V600A8E6 at V600A8E6 at
Tue Nov 14 08:41:45 MST 1995

James, your response to Peter Burns is correct.  Here is my two cents.  

IDEALISM is a theory of the nature of consciousness.  The idealist, often 
unconsciously, considers consciousness to be an independent, autonomous 
and self-sufficient phenomenon.  Consequently, the idealist reverses the 
proper ontological and causal priority of the world.  That is, ideas are 
seen as generating material reality.

This is why many people believe that their actions are motivated by 
religion, by wishes, by premonitions, by "gut instincts," by "good will," 
by benevolence, by childhood traumas, by the "Chariots of the Gods," by...

Basically, causes are confused with results and short-range interests often
replace long-range interests.

The failure to recognize class as a fundamental motivator results from an 
inadequate understanding of class.  It is often erroneously thought that 
class cannot account for even the most mundane of experiences.  That a 
"simple" family argument, for example, has nothing to do with class.  
That the choice of bread on a table cannot possibly have anything to do 
with class.  It does us little good to stop with psychological 
explanations, for we have to realize that socio-economic realities 
penetrate the deepest recesses of the human psyche.  This is key.

When explaining realty in terms of class, we use a category to explain a 
very broad range of phenomena.  Class's explanatory power does not mean 
that what is perceived as a non-class motivator is not real.  As one 
saying goes, "As long as you believe something, then it is true."  But 
this is the pragmatic theory of truth.  Here, truth is what works.  Truth is 
"success."  This is the opposite of the correspondence theory of truth as 
advanced by Marx and Engels.

Generally, captives of false consciousness will not recognize or 
appreciate the material origins of their thoughts and actions.  This, in 
turn, may hinder political maturity.

Shawgi Tell
University at Buffalo
Graduate School of Education

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