Fetishism

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lem_
Fetishism
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Will fetishism exist in a different form under communism?

I would not like to begin to guess without some help

 

Alf
Fetish?

first, define fetishism

lem_
Quote:so soon as it steps

Quote:
so soon as it steps forth as a commodity, it is changed into something transcendent. It not only stands with its feet on the ground, but, in relation to all other commodities, it stands on its head, and evolves out of its wooden brain grotesque ideas, far more wonderful than “table-turning” ever was.

Quote:
the sum total of their own labour is presented to them as a social relation, existing not between themselves, but between the products of their labour. This is the reason why the products of labour become commodities, social things whose qualities are at the same time perceptible and imperceptible by the senses.

so commodity fetishism, whatever the proper argumentative form for this, means that social relations between workers appear, both perceptibly and imperceptibly, to be contolled by commodities.

i supose that, more generally, fetishism is when some thing is imbued with powers over its creators. whatever our consciousness of that is.

Alf
In communism there are no

In communism there are no commodities, no exchange, so in that sense fetishism has been overturned. That does not automatically mean that human beings will cease imbuing things with powers over them in all areas of their lives, but the abolition of the commodity economy it is certainly a precondition for ending this perhaps deeper level of human estrangement, which has its origins in many thousands of years of history and is older than the commodity. 

LBird
Materialism as Fetishism

lem_ wrote:

i supose that, more generally, fetishism is when some thing is imbued with powers over its creators. whatever our consciousness of that is.

Yes, lem_.

A good example of a more general fetishism is 'materialism'.

'Materialism' is an ideology that fetishises 'matter'.

The creators of 'matter' were conscious humans, who then 'imbued it with powers over its creators', so that it was believed that 'matter' created 'consciousness'.

'Our consciousness of that', now, is that it was a socio-historic creation which has since been superceded by 'energy', another creation of conciousness that will too be replaced one day.

The antidote to fetishism is Marx's social theory and practice, and historical method, as embodied in his Capital.

lem_
OK thanks for posting LBird

OK thanks for posting LBird ...

LBird
Welcome

lem_ wrote:

OK thanks for posting LBird ...

You're very welcome, lem_.

lem_
I was being sarcastic. I

I was being sarcastic.

I don't think anyone needs another moribund repetition of your crusade to prove that Marx proved (?) that everything is only in the worker's head.

No. Please...

LBird
Someone can't understand meanings, never mind physics

lem_ wrote:

I was being sarcastic.

I don't think anyone needs another moribund repetition of your crusade to prove that Marx proved (?) that everything is only in the worker's head.

No. Please...

What a surprise, that you can't read reflected sarcasm.

Just so you know, lem_, I'm now being ironic.

lem_
OK hope you enjoyed derailing

OK hope you enjoyed derailing the thread with your irony 

LBird
Lem_on irony - a flavour to be savoured

lem_ wrote:

OK hope you enjoyed derailing the thread with your irony 

So... I give a considered, genuine answer to your query about 'fetishism'...

... and you respond like a dickhead.

Only being ironic, lem_!

lem_
Look LBird, I don't really

Look LBird, I don't really dislike anyone, but your posting the same theory everywhere to the detriment of really clarifying it, let alone proving its Marxism, or true, is very frutsrating.

If you post your theory in a thread I started, I will point out that it's unhelpful

Fred
It appears LBird that we use

It appears LBird that we use the word "matter" in different ways. This is a definition of how I am using it. 

chem4kids wrote:
Matter is everything around you. Atoms and molecules are all composed of matter. Matter is anything that has mass and takes up space. If you are new to the idea of mass, it is the amount of stuff in an object.
 ‎

So when you, LBird, say - as you do in post 5 above: "the creators of matter were conscious humans..." This for me is obviously impossible to accept.  According to the definition of "matter" I'm using, we human beings are made of, and are productions of matter. which existed in the universe  long before we did.

According to you, having created the idea of "matter" in their heads, we humans imbued it with magical powers  - that is to say we  fetishised it - so that ultimately we came to believe  in your words and to your horror: 

LBird wrote:
...that MATTER created CONSCIOUSNESS
 But this is of course more or less the case!  There could be no human consciousness without a body and brain to generate it.  Though in fact you  disagree and see this as the manifestation of a fetishism.

But consciousness isn't an abstract entity, or  a disembodied spirit,  free thinking and free wheeling like Hamlet's father's ghost, a wraith of mist in the air; but is itself an active living process which may yet coalesce sufficiently in the being of the working class to bring about our emancipation. 

 

One of the problems is LBird that you don't distinguish between "matter" and "materialism" but mix them together. In my understanding   "materialism" is the driving ideological and philosophical  force behind the existence of the bourgeoisie, and has nothing to do with the scientific use of the word "matter". 

Finally, you also somewhat enigmatically say in post 5 that 'energy'  is  "another creation of consciousness..." 

The word "energy" in itself may be a product of human thought, like all language, but surely energy as a force has existed in the universe much longer than we have? We have merely identified and named it. Language might be seen as a product of dawning consciousness but that doesn't mean that as humans we are the inventors of all the stuff we name.  

Or are we? 

LBird
Arguments and definitions

Fred wrote:

It appears LBird that we use the word "matter" in different ways. This is a definition of how I am using it. 

chem4kids wrote:
Matter is everything around you. Atoms and molecules are all composed of matter. Matter is anything that has mass and takes up space. If you are new to the idea of mass, it is the amount of stuff in an object.
 ‎

So when you, LBird, say - as you do in post 5 above: "the creators of matter were conscious humans..." This for me is obviously impossible to accept.

That's your choice, Fred, not to accept Marx's argument that we create our object.

On the contrary, I do accept Marx's argument.

Fred wrote:

 According to the definition of "matter" I'm using, we human beings are made of, and are productions of matter. which existed in the universe  long before we did.

And that definition is also the one Engels used.

On the contrary, I don't use Engels' definition.

You're clearly entitled to choose whichever arguments and definitions that you think give you a better understanding of your social and natural world.

On my part, I think Marx is more useful than Engels.

If you think that Marx and Engels said exactly the same things, then my posts are meaningless.

 

LBird
Analogy

Fred wrote:

LBird wrote:
...that MATTER created CONSCIOUSNESS
 But this is of course more or less the case!  There could be no human consciousness without a body and brain to generate it.  Though in fact you  disagree and see this as the manifestation of a fetishism.

I can only use an analogy to help you understand our differences, Fred.

The fact that 'conciousness' emerged from 'being' is a historical event. We agree on this.

But you then say that 'thought' emerging from 'matter' is a cognitive process now. We disagree on this.

Once 'consciousness' emerges, 'thought' (including doubt) emerges from 'conciousness', not 'matter'.

So the cognitive process starts with 'theory' and is concluded with practice to change 'matter'.

It's as if we agree that a child emerges from a mother, but that you go on to argue that all the words of that child also emerge from the mother's vagina.

I don't agree: once the child has emerged, it has properties that its mother's vagina doesn't have.

That is, once consciousness has emerged (a historical event), consciousness has properties that 'matter' doesn't. Rocks cannot talk.

Engels misunderstood 'material' to mean 'matter'; by 'material', Marx meant 'social production', theory and practice, which requires both 'ideal' and 'material', consciousness and being, in a relationship, not 'matter' alone, as Engels misunderstood.

 

Fred
but you and

I don't think Marx and Engels said exactly the same things, and therefore don't think your posts are meaningless.  Not by that method of reckoning  anyway. But is it not a fact that atoms and molecules do exist and aren't the invention of human beings, who's existence they pre-date as do monkeys? 

I don't know what any of this has got to do with creating objects! Lots of people create objects, some even create subjects like babies. Marx created social theory and practice, and method; as you say in post #5. If social theory and practice, and method are Marx's "object", then I agree with you they are his creation. But then of course they don't consist of atoms and molecules (apart from"practice") being more in the realm of ideas.   They are intellectual products.  

Engels and I agree that human being are created from the "matter" of the universe - we are star dust - but you and Marx (Marx according to LBird that is) don't agree and think something else.  What do you think?  That humanity sprang ready-made from the head of Zeus? 

LBird
The social products of science

Fred wrote:

But is it not a fact that atoms and molecules do exist and aren't the invention of human beings, who's existence they pre-date as do monkeys? 

But, 'atoms and molecules' are products of human thought, produced by scientists.

Just like 'ether and phlogiston'.

But some products are later ditched, in favour of new products of social theory and practice.

'Matter' has been ditched for 'energy'.

'Quarks', 'Higgs boson' and other 'particles' now 'exist'.

We can establish the socio-historic emergence of the products of human science, and often the ditching of those 'ideal-material' products.

Thus, as Marx argued, we can change them.

Engels wished to contemplate 'matter', as you do 'atoms and molecules'.

We invented 'atoms and molecules', so we can change them.

Fred
things fall apart; the centre cannot hold; PANIC

Ah! At last!  "But, 'atoms and molecules' are products of human thought, produced by scientists." 

I see what  you mean.  The words ' atom, and 'molecule'  are names concocted by human thought for the "matter" to which they are applied. But surely the objects to which they are applied are not the product of the human mind, but were there whizzing around for aeons though nobody knew till science came along. (Surely you're not really suggesting that these things didn't exist till they were discovered (or even created ?!?!) by science? I begin to think I'm going crazy!) 

Matter has been ditched for energy, you say.  Does that mean that my friend isn't made of 'matter' anymore but pure vibrating 'energy'? Is this really anything more than a fashionable word change?  Just as we don't talk about 'queers' anymore but 'gays'.

But is there more to it than meets the eye? I suppose if you say "the universe consists of energy" that might mean something quite different from seeing the universe as made of matter.  Now we have 'particles' and 'quarks'. Physics is changing the vocabulary and thus, I guess, our understanding and the way we think.  (I wonder what jk1921 would make of all this?  What a pity he posts no more.) 

I think Engels would love to have thought about  'black holes', 'particles' and 'quarks' and the way your head grows older faster than your feet.  But in the 1880's this was not possible as these phenomena had not been invented, discovered or named. (How on earth did Marx do it LBird?  I am not surprised Engels couldn't keep up with him, and lagged behind bogged down in dreary old materialism like me.) 

We invented 'quarks' 'Higgs bosun' and other 'particles'  as you say.  It must follow then that we'll be ditching them in favour of something newer, one day, if I've understood you rightly LBird. It's the relentless forward march  of knowledge.  (But has 'knowledge'  not been replaced by something more up to date yet? Does Rovelli not have any educational insights? How does he or would he 'understand' the process of education?)

There's  one other thing however that slightly bothers me a bit.  I know the ICC and you LBird are passionate believers in science (and anthropology too) but what's the connection between all this stuff and the class struggle, assuming we had one? 

I feel now like such an old stick-in-the-mud. But at least Fred Engels will hold my hand. 

LBird
'Whizzing for aeons'?

Fred wrote:

Ah! At last!  "But, 'atoms and molecules' are products of human thought, produced by scientists." 

I see what  you mean.  The words ' atom, and 'molecule'  are names concocted by human thought for the "matter" to which they are applied. But surely the objects to which they are applied are not the product of the human mind, but were there whizzing around for aeons though nobody knew till science came along. (Surely you're not really suggesting that these things didn't exist till they were discovered (or even created ?!?!) by science? I begin to think I'm going crazy!)  

Yes, Fred, according to Marx, 'the objects' to which 'names are applied' are the product of ACTIVE human consciousness (ie., theory AND PRACTICE).

As also Pannekoek argued, the very 'laws of physics' are made by humans.

This is a very different 'science' from the 'science' of the 19th century, which argued that it had a method which could 'discover' a 'reality' just 'as it is'. That is, a science which proclaimed its product to be 'Objective Truth', 'Eternal Knowledge, of a 'Real World' just 'as it is', OUTSIDE of any social consciousness, a simple MIRROR of 'matter'.

That is, 'Scientific Knowledge', once passively 'Discovered' was 'Fixed', and so couldn't be CHANGED, but now could only forever be CONTEMPLATED, as it 'whizzed through the aeons'.

Engels followed this 'science'.

Do I have to point out that it's not what Marx said?

LBird
Science is political

Fred wrote:

There's  one other thing however that slightly bothers me a bit.  I know the ICC and you LBird are passionate believers in science (and anthropology too) but what's the connection between all this stuff and the class struggle, assuming we had one?  

The connection?

If there are not 'special physicists' who have a 'special method' which allows them alone to know the 'material' outside of wider social consciousness?

Like Engels mistakenly thought?

And...

Lenin argued that there was a 'special party' who have a 'special consciousness' which allows them alone to know the 'material' outside of wider class conciousness.

The political connection is that only society as a whole, the conscious class, can determine the 'material conditions', as Marx argued. Social theory and practice, not 'party theory and practice'.

These epistemological arguments are political arguments.

 

LBird
Is bourgeois 'particle physics' really just 'commodity physics'?

Here's a quote from a mathematical physicist:

Henry Stapp wrote:
An elementary particle is not an independently existing analyzable entity. It is, in essence, a set of relationships that reach outward to other things.

Doesn't that sound quite like the 'commodity' that Marx spoke about?

Does Capital actually provide a methodological model for physics?

That is, Marx's Capital is not only 'scientific', but tells us more about our physics today than do most modern bourgeois academic professors, like Hawking?

 

lem_
ugh why'd you do this to my

ugh why'd you do this to my entirely sensinble thread

Quote:
Doesn't that sound quite like

it sounds "quite like" a very lazy reading of marx, yes

to understand science or philosophy you have to do more than read the words on your computer screen, you have to follow the argument or whatever

lem_
I suppose this discussion is

I suppose this discussion is quite nice as poetry about yourself

lem_
I think you are a little off

I think you are a little off there.

What about the theoretical quality of the use value as such of a commodity.

Quote:
t is immaterial to the use-value whether it is a commodity. Use-value as such, since it is independent of the determinate economic form, lies outside the sphere of investigation of political economy...   

Commodities only realise a use value through exchange:

Quote:
The only transformation therefore that commodities experience in the course of becoming use-values is the cessation of their formal existence in which they were non-use-values for their owner, and use-values for their non-owner. To become use-values commodities must be altogether alienated; they must enter into the exchange process; exchange however is concerned merely with their aspect as exchange-values. Hence, only by being realized as exchange-values can they be realized as use-values.

But the use value of a commodity need not be determined by its realisation in exchange. However much you pay me for this rock, it will not become bread.

The fetish exactly is the confusion of a social relation with relations between things:

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here it is a definite social relation between men, that assumes, in their eyes, the fantastic form of a relation between things.

i.e. fetishism is confusing yourself into thinking that a social relation is really had by things:

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Does Capital actually provide a methodological model for physics?

... LONG STORY SHORT IF YOU CAN'T EAT ROCKS THEN THEIR USE VALUE IS DETERMINED BY SOMETHING OUTSIDE CAPITAL