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On Common Sense and Contradictory Class Consciousness

2018-09-09

Part 0

  1. The ideal political consciousness for any individual is the consciousness that is most true to their class position under capitalism.
  2. Many people agree with this judgement, but despair when they come into contact with people who exhibit consciousness that is not true to their class position. This is called “empirical” consciousness.
  3. So what is class consciousness, either ideal or empirical? It is not the contents of a person’s brain, as if their brain was a box full of facts like photographs. A person’s brain is also not like the central processing unit of a computer, taking discrete sensory inputs and calculating decisions based on algorithms. Consciousness is also not like a bank account–as if the brain were “opened” in the bank of knowledge at the beginning of personal individuality and sapience.
  4. The whole body thinks. What is really happening when somebody exhibits consciousness is they are demonstrating skilled coping with respect to their environment, be it social or non-social.
  5. There are no such things as “ideas” in the ordinary common sense. Ideas, the supposed contents of brains, and apparent judgements with which people act, do not exist.
  6. The only way we can describe human “consciousness” as existing is through the observation of the entities which guide and cause organisms to better cope with their environment–habits.
  7. Habits are the processes of the body through which sapient and sentient creatures cope with their environment, be their environment personal or social, or inanimate and natural-scientific.
  8. The only way we can say someone exhibits some problematic or contradictory “idea” is the enumeration of the ways in which their political and social habits are not true of their class position.
  9. Habts are as transient as they are a sapient creature’s direct connection to, and metabolic exchange with with their environment. Habits are obviously a two-way street, and in much the same way an environment can shape the habits of a social organism, so can a habit transiform an environment, be that environment considered normative or non-normative.
  10. Philistines will say that brainboxes with idea-data operate in the same way in which I have described. However, they are leaving out a big part of their philosophy when they say this–and they are covering up what they really mean.
  11. What liberals really mean whey they talk about ideas is that they imagine political change is caused when people of similar brain-box contents come together and contract to form organisations or rules. When someone has the inclination to act on their ideas, then they go and change the environment around themselves.
  12. This is what the ALP means when they say that ALP members have “Labor Values”.
  13. Supposedly, people make organisations, vote in particular ways, or stand in the way of sexism and racism when they see it on the train platform because of their “values”.
  14. This does not get us one iota closer to understanding why people do not always have the consciousness of their class.
  15. It is not because of their “values”, or the ideas in their head. It is because their political position on issues forms a part of their skilled coping in their workplace and home.
  16. Coping is a process that is intrinsically evolutionary. If a habit of coping proves successful to the the survival of an organisation or political “idea” or movement, it will go on to have more of an influence in society.

Part 1

  1. How to go about correcting the class consciousness of workers?
  2. The only way is through “care”.
  3. Care is the process of supporting and nurturing the flourishing of biological entities.
  4. In much the same way as T cells neutralise and consume infectious cells in the body, we need to fight fascism, racism, sexism, transphobia, ableism, and homophobia.
  5. In the same way as a child is nursed and reared by their village, we need to aid our young comrades and show them the phronesis of praxis.
  6. In the same way as workers go on strike to win demands and fight back against the boss and the capitalist state, we need to cure the cancer that infects the organism of global humanity.
  7. Emotional care, physical, mental, and spiritual care are the only way to shape the habits of coping that workers with contradictory consciousness have.
  8. Some call this “mutual aid”, and it is.
  9. Some call this “solidarity”, and it is.
  10. Some call this “love and compassion”, and it is.

My email: vidak@riseup.net