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Hi, I'm ForPsionics
I'm getting my BA in sociology and am a super sociology nerd
I suppose I'd classify myself as an Adorno fanboy
I like science and shit
Quotes I like
“For the European of the late nineteenth century, an interesting range of options are offered, all premised upon the subordination and victimization of the native.
One is a self-forgetting delight in the use of power-the power to observe, rule, hold, and profit from distant territories and people. From these come voyages of discovery, lucrative trade, administration, annexation, learned expeditions and exhibitions, local spectacles, a new class of colonial rulers and experts.
Another is an ideological rationale for reducing; then reconstituting the native as someone to be ruled and managed. There are styles of rule, as Thomas Hodgkin characterizes them in his Nationalism in Colonial Africa-French Cartesianism, British empiricism, Belgian Platonism And one finds them inscribed within the humanistic enterprise itself: the various colonial schools, colleges, and universities, the native elites created and manipulated throughout Africa and Asia.
Third is the idea of Western salvation and redemption through its "civilizing mission." Supported jointly by the experts in ideas (missionaries, teachers, advisers, scholars) and in modern industry and communication, the imperial idea of westernizing the backward achieved permanent status world-wide, but, as Michael Adas and others have shown, it was always accompanied by domination.
Fourth is the security of a situation that permits the conqueror not to look into the truth of the violence he does. The idea of culture itself, as Arnold refined it, is designed to elevate practice to the level of theory, to liberate ideological coercion against rebellious elements--at home and abroad-from the mundane and historical to the abstract and general. "The best that is thought and done" is considered an unassailable position, at home and abroad.
Fifth is the process by which, after the natives have been displaced from their historical location on their land, their history is rewritten as a function of the imperial one. This process uses narrative to dispel contradictory memories and occlude violence-the exotic replaces the impress of power with the blandishments of curiosity-with the imperial presence so dominating as to make impossible any effort to separate it from historical necessity. All these together create an amalgam of the arts of narrative and observation about the accumulated, dominated, and ruled territories whose inhabitants seem destined never to escape, to remain creatures of European will. ”
-Edward Said, “Culture and Imperialism”
I like writing essays for fun
So sue me
Here are some essays I wrote
Quantitative and qualitative development in totalitarian nations
To define a system as qualitative or quantitative, the question as to what is qualitative and quantitative is one that must be initially defined. The qualitative and quantitative aspect of a system creates a diametrically defined superposition at which it operates. One cannot exist without the other, in an economic system, and to consider societal systems in both of these functions can only do it justice, rather than creating a blanket label for that societal system and leaving it at that.
Whereas the qualitative model seems simple, I will start by defining the quantitative function of economic systems. The quantitative function of an economic system lies purely in the amount of things produced and distributed. Disregarding the form at which it is produced and distributed, the quantitative aspects of an economic society is purely concerned with the raw numbers and measurements of that which is being produced. For instance, the number of pizzas a pizza parlor can produce or sell would constitute the quantitative model of the economic system. Importantly, understanding quantitative models in relation to the type of qualitative model of production and distribution of the economic system is vital in understanding the socio-economic totality.
In addition, price of said objects also rest in the qualitative realm, given as a measurement as to the production value of goods in a society compared to the material costs of producing those goods. In this regard, the abstract concept of profit could be said to rest here, as profit is based on said measurement of net gain minus profits in production. However, profit does not rest solely in the abstract measurement of the dollar; but on the symbolic measurement of access to resources. Gaining ownership of an acre of land could be considered more profitable than being paid an amount of dollars, even though no dollar was exchanged in the first example. Thus, one can conclude that the resource consumption and re-appropriation to the production in contextual economies is squarely in the realm of the quantitative.
Functions of time, resource availability, resource usage, and number of people working AND technological capability all matter for this concept. External trade to other defined countries with resources and internal price-checking matter too.
Whereas the quantitative model is purely mathematically defined, the qualitative function of an economic system, whether it be production or distribution, matters greatly in the determining of qualitative functions of a society. There are multiple facets of qualitative functions of economies: the question of production and the question of distribution. In regards to the question of production, it is necessary to look at the structures enabling said production. Is the work collectively owned by the members of a given institution, or is work allocated to certain people as a function of being hired as an employee in a boss-employee dynamic? In addition to the hierarchies or lack thereof, there also exists the question of technology. How developed is the technology being used, and how much ‘past work’, work used to develop the technology, translates to a more efficient work done by the worker in the present day? The question of worker ownership and worker capability matters much in the qualitative function of an economic system and institution, as it has great relation to the capability that it is able to produce its fruits of labor.
Worker ownership vs. private ownership matters greatly in the question of production, as well, because the allocation of goods produced by an economic system depends squarely on those responsible for said allocation of goods. Such a circular function of society is not fallacious, but simply raises the question of who is responsible for the allocation of goods? By the allocation of goods, we simply mean the means at which the goods produced by said economic institution or system is either distributed to the appropriate markets, or planned to be distributed directly to certain consumers. In a privately owned company, the decision to allocate goods in certain places in relation to the form of market economy rests squarely in that of the owner of the company. They may delegate that job to a person of their choice, but the choice to do so fundamentally rests in their hands. In a worker-owned company or institution, however, things get more complicated. Depending on the form of the worker-coalition, it could be democratically determined where the goods are allocated, or there could be delegated a representative responsible for the job of allocation. There can potentially be more possible avenues of allocation, but those would be the two main suggestions in prominence.
Functions of hierarchy or groupwork in developing production of value and goods, the allocation of said technologies and the capabilities of workers to work them, the planned/administered allocations of produced goods to the public vs. allocating to the specific markets that already exist.
To change the qualitative and/or the quantitative nature of an economy entail two wildly different results. To change the quantitative nature of an economy can potentially have no bearing on the mode of production or form of ownership: simply, more work produces more objects and vice versa. In addition, the artificial modification of the value of the dollar can change as well, or the amount paid can vary thirdly. Nothing about the modes of production change, again, in this type of economic change, however the result is still apparent: the resource management in a society is forced to change due to the change in rational definitions of value. The main example of this type of quantitative change is in the Soviet Union, where the qualitative change of the means of production to worker ownership did not occur: while the qualitative mode of production remained the same, e.g. instead of private owners owning the institutions it was seized by the state, a vital detail of this system is wholly relevant: the relation of the workers to the means of production remained the same. However, the totalitarian dictatorship, in attempting to gain control of all facets of life, seized control not just of the means of production but also the modes of marketing, moving instead to a centrally planned economy at which things were given out based on systemic and widespread societal planning.
The quantitative nature of what was changed is the determination of how much things were produced at a given time. One side effect but feature of American capitalism is that by producing too much for our society, in producing such waste, we are never in a position at which there is not enough food for the citizens who benefit from said society. Soviet communist society, on the other hand, through a totalitarian force attempting to control all facets of life within the nationalistic state, tried to move through the modes of production, limiting the number of goods produced to a strict predetermined set of choice to be administered to that given society. While the commodities and necessities were being distributed at what was supposed to be a sufficient plan for the general welfare of the public, systematically the economy didn’t actually change: the workers continued not to own the means of production or in fact have any say over where things were allocated. Despite the quantitative change, number of things produced and number of things available in certain locations, the qualitative change required for Marx’s envisionment of a socialist transition after capitalism was NOT achieved, and instead repressed for the sake of a totalitarian and fascist regime that killed millions of people by declaring itself the moral superior and self-serving itself to the point of bloating. Skipping the step of worker involvement in an economy in favor of the distribution of goods and services is wholly flawed, easily making way for political power to be consolidated into the hands of the few yet again, despite it being under a different name.
While the so-called ‘communist’ regime was labeled as communist, no doubt people misunderstood what communism actually was: a worker-involved, worker-related mode of production and distribution allocating precisely enough goods and services to the general public, utilizing technology available to their economic context so that they do not have to work as much as their predecessors. They work on the shoulders of the people before them, creating the economic and national framework for those in the future. In a short-sighted critique of Soviet communism, however, one forgets that there are more dimensions to a socio-economic-political landscape. Just how there are multiple ways and ranges to institute capitalism, so too does communism have its nuance and avenues. Maoist and Stalinist regimes closely reflected each other, but only provided a single example of the potentials of communism. In fact, they only resembled a very strict definition of communism: through authoritarian control administered by the state rather than through private corporations akin to the ones in the US. The most important aspect that these regimes are missing that everyone commonly forgets is twofold: the workers did not directly have a say for the means of production they worked in, and the totalitarian state established laws continuously propping up its existence and legitimacy. Do not make the mistake that just because an institution is labeled as ‘public’ instead of ‘private’ that one is able to have a say into what it does and is.
This is similarly seen in Venezuelan ‘socialism’, where the means of economic production were supposedly seized by the state and made ‘public’ to public ownership by its citizens. The say that these people had for their economic production was very little, both in the political realm and the citizen realm. The citizen realm had not elected these dictators, instead being sublimated to their corrupt elections done by dictators installed by none other than the US. The citizens also did not have control over the means of production that they worked in. In short, the people had little to no say in what actually happened in their country, resulting in self-described ‘socialists’ being, ironically, un-socialistically elected. Corruption is high in the political ladder and within the scope of civilization as well. In the political realm, even the dictators did not have a lot of power, holding on to whatever power they had: They could not print more money, even though they did, because it literally cost more money to print more money than it was to leave it as is, thus going into debt to try to circumvent current debt. Also, trade restrictions on Venezuela to its important trade partners(due to its existence as a periphery country in the world-economy) greatly diminished its capability for acquiring resources, causing it to distribute its resources as a desperate course of action. Again, seen here we have a quantitative change, to the goods being produced, without a qualitative one, legitimate delegations from the people to attain ownership of the goods. Yet again, the shift isn’t to a socialist one, but instead towards a state-capitalist root akin to Stalinist and Maoist societies.
The differentiation of quantitative economic change and qualitative economic change is a fundamental one to understand economic systems in the world-economy. In particular, the kind of qualitative economic change contextualized with quantitative economic change is wholly important to understanding the true fundamental basis of an economy: a state taking ownership of the means of production against the will of, and excluding the will of, the people is essentially a neo-feudalistic, totalitarianistic society. There is no apologetic or excuse to these definitions of these places once they are discovered for what they really are, and cannot hide behind the omni-controversial terms ‘socialist’ or ‘communist’. Consider that the Nazi party technically had the word ‘socialist’ in it, but as any historical scholar worth their salt will tell you: they only did socialist policies when it served their interest, and even when they did they were racist in nature and served only to promote their own power. They were not principles held by the elected officials, or the will of the people, but instead one of many shifty tools used to consolidate and maintain their power on the public. Just like how a capitalist or feudalist policy being enacted by a dictator does not make capitalism or feudalism intrinsically bad, a political figure or official enacting a communistic or socialistic legislation or action for dictatorial purposes does not intrinsically make communism or socialism a bad thing. It is wholly dependent on the will of the people and the types or strains of communism/socialism that are enacted. Imbibing the will of Nazi’s again, they did indeed institute social programs…that were entirely based on taxing the poor and excluding the jews, further fueling their antisemitism. We do not have to follow in the footsteps of every bad politician who may have per-versed a positive social change in our society for their own benefits. We can make qualitative change, not just quantitative change, within a society to redefine and restructure how we live, and thus attempt for a better, more free, democratic, just society to the best of our ability.
Contradictions in U.S. Society
A curious thing happens in irrational society where contradictions and paradoxes flourish so easily, so much so that they are readily accepted by the administered populace. So much in this day and age one encounters political, social, and economic contradiction, yet does not have the time, nor effort, to wholly address or even react properly to said contradiction. Instead, it seems that those who encounter these psychological displacements find it entirely more fruitful to simply ignore them as they are and accept them at face value for the purpose not of truth, but of necessity.
This necessity, however, is borne not from truth, but from an image of truth. One does not require such a perception of reality, but rather a form of reality that sufficiently suits the needs of those acting within. However, this disregard for social and economic truth is one that disregards social and economic truths. To disregard the elementary basis of reality is to toss away the understanding of surrounding conditions that contribute to their unfreedom. Does the disregard of prison walls do away with the walls themselves? I think not. Rather, it paints the walls in such a way that walls are not regarded as walls at all, rather, they are addressed as benevolent boundaries, placed not to keep one inside, but to keep other things out, to protect the individual from irrationality. They are designed for imprisonment of the mind, causing such a mind to hold the narcissistic view that it requires the prison, not for those who institute and maintain the prison, but instead for those residing in the prison, as a blockade from the dangers lurking outside.
This prison is one made of contradiction. Lies and misinformations told to the general public make the bricks and mortar, with the final blow being done by the very individual residing in the prison seemingly of their own will. Such contradictions in society shape the world around us, not simply for the purpose of masking the truth of reality, but also presenting a scope of reality that they themselves regard as true. And they must regard it as true, lest they experience the uncomfortable event of realizing that their prison that they have constructed around them has hardened to the point of inescapability. Their consent is their own undoing.
One may ask for which contradictions seemingly build the prison around them. They say, “I see no walls, I see no bars. What are these restrictions and unfreedoms you speak of? There is nothing to worry about”. This, however, is a contradiction in it of itself as the very suggestion that life is ripe with contradictory walls is itself an uncomfortable thought. And rightly so. It is uncomfortable because on a fundamental level, each person understands wholly what their prison is made of, what their walls are constructed. It is thus because it is simply in their best interest to mask and ignore the contradiction that they are so used to not addressing it that they forget their existence. However, they do exist. The sheer suggestion that they exist strikes such a pinpointed blow into the prison previously built and established within modern life. It is one where they must consciously do to that they would usually unconsciously do: lie to themselves about the truth of its claim and rationalize it to the point that they themselves play their part in the contradiction.
It is interesting to note the contradiction between those who espouse representative democracy, those who consign the decisions of the group to the very few, while simultaneously espousing that very ultra-democratic position for economic decisions. Why does such a thing happen? Why does one hide behind such platitudes as ‘the free market’ for economic troubles when political trouble, inextricably linked to economic troubles, is suddenly dissuaded from such a radical form of decision making and inclusiveness? This unfreedom established by this undemocratic democracy is undone by the positing of freedom in other spheres of society, as if those types of freedom are more legitimate than others. This of course is fallacious, but cannot be regarded as fallacious lest those in power succumb to the inevitable conclusion that the people realize the truth: That they are either being tricked into unfreedoms of economic exchange against their will, or that they are wholly and entirely capable of rational political decision.
To see this contradiction in action, however, is another matter entirely. It is one thing to describe the context, and another to realize the context. The complexities of modern life allow this, among other, contradictions to exist, to the extent at which they are able to understand and enact both sides of the contradiction without understanding it. The separation of the political and economic sphere is one of devious cunning, designed as such to be sufficiently separate enough to dismiss any claims of similarity. Where political representation, action, or direct lawmaking is allocated purely to the elected kings and queens that necessarily act on their own will, economic representation is supposedly borne solely in the individual actor, acting solely on their own desires to shape the ‘free market’. However, there are a few points that must be considered when understanding this.
First off, I must clarify that I do not hold representative democracy wholly accountable, and prefer a regression back to feudal times. Rather, I hold a complex critique reflecting the inherent structure instead. Where a state exists and is enacted upon not by the people directly but people the masses choose, there is necessarily an amount of undemocratic quality to the whole of the political process. A person’s vote commonly does not matter in today’s day and age lest one be a member of the dominant party, and when their vote does matter, the representative scarcely realizes wholly the interests of the person. While it is true that some scholars and pundits may argue this to be a good thing(after all, who’s to say that the state is wholly capable of achieving all citizens interests to the maximum with no expense or limitations to others), however, this specific criticism fails to address two points: the state as it exists today claims to serve the citizens, but has been warped to serve those with massive economic power, and that today’s society is claimed to be wholly ‘democratic’, where it by definition cannot be via a representative system as it rests today. Hence lie two further contradictions borne from the initial critique.
Secondly, it is important to address that despite the professed freedoms of an economic actor in a supposedly ‘free market’, the individual themselves do not have equal power. This is because the economy is not driven by an individual, but rather by the capital that they invest in the materials that exist within the market. Therefore, it is important to note that the so-called ‘free market’ power that it owns for providing its citizens the best possible route for realizing their needs(after all, they make the decision) is power not actually invested in the people, but necessarily skewed instead towards those who have the money, the resources, who are capable of acting in the market. On a wide scale, the buying power of many individuals may be able to match this buying power, but only on a wide scale, a wholly and supposedly democratic scale, and not on the individual level that is professed by contemporaries. This results in the necessary conclusion that whatever is manufactured, produced, and distributed in the economy holds one of two purposes: to either achieve the needs/desires of the people en masse, or to achieve the needs/desires of individual actors who are solely able to afford such luxury. Especially true for centralized and therefore enormous corporations who are highly regulated(in terms of machinery and company bureaucracy) and highly generalized are by definition completely unable to address the individual’s needs, and must undemocratically make the best guess it can to the masses to create minimal disgruntle. The decision that one has in making a choice in the market extends only to the point of service, and is otherwise completely beyond the facade of ‘free choice’ that is supposedly true for individuals, yet another contradiction ripe simply in economics.
Where there are contradictions unilaterally in specific institutions, there are ironically similarities that exist between both sectors that completely expose and disentangle the complicated contradiction masking the further contradictions that allow society’s current structure to exist. Economics and politics, although espoused as separate, are necessarily and inextricably linked to the point of incestuous betrayal. Indeed, the harm done by the presupposed separation of each is one that causes our society to be structured in such the way it is, and to knock down these contradiction is to knock down the structure itself. It is to knock down completely the prison that has been so carefully and wholly constructed.
That being said, one should not claim to point out true statements without being prepared to make their case.
Similarity between U.S. government and the supposed ‘free market’ and its appropriate production relations share striking and shocking similarity. Already mentioned is the contradiction of appearance of freedom at which there is none, and so that particular similarity will be glossed over for the sake of reducing redundancy. However, the structure of unfreedom behind closed doors is another: that business owners make deals internationally and politicians supposedly ‘make peace’(despite our frequent history with the war business) based entirely on one focus, despite their professed antagonism: that both sets of institutions desire to increase not only their power, but the legitimacy of their power.
A business/corporation increases its legitimacy by committing to an international country, perhaps by hiring workers, bringing soulless promises of jobs to already content citizens and extracting their wealth. This domination simply furthers their legitimacy as they are able to use the force that they have access to to somehow establish that their company, their factory belongs in that geography. This, naturally, is not only undemocratic towards us citizens but also towards those citizens in other countries. Such as we profess a supposed love for ‘democracy’ in other countries, we seem to be so keep to undemocratically make economic decisions for other countries forced into agreement, perhaps via contractual obligation, coercion, or simply desperation. Regardless, situations are taken advantage of and rewards are able to be reaped by only those with the economic power capable of doing this in the first place: you would not see such a thing happening with a small or even large business, but only with a massive corporation interested in globalizing their profits.
A government increases its legitimacy in a number of ways, some of them including military presence, intergovernmental agreement, or simply sheer economic force. While a connection is noted there, it is not the main focus in this point. Rather, legitimacy is attempted and acquired by a transparent or legitimate effort to cooperate with other countries to achieve mass scales of desired outcomes. The Paris Accord, NAFTA, and other intergovernmental concerns are those that strengthen the legitimacy not simply of the U.S., but also any country that it makes agreements with. To recognize a leader or legislation is to recognize that country as an existing one. However, similar to the corporation, it is not concerned with recognizing the country as an equal, but simply as an existing one. There is no obligation not to embody an elitist perspective on periphery or even semi-periphery countries, acting as their semi-‘savior’, again, contradicting the undemocratic nature of our democratic society.
My final word of this section lies in a single admission: I do not want to be construed as any type of conspiracy theorist due to the nature and tone of this work. I recognize that certain narratives exist in the form of accusing certain social groups of supposedly ‘conspiratorial’ actions throughout the world who are, apparently, doing these things with malicious purpose for control. My angle is entirely the opposite: that there is no control, and that underlying all of this economic and political chatter lies an ultimate contradiction: that those who are maintaining the control have none, and are simply trying to compensate with action that seem to correlate with the legitimation of control. Actions are performed in the political economy that seemingly translate to control, while on paper there is a perplexingly low amount of control. However, the single most fundamental thing to take away from this observation is not to accuse a group of any caliber of wrongdoing, but instead to point out the structural relations and functions that allow this type of contradiction to exist. Why does a politician or corporate CEO play the game of acquiring power internationally? What good does it do?
These questions are answered very simply: They do it because of opportunistic vigor. They do not preplan these outcomes, similar to how fascism is not a preplanned strategy. It is an ad-hoc version of society, scarcely analyzed to its fundamental level and instead assumed to exist resting upon a certain structure of existence. And I do not blame them. To analyze the society that the politician or CEO live in to the fullest extent leads them to realize the ultimate contradiction of their existence: that the power they have is based on naught. They must continuously distract themselves with other matters created by this blatant lack of power in order to drive their own attention away from the fact that they really have no power, but simply the image of power. This is unfortunately the prison that they have constructed in themselves, similar to how the prison is created in the minds of the consumer. This burden of power creates a self-perpetuating cycle at which the perceived power within a person must continuously be capitalized upon for fear of dissolution.
I must stress the importance of understanding the ad-hoc nature of society, the nature of individuals acting within it, and the illusion that such things are planned. We know that humans are obscenely awful at long-term planning, so it does not surprise me that we have gotten to this stage, despite its disappointment. These contradictions that shape society do not simply affect those with no perceived or economic power, but also those with the power who are interested in maintaining the institution. Under all contradiction lies this final and most powerful one: to uphold an institution is irrational and shortsighted at best, and malicious and abusive at worst. To espouse freedom on a fundamental sense yet also make claims of so-called ‘conservatism’ are fundamentally contradictory to the extent at which I have no idea how such a contradiction is maintained and upheld in a continuously moving society, despite its strict footholds in its structure. To this, I dedicate this work to finding and pointing out as many contradictions as humanly possible, to perhaps right the wrongs of this irrational world.
Identity and Reality
Where Patricia Hill Collins says:
“Treating race, class, gender, and sexuality less as personal attributes and more as systems of dominations in which individuals construct unique identities…”
She means that the reality is that all of these characteristics exist not in dichotomies but in scale no matter how you present it. The usefulness of these labels are not to describe characteristics of an individual, but rather to signify their position in social space, to demonstrate where on the social ladder they reside. While ostensively they are made on characteristics of that individual, the sheer fact that people are cordoned into these categories at all explicitly defines an in-group and an out-group. To call someone “gay” or “straight” has no meaning in reality unless one defines it in terms of positions in some sort of social hierarchy. This is because words are use. The way these words are used is not to describe a person’s desires, nor are they used to describe behaviors. They are used to classify individuals and create a superfluous and spurious disconnect in society designed to separate us from one another, designed to distract us from the real struggles of society. They are designed to arbitrarily punish people for decisions they make for no ostensive reason, only showing its true purpose when “gay rights” movements only go so far as to normalize what we know as “gay rights”. In reality, when those rights are achieved, and inequality gotten rid of, there can be no more to fight but those oppressing others via unequal competition of limited and owned resources. Therefore, the fight must be endless, and the goalposts redefined endlessly so as not to address the true problem of class. This endless struggle is foisted upon us not because of the existence of ostensively “straight” or “gay” people, but because of the foundational use of these labels. Despite having no surface order to their labels, the practical application of those labels and their history of use clearly demonstrate otherwise. How else has the word ‘gay’ been co-opted from a slur to a label of pride? How else does the words ‘straight pride parade’ mean anything but a reactionary movement designed to denigrate gains made by the oppressed group? A separation and a subsequent oppression is what keeps both of these things in line, and the history attests to this. The uses of these words in creating these oppressions are what must be abolished, not the words themselves. The words in isolation are rendered meaningless as they require context to perform their violent repression of any semblance of tangible identity. If you change the context, you may change the use of the words. However, the words themselves continue to hold baggage even if the context changes, that’s why the words ‘straight’ and ‘gay’ still hold their dichotomic hierarchical power. That’s why the words ‘white’ and ‘black’ still hold their dichotomic hierarchical power. This is because these labels never meant any rational labelling of character at all: the labels “straight” and “white” hold authoritative use, while “gay” and “black” hold subordinate use. In a country as complicated as the United States, one is completely incapable of unpacking its social woes without understanding it in these newly discovered terms.
Question: Why do we care whether someone is black or white, straight or gay, man or woman? Answer: Because these labels in use all denote locations within the system of oppression.
Question: Can someone ostensively white/black/man/woman/straight/gay be otherwise? Answer: Yes, because these labels can only be correctly understood to describe those who act in the terms of oppression, not in terms of their personal characteristics. A gay* person can be straight. a black* person can be white. a woman* can be a man. Simultaneously, a straight* person can be gay, if they are anti-heteronormative and promote activism against a sexuality structure. a white* person can be black if they are anti-racist, if they act against the racial disparity or inequality, if they destroy the structure of domination. A man* can be a woman if they are a feminist, an anti-patriarch and anti-matriarch, an egalitarian, and someone who rejects the dichotomy of man and woman as being anything but useless labels to describe blatantly variant characteristics.
When Marcuse says in his work, “The closing of a universe of discourse,”
“Here the past is rigidly retained but not mediated with the present. One opposes the concepts which comprehend a historical situation without developing them into the present situation—one blocks their dialectic.”
He is rightfully pointing out that the imposition of a specific label that is applied universally through all of history to a label being used over time, ignoring the actual uses of the word in theoretical literature and treating only one definition as universally correct, closes the realm of discourse to the point of unintelligibility. The use of the word itself, such as “leftist”, “communist”, “socialist”, etc. have all been ‘pinned-down’, so to speak, to a level that terminates critical thought and leaves you at the word and just the word. The speaker is attempting to reject that the word is use, and rather desires to negate the process of word-use in favor of dominating its use. When a person learns a word or concept, the way they learned that word or concept is based on the context at which they learned it. Therefore, from that point on, that concept that is supposedly understood is only as useful as the context that one lives in is identical to the initial one that was the foundation for that concept originally. As we know that social contexts are necessarily changing frequently, the use of a concept can never be universally valid, and only holds temporary use. Under this line of reasoning, how can we ever admit to using any word to describe characteristics of any individual if that word and meaning have been attached to each other for centuries or even decades? How can we say that the words back then hold the same meaning as today? The only correct answer is that they don’t. The reason why is simple: the use of the words no longer fit the social and universal context at which they reside. The way they were understood to be useful insofar as discussion is relevant for the matters were originally at hand are no longer capable of being understood in that way: the concepts themselves must be reimagined and defined. The dialectic must be reborn out of the ashes of an esoteric and antiquated language that reflects our opinions not on what happened yesterday, but a framework of existence that occurred ten or even twenty years ago. And so when Marcuse says, “Where these reduced concepts govern the analysis of the human reality, individual or social, mental or material, they arrive at a false consciousness—a concreteness isolated from the conditions which constitute its reality.” He is referring to just that. We are using outdated terms and meanings used to describe a previously understood version of reality without taking into account our newly discovered aspects of reality. Instead, we use words we already know are designed to be used with oppression, not with understanding, and rather banally describe reality to a point of uselessness. If I point out that someone is “gay”, what does that mean for themselves as a person? Are they smart, or slow? Are they pretty, or ugly? Are they active, or passive? Are they extroverted, or introverted? The reality is that these questions are all pointless because they operate from a baseline assumption that the term “gay” is itself an acceptable description of a person, as if a single individual can be measured solely by their ostensive sexuality.