Marxism does not seek to sustain the “simple people” in their primitive philosophy of common sense, but instead to lead them to a higher view of life. If it asserts the need for contact between the intellectuals and the simple people it does so, not in order to limit scientific activity and maintain unity at the low level of the masses, but precisely in order to build an intellectual-moral bloc which makes politically possible the intellectual progress of the masses and not only of a few groups of intellectuals.
[B]eing human is possible only through struggle on this earth. This means, therefore, that the first totalization effected by materiality manifests itself (in a given society and between and between independent social groups) both as the possibility of universal destruction and as the permanent possibility that this destruction through matter might come to any individual through the praxis of other men….In fact, scarcity as tension and as force-field is the expression of a quantitative fact…There will be an insufficient quantity of a particular natural substance or manufactured product in a particular social field, given the number of members of the groups or inhabitants of the region. There is not enough for everybody… The world (the ensemble) exists for anyone in so far as the consumption of such and such a product elsewhere, by others, deprives him here of the opportunity of getting and consuming something of the same kind.
Jean-Paul Sartre, Critique of Dialectical Reason vol I, trans. by ALan Sheridan-Smith, pp. 128-129
Or, on the other hand, it is better to work out consciously and critically one’s own conception of the world and thus, in connection with the labours of one’s own brain, choose one’s sphere in activity, take an active part in the creation of the history of the world, be one’s own guide, refusing to accept passively and supinely from the outside the moulding of one’s personality?
Antonio Gramsci. Selections from the Prison Notebooks. New York: International (2010) 323-4.