needs and desireS.

Kevin Robert Dean qualiall at
Mon Jan 31 19:39:48 MST 2000

Very good points on the needs and desires thread.  I wonder though if
sometimes some Marxists tend to feel that aside from answering political
questions, communism also answers psychological problems as well?

I don't think Marxism is intended to be used in a Psychological fashion.
Many times it does though. Let's use for example the term "Alienation".
Many times it is used in a Psychological rather than Philosophical

Americal Heriatage Dictionary defines "Alienation" as the folowing:

1. The act of alienating or the condition of being alienated; estrangement.
2. Emotional isolation or dissociation.
3. Psychology. A state of estrangement between the self and the objective
world or between different parts of the personality.
4. Law. The act of transferring property or title to it to another.

Pay close attention to def. 3 and 4.  #3 is close to what Marx meant by

I think a definition of Estrangement is in order as well:

1. To make hostile, unsympathetic, or indifferent; alienate.
2. To remove from an accustomed place or set of associations.

(A dictionary does not always do justice to words)

This is what I understand from the concept of Alienation.  It is hard to put
in simple terms what I understand it to be.  (as an actual real world
example--perhaps another list member can help me out?)

Hegalian:  Object outside man.  Knowledge, experience must be observed.
Knowlege, "universe" created by man but as same time seperate.  Man's
culture, man's creation estranged from man.  Alienation necessary when idea
forms.  When I form a theory it is at its birth now seperate from me--out of
my control--out of my realm. "Mind" finds "powers" and manifests those
powers outside of it.  Stage 1) Externalization; Stage 2) Estrangement
Subject creates objectification.  Objectification estranged from

Marxian:  Aliantation is social condition.  Exploitation is alienation.
Division of Labor, Class Society is alienation.  Mediation between man with
Capital is mans alienation. Externalization and Estrangement part of same
process. Estrangement from natural species-being through mediation of power,
isolation and division of man as social animal into egositical "individual"
... Can be overthrown...Positive...ect...

This is just an example of what might be called "Marxian Psychology"
Was Marx intending to be a psychologist and well as a economic and political
philosopher?  If so, what does this mean for us as Marxists?  If Marx didn't
intend his philosophy to be a psychological analysis of man then do we have
to be careful in thinking about Marxism in this fashion?  I've always
wondered about this--Psychological analysis of human species in a Political
philosophy sometimes seems a bit scary, in my opinion, unless there have
been studies on human behavior that justify this Marxian conception....
This may be a stupid question--but is the marriage of Psychology and
Philosophy a viable one or will I see them soon on "Divorce Court"?

Kevin Dean | Buffalo, NY
ICQ # 8616001
AIM screen name: KDean75206
Western New York Socialist Party:
EMail: wnysp at
"A nation cannot be free and at the same time continue to oppress other
-Frederick Engels

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