Sunday, May 19, 2019

Karl Seldon on Karl Marx Series, Part 2. Marx's Theory of “Self-Alienation”.

Karl Seldon on Karl Marx Series, Part 2.

Seldon on the Marxian Theory of “Self-Alienation”:

The Root Cause of Subjective Human Self-Alienation Under Capitalism,

The Social Relation of Production Social Praxis that [Continually Re-]Produces Affective and Objective Social Alienation in the Capitalist Epoch -- A ‘Psychohistorical-Materialist’ Analysis.

Dear Readers,

This new series -- “Karl Seldon on Karl Marx” -- is for the purpose of my presenting to you key excerpts from Karl Seldon’s discourses, among we of F.E.D., on the topic of the work of Karl Marx.  This series continues -- in this Part 2 -- with a clarification of Marx’s lifelong and mature ‘‘‘psychohistorical’’’ analysis of human “alienation” within the integument of “the capital relation”.

[Seldon:]  Contrary to the claims of some anti-Marxians, Marx never “abandoned” his view of the prevalence and centrality of the «problematique» of human-social alienation, both subjective and objective -- that first surfaced in his early writings of the 1840s -- all the way from those early writings to his most “mature” work on the immanent critique of the ideology-vitiated “science” of capitalist classical political economy, in the four [drafted] volumes of his «Das Kapital».”

“Instead, that theory of alienation became the very heart of his critique of political economy:  self-alienation is the very essence of “the capital-relation” [Marx].”

“The beating heart of “the capital-relation” is wage-labor.”

“Wage-labor is, precisely, self-selling -- self-alienation -- a comprehensive system of “universal prostitution” [Marx, Grundrisse], which is not restrictedly or primarily sexual prostitution, but is the prostitution of the total human person, the giving up of ‘individual sovereignty’ and of control of one’s own potentially creative life-activity, of ownership of one’s creations, and of the purpose and meaning of one’s very life, to an alien will, for the better part of one’s daily life, and for the better part of one’s entire lifetime, in exchange for mere survival -- for the wage wherewithal to live to work another day for that alien will, with, perhaps, enough wherewithal left over to feed, to clothe, and to educate one’s children, e.g., to take one’s place after one’s life has been “used-up” and thrown away.”

“Marx’s solution regarding the root cause, the economic basis -- or, rather, the social relation of production and social praxis basis -- of human social alienation in general, and the individual self-alienation that resides at its causal core in particular, is sprinkled and applied throughout his middle and final, “mature”, works -- e.g., «Zur Kritik...» [A Contribution to the Critique of Political Economy], and Capital:  A Critique of Political Economy.”

“The problem has been that Marx’s more subjectivist and ‘existentialoid’ mis-interpreters have not known how to read Marx’s frequent exhibitions of this solution in those works.”

“And, the ‘Leninoid’ would-be misleaders about Marx’s theories have sought to suppress all understanding of the role of Marx’s theory of alienation in his critique of capitalism, hoping that their readers will not notice their perpetuation of that alienation in their plans, and in their actualizations, of their perpetuation of wage-labor, in enslavement to the state -- to state-capital -- and in enslavement to their state-bureaucratic ruling class, in their proto-state-capitalist, Orwellian dictatorships.”

“Even pre-capitalist production for sale -- i.e., production of commodities -- is production for alienation, for the dis-owning of one’s products in return for money, producing products for ‘exchange-use’ -- rather than for ‘consumption use’ by their immediate producers -- and, while it marks progress for the development of the social-reproductive self-force of the human species, it also already engenders a social praxis which produces and reproduces problematic pre-capitalist forms of social alienation.”

“But daily [re]production of your self for the purpose of daily self [re-]sale -- for daily wagéd [and salaried] labor -- is production and reproduction of self mainly for self-alienation, and is thus also the production and expanded reproduction of individual and social self-alienation itself; of self-disowning; of self-estrangement.”

“This incessant daily praxis tends to create a culture -- a ‘‘‘human phenome’’’ -- shot through with a pervasive ulteriority and ‘‘‘duplicity’’’, and tends to make -- to varying degrees -- all proletarian men and women into ‘‘‘mercenaries’’’.”

“And this incessant, ‘essence-ial’ social practice of capitalism produces an alien social world, ‘a world of strangers’, a world devoid of true human community, devoid of real human-social solidarity, and devoid of non-monetary purpose and meaning, for most of its practitioners.”

“When we are too used to this world -- immersed in it, from birth -- we may lose sensitivity, lose the ability to discern these tragedies, unless or until certain healing and consciousness-inducing events engulf our lives and our social self-identities.”

“This social praxis produces, and continually expandedly reproduces, an alien world, a world of alienated objectifications, of [self-]objectifications designed and owned, not by the human selves that, together, socially, produce those [self-]objectifications; a world shaped per and owned by, not by the majority of human beings, but, instead, designed and owned by the “logic” of capital, by capital personified, by the ever-shrinking capitalist ruling class, an ever-tinier, ever-more-deranged minority of “Dr. Strangeloves”, characterized by ever-more-concentrated capital ownership, and pursuing an agenda which is increasingly alien to, and contrary to, the interests, the needs, the well-being of the majority, producing, class, opposed to the collective will of that majority, and utterly and lethally subversive of the democracy that capitalism championed in its ascendence phase.”

“The [socio-politico-]economic act of participating, per force, in the wage-labor/capital social relation of production, and in its social praxis, creates and daily recreates a social “base”, and a social “superstructure”, permeated throughout its entire depth and breadth and height, from top to bottom, by the historically-specific, capitalist brand of  social alienation.”

“The root of modern self-alienation is none other than self-selling, and self-selling is, precisely, wage-labor [and salaried labor].”

Wage-labor is the labor-side, the worker-side, the MAJORITY-side, of “the capital-relation” as predominant “social relation of production” [Marx].”

“Self-alienation, alienated [sold] life-time, alienated [sold] labor-time, alienated labor IS WHAT CAPITAL IS ALL ABOUT -- it is WHAT CAPITAL IS MADE OF.

For more information regarding these Seldonian and Marxian insights, please see --


For ‘poster-ized’ visualizations of many of these Seldonian and Marxian insights -- specimens of dialectical art -- see:



Miguel Detonacciones,

Member, Foundation Encyclopedia Dialectica [F.E.D.],
Participant, F.E.D. Special Council for Public Liaison,
Officer, F.E.D. Office of Public Liaison.

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