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I decided I needed to open up a thread dedicated to Neo-Marxism since I really enjoy this theory and all that comes with it. Feel free to drop any questions or arguments. Part of it may just be its derivation from deconstruction but also its prominence in modern society. One thing that stuck out to me was the idea that a socialist society can only be achieved through class conflict and revolution (that is a point they try to make with their literature). Is this still the case today or has that aspect become "outdated"? Also, maybe it's just me but I feel like the order in which Chisnell has presented the literary theories feels like a progression that matches my line of thinking. Each time we learn a new theory, it just seems to fit my philosophy better than the previous one. Has anyone else experienced this?
I agree. I think that exposing us to the theories in this order may be on purpose. Each seems to be more realistic and easier to believe than the last. It's like we're slowly being convinced that these ideals could be correct (which I don't totally disagree with).
One thing that stuck out to me was the idea that a socialist society can only be achieved through class conflict and revolution (that is a point they try to make with their literature). Is this still the case today or has that aspect become "outdated"?
I believe that this is not necessarily still the case today, as many politicians are moving towards some semblance of socialism. However, in terms of creating a completely and totally socialist society, I do believe that it can only be achieved through some sort of class conflict or revolution, IF it were possible at all. A totally socialist society would require total cooperation from all parties if it were to happen without some sort of force. Using force would ruin the concept as a whole, so it's essentially unachievable. Does anyone disagree and think that we could achieve a totally socialist society? How could this be possible? What would need to occur? What/who's theories that we've engaged in would be the most effective?
@delphine I agree. With how divisive this country can be, it would be almost impossible for total cooperation. Having the nation conform to one socialist society is unrealistic at best, as the current state of politics revolves too much around division and argument.
@delphine The issue is, and I think this applies to a broader set of subjects than just politics, that you can't really make a change to a system as a whole by working within it. If everything is a result of building on these power structures, you really can't change the top level without deconstructing the society as a whole. It just isn't possible to put in place a whole new system of ideas without tearing out what's supporting it, otherwise everything will tend back to the state it was before. This type of thing is visible even in the simple fact that people don't like getting their beliefs challenged without a great amount of effort and education.
@delphine You are right in the fact that we need a huge revolution in order to break away from this Consumerist society. Big Bussiness since the Industrial revolution have always seeked public approval they even try to relate to everyone nowadays by hopping on to trends XD. Making us the consumer think that maybe me a law-abiding citizen isn't much more different that a corrupt billion dollar company. We are constantly bombarded by ads from these companies trying to gain our trust and our money we are left to think that we have no time to make our own opinions on the addictive and unhealthy Consumerist society we live in.
@xmysterio Exactly. The whole basis of our government is pitting the two parties against each other. We would never succeed with one form of government that is currently seen as "radical" without opposition from at least one side. Regardless of our opinions on the effectiveness of socialism, it's unfortunately seen as too extreme to be implemented.
we have no time to make our own opinions on the addictive and unhealthy Consumerist society we live in.
I love that you phrased our society as addictive because it really is impossible to break out of the cycle. Our world is built around being the "perfect consumer". In order to fit in, we must give in and make purchases/other actions and support this society. It's set up that in order to survive, we cannot break away. We must buy food, pay for housing, pay the bills in order to live, and as we do this we support and fuel the capitalist consumer economy that so many of us say we desperately wish to break free from. Yet, breaking out would render us with nearly no chance of survival. It's almost like a trap.
I agree with OPs feeling of understanding with the theories, I feel like I've felt a certain way about society but was unsure how to put it into words, but being exposed to these theories and such has really helped me align myself better politically. Moreover I don't think america with ever break free from capitalism or a consumer society, at least not without nothing short of a civil war...
I found your outline of our consumerist society intriguing! The way in which a capitalist society like ours operates is specifically catering to what seems as a part of human nature, whether it be a good or bad thing is also up for debate. A large portion of people find themselves wanting to be "successful". Successful for most has one of two general definitions: 'being happy' or 'being wealthy'. The capitalist system in which we live plays on the latter. The innate desire for wealth is one nurtured by the system of money paying for goods and services, the quality and amount being determined by the amount of money one has. So, if you have more money, a more materialistically good life you will have. Generally, is the desire for wealth derived from personal ambition for a 'wealthy' life, or is it artificially created for us. In a society of people, with a blank memory and no biases put there by experience, would people want to be greater than others in status naturally, or would they be okay with equality of wealth and class, or would they even consider class's existence? Although I personally feel that capitalism is the best system, I still wonder if the seemingly natural thirst for power is natural at all, is it a mold we fit into through the life and society in which we live?
@delphine I really agree. EVERYTHING is surrounded and controlled by money, so even if you wanted to break it for yourself, it has been made so that the life you would live is low quality (considering shelter and the quality of it, food, health in general, ect.).
It's almost like a trap.
I like that you ended on this because, it really is. It is a trap to the point where you either comply or suffer, it actually sounds pretty horrible
The way in which a capitalist society like ours operates is specifically catering to what seems as a part of human nature, whether it be a good or bad thing is also up for debate.
I've spent a lot of time reading this sentence over. What even is human nature?? We truly are just animals right? So wouldn't our nature be to gather/ live with a community and hunt and gather and just exist together? But then it's like, we have advanced so much, so has out nature truly changed? Is it now living in our families in individual houses rather than a family? Or has it always just been purely the 'human condition' (if you were in AP lang last year lol). I know there's a lot of questions in this post but, @conster, I think this question of whether or not it is a good or bad thing is very interesting to me, but I can't go further to answer it before I understand these. I really think this would be something interesting to talk about!!
For as often the characteristic of greed is shown as a bad thing in pop culture, there seems to be such a built in reward system for greed in our society that although many people feel greed is bad, many will still choose to be greedy and have a self-centered life goal and path. We choose to acknowledge the negative side of greed, yet still choose to operate with it in our daily lives. We build our entire lives around being able to build a life of material around us. This is more of a comment than an answer, and I will follow this up in about 30 minutes.
@conster I feel like greed although considered one of the 7 deadly sins, is actually necessary for humans. Greed is simply the desire to want more. Too much of more can drive one mad yes this is true, but what happens to our species if we lose the drive to want more? We simply don't make any progress as people, we stay exactly where we are because nobody has the desire to keep going. I believe Greed is necessary.
@savhoisington To go off your point, I find it interesting how we are often told that humans are inherently selfish, all the American marketing with individualism and such, which capitalism contributes to. Just a couple days ago I saw on NPR an article about bonobos and kindness (here). The article is really interesting, but the main idea is that bonobos use cooperation and sharing to be more successful as a community, like humans. Articles like these suggest selfishness isn't a part of human nature, sharing is. Of course selfish people exist, so there must be a learned/innate thing going on.
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