Did any of the leftist minds from history ever talk about topics such as social alienation, loneliness, depression, anxiety, social awkwardness, underachieving, lack of motivation, emotional turmoil caused by capitalist society, stress, repressed anger etc or just economy stuff?
Not an incel thread, mods. I mean the kind of negative shit that affects everybody, from chantards to normies
By contrast with their forebears in the 1960s and 1970s, British students today appear to be politically disengaged. While French students can still be found on the streets protesting against neoliberalism, British students, whose situation is incomparably worse, seem resigned to their fate. But this, I want to argue, is a matter not of apathy, nor of cynicism, but of reflexive impotence. They know things are bad, but more than that, they know they can't do anything about it. But that 'knowledge', that reflexivity, is not a passive observation of an already existing state of affairs. It is a self-fulfilling prophecy. Reflexive impotence amounts to an unstated worldview amongst the British young, and it has its correlate in widespread pathologies. Many of the teenagers I worked with had mental health problems or learning difficulties. Depression is endemic. It is the condition most dealt with by the National Health Service, and is afflicting people at increasingly younger ages. The number of students who have some variant of dyslexia is astonishing. It is not an exaggeration to say that being a teenager in late capitalist Britain is now close to being reclassified as a sickness. This pathologization already forecloses any possibility of politicization. By privatizing these problems - treating them as if they were caused only by chemical imbalances in the individual's neurology and/or by their family background - any question of social systemic causation is ruled out. Many of the teenage students I encountered seemed to be in a state of what I would call depressive hedonia. Depression is Usually characterized as a state of anhedonia, but the condition I'm referring to is constituted not by an inability to get pleasure so much as it by an inability to do anything else except pursue pleasure. There is a sense that 'something is missing' - but no appreciation that this mysterious, missing enjoyment can only be accessed beyond the pleasure principle. In large part this is a consequence of students' ambiguous structural position, stranded between their old role as subjects of disciplinary institutions and their new status as consumers of services. In his crucial essay 'Postscript on Societies of Control', Deleuze distinguishes between the disciplinary societies described by Foucault, which were organized around the enclosed spaces of the factory, the school and the prison, and the new control societies, in which all institutions are embedded in a dispersed corporation. Deleuze is right to argue that Kafka is the prophet of distributed, cybernetic power that is typical of Control societies. In The Trial, Kafka importantly distinguishes between two types of acquittal available to the accused. Definite acquittal is no longer possible, if it ever was ('we have only legendary accounts of ancient cases [which] provide instances of acquittal'). The two remaining options, then, are (1) 'Ostensible acquittal', in which the accused is to all and intents and purposes acquitted, but may later, at some unspecified time, face the charges in full, or (2) 'Indefinite postponement', in which the accused engages in (what they hope is an infinitely) protracted process of legal wrangling, so that the dreaded ultimate judgment is unlikely to be forthcoming. Deleuze observes that the Control societies delineated by Kafka himself, but also by Foucault and Burroughs, operate using indefinite postponement: Education as a lifelong process… Training that persists for as long as your working life continues… Work you take home with you… Working from home, homing from work. A consequence of this 'indefinite' mode of power is that external surveillance is succeeded by internal policing. Control only works if you are complicit with it. Hence the Burroughs figure of the 'Control Addict': the one who is addicted to control, but also, inevitably, the one who has been taken over, possessed by Control.
Walk into almost any class at the college where I taught and you will immediately appreciate that you are in a post-disciplinary framework. Foucault painstakingly enumerated the way in which discipline was installed through the imposition of rigid body postures. During lessons at our college, however, students will be found slumped on desk, talking almost constantly, snacking incessantly (or even, on occasions, eating full meals). The old disciplinary segmentation of time is breaking down. The carceral regime of discipline is being eroded by the technologies of control, with their systems of perpetual consumption and continuous development. The system by which the college is funded means that it literally cannot afford to exclude students, even if it wanted to. Resources are allocated to colleges on the basis of how successfully they meet targets on achievement (exam results), attendance and retention of students. This combination of market imperatives with bureaucratically-defined 'targets' is typical of the 'market Stalinist' initiatives which now regulate public services. The lack of an effective disciplinary system has not, to say the least, been compensated for by an increase in student self-motivation. Students are aware that if they don't attend for weeks on end, and/or if they don't produce any work, they will not face any meaningful sanction. They typically respond to this freedom not by pursuing projects but by falling into hedonic (or anhedonic) lassitude: the soft narcosis, the comfort food oblivion of Playstation, all-night TV and marijuana. Ask students to read for more than a couple of sentences and many - and these are A-level students mind you - will protest that they can't do it. The most frequent complaint teachers hear is that it's boring. It is not so much the content of the written Material that is at issue here; it is the act of reading itself that is deemed to be 'boring'. What we are facing here is not just time- honored teenage torpor, but the mismatch between a post-literate 'New Flesh' that is 'too wired to concentrate' and the confining, concentrational logics of decaying disciplinary systems. To be bored simply means to be removed from the communicative sensation-stimulus matrix of texting, YouTube and fast food; to be denied, for a moment, the constant flow of sugary gratification on demand. Some students want Nietzsche in the same way that they want a hamburger; they fail to grasp - and the logic of the consumer system encourages this misapprehension - that the indigestibility, the difficulty is Nietzsche.
An illustration: I challenged one student about why he always wore headphones in class. He replied that it didn't matter, because he wasn't actually playing any music. In another lesson, he was playing music at very low volume through the headphones, without wearing them. When I asked him to switch it off, he replied that even he couldn't hear it. Why wear the headphones without playing music or play music without wearing the headphones? Because the presence of the phones on the ears or the knowledge that the music is playing (even if he couldn't hear it) was a reassurance that the matrix was still there, within reach. Besides, in a classic example of interpassivity, if the music was still playing, even if he couldn't hear it, then the player could still enjoy it on his behalf. The use of headphones is significant here - pop is experienced not as something which could have impacts upon public space, but as a retreat into private 'Oedlpod' consumer bliss, a walling up against the social. The consequence of being hooked into the entertainment matrix is twitchy, agitated interpassivity, an inability to concentrate or focus. Students' incapacity to connect current lack of focus with future failure, their inability to synthesize time into any coherent narrative, is symptomatic of more than mere demotivation. It is, in fact, eerily reminiscent of Jameson's analysis in 'Postmodernism and Consumer Society'. Jameson observed there that Lacan's theory of schizophrenia offered a 'suggestive aesthetic model' for understanding the fragmenting of subjectivity in the face of the emerging entertainment-industrial complex. 'With the breakdown of the signifying chain', Jameson summarized, 'the Lacanian schizophrenic is reduced to an experience of pure material signifiers, or, in other words, a series of pure and unrelated presents in time'. Jameson was writing in the late 1980s - i.e. the period in which most of my students were born. What we in the classroom are now facing is a generation born into that ahistorical, anti-mnemonic blip culture - a generation, that is to say, for whom time has always come ready-cut into digital micro-slices.
Marx and Engels spoke at length about alienation, but being staunch materialists, they attributed its sole cause to having the fruits of your labor stolen by the capitalist. I don't think it's a radical position to say they had a point, but perhaps because psychology was so primitive back, you simply can't study alienation without considering emotional and romantic relations, anomie, psychology, religiosity etc. and what I personally consider the most important factor, the death of community.
Anyway, I think the first Marxists to ponder alienation outside of a purely material context were the much maligned Frankfurt School. They seem to have opened the floodgates for other Marxist studies of the superstructure, most notably Sartre, Debord and Lacan, tho I'm guessing that most writing on social alienation aren't Marxists. I'm afraid I can't name someone more current, I'm still drowning in the political economy part of leftism.
''The most frequent complaint teachers hear is that it's boring. It is not so much the content of the written Material that is at issue here; it is the act of reading itself that is deemed to be 'boring'. What we are facing here is not just time- honored teenage torpor, but the mismatch between a post-literate 'New Flesh' that is 'too wired to concentrate' and the confining, concentrational logics of decaying disciplinary systems. To be bored simply means to be removed from the communicative sensation-stimulus matrix of texting, YouTube and fast food; to be denied, for a moment, the constant flow of sugary gratification on demand. Some students want Nietzsche in the same way that they want a hamburger; they fail to grasp - and the logic of the consumer system encourages this misapprehension - that the indigestibility, the difficulty is Nietzsche.''
This quite sums up the conundrum of references that forms this text; the constitutive misunderstanding of the nerd. Incapable of conceiving that people have different interests than him, he spins pages upon pages of references and conjecture, never substantiated, always fearful and conspirational. Let me offer a different theory; philosophy is and has always been an obscure subject, much like astro-physics, nuclear engineering and Song dynasty ceramics, it is judged as boring because of its non-central role in daily life and requirement of much passive investment, like all other subjects that are judged as boring.
It's important to not blame capitalism for literally everything. Once you start blaming every misfortune or failure in your life on the capitalist superstructure or consumerism you start acting like a cult.
This post quite sums up the tragedy of circumstances that make up user's faggotry; the eternal ignorance of the brainlet. Incapable of grasping his own stupidity, he spins around him a cocoon of vapid assertions and wilful blindness, never introspective, always confined within the narrow walls of his mind. He is unable to conceive the bars of his cage, to conceive the possibility that his life is unfulfilled, and so he creates for himself this web of imagination, which blocks any ideas that may challenge his world view and enlighten him to the deprivation of the mind that capitalist commodification has inflicted upon him. And thus he winds the noose of capital tighter around his neck, until it eventually strangles him.
literally the only good part of this
You can learn to read any time, famalam. Most of the things you whine about are literally answered in the very next line. British students are disengaged precisely because they realise the system is fucked. He's saying the exact same thing you're complaining about him not saying.
Also: You can almost tell that a writer is doing something right when people start making half-assed readings in order to prove him wrong.
trhat you can't be arsed to quote Wasn't disagreeing with that. He goes on to say that this disengagement is muh self-fulfilling prophecy, which seems to >imbly that he thinks if students were more politically-active it would change anything. Which contradicts his earlier assertation that the system is fucked. I'm not complaining about him not saying anything, I'm complaining about him masking the overly-wordy bog-standard whinings of a college prof about young people skipping class and anesthetizing themselves with technology as a political statement. It reads like the ersatz-Zizekian discourse on traps, and is about as relevant to politics.
Impressive, a boring nerd who's nerddom consists of externalizing his lamentation about being a boring nerd. Bars, narrow walls, nooses, cages… his mouth speaks from that which fills his heart, moaning and moaning and moaning on, forever.
They're already quoted in the posts you first replied to, that was the point
"I am a pseud and want everyone to know" would have been much easier to type out
ITT: Who can be more smugly-dismissive of everybody else?
It's not that hard to be dismissive of Mark Fisher when everyone constantly hypes his shitty book as some kind of revolutionary works just because he wrote an article against idpol despite the book being empty British wankery.
The book is better and is more often quoted than the article. You're just way too online
I've read the book and it was shit. It contained not a single idea that wasn't written somewhere else before and better.
Neat opinion, but not at all a counter to my point. The book is simply more well regarded and more ubiquitous than the article.
You're the one whining about a book you haven't even read, famalam. Stop making excuses for not educating yourself
Here you go: They realise the system is fucked. They realise they can't do shit to change it. So they do nothing. Which it is. It's self-reinforcing. You do nothing, nothing changes, so you keep doing nothing. The only way to break out is to try to make a change, or at least to stop procrastinating and read a book. Are you seriously saying that people shutting themselves in and disengaging from the outside world isn't indicative of a wider social problem. He isn't bringing the example up to whine about it, he's bringing it up to illustrate how demoralised they are. No one's saying he's a genius, he certainly isn't the first one to have thought about these things, but that doesn't mean his work doesn't have merit and the way you write about it just screams butthurt more than anything. Disagree with him all you want, but you're not gonna accomplish anything by not reading it honestly or making it appear worse than it is.
Check the post I'm replying to, fam
This book is to education as a blender is to cooking.
ITT: three pseuds walked into a bar…
For those without taste and cooking skills
Jfc, just post your counterexamples instead of litigating the first suggestion infinitely
There are already others posted but they are ignored for some reason.
Fuck you, smoothies are delicious. Next time, think harder about your metaphors instead of writing the first half-witty thing that comes to your mind, Even better, try writing something useful.
Maybe because the thread got derailed by an argument about that one book
Shove this self-help garbage up your asshole, he and now you imply that change is fundamentally something under the control of the younger generation. It isn't, at least not using the techniques you suggest: Why do you assume I haven't and am not? I do. Regretably though, reading Utopia and The Road to Wiggan Pier have as yet failed to demonstrably disable surveillance cameras, make drones drop out of the sky instead of raining death onto wedding parties, unfuck the economy, or materially accomplish a damn thing. You seem heavily-invested in the notion that it does when it really doesn't, why is that? No, I'm saying that bitching about the few things that make things semi-tolerable enough not to kiss a revolver or an oncoming train is not the way to fixing that widespread social problem. I'm saying the symptoms aren't the problem. Too bad that's how he comes off then. So I can't presume his intent or tone but you can presume mine? Cool trick. Right, if I don't get the exact same thing out of it as you I'm being dishonest. Because nobody could ever possibly hold an opinion contradictory to yours if they have all the data you do, and nobody could possibly know anything you don't. Right, if I disagree with you on something I doubt either of us can 100% say for sure of (whether or not shit's completely fucked), that means I'm wrong despite you posting no evidence of that or anything else.
Im sure they did but 90% of those who die now from hunger are not alienated assburgers.
hmm… you're right about this tho^
Fam, the point of self-fulfilling prophecies is that they're self-fulfilling. Sure, you can sit on your flat ass and do nothing, and in doing so you 100% guarantee that you're never gonna get what you want, so now you're justified in doing nothing. The point is that it's a stupid cycle, and it leads to nothing but demoralisation. You might not be able to make drones fall from the sky through sheer willpower, but that doesn't mean things will never change. The system is falling apart, and if you want to have any chance to influence things then you need to be active, if you just sit and do nothing then the moment will just pass you by. At the end of the day it's the people who make the system, and if you sit and do nothing it's gonna be made by the people you hate. That's what he's talking about in that quote. The society is in a shit state, and people should by all rights be furious (and furious people in a big enough group suddenly have the ability to make a lot of change happen) but instead they retreat inwards, completely demoralised, and as he rightly says that's no fucking way to make change. That's what I read from it. I don't know what you read from it
Marx and Engels theorized that dissatisfaction with material conditions was more crucial to the revolution than dissatisfaction with social conditions. I guess they connected isolation with harm to personal finances.