Posts Tagged ‘The Revolutionary Pleasure of Thinking for Yourself’

(For the last few months we’ve been running the best posts from years past, posts that will be new to most of our subscribers. This one is from early 2014. We’ll be posting more blasts from the past for the next several months, and will intersperse them with new material.)

Any system of ideas with an abstraction at its center—an abstraction which assigns you a role or duties—is an ideology. An ideology provides those who accept it with a false consciousness, a necessary component of which is other-directedness. This leads those who accept the ideology to behave as “objects” rather than “subjects,” to allow themselves to be used rather than to act to attain their own desires. The various ideologies are all structured around different abstractions, yet all serve the interests of a dominant (or aspiring dominant) class by giving individuals a sense of purpose in sacrifice, suffering, and submission.
The Revolutionary Pleasure of Thinking for Yourself, by Anonymous

Contrary to what the anonymous authors of The Revolutionary Pleasure of Thinking for Yourself  state, there are other types of ideologies. Some make no demands on you (other than for money), but instead promise you the world for doing nothing, simply because you’re so special. The clearest examples of this type of ideology are New Ageism and Prosperity Gospel theology.

New Age and Prosperity Gospel peddlers promote an inverted, solipsistic ideology in which individuals are posited as being “totally responsible” for their own circumstances, because of their thoughts—in other words, if they simply want something badly enough (usually money), it will come to them. To put this another way—one which New Age and Prosperity Gospel hustlers themselves use—people who are rich and healthy choose to be rich and healthy.

The problems with this assertion are so obvious that even pundits and preachers occasionally notice them: most blatantly, that if the rich choose to be rich, the poor must also choose to be poor, children with brain cancer choose to have brain cancer, and six million Jews chose to be murdered by the Nazis.

This type of childish magical thinking serves the interests of those at the top of socio-economic heap in several ways: it divorces the individual from social context; it allows the rich and powerful to feel smug about being rich and powerful; it induces self-loathing in the poor and oppressed; and it actively discourages the poor and oppressed from taking action to improve their own lives.

While the inverted wish-fulfillment ideologies appear to differ radically from conventional, duty-specifying ideologies, they serve the same ends. They help only those at the top of the socio-economic dungheap and those clawing their way up it over the backs of everyone else — New Age and Prosperity Gospel hucksters and other parasites — not the terminally gullible who they’re swindling, nor anyone else.

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Note:  Most of the above originally appeared in slightly different form as an addition I made anonymously to the See Sharp Press edition of The Revolutionary Pleasure of Thinking for Yourself.