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[Xmca-l] Re: Althusser's ideas of consciousness


As I see it, there is not a yes-no choice between a person's life being an expression of their philosophical system or being irrelevant to it. If you are assessing a philosophical system and making a critique of it, then the meaning the philosophical system had for the writer in their time and situation is *one of many* strands of evidence you have about the philosophy and its place in the history of philosophy and its social significance. To a large extent, a philosophical system arises from and is part of a philosophical project extended over decades or centuries and barely touches the lives of those who write it. But it is equally true that all philosophical systems have implications for how people live their lives, so it is untenable to claim that how the author lives is in principle *irrelevant* to an assessment of the philosophy. In the end, a writer's life and a philosophical system are two different things ... but not unrelated.

Likewise, identity categories are not either the free choice of an individual OR biologically determined. Nor is a person simply subjected to a socially constructed identity OR gifted one by nature. There is always a complex process producing a complex range of identities from the interplay of an often-dichotomous socially constructed, non-optional, identity resting on nature, the participation of an individual in social movements, and the action of free choice.


Andy Blunden
On 26/04/2016 7:57 AM, Annalisa Aguilar wrote:
Hi Paul,

Yes, OK. I do hear you about ideas, something about a good idea resonates as good, that's what appeals. Just like I might be a terrible guitar player, but make great collard greens, and you like my collard greens but can find me to be a terrible musician. But I'd like to go a little further.

What I'm wondering and I'm sticking my neck out here, and I know that, but does it mean that we all carry around a kind of double-consciousness of being while not being, or not being while being? (Take your pick)

That we can posses a theory by which we think we can live, but in practice we fail miserably?

(Isn't this Cartesian?)

Forgive me if I'm misconstruing the definition of Dubois's DC, but does the contradiction of wanting to fight for freedom against an English King and justifying slave ownership (and subjecting women to being a different kind of possession) create the same kind of splits that "looking at one's self through the eyes of others" does? I'm just asking.

In other words, is it looking at one's self through the eyes of one's other internal self, that is, the non-integrated self as two (or more) selves. Aren't the consequences identical from being split?

And wouldn't freedom, then, be a removal of that split? In both cases? Of having integrity of self? To perceive the world as it is, instead of how I think it is? True self-awareness?

Because I'd think that having an unresolved mental split of this kind could not ever be liberating, as I see it. No matter how much pursuing of happiness one gets out of life. One would always remain conflicted with oneself for those inner self-contradictions.

If a theory is crafted with split consciousness (not to warp the meaning of double consciousness out of respect to the original meaning), does something of that theory inherit an inherent contradiction?

Is it possible to take the cream off the top of the milk bottle without understanding how to feed or nurture the cow?

Just thinking out loud. Thanks for listening...

Kind regards,