Ehrbar on Miller

Doug Henwood dhenwood at
Mon Aug 1 06:55:29 MDT 1994

Several thoughts on the posting below:

1) Nietzsche may be the founder of imperialist vitalism, but he was also
a hell of a writer. I know this is deeply aestheticist of me, but I can't
resist the remark.

2) It's ironic that Nietzsche is one of the inspirations of
deconstruction, an episode of imperialist exhaustion.

3) Is it possible that class processes, macro social forces, etc. make
themselves felt in individual/family psychology and development?
Certainly the characteristic narcissistic personality disorders of today,
compared to the classic neuroses of Freud's day, are not unrelated to the
hollowing out of the individual and the undermining of the patriarchal
bourgeois family?


Doug Henwood [dhenwood at]
Left Business Observer
212-874-4020 (voice)
212-874-3137 (fax)

On Sun, 31 Jul 1994, donna jones wrote:

> I wanted to apologize if I was too harsh in my comment on Alice Miller, who
> was recommended by Hans.  I was trying to raise the question of why
> explanations that refer to social class often seem less persuasive than
> one's that refer to personal histories and psychologies.  For example, I
> rather agree with Lukacs interpretation of Nietzsche as the philosophical
> founder of imperialist vitalism, an expression of a very decadent ruling
> class.  When his aphorisms and myths are put in that context, as well as
> that of the Paris Commune, Nietzsche makes sense to me.(see Lukacs' very
> neglected Destruction of Reason, especially neglected his the chapter on
> race and social darwinism)  I hope Marxists find such Lukacsian
> explanations more persuasive than Miller's.
> So that opens a question: Nietzsche in light of Lukacs or Miller (or what
> combination, with what emphases). So why do thinkers make sense--in
> bourgeois society-- when we think of their thought as a reflection of
> (alientated) familial relations, instead of as a reflection of the secret
> to any social formation--the process through which surplus labor is pumped
> out of the direct producer. And this is indeed a real question in any
> interpretative endeavor.
> That is my question, and perhaps it should have been put more precisely and
> politely.
> d jones


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