Self-Improvement and the Left

As many of you will know, a "self-improvement" craze has taken over many right-wing circles, primarily on the internet but also in real life. The idea seems to be, essentially, that individuals need to "toughen up" and "get their shit together" so as to achieve the libertarian ideal of an individual who relies upon nobody but himself insofar as success goes. Now, we all know this is a myth, primarily because any given employee (and let's face it, none of those on Holla Forums are CEOs) is wholly at the mercy of those they rent themselves to. There is a fetishisation of "working hard for your money", and through some strange sorcery becoming mentally and physically stronger through this soul-crushing work. I think we can all agree that this is utter trash.

There is also the use of these ideas by charlatans such as pic related, who prey on the misfortune and desperation of others.

However, there seems to have been a push back from the left at the entire concept of self-improvement, which appears, to me at least, to be not only potentially counter-productive (as there is of course a kernel of good to be found in the sentiment) but also potentially harmful. For example, recovery from mental illnesses such as anxiety and depression, requires a deep and lasting commitment from the individual to take steps to improve their condition. Self-improvement and self-help are integral parts of any process of recovery, whether it be from social isolation, addiction, weight issues, or whatever else.

In the same vein, many people are suffering from various material problems in their life that require addressing, and even if we accept that under socialism their suffering would be ameliorated or eliminated altogether, this still doesn't change the fact that for many of these people there are ways to improve their situation, and in this way we shouldn't be encouraging a hopeless attitude. Fostering anger, revolutionary sentiment, or what have you is certainly worthwhile, but utter hopelessness isn't, even if we accept some people truly do have no way out of their current predicament (e.g. the unemployed or poor), there are still things that they can do to make those conditions more bearable.

So, yeah, as socialists we all recognise that no matter what some poor and unfortunate people do, just due to the fundamental nature of the system they will not be able to make a "success" of themselves. This doesn't mean we should abandon ideas of self-improvement altogether, and certainly not in cases where an individual actually can radically change their position (I'm speaking here of those going through various forms of psychological anguish brought about by treatable mental illness or mere social isolation).

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I work out not to for some bourgeois idea of "masculinity" but because it has made a measurable positive impact on all aspects of my life.

All salvation comes from socialism.

Yeah, being masculine is like real bourgeois. Effeminacy is the proletarian way.

More like socialism provides the means for salvation. We can only be absolved from our sin by Christ dying on the cross. This would mean complete worldwide proletarian revolution. Mao was right in a sense that even when a socialist society is established, there is still baggage left over from the previous eras that retards the development of a "new man" and a "new society". Socialism means giving people the tools to save themselves, whether they actually do save themselves is ultimately a concern for those individuals and those around them.

Yes, but how do we spread this message?

this is true though

Nobody is implying that there won't be suffering of some kind in socialism you ignorant fuck.

the Panthers provided free breakfast. I say we provide free breakfast and free couch to 5k handouts

To call what stressors people would experience under socialism "suffering" is to undersell socialism. Just like police abolition, what people will experience will be so different that to call it "suffering" would be misleading.


Again, the actual experience of these things and how they are handled will be radically different, cancer and deformities aren't the same when there's free healthcare and healthcare so advanced it cannot be distinguished from magic, same as when a family member dies, there's no longer any concern of how many resources they were taking up versus how many resources were they providing to the social unit etc etc

It are those sorts of totalitarian phrases in which the danger of socialism lies, fittingly, all socialist tyrants were amateur poets.

To the people here, socialism is a neurotic fantasy of completion.

What's it like having a third-grade redoing level?

Are you being serious? What are 5k handouts? I was unironically with you until the word 'couch'.


I want to be a better person.But people like trump live so well

That's where I form my conclusion with my last sentence, we can't force people to change themselves to fit a poetic idealist model

In english, please.

I dunno about you guys, but I work out and read a little every day.

Do comrades really condemn self-improvement though? Not saying you're lying, but I can't say I've ever encountered this.

In here they do. irl idk. Maybe it's specific to the chans. The right is def out-performing us

Sorry user but self-improvement is trash. It's the glorification of isolation and denial of the collective work that went into each "success." Not to mention that it hardly works. As leftists we should promote community oriented solutions, learning together, working together, struggling together. "Mutual-improvement" or whatever you want to call it. It's much more efficient even if you don't count the obvious benefits of community. We don't need formal structures or experts, as Jacotot taught us even two ignorant persons can teach each other.

retarded meatheads

Almost stopped reading there, for a second I thought this was gonna be ancomposting about the tyranny of doing anything aside from smoking weed all day


I suppose one of the merits of lifestylism is the pressure to get in better shape. Not saying we should emulate that, but rather consider good health its own reward, as seems to imply.

Seriously, dumbass?

Getting up at 6 in the morning together, taking cold showers together, drinking milk together, plowing the fields together…

Only in the currently popular right-wing deviation of the concept. From a left-wing perspective, however, independent action still has its place, especially when working in a callous and uncaring system. If there are practical steps people can take to improve their situation, they should be encouraged to take them, and shouldn't be convinced that inaction is the only option. Inaction in most cases is retrograde and harmful.

If a person with OCD cannot afford mental healthcare, for example, are we to suggest that they should therefore abandon any hope of lessening the severity of their condition? We can wax lyrical about how callous a system in which psychotherapy is rationed out based upon ability to pay truly is, but in the end this doesn't help people at this very moment who need to take action.

You sure love deliberate obstinance, don't you? I've realized that 90% of rightist "thought" is doing anything possible to misinterpret what people say

don't exacerbate toxic masculinity you fucking bigots

come on fam

No, I genuinely have no idea what you meant with redoing level. I even googled it, but could only find information on redoing A-levels.

End childrearing, we're going to the gym


yeah just look at all those matriarchies with strong familial bonds and plenty of spending money lmfao

Say that to these biceps

I don't remember saying anything about inaction. I simply suggested that instead of telling people that they should suffer alone we should support each other.

exactly, socialism is the consumption and abolition of both the physical and sociological woman. It's a gonna be a man's world baby.

It's a false dilemma, it's not either "not doing anything" or "acting alone".

There's no reason not to engage in self-improvement of some kind. Not to reach some kind of retarded right-wing ideal but simply because there is no reason not to be more capable.

If you're on the right self-improvement begins with an infographic and a poor interpretation of somebody else's misinterpretation of Nietzsche.


The fact that these convictions are not self-serving could be taken as proof of sincerity. If you argue for loan forgiveness, and are carrying debt, you won't be taken seriously.

It could be argued that employers are at the mercy of their employees. It's costly to replace labor with other labor, and not to be done on a whim. They could automate, then they won't be oppressing anyone.

not to get all political. I think that acceptance/tolerance stand in semi-opposition to improvement/excellence.

There's only one self-help book worth your time..
in all seriousness, i don't think a conversation about this is complete without actually discussing methods of self-help. What exactly does a self-improving individual do?

That book should be named How I Scammed My Friends, Cheated My Wife, Lost All My Gains And Died Alone In Debtors Prison.

Whines on reddit and Holla Forums about how hard their life is and how miserable they are while feeling superior to everyone else in the same situation.

stay spooked meathead


it's not like you're gonna run from the cops

The ego and its own is like a pick-up guide written by an incel.

Maybe try reading it some time

so full of shit that even tanks are defending the book from you

If you're only vaguely familiar with the philosophical canon, stirner has nothing new to offer.

Improving their physical, mental, behavioral, and psychological states, i.e. getting fit and healthy, spend time exercising their mind and learning new stuff, learning how to better interact with people, and learning how to healthily deal with their emotions, thoughts and environment.

You are what makes this sort of discussion hard to have, because your view is incredibly idealistic. People are inherently untrustworthy, and no system will be perfect in ending human suffering. Just admit that your ideas will meet their roadblocks like all ideas do and we can move on to actually solving them.

Literally just read Stirner, Specifically, the Unique and its Property, or, as I know it "how i learned to stop worrying and learned to love myself"

hey Holla Forums nice false flag

The question left unanswered is: self improvement unto what?
The open secret of a lot of the plebeian self-help of the kind Holla Forumsyps preach is that it is an "improvement" of the self according to a pre-existing, impersonal plan. You are "improving" yourself into being a better NORP, a better taxpayer, a more obedient prole, a better bourgeois citizen.
Self improvement is great, but only to the degree that it is truly an improvement of the self stemming from your own will, towards your own self-willed emancipation. This is not as easy as it sounds, since you're constantly blinded by ideology, and what you think you want might in fact just be ideological manipulation.

Imo its one of the few things we should copy from right wing. Not sorting yourself out is counter revolutionary.

Doing self-improvement for self-improvement's sake is a spook.
That aside, it's a vague enough term that it could mean anything without context.

There is merit to self improvement. The improving confidence bits are helpful for a better mental state even if they generally focus on spooks. Encouraging exercises and social interaction is very valuable. Both are important for reducing stress, improving clarity of thought, and gives you more energy which helps with depression. Learning to cook and eating healthy not only is less consumerist than fast food, but it also gives more energy and reduces stress. I don't see any reason the working class should not try and improve their wellbeing to the best they can. Self improvement can be a scapegoat for exploitation, but it still does measurably improve quality of life of dome right. Certainly comunism is the ideal way to improve the working classes wellbeing, but we may never live to see a revolution. Improving your immediate condition is not a cop out, its practicle and I would argue nessicary.

I would mostly agree with what you wrote user, but while social interactions are needed, they are not always valuable, in the sense that a lot of encounters are just bullshit like empty vitamins. There is nothing as awesome as a man that wears his convictions, but one that tries to build his strenght out of a feeble ideology will always be a poor salesman.

lol nigga just bench iron you faggot why you need to read books and shit

If you need self-improvement you have already admitted you are a filth unwanted lazy ugly waste of space. Why do you think right-wingers promote this shit so much.


But Holla Forumsacks are still fat fucks or skinnybois, so it hardly seems to help.

Sounds cute, user. I prefer warm showers, though.

Couch to 5k is a 9-week workout plan that trains you from complete beginner to a continuous 30-minute run. Your NHS has a podcast series that guides you through it. I have completed it, and can highly recommend it.

Many self-improvement schema work more efficiently in groups, but that doesn't discount the importance or efficacy of individual techniques. Meditation, for example, has proven benefits in many areas of life and can (and arguably should) be done alone.

It is also necessary to foster self-sufficiency in revolutionaries. The agile and resilient organization described by Lenin in ""What Is To Be Done?"" could not have been possible without a cadre that was highly capable of independent operation.

I feel that you bend the stick too far when you say that individual self-improvement is shit. Individual and collective self-improvement are equally necessary, and the development of each component informs the development of its counterpart. A lack of space for individual contemplation is a recipe for a cult. A lack of collective activity is a recipe for depression.

The science on this is overwhelming: regular exercise greatly improves the intellect. Physical fitness is necessary for maximum mental performance. Also, the more years you live, the more time you have to devote to the goal of worldwide socialism.

t. Aleister Crowley (that's not meant as a criticism)

There is always room for improvement. The fact that capitalism isn't laying in ruins at our feet is testament to that. Even I, a turbochad genius, can ascend to even greater heights.



Still true. Why do you think white.contries used black slaves? They were afraid of rebellion, so they used people who didn't know the land or language. Slave rebellions have succeeded in the past on occasion and often worked on the local level. (Just look at modern day prison breaks.) The obstacle is communication and organizations. If we overcome capitalist propaganda and counterintelligence then the revolution will be easy. We won't even need a war.

We gotta work out and get fit for the revolution tbh fam

Certain things are universal: into a better human.

Following a healthy lifestyle, and disciplined and efficient routine towards a better life in general and easier attainment of your goals, whatever they may be.

Working out and getting fit should be a communal project, not an individual enterprise:

i think right-wing self-improvement culture often places impossible demands on people, and it's full of messed-up body image stuff. nobody ever actually measures up and they constantly mock their own people and richard spencer's bitch tits.

that said, i think it works for them because people join a fascist movement, they exercise more, and they feel physically better, so it's a pretty useful self-reinforcement mechanism. since these are the people we're fighting against we should probably understand the appeal.

You are confusing self-realization with self-improvement.

For all the comrades who oppose self improvement, what do you plan on doing with your lives after the revolution?

If there's a distinction between the two, why should anyone (in the leftist's mind) bother with "self-improvement"? The desire to work out and read books stems from a vested interest in improving one's quality of life. Take that away - make the motivation come from outside the individual - and all you're left with is a spook.

You shouldn't, self-improvement is garbage.

I normally disregard all this self-improvement bullshit, due to the fact that it promotes an individualistic worldview, making it appear that you and only you are responsible for your failures or successes, exempting the capitalist system from its inherent inequalities.

But what do you think about the kind of self-improvement aimed at addressing individual shirtcomings that cannot be attributed (to a significant degree, at least) to systemic failures? I mean, fitness advice, social skills improvement and the like.

Would Holla Forums be down for having a self-improvment general?

pls yes

I need to make a "Work out, scrub" meme out of Stirner

Isn't that what self-improvement is all about?

No, it's about optimizing yourself for wage-labour and getting rich.

Says who?

Cool, I was thinking about a thread where whether you're well adjusted individual or a total outcast you're still welcome and we encourage each other.

Self-Improvement and the Left should be self-improvement of our organization as a class. Individuals don't matter, our praxis is everything.

tl; dr read Sorel

No quibble there. Though, with reference to your pic, an optimal healthy lifestyle in modern society would be more along the lines of reduced calorie diet, with an emphasis on cardio, rather than actually trying to get big. This provides the most health benefits and longevity. As for the lack of muscles, if you don't do physical labour you don't really need those beyond aesthetic preferences.

wtf is this thread

pretty much any mass movement has done this, the Nazis gave out food in their time as well.

This rightist variant of "self-improvement" is merely it's expression in the current age, where the social basis of reaction is not the extremely poor but actually a relatively well-off sector of the American working class that finds it's woes not as much in economic precariousness, but in an emotional and moral one. And course whatever ethnical, political, national or gender boogeyman is to blame.

Improving oneself as a person in my experience, is (or should be) a huge part of being militant in a leftist party.

Clearly, what is criticized here is the bourgeois idea of self-help, the self-help industry.

Individuals are the basic units in a social class. If you can't reach out to the basic units that form a social class, you might as well talk to brick wall.