reification

  • me: money isn't real and scarcity is almost always fabricated. we literally throw away necessities. we produce to excess and a majority of our labor could be automated.
  • them: okay but sweaty who's going to pay for that?
  • me: no one. money isn't real. scarcity is fabricated. we produce and throw away excess necessities.
  • them: but we can't afford to just give away necessities life doesn't work that way.
  • me: the goods literally already exist. you literally just put them in the hands of people who need them instead of the fucking dumpster.
  • them: but what about the money?
I suggest that the phenomenological perspective - because its basis is philosophical idealism - encourages people to seek change through the way they think, instead of providing them with means by which they can change what they or others are doing. Theoretical de-reification, a possible consequence of this perspective, is not enough. There must be a practical de-reification - an actual overthrow of social relations through praxis.
—  Sarup, Madan (1978). Marxism and Education. London: Routledge & Kegan Paul. p.4
[W]e have touched upon the classical Marxist motive of ‘reification’: behind the things, the relation between things, we must detect the social relations, the relations between human subjects. But such a reading of the Marxian formula leaves out an illusion, an error, a distortion which is already at work in the social reality itself, at the level of what the individuals are doing, and not only what they think or know they are doing. When individuals use money, they know very well that there is nothing magical about it – that money, in its materiality, is simply an expression of social relations. The everyday spontaneous ideology reduces money to a simple sign giving the individual possessing it a right to a certain part of the social product. So, on an everyday level, the individuals know very well that there are relations between people behind the relations between things. The problem is that in their social activity itself, in what they are doing, they are acting as if money, in its material reality, is the immediate embodiment of wealth as such. They are fetishists in practice, not in theory. What they 'do not know’, what they misrecognize, is the fact that in their social reality itself, in their social activity – in the act of commodity exchange – they are guided by fetishistic illusion.
—  Slavoj Žižek, The Sublime Object of Ideology
The Seven Heavenly Virtues

A companion piece to this; as before personifications of sins and virtues are cool and all, but I’m curious as to what the concepts themselves looks like, so here is an interpretation.  

Chastity- A sexless androgyne with flesh of white porcelain, they are hollow and clean.  Free of the wants of the flesh and dwelling in remove from the world, they cannot touch the ground for their purity; to defile such a thing is blasphemy.  Chastity appeals to the mind and scours away desire.

Temperence- An amorphous presence of eyes and chains and Law.  With its eyes it is ever mindful; with its chains it restrains itself and those who listen; with the Law it moderates and judges the world.  Temperance permeates the world, but may only exert as much force as you allow it; such is the Law.

Charity- A being with a thousand arms, and in each arm they bear one of their thousand hearts.  They give and love without restraint to those who need past the point of death, only to be reborn again from the seed of their love.  Charity dwells in the heart and sings appeals to the mind.

Diligence- A titan of clay and fire with eyes that never close.  They labor without end, but never to the point of exhaustion, laying the foundations of belief and conviction.  Though they may face adversity they shall grind it away with their persistence and zeal.  Their fires may be felt in the bone and sinew and most of all the breath.

Patience- A mountain of amber with a voice of gold, it preaches mercy and nonviolence to all who would listen.  It lends strength against those that would lash out in wrath or seek to undermine community, while its words may wipe away the transgressions of old.  It dwells within our moral strivings and desires for justice.

Kindness- An ethereal presence who seeks to pervade the heart.  Their embrace stokes the flames of compassion and wears away at the boundaries we enforce upon others, while their touch bears the balm of friendship.  They are found within the heart and the sparks of compassion shown to others.

Humility- A mighty creature of veiled grandeur.  With their eyes they peel away deception and with their mouths they bestow glories; though their station is high they shall make sacrifices for even the lowest of the low. They dwell within our respect for those of all walks and in the light with which we examine ourselves.

money is a made up piece of shit thing, it’s not real, we reify it, we act like it has its own consciousness, the economy isn’t a real thing, we reify it, we act like it has its own will and its own existence outside of people’s influence. 

These things are absolutely things people can change, they don’t exist without us, they don’t have a will of their own. They aren’t intrinsic beings, they were fabricated to oppress, that’s literally the reason.

We’re advanced enough of a society that we can function without its use, but yall wanna pretend these things exist outside of us and have some hold on us some control that’s beyond our consciousness.

I do not give a fuck about profit, it’s not real, we made it up, we can get rid of it and work towards enriching the lives of ourselves and others. Yeah people are going to lose a lot of shit, but its shit they didn’t need it in the first place. I’m sorry but I don’t care about yall wealthy losing three of your 32 mansions. like shut up.

Beauty? It seems to me that beauty is an example of what the philosopher’s call reification, to regard the abstraction as a thing. Beauty is a series of experiences. It is not a noun. People have experiences. If they feel an intense aesthetic pleasure, they take that experience and project it into the object. They experience the idea of beauty, but beauty in and of itself does not exist.
—  Louise Bourgeois from a conversation with Bill Beckley, 1997
The most intimate reactions of human beings have become so entirely reified, even to themselves, that the idea of anything peculiar to them survives only in extreme abstraction: personality means hardly more than dazzling white teeth and freedom from body odor and emotions. That is the triumph of advertising in the culture industry: the compulsive imitation by consumers of cultural commodities which, at the same time, they recognise as false.
—  Theodor Adorno & Max Horkheimer, The Dialectic of Enlightenment.

So I read a thing earlier about how the seven deadly sins are often anthropomorphized and represented.  It was interesting, but more importantly I started thinking about how I would maybe represent them, sans many of the human features.  I mean sure, you can draw/write an envious person, but what doe Envy the concept look like?

That said, TIME FOR SHIT TO GET WEIRD!

Wrath- A creature of smoke and fire.  The fires of Wrath stoke and consume the soul, whilst its smoke obscures the consequences of your deeds until it departs.  They hide within the heart until stoked by the world.

Lust- A shapeless, slithering thing, made solely of flesh and the parts that feel.  It desires only to consume and touch and have the object of its desires, leaving only when it tires of its plaything or there is nothing left to have.  They ensnare humanity by entangling the heart and mind in a haze of desire and want.

Envy- An androgynous figure.  Their eyes are cut emerald,seeing in all the world only that which others possess.  Envy has many arms, all of which reach for the possessions of others.  They think only of ownership and taking that which is not theirs but care little for what they have; they are blind to such things.  Envy is born within one’s corrupted desires.

Sloth- A pillar of stone.  Carved into it is a single closed eye- an eye because it exists; closed because it refuses to act in the world.  Its weight can be felt upon one’s body and soul, pressuring them to inaction.  It is ever-present, forever exerting its weight upon the world.

Greed- The flesh of Greed is made from gold and all that is valuable in this world.  It seeks to acquire more and more wealth, even though it may bring about its own or other’s destruction.  This fortune it stores within its own body, for Greed is loathe to part with it.  Greed infects the mind with delusions of wealth and power.

Pride- A mighty creature, blind to its own inadequacies.  With its many mouths it proclaims its greatness, and with its many eyes it judges all inferior.  It thinks itself great, and it may be; that is to be decided by the world.  It lives within the masks we wear to deceive ourselves.

Gluttony-  An empty, hollow thing.  Gluttony seeks only to consume in an attempt to fill the cavern within.  It cares little for the world save in how it can attempt to be made whole as it devours unceasingly.  Their maw is forever open, forever seeking more material to fill the void.  It lives within the empty, unfilled places of the heart.

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What can I do with these colorful scraps of paper and cotton blend now that your revolutionary technology has extracted all financial value from them?

We recommend recycling them or using them in art projects; to this end cash deposit @ home natively supports sharing pictures of your valueless currency and valueless currency art-projects on a variety of social media sites!  If you’re lucky, your art may gain in new value on the market, allowing you to sell it for even more cash!

Isn’t financial art great?

What do I do with all these metal coins weighing me down like the weight of my sins?

Unfortunately, the value inherent in metal currencies remains impossible to extract via digital methods at this time; rest assured our financial scientists are working around the clock on this problem.  This howling emptiness in supply must be filled to meet the rising demand; the market will brook nothing else.

Advice: be the quiet one in the corner, working away. Avoid information you’re unlikely to actually make use of, and avoid extrapolations as much as you can—because “this means that which means this which could become” is just a chain of illusions based on something you’ll probably never have to deal with. Don’t tell people what you do, if you can get away with it. Just lie, or downplay it. Plan as little as possible, set your life up so there’s less you need to plan about anyway (rent, have less stuff, keep commitments loose). Refuse to accept conflation—this is not the same as that, no matter how similar they might seem.
—  Ryan Holiday

so a few days ago at work right a woman came up to the tills completely covered in paint and told us that she’d slipped on paint that must have fallen from a high shelf and opened the can, she said she really hurt her hip and bashed her head on the paint display.

At this point we were all freaking out because she could sue & our manager even appeared out of wherever he hides all day and she (the customer) insisted we call her an ambulance because she was feeling faint, and because we wanted to make sure we did everything we could, we did. One of our supervisors went upstairs to check the recording because he knew that this was a huge deal and we would need the recording as would the customer if she wanted to sue.

So he opened up the recording and fastforwarded it though, at this point we had the ambulance on the way and a police officer had shown up, and what he saw was…

Well what he saw was the customer, walking around the store fast, grabbing a random array of items without even looking at the shelves to fill her basket. Then she got to the paint isle, it was late in the day on a weekday where we were lucky of we had customers so it was easy to spot her, she took a paint can down from the top shelf and took a screwdriver from her bag and pried it open, the she poured it all on the floor and placed the can down before walking away & loitering around the display until someone else came in sight, when another customer came close she walked back around the display where she “slipped” on the paint and rolled a little in it…

Most of this if from the story from my supervisor & friend as I wasn’t present.

So my supervisor got my manager & the police officer to come upstairs with the woman under the guise of making her more comfortable in the employee room until the ambulance arrived, then once they made her comfortable he pulled the police officer to one side and said we wanted to discuss the reifications the store was facing, the manager came over too and called my friend upstairs to sit with the woman as they went and spoke with the officer in the managers office.

Pretty much as soon as they were away my supervisor told the police officer to cancel the ambulance as the woman had lied & showed him and the manager the recording, all I really know after that is that they confronted the woman she she tried to throw a toaster that was in the break room & she then left with the police officer.

But seriously… what the hell…

The well-made production is one from which the traces of its rehearsals have been removed (just as from the successfully reified commodity the traces of production itself have been made to disappear): Brecht opens up this surface, and allows us to see back down into the alternative gestures and postures of the actors trying out their roles: so its is that aesthetic experimentation generally - which has so often been understood as generating the new and the hitherto unexperienced, the radical innovation - might just as well be grasped as the ‘experimental’ attempt to ward off reification….
—  Fredric Jameson, Brecht and Method
Heinrich’s discussion of the oft used and oft misunderstood concept of fetishism is also superb. Heinrich stresses that fetishism is not a form of false consciousness, alienation or a theory about rampant consumption. Instead he points out that Marx’s theory of fetishism is a multi-faceted theory of ‘objective’ social domination in which commodities possess ‘spectral’ and ‘value-objectivity’ constituted by the reification of social relations in which things become personified and function as the bearers of value. Heinrich also points out that this process of fetishism also cultivates the naturalization and hypostatization of capitalist social relations. As Heinrich stresses these multi-faceted elements of the theory of fetishism do not simply consist in commodity fetishism but also apply to money and capital and reach their completion in the Trinity Formula.
—  Chris O'Kane reviews Michael Heinrich’s An Introduction to the Three Volumes of Karl Marx’s Capital.

i cant wait to get over this Hegel phase so i can finally change my icon. materialistreptile was the marxist kevvy. transmarxijuana is the marxist kevvy who hails the revolutionary power of historicity and class-consciousness. next will be… Benjamin and Adorno. which is just as boring, but at least they could be critical of Hegel. and then on to anti-oedipus and other fun psychoanalytic leftist stuff.

but i was also gonna get into

-hegelian dialectics

-adorno’s “negative dialectics”

-heidegger’s dasein

What often ends up happening when someone benevolently uses their white privilege is the reification of existing power relationships; this doesn’t fundamentally alter a system built simultaneously on white supremacy and the denial of Black humanity. One must be willing to rend the fabric of whiteness in order to fracture a world that demands that the non white person of color and the Black surrender their humanity as a necessity for whiteness’ survival. What that implies is for white people to surrender what they understand as given and natural about their ontological position in the world.