needs and desireS

Doyle Saylor djsaylor at
Mon Jan 31 21:27:40 MST 2000

Title: Re: needs and desireS

Greetings Comrades,

    Kevin Robert Dean brings up psychology in regard to the question of desires and how Marxism is not supposed to be about psychology, or is it?


I wonder though if

sometimes some Marxists tend to feel that aside from answering political

questions, communism also answers psychological problems as well?


Marxism has been (is) about class consciousness.  Which must in some sense be about the mind.  But Marxism also is about the whole of the capitalist system in regard to the creation of class consciousness.  So psychology as it is generally practiced in the U.S. and elsewhere is a specific kind of walled off field of studying consciousness.  For example psychology does not concern itself with neurology.  This odd focus on narrow academic specialties is what makes a problem for Marxism which looks at the systemic (whole social) affects of class structure upon the consciousness of people within capitalism.  Psychology is in Capitalism not about how the economy shapes the mind of everyone, but about the mechanics of behavior of people "divorced" from the rich getting richer, and the poor having nothing much at all.  And in that psychology is different from psychiatry, from sociology, from the thoughts of the novelist, etc.  And this walled specificness of psychology is what Marxist question with vigor.

Alienation is a good example of how Marxism has addressed consciousness, in the sense that one works for the owners of the means of production and the reification of ownership alienates workers from their work.  But looking at that more closely one gets in the concept that human beings have a connection to the work they produce.  That connectedness is a consciousness in human beings of the wholeness their life.  For example, human society creates social connections.  Human beings feel connected to other human beings.  More or less.

In addition Marx opposed idealism.  This closely follows a sense of consciousness, in the meaning that idealism is not materialist.

The arguments against needs and desires primarily on lbo has been about how the common attitude in this society is to isolate something, like desire, and then make that a thing unto itself.  That thing unto itself which lacks a cohesion and connection to social and material reality then follows the traditions of religion (platonism root of the Catholic church) which being familiar in many and various ways to everyone produce a strong feeling of the "meaning" of the thought about desire.  In other words it is most hard in this system to think of things as indissolubly intertwined.  So that the fate of workers does affect the fate of the rich.  Instead the rich are in heaven you see, and we are here in the muck of hell as is the moral consequence of fornicating with work and not owning the means of production.

Philosophy is usually considered to be a field of thought which pulls new methods or what have you from some creative burst in philosophical individuals.  So like psychology philosophy has a reputation for being etheral not materialist even when philosophy is materialist.  For example, Marx and Engels could not have known much about how human brains work.  Instead they would with a sense of history and the panorama of those vistas try to ground their understanding in the material reality.  It is clear that they could only go so far in their time, and we can go some farther now.  For example it is clear that philosophy could be materialized.  That psychology could be unified with the whole of the various fields of study of consciousness.  And that these endeavors could produce multiple weapons of choice for the working class.

Like What?

Consciousness certainly is about sexist oppression of women.  For the work of family construction is world wide thrust upon women.  The consciousness of children, the psychology of children, the nurture of children, are issues of how class shapes minds.  That sexual relationships are consciousness, and kinds of work, for example marriage is meant to shape and channel the consciousness of sexual activity.  If not psychology, what can one say, but that marriage is about the whole of a relationship between people who take their clothes off and feel each others naked bodies everywhere that pleasures them.  As a significant element of the contractual agreement that marriage is supposed to exact upon the persons who agree to the draconian terms of the contract.  And if those two do divorce, then the pain of splitting up is most strongly felt in consciousness.

The contractual marriage of Psychology and Philosphy


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"?


Marxist advocate collective or group marriage of the community, that is materially, whatever sort of narrow field of thought, philosophy, mathematics, linguistics, et al concerning consciousness come together into a whole.  The contractual marriage of mathematics to the human mind for example is the subject of the liberal linguist's thinker, George Lakoff's latest book.  By embedding mathematics into the mind, Lakoff materializes mathematics out of the Cartesian and Platonic ether world into human reality.  This consummation of sexual congress between language and math produces a baby, which grows up into an anti-religious and robust Marxist way of thinking.


Doyle Saylor

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