The consumption of commodities is not included in the cycle of the capital from which they originated. I, Â§ 24. The reconstitution of the unity of the subject, the intellectual restoration of man has consciously to take its path through the realm of disintegration and fragmentation. In that event the necessary correlation with the principle of irrationality becomes crucial: it erodes and dissolves the whole system. Of course, this produces an uninterrupted series of conflicts between the unceasingly revolutionary forces of the capitalist economy and the rigid legal system. Luther). "Through the subordination of man to the machine the situation arises in which men are effaced by their labour; in which the pendulum of the clock has become as accurate a measure of the relative activity of two workers as it is of the speed of two locomotives. It is through his own movements that he establishes equivalence.  In this environment where time is transformed into abstract, exactly measurable, physical space, an environment at once the cause and effect of the scientifically and mechanically fragmented and specialised production of the object of labour, the subjects of labour must likewise be rationally fragmented. Just as the capitalist system continuously produces and reproduces itself economically on higher and higher levels, the structure of reification progressively sinks more deeply, more fatefully and more definitively into the consciousness of man. It might seem as if this characterisation of contemplation might be thought to contradict our earlier account of the problem of knowledge as the knowledge of what ‘we’ have created. It is possible to set aside objective laws governing the production and movement of commodities which regulate the market and ‘subjective’ modes of behaviour on it and to make the attempt to start from ‘subjective’ behaviour on the market. It is evident that the philosophy of bourgeois society is incapable of this. When, for example, the theory and practice of tragedy from Aristotle to the age of Corneille, regard family conflicts as providing the most fruitful subject-matter for tragedy, we glimpse lying behind this view – ignoring its technical merits such as concentration – the feeling that the great changes in society are being revealed here with a sensuous, practical vividness. On the other hand, we must discuss some of these factors at least briefly for even classical philosophy was not fully conscious of the logical necessity of the link between genesis and history and for social and historical reasons to be spelled out later, it could not become fully conscious of it. Schelling made the absurd attempt to achieve this by going in the reverse direction and so to reach a purely intellectual solution. something that controls him by virtue of an autonomy alien to man. For the capitalist this side of the process means an increase in the quantity of objects for him to deal with in his calculations and speculations. II, No. (Suddenly, that is, for reified, rational thought.) The revolutionary bourgeois class refused to admit that a legal relationship had a valid foundation merely because it existed in fact. Neither objectively nor in his relation to his work does man appear as the authentic master of the process; on the contrary, he is a mechanical part incorporated into a mechanical system. It is obviously not possible here to give an analysis of the whole economic structure of capitalism. Of course, this produces an uninterrupted series of conflicts between the unceasingly revolutionary forces of the capitalist economy and the rigid legal system. 35 Die Akkumulation des Kapitals, Ist edition, pp. But if the reification of capital is dissolved into an unbroken process of its production and reproduction, it is possible for the proletariat to discover that it is itself the subject of this process even though it is in chains and is for the time being unconscious of the fact. The evolution of the real contents, i.e. Here, however, it must appear fully exposed. To give a detailed analysis of the various forms taken by the refusal to understand reality as a whole and as existence, would be to go well beyond the framework of this study. From Reason!” , The war waged against the revolutionary bourgeoisie, say, at the time of the French Revolution, was dominated to such an extent by this idea that it was inevitable that the natural law of the bourgeoisie could only be opposed by yet another natural law (see Burke and also Stahl). The fate of the worker becomes the fate of society as a whole; indeed, this fate must become universal as otherwise industrialisation could not develop in this direction. Instead of the actual transformation of money into capital, we see here only form without content. Hence it is not to be wondered at that the personal nature of economic relations was still understood clearly on occasion at the start of capitalist development, but that as the process advanced and forms became more complex and less direct, it became increasingly difficult and rare to find anyone penetrating the veil of reification. III, pp. Cf. 2” Carl April 14, 2008 at 2:59 am I’m picking up the discussion from the last post here. The ‘we’ that he was able to find is, as is well known, the World Spirit, or rather, its concrete incarnations, the spirits of the individual peoples. 36 Quoted by Bergbohm, Jurisprudenz und Rechtsphilosphie, p. 170. If a rational calculation is to be possible the commodity owner must be in possession of the laws regulating every detail of his production. 268 et seq.) It must be seen instead as containing the possibility of unravelling the whole abundance of the totality from within itself. Hegel uncovers the methodological basis of this theory in his criticism of this passage. For the complete knowledge of the whole would vouchsafe the knower a monopoly that would amount to the virtual abolition of the capitalist economy. II, pp. The fact that the problematics have become more conscious, that it is harder to indulge confusions and equivocations than was the case with the concept of nature only makes matters more difficult. in its objective form. The structural similarity is so great that no truly perceptive historian of modern capitalism could fail to notice it. 16 This refers above all to capitalist private property. The laws governing these objects are indeed gradually discovered by man, but even so they confront him as invisible forces that generate their own power. However, the present is a problem of history, a problem that refuses to be ignored and one which imperiously demands such mediation. This was expressed in the assault on the varied and picturesque medley of privileges dating back to the Middle Ages and also in the attack on the Divine Right of Kings. Capital Ill, pp. As the commodity becomes universally dominant, this situation changes radically and qualitatively. 2. On this point see Section III. For anyone who sees things in such immediacy every true change must seem incomprehensible. We have already defined the philosophically significant side of this problem, its methodological aspect, as the relation between form and content, as the problem of the irreducibility of the factual, and the irrationality of matter. Moreover, even the complete knowledge of the phenomena could never overcome the structural limits of this knowledge, i.e. But for this very reason it is also subjectively the point at which this structure is raised to consciousness and where it can be breached in practice. Time is everything, man is nothing; he is at the most the incarnation of time. Here, too, the personality can do no more than look on helplessly while its own existence is reduced to an isolated particle and fed into an alien system. In reply to allegations that “the various factors are not treated as a whole” Marx retorts that this criticism is levelled “as though it were the text-books that impress this separation upon life and not life upon the text-books.”  Even though this criticism deserves refutation in its naive form it becomes comprehensible when we look for a moment from the outside, i.e. For at this stage in the history of mankind there is no problem that does not ultimately lead back to that question and there is no solution that could not be found in the solution to the riddle of commodity-structure. However, even its admirers have rejected the way that Lukács uses this idea to argue that the proletariat can develop a revolutionary class consciousness out of reification: they argue that he relies too much on flawed Romantic models of subjectivity. On the gradual ascendancy of the principle of economic calculation, see also A. Weber, Standort der Industrien, especially p. 216. For depending on which is the case, all the subjective phenomena in the societies concerned are objectified in qualitatively different ways. In its unthinking, mundane reality that life seems firmly held together by ‘natural laws’; yet it can experience a sudden dislocation because the bonds uniting its various elements and partial systems are a chance affair even at their most normal. . in his treatment of Plato.) This image of a frozen reality that nevertheless is caught up in an unremitting, ghostly movement at once becomes meaningful when this reality is dissolved into the process of which man is the driving force. Only the proletariat is able to achieve true consciousness because of its opposition to capitalism. This also explains the methodological return to the qualitative Nature philosophy of the Renaissance as being the first assault upon a mathematical conception of nature. 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reification and the consciousness of the proletariat