Wednesday, May 5, 2010

10 Minute Marx

Happy 192nd Birthday, Karl Marx.

(apologies for the throwoff sketch today - I am still working on several concurrent TOP SECRET projects which will all come tumbling out onto the internet early next week)

One of my favorite Marx quotes ever is:

"A commodity appears at first sight an extremely obvious, trivial thing. But its analysis brings out that it is a very strange thing, abounding in metaphysical subtleties and theological niceties."

Though it always appealed to me, I only realized the quote's deeper meaning when I read this short article by Slavoj Zizek. (This same article addresses one of my other all-time favorite [paraphrased] quotes by Jaques Lacan: "If God is dead, then nothing is permitted.")

In short, the duty of the Communist is NOT to say "You naive bourgeois idiot! You talk as though money were some magical thing endowed with intrinsic properties, when it is really just a reification of labor relations!" No. Rather, to the capitalist, we should say: "Like any intelligent modern man, you freely assert that money is nothing more than a codified system which stands in for certain relations of labor. However, in your day-to-day life, you nevertheless unconsciously ACT as though money is truly it's own magical thing." Wrap your head around that, my friend, and you've finished your first lap around Jericho.

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