaphysical risk of a liberty in which ends and aims must be contrived without assistance. Indeed, along with the ethical urge of each individual to affirm his subjective existence, there is also the temptation to forgo liberty and become a thing. This is an inauspicious road, for he who takes it passive, lost, ruined becomes henceforth the creature of anothers will, frustrated in his transcendence and deprived of every value. But it is an easy road; on it one avoids the strain involved in undertaking an authentic existence. When man makes of woman the Other, he may, then, expect to manifest deep-seated tendencies towards complicity. Thus, woman may fail to lay claim to the status of subject because she lacks definite resources, because she feels the necessary bond that ties her to man regardless of reciprocity, and because she is often very well pleased with her role as the Other. But it will be asked at once: how did all this begin? It is easy to see that the duality of the sexes, like any duality, gives rise to conflict. And doubtless the winner will assume the status of absolute. But why should man have won from the start? It seems possible that women could have won the victory; or that the outcome of the conflict might never have been decided. How is it that this world has always belonged to the men and that things have begun to change only recently? Is this change a good thing? Will it bring about an equal sharing of the world between men and women? These questions are not new, and they have often been answered. But the very fact that woman is the Other tends to cast suspicion upon all the justifications that men have ever been able to provide for it. These have all too evidently been dictated by mens interest. A little-known feminist of the seventeenth century, Poulain de la Barre, put it this way: All that has been written about women by men should be suspect, for the men are at once judge and party to the lawsuit. Everywhere, at all times, the males have displayed their satisfaction in feeling that they are the lords of creation. Blessed be God ... that He did not make me a woman, say the Jews in their morning prayers, while their wives pray on a note of resignation: Blessed be the Lord, who created me according to His will. The first among the blessings for which Plato thanked the gods was that he had been created free, not enslaved; the second, a man, not a woman. But the males could not enjoy this privilege fully unless they believed it to be founded on the absolute and the eternal; they sought to make the fact of their supremacy into a right. Being men, those who have made and compiled the laws have favoured their own sex, and jurists have elevated these laws into principles, to quote Poulain de la Barre once more. Legislators, priests, philosophers, writers, and scientists have striven to show that the subordinate position of woman is willed in heaven and advantageous on earth. The religions invented by men reflect this wish for domination. In the legends of Eve and Pandora men have taken up arms against women. They have made use of philosophy and theology, as the quotations from Aristotle and St Thomas have shown. Since ancient times satirists and moralists have delighted in showing up the weaknesses of women. We are familiar with the savage indictments hurled against women throughout French literature. Montherlant, for example, follows the tradition of Jean de Meung, though with less gusto. This hostility may at times be well founded, often it is gratuitous; but in truth it more or less successfully conceals a desire for self-justification. As Montaigne says, It is easier to accuse one sex than to excuse the other. Sometimes what is going on is clear enough. For instance, the Roman law limiting the rights of woman cited the

imbecility, the instability of the sex just when the weakening of family ties seemed to threaten the interests of male heirs. And in the effort to keep the married woman under guardianship, appeal was made in the sixteenth century to the authority of St Augustine, who declared that woman is a creature neither decisive nor constant, at a time when the single woman was thought capable of managing her property. Montaigne understood clearly how arbitrary and unjust was womans appointed lot: Women are not in the wrong when they decline to accept the rules laid down for them, since the men make these rules without consulting them. No wonder intrigue and strife abound. But he did not go so far as to champion their cause. It was only later, in the eighteenth century, that genuinely democratic men began to view the matter objectively. Diderot, among others, strove to show that woman is, like man, a human being. Later John Stuart Mill came fervently to her defence. But these philosophers displayed unusual impartiality. In the nineteenth century the feminist quarrel became again a quarrel of partisans. One of the consequences of the industrial revolution was the entrance of women into productive labour, and it was just here that the claims of the feminists emerged from the realm of theory and acquired an economic basis, while their opponents became the more aggressive. Although landed property lost power to some extent, the bourgeoisie clung to the old morality that found the guarantee of private property in the solidity of the family. Woman was ordered back into the home the more harshly as her emancipation became a real menace. Even within the working class the men endeavoured to restrain womans liberation, because they began to see the women as dangerous competitors the more so because they were accustomed to work for lower wages. In proving womans inferiority, the anti-feminists then began to draw not only upon religion, philosophy, and theology, as before, but also upon science biology, experimental psychology, etc. At most they were willing to grant equality in difference to the other sex. That profitable formula is most significant; it is precisely like the equal but separate formula of the Jim Crow laws aimed at the North American Negroes. As is well known, this so-called equalitarian segregation has resulted only in the most extreme discrimination. The similarity just noted is in no way due to chance, for whether it is a race, a caste, a class, or a sex that is reduced to a position of inferiority, the methods of justification are the same. The eternal feminine corresponds to the black soul and to the Jewish character. True, the Jewish problem is on the whole very different from the other two to the anti-Semite the Jew is not so much an inferior as he is an enemy for whom there is to be granted no place on earth, for whom annihilation is the fate desired. But there are deep similarities between the situation of woman and that of the Negro. Both are being emancipated today from a like paternalism, and the former master class wishes to keep them in their place that is, the place chosen for them. In both cases the former masters lavish more or less sincere eulogies, either on the virtues of the good Negro with his dormant, childish, merry soul the submissive Negro or on the merits of the woman who is truly feminine that is, frivolous, infantile, irresponsible the submissive woman. In both cases the dominant class bases its argument on a state of affairs that it has itself created. As George Bernard Shaw puts it, in substance, The American white relegates the black to the rank of shoeshine boy; and he concludes from this that the black is good for nothing but shining shoes. This vicious circle is met with in all analogous circumstances; when an individual (or a group of individuals) is kept in a situation of inferiority, the fact is that he is inferior. But the significance of the verb to be must be rightly understood here; it is in bad faith to give it a static value when it

really has the dynamic Hegelian sense of to have become. Yes, women on the whole are today inferior to men; that is, their situation affords them fewer possibilities. The question is: should that state of affairs continue? Many men hope that it will continue; not all have given up the battle. The conservative bourgeoisie still see in the emancipation of women a menace to their morality and their interests. Some men dread feminine competition. Recently a male student wrote in the Hebdo-Latin: Every woman student who goes into medicine or law robs us of a job. He never questioned his rights in this world. And economic interests are not the only ones concerned. One of the benefits that oppression confers upon the oppressors is that the most humble among them is made to feel superior; thus, a poor white in the South can console himself with the thought that he is not a dirty nigger and the more prosperous whites cleverly exploit this pride. Similarly, the most mediocre of males feels himself a demigod as compared with women. It was much easier for M. de Montherlant to think himself a hero when he faced women (and women chosen for his purpose) than when he was obliged to act the man among men something many women have done better than he, for that matter. And in September 1948, in one of his articles in the Figaro littraire, Claude Mauriac whose great originality is admired by all could write regarding woman: We listen on a tone [sic!] of polite indifference ... to the most brilliant among them, well knowing that her wit reflects more or less luminously ideas that come from us. Evidently the speaker referred to is not reflecting the ideas of Mauriac himself, for no one knows of his having any. It may be that she reflects ideas originating with men, but then, even among men there are those who have been known to appropriate ideas not their own; and one can well ask whether Claude Mauriac might not find more interesting a conversation reflecting Descartes, Marx, or Gide rather than himself. What is really remarkable is that by using the questionable we he identifies himself with St Paul, Hegel, Lenin, and Nietzsche, and from the lofty eminence of their grandeur looks down disdainfully upon the bevy of women who make bold to converse with him on a footing of equality. In truth, I know of more than one woman who would refuse to suffer with patience Mauriacs tone of polite indifference. I have lingered on this example because the masculine attitude is here displayed with disarming ingenuousness. But men profit in many more subtle ways from the otherness, the alterity of woman. Here is a miraculous balm for those afflicted with an inferiority complex, and indeed no one is more arrogant towards women, more aggressive or scornful, than the man who is anxious about his virility. Those who are not fear-ridden in the presence of their fellow men are much more disposed to recognise a fellow creature in woman; but even to these the myth of Woman, the Other, is precious for many reasons. They cannot be blamed for not cheerfully relinquishing all the benefits they derive from the myth, for they realize what they would lose in relinquishing woman as they fancy her to be, while they fail to realize what they have to gain from the woman of tomorrow. Refusal to pose oneself as the Subject, unique and absolute, requires great selfdenial. Furthermore, the vast majority of men make no such claim explicitly. They do not postulate woman as inferior, for today they are too thoroughly imbued with the ideal of democracy not to recognise all human beings as equals. In the bosom of the family, woman seems in the eyes of childhood and youth to be clothed in the same social dignity as the adult males. Later on, the young man, desiring and loving, experiences

the resistance, the independence of the woman desired and loved; in marriage, he respects woman as wife and mother, and in the concrete events of conjugal life she stands there before him as a free being. He can therefore feel that social subordination as between the sexes no longer exists and that on the whole, in spite of differences, woman is an equal. As, however, he observes some points of inferiority the most important being unfitness for the professions he attributes these to natural causes. When he is in a co-operative and benevolent relation with woman, his theme is the principle of abstract equality, and he does not base his attitude upon such inequality as may exist. But when he is in conflict with her, the situation is reversed: his theme will be the existing inequality, and he will even take it as justification for denying abstract equality. So it is that many men will affirm as if in good faith that women are the equals of man and that they have nothing to clamour for, while at the same time they will say that women can never be the equals of man and that their demands are in vain. It is, in point of fact, a difficult matter for man to realize the extreme importance of social discriminations which seem outwardly insignificant but which produce in woman moral and intellectual effects so profound that they appear to spring from her original nature. The most sympathetic of men never fully comprehend womans concrete situation. And there is no reason to put much trust in the men when they rush to the defence of privileges whose full extent they can hardly measure. We shall not, then, permit ourselves to be intimidated by the number and violence of the attacks launched against women, nor to be entrapped by the self-seeking eulogies bestowed on the true woman, nor to profit by the enthusiasm for womans destiny manifested by men who would not for the world have any part of it. We should consider the arguments of the feminists with no less suspicion, however, for very often their controversial aim deprives them of all real value. If the woman question seems trivial, it is because masculine arrogance has made of it a quarrel; and when quarrelling one no longer reasons well. People have tirelessly sought to prove that woman is superior, inferior, or equal to man. Some say that, having been created after Adam, she is evidently a secondary being: others say on the contrary that Adam was only a rough draft and that God succeeded in producing the human being in perfection when He created Eve. Womans brain is smaller; yes, but it is relatively larger. Christ was made a man; yes, but perhaps for his greater humility. Each argument at once suggests its opposite, and both are often fallacious. If we are to gain understanding, we must get out of these ruts; we must discard the vague notions of superiority, inferiority, equality which have hitherto corrupted every discussion of the subject and start afresh. Very well, but just how shall we pose the question? And, to begin with, who are we to propound it at all? Man is at once judge and party to the case; but so is woman. What we need is an angel neither man nor woman but where shall we find one? Still, the angel would be poorly qualified to speak, for an angel is ignorant of all the basic facts involved in the problem. With a hermaphrodite we should be no better off, for here the situation is most peculiar; the hermaphrodite is not really the combination of a whole man and a whole woman, but consists of parts of each and thus is neither. It looks to me as if there are, after all, certain women who are best qualified to elucidate the situation of woman. Let us not be misled by the sophism that because Epimenides was a Cretan he was necessarily a liar; it is not a mysterious essence that

compels men and women to act in good or in bad faith, it is their situation that inclines them more or less towards the search for truth. Many of todays women, fortunate in the restoration of all the privileges pertaining to the estate of the human being, can afford the luxury of impartiality we even recognise its necessity. We are no longer like our partisan elders; by and large we have won the game. In recent debates on the status of women the United Nations has persistently maintained that the equality of the sexes is now becoming a reality, and already some of us have never had to sense in our femininity an inconvenience or an obstacle. Many problems appear to us to be more pressing than those which concern us in particular, and this detachment even allows us to hope that our attitude will be objective. Still, we know the feminine world more intimately than do the men because we have our roots in it, we grasp more immediately than do men what it means to a human being to be feminine; and we are more concerned with such knowledge. I have said that there are more pressing problems, but this does not prevent us from seeing some importance in asking how the fact of being women will affect our lives. What opportunities precisely have been given us and what withheld? What fate awaits our younger sisters, and what directions should they take? It is significant that books by women on women are in general animated in our day less by a wish to demand our rights than by an effort towards clarity and understanding. As we emerge from an era of excessive controversy, this book is offered as one attempt among others to confirm that statement. But it is doubtless impossible to approach any human problem with a mind free from bias. The way in which questions are put, the points of view assumed, presuppose a relativity of interest; all characteristics imply values, and every objective description, so called, implies an ethical background. Rather than attempt to conceal principles more or less definitely implied, it is better to state them openly, at the beginning. This will make it unnecessary to specify on every page in just what sense one uses such words as superior, inferior, better, worse, progress, reaction, and the like. If we survey some of the works on woman, we note that one of the points of view most frequently adopted is that of the public good, the general interest; and one always means by this the benefit of society as one wishes it to be maintained or established. For our part, we hold that the only public good is that which assures the private good of the citizens; we shall pass judgement on institutions according to their effectiveness in giving concrete opportunities to individuals. But we do not confuse the idea of private interest with that of happiness, although that is another common point of view. Are not women of the harem more happy than women voters? Is not the housekeeper happier than the working-woman? It is not too clear just what the word happy really means and still less what true values it may mask. There is no possibility of measuring the happiness of others, and it is always easy to describe as happy the situation in which one wishes to place them. In particular those who are condemned to stagnation are often pronounced happy on the pretext that happiness consists in being at rest. This notion we reject, for our perspective is that of existentialist ethics. Every subject plays his part as such specifically through exploits or projects that serve as a mode of transcendence; he achieves liberty only through a continual reaching out towards other liberties. There is no justification for present existence other than its expansion into an indefinitely open future. Every time transcendence falls back into immanence, stagnation, there is a degradation of existence into the en-sois the brutish life of subjection to given conditions and of liberty into constraint and contingence. This downfall represents a moral fault if the subject consents to it; if it is inflicted upon him, it spells frustration and oppression. In

both cases it is an absolute evil. Every individual concerned to justify his existence feels that his existence involves an undefined need to transcend himself, to engage in freely chosen projects. Now, what peculiarly signalises the situation of woman is that she a free and autonomous being like all human creatures nevertheless finds herself living in a world where men compel her to assume the status of the Other. They propose to stabilise her as object and to doom her to immanence since her transcendence is to be overshadowed and for ever transcended by another ego (conscience) which is essential and sovereign. The drama of woman lies in this conflict between the fundamental aspirations of every subject (ego) who always regards the self as the essential and the compulsions of a situation in which she is the inessential. How can a human being in womans situation attain fulfilment? What roads are open to her? Which are blocked? How can independence be recovered in a state of dependency? What circumstances limit womans liberty and how can they be overcome? These are the fundamental questions on which I would fain throw some light. This means that I am interested in the fortunes of the individual as defined not in terms of happiness but in terms of liberty. Quite evidently this problem would be without significance if we were to believe that womans destiny is inevitably determined by physiological, psychological, or economic forces. Hence I shall discuss first of all the light in which woman is viewed by biology, psychoanalysis, and historical materialism. Next I shall try to show exactly how the concept of the truly feminine has been fashioned why woman has been defined as the Other and what have been the consequences from mans point of view. Then from womans point of view I shall describe the world in which women must live; and thus we shall be able to envisage the difficulties in their way as, endeavouring to make their escape from the sphere hitherto assigned them, they aspire to full membership in the human race.

Theory of Sexual Politics


Kate Millett 1969

The three instances of sexual description we have examined so far were remarkable for the large part which notions of ascendancy and power played within them. Coitus can scarcely be said to take place in a vacuum; although of itself it appears a biological and physical activity, it is set so deeply within the larger context of human affairs that it serves as a charged microcosm of the variety of attitudes and values to which culture subscribes. Among other things, it may serve as a model of sexual politics on an individual or personal plane. But of course the transition from such scenes of intimacy to a wider context of political reference is a great step indeed. In introducing the term "sexual politics," one must first answer the inevitable question "Can the relationship between the sexes be viewed in a political light at all?" The answer depends on how one defines politics. [The American Heritage Dictionary's fourth definition is fairly approximate: "methods or tactics involved in managing a state or government." One might expand this to a set of stratagems designed to maintain a system. If one understands patriarchy to be an institution perpetuated by such techniques of control, one has a working definition of how politics is conceived in this essay]. This essay does not define the political as that relatively narrow and exclusive world of meetings, chairmen, and parties. The term "politics" shall refer to power-structured relationships, arrangements whereby one group of persons is controlled by another. By way of parenthesis one might add that although an ideal politics might simply be conceived of as the arrangement of human life on agreeable and rational principles from whence the entire notion of power over others should be banished, one must confess that this is not what constitutes the political as we know it, and it is to this that we must address ourselves. The following sketch, which might be described as "notes toward a theory of patriarchy," will attempt to prove that sex is a status category with political implications. Something of a pioneering effort, it must perforce be both tentative and imperfect. Because the intention is to provide an overall description, statements must be generalised, exceptions neglected, and subheadings overlapping and, to some degree, arbitrary as well. The word "politics" is enlisted here when speaking of the sexes primarily because such a word is eminently useful in outlining the real nature of their relative status, historically and at the present. It is opportune, perhaps today even mandatory, that we develop a more relevant psychology and philosophy of power relationships beyond the simple conceptual framework provided by our traditional formal politics. Indeed, it may be imperative that we give some attention to defining a theory of politics which treats of power relationships on grounds less conventional than those to which we are accustomed. I have therefore found it pertinent to define them on grounds of personal contact and interaction between members of well-defined and coherent groups: races, castes, classes, and sexes. For it is precisely because certain groups have no representation in a number of recognised political structures that their position tends to be so stable, their oppression so continuous.

In America, recent events have forced us to acknowledge at last that the relationship between the races is indeed a political one which involves the general control of one collectivity, defined by birth, over another collectivity, also defined by birth. Groups who rule by birthright are fast disappearing, yet there remains one ancient and universal scheme for the domination of one birth group by another - the scheme that prevails in the area of sex. The study of racism has convinced us that a truly political state of affairs operates between the races to perpetuate a series of oppressive circumstances. The subordinated group has inadequate redress through existing political institutions, and is deterred thereby from organising into conventional political struggle and opposition. Quite in the same manner, a disinterested examination of our system of sexual relationship must point out that the situation between the sexes now, and throughout history, is a case of that phenomenon Max Weber defined as herrschaft, a relationship of dominance and subordinance. What goes largely unexamined, often even unacknowledged (yet is institutionalised nonetheless) in our social order, is the birthright priority whereby males rule females. Through this system a most ingenious form of "interior colonisation" has been achieved. It is one which tends moreover to be sturdier than any form of segregation, and more rigorous than class stratification, more uniform, certainly more enduring. However muted its present appearance may be, sexual dominion obtains nevertheless as perhaps the most pervasive ideology of our culture and provides its most fundamental concept of power. This is so because our society, like all other historical civilisations, is a patriarchy. The fact is evident at once if one recalls that the military, industry, technology, universities, science, political office, and finance - in short, every avenue of power within the society, including the coercive force of the police, is entirely in male hands. As the essence of politics is power, such realisation cannot fail to carry impact. What lingers of supernatural authority, the Deity, "His" ministry, together with the ethics and values, the philosophy and art of our culture - its very civilisation - as T. S. Eliot once observed, is of male manufacture. If one takes patriarchal government to be the institution whereby that half of the populace which is female is controlled by that half which is male, the principles of patriarchy appear to be two fold: male shall dominate female, elder male shall dominate younger. However, just as with any human institution, there is frequently a distance between the real and the ideal; contradictions and exceptions do exist within the system. While patriarchy as an institution is a social constant so deeply entrenched as to run through all other political, social, or economic forms, whether of caste or class, feudality or bureaucracy, just as it pervades all major religions, it also exhibits great variety in history and locale. In democracies, for example, females have often held no office or do so (as now) in such minuscule numbers as to be below even token representation. Aristocracy, on the other hand, with its emphasis upon the magic and dynastic properties of blood, may at times permit women to hold power. The principle of rule by elder males is violated even more frequently. Bearing in mind the variation and degree in patriarchy - as say between Saudi Arabia and Sweden, Indonesia and Red China - we also recognise our own form in the U.S. and Europe to be much altered and attenuated by the reforms described in the next chapter.

I Ideological

Hannah Arendt has observed that government is upheld by power supported either through consent or imposed through violence. Conditioning to an ideology amounts to the former. Sexual politics obtains consent through the "socialisation" of both sexes to basic patriarchal polities with regard to temperament, role, and status. As to status, a pervasive assent to the prejudice of male superiority guarantees superior status in the male, inferior in the female. The first item, temperament, involves the formation of human personality along stereotyped lines of sex category ("masculine" and "feminine"), based on the needs and values of the dominant group and dictated by what its members cherish in themselves and find convenient in subordinates: aggression, intelligence, force, and efficacy in the male; passivity, ignorance, docility, "virtue," and ineffectuality in the female. This is complemented by a second factor, sex role, which decrees a consonant and highly elaborate code of conduct, gesture and attitude for each sex. In terms of activity, sex role assigns domestic service and attendance upon infants to the female, the rest of human achievement, interest, and ambition to the male. The limited role allotted the female tends to arrest her at the level of biological experience. Therefore, nearly all that can be described as distinctly human rather than animal activity (in their own way animals also give birth and care for their young) is largely reserved for the male. Of course, status again follows from such an assignment. Were one to analyse the three categories one might designate status as the political component, role as the sociological, and temperament as the psychological - yet their interdependence is unquestionable and they form a chain. Those awarded higher status tend to adopt roles of mastery, largely because they are first encouraged to develop temperaments of dominance. That this is true of caste and class as well is self-evident.

II Biological
Patriarchal religion, popular attitude, and to some degree, science as well assumes these psychosocial distinctions to rest upon biological differences between the sexes, so that where culture is acknowledged as shaping behaviour, it is said to do no more than cooperate with nature. Yet the temperamental distinctions created in patriarchy ("masculine" and "feminine" personality traits) do not appear to originate in human nature, those of role and status still less. The heavier musculature of the male, a secondary sexual characteristic and common among mammals, is biological in origin but is also culturally encouraged through breeding, diet and exercise. Yet it is hardly an adequate category on which to base political relations within civilisation. Male supremacy, like other political creeds, does not finally reside in physical strength but in the acceptance of a value system which is not biological. Superior physical strength is not a factor in political relations - vide those of race and class. Civilisation has always been able to substitute other methods (technic, weaponry, knowledge) for those of physical strength, and contemporary civilisation has no further need of it. At present, as in the past, physical exertion is very generally a class factor, those at the bottom performing the most strenuous tasks, whether they be strong or not. It is often assumed that patriarchy is endemic in human social life, explicable or even inevitable on the grounds of human physiology. Such a theory grants patriarchy logical as well as historical origin. Yet if as some anthropologists believe, patriarchy is not of primeval origin, but was preceded by some other social form we shall call pre-patriarchal, then the argument of physical strength as a theory of patriarchal origins would hardly constitute a sufficient explanation -

unless the male's superior physical strength was released in accompaniment with some change in orientation through new values or new knowledge. Conjecture about origins is always frustrated by lack of certain evidence. Speculation about prehistory, which of necessity is what this must be, remains nothing but speculation. Were one to indulge in it, one might argue the likelihood of a hypothetical period preceding patriarchy. What would be crucial to such a premise would be a state of mind in which the primary principle would be regarded as fertility or vitalist processes. In a primitive condition, before it developed civilisation or any but the crudest technic, humanity would perhaps find the most impressive evidence of creative force in the visible birth of children, something of a miraculous event and linked analogically with the growth of the earth's vegetation. It is possible that the circumstance which might drastically redirect such attitudes would be the discovery of paternity. There is some evidence that fertility cults in ancient society at some point took a turn toward patriarchy, displacing and downgrading female function in procreation and attributing the power of life to the phallus alone. Patriarchal religion could consolidate this position by the creation of a male God or gods, demoting, discrediting, or eliminating goddesses and constructing a theology whose basic postulates are male supremacist, and one of whose central functions is to uphold and validate the patriarchal structure. So much for the evanescent delights afforded by the game of origins. The question of the historical origins of patriarchy - whether patriarchy originated primordially in the male's superior strength, or upon a later mobilisation of such strength under certain circumstances - appears at the moment to be unanswerable. It is also probably irrelevant to contemporary patriarchy, where we are left with the realities of sexual politics, still grounded, we are often assured, on nature. Unfortunately, as the psycho-social distinctions made between the two sex groups which are said to justify their present political relationship are not the clear, specific, measurable and neutral ones of the physical sciences, but are instead of an entirely different character - vague, amorphous, often even quasi-religious in phrasing - it must be admitted that many of the generally understood distinctions between the sexes in the more significant areas of role and temperament, not to mention status, have in fact, essentially cultural, rather than biological, bases. Attempts to prove that temperamental dominance is inherent in the male (which for its advocates, would be tantamount to validating, logically as well as historically, the patriarchal situation regarding role and status) have been notably unsuccessful. Sources in the field are in hopeless disagreement about the nature of sexual differences, but the most reasonable among them have despaired of the ambition of any definite equation between temperament and biological nature. It appears that we are not soon to be enlightened as to the existence of any significant inherent differences between male and female beyond the bio-genital ones we already know. Endocrinology and genetics afford no definite evidence of determining mental-emotional differences. Not only is there insufficient evidence for the thesis that the present social distinctions of patriarchy (status, role, temperament) are physical in origin, but we are hardly in a position to assess the existing differentiations, since distinctions which we know to be culturally induced at present so outweigh them. Whatever the areal" differences between the sexes may be, we are not likely to know them until the sexes are treated differently, that is alike. And this is very far from being the case at present. Important new research not only suggests that the possibilities of innate

temperamental differences seem more remote than ever, but even raises questions as to the validity and permanence of psycho-sexual identity. In doing so it gives fairly concrete positive evidence of the overwhelmingly cultural character of gender, i.e. personality structure in terms of sexual category. What Stoller and other experts define as "core gender identity" is now thought to be established in the young by the age of eighteen months. This is how Stoller differentiates between sex and gender: Dictionaries stress that the major connotation of sex is a biological one, as for example, in the phrases sexual relations or the male sex. In agreement with this, the word sex, in this work will refer to the male or female sex and the component biological parts that determine whether one is a male or a female; the word sexual will have connotations of anatomy and physiology. This obviously leaves tremendous areas of behaviour, feelings, thoughts and fantasies that are related to the sexes and yet do not have primarily biological connotations. It is for some of these psychological phenomena that the term gender will be used: one can speak of the male sex or the female sex, but one can also talk about masculinity and femininity and not necessarily be implying anything about anatomy or physiology. Thus, while sex and gender seem to common sense inextricably bound together, one purpose this study will be to confirm the fact that the two realms (sex and gender) are not inevitably bound in anything like a one-to-one relationship, but each may go into quite independent ways. In cases of genital malformation and consequent erroneous gender assignment at birth, studied at the California Gender Identity Center, the discovery was made that it is easier to change the sex of an adolescent male, whose biological identity turns out to be contrary to his gender assignment and conditioning - through surgery - than to undo the educational consequences of years, which have succeeded in making the subject temperamentally feminine in gesture, sense of self, personality and interests. Studies done in California under Stoller's direction offer proof that gender identity (I am a girl, I am a boy) is the primary identity any human being holds - the first as well as the most permanent and far-reaching. Stoller later makes emphatic the distinction that sex is biological, gender psychological, and therefore cultural: "Gender is a term that has psychological or cultural rather than biological connotations. If the proper terms for sex are "male" and "female," the corresponding terms for gender are "masculine" and "feminine"; these latter may be quite independent of (biological) sex. Indeed, so arbitrary is gender, that it may even be contrary to physiology: ". . . although the external genitalia (penis, testes, scrotum) contribute to the sense of maleness, no one of them is essential for it, not even all of them together. In the absence of complete evidence, I agree in general with Money, and the Hampsons who show in their large series of intersexed patients that gender role is determined by postnatal forces, regardless of the anatomy and physiology of the external genitalia.'' It is now believed that the human foetus is originally physically female until the operation of androgen at a certain stage of gestation causes those with y chromosomes to develop into males. Psycho-sexually (e.g., in terms of masculine and feminine, and in contradistinction to male and female) there is no differentiation between the sexes at birth. Psycho-sexual personality is therefore postnatal and learned.

... the condition existing at birth and for several months thereafter is one of psycho-sexual undifferentiation. Just as in the embryo, morphologic sexual differentiation passes from a plastic stage to one of fixed immutability, so also does psycho-sexual differentiation become fixed and immutable - so much so, that mankind has traditionally assumed that so strong and fixed a feeling as personal sexual identity must stem from something innate, instinctive, and not subject to postnatal experience and learning. The error of this traditional assumption is that the power and permanence of something learned has been underestimated. The experiments of animal ethologists on imprinting have now corrected this misconception. John Money who is quoted above, believes that "the acquisition of a native language is a human counterpart to imprinting," and gender first established "with the establishment of a native language.'' This would place the time of establishment at about eighteen months. Jerome Kagin's studies in how children of pre-speech age are handled and touched, tickled and spoken to in terms of their sexual identity ("Is it a boy or a girl?" "Hello, little fellow," "Isn't she pretty," etc.) put the most considerable emphasis on purely tactile learning which would have much to do with the child's sense of self, even before speech is attained. Because of our social circumstances, male and female are really two cultures and their life experiences are utterly different and this is crucial. Implicit in all the gender identity development which takes place through childhood is the sum total of the parents', the peers', and the culture's notions of what is appropriate to each gender by way of temperament, character, interests, status, worth, gesture, and expression. Every moment of the child's life is a clue to how he or she must think and behave to attain or satisfy the demands which gender places upon one. In adolescence, the merciless task of conformity grows to crisis proportions, generally cooling and settling in maturity. Since patriarchy's biological foundations appear to be so very insecure, one has some cause to admire the strength of a "socialisation" which can continue a universal condition "on faith alone," as it were, or through an acquired value system exclusively. What does seem decisive in assuring the maintenance of the temperamental differences between the sexes is the conditioning of early childhood. Conditioning runs in a circle of self-perpetuation and self-fulfilling prophecy. To take a simple example: expectations the culture cherishes about his gender identity encourage the young male to develop aggressive impulses, and the female to thwart her own or turn them inward. The result is that the male tends to have aggression reinforced in his behaviour, often with significant anti-social possibilities. Thereupon the culture consents to believe the possession of the male indicator, the testes, penis, and scrotum, in itself characterises the aggressive impulse, and even vulgarly celebrates it in such encomiums as "that guy has balls." The same process of reinforcement is evident in producing the chief "feminine" virtue of passivity. In contemporary terminology, the basic division of temperamental trait is marshalled along the line of "aggression is male" and "passivity is female." All other temperamental traits are somehow - often with the most dexterous ingenuity - aligned to correspond. If aggressiveness is the trait of the master class, docility must be the corresponding trait of a subject group. The usual hope of such line of reasoning is that "nature," by some impossible outside chance, might still be depended upon to rationalise the patriarchal system. An important consideration to be remembered here is that in patriarchy, the function of norm is unthinkingly delegated to the male - were it not, one might as plausibly speak of "feminine" behaviour as active, and "masculine" behaviour as hyperactive or hyperaggressive.

Here it might be added, by way of a coda, that data from physical sciences has recently been enlisted again to support sociological arguments, such as those of Lionel Tiger who seeks a genetic justification of patriarchy by proposing a '"bonding instinct" in males which assures their political and social control of human society. One sees the implication of such a theory by applying its premise to any ruling group. Tiger's thesis appears to be a misrepresentation of the work of Lorenz and other students of animal behaviour. Since his evidence of inherent trait is patriarchal history and organisation, his pretensions to physical evidence are both specious and circular. One can only advance genetic evidence when one has genetic (rather than historical) evidence to advance. As many authorities dismiss the possibility of instincts (complex inherent behavioural patterns) in humans altogether, admitting only reflexes and drives (far simpler neural responses), the prospects of a "bonding instinct" appear particularly forlorn. Should one regard sex in humans as a drive, it is still necessary to point out that the enormous area of our lives, both in early "socialisation" and in adult experience, labelled "sexual behaviour," is almost entirely the product of learning. So much is this the case that even the act of coitus itself is the product of a long series of learned responses - responses to the patterns and attitudes, even as to the object of sexual choice, which are set up for us by our social environment. The arbitrary character of patriarchal ascriptions of temperament and role has little effect upon their power over us. Nor do the mutually exclusive, contradictory, and polar qualities of the categories "masculine" and "feminine" imposed upon human personality give rise to sufficiently serious question among us. Under their aegis each personality becomes little more, and often less than half, of its human potential. Politically, the fact that each group exhibits a circumscribed but complementary personality and range of activity is of secondary importance to the fact that each represents a status or power division. In the matter of conformity patriarchy is a governing ideology without peer; it is probable that no other system has ever exercised such a complete control over its subjects.

III Sociological
Patriarchy's chief institution is the family. It is both a mirror of and a connection with the larger society; a patriarchal unit within a patriarchal whole. Mediating between the individual and the social structure, the family effects control and conformity where political and other authorities are insufficient. As the fundamental instrument and the foundation unit of patriarchal society the family and its roles are prototypical. Serving as an agent of the larger society, the family not only encourages its own members to adjust and conform, but acts as a unit in the government of the patriarchal state which rules its citizens through its family heads. Even in patriarchal societies where they are granted legal citizenship, women tend to be ruled through the family alone and have little or no formal relation to the state. As co-operation between the family and the larger society is essential, else both would fall apart, the fate of three patriarchal institutions, the family, society, and the state are interrelated. In most forms of patriarchy this has generally led to the granting of religious support in statements such as the Catholic precept that "the father is head of the family," or Judaism's delegation of quasipriestly authority to the male parent. Secular governments today also confirm this, as in census

practices of designating the male as head of household, taxation, passports etc. Female heads of household tend to be regarded as undesirable; the phenomenon is a trait of poverty or misfortune. The Confucian prescription that the relationship between ruler and subject is parallel to that of father and children points to the essentially feudal character of the patriarchal family (and conversely, the familial character of feudalism) even in modern democracies. Traditionally, patriarchy granted the father nearly total ownership over wife or wives and children, including the powers of physical abuse and often even those of murder and sale. Classically, as head of the family the father is both begetter and owner in a system in which kinship is property. Yet in strict patriarchy, kinship is acknowledged only through association with the male line. Agnation excludes the descendants of the female line from property right and often even from recognition. The first formulation of the patriarchal family was made by Sir Henry Maine, a nineteenth-century historian of ancient jurisprudence. Maine argues that the patriarchal basis of kinship is put in terms of dominion rather than blood; wives, though outsiders, are assimilated into the line, while sisters sons are excluded. Basing his definition of the family upon the patria potestes of Rome, Maine defined it as follows: "The eldest male parent is absolutely supreme in his household. His dominion extends to life and death and is as unqualified over his children and their houses as over his slaves." In the archaic patriarchal family "the group consists of animate and inanimate property, of wife, children, slaves, land and goods, all held together by subjection to the despotic authority of the eldest male." McLennon's rebuttal to Maine argued that the Roman patria potestes was an extreme form of patriarchy and by no means, as Maine had imagined, universal. Evidence of matrilineal societies (preliterate societies in Africa and elsewhere) refute Maine's assumption of the universality of agnation. Certainly Maine's central argument, as to the primeval or state of nature character of patriarchy is but a rather naif rationalisation of an institution Maine tended to exalt. The assumption of patriarchy's primeval character is contradicted by much evidence which points to the conclusion that full patriarchal authority, particularly that of the patria potestes is a late development and the total erosion of female status was likely to be gradual as has been its recovery. In contemporary patriarchies the male's de jure priority has recently been modified through the granting of divorce protection, citizenship, and property to women. Their chattel status continues in their loss of name, their obligation to adopt the husband's domicile, and the general legal assumption that marriage involves an exchange of the female's domestic service and (sexual) consortium in return for financial support. The chief contribution of the family in patriarchy is the socialisation of the young (largely through the example and admonition of their parents) into patriarchal ideology's prescribed attitudes toward the categories of role, temperament, and status. Although slight differences of definition depend here upon the parents' grasp of cultural values, the general effect of uniformity is achieved, to be further reinforced through peers, schools, media, and other learning sources, formal and informal. While we may niggle over the balance of authority between the personalities of various households, one must remember that the entire culture supports masculine authority in all areas of life and - outside of the home - permits the female none at all.

To insure that its crucial functions of reproduction and socialisation of the young take place only within its confines, the patriarchal family insists upon legitimacy. Bronislaw Malinowski describes this as "the principle of legitimacy" formulating it as an insistence that "no child should be brought into the world without a man - and one man at that - assuming the role of sociological father." By this apparently consistent and universal prohibition (whose penalties vary by class and in accord with the expected operations of the double standard) patriarchy decrees that the status of both child and mother is primarily or ultimately dependent upon the male. And since it is not only his social status, but even his economic power upon which his dependents generally rely, the position of the masculine figure within the family - as without - is materially, as well as ideologically, extremely strong. Although there is no biological reason why the two central functions of the family (socialisation and reproduction) need be inseparable from or even take place within it, revolutionary or utopian efforts to remove these functions from the family have been so frustrated, so beset by difficulties, that most experiments so far have involved a gradual return to tradition. This is strong evidence of how basic a form patriarchy is within all societies, and of how pervasive its effects upon family members. It is perhaps also an admonition that change undertaken without a thorough understanding of the sociopolitical institution to be changed is hardly productive. And yet radical social change cannot take place without having an effect upon patriarchy. And not simply because it is the political form which subordinates such a large percentage of the population (women and youth) but because it serves as a citadel of property and traditional interests. Marriages are financial alliances, and each household operates as an economic entity much like a corporation. As one student of the family states it, "the family is the keystone of the stratification system, the social mechanism by which it is maintained."

IV Class
It is in the area of class that the caste-like status of the female within patriarchy is most liable to confusion, for sexual status often operates in a superficially confusing way within the variable of class. In a society where status is dependent upon the economic, social, and educational circumstances of class, it is possible for certain females to appear to stand higher than some males. Yet not when one looks more closely at the subject. This is perhaps easier to see by means of analogy: a black doctor or lawyer has higher social status than a poor white sharecropper. But race, itself a caste system which subsumes class, persuades the latter citizen that he belongs to a higher order of life, just as it oppresses the black professional in spirit, whatever his material success may be. In much the same manner, a truck driver or butcher has always his "manhood" to fall back upon. Should this final vanity be offended, he may contemplate more violent methods. The literature of the past thirty years provides a staggering number of incidents in which the caste of virility triumphs over the social status of wealthy or even educated women. In literary contexts one has to deal here with wish-fulfilment. Incidents from life (bullying, obscene, or hostile remarks) are probably another sort of psychological gesture of ascendancy. Both convey more hope than reality, for class divisions are generally quite impervious to the hostility of individuals. And yet while the existence of class division is not seriously threatened by such expressions of enmity, the existence of sexual hierarchy has been re-affirmed and mobilised to "punish" the female quite effectively.

The function of class or ethnic mores in patriarchy is largely a matter of how overtly displayed or how loudly enunciated the general ethic of masculine supremacy allows itself to become. Here one is confronted by what appears to be a paradox: while in the lower social strata, the male is more likely to claim authority on the strength of his sex rank alone, he is actually obliged more often to share power with the women of his class who are economically productive; whereas in the middle and upper classes, there is less tendency to assert a blunt patriarchal dominance, as men who enjoy such status have more power in any case. It is generally accepted that Western patriarchy has been much softened by the concepts of courtly and romantic love. While this is certainly true, such influence has also been vastly overestimated. In comparison with the candour of "machismo" or oriental behaviour, one realises how much of a concession traditional chivalrous behaviour represents - a sporting kind of reparation to allow the subordinate female certain means of saving face. While a palliative to the injustice of woman's social position, chivalry is also a technique for disguising it. One must acknowledge that the chivalrous stance is a game the master group plays in elevating its subject to pedestal level. Historians of courtly love stress the fact that the raptures of the poets had no effect upon the legal or economic standing of women, and very little upon their social status. As the sociologist Hugo Beigel has observed, both the courtly and the romantic versions of love are "grants" which the male concedes out of his total powers. Both have had the effect of obscuring the patriarchal character of Western culture and m their general tendency to attribute impossible virtues to women, have ended by confining them in a narrow and often remarkably conscribing sphere of behaviour. It was a Victorian habit, for example, to insist the female assume the function of serving as the male's conscience and living the life of goodness he found tedious but felt someone ought to do anyway. The concept of romantic love affords a means of emotional manipulation which the male is free to exploit, since love is the only circumstance in which the female is (ideologically) pardoned for sexual activity. And convictions of romantic love are convenient to both parties since this is often the only condition in which the female can overcome the far more powerful conditioning she has received toward sexual inhibition. Romantic love also obscures the realities of female status and the burden of economic dependency. As to "chivalry," such gallant gesture as still resides in the middle classes has degenerated to a tired ritualism, which scarcely serves to mask the status situation of the present. Within patriarchy one must often deal with contradictions which ale simply a matter of class style. David Riesman has noted that as the working class has been assimilated into the middle class, so have its sexual mores and attitudes. The fairly blatant male chauvinism which was once a province of the lower class or immigrant male has been absorbed and taken on a certain glamour through a number of contemporary figures, who have made it, and a certain number of other working-class male attitudes, part of a new, and at the moment, fashionable life style. So influential is this working class ideal of brute virility (or more accurately, a literary and therefore middle-class version of it) become in our time that it may replace more discreet and "gentlemanly" attitudes of the past. One of the chief effects of class within patriarchy is to set one woman against another, in the past creating a lively antagonism between whore and matron, and in the present between career

woman and housewife. One envies the other her "security" and prestige, while the envied yearns beyond the confines of respectability for what she takes to be the other's freedom, adventure, and contact with the great world. Through the multiple advantages of the double standard, the male participates in both worlds, empowered by his superior social and economic resources to play the estranged women against each other as rivals. One might also recognise subsidiary status categories among women: not only is virtue class, but beauty and age as well. Perhaps, in the final analysis, it is possible to argue that women tend to transcend the usual class stratifications in patriarchy, for whatever the class of her birth and education, the female has fewer permanent class association than does the male. Economic dependency renders her affiliations with any class a tangential, vicarious, and temporary matter. Aristotle observed that the only slave to whom a commoner might lay claim was his woman, and the service of an unpaid domestic still provides working-class males with a "cushion" against the buffets of the class system which incidentally provides them with some of the psychic luxuries of the leisure class. Thrown upon their own resources, few women rise above working class in personal prestige and economic power, and women as a group do not enjoy many of the interests and benefits any class may offer its male members. Women have therefore less of an investment in the class system. But it is important to understand that as with any group whose existence is parasitic to its rulers, women are a dependency class who live on surplus And their marginal life frequently renders them conservative, for like all persons in their situation (slaves are a classic example here) they identify their own survival with the prosperity of those who feed them. The hope of seeking liberating radical solutions of their own seems too remote for the majority to dare contemplate and remains so until consciousness on the subject is raised. As race is emerging as one of the final variables in sexual politics, it is pertinent, especially in a discussion of modern literature, to devote a few words to it as well. Traditionally, the white male has been accustomed to concede the female of his own race, in her capacity as "his woman" a higher status than that ascribed to the black male. Yet as white racist ideology is exposed and begins to erode, racism's older protective attitudes toward (white) women also begin to give way. And the priorities of maintaining male supremacy might outweigh even those of white supremacy; sexism may be more endemic in our own society than racism. For example, one notes in authors whom we would now term overtly racist, such as D. H. Lawrence - whose contempt for what he so often designates as inferior breeds is unabashed - instances where the lower-caste male is brought on to master or humiliate the white man's own insubordinate mate. Needless to say, the female of the non-white races does not figure in such tales save as an exemplum of "true" womanhood's servility, worthy of imitation by other less carefully instructed females. Contemporary white sociology often operates under a similar patriarchal bias when its rhetoric inclines toward the assertion that the "matriarchal" (e.g. matrifocal) aspect of black society and the "castration" of the black male are the most deplorable symptoms of black oppression in white racist society, with the implication that racial inequity is capable of solution by a restoration of masculine authority. Whatever the facts of the matter may be, it can also be suggested that analysis of this kind presupposes patriarchal values without questioning them, and tends to obscure both the true character of and the responsibility for racist injustice toward black humanity of both sexes.

V Economic and Educational

One of the most efficient branches of patriarchal government lies in the agency of its economic hold over its female subjects. In traditional patriarchy, women, as non-persons without legal standing were permitted no actual economic existence as they could neither own nor earn in their own right. Since women have always worked in patriarchal societies, often at the most routine or strenuous tasks, what is at issue here is not labor but economic reward. In modern reformed patriarchal societies, women have certain economic rights, yet the "woman's work" in which some two thirds of the female population in most developed countries are engaged is work that is not paid for. In a money economy where autonomy and prestige depend upon currency, this is a fact of great importance. In general, the position of women in patriarchy is a continuous function of their economic dependence. Just as their social position is vicarious and achieved (often on a temporary or marginal basis) though males, their relation to the economy is also typically vicarious or tangential. Of that third of women who are employed, their average wages represent only half of the average income enjoyed by men. These are the U. S. Department of Labor statistics for average yearround income: white male, $6704, non-white male $4277, white female, $3991, and non-white female $2816. The disparity is made somewhat more remarkable because the educational level of women is generally higher than that of men in comparable income brackets. Further, the kinds of employment open to women in modem patriarchies are, with few exceptions, menial, ill paid and without status. In modem capitalist countries women also function as a reserve labor force, enlisted in times of war and expansion and discharged in times of peace and recession. In this role American women have replaced immigrant labor and now compete with the racial minorities. In socialist countries the female labor force is generally in the lower ranks as well, despite a high incidence of women in certain professions such as medicine. The status and rewards o$ such professions have declined as women enter them, and they are permitted to enter such areas under a rationale that society or the state (and socialist countries are also patriarchal) rather than woman is served by such activity. Since woman's independence in economic life is viewed with distrust, prescriptive agencies of all kinds (religion, psychology, advertising, etc.) continuously admonish or even inveigh against the employment of middle-class women, particularly mothers. The toil of working class women is more readily accepted as "need," if not always by the working-class itself, at least by the middle-class. And to be sure, it serves the purpose of making available cheap labor in factory and lower-grade service and clerical positions. Its wages and tasks are so unremunerative that, unlike more prestigious employment for women, it fails to threaten patriarchy financially or psychologically. Women who are employed have two jobs since the burden of domestic service and child care is unrelieved either by day care or other social agencies, or by the cooperation of husbands. The invention of labor-saving devices has had no appreciable effect on the duration, even if it has affected the quality of their drudgery. Discrimination in matters of hiring, maternity, wages and hours is very great. In the U. S. a recent law forbidding discrimination in employment, the first and only federal legislative guarantee of rights granted to American women since the vote, is not enforced, has not been enforced since its passage, and was not enacted to be enforced.

In terms of industry and production, the situation of women is in many ways comparable both to colonial and to pre-industrial peoples. Although they achieved their first economic autonomy in the industrial revolution and now constitute a large and underpaid factory population, women do not participate directly in technology or in production. What they customarily produce (domestic and personal service) has no market value and is, as it were, pre-capital. Nor, where they do participate in production of commodities through employment, do they own or control or even comprehend the process in which they participate. An example might make this clearer: the refrigerator is a machine all women use, some assemble it in factories, and a very few with scientific education understand its principles of operation. Yet the heavy industries which roll its steel and produce the dies for its parts are in male hands. The same is true of the typewriter, the auto, etc. Now, while knowledge is fragmented even among the male population, collectively they could reconstruct any technological device. But in the absence of males, women's distance from technology today is sufficiently great that it is doubtful that they could replace or repair such machines on any significant scale. Woman's distance from higher technology is even greater: large-scale building construction; the development of computers; the moon shot, occur as further examples. If knowledge is power, power is also knowledge, and a large factor in their subordinate position is the fairly systematic ignorance patriarchy imposes upon women. Since education and economy are so closely related in the advanced nations, it is significant that the general level and style of higher education for women, particularly in their many remaining segregated institutions, is closer to that of Renaissance humanism than to the skills of midtwentieth-century scientific and technological society. Traditionally patriarchy permitted occasional minimal literacy to women while higher education was closed to them. While modern patriarchies have, fairly recently, opened all educational levels to women, the kind and quality of education is not the same for each sex. This difference is of course apparent in early socialisation but it persists and enters into higher education as well. Universities, once p]aces of scholarship and the training of a few professionals, now also produce the personnel of a technocracy. This is not the case with regard to women. Their own colleges typically produce neither scholars nor professionals nor technocrats. Nor are they funded by government and corporations as are male colleges and those co-educational colleges and universities whose primary function is the education of males. As patriarchy enforces a temperamental imbalance of personality traits between the sexes, its educational institutions, segregated or coeducational, accept a cultural programming toward the generally operative division between "masculine" and "feminine" subject matter, assigning the humanities and certain social sciences (at least in their lower or marginal branches) to the female - and science and technology, the professions, business and engineering to the male. Of course the balance of employment, prestige and reward at present lie with the latter. Control of these fields is very eminently a matter of political power. One might also point out how the exclusive dominance of males in the more prestigious fields directly serves the interests of {patriarchal power in industry, government, and the military. And since patriarchy encourages an imbalance in human temperament along sex lines, both divisions of learning (science and the humanities) reflect this imbalance. The humanities, because not exclusively male, suffer in prestige: the sciences, technology, and business, because they are nearly exclusively male reflect the deformation of the "masculine" personality, e.g., a certain predatory or aggressive character.

In keeping with the inferior sphere of culture to which women in patriarchy have always been restricted, the present encouragement of their "artistic" interests through study of the humanities is hardly more than an extension of the "accomplishments" they once cultivated in preparation for the marriage market. Achievement in the arts and humanities is reserved, now, as it has been historically, for males. Token representation, be it Susan Sontag's or Lady Murasaki's, does not vitiate this rule.

VI Force
We are not accustomed to associate patriarchy with force. So perfect is its system of socialisation, so complete the general assent to its values, so long and so universally has it prevailed in human society, that it scarcely seems to require violent implementation. Customarily, we view its brutalities in the past as exotic or "primitive" custom. Those of the present are regarded as the product of individual deviance, confined to pathological or exceptional behaviour, and without general import. And yet, just as under other total ideologies (racism and colonialism are somewhat analogous in this respect) control in patriarchal society would be imperfect, even inoperable, unless it had the rule of force to rely upon, both in emergencies and as an ever-present instrument of intimidation. Historically, most patriarchies have institutionalised force through their legal systems. For example, strict patriarchies such as that of Islam, have implemented the prohibition against illegitimacy or sexual autonomy with a death sentence. In Afghanistan and Saudi Arabia the adulteress is still stoned to death with a mullah presiding at the execution. Execution by stoning was once common practice through the Near East. It is still condoned in Sicily. Needless to say there was and is no penalty imposed upon the male correspondent. Save in recent times or exceptional cases, adultery was not generally recognised in males except as an offence one male might commit against another's property interest. In Tokugawa Japan, for example, an elaborate set of legal distinctions were made according to class. A samurai was entitled, and in the face of public knowledge, even obliged, to execute an adulterous wife, whereas a chonin (common citizen) or peasant might respond as he pleased. In cases of cross-class adultery, the lower-class male convicted of sexual intimacy with his employer's wife would, because he had violated taboos of class and property, be beheaded together with her. Upper strata males had, of course, the same license to seduce lower-class women as we are familiar with in Western societies. Indirectly, one form of "death penalty" still obtains even in America today. Patriarchal legal systems in depriving women of control over their own bodies drive them to illegal abortions; it is estimated that between two and five thousand women die each year from this cause. Excepting a social license to physical abuse among certain class and ethnic groups, force is diffuse and generalised in most contemporary patriarchies. Significantly, force itself is restricted to the male who alone is psychologically and technically equipped to perpetrate physical violence? Where differences in physical strength have become immaterial through the use of arms, the female is rendered innocuous by her socialisation. Before assault she is almost universally defenceless both by her physical and emotional training. Needless to say, this has the most far-reaching effects on the social and psychological behaviour of both sexes.

Patriarchal force also relies on a form of violence particularly sexual in character and realised most completely in the act of rape. The figures of rapes reported represent only a fraction of those which occur, as the shame of the event is sufficient to deter women from the notion of civil prosecution under the public circumstances of a trial. Traditionally rape has been viewed as an offence one male commits upon another - a matter of abusing "his woman." Vendetta, such as occurs in the American South, is carried out for masculine satisfaction the exhilarations of race hatred, and the interests of property and vanity (honour). In rape, the emotions of aggression, hatred, contempt, and the desire to break or violate personality, take a form consummately appropriate to sexual politics. In the passages analysed at the' outset of this study, such emotions were present at a barely sublimated level and were a key factor in explaining the attitude behind the author's use of language and tone. Patriarchal societies typically link feelings of cruelty with sexuality, the latter often equated both with evil and with power. This is apparent both in the sexual fantasy reported by psychoanalysis and that reported by pornography. The rule here associates sadism with the male ("the masculine role") and victimisation with the female ("the feminine role''). Emotional response to violence against women in patriarchy is often curiously ambivalent; references to wife-beating, for example, invariably produce laughter and some embarrassment. Exemplary atrocity, such as the mass murders committed by Richard Speck, greeted at one level with a certain scandalised, possibly hypocritical indignation, is capable of eliciting a mass response of titillation at another level. At such times one even hears from men occasional expressions of envy or amusement. In view of the sadistic character of such public fantasy as caters to male audiences in pornography or semi-pornographic media, one might expect that a certain element of identification is by no means absent from the general response. Probably a similar collective frisson sweeps through racist society when its more "logical" members have perpetrated a lynching. Unconsciously, both crimes may serve the larger group as a ritual act, cathartic in effect. Hostility is expressed in a number of ways. One is laughter. Misogynist literature, the primary vehicle of masculine hostility, is both an hortatory and comic genre. Of all artistic forms in patriarchy it is the most frankly propagandistic. Its aim is to reinforce both sexual factions in their status. Ancient, Medieval, and Renaissance literature in the West has each had a large element of misogyny. Nor is the East without a strong tradition here, notably in the Confucian strain which held sway in Japan as well as China. The Western tradition was indeed moderated somewhat by the introduction of courtly love. But the old diatribes and attacks were coterminous with the new idealisation of woman. In the case of Petrarch, Boccaccio, and some others, one can find both attitudes fully expressed, presumably as evidence of different moods, a courtly pose adopted for the ephemeral needs of the vernacular, a grave animosity for sober and eternal Latin. As courtly love was transformed to romantic love, literary misogyny grew somewhat out of fashion. In some places in the eighteenth century it declined into ridicule and exhortative satire. In the nineteenth century its more acrimonious forms almost disappeared in English. Its resurrection in twentieth-century attitudes and literature is the result of a resentment over patriarchal reform, aided by the growing permissiveness in expression which has taken place at an increasing rate in the last fifty years. Since the abatement of censorship, masculine hostility (psychological or physical) in specifically sexual contexts has become far more apparent. Yet as masculine hostility has been fairly

continuous, one deals here probably less with a matter of increase than with a new frankness in expressing hostility in specifically sexual contexts. It is a matter of release and freedom to express what was once forbidden expression outside of pornography or other "underground" productions, such as those of De Sade. As one recalls both the euphemism and the idealism of descriptions of coitus in the Romantic poets (Keats's Eve of St. Agnes), or the Victorian novelists (Hardy, for example) and contrasts it with Miller or William Burroughs, one has an idea of how contemporary literature has absorbed not only the truthful explicitness of pornography, but its anti-social character as well. Since this tendency to hurt or insult has been given free expression, it has become far easier to assess sexual antagonism in the male. The history of patriarchy presents a variety of cruelties and barbarities: the suttee execution in India, the crippling deformity of foot-binding in China, the lifelong ignominy of the veil in Islam, or the widespread persecution of sequestration, the gynaecium, and purdah. Phenomenon such as clitoridectomy, clitoral incision, the sale and enslavement of women under one guise or another, involuntary and child marriages, concubinage and prostitution, still take place - the first in Africa, the latter in the Near and Far East, the last generally. The rationale which accompanies that imposition of male authority euphemistically referred to as "the battle of the sexes" bears a certain resemblance to the formulas of nations at war, where any heinousness is justified on the grounds that the enemy is either an inferior species or really not human at all. The patriarchal mentality has concocted a whole series of rationales about women which accomplish this purpose tolerably well. And these traditional beliefs still invade our consciousness and affect our thinking to an extent few of us would be willing to admit.

VII Anthropological: Myth and Religion


Evidence from anthropology, religious and literary myth all attests to the politically expedient character of patriarchal convictions about women. One anthropologist refers to a consistent patriarchal strain of assumption that "woman's biological differences set her apart . . . she is essentially inferior," and since "human institutions grow from deep and primal anxieties and are shaped by irrational psychological mechanisms . . . socially organised attitudes toward women arise from basic tensions expressed by the male." Under patriarchy the female did not herself develop the symbols by which she is described. AS both the primitive and the civilised worlds are male worlds, the ideas which shaped culture in regard to the female were also of male design. The image of women as we know it is an image created by men and fashioned to suit their needs. These needs spring from a fear of the "otherness" of woman. Yet this notion itself presupposes that patriarchy has already been established and the male has already set himself as the human form, the subject and referent to which the female is "other" or alien. What ever its origin, the function of the male's sexual antipathy is to provide a means of control over a subordinate group and a rationale which justifies the inferior station of those in a lower order, "explaining" the oppression of their lives. The feeling that woman's sexual functions are impure is both world-wide and persistent. One sees evidence of it everywhere in literature, in myth, in primitive and civilised life. It is striking how the notion persists today. The event of menstruation, for example, is a largely clandestine affair, and the psycho-social effect of the stigma attached must have great effect on the female ego. There is a large anthropological literature on menstrual taboo; the practice of isolating

offenders in huts at the edge of the village occurs throughout the primitive world. Contemporary slang denominates menstruation as "the curse." There is considerable evidence that such discomfort as women suffer during their period is often likely to be psychosomatic, rather than physiological, cultural rather than biological, in origin. That this may also be true to some extent of labor and delivery is attested to by the recent experiment with "painless childbirth." Patriarchal circumstances and beliefs seem to have the effect of poisoning the female's own sense of physical self until it often truly becomes the burden it is said to be. Primitive peoples explain the phenomenon of the female's genitals in terms of a wound, sometimes reasoning that she was visited by a bird or snake and mutilated into her present condition. Once she was wounded, now she bleeds. Contemporary slang for the vagina is "gash." The Freudian description of the female genitals is in terms of a "castrated" condition. The uneasiness and disgust female genitals arouse in patriarchal societies is attested to through religious, cultural, and literary proscription. In preliterate groups fear is also a factor, as in the belief in a castrating vagina dentata. The penis, badge of the male's superior status in both preliterate and civilised patriarchies, is given the most crucial significance, the subject both of endless boasting and endless anxiety. Nearly all patriarchies enforce taboos against women touching ritual objects (those of war or religion) or food. In ancient and preliterate societies women are generally not permitted to eat with men. Women eat apart today in a great number of cultures, chiefly those of the Near and Far East. Some of the inspiration of such custom appears to lie in fears of contamination, probably sexual in origin. In their function of domestic servants, females are forced to prepare food, yet at the same time may be liable to spread their contagion through ;L A similar situation obtains with blacks in the United States. They are considered filthy and infectious, yet as domestics they are forced to prepare food for their queasy superiors. In both cases the dilemma is generally solved in a deplorably illogical fashion by segregating the act of eating itself, while cooking is carried on out of sight by the very group who would infect the table. With an admirable consistency, some Hindu males do not permit their wives to touch their food at all. In nearly every patriarchal group it is expected that the dominant male will eat first or eat better, and even where the sexes feed together, the male shall be served by the female. All patriarchies have hedged virginity and defloration in elaborate rites and interdictions. Among preliterates virginity presents an interesting problem in ambivalence. On the one hand, it is, as in every patriarchy, a mysterious good because a sign of property received intact. On the other hand, it represents an unknown evil associated with the mana of blood and terrifyingly "other." So auspicious is the event of defloration that in many tribes the owner-groom is willing to relinquish breaking the seal of his new possession to a stronger or older personality who can neutralise the attendant dangers. Fears of defloration appear to originate in a fear of the alien sexuality of the female. Although any physical suffering endured in defloration must be on the part of the female (and most societies cause her - bodily and mentally - to suffer anguish), the social interest, institutionalised in patriarchal ritual and custom, is exclusively on the side of the male's property interest, prestige, or (among preliterates) hazard. Patriarchal myth typically posits a golden age before the arrival of women, while its social practices permit males to be relieved of female company. Sexual segregation is so prevalent in

patriarchy that one encounters evidence of it everywhere. Nearly every powerful circle in contemporary patriarchy is a men's group. But men form groups of their own on every level. Women's groups are typically auxiliary in character, imitative of male efforts and methods on a generally trivial or ephemeral plane. They rarely operate without recourse to male authority, church or religious groups appealing to the superior authority of a cleric, political groups to male legislators, etc. In sexually segregated situations the distinctive quality of culturally enforced temperament becomes very vivid. This is particularly true of those exclusively masculine organisations which anthropology generally refers to as men's house institutions. The men's house is a fortress of patriarchal association and emotion. Men's houses in preliterate society strengthen masculine communal experience through dances, gossip, hospitality, recreation, and religious ceremony. They are also the arsenals of male weaponry. David Riesman has pointed out that sports and some other activities provide males with a supportive solidarity which society does not trouble to provide for females. While hunting, politics, religion, and commerce may play a role, sport and warfare are consistently the chief cement of men's house comradery. Scholars of men's house culture from Hutton Webster and Heinrich Schurtz to Lionel Tiger tend to be sexual patriots whose aim is to justify the apartheid the institution represents. Schurtz believes an innate gregariousness and a drive toward fraternal pleasure among peers urges the male away from the inferior and constricting company of women. Notwithstanding his conviction that a mystical "bonding instinct" exists in males, Tiger exhorts the public, by organised effort, to preserve the men's house tradition from its decline. The institution's less genial function of power center within a state of sexual antagonism is an aspect of the phenomenon which often goes unnoticed. The men's house of Melanesia fulfil a variety of purposes and are both armory and the site of masculine ritual initiation ceremony. Their atmosphere is not very remote from that of military institutions in the modern world: they reek of physical exertion, violence, the aura of the kill, and the throb of homosexual sentiment. They are the scenes of scarification, head-hunting celebrations, and boasting sessions. Here young men are to be "hardened" into manhood. In the men's houses boys have such low status they are often called the "wives" of their initiators, the term "wife" implying both inferiority and the status of sexual object. Untried youths become the erotic interest of their elders and betters, a relationship also encountered in the Samurai order, in oriental priesthood, and in the Greek gymnasium. Preliterate wisdom decrees that while inculcating the young with the masculine ethos, it is necessary first to intimidate them with the tutelary status of the female. An anthropologist's comment on Melanesian men's houses is applicable equally to Genet's underworld, or Mailer's U. S. Army: "It would seem that the sexual brutalising of the young boy and the effort to turn him into a woman both enhances the older warrior's desire of power, gratifies his sense of hostility toward the maturing male competitor, and eventually, when he takes him into the male group, strengthens the male solidarity in its symbolic attempt to do without women." The derogation of feminine status in lesser males is a consistent patriarchal trait. Like any hazing procedure, initiation once endured produces devotees who will ever after be ardent initiators, happily inflicting their own former sufferings on the newcomer.

The psychoanalytic term for the generalised adolescent tone of men's house culture is "phallic state." Citadels of virility, they reinforce the most saliently power-oriented characteristics of patriarchy. The Hungarian psychoanalytic anthropologist Geza Roheim stressed the patriarchal character of men's house organisation in the preliterate tribes he studied, defining their communal and religious practices in terms of a "group of men united in the cult of an object that is a materialised penis and excluding the women from their society." The tone and ethos of men's house culture is sadistic, power-oriented, and latently homosexual, frequently narcissistic in its energy and motives. The men's house inference that the penis is a weapon, endlessly equated with other weapons is also clear. The practice of castrating prisoners is itself a comment on the cultural confusion of anatomy and status with weaponry. Much of the glamorisation of masculine comradery in warfare originates in what one might designate as "the men's house sensibility." Its sadistic and brutalising aspects are disguised in military glory and a particularly cloying species of masculine sentimentality. A great deal of our culture partakes of this tradition, and one might locate its first statement in Western literature in the heroic intimacy of Patroclus and Achilles. Its development can be traced through the epic and the saga to the chanson de geste. The tradition still flourishes in war novel and movie, not to mention the comic book. Considerable sexual activity does take place in the men's house, all of it, needless to say, homosexual. But the taboo against homosexual behaviour (at least among equals) is almost universally of far stronger force than the impulse and tends to effect a rechannelling of the libido into violence. This association of sexuality and violence is a particularly militaristic habit of mind. The negative and militaristic coloring of such men's house homosexuality as does exist, is of course by no means the whole character of homosexual sensibility. Indeed, the warrior caste of mind with its ultravirility, is more incipiently homosexual, in its exclusively male orientation, than it is overtly homosexual. (The Nazi experience is an extreme case in point here.) And the heterosexual role-playing indulged in, and still more persuasively, the contempt in which the younger, softer, or more "feminine" members are held, is proof that the actual ethos is misogynist, or perversely rather than positively heterosexual. The true inspiration of men's house association therefore comes from the patriarchal situation rather than from any circumstances inherent in the homo-amorous relationship. If a positive attitude toward heterosexual love is not quite, in Seignebos' famous dictum, the invention of the twelfth century, it can still claim to be a novelty. Most patriarchies go to great length to exclude love as a basis of mate selection. Modern patriarchies tend to do so through class, ethnic, and religious factors. Western classical thought was prone to see in heterosexual love either a fatal stroke of ill luck bound to end in tragedy, or a contemptible and brutish consorting with inferiors. Medieval opinion was firm in its conviction that love was sinful if sexual, and sex sinful if loving. Primitive society practices its misogyny in terms of taboo and mana which evolve into explanatory myth. In historical cultures, this is transformed into ethical, then literary, and in the modem period, scientific rationalisations for the sexual politic. Myth is, of course, a felicitous advance in the level of propaganda, since it so often bases its arguments on ethics or theories of origins. The two leading myths of Western culture are the classical tale of Pandora's box and the Biblical story of the Fall. In both cases earlier mana concepts of feminine evil have passed

through a final literary phase to become highly influential ethical justifications of things as they are. Pandora appears to be a discredited version of a Mediterranean fertility goddess, for in Hesiod's Theogony she wears a wreath of flowers and a sculptured diadem in which are caned all the creatures of land and sea. Hesiod ascribes to her the introduction of sexuality which puts an end to the golden age when "the races of men had been living on earth free from all evils, free from laborious work, and free from all wearing sickness." Pandora was the origin of "the damnable race of women - a plague which men must live with." The introduction of what are seen to be the evils of the male human condition came through the introduction of the female and what is said to be her unique product, sexuality. In Works And Days Hesiod elaborates on Pandora and what she represents - a perilous temptation with "the mind of a bitch and a thievish nature," full of "the cruelty of desire and longings that wear out the body," 'lies and cunning words and a deceitful soul," a snare sent by Zeus to be "the ruin of men." Patriarchy has God on its side. One of its most effective agents of control is the powerfully expeditious character of its doctrines as to the nature and origin of the female and the attribution to her alone of the dangers and evils it imputes to sexuality. The Greek example is interesting here: when it wishes to exalt sexuality it celebrates fertility through the phallus; when it wishes to denigrate sexuality, it cites Pandora. Patriarchal religion and ethics tend to lump the female and sex together as if the whole burden of the onus and stigma it attaches to sex were the fault of the female alone. Thereby sex, which is known to be unclean, sinful, and debilitating, pertains to the female, and the male identity is preserved as a human, rather than a sexual one. The Pandora myth is one of two important Western archetypes which condemn the female through her sexuality and explain her position as her well-deserved punishment for the primal sin under whose unfortunate consequences the race yet labours. Ethics have entered the scene, replacing the simplicities of ritual, taboo, and mana. The more sophisticated vehicle of myth also provides official explanations of sexual history. In Hesiod's tale, Zeus, a rancorous and arbitrary father figure, in sending Epimetheus evil in the form of female genitalia, is actually chastising him for adult heterosexual knowledge and activity. In opening the vessel she brings (the vulva or hymen, Pandora's "Box") the male satisfies his curiosity but sustains the discovery only by punishing himself at the hands of the father god with death and the assorted calamities of postlapsarian life. The patriarchal trait of male rivalry across age or status line, particularly those of powerful father and rival son, is present as well as the ubiquitous maligning of the female. The myth of the Fall is a highly finished version of the same themes. As the central myth of the Judeo-Christian imagination and therefore of our immediate cultural heritage, it is well that we appraise and acknowledge the enormous power it still holds over us even in a rationalist era which has long ago given up literal belief in it while maintaining its emotional assent intact. This mythic version of the female as the cause of human suffering, knowledge, and sin is still the foundation of sexual attitudes, for it represents the most crucial argument of the patriarchal tradition in the West. The Israelites lived in a continual state of war with the fertility cults of their neighbours; these latter afforded sufficient attraction to be the source of constant defection, and the figure of Eve,

like that of Pandora, has vestigial traces of a fertility goddess overthrown. There is some, probably unconscious, evidence of this in the Biblical account which announces, even before the narration of the fall has begun - "Adam called his wife's name Eve; because she was the mother of all living things." Due to the fact that the tale represents a compilation of different oral traditions, it provides two contradictory schemes for Eve's creation, one in which both sexes are created at the same time, and one in which Eve is fashioned later than Adam, an afterthought born from his rib, peremptory instance of the male's expropriation of the life force through a god who created the world without benefit of female assistance. The tale of Adam and Eve is, among many other things, a narrative of how humanity invented sexual intercourse. Many such narratives exist in preliterate myth and folk tale. Most of them strike us now as delightfully funny stories of primal innocents who require a good deal of helpful instruction to figure it out. There are other major themes in the story: the loss of primeval simplicity, the arrival of death, and the fist conscious experience of knowledge. All of them revolve about sex. Adam is forbidden to eat of the fruit of life or of the knowledge of good and evil, the warning states explicitly what should happen if he tastes of the latter: "in that day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die." He eats but fails to die (at least in the story), from which one might infer that the serpent told the truth. But at the moment when the pair eat of the forbidden tree they awake to their nakedness and feel shame. Sexuality is clearly involved, though the fable insists it is only tangential to a higher prohibition against disobeying orders in the matter of another and less controversial appetite one for food. Roheim points out that the Hebrew verb for "eat" can also mean coitus. Everywhere in the Bible "knowing" is synonymous with sexuality, and clearly a product of contact with the phallus, here in the fable objectified as a snake. To blame the evils and sorrows of life - loss of Eden and the rest - on sexuality, would all too logically implicate the male, and such implication is hardly the purpose of the story, designed as it is expressly in order to blame all this world's discomfort on the female. Therefore it is the female who is tempted first and "beguiled" by the penis, transformed into something else, a snake. Thus Adam has "beaten the rap" of sexual guilt, which appears to be why the sexual motive is so repressed in the Biblical account. Yet the very transparency of the serpent's universal phallic value shows how uneasy the mythic mind can be about its shifts. Accordingly, in her inferiority and vulnerability the woman takes and eats, simple carnal thing that she is, affected by flattery even in a reptile. Only after this does the male fall, and with him, humanity - for the fable has made him the racial type, whereas Eve is a mere sexual type and, according to tradition, either expendable or replaceable. And as the myth records the original sexual adventure, Adam was seduced by woman, who was seduced by a penis. 'The woman whom thou gavest to be with me, she gave me of the fruit and I did eat" is the first man's defence. Seduced by the phallic snake, Eve is convicted for Adam's participation in sex. Adam's curse is to toil in the "sweat of his brow," namely the labor the male associates with civilisation. Eden was a fantasy world without either effort or activity, which the entrance of the female, and with her sexuality, has destroyed. Eve's sentence is far more political in nature and a brilliant "explanation" of her inferior status. "In sorrow thou shalt bring forth children. And thy desire shall be to thy husband. And he shall rule over thee." Again, as in the Pandora myth, a proprietary father figure is punishing his subjects for adult heterosexuality. It is easy to agree

with Roheim's comment on the negative attitude the myth adopts toward sexuality: "Sexual maturity is regarded as a misfortune, something that has robbed mankind of happiness . . . the explanation of how death came into the world.'' What requires further emphasis is the responsibility of the female, a marginal creature, in bringing on this plague, and the justice of her suborned condition as dependent on her primary role in this original sin. The connection of woman, sex, and sin constitutes the fundamental pattern of western patriarchal thought thereafter.

VIII Psychological
The aspects of patriarchy already described have each an effect upon the psychology of both sexes. Their principal result is the interiorisation of patriarchal ideology. Status, temperament, and role are all value systems with endless psychological ramifications for each sex. Patriarchal marriage and the family with its ranks and division of labor play a large part in enforcing them. The male's superior economic position, the female's inferior one have also grave implications. The large quantity of guilt attached to sexuality in patriarchy is overwhelmingly placed upon the female, who is, culturally speaking, held to be the culpable or the more culpable party in nearly any sexual liaison, whatever the extenuating circumstances. A tendency toward the reification of the female makes her more often a sexual object than a person. This is particularly so when she is denied human rights through chattel status. Even where this has been partly amended the cumulative effect of religion and custom is still very powerful and has enormous psychological consequences. Woman is still denied sexual freedom and the biological control over her body through the cult of virginity, the double standard, the prescription against abortion, and in many places because contraception is physically or psychically unavailable to her. The continual surveillance in which she is held tends to perpetuate the infantilisation of women even in situations such as those of higher education. The female is continually obliged to seek survival or advancement through the approval of males as those who hold power. She may do this either through appeasement or through the exchange of her sexuality for support and status. As the history of patriarchal culture and the representations of herself within all levels of its cultural media, past and present, have a devastating effect upon her self image, she is customarily deprived of any but the most trivial sources of dignity or self-respect. In many patriarchies, language, as well as cultural tradition, reserve the human condition for the male. With the IndoEuropean languages this is a nearly inescapable habit of mind, for despite all the customary pretence that "man" and "humanity" are terms which apply equally to both sexes, the fact is hardly obscured that in practice, general application favours the male far more often than the female as referent, or even sole referent, for such designations. When in any group of persons, the ego is subjected to such invidious versions of itself through social beliefs, ideology, and tradition, the effect is bound to be pernicious. This coupled with the persistent though frequently subtle denigration women encounter daily through personal contacts, the impressions gathered from the images and media about them, and the discrimination in matters of behaviour, employment, and education which they endure, should make it no very special cause for surprise that women develop group characteristics common to those who suffer minority status and a marginal existence. A witty experiment by Philip

Goldberg proves what everyone knows, that having internalised the disesteem in which they are held, women despise both themselves and each other. This simple test consisted of asking women undergraduates to respond to the scholarship in an essay signed alternately by one John McKay and one Joan McKay. In making their assessments the students generally agreed that John was a remarkable thinker, Joan an unimpressive mind. Yet the articles were identical: the reaction was dependent on the sex of the supposed author. As women in patriarchy are for the most part marginal citizens when they are citizens at all, their situation is like that of other minorities, here defined not as dependent upon numerical size of the group, but on its status. "A minority group is any group of people who because of their physical or cultural characteristics, are singled out from others in the society in which they live for differential and unequal treatment." Only a handful of sociologists have ever addressed themselves in any meaningful way to the minority status of women. And psychology has yet to produce relevant studies on the subject of ego damage to the female which might bear comparison to the excellent work done on the effects of racism on the minds of blacks and colonials. The remarkably small amount of modern research devoted to the psychological and social effects of masculine supremacy on the female and on the culture in general attests to the widespread ignorance or unconcern of a conservative social science which takes patriarchy to be both the status quo and the state of nature. What little literature the social sciences afford us in this context confirms the presence in women of the expected traits of minority status: group self-hatred and self-rejection, a contempt both for herself and for her fellows - the result of that continual, however subtle, reiteration of her inferiority which she eventually accepts as a fact. Another index of minority status is the fierceness with which all minority group members are judged. The double standard is applied not only in cases of sexual conduct but other contexts as well. In the relatively rare instances of female crime too: in many American states a woman convicted of crime is awarded a longer sentence. Generally an accused woman acquires a notoriety out of proportion to her acts and due to sensational publicity she may be tried largely for her "sex life." But so effective is her conditioning toward passivity in patriarchy, woman is rarely extrovert enough in her maladjustment to enter upon criminality. Just as every minority member must either apologise for the excesses of a fellow or condemn him with a strident enthusiasm, women are characteristically harsh, ruthless and frightened in their censure of aberration among their numbers. The gnawing suspicion which plagues any minority member, that the myths propagated about his inferiority might after all be true often reaches remarkable proportions in the personal insecurities of women. Some find their subordinate position so hard to bear that they repress and deny its existence. But a large number will recognise and admit their circumstances when they are properly phrased. Of two studies which asked women if they would have preferred to be born male, one found that one fourth of the sample admitted as much, and in another sample, one half. When one inquires of children, who have not yet developed as serviceable techniques of evasion, what their choice might be, if they had one, the answers of female children in a large majority of cases clearly favour birth into the elite group, whereas boys overwhelmingly reject the opinion of being girls. The phenomenon of parents' prenatal preference for male issue is too common to

require much elaboration. In the light of the imminent possibility of parents actually choosing the sex of their child, such a tendency is becoming the cause of some concern in scientific circles. Comparisons such as Myrdal, Hacker, and Dixon draw between the ascribed attributes of blacks and women reveal that common opinion associates the same traits with both: inferior intelligence, an instinctual or sensual gratification, an emotional nature both primitive and childlike, an imagined prowess in or affinity for sexuality, a contentment with their own lot which is in accord with a proof of its appropriateness, a wily habit of deceit, and concealment of feeling. Both groups are forced to the same accommodational tactics: an ingratiating or supplicatory manner invented to please, a tendency to study those points at which the dominant group are subject to influence or corruption, and an assumed air of helplessness involving fraudulent appeals for direction through a show of ignorance. It is ironic how misogynist literature has for centuries concentrated on just these traits, directing its fiercest enmity at feminine guile and corruption, and particularly that element of it which is sexual, or, as such sources would have it, "wanton." As with other marginal groups a certain handful of women are accorded higher status that they may perform a species of cultural policing over the rest. Hughes speaks of marginality as a case of status dilemma experienced by women, blacks, or second-generation Americans who have "come up" in the world but are often refused the rewards of their efforts on the grounds of their origins. This is particularly the case with "new" or educated women. Such exceptions are generally obliged to make ritual, and often comic, statements of deference to justify their elevation. These characteristically take the form of pledges of "femininity," namely a delight in docility and a large appetite for masculine dominance. Politically, the most useful persons for such a role are entertainers and public sex objects. It is a common trait of minority status that a small percentage of the fortunate are permitted to entertain their rulers. (That they may entertain their fellow subjects in the process is less to the point.) Women entertain, please, gratify, satisfy and flatter men with their sexuality. In most minority groups athletes or intellectuals are allowed to emerge as "stars," identification with whom should content their less fortunate fellows. In the case of women both such eventualities are discouraged on the reasonable grounds that the most popular explanations of the female's inferior status ascribe it to her physical weakness or intellectual inferiority. Logically, exhibitions of physical courage or agility are indecorous, just as any display of serious intelligence tends to be out of place. Perhaps patriarchy's greatest psychological weapon is simply its universality and longevity. A referent scarcely exists with which it might be contrasted or by which it might be confuted. While the same might be said of class, patriarchy has a still more tenacious or powerful hold through its successful habit of passing itself off as nature. Religion is also universal in human society and slavery was once nearly so; advocates of each were fond of arguing in terms of fatality, or irrevocable human "instinct" - even "biological origins." When a system of power is thoroughly in command, it has scarcely need to speak itself aloud; when its workings are exposed and questioned, it becomes not only subject to discussion, but even to change. Such a period is the one next under discussion. The three instances of sexual description we have examined so far were remarkable for the large part which notions of ascendancy and power played within them. Coitus can scarcely be said to

take place in a vacuum; although of itself it appears a biological and physical activity, it is set so deeply within the larger context of human affairs that it serves as a charged microcosm of the variety of attitudes and values to which culture subscribes. Among other things, it may serve as a model of sexual politics on an individual or personal plane. But of course the transition from such scenes of intimacy to a wider context of political reference is a great step indeed. In introducing the term "sexual politics," one must first answer the inevitable question "Can the relationship between the sexes be viewed in a political light at all?" The answer depends on how one defines politics. [The American Heritage Dictionary's fourth definition is fairly approximate: "methods or tactics involved in managing a state or government." One might expand this to a set of stratagems designed to maintain a system. If one understands patriarchy to be an institution perpetuated by such techniques of control, one has a working definition of how politics is conceived in this essay]. This essay does not define the political as that relatively narrow and exclusive world of meetings, chairmen, and parties. The term "politics" shall refer to power-structured relationships, arrangements whereby one group of persons is controlled by another. By way of parenthesis one might add that although an ideal politics might simply be conceived of as the arrangement of human life on agreeable and rational principles from whence the entire notion of power over others should be banished, one must confess that this is not what constitutes the political as we know it, and it is to this that we must address ourselves. The following sketch, which might be described as "notes toward a theory of patriarchy," will attempt to prove that sex is a status category with political implications. Something of a pioneering effort, it must perforce be both tentative and imperfect. Because the intention is to provide an overall description, statements must be generalised, exceptions neglected, and subheadings overlapping and, to some degree, arbitrary as well. The word "politics" is enlisted here when speaking of the sexes primarily because such a word is eminently useful in outlining the real nature of their relative status, historically and at the present. It is opportune, perhaps today even mandatory, that we develop a more relevant psychology and philosophy of power relationships beyond the simple conceptual framework provided by our traditional formal politics. Indeed, it may be imperative that we give some attention to defining a theory of politics which treats of power relationships on grounds less conventional than those to which we are accustomed. I have therefore found it pertinent to define them on grounds of personal contact and interaction between members of well-defined and coherent groups: races, castes, classes, and sexes. For it is precisely because certain groups have no representation in a number of recognised political structures that their position tends to be so stable, their oppression so continuous. In America, recent events have forced us to acknowledge at last that the relationship between the races is indeed a political one which involves the general control of one collectivity, defined by birth, over another collectivity, also defined by birth. Groups who rule by birthright are fast disappearing, yet there remains one ancient and universal scheme for the domination of one birth

group by another - the scheme that prevails in the area of sex. The study of racism has convinced us that a truly political state of affairs operates between the races to perpetuate a series of oppressive circumstances. The subordinated group has inadequate redress through existing political institutions, and is deterred thereby from organising into conventional political struggle and opposition. Quite in the same manner, a disinterested examination of our system of sexual relationship must point out that the situation between the sexes now, and throughout history, is a case of that phenomenon Max Weber defined as herrschaft, a relationship of dominance and subordinance. What goes largely unexamined, often even unacknowledged (yet is institutionalised nonetheless) in our social order, is the birthright priority whereby males rule females. Through this system a most ingenious form of "interior colonisation" has been achieved. It is one which tends moreover to be sturdier than any form of segregation, and more rigorous than class stratification, more uniform, certainly more enduring. However muted its present appearance may be, sexual dominion obtains nevertheless as perhaps the most pervasive ideology of our culture and provides its most fundamental concept of power. This is so because our society, like all other historical civilisations, is a patriarchy. The fact is evident at once if one recalls that the military, industry, technology, universities, science, political office, and finance - in short, every avenue of power within the society, including the coercive force of the police, is entirely in male hands. As the essence of politics is power, such realisation cannot fail to carry impact. What lingers of supernatural authority, the Deity, "His" ministry, together with the ethics and values, the philosophy and art of our culture - its very civilisation - as T. S. Eliot once observed, is of male manufacture. If one takes patriarchal government to be the institution whereby that half of the populace which is female is controlled by that half which is male, the principles of patriarchy appear to be two fold: male shall dominate female, elder male shall dominate younger. However, just as with any human institution, there is frequently a distance between the real and the ideal; contradictions and exceptions do exist within the system. While patriarchy as an institution is a social constant so deeply entrenched as to run through all other political, social, or economic forms, whether of caste or class, feudality or bureaucracy, just as it pervades all major religions, it also exhibits great variety in history and locale. In democracies, for example, females have often held no office or do so (as now) in such minuscule numbers as to be below even token representation. Aristocracy, on the other hand, with its emphasis upon the magic and dynastic properties of blood, may at times permit women to hold power. The principle of rule by elder males is violated even more frequently. Bearing in mind the variation and degree in patriarchy - as say between Saudi Arabia and Sweden, Indonesia and Red China - we also recognise our own form in the U.S. and Europe to be much altered and attenuated by the reforms described in the next chapter.

VIII Psychological
The aspects of patriarchy already described have each an effect upon the psychology of both sexes. Their principal result is the interiorisation of patriarchal ideology. Status, temperament, and role are all value systems with endless psychological ramifications for each sex. Patriarchal marriage and the family with its ranks and division of labor play a large part in enforcing them.

The male's superior economic position, the female's inferior one have also grave implications. The large quantity of guilt attached to sexuality in patriarchy is overwhelmingly placed upon the female, who is, culturally speaking, held to be the culpable or the more culpable party in nearly any sexual liaison, whatever the extenuating circumstances. A tendency toward the reification of the female makes her more often a sexual object than a person. This is particularly so when she is denied human rights through chattel status. Even where this has been partly amended the cumulative effect of religion and custom is still very powerful and has enormous psychological consequences. Woman is still denied sexual freedom and the biological control over her body through the cult of virginity, the double standard, the prescription against abortion, and in many places because contraception is physically or psychically unavailable to her. The continual surveillance in which she is held tends to perpetuate the infantilisation of women even in situations such as those of higher education. The female is continually obliged to seek survival or advancement through the approval of males as those who hold power. She may do this either through appeasement or through the exchange of her sexuality for support and status. As the history of patriarchal culture and the representations of herself within all levels of its cultural media, past and present, have a devastating effect upon her self image, she is customarily deprived of any but the most trivial sources of dignity or self-respect. In many patriarchies, language, as well as cultural tradition, reserve the human condition for the male. With the IndoEuropean languages this is a nearly inescapable habit of mind, for despite all the customary pretence that "man" and "humanity" are terms which apply equally to both sexes, the fact is hardly obscured that in practice, general application favours the male far more often than the female as referent, or even sole referent, for such designations. When in any group of persons, the ego is subjected to such invidious versions of itself through social beliefs, ideology, and tradition, the effect is bound to be pernicious. This coupled with the persistent though frequently subtle denigration women encounter daily through personal contacts, the impressions gathered from the images and media about them, and the discrimination in matters of behaviour, employment, and education which they endure, should make it no very special cause for surprise that women develop group characteristics common to those who suffer minority status and a marginal existence. A witty experiment by Philip Goldberg proves what everyone knows, that having internalised the disesteem in which they are held, women despise both themselves and each other. This simple test consisted of asking women undergraduates to respond to the scholarship in an essay signed alternately by one John McKay and one Joan McKay. In making their assessments the students generally agreed that John was a remarkable thinker, Joan an unimpressive mind. Yet the articles were identical: the reaction was dependent on the sex of the supposed author. As women in patriarchy are for the most part marginal citizens when they are citizens at all, their situation is like that of other minorities, here defined not as dependent upon numerical size of the group, but on its status. "A minority group is any group of people who because of their physical or cultural characteristics, are singled out from others in the society in which they live for differential and unequal treatment." Only a handful of sociologists have ever addressed themselves in any meaningful way to the minority status of women. And psychology has yet to produce relevant studies on the subject of ego damage to the female which might bear comparison to the excellent work done on the effects of racism on the minds of blacks and

colonials. The remarkably small amount of modern research devoted to the psychological and social effects of masculine supremacy on the female and on the culture in general attests to the widespread ignorance or unconcern of a conservative social science which takes patriarchy to be both the status quo and the state of nature. What little literature the social sciences afford us in this context confirms the presence in women of the expected traits of minority status: group self-hatred and self-rejection, a contempt both for herself and for her fellows - the result of that continual, however subtle, reiteration of her inferiority which she eventually accepts as a fact. Another index of minority status is the fierceness with which all minority group members are judged. The double standard is applied not only in cases of sexual conduct but other contexts as well. In the relatively rare instances of female crime too: in many American states a woman convicted of crime is awarded a longer sentence. Generally an accused woman acquires a notoriety out of proportion to her acts and due to sensational publicity she may be tried largely for her "sex life." But so effective is her conditioning toward passivity in patriarchy, woman is rarely extrovert enough in her maladjustment to enter upon criminality. Just as every minority member must either apologise for the excesses of a fellow or condemn him with a strident enthusiasm, women are characteristically harsh, ruthless and frightened in their censure of aberration among their numbers. The gnawing suspicion which plagues any minority member, that the myths propagated about his inferiority might after all be true often reaches remarkable proportions in the personal insecurities of women. Some find their subordinate position so hard to bear that they repress and deny its existence. But a large number will recognise and admit their circumstances when they are properly phrased. Of two studies which asked women if they would have preferred to be born male, one found that one fourth of the sample admitted as much, and in another sample, one half. When one inquires of children, who have not yet developed as serviceable techniques of evasion, what their choice might be, if they had one, the answers of female children in a large majority of cases clearly favour birth into the elite group, whereas boys overwhelmingly reject the opinion of being girls. The phenomenon of parents' prenatal preference for male issue is too common to require much elaboration. In the light of the imminent possibility of parents actually choosing the sex of their child, such a tendency is becoming the cause of some concern in scientific circles. Comparisons such as Myrdal, Hacker, and Dixon draw between the ascribed attributes of blacks and women reveal that common opinion associates the same traits with both: inferior intelligence, an instinctual or sensual gratification, an emotional nature both primitive and childlike, an imagined prowess in or affinity for sexuality, a contentment with their own lot which is in accord with a proof of its appropriateness, a wily habit of deceit, and concealment of feeling. Both groups are forced to the same accommodational tactics: an ingratiating or supplicatory manner invented to please, a tendency to study those points at which the dominant group are subject to influence or corruption, and an assumed air of helplessness involving fraudulent appeals for direction through a show of ignorance. It is ironic how misogynist literature has for centuries concentrated on just these traits, directing its fiercest enmity at feminine guile and corruption, and particularly that element of it which is sexual, or, as such sources would have it, "wanton."

As with other marginal groups a certain handful of women are accorded higher status that they may perform a species of cultural policing over the rest. Hughes speaks of marginality as a case of status dilemma experienced by women, blacks, or second-generation Americans who have "come up" in the world but are often refused the rewards of their efforts on the grounds of their origins. This is particularly the case with "new" or educated women. Such exceptions are generally obliged to make ritual, and often comic, statements of deference to justify their elevation. These characteristically take the form of pledges of "femininity," namely a delight in docility and a large appetite for masculine dominance. Politically, the most useful persons for such a role are entertainers and public sex objects. It is a common trait of minority status that a small percentage of the fortunate are permitted to entertain their rulers. (That they may entertain their fellow subjects in the process is less to the point.) Women entertain, please, gratify, satisfy and flatter men with their sexuality. In most minority groups athletes or intellectuals are allowed to emerge as "stars," identification with whom should content their less fortunate fellows. In the case of women both such eventualities are discouraged on the reasonable grounds that the most popular explanations of the female's inferior status ascribe it to her physical weakness or intellectual inferiority. Logically, exhibitions of physical courage or agility are indecorous, just as any display of serious intelligence tends to be out of place. Perhaps patriarchy's greatest psychological weapon is simply its universality and longevity. A referent scarcely exists with which it might be contrasted or by which it might be confuted. While the same might be said of class, patriarchy has a still more tenacious or powerful hold through its successful habit of passing itself off as nature. Religion is also universal in human society and slavery was once nearly so; advocates of each were fond of arguing in terms of fatality, or irrevocable human "instinct" - even "biological origins." When a system of power is thoroughly in command, it has scarcely need to speak itself aloud; when its workings are exposed and questioned, it becomes not only subject to discussion, but even to change. Such a period is the one next under discussion.
Source: Sexual Politics (1969) publ. Granada Publishing. The Second Chapter, Theory of Sexual Politics reproduced here.

Patriarchy Gets Funky The Triumph of Identity Marketing


Naomi Klein

Lets face it, when you're a story line on Friends, its hard to keep thinking you're radical. - Jay Blotcher, AIDS activist, New York magazine, 1996 As an undergraduate in the late eighties and early nineties, I was one of those students who took a while to wake up to the slow branding of university life. And I can say from personal experience that its not that we didnt notice the growing corporate presence on campus we

even complained about it sometimes. Its just that we couldnt get particularly worked up about it. We knew the fast food chains were setting up their stalls in the library and that profs in the applied sciences were getting awfully cozy with pharmaceutical companies, but finding out exactly what was going on in the boardrooms and labs would have required a lot of legwork, and, frankly, we were busy. We were fighting about whether Jews would be allowed in the racial equality caucus at the campus womens center, and why the meeting to discuss it was scheduled at the same time as the lesbian and gay caucus were the organizers implying that there were no Jewish lesbians? No black bisexuals? In the outside world. the politics of race, gender and sexuality remained tied to more concrete, pressing issues, like pay equity, same-sex spousal rights and police violence, and these serious movements were and continue to be a genuine threat to the economic and social order. But somehow, they didnt seem terribly glamorous to students on many university campuses, for whom identity politics had evolved by the late eighties into something quite different. Many of the battles we fought were over issues of representation a loosely defined set of grievances mostly lodged against the media, the curriculum and the English language. From campus feminists arguing over representation of women on the reading lists to gays wanting better representation on television, to rap stars bragging about representing the ghettos, to the question that ends in a riot in Spike Lees 1989 film Do the Right Thing Why are there no brothers on the wall? ours was a politics of mirrors and metaphors. These issues have always been on the political agendas of both the civil-rights and the womens movements and later, of the fight against AIDS. It was accepted from the start that part of what held back women and ethnic minorities was the absence of visible role models occupying powerful social positions, and that media-perpetuated stereotypes embedded in the very fabric of the language served to not so subtly reinforce the supremacy of white men. For real progress to take place, imaginations on both sides had to be decolonized. But by the time my generation inherited these ideas, often two or three times removed, representation was no longer one tool among many, it was the key. In the absence of a clear legal or political strategy, we traced back almost all of societys problems to the media and the curriculum, either through their perpetuation of negative stereotypes or simply by omission. Asians and lesbians were made to feel invisible, gays were stereotyped as deviants, blacks as criminals and women as weak and inferior: a self-fulfilling prophecy responsible for almost all real-world inequalities. And so our battlefields were sitcoms with gay neighbors who never got laid, newspapers filled with pictures of old white men, magazines that advanced what author Naomi Wolf termed the beauty myth, reading lists that we expected to look like Benetton ads, Benetton ads that trivialized our reading-list demands. So outraged were we media children by the narrow and oppressive portrayals in magazines, in books and on television that we convinced ourselves that if, the typecast images and loaded language changed, so too would the reality. We thought we would find salvation in the reformation of MTV, CNN and Calvin Klein. And why not? Since media seemed to be the source of so many of our problems, surely if we could only subvert them to better represent us, they could save us instead. With better collective mirrors, self-esteem would rise and prejudices would magically fall away, as society became suddenly inspired to live up to the beautiful and Worthy reflection we had retouched in its image.

For a generation that grew up mediated, transforming the world through pop culture was second nature. The problem was that these fixations began to transform us in the process. Over time, campus identity politics became so consumed by personal politics that they all but eclipsed the rest of the world. The slogan the personal is political came to replace the economic as political and, in the end, the political as political as well. The more importance we placed on representation issues, the more central a role they seemed to elbow for themselves in our lives perhaps because, in the absence of more tangible political goals, any movement that is about fighting for better social mirrors is going to eventually fall victim to its own narcissism. Soon outing wasnt about AIDS, but became a blanket demand for gay and lesbian visibility all gays should be out, not just right-wing politicians but celebrities as well. By 1991, the radical group Queer Nation had broadened its media critique: it didnt just object to portrayals of homicidal madmen with AIDS, but any non-straight killer at all. The groups San Francisco and L.A. chapters held protests against The Silence of the Lambs, objecting to its transvestite serialkiller villain, and they disrupted filming on Basic Instinct because it featured ice-pick-wielding killer lesbians. GLAAD (Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation) had moved from lobbying the news media about its use of terms like gay plague to describe AIDS, and had begun actively pushing the networks for more gay and lesbian characters in TV shows. In 1993, Torie Osborn, a prominent U.S. lesbian rights activist, said that the single biggest political issue facing her constituency was not same-sex spousal benefits, the right to join the military or even the right of two women to marry and adopt children. It was, she told a reporter, Invisibility. Period. End of sentence. Much like a previous generation of anti-porn feminists who held their rallies outside peep shows, many of the political demonstrations of the early nineties had shifted from the steps of government buildings and courthouses to the steps of museums with African art exhibits that were deemed to celebrate the colonial mindset. They massed at the theater entrances showing mega-musicals like Showboat and Miss Saigon, and they even crept right up to the edge of the red carpet at the 1992 Academy Awards. These struggles may seem slight in retrospect, but you can hardly blame us media narcissists for believing that we were engaged in a crucial battle on behalf of oppressed people everywhere: every step we took sparked a new wave of apocalyptic panic from our conservative foes. If we were not revolutionaries, why, then, were our opponents saying that a revolution was under way, that we were in the midst of a culture war? The transformation of American campuses is so sweeping that it is no exaggeration to call it a revolution, Dinesh Dsouza, author of Illiberal Education informed his readers. Its distinctive insignia can be witnessed on any major campus in America today, and in all aspects of university life. Despite their claims of living under Stalinist regimes where dissent was not tolerated, our professors and administrators put up an impressively vociferous counteroffensive: they fought tooth and nail for the right to offend us thin-skinned radicals; they lay down on the tracks in front of every new harassment policy, and generally acted as if they were fighting for the very future of Western civilization. An avalanche of look-alike magazine features bolstered the claim that ID politics constituted an international emergency: Illiberal Education (Atlantic Monthly), Visigoths in Tweed (Fortune), The Silences (Macitans), The Academys New Ayatollahs

(Outlook), Taking Offense (Newsweek). in New York magazine, writer John Taylor compared my generation of campus activists with cult members, Hitler Youth and Christian fundamentalists. So great was the threat we allegedly posed that George Bush even took time out to warn the world that political correctness replaces old prejudices with new ones.

The Marketing of ID
The backlash that identity politics inspired did a pretty good job of masking for us the fact that many of our demands for better representation were quickly accommodated by marketers, media makers and pop-culture producers alike though perhaps not for the reasons we had hoped. If I had to name a precise moment for this shift in attitude, I would say August of 1992: the thick of the brand crisis that peaked with Marlboro Friday. Thats when we found out that our sworn enemies in the mainstream to us a giant monolithic blob outside of our known universityaffiliated enclaves didnt fear and loathe us but actually thought we were sort of interesting. Once we'd embarked on a search for new wells of cutting-edge imagery, our insistence on extreme sexual and racial identities made for great brand-content and niche-marketing strategies. If diversity was what we wanted, the brands seemed to be saying, then diversity was exactly what we would get. And with that, the marketers and media makers swooped down, air-brushes in hand, to touch up the colors and images in our culture. The five years that followed were an orgy of red ribbons, Malcolm X baseball hats and Silence = Death T-Shirts. By 1993, the stories of academic Armageddon were replaced with new ones about the sexy wave of Do-Me Feminism in Esquire and Lesbian Chic in New York and Newsweek. The shift in attitude was not the result of a mass political conversion but of some hard economic calculations. According to Rocking the Ages, a book produced in 1997 by leading U.S. consumer researchers Yankelovich Partners, Diversity was the defining idea for Gen-Xers, as opposed to Individuality for boomers and Duty for their parents. Xers are starting out today with pluralistic attitudes that are the strongest we have ever measured. As we look towards the next twenty five years, it is clear that acceptance of alternative lifestyles will become even stronger and more widespread as Xers grow up and take over the reins of power, and become the dominant buying group in the consumer marketplace. ... Diversity is the key fact of life for Xers, the core of the perspective they bring to the marketplace. Diversity in all of its forms cultural, political, sexual, racial, social is a hallmark of this generation [italics theirs] ... The Sputnik cool-hunting agency, meanwhile, explained that .youth today are one big sample of diversity and encouraged its clients to dive into the psychedelic United Streets of Diversity and not be afraid to taste the local fare. Dee Dee Gordon, author of The L. Report, urged her clients to get into Girl Power with a vengeance:, Teenage girls want to see someone who kicks butt back; and, sounding suspiciously like me and my university friends, brand man Tom Peters took to berating his corporate audiences for being OWMs Old White Males. As we have seen, this information was coming hot on the heels of two other related revelations. The first was that consumer companies would only survive if they built corporate empires around brand identities. The second. was that the ballooning youth demographic held the key to

market success. So, of course, if the market researchers and cool hunters all reported that diversity was the key character trait of this lucrative demographic, there was only one thing to be done: every forward-thinking corporation would have to adopt variations on the theme of diversity as their brand identities. Which is exactly what most brand-driven corporations have attempted to do. In an effort to understand how Starbucks became an overnight household name in 1996 without a single national ad campaign, Advertising Age speculated that it had something to do with its tie-dyed, Third World aura. For devotees, Starbucks experience is about more than a daily espresso infusion; it is about immersion in a politically correct, cultured refuge. ... Starbucks, however, was only a minor player in the P.C. marketing craze. Abercrombie & Fitch ads featured guys in their underwear making goo-goo eyes at each other; Diesel went further, showing two sailors kissing; and a U.S. television spot for Virgin Cola depicted the first-ever gay wedding featured in a commercial, as the press release proudly announced. There were also gay-targeted brands like Pride Beer and Wave Water, whose slogan is We label bottles not people, and the gay community got its very own cool hunters market researchers who scoured gay bars with hidden cameras. The Gap, meanwhile, filled its ads with racially mixed rainbows of skinny, childlike models. Diesel harnessed frustration at that unattainable beauty ideal with ironic ads that showed women being served up for dinner to a table of pigs. The Body Shop harnessed the backlash against both of them by refusing to advertise and instead filled its windows with red ribbons and posters condemning violence against women. The rush to diversity fitted in neatly with the embrace of African-American style and heroes that companies like Nike and Tommy Hilfiger had already pinpointed as a powerful marketing source. But Nike also realized that people who saw themselves as belonging to oppressed groups were ready-made market niches: throw a few liberal platitudes their way and, presto, you're not just a product but an ally in the struggle. So the walls of Nike Town were adorned with quotes from Tiger Woods declaring that there are still Courses in the U.S. where I am not allowed to play, because of the color of my skin. Women in Nike ads told us that I believe babe is a four-letter word and I believe high heels are a conspiracy against women. And everyone, it seemed, was toying with the fluidity of gender, from the old-hat story of MAC make-up using drag queen RuPaul as its spokesmodel to tequila ads that inform viewers that the she in the bikini is really a he; from Calvin Kleins colognes that tell us that gender itself is a construct of Sure Ultra Dry deodorant that in turn urges all the gender benders to chill out: Man? Woman? Does it matter?'

Oppression Nostalgia
Fierce debates still rage about these campaigns. Are they entirely cynical or do they indicate that advertisers want to evolve and play more positive social roles? Benettons mid-nineties ads careered wildly between witty and beautiful challenges to racial stereotypes on the one hand, and grotesque commercial exploitation of human suffering on the other. They were, however, indisputably part of a genuine attempt to use the companys vast cultural real estate to send a message that went beyond Buy more sweaters, and they played a central role in the fashion

worlds embrace of the struggle against AIDS. Similarly, there is no denying that the Body Shop broke ground by proving to the corporate sector that a multinational chain can be an outspoken and controversial political player, even while making millions on bubble bath and body lotion. The complicated motivations and stark inconsistencies inside many of these ethical businesses will be explored in greater depth in a later chapter. But for many of the activists who had, at one point not so long ago, believed that better media representation would make for a more just world, one thing had become abundantly clear: identity politics werent fighting the system, or even subverting it. When it came to the vast new industry of corporate branding, they were feeding it. The crowning of sexual and racial diversity as the new superstars of advertising and pop culture has understandably created a sort of Identity Identity Crisis. Some ex-ID warriors are even getting nostalgic about the good old days, when they were oppressed, yes, but the symbols of their radicalism werent for sale at Wal-Mart. As music writer Arm Powers observed of the much-vaunted ascendancy of Girl Power, at this intersection between the conventional feminine and the evolving Girl, whats springing up is not a revolution but a mall ... Thus, a genuine movement devolves into a giant shopping spree, where girls are encouraged to purchase whatever identity fits them best off the rack. Similarly, Daniel Mendelsohn has written that gay identity has dwindled into basically, a set of product choices. ... At least Culturally speaking, oppression may have been the best thing that could have happened to gay culture. Without it, we're nothing. The nostalgia, of course, is absurd. Even the most cynical ID warrior will admit, when pressed, that having Ellen Degeneres and other gay characters out on TV has some concrete advantages. Probably it is good for the kids, particularly those who live outside of laser urban settings in rural or small-town environments, where being gay is more likely to confine them to a life of self-loathing. (The attempted suicide rate in 1998 among gay and bisexual male teens in America was 28.1 percent, compared with 4.2 percent among straight males of the same age group.) Similarly, most feminists would concede that although the Spice Girls crooning, If you wanna be my lover, you have to get with my friends isnt likely to shatter the beauty myth, its still a step up from Snoop Doggs 1993 ode to gang rape, It aint no fun if my homies cant have none. And yet, while raising teenagers self-esteem and making sure they have positive role models is valuable, its a fairly narrow achievement, and from an activist perspective, one cant help asking, Is this it? Did all our protests and supposedly subversive theory only serve to provide great content for the culture industries, fresh new lifestyle imagery for Levis new Whats True ad campaign and girl-power-charged record sales for the music business? Why, in other words, were our ideas about political rebellion so deeply non-threatening to the smooth flow of business as usual? The question, of course, is not Why, but Why on earth not? Just m they had embraced the brands, not products equation, the smart businesses quickly realized that short-term discomfort whether it came from a requirement to hire more women or to more carefully vet the language in an ad campaign was a small price to pay for the tremendous market share that diversity promised. So while it may be true that real gains have emerged from this process, it is also true

that Dennis Rodman wears dresses and Disney World celebrates Gay Day less because of political progress than financial expediency. The market has seized upon multi-culturalism and gender-bending in the same ways that it has seized upon youth culture in general not just as a market niche but as a source of new carnival-esque imagery. As Robert Goldman and Stephen Papson note, White-bread culture will simply no longer do. The $200 billion culture industry now Americas biggest export needs an ever-changing, uninterrupted supply of street styles, edgy music videos and rainbows of colors. And the radical critics of the media clamoring to be represented in the early nineties virtually handed over their colorful identities to the brandmasters to be shrink-wrapped. The need for greater diversity the rallying cry of my university years is now not only accepted by the culture industries, it is the mantra of global capital. And identity politics, as they were practiced in the nineties, werent a threat, they were a gold mine. This revolution, writes cultural critic Richard Goldstein in The Village Voice, turned out to be the savior of late capitalism. And just in time, too.

Market Masala: Diversity and the Global Sales Pitch


About the same time that Try friends and I were battling for better cultural representation, the advertising agencies, broadcasters and global brands were preoccupied with some significant problems of their own. Thanks to freer trade and other forms of accelerated deregulation, the global marketplace was finally becoming a reality, but new, urgent questions were being asked: What is the best way to sell identical products across multiple borders? What voice should advertisers use to address the whole world at once? How can one company accommodate cultural differences while still remaining internally coherent? For certain corporations, until recently, the answer was simple: force the world to speak your language and absorb your culture. In 1983, when global reach was still a fantasy for all but a handful of corporations, Harvard business professor Theodore Levitt published the essay The Globalization of Markets, in which he argued that any corporation that was willing to bow to some local habit or taste was an unmitigated failure. The worlds needs and desires have been irrevocably homogenized, he wrote in what instantly became the manifesto of global marketing. Levitt made a stark distinction between weak multinational corporations, which change depending on which country they are operating in, and swaggering global corporations, which are, by their very definition, always the same, Wherever they roam. The multinational corporation operates in a number of countries, and adjusts its products and practices to each at high relative costs. The global corporation. operates with resolute constancy at low relative cost as if the entire world (or major regions of it) were a single entity; it sells the same things in the same way everywhere. ... Ancient differences in national tastes or modes of doing business disappear.

Source: NO LOGO Published: Flamingo, 2001

Man Made Language


Dale Spender (1980)

Women are aware that male superiority is a myth and they deal with this knowledge in numerous ways. Their response to 'enlightenment' may range from disillusionment to elation, from masking their feelings in an attempt to hide their disappointment and preserve the myth, to outrightly declaring their knowledge in an attempt to explode it. But male superiority is not to be confused with male power: only one is a myth which can be exposed and eradicated by knowledge, by a change in consciousness. While they are different,

however, they are also inextricably linked, for male superiority has served as a justification for male power. Any exposure of the false nature of male superiority, while not a direct assault on male power, is an indirect attack which undermines it. If and when sufficient members of society no longer give consensus to the myth of male superiority, if and when they no longer act in a manner which acquiesces in that superiority and permits it to go unchallenged, then, rather than being taken for granted, that power will need to be defended or transformed. It is because males have had power that they have been in a position to construct the myth of male superiority and to have it accepted; because they have had power they have been able to 'arrange' the evidence so that it can be seen to substantiate the myth. The myth was made a long time ago and for centuries it has been fostered by women and men so that now it is deeply embedded in virtually every aspect of our existence. It is a myth which may be attacked but one which is not easy to eradicate, for all myths still have a hold over us long after they have been intellectually repudiated, and this one, which is fundamental to our social order, is particularly pervasive and particularly hard to dislodge. The fabric of our social organisation has been woven to support and substantiate it and nothing less than a restructuring of our beliefs and values is necessary, if it is to be laid to rest. It appears to be part of the human condition to attempt to make existence meaningful but we can only make sense of the world if we have rules by which to do it. We need to know what information to select, how to piece it together, and what interpretation to impose upon it, and the rules which each culture evolves for making sense of the world form the basis for these decisions. As we use these rules we confirm their validity, we make them 'come true'. Our results depend on the programme we begin with; as we pattern, select and interpret on the premise that males are superior - and of course, concomitantly, that females are inferior - we construct a view of the world in which males continue to be seen as superior, and females continue to be seen as inferior, thereby perpetuating the myth and reinforcing the justification for male power. One of our fundamental rules for making sense of our male-dominated world is - predictably that the male represents the positive while the female, necessarily then, represents the negative. On this foundation stone we have erected many of the structures which make male dominance seem reasonable and even 'natural' for our feedback is determined largely by what we feed in. It is this rule which must be changed if we are to construct a view of the world in which both sexes are accorded equal value. When we begin to select, pattern and interpret according to the rule that the sexes are equal, we will construct a very different reality, we will make very different ideas 'come true'. The claim for male superiority will no longer seem reasonable and the male monopoly in power will be seen as problematic. Each day we construct the world we live in according to these man made rules. We select, pattern and interpret the flux of events in the attempt to make life meaningful and few of us suspect how deeply entrenched, and arbitrary, these rules are. We impose them on the world so that what we see conforms to what we have been led to see. And one of the crucial factors in our construction of this reality is language. Language is our means of classifying and ordering the world: our means of manipulating reality. In its structure and in its use we bring our world into realisation, and if it is inherently inaccurate,

then we are misled. If the rules which underlie our language system, our symbolic order, are invalid, then we are daily deceived. Yet the rules for meaning, which are part of language, are not natural; they were not present in the world and merely awaiting discovery by human beings. On the contrary, they had to be invented before anything could be discovered, for without them there is no frame of reference, no order, no possibility for systematic interpretation and understanding. Once made, however, these rules have a habit of becoming self-validating and self-perpetuating, regardless of any misapprehensions on which they may have initially been based. Although it is not possible to 'begin at the beginning' and to identify the forces which were at work in the construction of these rules to determine whether or not they were accurate or justified, it is possible to analyse the contemporary classification system of our language and to speculate on the origins, and the reasons for these rules, which now play such a vital role in the construction of our world view. One semantic rule which we can see in operation in the language is that of the male-as-norm. At the outset it may appear to be a relatively innocuous rule for classifying the objects and events of the world, but closer examination exposes it as one of the most pervasive and pernicious rules that has been encoded. While this rule operates we are required to classify the world on the premise that the standard or normal human being is a male one and when there is but one standard, then those who are not of it are allocated to a category of deviation. Hence our fundamental classification scheme is one which divides humanity not into two equal parts (if two is to be the significant number) but into those who are plus male and those who are minus male. At the most basic level of meaning the status of the female is derived from the status of the male and on this has been erected many strata of positive and negative classifications. Outside the way in which we order the world there is no compelling reason to classify people according to their genitalia, and even if there were, there would still be no compelling reason to classify them simply dichotomously, a division which we even find frequently inadequate, despite our mental set which helps to construe difference along sexually dimorphous lines. If we did feel obliged to use genitalia as a reference point for the classification of humanity, it would be just as reasonable to classify, for example, according to the degree of protection provided for sexual organs, in which case we would not be confined to a dichotomy but would have a continuum along which people could be placed, with some enjoying better protection than others. But we do divide on the basis of genitalia; we do construct only two sexes; we do insist upon a whole range of gender determined behaviours. And we do all this for a purpose. By arranging the objects and events of the world according to these rules we set up the rationale, and the vindication, for male supremacy. While at one level we may support or refute the myth of male superiority - it being a matter of political choice - at another level we are unaware of the way in which it structures our behaviour and forms some of the limits of our world. With the crucial underlying rule that the world can be divided into minus male or plus male categories we have seen the construction of patriarchal order.

[Patriarchy. There are numerous understandings of this term, both inside and outside feminism. With Mary Daly, I agree that 'patriarchy appears to be everywhere'. Veronica Beechey: The concept of patriarchy has been used within the women's movement to analyse the principles underlying women's oppression ... it has been used ... in the search for an explanation of feelings of oppression and subordination, and in the desire to transform feelings of rebellion into a political practice and theory ... Thus the theory of patriarchy attempts to penetrate beneath the particular experiences and manifestations of women's oppression and to formulate some coherent theory of the basis of subordination which underlies them. But patriarchy is also a frame of reference, a particular way of classifying and organising the objects and events of the world; it is a form of 'order' which patterns our existence (Cora Kaplan, refers to it as 'patriarchal order'). I am using patriarchy in all of these senses; I am using it as in inclusive term to encompass a sex-class system, and a symbolic system which supports male supremacist social arrangements. That is why I see 'patriarchy everywhere'; there is no aspect of our lives, that I know of, which is outside patriarchy ... at the moment. But trying to 'pin down' the nature of this term from the beginning is self-defeating. Meanings are mapped out, layer on layer, and it is through the course of making many meanings, that specific meanings emerge.] It is a symbolic order into which we are born and as we become members of society and begin to enter the meanings which the symbols represent, we also begin to structure the world so that those symbols are seen to be applicable: we enter into the meaning of patriarchal order and we then help to give it substance, we help it to come true. Some of us, however, have decided to stop. We no longer wish to give substance to patriarchal order and its integral component, the superiority of the male. We have started to formulate different rules for classifying the world, rules that are not based on the assumption that the proper human being is a male one and that female is a negative category. We have begun to codify the meaning that woman is an autonomous category and we are beginning to make this version of the world come true. We are gathering our own evidence which disproves male superiority and which unmasks the many mechanisms which have helped to sustain this unfortunate and inappropriate reality. Our task however is an enormous one; it is also one which flies in the face of conventional wisdom. We are accused of not behaving reasonably in the context of patriarchal order. This is a perfectly understandable reaction, for when a society has developed a particular pattern for meaning, those who do not abide by it are being unreasonable - in its terms. But unless that pattern for meaning is infallible (and there is considerable evidence that it is not, given that meaning changes not just from one society to another, but within one society over time) then the flaw may be in the pattern itself, and not in those who protest. If patriarchal order can be shown to be unreasonable, then those who are attempting to dismantle it are behaving in an eminently reasonable fashion. Being branded as unreasonable, however, is probably the least of our problems, even though it does serve to illustrate the way in which dissenters can be conveniently discounted. The crux of our difficulties lies in being able to identify and transform the rules which govern our behaviour

and which bring patriarchal order into existence. Yet the tools we have for doing this are part of that patriarchal order. While we can modify, we must none the less use the only language, the only classification scheme which is at our disposal. We must use it in a way that is acceptable and meaningful. But that very language and the conditions for its use in turn structure a patriarchal order. Because of this it is imperative that we begin to unravel the many linguistic means by which patriarchy has been created. Not only do we have to tackle and transform the fundamental classification scheme, we also have to tackle its myriad manifestations. Every aspect of the language from its structure to the conditions of its use must be scrutinised if we are to detect both the blatant and the subtle means by which the edifice of male supremacy has been assembled. If we are to begin to take it apart we must be able to recognise its form. Deconstructing patriarchal order is not tantamount to eliminating male power. There is a current feminist criticism which justly maintains that consciousness-raising does not remove males from the influential positions in society nor does it provide women with equitable wages. But there is a consensus which must accompany power and at the moment too many people are content to see male power and dominance as reasonable, and natural. Too many people make a contribution towards the realisation of this power. By making it increasingly difficult to justify male supremacy we also make it increasingly difficult to justify male power, and when that consensus is no longer available then it is not just the myth of male superiority which is at stake. When consensus is withdrawn there have been changes made in the construction of reality and they are not insignificant changes. Although there have been many erroneous rules formulated for classifying the world, the ones in which I am primarily interested, in this context, are those which relate to the stratification of females and males. These are not the only hierarchical forms but they are the ones which I have chosen to concentrate on and explore. I have used the basic division of female/male, partly because I think it is a prototypic division, and I have indicated how and why we impose unequal value on these categories and with what adverse results. If polarising female/male in this way leads to the reasonable conclusion, within the patriarchal order, that this case is anti-male, then so be it. I am anti the categories of plus male and minus male. But if those categories are abolished and males are no longer presented as superior, I will accept them as my equals. That, however, will not be within a patriarchal order.
Source: Man Made Language (1980) publ. Routledge & Kegan Paul. Just the Introduction reproduced here.

Postmodernism and the Death of the Subject


James Heartfield 2002

In the 1960s and 1970s a number of different thinkers started to question the validity of the human Subject. Their ideas were ahead of their time. A variety of different theories arose out of the philosophy called phenomenology and the sociological outlook influenced by the linguistic theory structuralism. Together, these ideas coalesced into an outlook popularised as postmodernism. The origin of these ideas is mostly French, but postmodernism caught a mood

amongst academics, and more broadly amongst opinion-formers, and the culturati to quickly gain a currency in intellectual life in the 1980s and 1990s. By the end of the Millennium the new papal encyclical found John Paul II embracing postmodern despair rather than giving a message of hope. Noting that postmodern nihilism has been justified in a sense by the terrible experience of evil which has marked our age, the pope asserts that such a dramatic experience has ensured the collapse of rationalist optimism, which viewed history as the triumphant progress of reason, the source of all happiness and freedom.[1] His Holiness warns against a certain positivist cast of mind which continues to nurture the illusion that, thanks to scientific and technical progress, man and woman may live as a demiurge, single-handedly and completely taking charge of their destiny. The Pope is echoing the judgement of the postmodernists. It was Jean-Franois Lyotard who best summed up the assessment of the modern age and its overriding ideologies. I will use the term modern to designate any science that legitimates itself with reference to a metadiscourse ... making an explicit appeal to some grand narrative, such as the dialectics of Spirit, the hermeneutics of meaning, the emancipation of the rational or working Subject, or the creation of wealth.[2] Rejecting these defining narrative structures of modernity, Lyotard announced the post-modern age in the following way: I define postmodernism as incredulity towards metanarratives. [3] As is now well-known, postmodernism was defined as a time when we could do away with the ideologies upon which we had relied, as so many tall tales, designed to make the listener happy and satisfied, but with no greater significance. Socialism, the free market, Christianity, the nuclear family, scientific progress were exposed as so many bedtime stories told to lull us children into sleep. It was not immediately clear that the implications of the theory called first post-structuralism and later postmodernism were hostile to subjectivity. Indeed the opposite appeared to be the case. The postmodernists were first and foremost charged with an excessive subjectivity that jeopardised objectivity. To scientists and conservatives the hallmark of these new ideas was their scepticism towards a singular objective truth. The charge of relativism was made against postmodernists.[4] In a celebrated assault on the postmodernists, scientists Alan Sokal and Jean Bricmont wrote: A second target of our book is epistemic relativism, that modern science is nothing more than a myth, a narration or a social construction. To their critics it seemed as if subjective predilection had been elevated over objective fact in this new outlook. Moral philosopher Alain Finkielkraut parodies the postmodern reprobate as saying Let me do what I want myself!. Finkielkraut continues: No transcendent or traditional authority, and not even a plain majoritarian one, can shape the preferences of your postmodern man or regulate his behaviour.[5] The shortcoming of the postmodernists, then, was that they resisted all authority, in a riot of subjective preference. The critics pointed to the promiscuous way that the postmodernists deconstructed each and every scientific and moral certainty as if these were no more than big stories, meta or grand narratives. But according to the postmodernists, such metanarratives tended to eradicate differences, imposing a lifeless uniformity. Where metanarratives reduced complexity to self-sameness, the method of deconstruction restored the fundamental difference of things.[6] To the natural scientists and conservatives, such a singular elevation of difference suggested a thoroughgoing subjectivism, in which objectivity was sacrificed to personal subjective responses.

But the deconstruction was not only directed outward towards the objective world, as the critics feared. The very promiscuity of the postmodern deconstruction of all grand narratives meant that the grandest of all narratives, that of the Subject itself, would not remain untouched. Jacques Derrida, for example, insists that difference is so primordial that it cannot be kept outside of the Subject, but must call into question the Subject itself: What differs? Who differs? What is diffrance?....if we accepted this form of the question, in its meaning and its syntax (What is? Who is? What is that?), we would have to conclude that diffrance has been derived, has happened, is to be mastered and governed on the basis of the point of a present being as a Subject a who.[7] Derridas style is wilfully demanding. (In Of Grammatology he insists that his intention is to make enigmatic ... the very words with which we designate what is closest to us.[8]) But allowing for his specialised vocabulary, the meaning is clear enough. It is not that there are differences between Subjects, he is saying. That much would simply be a pluralistic outlook: different strokes for different folks. But that does not go far enough for Derrida. If we were just talking about differences between people, then we would have already assumed the existence of these unitary Subjects prior to difference. And then difference would only be a predicate of these previously existing Subjects. But for Derrida, difference, or diffrance, comes before the Subject. To ask what or who differs assumes the prior existence of Subjects who differ. Derrida is insisting on the priority of difference over the Subject. The implication is that the Subject, too, cannot be assumed to be a unitary whole without difference, but rather, must in turn, itself be deconstructed. In Of Grammatology, Derrida makes it clear that his deconstruction of the claims of objectivity go hand in hand with the deconstruction of subjectivity.[9] Just as claims to objective truth are a narrative that must be dispelled, so too is subjectivity a myth. In his book Of Spirit, he goes one step further in rejecting subjectivity. The book is a discussion of the philosopher and Nazi Martin Heidegger. In it Derrida indicates that Heideggers appeal to the Spirit of the West is a perverse outcome of the rational Subject of Enlightenment thinking. Derrida goes on to criticise opposition to racism, totalitarianism, to Nazism, to fascism that is undertaken in the name of the spirit, and even of the freedom of (the) spirit, in the name of an axiomatic for example, that of democracy or human rights which directly or not comes back to this metaphysics of Subjectivity.[10] Here, the narratives of freedom and democracy are being criticised because they imply the emancipation of a Subject (in this case a people). In Derridas eyes, that appeal to the metaphysics of Subjectivity puts them on a par with fascism, because fascism, as represented here by Martin Heidegger, also appeals to a Subject, the Spirit of the West. The turn of Derridas argument is surprising. How readily he associates democracy and fascism! And that the common strand should be their shared commitment to subjectivity. It is tempting to think that Derrida is simply making an unduly formal abstraction, while carried away with a complex argument. Perhaps on some plane one could say that fascism and democracy are the same since both are political forms of organisation. In such a case it would simply be a rather forced parallel, like the insight that Hitler, Stalin and Saddam Hussein all have moustaches. But Derrida means more than this. The common bond between fascism and democracy is not incidental, but a fatal flaw; and the specific bond that Derrida alights upon is subjectivity.

Phillipe Lacoue-Labarthe, another philosopher, influenced by Derrida, makes the point more forcefully, when he writes that Fascism is a humanism: in that it rests on a determination of humanitas, which is, in its eyes, more powerful, ie, more effective, that any other. The Subject of absolute self-creation, even if it transcends all the determinations of the modern Subject in an immediately natural position (the particularity of race), brings together and concretises these same determinations and sets itself up as the Subject, absolutely speaking.[11] Lacoue-Labarthe makes explicit the meaning of the deconstruction of the metaphysics of the Subject. Self-creation, once a virtue, is here seen as fascistic. Humanism is a fascism, because humanism puts man at the centre, makes mans activity the substance of history. The initial reaction against the poststructuralist thinkers was to protest at their extreme subjectivism and consequent dismissal of objective truth. But what that criticism missed was that the Subject was also the target of deconstruction, perhaps especially so. Implicit in this double movement is the possibility that Subject and object are not opposed, but mutually supporting terms. If the singular objective ground is called into question, then so too is the singular and unified Subject. And, perhaps more importantly, the degradation of the Subject destroys the basis of a sustained investigation of the objective. In prosaic terms, if we cannot be sure of the investigator, there can be no investigation. Ideology interpellates individuals as Subjects, Louis Althusser.[12] Louis Althusser was a theoretician of the French Communist Party in the sixties and seventies as well as a lecturer at the elite Ecole Normale Suprieure with Foucault and Derrida. Like them he was concerned to dislodge the Subject from its exalted status. In the essay Ideological state apparatuses of 1970 Althusser argues that ideology has the function of constituting concrete individuals as subjects.[13] He means that the Subject is an effect of the ideology, not the other way around. Ordinary thinking would have it that persons Subjects have ideas, or perhaps more cynically that an ideology is crafted to deceive these Subjects about their true conditions. But Althusser goes further than that. He is saying that ideology does not only deceive you into thinking things like this war is a just war, or wealthy people worked hard to get where they are. Althusser argues that even the idea of oneself as a Subject, author of your own destiny, is an illusion fostered by ideology. Althussers argument exemplifies the thinking that sees the Subject as socially bounded. In other words the Subject does not exist before society. Society is not a contract between fully formed Subjects. Rather the Subject owes its existence entirely to the social order. Furthermore, once the Subject is seen as the contingent effect of society, then subjectivity is revealed as partial rather than universal. Those that society deigns to ennoble as Subjects turn out to be a narrow and particular caste of individuals, exclusive of other sections, such as the lower classes, women, non-Europeans, and others. Like the insight that the Subject is historically bounded, the view that the Subject is socially limited is unquestionably true. What is at issue is the conclusions to be drawn from that insight. Does it follow that since the Subject is a product of society that it is merely illusory, or that the Subject ought to be subordinate to society? Does it follow from the

exclusion of some sections from the rights and status of subjectivity, that those grapes are sour, and that subjectivity itself should be abolished? Althusser recalls in Marxism and Marxist theory I discovered a system of thought which acknowledged the primacy of the bodily activity and labour. I at last discovered the primacy of the body and the hand as the agent of the transformation of all matter.[14] I later took from it my description of history as a process without a subject.[15] For Althusser, then, Marx suggested a more or less biological process, of bodily activity. This would indeed be a process without a subject. But to make Marx the cloak of the historical process with no subject, Marx had to be tailored to fit. Unfortunately, Marxs writing is imbued with a sense of the historical Subject, albeit one that is in the process of formation. Moreover, the fashion in Marxist circles at the time, heavily influenced by the official Marxist policy of the Communist Soviet Union in the East, was too emphasise the humanist Marx. Althusser rightly intuited that the stress upon Marxs humanism from official Soviet ideologues was shaped by the political imperatives of the Russian state. In particular the Soviet policy of peaceful coexistence sought to win time for Russia to build up its economy, and make friends amongst the Western intelligentsia, as a buffer to criticism. As a member of a party with fraternal links to the Soviet Union, Althusser had to frame his criticisms cautiously and in the judicious language of philosophical disagreement. With a note of sarcasm he wrote, I wonder even whether socialist humanism is not such a reassuring and attractive theme that it will allow a dialogue between Communists and Social-Democrats, or even a wider exchange with those men of good will who are opposed to war and poverty. Today, he continued ironically, even the high road of Humanism seems to lead to socialism.[16] And then, as a reprimand to the humanists, Althusser adds, In fact the objective of the revolutionary struggle has always been the end of exploitation and hence the liberation of man, but, as Marx foresaw, in its historical phase, this struggle had to take the form of a struggle between classes. [17] Althusser is arguing that for Marx, a humanism that embraces all humanity is a myth that only succeeds in papering over the urgent differences between classes, exploiters and exploited: He [Marx] drove the philosophical categories of the Subject...etc from all the domains in which they had reigned supreme. Not only from political economy (rejection of the myth of homo economicus, that is of the individual with definite faculties and needs as the Subject of the classical economy); not just from history (rejection of social atomism and ethico-political idealism); not just from ethics (rejection of the Kantian ethical idea); but also from philosophy itself: for Marxs materialism excludes the empiricism of the Subject (and its inverse: the transcendental Subject).[18] Althusser finds in Marx a rejection of the bourgeois Subject of economics, and liberal ethics. He rightly understands that it was Marx who explained that a humanism that pretended that Moneybags and Rent-roll were on the same plane as the wage-slave was a lie designed to cover up those differences. But Althusser puts more on Marx than he ought to bear. Marx criticised the bourgeois Subject for its limitations. He did not aim to abolish the historical Subject altogether. In particular Althussers characterisation Marxs theoretical anti-humanism[19] is misplaced. As

Althusser sees it Marx replaced the old couple individuals/human essence in the theory of history by new and suitably impersonal concepts (forces of production, relations of production, etc.).[20] However Marxs theoretical terminology was not intended to blot out the human agency, but to highlight the barriers to its full realisation. But then Althussers knowledge of Marxism, despite his reputation, was to say the least, sketchy, as he acknowledged in his memoirs.[21] In fact Althussers underlying inspiration in the battle against the Subject was drawn from his contemporaries, in spite, not because of, the Marxist idiom he adopted.[22] Althussers account of ideological Subject formation is far from common sense. He is saying that the creation of the Subject is one of repression, not liberation. The example he gives in Ideological state apparatuses is of a policeman, hailing Hey You, and so creating a You, to which, the passer-by answers, accepting the ascribed status. Identification here becomes a repressive act, rather than the recognition of a free Subject. Perversely, the very terms of Subjective recognition in Althussers account are an imposition from outside, that impose a given identity rather than liberating the Subject of the policemans address. The account of Subject formation as repression has been widely taken up. Michel Foucault gives an alarming historical telling of the formation of modern Subjects in his books The Birth of the Clinic and Discipline and Punish. There modern institutions from the prison, through the schools and the hospitals are all involved in the disciplining of bodies through techniques of surveillance and interview. The all-pervasive gaze of these new authorities transfixes the individual, making him a Subject with guilt and conscience. In her book The Psychic Life of Power: Theories in Subjection, Judith Butler develops the paradoxical account of subjection. If, following Foucault, we understand power as forming the subject, she writes, power imposes itself on us, and weakened by its force, we come to internalise or accept its terms. Power, that first appears as external, pressed upon the subject, pressing the subject into subordination, assumes a psychic form that constitutes the subjects self-identity. It is the internalisation of the discourse of power that creates the Subject. Subjection consists precisely in this fundamental dependency on a discourse,[23] leading Foucault to talk of the discursive production of the subject.[24] In Butlers telling the terrible burden of subjectivity seems more or less established until she checks herself to ask how can it be that the subject, taken to be the condition for and instrument of agency, is at the same time the effect of subordination, understood as the deprivation of agency?.[25] How indeed? The first answer is that the theory depends upon a play on words. The word subject has two, related, meanings. It can mean the active party, the subject in the sentence, He threw the ball, which is related to the wider meaning of the rights-bearing Subject, who is a free agent. Otherwise, subject can be a verb meaning to impose, as in I subject him to torture. Or subject can be the noun for those under the Kings rule.[26] All these different meanings are connected. The word comes from the latin jacere, to throw or cast, and its meaning was widened to mean exercise power over.[27] The shifting meaning of Subject in Butlers play on words, though, has its origin in social changes.[28] Where few people exercised power, that power was for most, the experience of subjugation hence (the Crowns) subjects, ie, recipients of the exercise of power. The historical subjection of the sovereign power to democratic control gives us the more contemporary meaning of Subject as master of his own destiny. The modern meaning carries the older meaning within it, in the sense that the word still means something like subjugate, but now

with the implication of a mastery over circumstances rather than people.[29] But this lingering trace of the older meaning is a foothold for Butler. The reversal of meanings whereby Subject formation becomes enslavement rather than liberation begins with the critique not of subjectification, but of objectification. Specifically, it was feminist thinkers who first showed how ideological representations of women could serve to render them as objects of the male gaze.[30] In slasher films, for example, camera shots made the audience both voyeur and aggressor.[31] For Susanne Kappeler pornography shows one and only one constant element of representational content: the woman-object. But there is another constant factor: the male-subject, producer and consumer of representation ... the viewer plays the imaginary hero in relation to the woman-"object".[32] Here the objectification of woman divides the pornographic worldview into male subjects and female objects. The question arises, is objectification a necessary consequence of subjectification? Kappeler writes, The woman objectified implies a subject, a hero of her degradation.[33] Is the opposite also implied, that a Subject, a hero, implies objectification and degradation? If that were true then the entire project of subjective freedom is called into question. All subjectivity would be compromised as complicit in the degradation of others. Conversely, the critique of objectification would seem to imply that women demand to be treated as Subjects in their own right, though not all have seen it that way. Maeve Cooke writes, for example, that feminists have rejected the ideal of autonomy that defines the Subject.[34] Judith Butler takes a similar view. Do the exclusionary practices that ground feminist theory in a notion of women as subject paradoxically undercut feminist goals...?, she asks.[35] In this reading, womens liberation is an exclusionary practice because it implies a Subject, women, of liberation, excluding the possibility of a non-subjectively grounded feminism. What sense does it make to extend representation to Subjects who are constructed through the exclusion of those who fail to conform to unspoken normative requirements of the Subject?...The identity of the feminist subject ought not to be the foundation of feminist politics.[36] Butler means that a movement that sees women as Subjects reproduces the basic structure of the society that it is challenging. Feminism for Butler advances a critique of the Subject per se, not simply a reformist demand for the extension of the normative requirements of the Subject to encompass women. The implication is clear: it is not the male monopoly over the rights of the Subject that is at fault, but the very ideal of autonomy itself. Women in adapting the mantle of Subject, conform to these unspoken, normative requirements. At this point one has to wonder whether Butler is carried away with her own dialectical skills. What began as a criticism of the monopoly over freedom exercised by men has turned, paradoxically, into a criticism of freedom as such. Seeing the individual as an effect of social forces, and an illusory one at that, Althusser completed the account of history as a process without a Subject. Althussers prioritisation of society over the Subject has its own particularities, but it also has antecedents in much sociology. The view that the individual is socialised into given roles was already part of the canon of Western sociology.[37] Indeed it is an idea that goes back to the anti-Enlightenment reaction that sought to emphasise the priority of the social whole over individual rights. Man, wrote the arch-reactionary Joseph De Maistre, nearly two centuries before Althusser, is sociable in his essence. Conservatives, more than radicals, are associated with the argument of the priority of

the social over the individual. So the Hegelian political philosopher TH Green would write dismissively of the delusion of natural right in which the Individual, it is thought, [has] a right, not derived from society.[38] There is a kind of elan to the critique of Subjectivity. It moves tentatively first, like a child testing out some new profanity. But finding that there is little resistance it rushes forward, pushing at an open door. It is as if someone worked up the courage to say The Subject has no clothes! and suddenly his nakedness is revealed. Such sudden shifts encourage the criticism. The assault on the Subject takes on the character of a revolt, like storming the Winter Palace. Those that demur are reactionary old fuddy-duddies. Quite quickly the fugitive outlook of yesterday becomes the establishment viewpoint of today. Postmodernism is now an intrinsic part of the syllabus throughout the humanities. Even the pope has gone pomo. There is of course, a price to pay, and a heavy one. The theoretical degradation of the Subject is closer to reality than a naive reassertion of natural rights could be. But it is also an accomplice to the present. Whilst the first stirrings represented some considerable labour, groping towards something that was far from clear, the work today is just too easy. No sooner is a proposition made than it can be deconstructed. The question of whether the project of deconstruction is the right one is more and more difficult to ask. What is the degradation of the Subject in fact, and ought theory to be an accomplice to it? Thinking ought to pay attention to the world, but it does not necessarily have to celebrate the defeats of the human spirit.

Footnotes
1. Reason and Faith 2. The Postmodern Condition: A Report on Knowledge, Manchester: University Press, 1989, pXXIV 3. The Postmodern Condition: A Report on Knowledge, Manchester: University Press, 1989, pXXIV 4. Intellectual Impostures, London: Profile, 1999. 5. The Undoing of Thought, London: The Claridge Press, 1988, p116 6. Jacques Derrida indicates the intrinsic nature of difference with his own concept of diffrance indicating not only differentiation, but also the deferment of the moment of closure that is definition, and hence the perpetual play of difference. Diffrance is the nonfull, nonsimple, structured and differentiating origin of differences. A Derrida Reader: Between the Blinds, Hemel Hempstead: Harvester, 1991, p64 7. Jacques Derrida, A Derrida Reader: Between the Blinds, Hemel Hempstead: Harvester, 1991, p65. My thanks to Kenan Malik for pointing this passage out.

8. A Derrida Reader: Between the Blinds, Hemel Hempstead: Harvester, 1991, pix 9. Of Grammatology, Maryland: John Hopkins UP, 1997, p16 10. Of Spirit: Heidegger and the Question, Chicago: University Press, 1991, p40 11. Quoted in Luc Ferry and Alain Renault Heidegger and Modernity, Chicago: University Press, 1990 p2. I have missed out a second parenthesis, a sideswipe at Stalinism, no doubt deserved, but not to our purpose. 12. Ideological State Apparatuses, in Slavoj Zizek (ed), Mapping Ideology, London: Verso, 1994, p128 13. Ideological State Apparatuses, in Slavoj Zizek (ed), Mapping Ideology, London: Verso, 1994, p129 14. The Future Lasts a Long Time, London: Vintage, 1994, p215 15. The Future Lasts a Long Time, London: Vintage, 1994, p218. Althussers italics. 16. For Marx, Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1969, p221 17. For Marx, Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1969, p221 18. For Marx, Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1969, p228. Althussers italics. 19. For Marx, Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1969, p229. Althussers italics. 20. For Marx, Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1969, p229. 21. I became obsessed with the terrifying thought that these texts would expose me completely to the public at large as I really was, namely a trickster and a deceiver ... who knew almost nothing about ... Marx ... I had only seriously studied Book I of Capital in 1964 The Future Lasts a Long Time, London: Vintage, 1994, p148 22. The Future Lasts a Long Time, London: Vintage, 1994, I had read Heideggers Letter to Jean Beaufret on Humanism, which influenced my arguments concerning theoretical antihumanism in Marx. P176. The letter on humanism, in which Heidegger denounces JeanPaul Sartres humanism is reproduced in the Basic Writings. 23. Judith Butler, The Psychic Life of Power: Theories in Subjection, Stanford: University Press, 1997, p2-3

24. Judith Butler, The Psychic Life of Power: Theories in Subjection, Stanford: University Press, 1997,p5 25. Judith Butler, The Psychic Life of Power: Theories in Subjection, Stanford: University Press, 1997,p10 26. The British Labour MP Tony Wright makes this play on words in the title of his book Citizens or Subjects without even realising what he is doing. 27. Oxford Dictionary of English Etymology, ed CT Onions, Oxford: University Press, 1985 28. English philosopher TH Green suggests that the different meanings are national. English writers commonly call that the subject of a right that Germans would call the object. , Lectures on the Principles of Political Obligation and other writings, Cambridge: University Press, 1986, p180 29. The word sovereignty carries a similar history, where the original exercise of sovereignty was restricted to the Prince, its universalisation suggests to some, like Tony Wright in his Citizens or Subjects, that the sovereign power of the elected assembly is simply despotism to the nth power. 30. Beatrix Campbell and Anna Coote A, Sweet Freedom, p227 31. Vincent, Sally, The New Statesman, 19 December 1980 32. Pornography: The Representation of Power in Catherine Itzin (ed), Pornography: Women, violence and civil liberties, a radical new view, p93 33. Pornography: The Representation of Power in Catherine Itzin (ed), Pornography: Women, violence and civil liberties, a radical new view, p93 34. Questioning Ethics: Contemporary Debates in Philosophy, Edited by Richard Kearney and Mark Dooley, London Routledge, 1999, p260 35. Judith Butler, Gender Trouble: Feminism and the Subversion of Identity, Routledge, London, 1990, p5 36. Judith Butler, Gender Trouble: Feminism and the Subversion of Identity, Routledge, London, 1990, p5-6 37. see Burkart Holzner, The Construction of Social Actors: An essay on social identities, in T Luckmann (ed) Phenomenology and Sociology, Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1978, p291-310, for example. 38. TH Green, Lectures on the Principles of Political Obligation and other writings, Cambridge: University Press, 1986, p79

Source: Abstracted from The Death of the Subject Explained, Sheffield Hallam UP, 2002 and reproduced with the permission of the author.

Postmodernisation, or The Informatisation of Production


Michael Hardt and Antonio Negri

Postmodernism is not something we can settle once and for all and then use with a clear conscience. The concept, if theres one, has to come at the end, and not at the beginning, of our discussions of it. Fredric Jameson The good news from Washington is that every single person in Congress supports the concept of an information superhighway. The bad news is that no one has any idea what that means. Congressman Edward Markey It has now become common to view the succession of economic paradigms since the Middle Ages in three distinct moments, each defined by the dominant sector of the economy: a first paradigm in which agriculture and the extraction of raw materials dominated the economy, a second in which industry and the manufacture of durable goods occupied the privileged position, and a third and current paradigm in which providing services and manipulating information are at the heart of economic production. The dominant position has thus passed from primary to secondary to tertiary production. Economic modernisation involves the passage from the first paradigm to the second, from the dominance of agriculture to that of industry. Modernisation means industrialisation. We might call the passage from the second paradigm to the third, from the domination of industry to that of services and information, a process of economic postmodernisation, or better, informatisation. The most obvious definition and index of the shifts among these three paradigms appear first in quantitative terms, in reference either to the percentage of the population engaged in each of these productive domains or to the percentage of the total value produced by the various sectors of production. The changes in employment statistics in the dominant capitalist countries during the past one hundred years do indeed indicate dramatic shifts. This quantitative view, however, can lead to serious misunderstandings of these economic paradigms. Quantitative indicators cannot grasp either the qualitative transformation in the progression from one paradigm to another or the hierarchy among the economic sectors in the context of each paradigm. In the process of modernisation and the passage toward the paradigm of industrial dominance, not only did agricultural production decline quantitatively (both in percentage of workers employed and in proportion of the total value produced), but also, more important, agriculture itself was transformed. When agriculture came under the domination of industry, even when agriculture was still predominant in quantitative terms, it became subject to the social and financial pressures of industry, and moreover agricultural production itself was industrialised. Agriculture, of course, did not disappear; it remained an essential component of modern industrial economies, but it was now a transformed, industrialised agriculture. The quantitative perspective also falls to recognise hierarchies among national or regional economies in the global system, which leads to all kinds of historical misrecognitions, posing analogies where none exist. From a quantitative perspective, for example, one might assume a twentieth-century society with the majority of its labour force occupied in agriculture or mining and the majority of its value produced in these sectors (such as India or Nigeria) to be in a position analogous to a society that existed sometime in the past with the same percentage of workers or value produced in those sectors (such as France or England). The historical illusion casts the analogy in a dynamic sequence so that one economic system occupies the same position

or stage in a sequence of development that another had held in a previous period, as if all were on the same track moving forward in line. From the qualitative perspective, that is, in terms of their position in global power relationships, however, the economies of these societies occupy entirely incomparable positions. In the earlier case (France or England of the past), the agricultural production existed as the dominant sector in its economic sphere, and in the later (twentieth-century India or Nigeria), it is subordinated to industry in the world system. The two economies are not on the same track but in radically different and even divergent situations of dominance and subordination. In these different positions of hierarchy, a host of economic factors is completely different exchange relationships, credit and debt relationships, and so forth. In order for the latter economy to realise a position analogous to that of the former, it would have to invert the power relationship and achieve a position of dominance in its contemporary economic sphere, as Europe did, for example, in the medieval economy of the Mediterranean world. Historical change, in other words, has to be recognised in terms of the power relationships throughout the economic sphere.
Illusions of Development

The discourse of economic development, which was imposed under U.S. hegemony in coordination with the New Deal model in the postwar period, uses such false historical analogies as the foundation for economic policies. This discourse conceives the economic history of all countries as following one single pattern of development, each at different times and according to different speeds. Countries whose economic production is not presently at the level of the dominant countries are thus seen as developing countries, with the idea that if they continue on the path followed previously by the dominant countries and repeat their economic policies and strategies, they will eventually enjoy an analogous position or stage. The developmental view fails to recognise, however, that the economies of the so-called developed countries are defined not only by certain quantitative factors or by their internal structures, but also and more important by their dominant position in the global system. The critiques of the developmentalist view that were posed by underdevelopment theories and dependency theories, which were born primarily in the Latin American and African contexts in the 1960s, were useful and important precisely because they emphasised the fact that the evolution of a regional or national economic system depends to a large extent on its place within the hierarchy and power structures of the capitalist world-system. The dominant regions will continue to develop and the subordinate will continue to underdevelop as mutually supporting poles in the global power structure. To say that the subordinate economies do not develop does not mean that they do not change or grow; it means, rather, that they remain subordinate in the global system and thus never achieve the promised form of a dominant, developed economy. In some cases individual countries or regions may be able to change their position in the hierarchy, but the point is that, regardless of who fills which position, the hierarchy remains the determining factor. The theorists of underdevelopment themselves, however, also repeat a similar illusion of economic development. Summarising in schematic terms, we could say that their logic begins with two valid historical claims but then draws from them an erroneous conclusion. First, they maintain that, through the imposition of colonial regimes and/or other forms of imperialist

domination, the underdevelopment of subordinated economies was created and sustained by their integration into the global network of dominant capitalist economies, their partial articulation, and thus their real and continuing dependence on those dominant economies. Second, they claim that the dominant economies themselves had originally developed their fully articulated and independent structures in relative isolation, with only limited interaction with other economies and global networks. From these two more or less acceptable historical claims, however, they then deduce an invalid conclusion: if the developed economies achieved full articulation in relative isolation and the underdeveloped economies became disarticulated and dependent through their integration into global networks, then a project for the relative isolation of the underdeveloped economies will result in their development and full articulation. In other words, as an alternative to the false development pandered by the economists of the dominant capitalist countries, the theorists of underdevelopment promoted real development, which involves de-linking an economy from its dependent relationships and articulating in relative isolation an autonomous economic structure. Since this is how the dominant economies developed, it must be the true path to escape the cycle of underdevelopment. This syllogism, however, asks us to believe that the laws of economic development will somehow transcend the differences of historical change. The alternative notion of development is based paradoxically on the same historical illusion central to the dominant ideology of development it opposes. The tendential realisation of the world market should destroy any notion that today a country or region could isolate or de-link itself from the global networks of power in order to re-create the conditions of the past and develop as the dominant capitalist countries once did. Even the dominant countries are now dependent on the global system; the interactions of the world market have resulted in a generalised disarticulation of all economics. Increasingly, any attempt at isolation or separation win mean only a more brutal kind of domination by the global system, a reduction to powerlessness and poverty.
lnformatisation

The processes of modernisation and industrialisation transformed and redefined all the elements of the social plane. When agriculture was modernised as industry, the farm progressively became a factory, with all of the factorys discipline, technology, wage relations, and so forth. Agriculture was modernised as industry. More generally, society itself slowly became industrialised even to the point of transforming human relations and human nature. Society became a factory. In the early twentieth century, Robert Musil reflected beautifully on the transformation of humanity in the passage from the pastoral agricultural world to the social factory: There was a time when people grew naturally into the conditions they found waiting for them and that was a very sound way of becoming oneself. But nowadays, with all this shaking up of things, when everything is becoming detached from the soil it grew in, even where the production of soul is concerned one really ought, as it were, to replace the traditional handicrafts by the sort of intelligence that goes with the machine and the factory. The processes of becoming human and the nature of the human itself were fundamentally transformed in the passage defined by modernisation.

In our times, however, modernisation has come to an end. In other words, industrial production is no longer expanding its dominance over other economic forms and social phenomena. A symptom of this shift is manifest in the quantitative changes in employment. Whereas the process of modernisation was indicated by a migration of labour from agriculture and mining (the primary sector) to industry (the secondary), the process of post-modernisation or informatisation has been demonstrated through the migration from industry to service Jobs (the tertiary), a shift that has taken place in the dominant capitalist countries, and particularly in the United States, since the early 1970s. Services cover a wide range of activities from health care, education, and finance to transportation, entertainment, and advertising. The jobs for the most part are highly mobile and involve flexible skills. More important, they are characterised in general by the central role played by knowledge, information, affect, and communication. In this sense many call the postindustrial economy an informational economy. The claim that modernisation is over and that the global economy is today undergoing a process of postmodernisation toward an informational economy does not mean that industrial production will be done away with or even that it win cease to play an important role, even in the most dominant regions of the globe. just as the processes of industrialisation transformed agriculture and made it more productive, so too the informational revolution will transform industry by redefining and rejuvenating manufacturing processes. The new managerial imperative operative here is, Treat manufacturing as a service. In effect, as industries are transformed, the division between manufacturing and services is becoming blurred. Just as through the process of modernisation all production tended to become industrialised, so too through the process of postmodernisation all production tends toward the production of services, toward becoming informationalised. Not all countries, of course, even among the dominant capitalist countries, have embarked on the project of postmodernisation along the same path. On the basis of the change of employment statistics in the G-7 countries since 1970, Manuel Castells and Yuko Aoyama have discerned two basic models or paths of informatisation. Both models involve the increase of employment in postindustrial services, but they emphasise different kinds of services and different relations between services and manufacturing. The first path tends toward a service economy model and is led by the United States, the United Kingdom, and Canada. This model involves a id decline in industrial jobs and a corresponding rapid rise in service-sector jobs. In particular, the financial services that manage capital come to dominate the other service sectors. In the second model, the info-industrial model, typified by japan and Germany, industrial employment declines more slowly than it does in the first model, and, more important, the process of informatisation is closely integrated into and serves to reinforce the strength of existing industrial production. Services related directly to industrial production thus remain more important in this model relative to other services. The two models represent two strategies to manage and gain an advantage in the economic transition, but it should be clear that they both move resolutely in the direction of the informatisation of the economy and the heightened importance of productive flows and networks. Although the subordinated countries and regions of the world are not capable of implementing such strategies, the processes of postmodernisation nonetheless impose irreversible changes on

them. The fact that informatisation and the shift toward services have taken place thus far primarily in the dominant capitalist countries and not elsewhere should not lead us back to an understanding of the contemporary global economic situation in terms of linear stages of development. It is true that as industrial production has declined in the dominant countries, it has been effectively exported to subordinated countries, from the United States and japan, for example, to Mexico and Malaysia. Such geographical shifts and displacements might lead some to believe that there is a new global organisation of economic stages whereby the dominant countries are informational service economies, their first subordinates are industrial economies, and those further subordinated are agricultural. From the perspective of stages of development, for example, one might think that through the contemporary export of industrial production, an auto factory built by Ford in Brazil in the 1990s might be comparable to a Ford factory in Detroit in the 1930s because both instances of production belong to the same industrial stage. When we look more closely, however, we can see that the two factories are not comparable, and the differences are extremely important. First of all, the two factories are radically different in terms of technology and productive practices. When fixed capital is exported, it is exported generally at its highest level of productivity. The Ford factory in 1990s Brazil, then, would not be built with the technology of the Ford factory of 1930s Detroit, but would be based on the most advanced and most productive computer and informational technologies available. The technological infrastructure of the factory itself would locate it squarely within the informational economy. Second, and perhaps more important, the two factories stand in different relations of dominance with respect to the global economy as a whole. The Detroit auto factory of the 1930s stood at the pinnacle of the global economy in the dominant position and producing the highest value; the 1990s auto factory, whether in So Paulo, Kentucky, or Vladivostok, occupies a subordinate position in the global economy subordinated to the high-value production of services. Today all economic activity tends to come under the dominance of the informational economy and to be qualitatively transformed by it. The geographical differences in the global economy are not signs of the co-presence of different stages of development but lines of the new global hierarchy of production. It is becoming increasingly clear from the perspective of subordinated regions that modernisation is no longer the key to economic advancement and competition. The most subordinated regions, such as areas of sub-Saharan Africa, are effectively excluded from capital flows and new technologies, and they thus find themselves on the verge of starvation. Competition for the middle-level positions in the global hierarchy is conducted not through the industrialisation but through the informatisation of production. Large countries with varied economies, such as India and Brazil, can support simultaneously all levels of productive processes: information-based production of services, modern industrial production of goods, and traditional handicraft, agricultural, and mining production. There does not need to be an orderly historical progression among these forms, but rather they mix and coexist. All of the forms of production exist within the networks of the world market and under the domination of the informational production of services. The transformations of the Italian economy since the 1950s demonstrate clearly that relatively backward economies do not simply follow the same stages the dominant regions experience, but evolve through alternative and mixed patterns. After World War II, Italy was still a

predominantly peasant-based society, but in the 1950s and 1960s it went through furious if incomplete modernisation and industrialisation, a first economic miracle. Then, however, in the 1970s and 1980s, when the processes of industrialisation were still not complete, the Italian economy embarked on another transformation, a process of postmodernisation, and achieved a second economic miracle. These Italian miracles were not really leaps forward that allowed it to catch up with the dominant economies; rather, they represented mixtures of different incomplete economic forms. What is most significant here, and what might usefully pose the Italian case as the general model for all other backward economies, is that the Italian economy did not complete one stage (industrialisation) before moving on to another (informatisation). According to two contemporary economists, the recent Italian transformation reveals an interesting transition from proto-industrialism to proto-informationalism. Various regions will evolve to have peasant elements mixed with partial industrialisation and partial informatisation. The economic stages are thus all present at once, merged into a hybrid, composite economy that varies not in kind but in degree across the globe. Just as modernisation did in a previous era, postmodernisation or informatisation today marks a. new mode of becoming human. Where the production of soul is concerned, as Musil would say, one really ought to replace the traditional techniques of industrial machines with the cybernetic intelligence of information and communication technologies. We must invent what Pierre Levy calls an anthropology of cyberspace. This shift of metaphors gives us a first glimpse of the transformation, but we need to look more closely to see clearly the changes in our notion of the human and in humanity itself that emerge in the passage toward an informational economy.
The Sociology of Immaterial Labour

The passage toward an informational economy necessarily involves a change in the quality and nature of labour. This is the most immediate sociological and anthropological implication of the passage of economic paradigms. Today information and communication have come to play a foundational role in production processes. A first aspect of this transformation is recognised by many in terms of the change in factory labour using the auto industry as a central point of reference from the Fordist model to the Toyotist model. The primary structural change between these models involves the system of communication between the production and the consumption of commodities, that is, the passage of information between the factory and the market. The Fordist model constructed a relatively mute relationship between production and consumption. The mass production of standardised commodities in the Fordist era could count on an adequate demand and thus had little need to listen to the market. A feedback circuit from consumption to production did allow changes in the market to spur changes in productive engineering, but this communication circuit was restricted (owing to the fixed and compartmentalised channels of planning and design structures) and slow (owing to the rigidity of the technologies and procedures of mass production). Toyotism is based on an inversion of the Fordist structure of communication between production and consumption. Ideally, according to this model, production planning will communicate with markets constantly and immediately. Factories will maintain zero stock, and commodities will be produced just in time according to the present demand of the existing markets. This model thus

involves not simply a more rapid feedback loop but an inversion of the relationship because, at least in theory, the production decision actually comes after and in reaction to the market decision. In the most extreme cases the commodity is not produced until the consumer has already chosen and purchased it. In general, however, it would be more accurate to conceive the model as striving toward a continual interactivity or rapid communication between production and consumption. This industrial context provides a first sense in which communication and information have come to play a newly central role in production. One might say that instrumental action and communicative action have become intimately interwoven in the informationalised industrial process, but one should quickly add that this is an impoverished notion of communication as the mere transmission of market data. The service sectors of the economy present a richer model of productive communication. Most services indeed are based on the continual exchange of information and knowledges. Since the production of services results in no material and durable good, we define the labour involved in this production as immaterial labour that is, labour that produces an immaterial good, such as a service, a cultural product, knowledge, or communication. One face of immaterial labour can be recognised in analogy to the functioning of a computer. The increasingly extensive use of computers has tended progressively to redefine labouring practices and relations, along with, indeed, all social practices and relations. Familiarity and facility with computer technology is becoming an increasingly general primary qualification for work in the dominant countries. Even when direct contact with computers is not involved, the manipulation of symbols and information along the model of computer operation is extremely widespread. In an earlier era workers learned how to act like machines both inside and outside the factory. We even learned (with the help of Muybridges photos, for example) to recognise human activity in general as mechanical. Today we increasingly think like computers, while communication technologies and their model of interaction are becoming more and more central to labouring activities. One novel aspect of the computer is that it can continually modify its own operation through its use. Even the most rudimentary forms of artificial intelligence allow the computer to expand and perfect its operation based on its interaction with its user and its environment. The same kind of continual interactivity characterises a wide range of contemporary productive activities, whether computer hardware is directly involved or not. The computer and communication revolution of production has transformed labouring practices in such a way that they all tend toward the model of information and communication technologies. Interactive and cybernetic machines become a new prosthesis integrated into our bodies and minds and a lens through which to redefine our bodies and minds themselves. The anthropology of cyberspace is really a recognition of the new human condition. Robert Reich calls the kind of immaterial labour involved in computer and communication work symbolic-analytical services-tasks that involve problem-solving, problem-identifying, and strategic brokering activities. This type of labour claims the highest value, and thus Reich identifies it as the key to competition in the new global economy. He recognises, however, that the growth of these knowledge-based jobs of creative symbolic manipulation implies a corresponding growth of low-value and low-skill jobs of routine symbol manipulation, such as data entry and word processing. Here begins to emerge a fundamental division of labour within the realm of immaterial production.

We should note that one consequence of the informatisation of production and the emergence of immaterial labour has been a real homogenisation of labouring processes. From Marxs perspective in the nineteenth century, the concrete practices of various labouring activities were radically heterogeneous: tailoring and weaving involved incommensurable concrete actions. Only when abstracted from their concrete practices could different labouring activities be brought together and seen in a homogeneous way, no longer as long and weaving but as the expenditure of human labour power taken in general, as abstract labour. With the computerisation of production today, however, the heterogeneity of concrete labour has tended to be reduced, and the worker is increasingly further removed from the object of his or her labour. The labour of computerised tailoring and the labour of computerised weaving may involve exactly the same concrete practices that is, manipulation of symbols and information. Tools, of course, have always abstracted labour power from the object of labour to a certain degree. In previous periods, however, the tools generally were related in a relatively inflexible way to certain tasks or certain groups of tasks; different tools corresponded to different activities the tailors tools, the weavers tools, or later a sewing machine and a power loom. The computer proposes itself, in contrast, as the universal tool, or rather as the central tool, through which all activities might pass. Through the computerisation of production, then, labour tends toward the position of abstract labour. The model of the computer, however, can account for only one face of the communicational and immaterial labour involved in the production of services. The other face of immaterial labour is the affective labour of human contact and interaction. Health services, for example, rely centrally on caring and affective labour, and the entertainment industry is likewise focused on the creation and manipulation of affect. This labour is immaterial, even if it is corporeal and affective, in the sense that its products are intangible, a feeling of ease, well-being, satisfaction, excitement, or passion. Categories such as in-person services or services of proximity are often used to identify this kind of labour, but what is really essential to it are the creation and manipulation of affect. Such affective production, exchange, and communication are generally associated with human contact, but that contact can be either actual or virtual, as it is in the entertainment industry. This second face of immaterial labour, its affective face, extends well beyond the model of intelligence and communication defined by the computer. Affective labour is better understood by beginning from what feminist analyses of womens work have called labour in the bodily mode. Caring labour is certainly entirely immersed in the corporeal, the somatic, but the affects it produces are nonetheless immaterial. What affective labour produces are social networks, forms of community, biopower. Here one might recognise once again that the instrumental action of economic production has been united with the communicative action of human relations; in this case, however, communication has not been impoverished, but production has been enriched to the level of complexity of human interaction. In short, we can distinguish three types of immaterial labour that drive the service sector at the top of the informational economy. The first is involved in an industrial production that has been informationalised and has incorporated communication technologies in a way that transforms the production process itself Manufacturing is regarded as a service, and the material labour of the production of durable goods mixes with and tends toward immaterial labour. Second is the

immaterial labour of analytical and symbolic tasks, which itself breaks down into creative and intelligent manipulation on the one hand and routine symbolic tasks on the other. Finally, a third type of immaterial labour involves the production and manipulation of affect and requires (virtual or actual) human contact, labour in the bodily mode. These are the three types of labour that drive the postmodernisation of the global economy. We should point out before moving on that in each of these forms of immaterial labour, cooperation is completely inherent in the labour itself. Immaterial labour immediately involves social interaction and cooperation. In other words, the cooperative aspect of immaterial labour is not imposed or organised from the outside, as it was in previous forms of labour, but rather, cooperation is completely immanent to the labouring activity itself. This fact calls into question the old notion (common to classical and Marxian political economics) by which labour power is conceived as variable capital, that is, a force that is activated and made coherent only by capital, because the cooperative powers of labour power (particularly immaterial labour power) afford labour the possibility of valorising itself. Brains and bodies still need others to produce value, but the others they need are not necessarily provided by capital and its capacities to orchestrate production. Today productivity, wealth, and the creation of social surpluses take the form of cooperative interactivity through linguistic, communicational, and affective networks. In the expression of its own creative energies, immaterial labour thus seems to provide the potential for a kind of spontaneous and elementary communism.
Network Production

The first geographical consequence of the passage from an industrial to an informational economy is a dramatic decentralisation of production. The processes of modernisation and the passage to the industrial paradigm provoked the intense aggregation of productive forces and mass migrations of labour power toward centres that became factory cities, such as Manchester, Osaka, and Detroit. Efficiency of mass industrial production depended on the concentration and proximity of elements in order to create the factory site and facilitate transportation and communication. The informatisation of industry and the rising dominance of service production, however, have made such concentration of production no longer necessary. Size and efficiency are no longer linearly related; in fact, large scale has in many cases become a hindrance. Advances in telecommunications and information technologies have made possible a deterritorialisation of production that has effectively dispersed the mass factories and evacuated the factory cities. Communication and control can be exercised efficiently at a distance, and in some cases immaterial products can be transported across the world with minimal delay and expense. Several different production facilities can be coordinated in the simultaneous production of a single commodity in such a way that factories can be dispersed to various locations. In some sectors even the factory site itself can be done away with as its workers communicate exclusively through new information technologies. In the passage to the informational economy, the assembly line has been replaced by the network as the organisational model of production, transforming the forms of cooperation and communication within each productive site and among productive sites. The mass industrial factory defined the circuits of labouring cooperation primarily through the physical deployments of workers on the shop floor. Individual workers communicated with their neighbouring workers,

and communication was generally limited to physical proximity. Cooperation among productive sites also required physical proximity both to coordinate the productive cycles and to minimise the transportation costs and time of the commodities being produced. For example, the distance between the coal mine and the steel mill, and the efficiency of the lines of transportation and communication between them, are significant factors in the overall efficiency of steel production. Similarly, for automobile production the efficiency of communication and transportation among the series of subcontractors involved is crucial in the overall efficiency of the system. The passage toward informational production and the network structure of organisation, in contrast, make productive cooperation and efficiency no longer dependent to such a degree on proximity and centralisation. Information technologies tend to make distances less relevant. Workers involved in a single process can effectively communicate and cooperate from remote locations without consideration to proximity. In effect, the network of labouring cooperation requires no territorial or physical center. The tendency toward the deterritorialisation of production is even more pronounced in the processes of immaterial labour that involve the manipulation of knowledge and information. Labouring processes can be conducted in a form almost entirely compatible with communication networks, for which location and distance have very limited importance. Workers can even stay at home and log on to the network. The labour of informational production (of both services and durable goods) relies on what we can call abstract cooperation. Such labour dedicates an ever more central role to communication of knowledges and information among workers, but those cooperating workers need not be present and can even be relatively unknown to one another, or known only through the productive information exchanged. The circuit of cooperation is consolidated in the network and the commodity at an abstract level. Production sites can thus be deterritorialised and tend toward a virtual existence, as coordinates in the communication network. As opposed to the old vertical industrial and corporate model, production now tends to be organised in horizontal network enterprises. The information networks also release production from territorial constraints insofar as they tend to put the producer in direct contact with the consumer regardless of the distance between them. Bill Gates, the co-founder of the Microsoft Corporation, takes this tendency to an extreme when he predicts a future in which networks will overcome entirely the barriers to circulation and allow an ideal, friction-free capitalism to emerge: The information highway will extend the electronic marketplace and make it the ultimate go-between, the universal middleman. If Gatess vision were to be realised, the networks would tend to reduce all distance and make transactions immediate. Sites of production and sites of consumption would then be present to one another, regardless of geographical location. These tendencies toward the deterritorialisation of production and the increased mobility of capital are not absolute, and there are significant countervailing tendencies, but to the extent that they do proceed, they place labour in a weakened bargaining position. In the era of the Fordist organisation of industrial mass production, capital was bound to a specific territory and thus to dealing contractually with a limited labouring population. The informatisation o production and the increasing importance of immaterial production have tended to free capital from the constraints of territory and bargaining. Capital can withdraw from negotiation with a given local population by moving its site to another point in the global network or merely by using the

potential to move as a weapon in negotiations. Entire labouring populations, which had enjoyed a certain stability and contractual power, have thus found themselves in increasingly precarious employment situations. Once the bargaining position of labour has been weakened, network production can accommodate various old forms of non-guaranteed labour, such as freelance work, home work, part-time labour, and piecework. The decentralisation and global dispersal of productive processes and sites, which is characteristic of the postmodernisation or informatisation of the economy, provokes a corresponding centralisation of the control over production. The centrifugal movement of production is balanced by the centripetal trend of command. From the local perspective, the computer networks and communications technologies internal to production systems allow for more extensive monitoring of workers from a central, remote location. Control of labouring activity can potentially be individualised and continuous in the virtual panopticon of network production. The centralisation of control, however, is even more clear from a global perspective. The geographical dispersal of manufacturing has created a demand for increasingly centralised management and planning, and also for a new centralisation of specialised producer services, especially financial services. Financial and trade-related services in a few key cities (such as New York, London, and Tokyo) manage and direct the global networks of production. As a mass demographic shift, then, the decline and evacuation of industrial cities has corresponded to the rise of global cities, or really cities of control.
Information Highways

The structure and management of communication networks are essential conditions for production in the informational economy. These global networks must be constructed and policed in such a way as to guarantee order and profits. It should come as no surprise, then, that the U.S. government poses the establishment and regulation of a global information infrastructure as one of its highest priorities, and that communications networks have become the most active terrain of mergers and competition for the most powerful transnational corporations. An adviser to the Federal Communications Commission, Peter Cowhey, provides an interesting analogy for the role these networks play in the new paradigm of production and power. The construction of the new information infrastructure, he says, provides the conditions and terms of global production and government just as road construction did for the Roman Empire. The wide distribution of Roman engineering and technology was indeed both the most lasting gift to the imperial territories and the fundamental condition for exercising control over them. Roman roads, however, did not play a central role in the imperial production processes but only facilitated the circulation of goods and technologies. Perhaps a better analogy for the global information infrastructure might be the construction of railways to further the interests of nineteenth-and twentieth-century imperialist economies. Railways in the dominant countries consolidated their national industrial economies, and the construction of railroads in colonised and economically dominated regions opened those territories to penetration by capitalist enterprises, allowing for their incorporation into imperialist economic systems. Like Roman roads, however, railways played only an external role in imperialist and industrial production,

extending its lines of communication and transportation to new raw materials, markets, and labour power. The novelty of the new information infrastructure is the fact that it is embedded within and completely immanent to the new production processes. At the pinnacle of contemporary production, information and communication are the very commodities produced; the network itself is the site of both production and circulation. In political terms, the global information infrastructure might be characterised as the combination of a democratic mechanism and an oligopolistic mechanism, which operate along different models of network systems. The democratic network is a completely horizontal and deterritorialised model. The Internet, which began as a project of DARPA (the U.S. Defense Department Advanced Research Projects Agency), but has now expanded to points throughout the world, is the prime example of this democratic network structure. An indeterminate and potentially unlimited number of interconnected nodes communicate with no central point of control; all nodes regardless of territorial location connect to all others through a myriad of potential paths and relays. The Internet thus resembles the structure of telephone networks, and indeed it generally incorporates them as its own paths of communication, just as it relies on computer technology for its points of communication. The development of cellular telephony and portable computers, unmooring in an even more radical way the communicating points in the network, has intensified the process of deterritorialisation. The original design of the Internet was intended to withstand military attack. Since it has no center and almost any portion can operate as an autonomous whole, the network can continue to function even when part of it has been destroyed. The same design element that ensures survival, the decentralisation, is also what makes control of the network so difficult. Since no one point in the network is necessary for communication among others, it is difficult for it to regulate or prohibit their communication. This democratic model is what Deleuze and Guattari call a rhizome, a non-hierarchical and noncentred network structure. 29 The oligopolistic network model is characterised by broadcast systems. According to this model, for example in television or radio systems, there is a unique and relatively fixed point of emission, but the points of reception are potentially infinite and territorially indefinite, although developments such as cable television networks fix these paths to a certain extent. The broadcast network is defined by its centralised production, mass distribution, and one-way communication. The entire culture industry from the distribution of newspapers and books to films and video cassettes has traditionally operated along this model. A relatively small number of corporations (or in some regions a single entrepreneur, such as Rupert Murdoch, Silvio Berlusconi, or Ted Turner) can effectively dominate all of these networks. This oligopolistic model is not a rhizome but a tree structure that subordinates all of the branches to the central root. The networks of the new information infrastructure are a hybrid of these two models. just as in a previous era Lenin and other critics of imperialism recognised a consolidation of international corporations into quasi-monopolies (over railways, banking, electric power, and the like), today we are witnessing a competition among transnational corporations to establish and consolidate quasi-monopolies over the new information infrastructure. The various telecommunication corporations, computer hardware and software manufacturers, and information and entertainment corporations are merging and expanding their operations, scrambling to partition and control the

new continents of productive networks. There will, of course, remain democratic portions or aspects of this consolidated web that will resist control owing to the webs interactive and decentralised structure; but there is already under way a massive centralisation of control through the (de facto or de jure) unification of the major elements of the information and communication power structure: Hollywood, Microsoft, IBM, AT&T, and so forth. The new communication technologies, which hold out the promise of a new democracy and a new social equality, have in fact created new lines of inequality and exclusion, both within the dominant countries and especially outside them.
Commons

There has been a continuous movement throughout the modern period to privatise public property. In Europe the great common lands created with the break-up of the Roman Empire and the rise of Christianity were eventually transferred to private hands in the course of capitalist primitive accumulation. Throughout the world what remains of the vast public spaces are now only the stuff of legends: Robin Hoods forest, the Great Plains of the Amerindians, the steppes of the nomadic tribes, and so forth. During the consolidation of industrial society, the construction and destruction of public spaces developed in an ever more powerful spiral. It is true that when it was dictated by the necessities of accumulation (in order to foster an acceleration or leap in development, to concentrate and mobilise the means of production, to make war, and so forth), public property was expanded by expropriating large sectors of civil society and transferring wealth and property to the collectivity. That public property, however, was soon reappropriated in private hands. In each process the communal possession, which is considered natural, is transformed at public expense into a second and third nature that functions finally for private profit. A second nature was created, for example, by damming the great rivers of western North America and irrigating the dry valleys, and then this new wealth was handed over to the magnates of agribusiness. Capitalism sets in motion a continuous cycle of private reappropriation of public goods: the expropriation of what is common. The rise and fall of the welfare state in the twentieth century is one more cycle in this spiral of public and private appropriations. The crisis of the welfare state has meant primarily that the structures o public assistance and distribution, which were constructed through public funds, are being privatised and expropriated for private gain. The current neoliberal trend toward the privatisation of energy and communication services is another turn of the spiral. This consists in granting to private businesses the networks of energy and communication that were built through enormous expenditures of public monies. Market regimes and neoliberalism survive off these private appropriations of second, third, and nth nature. The commons, which once were considered the basis of the concept of the public, are expropriated for private use and no one can lift a finger. The public is thus dissolved, privatised, even as a concept. Or really, the immanent relation between the public and the common is replaced by the transcendent power of private property. We do not intend here to weep over the destruction and expropriation that capitalism continually operates across the world, even though resisting its force (and in particular resisting the expropriation of the welfare state) is certainly an eminently ethical and important task. We want to ask, rather, what is the operative notion of the common today, in the midst of postmodernity,

the information revolution, and the consequent transformations of the mode of production. It seems to us, in fact, that today we participate in a more radical and profound commonality than has ever been experienced in the history of capitalism. The fact is that we participate in a productive world made up of communication and social networks, interactive services, and common languages. Our economic and social reality is defined less by the material objects that are made and consumed than by co-produced services and relationships. Producing increasingly means constructing cooperation and communicative commonalities. The concept of private property itself, understood as the exclusive right to use a good and dispose of all wealth that derives from the possession of it, becomes increasingly nonsensical in this new situation. There are ever fewer goods that can be possessed and used exclusively in this framework; it is the community that produces and that, while producing, is reproduced and redefined. The foundation of the classic modern conception of private property is thus to a certain extent dissolved in the postmodern mode of production. One should object, however, that this new social condition of production has not at all weakened the juridical and political regimes of private property. The conceptual crisis of private property does not become a crisis in practice, and instead the regime of private expropriation has tended to be applied universally. This objection would be valid if not for the fact that, in the context of linguistic and cooperative production, labour and the common property tend to overlap. Private property, despite its juridical powers, cannot help becoming an ever more abstract and transcendental concept and thus ever more detached from reality. A new notion of commons will have to emerge on this terrain. Deleuze and Guattari claim in What Is Philosophy? that in the contemporary era, and in the context of communicative and interactive production, the construction of concepts is not only an epistemological operation but equally an ontological project. Constructing concepts and what they call common names is really an activity that combines the intelligence and the action of the multitude, making them work together. Constructing concepts means making exist in reality a project that is a community. There is no other way to construct concepts but to work in a common way. This commonality is, from the standpoint of the phenomenology of production, from the standpoint of the epistemology of the concept, and from the standpoint of practice, a project in which the multitude is completely invested. The commons is the incarnation, the production, and the liberation of the multitude. Rousseau said that the first person who wanted a piece of nature as his or her own exclusive possession and transformed it into the transcendent form of private property was the one who invented evil. Good, on the contrary, is what is common.
Source: Empire Published: Harvard University Press, 2000

On My Philosophy
Karl Jaspers (1941)

I. The Course of my Development

On February 23, 1883 I was born in Oldenburg, a son of Karl Jaspers, the former sheriff and later bank director, and bis wife Henriette, nee Tantzen. I passed a well-guarded childhood in the company of my brothers and sisters, either in the country with my grandparents or at the seaside, sheltered by loved and revered parents, led by the authority of my father, brought up with a regard for truth and loyalty, for achievement and reliability, yet without church religion (except for the scanty formalities of the Protestant confession). I attended the high school of my home town, and from 1901 the University. My path was not the normal one of professors of philosophy. I did not intend to become a doctor of philosophy by studying philosophy (I am in fact a doctor of medicine) nor did L by any means, intend originally to qualify for a professorship by a dissertation on philosophy. To decide to become a philosopher seemed as foolish to me as to decide to become a poet. Since my schooldays, however, I was guided by philosophical questions. Philosophy seemed to me the supreme, even the sole, concern of man. Yet a certain awe kept me from making it my profession. Instead I felt that I should look for my vocation in practical life. At first I chose the study of law with the intention of becoming an attorney. At the same time I attended classes in philosophy. That proved disappointing. The lectures offered nothing of what I sought in philosophy: neither the fundamental experiences of Being, nor guidance for inner action or self-improvement, but rather, questionable opinions making claim to scientific validity. The study of law left me unsatisfied, because I did not know the aspects of life which it serves. I perceived only the intricate mental juggling with fictions that did not interest me. What I sought was perception of reality. Concern with art and poetry were incomplete substitutes; so even was an enthusiastic journey to Italy to see Roma aeterna, to sense history and to gaze on beauty (1902). This aimless way of life came to an end after my third semester. I began the study of medicine, impelled by a desire for knowledge of facts and of man. The resolution to do disciplined work tied me to both laboratory and clinic for a long time to come. Ostensibly I was aiming at the practice of medicine; yet already with the secret thought of eventually pursuing an academic career at the university, though actually not in philosophy but in psychiatry or psychology. After some years (since 1909) I published my psycho-pathological researches. In 1913 I qualified as university lecturer in psychology. Up until then my life had been a spiritual striving in what was, actually, politico-sociological space, untroubled by general happenings and without political consciousness, though with momentary forebodings of possible distant dangers. All intentness centred on my own private life, on the high moments of intimate communion with those closest to me. Contemplation of the works of the spirit, research, continual intercourse with things timeless, were the purpose and meaning of life's activities. Then in 1914 the World War caused the great breach in our European existence. The paradisiacal life before the World War, naive despite all its sublime spirituality, could never return: philosophy, with its seriousness, became more important than ever. To a great extent my psychology had assumed the characteristics, without my being conscious of it, of what X subsequently called Existenz Clarification. This psychology was no longer merely an empirical statement of the facts and laws of events. It was an outline of the potentialities of the soul which holds a mirror up to man to show him what he can be, what he can achieve and

how far he can go: such insights are meant as an appeal to freedom, to let me choose in my inner action what I really want. As the realisation overcame me that, at the time, there was no true philosophy ut the universities, I thought that facing such a vacuum even he who was too weak to create his own philosophy, had the right to hold forth about philosophy, to declare what it once was and what it could be. Only then, approaching my fortieth birthday, I made philosophy my life's work.

II. Making Tradition Our Own


We can ask primal questions, but we can never stand near the beginning. Our questions and answers are in part determined by the historical tradition in which we find ourselves. We apprehend truth from our own source within the historical tradition. The content of our truth depends upon our appropriating the historical foundation. Our own power of generation lies in the rebirth of what has been handed down to us. If we do hot wish to slip back, nothing must be forgotten; but if philosophising is to be genuine our thoughts must arise from our own source. Hence all appropriation of tradition proceeds from the intentness of our own life. The more determinedly I exist, as myself, within the conditions of the time, the more clearly I shall hear the language of the past, the nearer I shall feel the glow of its life. In what way the history of philosophy exists for us is a fundamental problem of our philosophising which demands a concrete solution in each age. Philosophy is tested and characterised by the way in which it appropriates its history. It might seem to us that the truth of present-day philosophy manifests itself less in the formation of new fundamental concepts (as "borderline situation," "the Encompassing") than in the new sound it makes audible for us in old thoughts. A merely theoretical contemplation of the history of philosophy is insufficient. If philosophy is practice, a demand to know the manner in which its history is to be studied is entailed: a theoretical attitude toward it becomes real only in the living appropriation of its contents from the texts. To apprehend thought with indifference prevents its appropriation. Knowledge that does not concern the knower comes between the content of knowledge and its resurrection; but in the assimilation of philosophy by later ages a lapse of thought is a constant feature. Concepts which were originally reality pass through history as pieces of learning or information. What was once life becomes a pile of dead husks of concepts and these in turn become the subject of an objective history of philosophy. Everything depends therefore on encountering thought at its source. Such thought is the reality of man's being, which achieved consciousness and understanding of itself through it. Though one needs knowledge of the concepts that emerge in the history of philosophy, the purpose of such knowledge remains to gain entrance to the exalted living practice of these past thoughts. My own being can be judged by the depths I reach in making these historical origins my own. There is no palpable criterion for this in outward appearances. Such true thinking goes through history as a mystery which can reveal itself, however, to everyone with understanding, for this hidden thinking was once reality. Having been written down it can be rediscovered: at any time it can spark a new blaze.

The history of philosophy is not, like the history of the sciences, to be studied with the intellect alone. That which is receptive in us and that which impinges upon us from history is the reality of man's being, unfolding itself in thought. A philosophical history of philosophy has the following characteristics: 1. The real import of history is the Great, the Unique, the Irreplaceable The great philosophers and the great works are standards for the selection of what is essential. Everything that we do in studying the history of philosophy ultimately serves their better understanding. All other questions are secondary, as, for instance, whether the Great is also the most effective, or whether, perhaps, precisely the misunderstanding of greatness has a wider public appeal because of its mediocrity and its lowered standard. How the quality of greatness appears to us, with constant transposition and questioning, in the totality of things, what we prefer and how we prefer it, that must prove its worth by our ability to see through the remainder, the widespread, the universally prevalent, in order to judge it fairly, and to appreciate it. What remains strange and incomprehensible to w is a limit to our own truth. 2. Understanding of the ideas demands a thorough study of the texts Philosophy can only be approached with the most concrete comprehension. A great philosopher demands unrelenting penetration into his texts. This necessitates both the realisation of a whole philosophy in its entirety, and taking pains with every single sentence in order to become conscious of its every nuance. Comprehensive perception and accurate observation are the basis of our understanding. 3. Understanding of philosophy demands a universal historical view As a universal history of philosophy, the history of philosophy must become one great unity. Philosophising, as it occurs in each historical age, involves the penetration, without limit, into the unity of the revelation of Being. This solitary, but vast, moment of a few millennia, emerging from three different sources (China, India, Occident), is real by virtue of a single internal connection. Though too immense to be envisaged as a pattern, it encompasses us nevertheless as a world. No one person can attain that concrete nearness everywhere. He can have his roots only in relatively few sublime works. The immensity of the Whole and the evocative tones of its unity are indispensable for achieving universal philosophic communication as well as for realising the truth of each individual's concrete understanding. 4. The philosopher's invisible realm of the spirit The philosopher lives, as it were, in a hidden, non-objective community to which every philosophising person secretly longs to be admitted. Philosophy has no institutional reality and is not in competition with the church, the state, the real communities of the world. Any objectification, whether it be the formation of schools or sects, is the ruin of philosophy. For the freedom that can be attained in philosophising cannot be handed down by the doctrine of an institution. Only as an individual can man become a philosopher. From becoming a philosopher he can derive no claims. He must not have the folly to wish to be recognised as a philosopher. Professorships in philosophy are instituted for free mediation of ideas by teaching, which does not preclude their being held by philosophers (Kant, Hegel, Schelling). But in philosophy's realm of the spirit there is no objective certainty and no confirmation. In the realm of the spirit, men become companions-in-thought through the millennia, become occasions for each other to find the way to truth from their own source,

although they cannot present each other with readymade truth. It is a self-development of individual in communication with individual. It is a development of the individual into community and from there to the plane of history, without breaking with contemporary life. It is the effort to live from and on behalf of the fundamental, though these become audible to him who philosophises, without objective certainty (as in religion), and only through indirect hints as possibilities in the totality of philosophy. 5. The universal-historical view is a condition for the most decisive consciousness of one's own age What can be experienced today becomes fully tangible only in the face of humanity's experiences-both those which can no longer be relived and those which become a living experience for the first time this very day. Only through being conscious can the contents of the past, transmuted into possibilities, become the fully real contents of the present. The life of truth in the realm of the spirit does wt remove man from his world, but makes him effective for serving his historical present. These fundamental views of history developed only slowly in me. I discovered that the study of past philosophers is of little use unless our own reality enters into it. Our reality alone allows the thinker's questions to become comprehensible. We can thereby read their works as if a11 philosophers were contemporaries. The order in which the great stars of the philosophers' heaven rose for me is, perhaps, accidental. While I was still at school Spinoza was the first. Kant then became the philosopher for me and has remained so. In the voices of Plotinus, Nicholas of Cusa, Bruno, and Schelling I heard as truth the dreams of the metaphysicians. Kierkegaard located consciousness both of the Source, which is so indispensable today, and of our own historical situation. Nietzsche gained importance for me only late as the magnificent revelation of nihilism and the task of overcoming it (in my youth I had avoided him, repelled by the extremes, the rapture, and the diversity). Goethe contributed the atmosphere of humanitas and un-selfconsciousness. To breathe this atmosphere, to love with Goethe whatever is essential among the apparitions of the world, and like him to touch, with awe, the unveiled boundaries, was a blessing amid the unrest, and be came a source of justice and reason. Hegel for a long time remained a well-nigh inexhaustible material for study, particularly for my teaching activity in seminars. The Greeks were always there; after the discipline of their coolness, I liked to turn to Augustine; however, despite the depth of his existential clarification displeasure with his rhetoric and with his lack of all scientific objectivity and with his ugly and violent emotions drove me back again to the Greeks. Only finally I occupied myself more thoroughly with Plato, who now seemed to me perhaps the greatest of all. Among my deceased contemporaries I owe what I am able to think-those closest to me exceptedabove all to the one and only Max Weber. He alone, through his being, showed me what human greatness can be. Nissl, the brain anatomist and psychiatrist, set an example for me, in the years I worked under him, of critical research and the purest scientific method. Even in the history of philosophy we can witness the tremendous incisiveness of our age. Hegel is a consummation of two and a half millennia of thought. True, in his basic philosophic attitude, although not in his concrete positions, Plato is as alive today as ever, perhaps more than ever.

Even now we can philosophise from Kant. In actuality, however, we cannot forget for one moment what has been brought about since by Kierkegaard and Nietzsche. We are so exposed that we constantly find ourselves facing nothingness. Our wounds are so deep that in our weak moments we wonder if we are not, in fact, dying from them. At the present moment, the security of coherent philosophy, which existed from Parmenides to Hegel, is lost. This does not prevent us from philosophising from the single foundation of man's being on which was based the thinking of those millennia in the Occident which are now, in some sense, concluded. To become aware of this foundation in yet another way, we are referred to India and China as the two other original paths of philosophic thought. Instead of slipping into nothingness at the disintegration of millennia we should like to feel unshakeable ground beneath us. We should like to comprehend in one historical whole the only general phenomenon which may permit posterity to probe its substance more deeply than has ever been done. The alternative "nothing or everything" stands before our age as the question of man's spiritual destiny.

III. Drives to the Basic Questions


Philosophy did not mean simply cognisance of the universe (that results from the sum total of the sciences in constant indetermination and transition), nor epistemology (which is a subject of logic), nor the knowledge of the systems and texts of the history of philosophy (such knowledge touches only the surface of thinking). Philosophy grew in me through my finding myself in the midst of life itself. Philosophical thought is practical activity, although a unique kind of activity. Philosophic meditation is an accomplishment by which I attain Being and my own self, not impartial thinking which studies a subject with indifference. To be a mere onlooker were vain. Even scientific knowledge, if there is anything to it, is not a random observation of random objects; for the critical objectivity of significant knowledge is attained as a practice only philosophically in inner action. Philosophy as practice does not mean its restriction to utility or applicability, that is, to what serves morality or produces serenity of soul. The process, in which knowledge is employed as a means of thinking out the possibilities that, bear upon a finite objective, is a technical, not a philosophical, activity. Philosophising is the activity of thought itself, by which the essence of man, in its entirety, is realised in the individual man. This activity originates from life in the depths where it touches Eternity inside Time, not at the surface where it moves in finite purposes, even though the depths appear to us only at the surface. It is for this reason that philosophical activity is fully real only at the summits of personal philosophising, while objectivised philosophical thought is a preparation for, and a recollection of, it. At the summits the activity is the inner action by which I become myself; it is the revelation of Being; it is the activity of being oneself which yet simultaneously experiences itself as the passivity of being given-to-oneself. The mystery of this boundary of philosophising at which alone philosophy is real, is only circumscribed by the unrolling of thoughts in the philosophical work. Since the basic questions of philosophy grow, as practical activity, from life, their form is at any given moment in keeping with the historical situation; but this situation is part of the continuity of tradition. The questions put earlier in history are still ours; in part identical with present ones,

word for word, after thousands of years, in part more distant and strange, so that we make them our own only by translation. The basic questions were formulated by Kant with, I felt, moving simplicity: 1. What can I know? 2. What shall I do? 3. What may I hope? 4. What is man? Today these questions have been reborn for us in changed form and thus become comprehensible to us anew also in their origin. The transformation of these questions is due to our finding ourselves in the kind of life that our age produces: 1. Science has gained an ever-growing overwhelming importance; by its consequences it has become the fate of the world. Technically, it provides the basis for all human existence and compels the unpredictable transmutation of all conditions. Its contents cause wonder and ever greater wonder. Its inversions cause scientific superstitions and a desperate hatred of science. Science cannot be avoided. It extends further than in Kant's time; it is more radical than ever, both in the precision of its methods and in its consequences. The question "What can I know?" therefore becomes more concrete and at the same time more inexorable. Seen from our point of view Kant still knew too much (in Wrongly taking his own transcendental philosophy for conclusive scientific knowledge instead of philosophical insight to be accomplished in transcending) and too little (because the extraordinary mathematical, scientific and historical discoveries and possibilities of knowledge with their consequences were in great part still outside his horizon). 2. The community of masses of human beings has produced an order of life in regulated channels which connects individuals in a technically functioning organisation, but not inwardly from the historicity of their souls. The emptiness caused by dissatisfaction with mere achievement and the helplessness that results when the channels of relation break down have brought forth a loneliness of soul such as never existed before, a loneliness that hides itself, that seeks relief in vain in the erotic or the irrational until it leads eventually to a deep comprehension of the importance of establishing communication between man and man. Even when regulating his existence man feels as if the waves of events had drawn him beyond his depth in the turbulent ocean of history and as if he now had to find a foothold in the drifting whirlpool. What was firm and certain has nowhere remained the ultimate. Morality is no longer adequately founded on generally valid laws. The laws themselves are in need of a deeper foundation. The Kantian question "What shall I do?" is no longer sufficiently answered by the categorical imperative (though this imperative remains inevitably true), but has to be complemented by the foundation of every ethical act and knowledge in communication. For the truth of generally valid laws for my actions is conditioned by the kind of communication in which I act. '-What shall I do?" presupposes "How is communication possible? How can I reach the depth of possible communication?" 3. We experience the limits of science as the limits of our ability to know and as limits of our realisation of the world through knowledge and ability; the knowledge of science fails in the face of all ultimate questions. We experience limits of communication: something is lacking even when it succeeds. The failure of knowledge and the failure of communication cause a confusion in which Being and truth vanish. In vain a way out is sought either in obedience to rules and regulations or in thoughtlessness. The meaning of truth assumes another value. Truth is more

than what we call truth (or rather correctness) in the sciences. We want to grasp truth itself; the way to it becomes a new, more urgent, more exciting task. Our philosophising can be summarised thus within these three questions: What can we know in the sciences? How shall we realize the most profound communication? How can truth become accessible to us? The three fundamental drives for knowledge, for communication and for truth produce these questions. Through them we reach the path of searching. But the aims of this searching are man and Transcendence (or: the soul and the Deity). At them the fourth and fifth fundamental questions are aimed. 4. In the world man alone is the reality which is accessible to me. Here is presence, nearness, fullness, life. Man is the place at which and through which everything that is real exists for us at all. To fail to be human would mean to slip into nothingness. What an is and can become is a fundamental question for man. Man, however, is not a sufficient separate entity, but is constituted by the things he rices his own. In every form of his being man is related to something other than himself: as a being to his world, as consciousness to objects, as spirit to the idea of whatever constitutes totality, as Existenz to Transcendence. Man always becomes man by devoting himself to this other. Only through his absorption in the world of Being, in the immeasurable space of objects, in ideas, in Transcendence, does he become real to himself. If he makes himself the immediate object of his efforts he is on his last and perilous path; for it is possible that in doing so he will lose the Being of the other and then no longer find anything in himself. If man wants to grasp himself directly, he ceases to understand himself, to know who he is and what he should do. This confusion was intensified as a result of the process of education in the nineteenth century. The wealth of knowledge of everything that was produced a state in which it seemed that man could gain mastery over all Being without yet being anything himself. This happened because he no longer devoted himself to the thing as it was, but made it a function of his education. Where humanity founds itself only on itself, it is experienced again that it has no ground beneath it. The question about humanity is pushed forward. It no longer suffices to ask beyond oneself with Kant "What may I hope?" Man strives more decisively than ever for a certainty that he lacks, for the certainty that there is that which is eternal, that there is a Being through which alone he himself is. If the Deity is, then all hope is possible. 5. Hence the question "What is man?" must be complemented by the essential question whether and what Transcendence (Deity) is. The thesis becomes possible: Transcendence alone is the real Being. That the Deity is suffices. To be certain of that is the only thing that matters. Everything else follows from that. Man is not worth considering. In the Deity alone there is reality, truth, and the immutability of being itself. In the Deity there is peace, as well as the origin and aim of man who, by himself, is nothing, and what he is he is only in relation to the Deity.

But time and again it is seen: for us the Deity, if it exists, is only as it appears to us in the world, as it speaks to us in the language of man and the world. It exists for us only in the way in which it assumes concrete shape, which by human measure and thought always serves to hide it at the same time. Only in ways that man can grasp does the Deity appear. Thus it is seen that it is wrong to play off against each other the question about man and the question about the Deity. Although in the world only man is reality for us that does not preclude that precisely the quest for man leads to Transcendence. That the Deity alone is truly reality does not preclude that this reality is accessible to us only in the world; as it were, as an image in the mirror of man, because something of the Deity must be in him for him to be able to respond to the Deity. Thus the theme of philosophy is oriented, in polar alternation, in two directions: deum et animam scire cupio [I desire knowledge of God and the soul]. In taking up again Kant's fundamental questions five questions arose: the question of science, of communication, of truth, of man, and of Transcendence. I shall now go a little further into the meaning of these questions, both into the impulses that lead to them and into the preliminaries of a philosophical answer: 1. What is science? -In my youth I sought philosophy as knowledge. The doctrines which I heard and read seemed to meet this claim. They reasoned, proved, refuted; they n were analogous with all other knowledge; yet they aimed at the whole rather than at single subjects. I soon found out that most philosophical and many scientific doctrines failed to yield certainty. My doubting did not become absolute and radical. It was not doubt in the style of Descartes; such doubt, which I encountered later, I did not entertain in reality, but only as a kind of game. Commencing at first with the sciences, my doubt questioned single assertions, each doubt being by way of an experiment. It shook my faith in the representatives of science, though not in science itself, to discover that famous scientists propounded many things in their textbooks which they passed off as the results of scientific investigation although they were by no means proven. I perceived the endless babble, the supposed "knowledge". In school already I was astonished, rightly or wrongly, when the teachers' answers to objections remained unsatisfactory. The parson proved the existence of God from the failure of the stars to collide and paid no heed to the objection that the stars' great distance from each other makes the probability of a collision small, or that maybe there are collisions which we do not observe because they have not yet involved us. I observed the pathos of historians when they conclude a series of explications with the words "Now things necessarily had to happen in this way", while actually this statement was merely suggestive ex post facto, but not at all convincing in itself: alternatives seemed equally possible, and there was always the element of chance. As a physician and psychiatrist 1 saw the precarious foundation of so many statements and actions, and beheld the reign of imagined insights, e.g. the causation of all mental illnesses by brain processes (I called all this talk about the brain, as it was fashionable then, brain mythology; it was succeeded later by the mythology of psychoanalysis), and realised with horror how, in our expert opinions, we based ourselves on positions which were far from certain, because we had always to come to a conclusion even when we did not know, in order that science might provide a cover, however unproved, for decisions the state found necessary. I was

surprised that so much of medical advice and the majority of prescriptions were based, not on rational knowledge, but merely on the patient's wish for treatment. From these experiences the basic question emerged: What is science? What can it do? Where are its limits? It became clear that science, to deserve its name, must be cogent and universally valid. Self-discipline in making assertions is necessary above everything to maintain the sharpest criticism, the clearest consciousness of method, the knowledge in which way, for what reasons, and with what certainty, I know in each case. Neither sceptically to surrender everything, nor to seize something dogmatically as a conclusion in advance, but rather to retain the attitude of the researcher, accepting knowledge only on the way, with its reasons, and relative to its viewpoints and methods, turned out to be far from easy. This attitude of mind is attainable only with an everactive intellectual conscience. As a consequence of this procedure, it appeared that cogent validity does indeed exist and that it is a great privilege of man to be able to grasp it with clear judgment. It appeared, however, that such scientific knowledge is always particularised, that it does not embrace the totality of Being but only a specific subject, that it affords no aim to life, has no answer to the essential problems that move man, that it cannot even furnish a compelling insight into its own importance and significance. Man is reduced to a condition of perplexity by confusing the knowledge that he can prove with the convictions by which he lives. If science, with its limitation to cogent and universally valid knowledge, can do so little, failing as it does in the essentials, in the eternal problems: why then science at all? Firstly, there is an irrepressible urge to know the knowable, to view the facts as they are, to learn about the events that happen to us: for example, mental illnesses how they manifest themselves in association with those that harbour them, or how mental illness might be connected with mental creativity. The force of the original quest for knowledge disappears in the grand anticipatory gestures of seeming total knowledge and increases in mastering what is concretely knowable. Secondly, science has had tremendously far-reaching effects. The state of our whole world, especially for the last one hundred years, is conditioned by science and its technical consequences: the inner attitude of all humanity is determined by the way and content of its knowledge. I can grasp the fate of the world only if I can grasp science. There is a fundamental question: why, although there is rationalism and intellectualisation wherever there are humans, has science emerged only in the Occident, taking former worlds off their hinges in its consequences and forcing humanity to obey it or perish? Only through science and face-to-face with science can 1 acquire an intensified consciousness of the historical situation, can I truly live in the spiritual situation of my time. Thirdly, I have to turn to science in order to learn what it is, in all science, that impels and guides, without itself being cogent knowledge. The ideas that master infinity, the selection of what is essential, the comprehension of knowledge in the totality of the sciences; all this is not scientific insight, but reaches clear consciousness only through the pursuit of the sciences. Only by way of the sciences can I free myself from the bondage of a limited, dogmatic view of the world in order to arrive at the totality of the world and its reality.

The experience of the indispensability and compelling power of science caused me to regard throughout my life the following demands as valid for all philosophising: there must be freedom for all sciences, so that there may be freedom from scientific superstition, i.e. from false absolutes and pseudoknowledge. By freely espousing the sciences I become receptive to that which is beyond science but which can only become clear by way of it. Although I should pursue one science thoroughly, I should nevertheless turn to all the others as well, not in order to amass encyclopedic knowledge, but rather in order to become familiar with the fundamental possibilities, principles of knowledge, and the multiplicity of methods. The ultimate objective is to work out a methodology, which arises from the ground of a universal consciousness of Being and points up and illuminates Being. Above all, the sciences are to be employed as a tool of philosophy. Philosophy is not to be ranged alongside them as merely another science. For even though it is linked to science and never occurs without it, philosophy is wholly different from science. Philosophy is the thinking by which I become aware of Being itself through inner action; or rather it is the thinking which prepares the ascent to Transcendence, remembers it, and in an exalted moment accomplishes the ascent itself as a thinking act of the whole human being. 2. How is communication possible? I do not know which impulse was stronger in me when I began to think: the original thirst for knowledge or the urge to communicate with man. Knowledge attains its full meaning only through the-bond that unites men; however, the urge to achieve agreement with another human being was so hard to satisfy. I was shocked by the lack of understanding, paralysed, as it were, by every reconciliation in which what had gone before was not fully cleared up. Early in my life and then later again and again I was perplexed by people's rigid inaccessibility and their failure to listen to reasons, their disregard of facts, their indifference which prohibited discussion, their defensive attitude which kept you at a distance and at the decisive moment buried any possibility of a close approach, and finally their shamelessness, that bares its own soul with out reserve, as though no one were present. When ready assent occurred I remained unsatisfied, because it was not based on true insight but on yielding to persuasion; because it was the consequence of friendly cooperation, not a meeting of two selves. True, I knew the glory of friendship (in common studies, in the cordial atmosphere of home or countryside). But then came the moments of strangeness, as if human beings lived in different worlds. Steadily the consciousness of loneliness grew upon me in my youth, yet nothing seemed more pernicious to me than loneliness, especially the loneliness in the midst of social intercourse that deceives itself in a multitude of friendships. No urge seemed stronger to me than that for communication with others. If the never-completed movement of communication succeeds with but a single human being, everything is achieved. It is a criterion of this success that there be a readiness to communicate with every human being encountered and that grief is felt whenever communication fails. Not merely an exchange of words, nor friendliness and sociability, but only the constant urge towards total revelation reaches the path of communication. The painful stimulus that was philosophically decisive was the question how I was myself to blame for the insufficiency of communication. The insufficiency was indubitable fact. But the fault could not lie only with the others. I, too, am human like them. The same sources of inhibition of communication exist in me as in them. The inner action, by which I train myself,

had to illumine my self-concealment, arbitrariness and obstinacy, and to compel me to strive towards a revelation that can never be completed. The philosophical insight became possible precisely through my own failure. We can only recognise that evil which is in ourselves. What we cannot be at all, we cannot understand either. The philosophical mood arose from the experience of insufficiency in communication. Occupation with mere object which does not lead somehow to communication seemed wrong to me. Solitary devotion to nature this deep experience of the universe in the landscape and in the physical nearness to its shapes and elements, this source of strength for the soul- could seem like a wrong done to other human beings, if it became a means of avoiding them, and like a wrong done to myself, if it tempted me to a secluded self-sufficiency in nature. Solitude in nature can indeed be a wonderful source of self-being; but whoever remains solitary in nature is liable to impoverish his self-being and to lose it in the end. To be near to nature in the beautiful world around me therefore became questionable when it did not lead back to community with humanity and serve this community as background and as language. Subsequently the question "What do they mean for communication?" passed through my philosophising with respect to all thought, all. experience, and all subject-matters. Are they apt to promote communication or to impede it? Are they tempters to solitude - or heralds of communication? This led to the basic philosophical questions: How is communication possible? What forms of communication can be accomplished? What is their relation to each other? In what sense are solitude and the strength to be able to be alone sources of communication? The answers are given, especially in the second volume of my Philosophy, in terms of concrete representations-by psychological means-and their principles will be treated in my Logic. The thesis of my philosophising is: The individual cannot become human by himself. Self-being is only real in communication with another self-being. Alone, I sink into gloomy isolation-only in community with others can I be revealed! in the act of mutual discovery. My own freedom can only exist if the other is also free. Isolated or self-isolating Being remains mere potentiality or disappears into nothingness. In institutions that maintain soothing contact between men under unexpressed conditions and within unadmitted limits are certainly indispensable for communal existence; but beyond that they are pernicious, because they veil the truth in the manifestation of human Existenz with illusory contentment. 3. What is truth? The limits of science and the urge toward communication both point to a truth that is more than a possession of the intellect. The cogent correctness of the sciences is but a small part of truth. This correctness, in its universal validity, does not unite us completely as real human beings, but only as intellectual beings. It unites w in the object that is understood, in the particular, but not in the totality. Admittedly, men can be true friends through scientific research, by means of the ideas that are realised in this process, and the impulses towards Existenz that make their appearance in it. But the correctness of scientific knowledge unites all intellectual beings in their equality, as it were, as replaceable points, not, in its essence, as human beings.

To the intellect all else, in comparison with what is correct, counts only as feeling, subjectivity, instinct. In this division, apart from the bright world of the intellect, there is only the irrational, in which is lumped together, according to the point of view, what is despised or desired. The impulse which pursues real truth by thought springs from the dissatisfaction with what is merely correct. The division, spoken of previously, paralyses this impulse; it causes man to oscillate between the dogmatism of the intellect that transcends its limits and, as it were, the rapture of the vital, the chance of the moment, life. The soul becomes impoverished in all the multiplicity of disparate experience. Then truth disappears from the field of vision and is replaced by a variety of opinions which are hung on the skeleton of a supposedly rational pattern. Truth is infinitely more than scientific correctness. Communication, too, points to this more. Communication is the path to truth in all its forms. Thus the intellect finds clarity only in discussion. How man as an existent, as spirit, as Existenz, is or can be in communication-that is what allows all other truth to appear. The truth that makes itself felt at the boundary of science is the same that is felt in this movement of communication. The question arises what kind of truth it is. We call the source of this truth the Encompassing, to distinguish it from the objective, the determinate, and particular forms in which beings confront us. This concept is by no means familiar and by no means self-evident. We may clarify the Encompassing philosophically, but we cannot know it objectively. At this point the decision is made whether we can attain philosophising or whether we fall back again at the boundary where the leap to transcending thinking must be made :. If such words as feeling, instinct, heart, drives, and affections, which are suggestive of psychological analysis, are claimed as sources of truth, then we merely name the basis of our life, but it remains in darkness, causing us to slip down into supposedly comprehensible psychology, while actually everything depends on reaching the bright region of truly philosophical thought. The methods of transcending are the bases of all philosophy. It is impossible to anticipate briefly what they accomplish. Perhaps a few words may suggest, even if not explain, what is meant. Everything that becomes an object to me approaches me, as it were, from the dark background of Being. Every object is a determinate being (as this confronting me in a subject-object division), but never all Being. No being known as an object is the Being. Does not the sum of all objects form the totality of Being? No. As the horizon encompasses all things in a landscape, so all objects are encompassed by that in which they are. As we move towards the horizon in the world of space without ever reaching it, because the horizon moves with us and re-establishes itself ever anew as the Encompassing at each moment, so objective research moves towards totalities at each moment which never become total and real Being, but must be passed through towards new vistas. Only if all horizons met in one closed whole, so that they formed a finite multiplicity, could we attain, by moving through all the horizons, the one closed Being. Being, however, is not closed for us and the horizons are not finite. On all sides we are impelled towards the Infinite.

We inquire after the Being which, with the manifestation of all encountered appearance in object and horizon, yet re cedes itself. This Being we call the Encompassing. The Encompassing, then, is that which always makes its presence known, which does not appear itself, but from which everything comes to us. With this fundamental philosophical thought we must think beyond all determinate beings to the Encompassing in which we are and to the Encompassing which we are ourselves. It is a thought turns us round, as it were, because it frees us from the shackles of determinate. Being; yet the thought of the Encompassing is only a first approach. In its brevity it is still a purely formal concept. With further elaboration, modes of the Encompassing soon emerge (the Being of the Encompassing as such is world and Transcendence; the Being of the Encompassing that we are is an existent, a consciousness in general, spirit, Existenz). Thus arises the task of clarifying all modes of the Encompassing. We become aware of truth in its total possibilities, its extent, its width and depth, only with the modes of the Encompassing. The clarification of all the Encompassing derives its motive from our Reason and Existenz. The impulses in which we open ourselves without limit, in which we want to give language to everything that is, embrace, as it were, all that is most strange and most distant, seeking a relation with everything, denying communication to nothing, these we call reason. This word, to be distinguished radically from intellect, meets the condition of truth as it can emerge from all modes of the Encompassing. Philosophical logic is the self-comprehension of reason. Truth in this comprehensive sense, in which the truth of the intellect (and that of the sciences with it) is but an element, is founded in the Existenz that we can become. What matters is that our life is guided by something unconditional which can only spring from the decision. Decision makes Existenz real, forms life and changes it in inner action, which, through clarification, keeps us soaring upward. When it is founded on decision, love is no longer an unreliably moving passion, but the fulfilment to which alone real Being reveals itself. What must be done in thinking of life is to be served by a philosophising that discovers truth by retrospection and by anticipation. This philosophising has no meaning unless a reality of the thinker complements the thought. This reality is not profession or-application of a doctrine, but the practice of being human which propels itself forward in the echo of the thought. It is a movement, an upward soaring on two wings as it were. Both wings, the thinking and the reality must support the flight. Mere thinking would be an empty moving of possibilities, mere reality would remain a dull unconsciousness without self-comprehension, and therefore without unfolding. This philosophising emerged for me from psychology, which had to change and became Existenz Clarification. Existenz Clarification in its turn pointed to Philosophical World Orientation and to Metaphysics. Finally, the sense of this thinking is understands itself in a Philosophical Logic this considers not only the intellect and its products (judgment and conclusion), but discovers the foundation of truth, in its complete range, in the Encompassing. Being is not the sum of objects; rather objects extend, as it were, towards our intellect in the subject-object division, from the Encompassing of Being itself, which is beyond objective comprehension, but from which

nevertheless all separate, determinate objective knowledge derives its limits and its meaning and from which it derives the mood that comes out of the totality in which it has significance. 4. What is man? As a living being among others man is the subject of anthropology. In his inner aspect he is a subject for psychology, in his objective structures, that is in communal life, a subject for sociology. Man, in his empirical reality, can be a subject of research in many directions; but man is always more than he knows or can know about himself. As something knowable man appears in his manifold empirical aspects. As a being that is known he is always divided up into whatever he will reveal himself to be according to the methods of research employed. He is never a unity and a whole, never man himself, once he has become the subject of knowledge. If I want to reassure myself philosophically about being human I cannot, therefore, stop at the knowable aspects of empirical man in the world. Man, in a way, is everything (as Aristotle says about the soul). Becoming aware of man's being means becoming aware of Being in time as a whole. Man is the Encompassing that we are; yet even as the Encompassing, man is split. As I said before, we become aware of the Encompassing that we are in a number of ways: as an existent, as consciousness generally, as spirit, as Existenz. Man lives in his world as an existent. As thinking consciousness generally he is searchingly oriented towards objects. As spirit he shapes the idea of a whole in his world existence. As possible Existenz he is related to Transcendence through which he knows himself as given to himself in his freedom How man achieves unity is a problem, infinite in time and insoluble; but it is nevertheless the path to his search. Man is less certain of himself than ever. In philosophising man is not a species of particular existent beside other existents, but he becomes clear to himself as something unique, something all-enclosing, something completely open, as the greatest potentiality and the greatest danger in the world, as being the exception of Being, as the communication of scattered Being, which in him reveals itself to itself. 5. What is Transcendence? Man is for us the most interesting being in the world. We, as human beings ourselves, want to know what we are and can be; but a constant occupation with man causes surfeit. It seems as if, in that occupation, the essential was missed. For man cannot be comprehended on the basis of himself, and as we confront man's being there is disclosed the other through which he exists. For man as possible Existenz that is Transcendence but while man is in the world as a perceptive reality, Transcendence is, as if it were not there. Nor is it fathomable. Its being itself is doubtful And yet all philosophising is directed towards the goal of achieving certainty about Transcendence. It may be objected that philosophy is mistakenly trying to achieve what only religion can achieve. In the cult religion offers the bodily presence, or at least experience, of Transcendence. It founds man on God's revelation. It points paths of faith in revealed reality, in mercy and salvation, and it gives guarantees. Philosophy am achieve none of that. If philosophising is a revolving round Transcendence, it must therefore have a relation to religion. The manner in which philosophy and religion react to each other is indeed an

expression of their self comprehension and of the depth of their realisation. Historically we see this relation in the form of struggle, of subordination, of exclusion. A final and unchanging relation is not possible. Here a boundary shows itself. Where the problem is not merely grasped by insight but is actually solved, man has become narrow. When religion is excluded by philosophy or philosophy by religion; when one side asserts dominance over the other, by claiming to be the sole and most exalted authority, then man loses his openness to Being and his own potentiality in order to obtain a final closing of knowledge, but even this remains closed to him. He becomes,, whether he limits himself to religion or to philosophy, dogmatic, fanatical and, finally, with failure, nihilistic. To remain truthful religion needs the cot science of philosophy. To retain a significant content philosophy needs the substance of religion; yet any formula, such as this, is too simple; for it obscures the fact that there is more than one original truth in man. All that is possible is to avoid mistaking one for the other. Philosophy, from it side, cannot wish to fight religion. It must acknowledge it, albeit as its polar opposite, yet related to it through this polarity. Religion must always interest it because philosophy is constantly stirred up, prodded, and addressed by its Philosophy cannot wish to replace religion, compete with it, nor make propaganda on its own behalf against it. On the contrary: philosophy will have to affirm religion at least as the reality to which it, too, owes in existence. If religion were not the life of mankind, there would be no philosophy either. Philosophy as such, however, cannot look for Transcendence in the guarantee of revelation, but must approach Being in the self-disclosures of the Encompassing that are present in man as man (not in the proofs of the intellect or in the insights which the intellect, as such, might obtain) and through the historicity of the language of Transcendence. The question "What is Transcendence?" is not answered, therefore, by a knowledge of Transcendence. The answer comes indirectly by a clarification of the incompleteness of the world, the imperfectibility of man, the impossibility of a permanently valid world order, the universal failure bearing in mind at the same time that there is not nothing, but that in nature, history, and human existence, the magnificent is as real as the terrible. The decisive alternative in all philosophising is whether my thinking leads me to the point where I am certain that the "from outside" of Transcendence is the source of the "from inside", or whether I remain in Immanence with the negative certainty that there is no outside that is the basis and goal of everything the world as well as what I am myself. No proof of God succeeds in philosophy if it attempts to provide compelling knowledge; but it is possible for "proofs" of God to succeed as ways of transcending thought. Rational thinking can transcend the categories of all that is thinkable to the point where opposites coincide; it can go beyond them in the individual category, e g. that of sufficient cause or purpose-to the, in fact, untenable thought of a last cause and a final purpose. In that way, the necessity of seeking is understood in the baselessness of our merely factual existence and our soul is kept open to the Origin. The representation of the fragmentation of Being and the radical contradictoriness present in every form demonstrates that nothing we can know endures through itself. Part of the externality of Transcendence is its unknowability; its internality is the code message of all things. In view of the fact that the limit and the basis of all things can be made tangible, it is possible to perceive everywhere the thread of light which connects them with Transcendence.

Even though Transcendence is thus immanent, it is so only in an unlimited ambiguity and cannot be grasped with any finality. Philosophising merely establishes the general right to trust in that which seems to speak to me as the light of Transcendence. How I understand this language, however, is based on what I really am myself. What I am myself is based on my original relations to Transcendence: in defiance and in surrender, in falling away and in soaring up, in obedience to the law of day and in the passion of night. When I philosophise I clarify and remember and prepare how, through these relations, I can experience Eternity in Time. The experience itself cannot be forced and cannot be proved: it is the fulfilled historicity of my Existenz. Philosophy can further demonstrate the consequences that appear when the interpretation of Being wishes to restrict itself to pure immanence. It can lift the veils that threaten at all times to wrap man in untruth. It accomplishes this with unprovable propositions of the intellect, with supposed knowledge of the world as a whole, and with results seemingly scientific. But in doing away with pseudo-knowledge philosophy does not establish a positive knowledge of Transcendence comparable to scientific knowledge. Philosophy can clarify our conscience; it can show how we experience the demand of a universal law that we recognise as inevitable. At the boundary it can show the real failure even of obedience to this law, and cause the individual to feel anew the demand for unconditional obedience which addresses him in his historicity - though without universality or universal validity; and here again philosophy can show the boundary and the failure in Time. On all paths it is essential to reach the Source where h highest consciousness the demand becomes audible in the world which, in spite of failing to be realised in the world, yet produces the true Being through obedience to it. Philosophy can clarify that such a Source is possible; yet what the Source is and what it speaks it cannot anticipate. For reality is historical and awaits every individual that arises anew in this world. Everything that philosophy says in substance and remembers in history remains relative, in 50 far as it is utterable, and has to be translated and appropriated in order to become a path to one's own original comprehension of the Unconditional. In thinking along these lines, philosophy employs a two-fold presupposition that is objectively unprovable but accomplishable in practice. First, man is autonomous in the face of all the authorities of the world: the individual, reared by authority, at the end of the process of his maturation decides in his immediacy and responsibility before Transcendence what is unconditionally true. Second, man is a datum of Transcendence: to obey Transcendence in that unconditional decision leads man to his own Being. How I can succeed in reading the code message in the fullness of beings, in existing concretely in my relations with Transcendence, in gaining my own Being in historically formed obedience to Transcendence, all this is conjoined to the fundamental question how the One is in the many, what it is, and how I can become certain of the One.

The trouble with being human these days: Zygmunt Bauman on Identity Dolan Cummings

In Identity, a short book based on an email exchange between Zygmunt Bauman and Italian journalist Benedetto Vecchi, the sociologist discusses the question of identity in the context of what he calls 'liquid modernity'. Bauman's thesis, set out in his book of that name (2000), is that we have moved from a solid to a fluid phase of modernity, in which nothing keeps its shape, and social forms are constantly changing at great speed, radically transforming the experience of being human. The idea of liquid modernity could be seen as Bauman's attempt to resolve the tension that exists in much social theory between explaining social phenomena as aspects of modernity, and accounting for their appearance only recently. After all, the modern condition, with its overturning of tradition, has dominated the past two centuries. Liquid modernity seems perhaps to be the late realisation of a tendency that has characterised modernity from the start. What remains at issue is whether the 'solid' institutions of prior modernity were merely the residue of tradition, or pointed towards a more enduring potential of modernity itself. Most pertinently, is the rational self-determining subject of modernity any more than an illusion that has had its day? Inevitably, the undermining of familiar institutions, an aspect of modernity that has certainly been intensified in recent years, has had important consequences for people's sense of identity. There is nothing new about the observation that national and class-based identities (both of which had seemed almost definitively modern) have been upset by the end of the Cold War and various other developments discussed under the heading of 'globalisation'. Similarly, Bauman notes that while the workplace was traditionally a very important source of personal identity, changes in the economy have rendered it far less reliable. He suggests that the enduring identities once associated with work have given way to looser and more provisional identities, and conceptions of community, that are subject to constant change and renegotiation. Indeed, Bauman points to a more profound transformation of how we understand what it means to be human in the absence of transcendent ideologies (traditional or otherwise) such as have characterised modernity until recently. The liquidity of which Bauman writes is nowhere more evident than in his own writing, which, even when not based on email, tends of late to be aphoristic, even whimsical. Reading Liquid Love (2003) is not so much like taking an academic course with Professor Bauman, as being stuck in a lift with him after a particularly well-catered social function, perhaps having set the old man off with an ill-judged confession of new love or a broken heart. 'Ah, love' Nonetheless, it is in the context of personal relationships (especially what Vecchi quaintly calls 'amorous relationships'), that Bauman is most insightful. What do these

represent in the absence of a traditional framework within which to make sense of them. Is there indeed any basis for enduring relationships if we dispense with traditional notions of duty, responsibility and self-sacrifice? In Identity, Bauman cites French philosopher Michel Serres' nomination of Don Juan as the first hero of modernity, delighting in spontaneity and inconstancy. 'The strategy of carpe diem is a response to a world emptied of values pretending to be lasting,' Bauman suggests. The strategy is well captured in Penny Woolcock's 2003 film The Principles of Lust, in which the protagonist is attracted to a demonic character who rejects commitment of any kind and lives by a credo of instant and disposable gratification. That film's lack of success may indicate that Don Juan has lost his glamour as his worldview has become too real. As Bauman notes, 'Most of us, most of the time, are in two minds about that novelty of "bond-free living" - of relationships "with no strings attached". We covet them and fear them at the same time.' The flipside of freedom from ties rooted in social convention is a lack of guarantees, and a heightened consciouness of the risk involved in relationships. Bauman refers to the old idea that to love someone means giving a hostage to fortune, but what he goes on to describe is very different from Francis Bacon's famous and essentially pre-modern observation (borrowing in fact from the Latin poet Lucan): 'He that hath wife and children hath given hostages to fortune; for they are impediments to great enterprises, either of virtue or mischief'. What Bauman means is not simply that the object of one's affections is vulnerable, and therefore a liability, but that in modernity the object of one's affections is also a subject. Loving a subject means 'making oneself dependent on another person endowed with a similar freedom to choose and the will to follow that choice - and so a person full of surprises, unpredictable.' That person's surprising choices can be painful. In the absence of the guarantees offered by tradition, the whole enterprise of commitment is fundamentally unilateral, and consequently precarious. Traditional marriage, in contrast, meant staying together 'through thick and thin' for the sake of convention rooted in practicality, rather than as a fully autonomous decision. Bourgeois marriage is, or was, emblematic of 'solid modernity', combining, never quite satisfactorily, traditional function with an ideal of free choice. That tension between practicality and romance is not resolved in 'liquid modernity', merely disenchanted. Where subjectivity is unconstrained by tradition, then, it is instead inhibited by uncertainty. Dea Birkett argued recently in the Guardian: 'Falling in and out of love is unpredictable. Promising to love someone forever is a promise no honest person would make.' But this apparent hard-headed realism is

really the flipside of sentimentality. Both attitudes abandon responsibility to the Fates, casting love as a mere subjective feeling rather than, as it might be, a rational determination. True, feelings change, but decisions can affect the way they change. If we are rationally convinced of something, rather than simply following a whim, we can put ourselves in situations more amenable to some feelings than others, and wait out the bad days (precisely because we interpret them as such, rather than as changes of mind). Arguably, this is the first time we have been able to make such risky commitments autonomously, not to be defined by others, but to choose to define ourselves through others - and not just in personal relationships. This is very different from the traditional taken-for-granted character of commitmentidentities. With the disenchantment of marriage, the rationality of relations between human subjects is revealed. But this doesn't make them any simpler or less risky; in fact, in the current context it seems to have inspired a calculating cynicism. Why choose to constrain oneself? Faced with an unexpected turn in a relationship, the easiest thing to do is to reinterpret one's earlier commitment as a mistake, and 'move on'. This kind of reinterpretation of past commitments has obvious consequences for identity, however. Bauman mentions in passing another French philosopher Paul Ricoeur's terms, la mmete (sameness) to describe consistency of self over time, and l'ipseite (selfness) to describe what distinguishes us from others. His contention is that both categories are increasingly problematic in 'liquid modernity'. Certainly, these are less 'given' than in the past. There is no overbearing social script dictating how we should live our lives, and placing individual biographies in the context of a greater whole. Tradition is a collection of disenchanted stories with little grip on our lives. Modernity, or 'solid modernity' can be understood as one more such disenchanted story, but this to miss what is unique about it; that it requires not enchantment but active commitment. The modern ideal of rational self-determining subjects is indeed a script of sorts, but one which allows, indeed requires, people to take authorship. This implies a subjective commitment to particular goals and even institutions that embody those goals. What Bauman calls liquid modernity is a consequence of the failure of the 'grand narratives' of modernity, most obviously nationalism and socialism. (In that sense, of course, his theory is a more graphic variant of postmodernism.) This failure has cast doubt on possibility of subjective, voluntaristic narratives as much as traditionally imposed ones. In an essay in the Times Literary Supplement (15 October 2004), the paper's philosophy editor Galen Strawson challenged the idea that 'narrativity' is necessary to 'the good life', essentially arguing that it is irrational to insist on la mmete.

Why not just accept that we change over time, and decisions we make at one point will seem inappropriate or plain silly further down the line? On an individual psychological level, this makes sense. In many senses, the 'me' of now bears little relation to the 'me' of several years ago. Strawson says he doesn't mind whether 'he' endures into the future. I think I'd rather 'I' did, albeit bigger and better. In fact, Strawson describes two distinct psychological types to account for this, which he calls diachronic and episodic. The former is given to narrative; the latter is not, and Strawson insists that while each type is disturbed and confused by the alternative disposition, neither is ethically superior. Strawson lists writers who conform to each type. These span the ages: the episodics go back as far as Michel de Montaigne and the Earl of Shaftesbury and up to AJ Ayer and Bob Dylan, while the diachronics include Plato, Augustine, Heidegger and Patrick O'Brian. Nonetheless, narrative thinking has surely characterised certain historical periods and societies more than others, and Strawson's attitude does seem particularly contemporary. It is, perhaps, an outlook peculiarly suited to Bauman's liquid modernity. At a time when it is difficult to sustain a coherent identity over time, it is reassuring to be told that it doesn't matter. Instead of lamenting the absence of stories through which to make sense of our lives, we should celebrate our liberation from narrative (not to mention metanarrative) and get on with our lives-es. AC Grayling recently argued similarly in The Liberal magazine (December 2004) 'against monogamy' on the grounds that people change and it would be cruel to force people to persist in unhappy marriages. In fact, this was an argument for (retaining) legal divorce and (continuing to allow) remarriage rather than against monogamy. It is telling that Grayling seems unable to imagine what monogamy might mean if not legal enforcement of marriage vows. He posits a peculiar weak version of the individual, a flighty creature cruelly ensnared by the authoritarian institution of marriage. But this is a caricature even of marriage in traditional society. Individuals can actually choose to define themselves through social institutions such as monogamy. It is perfectly consistent to oppose the legal enforcement of marriage vows, then, while endorsing the idea of monogamy, either as a social good or as an individual choice. Indeed, it is at this level, rather than that of state coercion, that such institutions are actually constituted. Whether or not one does believe in monogamy, to oppose it on the grounds that it is necessarily coercive is to underestimate human beings' capacity to determine their own lives, both as individuals and through cultural norms and aspirations shared with others. Dea Birkett's insistence that 'no honest person' would commit for life reduces a solemn determination to a wild

and surely inaccurate guess. In this former sense, however, 'narrative' offers the possibility not just of describing and giving meaning to our lives, but of shaping and giving direction to our lives. Not so paradoxically, then, the demise of social narrative has not led to greater individual freedom, but to unreflective conformism to what is considered to be human nature. Bauman considers this demise of narrative an inevitable consequence of modernity. He describes the modern scientific mindset as saying: 'If God's mind is inscrutable, let us stop wasting time on reading the unreadable and concentrate on what we, humans, can understand and do.' For all the ensuing benefits, Bauman blames this mindset for undermining any kind of eternal values. Whereas all cultures historically have tried one way or another to bridge the gap between mortal life and the eternity of the universe, 'We are perhaps the first generation to enter life and live it without such a formula.' For Bauman, mere humanism offers no foundation for lasting values. 'Like all other postulated identities, "humanity" as an identity embracing all other identities can ultimately rely solely on the dedication of its postulated adherents.' This is perfectly true, and the frailty of such concepts as 'human rights' is all too evident, but arguably this is because, like Grayling's humanism, these tend to portray human beings as fundamentally vulnerable. If the postulated adherents of contemporary humanism cannot even make decisions about their personal lives, their dedication to any identity embracing all other identities has to be in question too. Nonetheless, this is not the only way to think about humanism. The dedication of adherents to the institutions of what Bauman calls solid modernity was not solely based on values borrowed from tradition or religion, but reflected genuine shared interests and solidarities rooted in the material world. While there has undeniably been a great deal of change in the world, it is questionable whether things have altered so fundamentally that those solidarites, and the identities based on them, are no longer imaginable. The peculiar 'liquidity' of our times may be less the consequence of structural change than intellectual exhaustion, the failure of the great ideologies of the twentieth century to bring about change on a scale that really would transform what it means to be human. Bauman rightly warns against attempts to seek refuge in the identities of the past, but in his lament at the passing of lasting values, he perhaps underestimates the possibilities for self-assured human beings unencumbered by the past, and brave enough to face the future.

The Challenge of Every Great Philosophy


Friedrich Nietzsche (1874)

A traveller who had seen many countries and peoples and several continents was asked what human traits he had found everywhere; and he answered: men are inclined to laziness. Some will feel that he might have said with greater justice: they are all timorous. They hide behind customs and opinions. At bottom, every human being knows very well that he is in this world just once, as something unique, and that no accident, however strange, will throw together a second time into a unity such a curious and diffuse plurality: he knows it, but hides it like a bad conscience why? From fear of his neighbour who insists on convention and veils himself with it. But what is it that compels the individual human being to fear his neighbour, to think and act herd-fashion, and not to be glad of himself? A sense of shame, perhaps, in a few rare cases. In the vast majority it is the desire for comfort, inertia - in short, that inclination to laziness of which the traveller spoke. He is right: men are even lazier than they are timorous, and what they fear most is the troubles with which any unconditional honesty and nudity would burden them. Only artists hate this slovenly life in borrowed manners and loosely fitting opinions and unveil the secret, everybody's bad conscience, the principle that every human being is a unique wonder; they dare to show us the human being as he is, down to the last muscle, himself and himself alone even more, that in this rigorous consistency of his uniqueness he is beautiful and worth contemplating,

as novel and incredible as every work of nature, and by no means dull. When a great thinker despises men, it is their laziness that he despises: for it is un account of this that they have the appearance of factory products and seem indifferent and unworthy of companionship or instruction. The human being who does not wish to belong to the mass must merely cease being comfortable with himself; let him follow his conscience which shouts at him: "Be yourself! What you are at present doing, opining, and desiring, that is not really you."... I care for a philosopher only to the extent that he is able to be an example.... Kant clung to the university, subjected himself to governments, remained within the appearance of religious faith, and endured colleagues and students: it is small wonder that his example produced in the main university professors and professors' philosophy. Schopenhauer has no consideration for the scholars' caste, stands apart, strives for independence of .state and society - this is his example, his model, to begin with the most external features.... He was an out and out solitary; there was not one really congenial friend to comfort him - and between one and none there gapes, as always between something and nothing, an infinity. No one who has true friends can know what true solitude means, even if the whole world surrounding him should consist of adversaries. Alas, I can see that you do not know what it means to be alone. Wherever there have been powerful societies, governments, religions, or public opinions - in short, wherever there was any kind of tyranny, it has hated the lonely philosopher; for philosophy opens up a refuge for man where no tyranny can reach: the cave of inwardness, the labyrinth of the breast; and that annoys all tyrants. That is where the lonely hide; but there too they encounter their greatest danger. . . . This was the first danger that overshadowed Schopenhauer's development: isolation. The second danger is to despair of truth. This danger confronts every thinker who begins from Kant's philosophy, assuming that he is a vigorous and whole human being in his suffering and aspiration and not merely a clacking thinking- or calculating-machine.... As soon as Kant would begin to exert a popular influence, we should find it reflected in the form of a gnawing and crumbling scepticism and relativism; and only among the most active and noble spirits, who have never been able to endure doubt, you would find in its place that upheaval and despair of all truth which Heinrich von Kleist, for example, experienced as an effect of Kant's philosophy. "Not long ago," he once writes in his moving manner, "I became acquainted with Kant's philosophy; and now I must tell you of a thought in it, inasmuch as I cannot fear that it will upset you as profoundly and painfully as me. We cannot decide whether that which we call truth is really truth or whether it merely appears that way to us. If the latter is right, then the truth we gather here comes to nothing after our death; and every aspiration to acquire a possession which will follow us even into the grave is futile. If the point of this idea does not penetrate your heart, do not smile at another human being who feels wounded by it in his holiest depths. My only, my highest aim has sunk, and I have none left." When will human beings again have the natural feelings of a Kleist? When will they learn again to measure the meaning of a philosophy by their "holiest depths"? This, however, is necessary to estimate what, after Kant, Schopenhauer might mean to us. He can be the guide to lead us out of the cave of sceptical irritation or critical resignation up to the height of a tragic view, with the starry nocturnal sky stretching endlessly over us; and he was the first to lead himself this way. His greatness was that he confronted the image of life as a whole in order to interpret it as a whole, while the subtlest minds cannot be freed from the error that one

can come closer to such an interpretation if ono examines painstakingly the colours with which this image has been painted and the material underneath. . . . The whole future of all the sciences is staked on an attempt to understand this canvas and these colours, but not the image. It could be said that only a man who has a firm grasp of the over-all picture of life and existence can use the individual science without harming himself; for without such a regulative total image they are strings that reach no end anywhere and merely make our lives still more confused and labyrinthine. In this, as I have said, lies Schopenhauer's greatness: that he pursues this image as Hamlet pursues the ghost, without permitting himself to be distracted, as the scholars do, and without letting himself be caught in the webs of a conceptual scholasticism, as happens to the unrestrained dialectician. The study of all quarter-philosophers is attractive only insofar as we see how they immediately make for those spots in the edifice of a great philosophy where the scholarly pro and con, and reflection, doubt, and contradiction are permitted; and thus they avoid the challenge of every great philosophy which, when taken as a whole, always says only: this is the image of all life, and from this learn the meaning of your life! And conversely: Read only your own life, and from this understand the hieroglyphs of universal life! This is how Schopenhauer's philosophy, too, should always be interpreted first of all: individually, by the single human being alone for himself, to gain some insight into his own misery and need, into his own limitation. . . He teaches us to distinguish between real and apparent promotions of human happiness: how neither riches, nor honours, nor scholarship can raise the individual out of his discouragement over the worthlessness of his existence, and how the striving for these goals can receive meaning only from a high and transfiguring over-all aim: to gain power to help nature and to correct a little its follies and blunders. To begin with, for oneself; but eventually through oneself for all. That is, to be sure, an aspiration which leads us profoundly and heartily to resignation: for what, and how much, can after all be improved in the individual or in general? . . .