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< Cover | TheCaseofLudwigFeuerbach | notes p 37 >

by Lyn Marcus


According to the admirable thesis of Shelley's “In Defence of Poetry,” a great social revolution ought to be presaged and accompanied by a general increase in popular intelligence and a proliferation of extraordinary productions in art and science. Yet, for the case of the Bolshevik Revolution of 1917, we have quite the contrary picture.

The Great French Revolution was preceded and followed by the greatest intellectual ferment in history — a powerful upsweep of the mind especially from the beginnings of the sixteenth century through approximately the middle of the nineteenth. The Bolshevik Revolution was preceded by approximately a quarter century of erosion of European intellectual life, and was followed by the past half century of deepening moral imbecility in art, and apart from applied science, stagnation (on balance) of truly fundamental advances in basic scientific knowledge.[1] Considering Shelley's cited thesis, one may be prompted to consider the proposition that the absence of a contextual intellectual renaissance may be a major consideration in the failure of revolutionary socialist movements in Western Europe and North America during the recent fifty years.

On careful reflection, we cannot doubt that this is the case. The failure of the socialist movement to initiate just such a renaissance both embodies and otherwise reflects all the essential reasons for its failures. It is an old philistine asses' saw that “socialism couldn't work unless human nature” were changed. Out of the braying of fools! The statement is perversely true: without an intellectual revolution which initiates an effective general change in apparent “human nature” under capitalism, it is improbable that a socialist transformation could occur in the advanced capitalist sector during the period ahead.

This is no “mere opinion,” no arbitrary assertion. The following summary argument locates the connection between socialism and the prerequisite, particular kind of intellectual renaissance required at this time.

As we outlined the case in “Beyond Psychoanalysis,”[2] and elsewhere, socialist transformation is based on the self-organization of a majority of the political working class in agreement with a specific notion of world-wide economy, “expanded socialist reproduction.” As we indicated the nature of the case in our “In Defense of Rosa Luxemburg”[3] none of the formerly hegemonic socialist organized tendencies — e.g., social-democratic, “Stalinist,” “Trotskyist,” “Maoist” had or even sought a conceptual grasp of actual “expanded reproduction.” The mere toleration of the “economic” writings of such incompetents as Rudolf Hilferding, Otto Bauer, Nikolai Bukharin, Ernest Mandel, Paul Sweezy, et al. as even moot within the bounds of actual Marxian economic theory, is itself indicative of the intellectual bankruptcy of the socialist organizations and of academic circles which treat such constipated literature as serious theorizing.

Since “expanded socialist reproduction” is the fundamental, absolutely distinguishing premise of socialist society, the self-styled socialist tendencies which shared Left-domination of the workers' movement prior to 1968 do indeed represent leaders without a conception of a goal, lacking even the ability to select the direction in what the undefined goal might be encountered.

It is not sufficient merely to prescribe that the socialist movement must now master the notion of “expanded reproduction.” The concept to be communicated cannot be understood in terms agreeable to heretofore ordinary forms of mental behavior. To demand clarity on “expanded reproduction” from the old varieties of “socialist” organization is like buying a mule for stud-service. Here we intersect the issue of an urgent general renaissance.

The Problem of Knowledge Versus Learning

There are two ways in which a student may ordinarily secure the reputation of knowing a subject. He may, on the one hand, merely “learn about” the matter in question, memorizing jargon and prescribed glosses and exegeses, rehearsing himself generally in the production of plausible paraphrases of lecture materials and assigned texts. In mathematics, too often he learns procedures through repetitive drill. Such learning and drill represents no actual knowledge of the ostensible subject-matter itself; it is no more than a plausible, credulous simulation of the bare, dead form of living knowledge. On such premises, it is unfortunately necessary to point out, most Ph.D.'s in general and professors in particular are merely learned and hence obsessively ignorant of the indicated real subjects of their learning.

At best, learning represents something analogous to drawing a boundary around a subject, a differentiation which states in effect: “Within this circumference lies the subject I am naming, as distinct from another subject which is located within this other closed line boundary.” Learning does not go into the enclosed “area,” does not directly seize the subject itself. “Bad infinite” enumeration and circumscriptions, however flawlessly consistent each step of such differentiation, however “infinite” its progression toward “complete distinction” of differentia (predicates), never approaches the immediate perception (“True infinity”) of the subject in this method.

“Seizing the subject-matter” conceptually demands creating or locating within one's mental process a practical “image” of the external subject. For a simple example: knowledge of an automobile is not a canonical description of the auto and its parts. It must be the kind of Gestalt which appropriately guides one to operate, otherwise use, repair the vehicle, etc. Even that sort of qualification is insufficient to identify the higher kind of difficulty presented by the prospect of actually knowing the concept “expanded reproduction.” Explicitly dialectical concepts require reference to a special aspect of mental life, an aspect which is twofoldly blocked from willful access to direct consciousness in almost all members of capitalist society.

The problem of conceptualizing “expanded reproduction” (or any other dialectical notion) is not a formal difficulty within the realm of learning, but is essentially a neurosis-based blockage, a product of the grandmother of neuroses, bourgeois ideology.

In that connection we now underline a point which we have repeatedly presented in our preceding writings of this series.[4]

Learning and even ordinary knowledge is limited either to object-images or to notions susceptible of being made conscious in the form of object-images. The persuasion that no other form of knowledge is possible is so pervasive that nearly everyone accepts as “axiomatic” the obsessive assertion of mechanistic thinkers to the effect that the physical universe must be primitively based on elementary “discrete particles” (or, the agnostic versions of the same mechanistic world-outlook, that the phenomena of the physical universe are entirely limited to sense-date of self-evident discreteness). Although there have been recurring efforts to conceptualize a “non-particularate” form of temporal-spatial continuity, in all but the rarest instances of this the accomplished definitions of such “lines,” “sheets,” etc. are ultimately intuitions which have been degraded to poorly disguised “bad infinity” constructs within a “logical system” which is itself premised on the axioms of discrete relationships (e.g., illustrated crudely by the widespread paralogical assumption that a straight line is defined by two points). Ordinarily, the constipated logician is therefore about to woo the credulous to his conceit that an infinite continuum cannot be “logically” primitive: there are no true, existent universals.

Our Spinozan treatment of Descartes' “Perfection” theorem[5] has introduced the general type of conception of a primitive infinite continuity, within which class of mental phenomena the notion of “expanded reproduction” is to be located. The notion of a special kind of “transfinite invariance” for a nested array of historically-ordered Riemannian spaces is the more appropriate paradigm to be considered.[6] In such a derivation from Riemannian conceptions, the physical universe is no longer regarded as defined for finite (“conservation of a fixed quantum of”) energy per se. Instead, the ordinary sort of ‘'entropic” energy phenomena are treated as necessary special cases (predicated cases) of a certain quality (true infinite within the finite) of “negentropy.” The simplest paradigm for the order of conception required by such a definition of transfinite invariance is developed in our treatments of Value for Marxian economic theory[7], in which negentropy is expressed by a tendency for exponential increases in that ratio, S'/(C+V).

The notion for any of such a class of conceptions cannot be located as an “object-image;” there is no way in which this sort of notion can be known on the basis of a logic agreeable to axioms of primitive discreteness. There is only one feature of mental life which corresponds to such universalizing notions. That referent is the true infinity expressed by the fundamental emotion. This emotion is that which is imperfectly encountered in reports of the “oceanic” surge of either the “religious” or “love-death” feeling.[8] To conceptualize the Cartesian “Perfection” theorem, the form of negentropy to which we referred, or “expanded reproduction” in particular, it is essential that the person supersede his experience of the “oceanic” fundamental emotion to such pathological and absolutely terrifying forms as the “religious” or “love-death” expressions. It is essential that this emotion be willfully and familiarly experienced as the primary “tool” of a self-conscious sense of identity, a kind of identity opposite to that associated with the infantile relic of bourgeois culture with the infantile “greedy,” banal Ego.[9]

In sum, the possibility of actual knowledge of “expanded socialist reproduction,” and hence the possibility of an actual, willful straggle for socialism, demands a specific and fundamental transformation in the mental life of a vanguard of the working class. The implications of this are subsumed by a fundamental change in the affected persons' world-outlook respecting every aspect of life.

By contract, the socialist tendencies which formerly shared total collective hegemony over the movement were not only obsessively ignorant of such an ABC of socialism, but predicated socialist struggle as they saw it on an appeal to what they interpreted as the “special greed” of the workers, as those workers remain wholly subject to the prevailing bourgeois ideology expressed by ordinary “militant rank-and-file” trade-unionism. Consequently, these socialist tendencies capitulated to the very pluralist disorganization of the working class which prevents that class from either acting as a unified class or even recognizing a general class interest. By situating socialism within the domain of that infantile relic, the bourgeois Ego, i.e., postulating pseudo-socialism in practice, those tendencies degraded the goal of a unified, world-wide working-class society to an ineffable, hence chiliastic dream, a mere blurred, sentimental vision of “socialism” irrelevant as its efficient result to those same parties' daily practice. Pandering to “nationalism,” to the chauvinism of either trade-unionists generally, or the more vicious craft-life parochialism of mere sections of organized labor, these tendencies have made a hideous travesty of the very name of “working-class struggle,” and, coherent with this, eschewed real, creative mental life on the Proletcultist premise of thereby adapting to and propitiating the existing, infantile prejudices of the bourgeoisified workers.

The Psychoanalytic Remedy

From the two preceding articles in this present series on the “new psychoanalysis,” it should be clear enough that we have already demonstrated our case to the degree that our thesis could not be competently regarded as merely moot or speculative. As we emphasized within “The Sexual Impotence of the Puerto Rican Socialist Party,” clinical experience within the Labor Committees has repeatedly located clear emotional (and often enough even psychosomatic) blocking phenomena at the precise point individuals attempt to make the conceptual leap into the “middle of the circle” containing such notions as Cartesian “Perfection” or “negentropy” as we define it.[10] That same work has established that identity of the blocked emotion with an impending surge of “oceanic” feeling. Moreover, the etiology of the blockage respecting “Perfection” (for example) confirms both the identity of the fundamental emotion as the blocked quality, and the fact that the blockage to conceptualizing such notions is entirely neurotic in origin and form. The blocking of such concepts is always fundamentally the outcome of the characteristic neuroses of bourgeois ideology.

Hence, what we are chiefly reflecting in the present series of papers is a fundamental discovery which implies the launching of a world-wide socialist intellectual renaissance.

As we have reported earlier, the immediate short-term objective of this program within the Labor Committees is principally twofold. Firstly, to launch a program of interdependent task-orientation and psychoanalysis through which a plurality of the Labor Committee members proceed toward developing willful powers of creative mentation — what the layman would be obliged to term the deliberate development of “geniuses.” Secondly, to immediately use the progress in the Labor Committee program as a lever for quickly developing black and Hispanic ghetto teenagers often high-school “drop-outs” — into their potential as a working-class intelligentsia. Although the benefits realized so far are merely preliminary, what has been accomplished already suffices to demonstrate what we have now begun the rapid spread of exactly that intellectual renaissance essential to socialist transformation during the period immediately ahead. This series of reports has thus begun to account for the origin of those secondary features of the Labor Committees which have already inspired terror among certain North American and European Communist Party leaderships, and have evoked awed reaction from such other circles as the AFL-CIO bureaucracy, the Urban Coalition, and the New York Times.

A new force is now unloosed in the world, a force imminently more terrifying to the philistines than any opponent on which they have speculated before this time.

Immediate Pedagogical Tasks

There will be prolonged resistance to such a “renaissance” thesis. Even so, within months it will begin to be broadly conceded that, at least, the Labor Committees have originated a fundamental discovery. It will be a grudging admission in most instances; the observer will say impotently, in effect: “I want to make clear that I don't like the Labor Committees' actions, but ... “ This sort of reaction will develop within such academic fields as history, sociology, anthropology, to which we have made and are continuing to effect important contributions, frequently bearing on the most important issues of those specializations. It will also occur among even our bitterest opponents in political science, the CIA and KGB specialists and their employers, who are already studying our writings and activities as epidemiologists must regard a “diabolically clever” new sort of virus for which they have not yet produced an efficient specific immunizing agent.

In particular, fascination with our work will develop and spread within a stratum of more advanced psychoanalysts. Respecting specific areas of our more original insights into the etiology and treatment of certain stubborn problems of psychopathology, there have been admittedly some partial explorations in the same direction by a minority of professionals outside our work — notably among the factions directly or indirectly associated with the viewpoint of the late Harry Sullivan. However, even those more advanced psychoanalysts have been limited both theoretically and practically by their want of a fundamental grounding of psychoanalysis to replace the crippling old Freudian meta-psychology and its parodies. Our qualitative contribution to psychoanalysis as such is essentially located in our establishment of a fundamental theory of mind, through which necessary reification and coherence can be secured for a variety of otherwise ambiguous and abortive advances in methods and etiological tools of clinical work.

Examples bearing on the point are provided by our treatment of the “Id” problem, our deletion of the “Electra” complex from the clinical lexicon (both men and women have an “Oedipus” syndrome), our elimination of the “Eros/Thanatos” dualism (in connection with the analysis of the way in which the fundamental emotion confronts the infantile Ego as either a “Love-Death” feeling or a “Love-Insanity-Death” feeling), more generally our placing of the “father” question in proper secondary position with respect to the fundamental “mother-image” problems of Ego-psychodynamics, and our consequent contributions to a method for more rapid and profound progress in clinical work toward that “depth analysis” which is the essential precondition of all substantial progress in therapeutic efforts.

Corollary to this, our demonstration of the roots of this “new psychoanalysis” in the work of Descartes, Spinoza, Kant, Hegel, Feuerbach, and Marx, our treatments — like that in the present paper — which make such philosophical writings familiar ground for the study of the professional psychoanalysts, generally enlarges the scope of the professions in several respects. As we have thus made psychoanalysis a branch of scientific anthropology, we have not only located it more efficiently within scientific knowledge in general, but have equipped psychoanalysis to become a self-conscious reflection of its own proper anthropological roots, to quality it as a general epistemological tool of all scientific work rather than a limited therapeutic practice.

The positive relationship to mathematical physics is so far less direct. The mere premise of necessary hylozoic coherence[12] throughout the universe is already sufficient to establish our analysis of the concept of “expanded reproduction” (i.e., universal labor = creative mentation = negentropy in our usage of that term) as equivalent in form and ultimate origins to a fundamental law of the universe as a whole.[13] Otherwise, the Labor Committees are contributing two interconnected approaches to the end of indirectly facilitating the realization of these conceptual advances within mathematical physics. Formally, we have located in the body of mathematical developments per se — in the viewpoint and work of Riemann, Cantor, Klein, Einstein, et al. — those starting-points for approaches which bear on actualization of the Cartesian notion of self-perfection as the fundamental (primitive) feature of a primitive continuum.[14] Empirically, as exemplified by our applied programmatic efforts respecting the food and energy crises, we are exploiting the analysis of the fallacy of the Physiocratic outlook to demonstrate the actual existence of continuous process (per se) as the primitive feature of human “economic” existence.[15] Such development and application serves as a case-history approach in applied epistemology, directed to the conceptual problems of those empirical studies in which the self-evidence of primitive discreteness not only is destroyed by the fundamental features of the process investigated, but in which the existence of discreteness as predicates is a necessary feature of a primitive continuity of negentropy as the subject of the investigation.[16] Otherwise, returning to the general issue, the hylozoic principle leads to certain results for mathematical physics in general through the initial crisis created for empiricism by the effort to locate a physiological basis in mental processes for the phenomenon of negentropy in human creative mentation itself.[17] This latter point, immediately situated in biology, leaves the mathematical physicist no choice but to become a practicing dialectician in mathematical physics, otherwise to join the Jesuits respecting the more sophisticated modern (entropic) arguments for the ontological proofs of the existence of a deus ex machina.

The most important immediate results — and the most obsessive, hysterical opposition — are located within applied political science. Any of the psychoanalysts who adduce the validity of our criticisms of the infantile Ego-state from their own clinical knowledge will immediately agree with us respecting our above-cited criticisms of the previously-existing socialist organizations: rather than concentrating on “changing human nature” (addressing and educating the workers' self-conscious selves), these groups and tendencies have pandered to the infantile, heteronomic impulses of the workers' bourgeois Ego, to those forms of “militancy” which are entirely within the bounds of bourgeois ideology.

The Case of the “Old Left”

It should be underlined that the pose of “objectivity” of previously-dominant socialist tendencies incorporates the most vicious subjectivity; the subjectivity of the militant bourgeoisified worker is taken as axiomatic. Hence, since all such bourgeois ideological rubbish in the militant workers' heads is accepted, the subjective question is settled for them; hence, politics is degraded to merely the “objective” questions so-called. Consequently, any discussion of the suppressed subjective issues is feared as a threat which they must hysterically oppose.

This psycho-pathetic element is embodied as the fundamental principal of no less revolutionary a variety of those tendencies than the advocates of the “Leninist theory of organization.”

This theory of organization has in fact very little to do with the actual V.I. Lenin's notable propensity for splitting from reformist and centrist organizations, almost at the mere appearance of a principled difference of practice. The recipe generally followed could be more precisely identified as the “Trotskyist theory of organization.” It was Trotsky who abandoned Lenin (with whom he agreed theoretically) in 1903 in order to be with the Menshevik majority of the RSDLP.[18] It was Trotsky who remained in the Menshevik “swamp” for most of the period from 1903 to 1917, Trotsky whom Lenin rightly denounced as a “slimy creature” for blocking organizationally with those with whom he had no principled theoretical conceptions in common! It was Trotsky who, in 1923, betrayed his agreement with Lenin's firm instruction to make no compromise in booting Stalin out of the Soviet leadership.[19] It was the same Ego-trait in Trotsky which caused him to publicly lie in repudiating his own “Real Situation in Russia;” thus he obliterated the last real possibility of building a viable communist international for that entire ensuing period; his Ego defeated his self-consciousness, on the premise of “working within” the Menshevik centrist swamp of the Stalinized CPSU — as he had adapted to the Menshevik swamp of the 1903-1917 period.[20] The “Leninist theory of organization” is not actually a product of splitter-Lenin's example, but of such examples as Trotsky's schlimihl episodes; it is the cult of impotence exemplified by Trotsky's “tactical” capitulations to the Menshevik, Zinoviev-Stalin, and Cannonite (e.g., Zinovievite) centrist majorities of the organizations in which he was situated at those respective points of his life.[21]

The relevant exemplification of this “Leninist principle” is seen in those old working-class “Trotskyists” who refused to break with the SWP leadership, this on the pretext that the leadership had not made formal literary denunciation of the “old party doctrine,” although nothing but such a break was occurring in the constant everyday practice of those same leaders. There are even a handful of such impotent wretches remaining within the SWP today. They cling to it on the pretext that the organization still (“fundamentally”) is salvageable by virtue of its continued circulation of the writings of L. Trotsky, despite the fact that the entire leadership and the overwhelming majority of members are now streetwalkers for the CIA's domestic counterinsurgency operations (e.g., the New York City Lower East Side Fuentes CIA-type operations).[22]

More generally, among those who do not profess to be “Trotskyists,” such as CPUSA members, the same miserable impotence is expressed by the umbrella policy of attempting to build a “militant” left faction within the terms of the prevailing bourgeoisified outlooks of trade unionists, “black nationalists,” etc. — i.e., the general principle of political prostitution by which such socialist groups become a pimple on the left buttock of whatever “relevant” organized force they choose to attach themselves.

Still, illustrating this point from the case of the old SWP, any voice which attacked the leadership in terms of its day-to-day conduct was denounced even by most professed “oppositionists” as being “personal,” “subjective,” as abandoning the course of “objective politics.” “Objective politics” for them consisted in debating the literary productions in which the leadership either ignored or falsely characterized the content and purpose of its significant activities. The high point of “oppositionist” “objective politics” was the winning of an amendment to a codicil in a convention resolution, or the securing of nomination of a token representative on the National Committee — or, even to a local branch executive committee. There was, of course, much shouting about “theory and practice,” while always precluding any effort to attribute a political world-outlook from the clinical evidence of actual day-to-day practice. As long as the old party leadership did not make open literary attack on what the members considered “party traditions,” the “oppositionists” were content to limit their criticisms to momentary (impotent) self-purgative outbursts, and otherwise an irrelevant few weeks' bi-annual ceremonies.

Such jackass-politicking in the old SWP is broadly exemplary of the internal life of all the old organized socialist groups of the capitalist world, ranging from the mass Communist Party of Italy, or the CPChile, down to the most miserable telephone-booth cults of the Atlanta (Georgia, U.S.A.) or Paris streets. This impotence is of course more extreme among the self-styled “independent socialists,” whose uppermost goal for political life is to gather around a handful of slightly-left academic and kindred celebrities at some swamp-like large confabulation, during which little of substance is said and absolutely nothing settled.

That miserable lot of “Stalinists,” “Trotskyists,” “Maoists,” and “independents” will of course be the last to concede that the Labor Committees have made any contribution, and will be howling their decorticated obscenities to such effect even after significant numbers of academic and other professionals are made their cautious acknowledgments of our “special assistances” to their respective fields.

Our Pedagogical Tasks

The exact nature of our contributions is not exaggerated. As we emphasized in “Beyond Psychoanalysis,” with respect to Hegel's Phenomenology, what we have accomplished is essentially to supply that last, decisive ingredient through which the long-outstanding achievements of a variety of predecessors are finally brought to a state for widespread fruitful application. We have taken the real Descartes, the real Spinoza, the real Kant, the real Hegel, the real Feuerbach, the real Marx off the dusty shelves of a century's suspended animation and brought them to life; we have realized the life that was already if incompletely situated in their work. The impression of broad and profound originality in our present work is principally the consequence of our suddenly reviving so much from the greatest minds of the past centuries, rather than even considerably the effect of our own new discoveries in themselves. We must also consider the related consequences of the prevailing scholarship so-called respecting the same figures from which we have drawn. The case of the two cited theorems of Descartes exemplifies the point. Although the internal evidence of Descartes' writings is sufficient to totally discredit any assessment but that we have made, the fact is that the bulk of extant scholarship does give institutionalized authority to a fictitious Descartes. Similarly, Spinoza, Kant, Hegel, Feuerbach, and Marx. The sense that what we have contributed is “totally new” arises not only from a prevailing ignorance of the actual content of the enormous literary work on which we have drawn, but, worse, from the proliferation of “authoritative” but essentially incompetent representations of those same original sources.

The case of Karl Marx's four-volume Capital is exemplary. The bulk of the present writer's literary productions and lectures on economic theory and economic analysis is essentially a replication of the Marxian point of view as summed up in Volumes III and sections of Volume IV of Capital. To this we have added only two things.

Fundamentally, we have resolved the problem of elaborating the historical-materialist notion of expanded reproduction, especially as that was re-identified and summed up by Marx in the famous “Freedom-Necessity” passage from the “Trinitarian Formula” Chapter of Volume III.[23] On this point, we have made a fundamental contribution to Marxian economics by resolving only one specific problem which Marx himself failed to master. By applying that contribution of Volume III, Section VII retrospectively to the preceding sections of Capital, we have given the entirety of Marxian economic theory an applicability as scientific economics to an extent not previously feasible.

Secondly, we have employed our unique competence to fill our certain critical sections of Capital which Marx's death left in sketch form. This accomplishment of ours is most notable in those chapters from Section IV of Capital, Volume III to which Marx assigned the treatment of fictitious capital, where he did not supply much more than identification of several of the major citations he selected for incorporation in those chapters.[24] The indicated analysis of the phenomena in question is missing in Marx's text, an omission which has devastating consequences for the effort to reconcile the rest of Marxian economics with the actualities of the monetary side of the capitalist realization process.

At the same time, excepting such readily-isolable critical additions to the whole, the overwhelming bulk of our representation of Marxian economic theory, although in total opposition to generally accepted versions is entirely the contribution of Marx himself, without the slightest premise for competent dispute.[25]

Our general contribution to Marxian economic theory is entirely cognate with all other points on which we have made any important contributions. Respecting Marx's conceptions of dialectical method and all other subsumed issues, we have located our correction of Marx in connection with the flaw in his outlook which is reflected in the second of his “Theses On Feuerbach.” He properly avoided the fundamental immediate blunder of Feuerbach, the key to all his original accomplishments, but he also evaded the still-deeped issue.[26] Marx's specific flaw of omission, which becomes a pervasive blunder for Engels, is his failure to consider positively and explicitly the fundamental ontological issue of dialectical method. If the fundamental principle of Hegel's dialectic is the self-subsisting positive principle, “self-perfection,” “negentropy,” as we have defined this[27], and if this principle is the essence of human revolutionary practice, then the fundamental law of the material universe itself must be of the same form (and, ultimately, also essence) as Hegel's self subsisting Logos principle. Once we made the necessary correction, interpolating the necessary additional specification to the second of the “Theses,” we implicitly eliminated that error from all Marx's work — as we have largely done in fact. We emphasize: this correction of the “Theses On Feuerbach” is essentially identical with our enlarged development of the thesis of Section VII, Volume III of Capital, and with every other principled correction we have introduced to Marx's work as a whole.

In respect to the growing number of students of our work, among academic specialists as well as developing cadres in Western Europe and North America, it becomes our responsibility to recognize and treat the pedagogical problems arising from our initiative in reviving so the Marxian revolution in human knowledge. Although, as we have previously noted, the realization of these contributions is more exactly the outcome of the progress and collaborations within the Labor Committee tendency than the independent work of this writer himself[28], the largest part of the burden of authorship and pedagogical responsibility for this development remains momentarily with him.

Presently, the pedagogical problem confronting the scholar and instructor is still in the general form of distinguishing: “Here is the systematic point in the work of [Hegel, Feuerbach, Marx, et al.] at which Marcus introduces his original contribution.” The effective assimilation of knowledge demands for this, as for all parallel advances, that those principally responsible for such upheavals deliver a special quality of representation of the history of development of the conceptions involved.

Response to this challenge imposes two interrelated tasks.

Firstly, although this is not the function of the present paper, it is time that there appear something resembling autobiographical account of the way in which the fundamental contribution was developed. There were definite influences, circumstances, problems, and significant assistance from collaborators from several fields — the latter notably during the recent five years. Important discoveries have a history; their original form does not erupt suddenly “from nowhere;” and usually years of testing and elaborating are required — as was the case with us — to put the new bare initial conceptions into a verified and applicable form of practice for public notice. Approximately two decades were consumed in that way in bringing that writer's initial germinal insights into matured, elaborated form. Aspects of that history have considerable bearing on a precise understanding of the conceptions themselves, and even greater utility, for purposes of demystification, respecting pedagogy.

The second type of chore is reflected in the present paper.

In the first of the complementary chores, the writer takes his predecessors' work into account as something which has affected the evolution of his conceptions. In that chore, his own contribution is the subject of the presentation, which the relevant features of others' work intersect as predicates.

In the second case, this relationship of subject .and predicates is exactly reversed. The work of a predecessor becomes the subject, within which our own critical intervention is located as the leading predicate of the account. In one manner of viewing the latter it appears that we have thus distinguished those parts of the criticized work of a predecessor which we still regard as authoritative from that part which is to be superseded by our contribution.

That states a preliminary descriptive overview of what must be accomplished. A more important, principled problem of scientific pedagogy must now be considered.

The pedagogical prerequisite satisfied by such critical efforts is that of establishing conceptual coherence in the study and practice of an altered branch of scientific inquiry. The problem to be solved is illustrated by our foregoing discussion of Marxian economic theory. The student who does not know where and how Marcus has put together certain loose ends in Capital must be perplexed in the attempt to account for certain of our key conceptions from the standpoint of the textual authority of Capital itself.

A proper sort of textbook (and classroom pedagogy) ought to compel the student to replicate in himself some of that agony of cognition which preceded and accompanied each principal discovery in the field. The object of education ought to be that nothing must be merely “learned” by the student, but should become known to him through his experiencing that surge of elation (the light of a new idea being turned on his mind) which occurs when problem-solving tension is superseded by the realization of the new idea (Gestalt sense of the solution-concept) which the student has experienced “for himself.” When knowledge is enlarged in step-by-step conceptual breakthroughs of this sort (in place of mere learning), the student has more or less replicated within the evolution of his own increased cognitive powers the relevant conceptual development which occurred in that field.

We are not therefore recommending that education ought to be based on a “great book” program. Comment on the case of two great theorems is exemplary for the point at issue.[29]

Descartes' conceptions of Cogito ergo sum and “Perfection” are so central to the history of evolution of all modern scientific knowledge that it would be impossible to make sense of modern knowledge without some concentrated attention to those theorems and to the circumstances of their original elaboration. Yet, although reference to Descartes' writings is an essential complement to a presentation of the theorems, his writings do not offer the appropriate pedagogy for imparting those conceptions to our students. The work of such later thinkers as Hegel, Feuerbach, Marx, Riemann, Cantor, Klein et al. provides a more exact conceptual solution where Descartes leaves the result in imprecise form. What is wanted is a retrospective view of Descartes' effective discovery from the standpoint of what modern knowledge knows to be lasting and historically essential in that work. It is within that pedagogical context, and only that context, that access to Descartes' writings becomes both essential and pedagogically appropriate. Otherwise, we plunge the student back into the world-outlook of a student from the early seventeenth century, thence to claw his way upward, decade by decade to his actual present starting-point. We require a replication of the achievements of the past in the terms of reference corresponding to that advanced viewpoint which the student ought to bring to the beginning of each step of his efforts.

In general, the point is to accomplish what we have already specified: an historical presentation of the development of knowledge within the conceptual standpoint of the most advanced knowledge. Within that setting, the student must develop all the essential conceptual apparatus for himself, and so arrive at the internal conceptual authority and developed conceptual powers for knowing the field. He must become able to replicate, through his own developed conceptual powers, anything from past accomplishments. He must become the living embodiment of what mankind has achieved in that respect up to his time. In contradistinction to mere learning of procedures, the student will develop conceptual habits for creative work in that field, a qualification which naive opinion might identify as an acquired “instinct” for such creative activity. Instead of making the blunder of learning formal procedures for “composing like Beethoven”[30], the student's electrifying encounters one after the other with the concept-creating experiences of his principal predecessors “teaches” him the special creative habit of conceptual “intuition” appropriate to that field.

In contrast to such rigor, the preponderance of text is designed to impart mere learning, not knowledge. Formulations are assimilated by students for regurgitation. These are swallowed on the authority of mere plausible edification for the credulous, or, more generally, the student's sycophantish awe of the institutions which have the power to certify his success or failure to his future employers.

Respecting the second sort of pedagogical chore, it should not be suspected that this writer is about to launch a series of monographs merely to settle accounts with his predecessors one by one. Given the perilous state of humanity and the corresponding special duties of the writer and his organization, there is neither the time nor disposable energy available for purely academic forms of activity.[31] Just so, we criticize Ludwig Feuerbach here, not to settle accounts with him in an academic fashion, not to establish our academic authority at his expense, but as our criticism of his work is a remarkably effective choice of prerequisite to the next step of progress in the politically-urgent “new psychoanalysis” series. In this way, we shall incidentally meet academic responsibilities of the account of the history of ideas, but we shall accomplish that as a by-product of our principal task, as a subsumed feature of undertakings which have a more obviously and urgently practical political purpose.


The principal object of our present paper is a further development of our argument to the effect that the principal types of formal epistemological errors proliferating in every field of knowledge today are entirely neurotogenic in both form and content. Our concern is not especially for the academic expression as such of this psychopathology. The ontological psycho-patheticism, otherwise known as “reductionism” or the belief in primitive discreteness, is the central feature of every expression of reactionary moods within the working class itself, the central feature of all obsessive psychopathologies characteristic of bourgeois ideology among members of the working class today.

Feuerbach's principal work, The Essence of Christianity[32], is the most efficient selection of a clinical case through which to demonstrate such connections. The book includes the most concentrated and irrefutable evidence of the exact form of Feuerbach's crippling neurotic problems, and the basis for connecting these problems directly to the crippling flaw for which Marx identified in “Theses On Feuerbach.”[33]

Yet, equally important for the selection of this case study, that book is also one of the most important scientific works in all modern history, combining certain of the most advanced conceptions and original discoveries existing up to the time of its writing with devastating flaws which are entirely neurotogenic.[34] Since Feuerbach both embodies a significant part of the advances of Hegel and other principal predecessors in portions of that book, and yet regresses to a relatively banality (by contrast with Hegel) on other matters, his errors are set into the most useful systematic juxtaposition to the main body of the man's conceptual advances up to that point. It is this powerful contradiction in his book which renders a criticism of it so correspondingly powerful a tool for subsequent attacks on the more general problem as encountered in other contexts.

There is a collateral, although emphatically secondary importance for such published criticism of Feuerbach at this time. As Helmut Boettiger emphasized in his paper delivered in opposition to Alfred Schmidt's presentation at the Bielefeld Feuerbach Referat[35], the Social-Democracy has recently resurrected the name of Feuerbach as an auxiliary level through which to propagate its slave-labor policy's slogan, the “Quality of Life.” This hideous bit of preciosity echoing the old “Work Makes Free” situated above the entry to the Nazi concentration camps, is not accidentally derived from the modern followers of such Nazi philosophers as the existentialist Martin Heidegger. Nor is it therefore accidental that such efforts to make Feuerbach almost a proto-fascist, by Schmidt and others, should be derived from the tradition of epistemological imbecility associated with the middled Karl Loewith, witch-hunting Sidney Hook, and the Frankfurt School itself, by whom Feuerbach is idiotically associated with his bitterest factional opponents, Kierkegaard, Stirner, Heidegger, et al., as another “anti-Hegelian existentialist.” [36]

Of such scholars as Hook, Schmidt and their type, Feuerbach himself wrote aptly:

These days, the necessary qualifications for a genuine, commendable, and “kosher” scholar — at least for a scholar whose science brings him in contact with the delicate questions of the age — are a confused head, inactive heart, unconcern for truth, and a spiritlessness — in short, a lack of character. However, a scholar who possesses an incorruptible sense for truth and a firm character, who with one stroke hits the nail on the head and gets straight to the root of an evil, who irresistibly pushes things to the point of crisis; that is, decision such a person no longer passes for a scholar. God forbid! He is a “Herostratus”! Quick, to the gallows with him ... [37]

When he was confronted with serious, systematic criticism of his pornographic existentialist maunderings, in the September 7 session of the Bielefeld Referat, Schmidt abandoned the premises in the midst of his own assigned section of the proceedings, shouting as he left that he would not be subjected to such “Herostratic” criticism.[38] Hence, also, the build-up of the Referat in the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung[39], the organ of the Christian Democratic Union in the German Federal Republic ... without account of the only incident which awoke the sixty participants and their chairman (from the slumbers which prevailed through most of the proceedings): the crushing refutation of Schmidt during the Sept. 7 session.

Since the Labor Committee tendency has established the degree of influence through which it can introduce panic into such hideous academic activities as Schmidt's abuse of Feuerbach, it is our important if secondary obligation to exploit every otherwise useful treatment of philosophical questions to expose the charlatanry of such quacks as Schmidt, Althusser, Hook, Quine, Ayer, et al., whether respecting the issue of Feuerbach himself or any other important topic which such “kosher” scholars attempt to degrade to the minuscule dimensions and banality of their own petty intellects.

Of more lasting importance than the necessary exposure of contemporary academic frauds, is the rescuing of the positive accomplishments of Feuerbach's major writings from its neurotic flaws. In general, despite the special value of The Principles of the Philosophy of the Future[40], The Essence ... retains the superseding importance which Feuerbach's own Second Preface to that work implies. It is his major production, which contains, at least by implication, all of his important advances beyond Hegel; it represents the kernel of everything later assimilated in Karl Marx's works, is both the founding work of scientific anthropology, and is the actual initiating work of scientific psychoanalysis.

The central feature of Feuerbach's accomplishment is his original insight into the importance of religious belief as the absolutely indispensable subject of special inquiry prerequisite to any further significant advances in the self-conscious conception of scientific knowledge in general. Since Feuerbach's writings, prior to those of the present author, the only notable explicit appreciation of Feuerbach's point in important literature is the appearance of the same essential argument in Emile Durkheim's The Elementary Forms of the Religious Life.[41]

Even so close a collaborator of Karl Marx as Engels veered toward the bankrupt tendency to regard extant physical science as a body of objective (i.e., supra-historical) knowledge, abandoning the principle of historical specificity which prevails in Marx's writings and in even Engels' own treatments of most other branches of knowledge.[42]

We summarize the argument which we have developed more extensively in other locations. The question of the “objectivity” of the judgments of so-called physical science is a question bearing upon the “objectivity” of the mental processes of the scientists, whose world-outlook is subsumed by the same ideology which governs their activities of mate-selection and social habits generally. “Objective” scientific knowledge in any field therefore first demands superseding the historical specificity of membership in a form of society of characteristic (historically-specific) qualities of world-outlook.

This achievement is not entirely impossible!

In general, it is possible to demonstrate the appropriateness of scientifically-governed practice to the expanded reproduction of a society, and so to distinguish certain abstractions from this body of practice as being pragmatically “scientific,” so distinct from superstition. This testing does not suffice to establish the supra-historic “objectivity” of abstract science, but only the quality of appropriateness of a certain body of practice to an historically-specific state of human development. Truly ‘scientific knowledge demands something quite superior to pragmatic authority. If one becomes self-conscious of the prevailing ideology which subsumes the mental behavior of physical scientists, one can thus uniquely abstract the essential features of scientific inquiry from the ideological corruption.

“Consistency,” the obsessive conceit of logicians, affords no solution to such a problem. The essential feature of an ideology is located in the axiomatic premises of its construction; consistency per se is only a measure of the “hereditary fitness” of each predicate of a system to its determining ideology. No scientist could possible know, from arguments based merely on a consistent interpretation of the evidence, that his knowledge was anything more than an ideologically-distorted interpretation of reality. To escape from such a vicious situation there is only one remedy. If we have identified a ruling world-outlook as an ideology, and have, further, distinguished the invariant distortion of reality characteristic of it, such self-consciousness provides the epistemological basis for positively superseding the mystical fallacies of extant ideological knowledge.

The analysis of religious belief is therefore prerequisite to any such achievement under capitalism. It is the Christian doctrine (and its Judaic off-shoot)[43] which overtly, consciously displays those ideological premises otherwise generally hidden (in unconscious processes) respecting their expression within scientific knowledge. It is the thrust of criticism of Christianity from the anthropological standpoint pioneered by Feuerbach, which uniquely makes self-conscious that source of mystical reifications of scientific knowledge otherwise obsessively self-concealed within the axiomatic premises of so-called “objective scientific knowledge.”

Feuerbach's Neurotic Obsession

For connected reasons, the isolation of a vicious flaw in Feuerbach's critique of religious belief is the identification of the systematic error necessarily pervading his epistemology. Similarly, to the extent that that variety of flaw we encounter in Feuerbach also occurs generally in the premises of the various factional world-outlooks in science and everyday life, expressing religious ideology, our analysis of this same error for the case of Feuerbach has decisive application to the corresponding extent.

Our criticism of the book is organized along the following broad analytical lines.

His principal contributions to epistemology, to anthropology, and to psychoanalysis are either summarily stated or sufficiently implicit in the first four chapters of that text. Despite certain aspects of these chapters which already threaten to lead to erroneous conclusions, threats which are indeed later developed as explicit blunders, the thrust of his presentation is broadly correct, and even brilliantly so, both as it summarizes certain relevant accomplishments of Hegel and as it adds to that author's fundamental contributions. Only after we have analyzed-explicit errors in later chapters, and have returned to the opening chapters from that vantage-point, can we competently attribute systematical importance to the occasional jarring notes of mis-formulation and ellipsis speckled among the initial four chapters.

We encounter the first important explicit blunder in the fifth chapter[44], but even here the mistake has not become formally irrevocable. Then, we reach the sixth chapter, in which the psychopathological kernel of his fundamental epistemological error is exposed in what we might justly describe as a lurid shamelessness.

At casual first reading, the error of the sixth chapter might mistakenly be discounted as the author's ignorance of the Christian doctrine of the Trinity. In itself, the form of the blunder would ordinarily reflect such ignorance. Yet, in theological matters his scholarship is too thorough and longstanding to tolerate such an explanation. The reason for the blunder cannot be ordinary ignorance; he could not have committed such a crude factual error unless his mind were under the control of an obsession strong enough to shatter his reason. This is exactly the case.

Before proceeding to the development of the point, we now summarily describe the doctrinal blunder and indicate its deeper psychological and epistemological significance.

For the most compelling psychological reasons, as we shall indicate, Christian doctrine, evolving through numerous prolonged and hard-won struggles, prescribes a liturgical Trinity of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit, or Logos, is the essential form and substance of the deity (its “infinite” form)[45], in respect to which God the Law-Giver[46] and Christ[47] are its two principal (alienated) predicates. The New Testament also specifies the brief existence of another sort of “trinity” for the period from the birth of Jesus until the crucifixion and resurrection: God the Father, Jesus the Messiah, and Mary. Christ's connection to Mary ends with the crucifixion, after which the New Testament firmly insists that she must not touch him; the other, minor “trinity” has therewith ceased to exist.[48]

Feuerbach makes two interconnected errors, the second of these a bald, hysterical act intended to bury the evidence leading directly to exposure of the first. In a work which purports to expose the anthropological-psychological essence of Christian belief, he absolutely ignores the liturgical Trinity, and insists on the alternate of God, Son, and Mary! In the effort to dispense with the embarrassing Holy Spirit, Feuerbach desperately buries the Logos in Christ![49]

There is nothing arbitrary or minor in the liturgical Trinity which Feuerbach ignores. As his own general thesis respecting religious belief properly demands[50], any conception which appears as an essential feature of Christian doctrine thereby establishes a prima facie case for its significance as a reflection of a fundamental feature of the unconscious mind of the members of earthly Christian society.

The absolute exclusion of Mary from the company of the liturgical Trinity properly corresponds to the essential features of alienated mental life. Most notable is the absolute opposition of the “soul,” the self-conscious self, to the other “I” within the person, to the infantile, “dirty” Ego. The fundamental emotion, apotheosized as the Logos or Holy Spirit in Christian doctrine, is the quality which finds agreement with the “soul,” and which simultaneously demands the “denial” of the infantile Ego. It is the infantile Ego of the alienated individual which is directly affiliated to the internalized mother-image. The New Testament is riddled with evidence to this same effect. There, the body of the resurrected Christ is no phantasm, no apparition, but a material body, from which the infantile Ego has been extirpated to give over the “I” entirely to the rule of the self-conscious self. Hence, Mary, a predicate of Christ's discarded infantile Ego, must not touch his body; he is no longer affiliated to her.[51]

The mystery of religion is dispelled once a few facts of mental life of alienated man are understood. We have developed the outline respecting psychology itself in preceding articles, especially in. the course of our “The Sexual Impotence of the Puerto Rican Socialist Party;” so, we may merely, again summarize the matter at this juncture.

The mental processes of alienated man are principally distinguished not only by the interplay of conscious and unconscious processes, but by the fact that this mind includes two entities each normally capable of being the “I” of the person. The first of these, in the usual order of encounter, is the infantile Ego, associated with the infantile emotions of fear, rage, and elation of object-possession. The second of these two, the self that “comes up behind the back of the Ego,” is the self-conscious self, associated with self-conscious reasoning and (by “cathexis”) with various degrees of intensity of the fundamental emotion.[52]

In a sane society, the infantile Ego would disappear in early childhood. Relative to the self-conscious “I,” the Ego is representative of the “bestial” quality of man; yet, in most of the conscious (and sleeping) life of the members of capitalist society, it is the “dirty,” infantile Ego which normally seizes the quality of the “I,” and controls the individual's behavior accordingly. Correspondingly, the human qualities of the individual are stultified; the power of self-conscious reasoning is largely atrophied, and the fundamental emotion surges up only in occasional eruptions as an “oceanic” “love-death” feeling, either as the “irrational moment” of actual loving (distinct from ordinary “sexual feelings”) or as the “religious feeling.” The exceptional love of a Tristan and Isolde and religious experience are exemplary of the pathological form in which alienated man occasionally encounters those stultified human qualities usually repressed within him.

In one, important sense, the religious experience is a relatively human quality of individual existence, relative to the bestiality of the same individual's life and conduct when he or she is ordinarily under control of the infantile Ego. This same pathetic expression of actual humanity, this religious feeling, is therefore perversely expressive of alienated man's most profound human needs and is relatively a necessary check on the more rampant bestialization of alienated society which would prevail without religious beliefs and practices.[53] The religious man is a stultified, unstable, alienated, and hence pathetic surrogate for what man ought to become.

The essential features of Christian doctrine, especially the doctrine of Christ's passion, crucifixion, and resurrection, are reflective of the most profound psychological truth respecting the mental life of alienated man.[54]

As Feuerbach properly emphasizes, the doctrine of Christ is the doctrine of a personal God, God become man so that man might know God in the likeness of man's own image and suffering, a God who is therefore a suitable mediator to the God of Universal Law.[55] Yet, since the idea of God is only the apotheosis of the essential human quality of man[56], the doctrine of reconciliation with God through Christ could only be a doctrine of imitation of Christ in the process of freeing oneself from the infantile Ego, and thus obtaining, a “perfect body” for oneself, a body free of the Ego, and under the exclusive control of the self-conscious “I.”[57] Such a “perfect body” is a material being expressing nothing but the human essence. Since God

is nothing but the apotheosis of that human essence, to become entirely a self-conscious “I,” one's body freed of the infantile Ego, is to achieve the quality of agreement with God's nature within oneself.

Contrary to Feuerbach's hysterical assertion, Jesus becomes sinful by being born of woman. He acquires an infantile Ego, whose characteristic emotions are infantile fear, rage, and elation of object-possession. The Life of Jesus, its agony concentrated in the Passion of Gethsemane, is a struggle to free the soul of God-become-man, the self-conscious “I,” from the tyranny of the infantile Ego and that Ego's desires. The self-conscious “I” conquers the Ego, and rejects the Mother during the crucifixion (crying out: “Father, why hast thou forsaken me?”). Through the death of the Ego, through the crucifixion of his body from the corruption of the Ego, his body becomes the perfect material extension of his self-conscious “I,” he has become one with God.

The Passion, extending from Gethsemane through the crucifixion, is a stylized version of the terror which the infantile Ego experiences during every onset of the “oceanic” feeling of “love-death.” If the feeling is not successfully blocked, the result is the temporary “death” of the Ego, which is submerged (disappears) for the duration of that experience. Religious doctrine, which knows virtually nothing of actual self-consciousness, does not realize the quality of this fundamental emotion as the quality of creative mentation. Religious doctrine knows the fundamental emotion only ignorantly, in two alternative stultified forms of expression. The first expression is the most profound terror the Ego-dominated person can experience, the feeling of a plunge into the pit of death (which some have reified as the specious appearance of an autonomous “Thanatos” quality encountered in depth analysis).[58] The second expression is encountered when the naive, imbecilic self-conscious “I” is positively cathexized to this same emotion, under which circumstances the terror gives way to the most intense “oceanic” elation: this is the so-called religious experience, identical with the emotion of Wagner's Tristan and Isolde love-death (Liebestod) duet.

The essential feature of the actual religious experience is a temporary absolute break with “mother-love.”

In the mind of the alienated individual, there are various identities present in addition to the two entities of Ego and self-conscious self. Normally, except in certain types of autistic and schizophrenic psychosis, the quality of “I” cannot be assumed by these other entities. Usually; the figures are what the painters, Breughel, Bosch, and Goya have represented them to be, hideous chimeras torturing the Ego in the pit of the unconscious processes. Chief among these evil chimeras is the mother-image. She is not a replication of the mind of the existing mother, but a construct reflecting the infantile relationship of the child to the mother and mother-surrogates combined.[59] In every instance the mother-image is willfully brought to consciousness in an individual in clinical experience, the image is hideous and viciously destructive, exploiting the Ego's sense of infantile dependency to control the same Ego which invariably hates the mother-image, usually hating her only less strongly than the feeling of dependency.

The Ego, in primary association with this mother-image, does not know actually human social relationships, but only “goods and services”: relationships between humanoid objects. Exemplary of the arrangement is the fact that Freud was guilty of superficiality and (probably) rationalization in projecting the existence of the daughter's “Electra complex” as complementary to the son's “Oedipus complex.” There is only the “Oedipus” pattern in both sons and daughters. It is rather ordinary psychoanalytical knowledge that in most instances of coitus in and out of marriage, the performance of the male is associated with a fantasy, conscious or unconscious, in which the face of the “mother-image” is never then distant from the surface of consciousness as the superimposed identification of the object of his lust. It is often supposed that the father's image is the frequent fantasy-object of the female under the same circumstances. Not essentially: in each case in which some male-labeled image does seem to occur to the female unconscious during coitus (and related circumstances), a small additional analytical effort strips the male mask from that image to reveal the mother-image's face beneath.

It is the “mother-image,” constructed from the infantile quality of the alienated, bourgeois relationship between child and mother (and mother-surrogates), which provides the “ego-ideals” of bestiality in man. “Mother-love” is accordingly the association for the individual's general sense of the most degraded varieties of sexual feelings, otherwise the emotion of “elation of object-possession,” the warm, homely glow of gluttony epitomized by an overdose of “mother's home-made chicken soup.”

The “mother-image” is also associated with mother's fears, partially a reflection of her superstitious fears of the world outside the home, imposed upon the oppressed women who become mothers, but also the superstitious, heteronomic outlook implicit in the family's alienated relationship to that outside world on which its existence depends. All that is narrow, chauvinistic, anti-humanistic, heteronomic in ordinary man, reflected in such reactionary notions as “mother country,” “mother tongue,” “local control,” “hostility to `outsiders,' “ etc., is immediately linked to the infantile Ego through the ego-ideals associated with the mother-image. It is this same connection which governs virtually all fantasy.

To become truly human — as distinct from “religious” — is to relocate one's identity in a Spinozan way, away from the sense of identity associated with dependency upon an internalized mother-image. Instead of saying, explicitly or (more significant) implicitly, “I am defined as a child of my parents who have predetermined my nature,” the sane, adult individual defines his identity in a Spinozan way in the real world as a whole. His existing relationships to existing persons in general are the entirety of his identity. He has “grown up;” he is no longer an appendage of the internalized mother-image; his childhood has ended. He has given up the infantile “l,” the Ego associated with the mother-image.[20]

From that psychoanalytical standpoint, the significance of all the principal features and importance of the doctrine of Christ's incarnation, Passion, and resurrection become clear. Christ is the paradigm of religious man's pathway to reconciliation with the essential human quality in himself which he externalizes in the apotheosized form of an alienated God. To become human is to become freed from the thrill of the infantile Ego and mother-image, and to locate one's “I” entirely in the self-conscious self.[60] In that attempted shift of identity from the Ego to self-consciousness by religious man, the bestial sensual emotions are relatively abandoned in moments of religious experience for cathexis of the “I” with the fundamental emotion, with hence the Logos. Universal Law (God), the Holy Spirit, and Man-become-God are reconciled in such a Trinity.

Hence, the enormity and profound clinical significance of Feuerbach's falsifications of Trinity and Logos. In the absolutely lurid, extended passage to which we referred, he presents the case for “mother” as follows:

It was therefore quite in order that, to complete the divine family, the bond of love between Father and Son, a third and that a feminine person, was received into heaven; for the personality of the Holy Spirit is too vague and precarious, a too obviously poetic personification of the mutual love between the Father and Son, to serve as the third complementary being. It is true that the Virgin Mary was not so placed between the Father and Son as to imply that the Father had begotten the Son through her, because the sexual relation was regarded by the Christians as something unholy and sinful; but it is enough that the maternal principle was associated with the Father and Son.

It is, in fact, difficult to perceive why the Mother should be something unholy, i.e., unworthy of God, when once God is Father and Son. Though it is held that the Father is not a father in the natural sense — that, on the contrary, the divine generation is quite different from the natural and human — still lie remains a Father, and a real, not a nominal or symbolical Father in relation to the Son. And the idea of the Mother of God, which now appears so strange to us, is therefore not really more strange or paradoxical, than the idea of the Son of God, is not more in contradiction with the general, abstract definition of God than the Sonship. On the contrary, the Virgin Mary fits in perfectly with the relations of the Trinity. Since she conceives without man the Son whom the Father begets without woman; so that thus the Holy Virgin is a necessary, inherently requisite antithesis to the Father in the bosom of the Trinity. Moreover we have, if not in contreto and explicitly, yet in abstracto and implicitly, the feminine principle already in the Son. The Son is the mild, gentle, forgiving, conciliating being the womanly sentiment of God. God, as the Father, is the generator, the active, the principle of masculine spontaneity; but the Son is begotten without himself begetting. Deus genitus, the passive, suffering, receptive being; he receives his existence from the Father. The Son, as a son, of course not as God, is dependent on the Father, subject to his authority. The son is thus the feminine feeling of dependence in the Godhead; the Son implicitly urges upon us the need of a real feminine being.[61]

What involuted self-contradictory argument, what pathetic sentimentality! Feuerbach is obviously not himself here; his self-conscious “I” has vanished for a while, the pen appropriated by his infantile Ego contemplating its childhood, earthly family. Here, Feuerbach says more about his parents, and himself, than about the Trinity.

The son — I mean the natural, human son — considered as such, is an intermediate being between the masculine nature of the father and the feminine nature of the mother; he is, as it were, still half a man, half a woman, inasmuch as he has not the full, rigorous consciousness of independence which characterizes the man, and feels himself drawn rather to the mother than to the father.[61]

Exactly the psychopathology underlying the homosexual fears of the mother's “little man,” the Macho or Papagallo.

The love of the son to the mother is the first love of the masculine being for the feminine. The love of man to woman, the love of the youth for the maiden, receives its religious — its sole truly religious consecration in the love of the son to the mother; the son's love for his mother is the first yearning of man towards woman his first humbling of himself before her.[61]

How luridly clear he is. Here we have the “Oedipus complex” and the worship of female sadism apotheosized. Feuerbach makes the most pathological form of bourgeois sexual impotence the “sole truly religious consecration” of love, and such hideous self-degradation of man and woman in banalized forms of “love” the essential principle of religious belief and humanity! Yet, this is not his argument respecting self-conscious feeling and reason in earlier chapters![62] He continues, then:

Necessarily, therefore, the idea of the Mother of God is associated with the idea of the Son of God — the same heart that needed the one needed the other also. Where the Son is, the Mother cannot be absent; the Son is the only-begotten of the Father, but the Mother is the concomitant of the Son. The Son is a substitute for the Mother to the Father, but not to the Father to the Son. To the Son the Mother is indispensable; the heart of the Son is the heart of the Mother. Why did God become man only through woman?[61]

Feuerbach himself solved that riddle earlier, before his “I” was appropriated by his infantile, mother-image dominated Ego![63]

Could not the Almighty have appeared as a man amongst man in another manner — immediately?[61]

As Feuerbach's self-conscious self earlier argued on this very point, only if God became incarnate in the sinful form of man born of woman, in the dual form of a soul opposed to the infantile, sinful mother-dominated Ego, could Christ be a mediator for man, and become through his transfiguration and reconciliation with God, a personal God for man in God.[64]

Why did the Son betake himself to the bosom of the Mother? For what other reason than because the Son is the yearning after the Mother, because his womanly, tender heart found a corresponding expression only in a feminine body? It is true that the Son, as a natural man, dwells only temporarily in the shrine of his body, but the impressions which he receives are inextinguishable; the Mother is never out of the mind and heart of the Son.[61]

From a subject in an analytical sessions, the latter sort of assertion is sufficient to demonstrate that the “I” is at that moment entirely located in the Ego. Such mawkish sentimentality is itself sufficient evidence that the subject is momentarily under total control of a most obsessive expression of his neurosis.

If then the worship of the Son of God is not idolatry, the worship of the Mother of God is no idolatry. If herein we perceive the love of God to us, that he gave us his only-begotten Son, i.e., that which was dearest to him, for our salvation — we can perceive this love still better when we find in God the beating of a mother's heart. The highest and deepest love is the mother's love. [61]

Again, indelible clinical evidence of Feuerbach's mental state at this point in his work.

The father consoles himself for the loss of his son; he has a stoical principle within him.[61]

This suggests more Feuerbach's early nineteenth century German father than the image of the God from the second chapter.

The mother, on the contrary, is inconsolable; she is the sorrowing element, that which cannot be indemnified the true in love.

Where faith in the Mother of God sinks, there also sinks faith in the Son of God, and in God as the Father. The Father is a truth only where the Mother is a truth. Love is in and by itself essentially feminine in its nature. The belief in the love of God is the belief in the feminine principle as divine. Love apart from living nature is an anomaly, a phantom. Behold in love the holy necessity and depth of Nature![61]

Feuerbach brings himself thus to a shrieking state of sentimental hysteria on the issue of his own mother and his Ego's morbid fascination with her sadistic love.


So long as our attention is focused on rigorous psychoanalytical study of the essential doctrine of the principal Christian apostles and mystics, Feuerbach's blundering must tend to appear not only as a case of hysteria, but a strikingly egregious obsession at that. If we then call up the phrase, “The Mother Church,” our point of view is immediately shifted. The phrase itself is sufficient to imply, if for no more than a moment, that we have perhaps exaggerated our case against him; certainly, the image of the mother figures enormously in later Christianity, not only on premise of the more recently instituted form of Catholic doctrine of Mariolatry.

Contrary to any misleading first impressions, on account of the “Mother Church,” we are not obliged to withdraw anything we have said respecting fundamental Christian doctrine or our criticisms of Feuerbach. There is admittedly a Mother figure in Christianity possessing the attributed qualities and significance which Feuerbach missituates in his substitute for liturgical Trinity. Feuerbach's error, we reemphasize, is his effort to substitute the temporal “trinity” of the Holy Family for the other, liturgical Trinity he purports to examine.

Feuerbach's obsession has compelled him to conceal from himself the doubleness of Church doctrine in this matter. Church doctrine, on the one hand, incorporates the essential doctrine of the principal apostles and mystics as its profound mysteries, mysteries bound up with the doctrine of the liturgical Trinity. At the same time, it holds out the model of the Holy Family, and in some versions also the Saints, as a second, more banal doctrine, suitable for the edification of those both ignorant and benumbed souls denied an ongoing actual religious experience.

The secret of this doubleness can be directly exposed from the standpoint we have already established.

In the life of the ordinary communicant, the state of mind corresponding to a profound actual religious experience occurs only a few times, if at all, and is thereafter usually called up only in a much-diluted form by carefully-evolved rituals, notably the various forms of the Catholic mass, and by the hypnotic rituals of prayer. In much Protestant practice, this goal of Catholic rituals is sought more directly by the associative methods of evangelism, baptism, etc. It is this aspect of religious ceremonies which most attracted the attention of the greatest eighteenth and early nineteenth century composers, not by mere propitiatory impulses toward the Church, but because those ceremonies, through their evolution, verged most closely on the methods by which the composer's own creative emotion, the fundamental emotion, could be evoked.[65]

Despite the Church's appropriate preoccupation with ceremonies directed to evoking the religious experience in at least a diluted form, the daily religious life of the communicant, as well as his or her daily life in general, corresponds to the state of relative impotence otherwise characteristic of alienated society. To maintain itself as an hegemonic institution, the Church was obliged to make a sweeping compromise with what its essential doctrine must otherwise regard strictly as evil.[66] To function as a “mass organization,” to appeal to the numbed state of mind overwhelmingly characteristic of most of the life of its communicants, thus to hold them to its secular organization, the Church incorporated a second body of doctrine essentially opposed to the first, which latter we may style as the perineum of its body of doctrine, the “dirty” part of the Church.

The doctrines of the “Mother Church” and of the “Holy Family” and Saints represent the set of correlatives for the “dirty” doctrine. Correspondingly, exactly as the passage we cited from the sixth chapter of The Essence of Christianity was written from the standpoint of Feuerbach's infantile Ego, his doctrine of the Trinity is faithful to the “Mr. Hyde” part of the Catholic doctrine (in particular). It approximates that contradictory facet of Christian doctrine appropriate to the ordinary impotent state of the communicant. Since this soiled feature of religious belief corresponds to the Ego-state, and to the ignorant, superstitious view of the world associated with the internalized mother-image which controls the Ego's sense of identity, the “Mother Church” and its “Holy Family”/ “Virgin Mary” doctrines become the conspicuous features of the “worldly” side of the Catholic Church and of the private religious superstitions of its communicants.

This idolatrous side of Church doctrine has frequently been rightly identified with pagan vestiges. Unfortunately, the arguments to this effect, usually abstracting certain rituals and practices which have ostensibly pre-Christian origins, are more specious than correct. Although the Catholic Church, in particular, has in fact adapted its internal life to a certain sort of “heathenism” in building up its dirty side, it had not done this in the ordinary sense of the theological term syncretism. Rather, this aspect of Church doctrine is a direct on-going accommodation to “witches” and to contemporary womanly forms of “sorcery.”

The form of past such influence is luridly continued even in present-day Italy, for one example. More notorious in the brutalized, peasant Mezzogiorno, but spreading even into the Italian communities of Switzerland, there is a sizeable profession of “witches” and “magicians,” by many held in higher esteem than physicians for treating a wide range of disorders ranging onward in a long list from the notorious “malocchio.” The examples from Eastern European cultures need not be developed here. The proliferation of identical forms of insane superstition among Spanish-speaking peoples is encountered among the most backward strata of Puerto Ricans even in New York City. Outside of those more backward forms of capitalist culture identified by the hegemony of Catholicism[67], one does not have to dig deeply into Protestant or Jewish strata (even without considering the flagrant example of the Hassidic cult), to locate the same essential belief in witches in only a more shame-faced guise. Digging beneath the surface of the innocent-appearing cult of “(mother's) home cooking,” we find next “Mother's remedies,” and the generic code-word for the widespread plague of superstition, “Mother always told me ... “ The relatively-greater credulousness of frigid, lonely women for certain kinds of buncombe, ranging from astrology to outright necrology, is an aspect of the same mental disorder. It is also of most concentrated, if lurid clinical significance that one of the most demented of the groups which briefly proliferated during the “radical feminist” hysteria adopted the acronym “WITCH.”


From the psychoanalytical standpoint, there is nothing mysterious about witches or Poltergeists. In a sense, they exist. The image of the “witch” is the most common form in which a son or daughter evokes an image of the mother from the unconscious processes. The most banal and self-destructive behavior of any individual so inhabited by a witch-image is nearly always the result of the witch's direct control of the Ego. Under circumstances appropriate to mass-hysteria, or which produce widespread schizophrenic and related psychotic episodes within a population, the image of the witch must inevitably not only pop out spontaneously from the unconscious processes, even in the extreme form of hallucinations, and the belief in the appearance of such witches — as associated with one's own identity or projected upon another, especially an older woman or a young girl with a characteristic “Mona Lisa” smile — must be frequent.

The witch image is not a learned chimera. It is not Grimm's fairy-tales, etc., which cause people to believe in witches. The popular notion of a witch is like any other social conception, an evolved means for communicating a commonplace experience which would be original to the individual even without the existence of such a term. The terror which fairy-tales evoke in children — the mixed terror and fascination — is a symptom of the prior existence of a witch-image in the child's mind, an image which unconscious processes already directly associate with either the child's mother or with a combination of mother and mother-surrogates. Frequently enough, the adult young woman recognizes this face in one or both of two ways: “My mother was a witch,” or “I'm constantly afraid that I'm really a witch.” She had adopted the idea of the witch as an appropriate representation of some quality which she has located within her mother or herself without need of fairy-tales.[68]

The witch image is the associated quality of the female Ego otherwise identified with female sexual impotence and its correlated forms of social impotence generally. Hence, the clinical significance of the acronym, WITCH, for the cited radical feminist group. Such variety of “radical feminism,” as distinct from its sane bitter factional opponent, Women's Liberation efforts, is essentially an outbreak of the most pathetic, most sadistic form of lesbianism. The method of indoctrination used by groups such as WITCH, so-called “consciousness-raising” sessions, were undoubtedly a modern replication of ancient “Witch meetings,” and represented the accidentally-discovered but not otherwise accidental most efficient means for turning a merely intensely neurotic young woman into a virtual psychotic.

Through social “reenforcement” in the group, the new victim is induced to call up the witch within her, and then to relinquish defenses against a more direct take-over by that image. The result of this, where it were successfully accomplished, would be a form of disassociation identical in key respects to a schizophrenic episode. Even the ordinary Ego “I” is weakened and the “I” of the outwardly-acting person is placed under intensified, more direct control of the witch called forth from the (Breughel's Bosch's Goya's) pit of unconscious processes. A woman reduced to this psychotic state, must tend to become a prostitute, a lesbian, or both. Although there is generally a necessary connection between the control of the Ego by a witch and lesbianism, and although prostitutes are generally lesbians who depend upon calling up witch qualities as the prerequisites of their professional practice. The special kind of lesbianism developed in radical-feminist “conscious-raising” forcing sessions is not to be simply equated with the ordinary case of lesbian behavior. The radical-feminism-produced lesbian is a special category of virtual psychotic, a synthetic product of a “brain-washing” technique which essentially reverses the psychoanalytical method.

The son of a witch is, suitably enough, a “Prospero,” a “magician.” The most commonplace reflection of this is that class of superstitions among males identified with the form of “If! ... then, I will become ...” or, “Step on a crack, break your mother's back” sort of superstitious utterances and behavior. Otherwise, the male pattern has been sufficiently implied by our outline of the female pattern.

It is with this “mother's religion,” the superstitious cult of witches and such, that the Catholic Church compromised to become the “Mother Church.” In this is located with secret of idolatry, headed by the cult of the Virgin Mary. The Virgin Mary is the archetypical witch, the mother of witches — the Madonna whose secret self is “The Whore of Babylon.”

“Mona Lisa”

A significant reflection of this can be readily obtained in the report, with an accompanying momentary shudder, from the majority of young adults who have afresh, horrified recollection of their experience in Roman or Greek Catholic parochial schools. The most hideous recollections are usually associated with the constant emulation of a “Mona Lisa” smile on the faces of so many viciously sadistic teaching nuns. Look quickly back and forth to the face of the smiling, vicious nun and the face of the image of the Virgin Mary! Look then at the face of any woman raised in Catholic household in the moments she is either being most sadistic or is hysterically lying: the psychotic “Mona Lisa” smile of the arch-witch, the Virgin Mary.

Most women can readily recall their “two-faced” mothers. There was generally the smiling “company face,” complementary to the mother's well-kept “living room” of the old “lace-curtain” household cultures of working-class and petit-bourgeois North America. Hidden away from “company” and “the neighbors,” there was mother's other self, her other face, and the accompanying cult of “family secrets” to be hidden from “strangers” and “outsiders” generally. “Local control” ideology and “patriotism” (respecting the mother country!) are extensions of this same witch pattern of the childhood household. Most of these women could find the same, acquired “two-facedness” in themselves, and hence discover how they learned such manifestations of sexual impotence. They can locate the origin of similar pathologies in their lovers and husbands (among other males), a perception on whose reflection the woman fosters deeper enmity toward the marriage's principal enemies, the mothers-in-law.

There were usually other most troubling aspects to mother's “two-facedness.” In one moment, she is the “loving, understanding” mother. In another moment, she is a raging maenad. And, what duplicity she is capable of! She mercilessly provokes the father into a punitive orgy against her children, and then comforts them as they run to her in terror from his blows. Her children consciously, or at least unconsciously, learn to distinguish her as a tricky, calculating person, nearly always speaking and posing for effect, all the while secretly scheming behind her mask.

Probing deeper, most children discover that their mother is usually the immediate agent most responsible for crippling both their intellectual powers and their capacity to love. Only in later childhood did her children begin to imagine themselves to “really believe” that mother-love is love. Somewhere, early in their childhood, they could recall, there was the devastating experience of her repeated rejections of their attempting expression of the deepest (i.e., “oceanic”) feelings, and her constant, stultifying emphasis on their cultivating the artificial outward facial and other behavioral appearances she demanded of them. “There,” the child recalls her voice, as it finally effected the outward dissimulation of its underlying feeling which she had demanded, “Now, that's mother's little ... “ boy or girl “again.”

From such an unfortunately commonplace mothering, the child also recalls her treatment of her husband. She was generally a sadistic witch, deprecating everything of importance to him, frustrating his interests and preferred activities, aborting his close relationships to his children, except for those measures doses of approved associations she permitted him. She used her children's dependency upon her to “turn them against their father” in one fashion or another, one degree or another. The child recalls this with horror and anger, especially his (or her) horror at his own childhood complicity in this vicious household game, especially as the adult is later able to recognize that the mother did the same sort of sadistic thing to him (or her).

The Feminine Image

Obviously, the class struggle is not against mothers! As we have repeatedly emphasized, two points must be recognized at the same time that one uncovers the evils of the mother-image. Firstly, as we have emphasized above, that the person' smother-image is not a replication of the existent mother, but a construct based on the child's pathetic infantile relationship to both the mother and mother-surrogates. In most instances, the establishment of an adult human relationship to the existent mother can be a fruitful auxiliary aspect of the process of liberation from the internalized false representation of her as the mother-image. One of the most embittering aspects of an aging mother's existence is that her children, in later life, are showing no regard for her as the human being she is, but instead are reflecting their relationship to an internalized mother-image as the control of their conduct toward her. Secondly, more fundamental to the context of this paper's topics, the sadism of the mother in capitalist culture (in particular) is entirely a product of capitalism and of the banalization of women by capitalism.

Restricting our attention to capitalist culture for convenience (in other, pre-capitalist cultures, the mother problem is more hideous than under capitalism), the reason the mother is the fundamental figure in her children's neurotic and psychotic problems is that the relationship of mother to infant and post-infancy child is the central feature of the process of maturation. Hence, the fundamental problems of mental life are inevitably mediated through the relationship to the mother. To the extent that mother accepts and thus transmits capitalist culture to her children, she must be a hideous oppressor of those children.

The rest of the mother-problem, the greater sexual impotence and sadism of women relative to men, is entirely a product of the oppression of women. The problems of sexual discrimination are significant, and removing all forms of such sexual discrimination against women is absolutely imperative to the mental health of both men and woman, but these hideous oppressions of discrimination are relatively secondary, or merely subsumed features of the most essential oppression to which women are generally subjected.

The essential oppression is apotheosized in the “feminine image,” the image of the woman as relatively a person of “feeling,” “free” from “male” qualities of “aggressive,” “intellect-dominated” life. It is characteristic of capitalist society, in particular, that any group singled out for oppression is distinguished from the favored strata as a special kind of people more given to “feeling” than intellect. In this way, the sort of “black cultural nationalist” who associates black people with their “genius for musical rhythm,” “soul,” etc., is the most degraded of “Uncle Toms.” His black nationalism consists essentially of making a virtue of the inferior status imposed upon black people by their oppressors. The black cultural nationalist, like the radical feminists who crudely parodied black nationalism in the late 1960's, has located the quality of “national independence” in internalizing the ideology of the oppressor as the internal chains of self-oppression upon his own mind. The essence of all oppression of women, including the vicious self-oppression women have been induced to internalize, is the belief in the “feminine principle.” The fundamental expression of the capitalist oppression of women is that quality which is worshiped by all radical feminists: the self-oppression of women as “creatures of feeling.” Nothing is more exemplary of a self-degrading woman than a radical feminist ranting loudly against the preferability of “feminine” qualities to “male intellectual aggressiveness.”

Hence, the clinical significance of the “feminine principle” in Feuerbach's treatment of the Trinity. Hence, the latent blunder in Feuerbach's treatment of God the Lawgiver.[69]

The identification of the “feminine image” with feeling, with the absence of aggressive (i.e., hubristic) intellectual life, coincides with the oppressed role of the woman as mother in the capitalist alienated form of the family household.

In reality, the material existence of the working-class family is effected through the distribution to those households of a part of the wealth created through a world-wide network of cooperative labor performed by the working members of that same world-wide totality of interdependent households. The increase in the magnitude of this wealth per capita is secured in part through increased productive employment of the unemployed, but more generally through technological advances which have the effect of increasing the per capita output of world-wide labor. Not only is this technological development essential to making possible a general increase in per capita output (and, hence, consumption), but without such qualitative advances in technology the level of production and consumption would decline in consequence of convergence of production upon the relatively-finite extent of the existing resources as defined by a particular, previously-established technology.

Consequently, the essence of continued human existence is that creative “aggressive intellectuality” through which qualitative advancement of the essential technology is initiated and then actualized as general productive practice.

Actually human self-consciousness, a rational, conscious knowledge of the world-wide processes determining one's own individual existence, therefore cannot be located apart from a world-wide overview of this process of development and realization of new technologies. The question of determining the conditions of life is first of all a question of what one must do, as an individual, to effect the creation of new technologies, secondly, to effect the application of those technologies to the world-wide productive process, and thirdly, to effect the appropriate distribution of that wealth. Any mental outlook which locates determination of the household's conditions of life in parochial terms of “local community,” “region,” “nation,” or the family itself, are irrational, hence relatively bestial, hence insane.

To the extent that sanity is approximated under capitalism, it is epitomized by the predicates of science, engineering, etc. To put the same point in other terms, capitalism (in particular) identifies the permitted degree of sanity (e.g., science) as the quality of male aggressive intellectuality. The denial of this quality of “aggressive intellectuality” for the “feminine image” is the self-imposition of insanity upon women in their acceptance of that “feminine image.”

Contrary to reality, the capitalist form of the working-class household alienates and mystifies the process of the working-class's self-reproduction of the material conditions of its own existence and development. The alienated relationship of the household to production is institutionalized in the normative form of the employed “male head of household,” who alienates his labor-power, which is degraded for him into the empiricist form of mere wage-labor. The alienated worker does not essentially associate his production with his self-reflexive, self-conscious contribution to the world's wealth. He rather sees the essential form of his productive employment as the sale of a section of his living-time to the command of a capricious employer in return for wages: the rigorous definition of the term, “wage-slavery.”

The worker may indeed speak sometimes of what he produces, and pridefully regard this as expressing something of social importance about himself. He may, furthermore, devoutly wish he could locate his moral right to a “decent life” in just such real accomplishments, or — if unemployed or employed in a job below his potential — he may locate these potential moral rights in what he would be capable of accomplishing to that same effect. This secondary aspect of the worker's potentially self-conscious outlook implicitly expresses his subjective revolutionary potential, but it is not the active basis for his belief in capitalist rights to the wages on which his existence depends. His capitalist right to existence is located in his alienated identification of himself as a wage-laborer.

His wife, usually, is constantly hounding him into psychological conformity with that alienated sense of himself.

It is the alienated aspect of this worker's existence which is emphasized by his wife and most other members of his household. The wife, normatively, selects and marries a “good provider,” locating his social importance in both “what he brings home” and in the status he enjoys by virtue of his capitalist employment title and other alienated “qualities” of his social standing.

The alienation of the wife is symptomized by her typical reaction to such “men's talk” as her husband's discussion of his actual productive work or other “technical questions.” She is “bored,” and withdraws to the company of women to occupy herself usually principally with gossip. She smiles (sadistically) over his technically-oriented “hobbies,” and, when this applies, assumes the most hideous perfection of a Mona Lisa smile of “tolerant understanding” for his or her children's socialist political activities if she does not outrightly throw a fit at his “endangering the security of the household” by such involvements.*

  • Not accidentally, one of the most exciting contributions a parent can make to the psychological health of a child is the experience of the father's communicating to the son or daughter some empirical acquaintance with the internal details and social purpose of what the father does in the “outside world.” Correspondingly, the classical case of the most emotionally-disturbed type of adult male is given by the “mother's boy” who has kept distance from the ‘outside world” life of a productive worker father; the kind of mother who develops such “feminine” obsessions in her son is the prototype of the Virgin Mary, the most extremely sadistic sort of mother.

The woman subjected, to capitalist norms of household life, unless she breaks through such bourgeois working-class household norms, is unfortunately the norm for the sadistic bourgeois working-class mother, among others. A great number representing still a minority of mothers, especially the majority of mothers of future revolutionary cadres, do break through the norms in a variety of at least tentative ways. As distinct from the normal sadistic Roman Catholic, “American Gothic” sort of Protestant, or Jewish mother, the mother who is able to express some actual love for her children corrects for the oppressive side of her possessive child-rearing, by pushing her sons a daughters into some degree of regular human relationship to the father. She avoids the totally impotent woman's habit of “tearing down the father” in front of the children, refuses to fall into the traditional wifely custom of portraying the father as variously impotent, a clown or a social failure to her children, or as merely “a good provider.”

As a mode, a tendency, although there are innumerable involutions and exceptions, the tendency for sons and daughters to become scientists or technologically-advanced workers is a father-oriented image. “Muscle” labor, such as construction work, tends to coincide with the “bull” image of the sexually-impotent mother-dominated male. The profession of literature or the acting profession are almost overwhelmingly a direct reflection of a son's (or daughter's) domination by a sadistic mother, correlating with both a total domination of the mind by fantasy and a corresponding estrangement from the realities of the “outside world.”

There are two fundamental features to the “feminine” norm of motherhood. On the one side, the mother is estranged from conception of “technical questions” generally, frequently even from simple mechanical competence — although simple mechanical competence (as opposed to scientific competence) is not intrinsically alien to the “feminine self-image.” More emotion is usually shown for the complementary side of this alienation: “mother's fears.” She has a horror of the “outside world,” of “strangers,” etc. For her, bringing an “outsider” into the house must be circumscribed by elaborate rituals of “having company.” Her women friends from among the neighbors may be casually admitted for kitchen entertainment and gossip almost at a mere knock — but let her husband try to bring home one of his friends in the same casual fashion! Her women friends from the neighborhood are one thing, but her husband's friends and acquaintances are, by virtue of association with him, “strangers” from the “outside world.”

To her, the “outside world” is a realm of mysterious potencies, the subject of her irrational fears. All the important forms of possible disaster she fears involve the possible intrusion of the “outside world” into her home. The essential thing she imposes upon all members of her family is their “respect for” her irrational fears of this sort.

To her, the material conditions of life on which the household depends are determined by magic. She refuses to believe that wealth is determined by universal and cooperative labor. Wealth, to her, is a magical outgrowth of money and social status. She insists that the survival of her family, her husband's income-producing, etc., are all variously determined either by their conforming to certain potency-propitiating rituals she prescribes for them or by her prayers.

The essence of this magic is her belief that the outside world is governed not by rational cause and effect, but by mysterious potencies — typified by government, employers, and other special “important people,” the generic “they” of “they have brought a new ... “ or “they have changed the” old home town, etc. She regards her wisdom, her “woman's intuition,” as embodying insight into those recipes which effectively propitiate such magical potencies. Her advice to her husband on how he should comfort himself in the outside world, her concern for the appearance and conduct of her children, and her oppressive general superstitious concern with an entire array of related “do's and don't's,” may often have the specious appearance of a thought-out overview of reality; it is actually, in the form of inner mental life through which such behavior is controlled within her, pure magic, the predicates of her superstitious fantasy-life.

Her Children's Neuroses

The constant bombardment of her children with such fantastic belief in magic, especially her making her expressions of “mother-love” contingent upon the father's and children's “respect for” her superstitious fears, produces that bourgeois ideology, that obsessive irrationality which is characteristic of most of the adult members of capitalist society.

In effect, the dependency-relationship to a sadistic, fantasy-ridden mother by her children creates a false map of reality in their minds, so long as those minds, even in later adult life, are being regulated by the association of the individual's identity with the mother-image-dominated infantile Ego.

Contrary to the usually voiced assertion that people arrive at judgments for action on the basis of rational consideration of the merits of the case as such, all judgments are effected under control of the “I” of identity. In effect, the individual anticipates the imminent increase or diminishing of the “sense of personal worth,” of “identity,” which will ensue from the social expression of alternative judgments. When the “I” is located in the infantile Ego, this anticipation is effected by turning a usually unconscious “inner ear” to the babble of voices arising from the “pit,” a babble in which the voice of the “mother-image” predominates.[70] In main effect, more emphatically so the more mother-image-dominated (the more neurotic) the individual is, the more his or her anticipation of the consequences of the judgment is usually determined by what the internalized “mother” advises that will be. In the extreme case, that of the obsessive neurotic or psychotic, the internalized “mother's voice” is more immediately the invariant of the individual's map of all matters of the “outside world.”

Even in the ordinary milder cases of neurosis, or simply the general neurosis which bourgeois ideology is, the Ego's view of the world is a parody of the relationships peculiar to the mother-dominated capitalist family household. The center of the neurotic's universe is the internalized family household of childhood superimposed upon the family of adult life. In partly-overlapping but generally succeeding order, the universe as a whole is reached by discrete steps. The inner layer is family; a broader area, the neighborhood; or, the region, or, the nation, or, the language or ethnic group, or, the commonality of a religious affiliation, etc. Similarly, the “logic” of events within each distinguished “area” and among “areas” are determined by the “rules” (axioms) implicit in the mother-dominated fantasy acquired in childhood.

We need merely mention the case of father's superstitions and their effects in this patters. For reasons we have repeatedly given in this series, father is usually of secondary, if usually reinforcing, importance to the child's maturation. Secondly, the father's superstitions are primarily derived from his mother, and those aspects he acquired from his father are primarily transmitted from the paternal grandmother. Etc., etc. Capitalist ideology within the individual is primarily matrilocal and matrilineal.

Witches' Fear of Theory

The politically reactionary aspect of this is most viciously concentrated in the effect of “mother's fears” of her children's attitudes toward “law and order” in the “outside world.” Mother's belief in magic emphasizes “traditionalism,” which is to say the semi-permanence of the potencies in the “outside world” and the absolute permanence (“things will always be basically the same,” “human nature can't be changed”) of the fundamental set of rules of propitiation by which the outside world is ordered. The essential feature of her belief in magic is that the body of magic is fixed, hence — implicitly — that the “outside world” is governed by a fixed set of laws corresponding essentially to those she deems in force in the “outside world” today.

This outlook, which is the root of her obsessive hostility to scientific and often even technical subjects, is antagonistic to even the development of the conditions of material life of the household, is firmly set against those most drastic changes which even significant technological change demands, and is, most emphatically, determined to preserve the hysterical illusion and practice which treats the real world as subject to change only in terms of aggregations of virtually autonomous individual households and local communities. It is only an exaggeration to imagine a mother thus victimized by fantasy, told that the entire town is about to be flooded, either blame the flood on the “Democrats” or “put her foot down,” to declare, “We just won't allow it to affect us.”

This is the basis for the militant but still pro-capitalist workers' hostility to revolutionary change. To make a revolution is to express the potency of the working class, to act against the potencies of the “established order” — to eradicate the basis for mother's witchcraft!

Mother's magic, perpetuated as fantasy through the dependency of Ego-identity on the internalized voice of the superstitious mother-image, is the basis for the hostility to “theory” among workers, the bitter invective against Marxist “elitism” among anarcho-syndicalist cults, and the general hostility to real creative scientific work and revolutionary socialism generally. “Who do you think you are to imagine you can go against the system?” mother's voice warns, “Stop acting silly; be yourself. What is it you people say nowadays, ‘Stick to doing your own thing!'”

The Virgin Satan

The second “trinity,” the “Holy Family,” is a reflection of organized Christianity's covenant with the witch-devil, the Virgin Mary, its sly broadening of the Christian doctrine to canonize and “render harmless” the cult of witchcraft, undoubtedly the precedent for the later less portentous accommodation, the assimilation of Bingo into the parish calendar of mother's superstitious activities.

To bring the question of the Holy Family to its conclusion here, we begin by restating the distinction between the two contradictory aspects of Christian doctrine, between the essential doctrine, which we emphasized in the preceding section of this paper, and the adaptation to popular superstition, which we have emphasized in the preceding parts of this present section. The practical object is to show that the specifically capitalist ideological content of modern Christianity is located mainly in the superstitious or “Mr. Hyde” aspect of the doctrine.

The essential feature of Christian doctrine, as we have previously identified this, treats the subject of the “religious experience” and its psychoanalytical implications. The “religious experience” itself is simply a naive, ignorant self-consciousness's joyful encounter with an upsurge of the fundamental emotion, an elation occasioned by an outpouring of the “oceanic” feeling. In general, this experience is identical to the experiencing of the actual emotion of “non-erotic” loving in its intense form — a point we have illustrated by repeated references to the famous Liebestod duet from Tristan and Isolde.

The elaboration of Christian doctrine on the religious experience begins with the recognition that individual man is divided against himself, that he has two alternate “I”s within his mind. One of these “I”s, the self-conscious self, is agreeable to the outpouring of the fundamental emotion. However, in the normal state of man outside that experience, the self-conscious self is generally condemned to watch in passive, impotent horror as the person is compelled to think and act according to the control of the person by the infantile Ego.[71] The essential object of the fundamental aspect of Christian doctrine is to enable man to purge himself of control of the infantile Ego and to thus live permanently as an alienated form of self-conscious “I” acting through the force of the fundamental emotion.

Thus far, essential Christian doctrine and revolutionary-socialist outlooks might not appear to differ significantly. A distinction emerges most clearly the moment we emphasize that the morality appropriate to self-consciousness is Spinozan[72], and locate the objective requirements of the self-conscious individual's thought and action in the context of the world-wide development of today's productive forces created through previous capitalist development. The distinction between the religious man and the socialist is this. The religious man is a naive individual, who conceives of morality as Feuerbach does, in terms of a mass of autonomous individuals. He does not know the Necessity of Freedom, that the only action properly giving self-conscious identity to the individual is a universal act for the positive development (and realization) of universal labor.[73] To the religious man, the laws of the “outside world” are fixed by God, and hence he must not aspire to be more than an Apollonian “explorer of nature.”[74] Socialist man is fundamentally distinguishable from religious man; socialist man's location of his identity in universal labor, in the willful changing of law, in taking upon himself the potent responsibility for positive reordering of nature, defines his world-outlook as Promethean.

This distinction is not strained. Essential religious doctrine proscribes the Promethean outlook itself as the most heinous of all offenses against Jehovah; it is the crime for which Lucifer was condemned, the crime of (Promethean) hubris. The Promethean Lucifer (there are two distinct and opposite Satans) is a potency, with the power to struggle for hegemony against God, a Prometheus who schemes to win men to his cause by offering to change the laws of nature in conformity with mortal man's material needs. This Promethean Lucifer is a God more powerful than Zeus-Jehovah, who partakes of the essence of the Deity (the fundamental emotion).

Lucifer is the Christian doctrine's horror-stricken prescience of the ultimate appearance of Karl Marx.

Since the Christian doctrine proscribes man's use of the creative potential of the fundamental emotion to reorder the laws of nature, the doctrine thus alienates religious man from the essential human power over the universe. It sets the lawful ordering of nature apart from man, as something opposed to him. Hence, as Feuerbach properly observes to that point, God the Law-Giver is estranged from man's direct knowledge; God the Law-Giver is made to have a nature which is in significant part denied to man. Since man is therefore denied the act of finding such hubristic qualities in himself, he is denied the act of seeking within himself the quality which compares with that attributed to God the Law-Giver; man therefore cannot directly know God the Law-Giver of his own personal knowledge. (Moses cannot see the face of God.)

This alienation of the Law-Giver from the personal religious experience immediately divides the essential Deity into two parts. The essential Deity is the Logos, which religious man directly experiences (knows) as the “oceanic” feeling of elated self-consciousness, God the Law-Giver has been to that degree alienated from this essential Deity in respect to man, although he remains connected to it as the subject of his own essential nature. Hence, “In the beginning, was the Word,” and the Word was God and was also with God.

The estrangement of God the Law-Giver from man requires that religion provide man-become-God, a man-become-a-God who experiences all the qualities of the self-conscious “I” in its religious experience (“In a state of Pentecost”), and who is also defined as God lacking the distinctive qualities of the Law-Giver. Since this man-become-God is directly connected to God the Law-Giver through the shared essence, the Logos, we have the Trinity, in which Christ (man-become-God) acts as mediator between man and God.[75] Christ is a personal God for alienated man, for the reasons previously identified.

In this essential doctrine, Christianity retains the root-form of an ideology-in-general for a universalizing form of society, e.g., the Papal feudal system of Charlemagne, the semi-feudal mercantile-capitalist system of the 13th through 16th centuries of Western Europe, and capitalism proper. It has the essential quality of an ideology because it has alienated man in the most fundamental way, as Apollonian man: it defines the religious experience as the joyful encounter with the “oceanic” feeling by an ignorant, alienated self-conscious “I,” and alienates man by denying him the discovery of his essential human, i.e., Promethean self-consciousness.*

  • Judaism, which developed as a by-product of the emergence of early Christianity, and was molded in its further evolution as an appendage of Christianity, is also in its general form a truncated reflection of the Christian type of ideology in general. It has also been transformed through specifically feudal, semi-feudal mercantile-capitalist, and capitalist forms. It is not necessary to give special treatment to Judaism here, since it never existed except in myth, but as a by-product of Christianity, and could not exist except as a special predicate of a Christian or Muslim culture, principally Christian. There is no autonomous “Jewish culture,” but only a special variety of (especially) Christian culture.[76]

The essential Christian doctrine is therefore besieged by two opponents. Its dangerous opponent, the anathema of the first of the Ten Commandments, is Karl Marx, the Promethean Lucifer. Its second opponent, the identity of the ordinary Satan, is the Virgin Mary, the Arch-Witch, the dark power over the infantile Ego, reaching out from the demon-infested pit of Bosch's and Goya's Hell to drag man into his characteristic gluttony (“chicken soup”), sensual self-degradation (“Oedipus”-governed, banal sexual lusting), and general Dionysiacal heteronomy.**

  • The experience of the socialist movement, from which we are accustomed to such centrist butchers as Stalin's amalgamating “left” and “right” opponent factions into a single enemy, facilitates one's understanding of the way in which the Church perpetrates the fraud of equating Prometheus and Dionysus. It might be speculated that Stalin after all learned at least this much of the art of factional lying from his period of passionate devotion to study of the priesthood.

As we noted before, organized Christianity, Catholic or Protestant, shamefacedly but nonetheless effectively distinguishes two categories of communicants, each characterized by a different emphasis in doctrine. On the one side, there is the smaller community of “apostles and mystics,” those whose relationship to the church is principally identified by a cultivation of the “religious experience.” The larger numbers of communicants is made up in its smaller portion by those church officials who are occupied with the practical and administrative side of church life, and in the larger portion by the mass of communicants whose minimal or virtually non-existent adult “religious experience” is overwhelmingly outweighed by superstition.

To the latter, but for extraordinary occasions and circumstances, the “religious experience” of the adult is not only limited to a few occasions in their lives, but generally it is tolerantly assumed by both church and laity that such special feeling-knowledge, such “imitation of Christ” is more or less beyond the reach of the ordinary mortal religious person. Small, extremely-diluted, occasional senses of the “religious feeling” serve as a mere hint of spice for a religious life predominantly characterized by witch-ridden superstition.

The superstitious side of religious doctrine and activities, centered in Catholic doctrines on the cult of the Arch-Witch, the Virgin Mary, and other idolatries, is based on a substitute for the “religious experience” in the banal passion of mother-love. The moral side of this part of doctrine is based on a kind of churchly jiu-jitsu. The very mechanisms of the Devil herself, are employed to regulate the conduct of the communicant through mother's superstitious fears. Negation of the negation! The church makes a compact with the Devil, in respect of which the Satan delivers the credulous to the morality of the church through the medium of the superstitious fears transmitted through the mother, and also delivers to the church the right to act to exert further control of those believers through appeals to the sentiment of mother-love.

In this way, the Church incorporates into its doctrine the lusts of gluttony and Oedipal sexual orgies, the way of the infantile Ego. It makes a sacrament of each lust, thereby subverting the lustful activity (and its celebration through ritual intervals of “negation”) to the church's benefit. (Like waiting for Christmas morning, the previous day's prohibitions make the opening of the gifts more exciting. The object of fasting is gluttonous feasting.)

By incorporating the witches and their superstitions into the body of churchly doctrine and practices, Christianity assimilates and strengthens the essential qualities of the specific ideology of that society's witches. The church becomes the Universal Mother-Church, the official institution of the collectivity of superstitious mothers, and the most agreeable habitat for the pathetic woman left with little but her superstition to console her.

Having incorporated the Madonna-Whore of Babylon into its liturgy as the religious doctrine for the common credulous man and woman, how does the Church conceal the ugly fact of this compact? How does it dispose of the canonical preoccupation with the archenemy, with the doctrine it has inherited from its own essential beliefs? It solves this problem in a certain sense, by delegating solution of this thorny theological problem to the Devil herself. It permits a disguised, smiling Satan, the Virgin Mary to determine who shall be the “enemy.” Characteristically, being such a sort of witch, the Virgin Mother locates the enemy in the category of “outsider,” in the essence of the person from the other country, the other neighborhood, the other religion, the person who speaks a different language, etc. Hence, Catholicism makes a travesty of itself, and becomes entirely a mere herd of antagonistic parochialisms. Universality becomes an empty word delivered to the entertainment of pervasive heteronomy!

Feuerbach exemplifies the point in a certain fashion. Nowhere in his The Essence of Christianity do we find an account for the name of Satan. Imagine, Christianity without Satan! Luther would wallop his ears soundly! Yet, Satan reveals herself in that book despite the author's whim; only Satan's name is changed, to that of the Virgin Mary. More exactly, Satan is portrayed by her real name, her Arch-Witch's canonical name of “Holy Mother.”


The general coincidence of the development of the Protestant heresy in those regions of 15th, 16th and 17th century Europe in which progress was then predominant is implicitly exemplary of the point that Protestantism reflects a profound cultural advance over Catholicism. To the present day, the persistence of Catholicism is generally characteristic of those regions and cultures which are relatively most backward, either by virtue of relative economic development or special hideousness of family relations preserved in the midst of a more advanced culture.

The correlation between the emergence of Protestantism and cultural advancement is readily located, and that location not accidentally touching the most essential aspect of Christian doctrine: the Logos. The Protestant revolution, reflecting an upsurge in the degree, extent, and realized importance of innovation in technological, social, and political institutions, corresponds to what the religions man must account as an intensification of the “religious experience.”[77] This is the case because of the direct connection between increased creative mental activities and the increased ferment of the fundamental emotion. Protestantism is thus fundamentally distinguished as a broad movement from Catholicism by its humanistic bias, its emphasis on what the Society of Friends — the ultimate of the long-standing forms of Protestantism — regarded as the power of the “inner Light” (The Holy Spirit immanent in the individual) to guide him or her in the proper insight into the Word of God. In broad terms, Protestantism represents especially in its general evangelical form and bias, a large step toward a pure Logos-doctrine. Hence, Protestantism ejects the idolatry of “saints” for the “imitation of Christ.”

It is not accidental that Hegel's insight into religion is strongest in just this connection. It is also not accidental that Feuerbach ebbs toward a pre-Hegelian backwardness in just those aspects of his epistemology which coincide with a regression toward the superstitious, “dirty-judaical” side of Mariolatry.[78]

In general, today, Catholicism not-accidentally prevails in those parts of capitalist society in which sexual impotence is must acute. A few cases suffice to qualify the point.

Limiting our attention for a moment to Western European culture (e.g., to include North and South America, in particular), those language cultures (Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, notably) in which Catholicism predominates as virtually the state religion, are relatively the most backward in economic and cultural development and are those sections of capitalist culture characterized by a deep and depressing feeling of “Southern inferiority” in the individual.

The case of Italy is most efficient for identifying the essential features of this problem. Even without taking the wretchedness of the Mezzogiorno into account, not only is the social productivity of the Italian forced down by capitalism to a significantly lower level than that of the English-speaking or German, but, worse, the Italian (excepting a handful of rich) sees virtually no gain in general wealth to himself or his country as a result of even his most intensive labor at the maximum levels of productive activity in that nation.

This is exemplified by the inhuman irony of the recent Italian “housing boom,” proliferating and eroding empty structures for which there would be few prospective occupants at present prices: a mere pork-barrel, a mere boon-doggle for the construction industry and financiers involved, of no notable benefit for the wretchedly-housed, miserably-paid Italian worker. The Italian worker, brought late into the mainstream of capitalist development, permitted to rise no further as a nation than to being a reservoir of cheap labor for the more prosperous North American and Northern European capitalists, has found little beneficial correlation between even his maximum productive labor and his material conditions of family life. Under such circumstances, the more intensively and productively he labors, the more frustrated and impotent he must consequently sense himself to be.

So his working-class son and daughter are denied generally the image of a father of relative productive potency in the outside world. Looking for the answer in superstitious comparison of his nation to other advanced nations, the Italian worker is misled to see that nation itself as somehow “culturally” inferior in potency, and hence to the extent that he sees Italians in such superstitious, alienated — i.e., “nationalistic” — fashion, he is overwhelmed by the seeming evidence of his “Southern inferiority.”

The potentially revolutionary Italian worker, denied his rightful sense of potency for universal as well as cooperative labor, clings heroically and fearfully to his hold on serious music, great literature, and serious art generally. He rightly clings to these cultural achievements but usually with a sense of desperation. If, he fears, Italians should slide into the imminent moral degradation of American Rock and otherwise lose their precious connection to serious art, the whole nation would slip into the lumpenized state of a burgeoning mass of demoralized beggars and hustlers.

Although it is the norm of the possessive Italian mother who is immediately responsible for the pathetic “mother's little man,” the pathetic strutting Pappagallo (a feathered Macho), it is the capitalist degradation of Italian working-class men which strips the Italian child of the image of a potent father. Hence, the possessive mother appears a creature of awesome relative potency by contrast with the abused and derided long-suffering father.

Catholicism thrives in such miserable capitalist double-oppression of the working-class of an entire nation. It may be objected that the Italian Catholic is rabidly anti-clerical by comparison with the Irish or Polish Catholics, for example. Such observation is misleading. Priests are mere men; the Church of the Arch-Witch is, after all, essentially mother's business. (A proper Pope for such a Mother Church should be elected from the ranks of homosexual bishops, since Golda Meir is unfortunately not an available candidate for that office.)

The day on which Italian working-class men secure their rightful self-estimation as potent producers capable of genuine love for a woman, they will certify this instantly by turning all the churches and whorehouses into harmless and useful museums, putting all images of the Virgin Mary — with that goddamned smile! — well out of sight for a generation or so, until men have had time to forget and women to free themselves from that degrading witches' mockery of love.

The case of the U.S. Irish professing Catholic of the second or third generation involves a minor complication. Until the aftermath of the Second World War, Italian-Americans were an oppressed minority, generally hideously slandered and subjected to corresponding discriminatory practices. The Irish-American began his climb out of the extreme of “Paddy” status after the Civil War, and consequently it was many decades ago that he was actually subjected to the degree of abuse more recently poured — with his help — upon Italian-Americans. However, although the actual discrimination against Irish-Americans was slight over recent decades, the Irish-descent community in the U.S.A. had already developed as a militant in-group around the Catholic Church and, in image if not entirely in fact, the police and fire departments as well as a number of Irish-dominated big-city political machines. This represented a ghettoized sort of existence, inhibiting the free blending of the Irish-Americans into the general culture of the most advanced capitalist sub-sector.

This must be qualified with the observation that even prior to the present renewed emphasis on “ethnics” by CIA U.S. domestic counterinsurgency programs, the U.S. capitalist ruling circles for over a century have exploited the fragmentation of the working-class through encouraging ethnic parochialism. In all, despite the cultural advantages of the U.S.A., a large section of Irish-Americans, through combined defensive militancy, parochialist ethnic piggishness, and nurture of such arrangements from above, had maintained Catholic traditions in the household, thus perpetuating a large part of that special heritage of cultural backwardness in the family despite the contrary favorable circumstances available to those working-class families.

The kernel of the oppression of the U.S.-Irish-American family through the mediation of the Church is locatable in the prohibition against birth control, subjugating the Irish-American Catholic family to a hideous mind-and-body-eroding orgy of fertility, driving the mothers to the most fanatical extremes of female sadism and otherwise creating the most oppressive conditions of home life for the hapless children. Such an oppression demoralized the next generation into a preference for Catholic superstitiousness. (A generation of birth control and the Irish Catholic parishes in the U.S.A. would disappear.)

It is, of course, true that humanism transformed Catholicism over the same period that it gave birth to Protestantism. The emergence of the Jesuit order itself expresses the insurgence of the rationalist tendency within Catholicism. The case of the gifted, wretched Erasmus epitomizes that transformation of Western European languages during the fifteenth and early sixteenth centuries, employing the medium of the printed word to realize the explosive revolution in languages being initiated through imposition of Latin and Greek to enrich the syntax and vocabularies. Cervantes (possible of Jewish or partially-Jewish parentage) almost creates modern Spanish, Rabelais brings French to the height of its potential for expressing important conceptions (since which, the Immortals have been bringing death to the medium of French intellectual life)[79], etc., typifying an explosive creative ferment in which Catholicism shared as much in certain leading respects as Protestantism. In such features, although the history of that period is rational, it is more wonderfully involuted than would permit systematic untangling in this immediate context.

It is the essentials of the matter which concern us here. Feuerbach, continuing his self-revealing obsession with Mariolatry, makes a forceful correlated assertion against Protestant theology:

Protestantism has set aside the Mother of God but this deposition of women has been severally avenged. The arms which it has used against the Mother of God have turned against itself, against the Son of God, against the whole Trinity. He who has once offered up the Mother of God to the understanding, is not far from sacrificing the mystery of the Son of God as an anthropomorphism.[80]

It should be clear that Feuerbach is not defending religion. Quite the contrary:

The triune God has a substantial meaning only where there is an abstraction from the substance of real life. The more empty life is, the fuller, the more concrete is God. ... Only a poor man has a rich God ... Here we have the true explanation of the fact that the Trinity has in modern times lost first its practical, and ultimately its theoretical significance.[81]

Indeed, Feuerbach's thesis is that man's discovery of that quality of love identified with a self-consciousness of species-being stands in opposition to Faith, and is to be sought with the consequence of the end of religious belief — as man secures to practical life that universal which as former want was set opposite to man, as the reflection of such a want, in the Heavens.

The significant issue against Feuerbach is located in his identification of those earthly wants he accounts as reflected in alienated religious apotheoses. The significance of his obsession with the Virgin Mary is not a theological issue as such, but an issue of determining which qualities of human relationships are actually human, and which alienated and hence relatively bestial. Feuerbach sees Protestantism as progressive over Catholicism only in respect to the immanent waning of Faith under human progress, which is of course half the truth of the matter in a certain, restricted sense. However, the actual insurgence of Protestantism was, ironically, a fierce epidemic of nothing but Faith. Protestantism self-consciously distinguished itself from Catholicism by making Faith the cornerstone of salvation. Feuerbach's faulty view of the matter coincides with a defect in his epistemology.

The principal real reason for the de-emphasis on the Virgin Mary in Protestantism is, as already stated, the shift of Protestant doctrine toward a pure Logos-doctrine, moving in that direction up to, the absolute stopping-place of, the doctrine of the “imitation of Christ.” Hence, the Protestant weakening of that principle of idolatry which is the continuing principle distinction of the Catholic doctrine. With that, the decrease in the importance of the Mother of Idolatry.

As we have also noted above, the Reformation was charactered by evangelism, by virtual epidemics of the religious experience, in which events reason in the form of interpretation of the words of the Bible immediately intersected the overflowing of the “oceanic” feeling, and with an accompanying outpouring of Pentecostalist tendencies which the Fathers of the Reformation perpetually attempted to suppress, and not without considerable difficulty. It is reported by Macaulay, among others, that Cromwell's Roundheads during their continental depredations did far more severe and permanent damage to the cathedrals they came across than to the military forces they dispersed before them.[82] The method of evangelism, which supplied those warriors with the political aspect of their martial regimen, undoubtedly had more to do with such anti-idolatrous fervor of the Logos than any body of formal Protestant doctrine. The proper metaphor to be adduced from psychoanalytical insights is that the “oceanic” feeling topples and subsumes whatever banal objects stands in its way. The Logos, as Feuerbach refuses to acknowledge its existence is the kernel of the matter; the Logos is the unity of reason with the “oceanic” feeling, combined a force that sweeps the infantile Ego and its witch-like mother-images before it.

It is of somewhat secondary but substantial importance that the social conditions accompanying the emergence of Protestantism fractured the fixedness of family life. The long reign of monotonous hereditary predestination through the family is broken by the swarms of displaced peasantry, and the accompanying erosion of the fixed Papal order in the emergence of semi-bourgeoisified nation-states and nation-languages. There remains a strong distinction for the individual between locality and strange places, between the inner reality of family life and the “outside world,” more strong than we know it today. Yet, relative to the old order, the hideously oppressive monotony and changelessness — idiocy — of the old family life was qualitatively undermined.

The emergence of Protestantism does not, in itself, represent the weakening of religious belief which it indirectly forebodes. It is the progress of science, leading toward the super-session of the capitalist development which brings Protestantism into being, and the emergence of the hubristic working-class political movement, which will end the religious life. Protestantism is in itself, at its origins, a fanatical intensification of religious belief. It is that fanatical energy, not a diminution of the quality of religious faith, which swept Mariolatry aside.

Indeed, relative to the decaying Catholicism around it, Protestantism represented at its inception virtually a return to religious faith, and embodies at that juncture a truer reflection of man's innermost religious needs than that which it supersedes. It is then, as it hazily perceives itself to be, a return in one sense to the Church of the apostles from the post-apostolic church of the bishops. This does not occur as an actual return to the Christian religion of the Roman Empire, but only a getting down to the contemporary psychological roots of a Christianity in the course of putting a new superstructure upon it.

The emphasis on adult baptism underscores this. The idea of immersion in water, as a psychoanalytical phenomenon, does not occur because of “birth traumas” or such wild edifications[83], nor does its explanation require any involuted explanations of other sorts. The unconscious mind identifies the fundamental emotion with “oceanic” qualities, not because someone has seen an ocean, etc. The same notion, perhaps with a different word attached, would occur if the individual had never met even a sizeable pool of water. The word, “oceanic,” is the only sort of term which describes the feeling. The feeling also coincides with the fear of drowning, and perhaps also causes a special kind of terror to be attached to that fear. To the individual stubbornly holding to his infantile Ego-identity at the onset of this feeling, the experiencing of that emotion does occur as a kind of death, the death of the Ego. The importance of adult baptism in religion ought therefore to be obvious enough, once we have identified the Logos-feeling aspect of the religious experience, and the correlation of the outbursts of the religious experience with evangelism. At the point of conversion (the onset of the religious feeling) immersion in water, or the very idea of submitting to Immersion in water, is an abandonment of resistance to the forthcoming of the “oceanic” emotion. Any psychoanalyst who had encountered the phenomena of the “Love-Death” feeling in depth analysis should recognize and correlate that point immediately.

It is merely collateral that the material conditions of life of the French peasantry (for example) significantly deteriorated with the rise of mercantile capitalism (e.g., the house of Bardi, Medici, et al.). It might appear to lend support to Feuerbach's thesis that the period of the most hideous deterioration in the material conditions of life in Europe generally coincide with the success of the Catholic counter-reformation; in the broader view of such matters, there is no direct correlation of that sort. The correlation is located in something that would usually correspond to a general increase in wealth, an increased intellectual ferment, associated with the realization of political, social, and technological innovations in part in the direct development of the productive forces. The already-cited point, respecting the increase in religious fervor accompanying the rise of Protestantism is perhaps sufficient observation for the purposes of this paper.

The essential systematic flaw in Feuerbach's doctrine of the Trinity remains. His total misconception of the decline of Mariolatry in Protestantism is entirely rooted in his own neurotic need to throw out the Logos (Holy Spirit) in the interests of apotheosizing mother-love not merely as a religious but a human principle.

The significance of this for epistemology is that in that obsession, we have not only the kernel of all his blunders respecting Hegel's notion of the Logos[84], but we have located the neurotogenic premises which lead into his failure to recognize any of the essential qualities of the actual Logos, the actual qualities of the unity of reason and the fundamental emotion in the matured self-conscious self.

In adhering to “mother-love,” Feuerbach adopts the world-outlook of not only Satan herself, but, more important, reflects in his criticism of religion, his neurotic need and compulsion to apotheosize the universal witch, the Virgin Mary, his corresponding real need to worship the mundane witch, the witch in his own unconscious processes. In making his case for mother-love, Feuerbach identifies himself firmly with the infantile Ego, against giving potency (the feeling of “I”) to the self-conscious self. Thus, as he plants himself in defense of the Satanic doctrine of superstition in religious belief, he merely reflects his adherence to the corresponding superstition in the real world, his “dirty-Judaical” fetishism for the fixed object of infantile Ego elation, “reductionism.”[85]


The most important conspicuous and direct evidence which leads toward identification of his general blunder in epistemology is Feuerbach's failure, or refusal, to destroy the self-alienation of the religious man's Logos as it is reflected in the form of the Christian Trinity. On this account, having now identified the lurid and indisputable outcome of such merely apparent tendencies within earlier chapters, we are equipped to identify such tendencies as the actual blunders they suggested themselves to be. Since it is in those same earlier chapters that Feuerbach sets forth his most important contributions, a retrospective attack on the included blunders provides us the clearest, most direct means for showing the connection between what we have identified as his neurotogenic obsessions and the devastating flaws these introduce to his epistemology.

In the first chapter, “Introduction,” he identifies the essence of religion as the apotheosis of an essentially human quality which man experiences within himself. This quality he describes as a feeling which contemplates only itself (and no other objects) through the mediation of self-consciousness. In religious belief, he outlines, man creates an external object to correspond as the idea of a universal for that inwardly experienced, but universal-to-man human self-conscious knowledge.[86]

In that second chapter, “God As A Being Of The Understanding,” he contradicts himself, ignoring his emphasis on the self-conscious, self-subsisting human feeling in the preceding chapter, but otherwise correctly insists on the following principle:

Disunion exists only between beings who are at variance, but who ought to be one, who can be one, and who consequently in nature, are one. (87)

and, shortly thereafter, proceeds to the topic of God:

This nature is nothing but the intelligence —the reason or the understanding. God as the antithesis of man, as a being not human, i.e., not personally human, is the objective nature of the understanding.(88)

That is, the objectification as universal, as God, of human reason itself.

Since he has previously equated God with the “oceanic” feeling, and now with universal reason, it would seem to follow, God being both, that the “oceanic” feeling and universal reason are the same existence. However, he begins to argue that exactly the contrary is the case:

The pure, perfected divine nature is the self-consciousness of the understanding, the consciousness which understanding has of its own perfection;(89)

so far, excellent, but he continues after the semi-colon:

it has no desires, no passions, no wants, and, for that reason, no deficiencies and weaknesses, as the heart does. (90)

to which he immediately adds the following, most clinically revealing qualification:

Men in whom the intellect predominates, who, with one-sided but all the more characteristic definiteness, embody and personify for us the nature of the understanding, are free from the anguish of the heart, from the passions, the excesses of the man who has strong emotions. (91)

To which he adds this point of emphasis:

they are not passionately interested in any finite, i.e., particular object; they do not give themselves In pledge;(92)

and, then, three most astonishing — but not clinically incomprehensible — words in apposition to this:

they are free.(93)

Then, a short space beyond:

The understanding is that part of our nature which is neutral, impassible, not to be bribed, not subject to illusions — the pure, passionless light of the intelligence.(94)

After developing the argument in this vein for a while, he sums up the burden of the chapter's topic:

God as God — as a purely unthinkable being, an object of the intellect — is thus nothing else than the reason in its utmost intensification become objective to itself.(95)

to which he shortly thereafter adds the stipulation:

The understanding is thus the original, primitive being.(96)

But, what of the feeling cited as the primitive essence of religious belief in the preceding chapter?

The contradiction in this development is then exposed more clearly in the third chapter, “God As A Moral Being, Or Law”:

God as God — the infinite, universal, non-anthropomorphic being of the understanding, has no more significance for religion than a fundamental general principle has for a special science; it is merely the ultimate point of support — as it were, the mathematical point of religion.(97)

and therewith begins to add several most self-illuminating expressions of his neurotic obsession:

The first of these might appear to be innocent enough, if we were not already familiar with the falsification of the “Trinity” and “Logos” in later chapters:

The consciousness of human limitation or nothingness which is united with the idea of this being, is by no means a religious consciousness; on the contrary, it characterizes skeptics, materialists, and patheists.”(98)

The term, “nothingness,” is tell-tale here. Feuerbach's inability to comprehend Spinoza's notion of the infinite, and his clumsy effort to see Hegel's Logos as essentially a form of Schelling's infinite, are reflections of his own failure to conceive of infinite continuity as negentropy, as the primitive substance of negentropy, determining the necessary existence of predicated particular objects. Hence, he refuses to comprehend the significance of Hegel's gibe at Schelling's “night in which all cows are black,” at the nothingness of Schelling's infinite.[99] The genius of Hegel is that his infinite reason is not bare, not undifferentiated linear extension, but a self-subsisting negentropic space-time, which, therefore, is cognitively comprehensible.

Feuerbach continues:

The belief in God — at least in the God of religion — is only lost where, as in skepticism, materialism, and pantheism, the belief in man is lost, at least in man as he is presupposed in religion ... The vital elements of religion are those which make man an object to man. To deny man is to deny religion.(100)

To avoid unnecessary difficulties for the reader, we should concede that in the foregoing Feuerbach is subsuming a valid humanist argument, but in both a muddy fashion and in connection with a principal assertion we shall expose as false. It is true that Christian religion, especially those newer forms of Christian doctrine which appeared during and after the Renaissance, do emphasize a relatively human quality man, in opposition to the prevailing relative bestialization of individual man in everyday secular practice. In that restricted sense, religion does fundamentally distinguish man for man from the beasts, and Feuerbach's argument is to that extent approximately well-founded. However, the contextual argument within which he situates this point is a different matter.

He develops his point there:

It certainly is the interest of religion that its object should be distinct from man; but it is also, nay, yet more, its interest that this object should have human attributes. That he should be a distinct being concerns his existence only; but that he should be human concerns his essence.(101)

In itself, this passage is merely ambiguous; it might be correct or wrong, according to context. The intended error is made clear:

A God, therefore, who expresses only the nature of the understanding does not satisfy religion, is not the God of religion.(102)

The problem which Feuerbach creates in this connection is that he himself has asserted the separation of reason from the fundamental emotion, thus inventing for his own purposes a feelingless God of pure understanding, who is certainly not the passionate Jehovah, perpetually terrifying the prophets with his rages. It is also he himself who asserted that the universal form of the understanding must appear to man as a kind of nothingness on account of its alleged lack of self-differentiation. On this point, he ignores Hegel, uses this ignoring as a premise, and on that premise constructs a “proof” which he then submits as refutation of Hegel's Logos![103] If, in contrast to Feuerbach's assertions, we acknowledge the unity of self-conscious reason and the fundamental emotion, and the negentropic self-differentiation of a rational continuum, then his God of the understanding corresponds to a being whose nature is in exact agreement with the essence of self-conscious man, and whose form of negentropically self-differentiated universal understanding is cognizable as a universality. Such a God may indeed not be the God of religion, but for quite different reasons than Feuerbach submits here.

In general, Feuerbach's argument, even in the opening chapters, is gradually thus accruing a monstrous burden of contradictory rubbish, which he must — speaking formally — either clear away in subsequent development or fall victim to in the form of gross, lurid errors respecting the main issues of his inquiry. If he were saying such things as we cite merely as a matter of detailing clinical evidence of religious beliefs, then he would be obliged to continue doing so in pursuit of an accurate account of such beliefs. In that case, presuming he later analyzed those errors of such belief, it would be silly to attack the author himself for the blunders represented to that purpose. In fact, we already know from our preceding sections' criticism of his neurotogenic treatment of the “Trinity” and “Logos” that he not only does not disassociate himself from those contradictions, but rather exploits them as virtual premises in defending his obsession with the image of the Virgin Mary. Moreover, the contradictions to be examined now are directly connected to the systematic errors of his general epistemology, including those blunders Marx identifies in the “Theses On Feuerbach.”

We list the following points of fallacy from the chapters reviewed so far:

(1) The categorical separation of the “heart” and “head,” which otherwise pervades his principal writings of that entire period.

(2) The cognate (or, “hereditary”) fallacy, that a man of reason is so distinguished by “disinterest” in earthly matters, by a lack of passion of goals. Although this is at sharpest odds with the thrust of his denunciation of “kosher” scholarship, he is otherwise systematically committed to this fallacy in respect to the internal elaboration of epistemology.

(3) The absence of a notion of positive evolution (self-subsisting positive) in respect to reason.

(4) In general, a wholly contradictory view of his representation of “feeling” (first chapter) on the one hand and “reason” as the essence of God on the other.

The Clinical View

There is no psychoanalytical mystery in such errors. He is primarily a bourgeois neurotic of relatively extraordinary self-conscious intelligence, so extraordinary in the form, substance, and importance of his contributions that he must be generally regarded as one of history's outstanding geniuses. Since he is a bourgeois neurotic as well as a genius, his “agony of self-consciousness” is also correspondingly more acute than ordinary.[104] His own statements cited above must be taken as clinically autobiographical in just that sense. He himself implicitly insists that we interpret his work in just this way: “I am nothing but a natural philosopher in the domain of the mind”[105] — which is to say that like Hegel's Phenomenology, his book must be regarded as the outcome of a critical exploration of his own mind, a study of his own mental processes through a universalizing mode of investigation of the mental behavior of variously the great thinkers and ordinary people of past and present of the society in which his own mental processes have been developed and are located.

When he writes of reason, he is describing his self-conscious self as he regards this self empirically, both (and chiefly) within his own mental experience, and as he uses that reflective insight to gain insight into the inner mental life of others. Yet, as he argues repeatedly in various locations, to define something is to distinguish it from something that it is not. What stands, then, in opposition to his self-conscious self within his own experience of his own inner mental life? What else but his infantile Ego? He says just that as he writes: “I has no desires, no passions, no wants, and for that reason, no deficiencies and weaknesses, as the heart has."[106] For him, the reason is the “head,” the self-conscious self, counterposed to but enslaved to a common person with the “heart,” the infantile Ego.[107] He counterposes the impotent nobility of his own reason to the infantile passions of his “mother-image”-dominated Ego.

This is exactly the picture of his own mental life which he demands we recognize as he counterposes the God of reason to a God of religion. By locating the latter in respect to the realm of the “heart” (infantile feeling), he rejects the potency of the God of reason (Jehovah) for the “trinity” of the superstitious witches, in which company all the “unfeeling qualities” of the God of reason are approximated to Feuerbach's own idealized perception of a cruelly cold, unfemininely “rational,” earthly father.[108]

How does he reconcile this with the religious feeling he identified in his first chapter? The “oceanic” feeling is as infantile and universal as the universal form of reason excludes (as humanly incomprehensible) from religion on just these grounds of quality:

... feeling is the essential organ of religion, the nature of God is nothing else than an expression of the nature of feeling. (109)

“Nothing else”? But, he himself wrote not many pages later: “The understanding is thus the original primitive being,” a being free of the “heart's” defect of feeling!!!! But, in the opening chapter he was as wholly unambiguous on this point as “nothing else” implies:

What, then, makes this feeling religious? A given object? Not at all; for this object is itself a religious one only when it is not an object of the cold understanding or memory, but of feeling.(110)

God is pure, unlimited, free Feeling.(111)

He also situated the cognition of this feeling:

Religion being identical with the distinctive characteristic of man, is then identical with self-consciousness — with the consciousness which man has of his nature. But, religion, expressed generally, is consciousness of the infinite; thus it is and can be nothing else than the consciousness which man has of his own — not finite and limited, but infinite nature.(112)

Again, “nothing else”! This time — and we have cited from near the outset of the opening chapter — self-consciousness, the identity and form of universal reason, is the quality to which the highest, most primitive truth is attributed. Indeed, all through the opening chapter, or at least the bulk of it, he constantly argues to the effect that the universal feeling and universal reason are the common quality of self-consciousness. Yet, again, that same set of qualities which, in a later chapter, specifies self-conscious reason to be incomprehensible to man, is here repeatedly equated with the unique human power for self-conscious perception of just such qualities!*

  • The reader must not be put off by the term, “infinite” in such connections. We shall shortly deal at length with this, and thus wholly demystify that term, which — as we shall demonstrate — has an exact and indispensable scientific meaning, with no connection to the usual infantile usage of the same word in either the pulpit or undergraduate calculus classrooms. We put that clarification to the following section, so that we might not — because of the length and concentrated attention and explication required — lose connection with the immediate point under development.

Despite the ambiguities, Feuerbach has empirical knowledge of the agreement between self-conscious reason and this special, infinite or “oceanic” feeling, and he properly reports that this feeling is knowable only to self-consciousness. Hence, one might think he ought to be most embarrassed to see himself later asserting that the essence of reason is alien to passion, after he had already reported self-consciousness to be associated with the strongest of passions, or to regard passion as a weakness with respect to reason, when he earlier associated the highest form of self-consciousness with the most intense and virtuous quality of passion!

Parallels to “Neurotic Resistance”

Such a problem of hysterical self-contradiction is not strange to clinical experience of neurotic resistance. Indeed, Feuerbach's later obsessive falsification of his own opening statements is exemplary of the exact substance which represents outright lying by the patient. “But, a while ago, you said,” the analyst might challenge the subject, to which the subject would reply with a categorical denial. If a tape of the remark were played back then, the patient (unless he or she “came out of it” with such prompting) would in virtually every such case declare that the tape lied, justifying that by the observation that he or she was not responsible to explain how the analyst had rigged his tape machine to effect such falsifications. All the while, the patient's self-conscious self would sit impotently within the head, watching the hysterical Ego putting forth such lies, knowing that the mouth was lying. Later, when self-consciousness was enabled to use the individual's mouth, the patient would almost invariably report such passive knowledge of the Ego's lying: “It was all lies, but I couldn't break through to stop myself from lying.”

When the infantile Ego's affiliation to control by the mother-image is most severely challenged, the subject almost invariably suffers an unusual degree of disassociation, reflected by intense outwardly personality changes and more or less direct control by the “mother-image” in place of the usual “power behind the Ego” arrangement. Usually, the facial and bodily expressions, the tone of voice, etc., are either parodies of the patient's mother's attitudes, grimaces, etc., or the patient's own childhood postures, etc., under circumstances in which he or she was being subjected to an unusually intense sort of will-bending effort by the mother or mother-surrogate. The arguments, words, phrases, coming from the patient's mouth are frequently “playbacks” from the subject's experience of the mother's such idiosyncrasies. In subjects under the most intense internal pressures, or more commonly in those with pronounced schizophrenic tendencies, the direct take-over by the mother's personality, or strictly speaking, the mother-image's personality, is total and manifest in the ugliest sort of way.

In such circumstances, the question of “Which of the three of you is speaking?” assumes its eeriest implications: self-conscious self, mother-image-dominated infantile Ego, or mother-image herself. Indeed, it is just such ugly experiences which provide the analyst with his next-to-strongest empirical certainty of the “structure” and dynamics of the bourgeois mental life. (The strongest evidence occurs in depth analysis of the sort associated with digging out a potential psychosis.) In such cases, the analyst concentrates on discriminating between his speaking variously to each of these three; no one who has participated in several such sessions would retain any doubts respecting the organization of bourgeois mental life.

The strongest resistance by neurotics is usually associated (indeed, in the overwhelming number of instances) with the threatened onset of the fundamental emotion. At least, this is obviously the case for application of the writer's methods, which are directed toward early depth analysis. In other cases, the same is necessarily the case, although the weaker expression of the threat may seem to suggest other considerations as primary. At critical junctures in analysis, this involves the most direct opposition of self-conscious self to infantile Ego. (A critical juncture in analysis is a point at which the associative location of a line of recollection leading toward the “unlocking” recollections has been isolated. Since, at that stage of analysis, shame of disclosure itself has ceased to be a more than moderately significant consideration, the fear which blocks recollection is fear of a quality of feeling which the recollection, in the subject's prescience, will bring forth. Indeed, the block becomes a real block after the analyst and subject have agreed on the essential character of the events, etc., which are “hidden” behind the blocking of recollection, so that the subject already knows that any “shameful” aspects of the recollection are already out in the open. The essential block is a fear of a feeling.) The threat of upsurge of recollection of an early-childhood located sense of “oceanic” “love-death” is a threat to the infantile Ego. Hence, since the Ego is defending itself against that feeling by attempting to hold obsessively to some distracting particular idea or negative recollection, it merely appears that the particular ideas are the substance of the blocking; in fact, they are merely devices collateral to the blocking-activity. The essential issue of resistance at such critical junctures (especially) is the attempt of the Ego to retain possession of the “I” of identity, to retain control of the person, against a threatened take-over by the self-conscious self.

The threat might not seem important to observers, since the Ego ordinarily experiences — in exceptional persons of the sort our experience is chiefly occupied with — a rather frequent takeover of the self by self-consciousness. What is at issue is the ability of the Ego to reassume control from the self-consciousness at the point that any of its special prerogatives are involved: especially various forms of sexual activities, and other ordinary “ego” matters.

Often enough, notably in the case of the Macho's sexual behavior, for one extreme example, self-consciousness is condemned either to helplessly watch a degrading spectacle it despises, or to be put to sleep and later reawaken to realize what sort of hideous charade has occurred during its slumbers.[113] As the extreme case of habitual sexual self-degradation illustrates most clearly, the upsurge of “mother-love” feeling from the witch ordinarily makes the Ego more powerful than the self-conscious “I,” so that to counteract this dismal habit, the self-conscious self must acquire deliberate control of its characteristic emotions to an extent sufficient to more than override the infantile sexual impulses turned on by the mother-image. The sought alteration of mental life thus requires that the “trick” portending the onset of the witch's sexual games be recognized (“cathexized”) as a sudden burst of a significant upsurge of the fundamental emotion (not necessarily the “oceanic” quality of that emotion) to counteract the witch at the outset. Once the individual has broken through on the “sexual” tricks of the witch, he or she has acquired the rudimentary form of a general means by which to ultimately eliminate the use of the infantile Ego entirely.

Although all three existences, self-consciousness, Ego, and witch, generally share the mental powers and knowledge of the individual they jointly “possess,” neither the Ego nor its immediate master, the witch, are capable of mustering as powerful an emotion or the creative form of intelligence accessible (or, potentially accessible) to the self-conscious self. Once an educated (accultured) self-conscious intelligence has gained willful access to its fundamental emotion, it has the power to begin “regrowing” the entire mental processes to the effect of virtually eliminating the Ego and totally eliminating the witch. That is the real issue confronting the resisting Ego and witch at critical junctures of analysis.

Any person who has experienced analytical work must have been made aware of the increasing cleverness of the witch as the analysis proceeds. The witch gains some experience of the analyst's methods and personal capabilities in dealing with her tricks, and learns from such experience to the effect of inventing a few new tricks of her own. Hence, certain kinds of resistance become stronger as the analysis proceeds; if the analyst becomes better equipped, and has an ally of increased strength in the growing self-consciousness of the subject, the witch, too, is now no raw recruit in this battlefield. Specifically, by the point of analysis at which a critical juncture is reached, the witch is acutely sensible of the nature of the threat to her existence. Once the subject effects a fundamental breakthrough, the alliance of analyst and self-consciousness has gained, the witch knows, the essential conditions for winning the war — if not, therefore, all the ensuing particular battles. The critical juncture, as we have indicated, is defined as the sessions in which subject and analyst have isolated the recollection whose exposure will begin to unlock the basic tangle of the neurosis. Inevitably, since this recollection involves, directly or indirectly, some expression of the fundamental emotion, the witch digs in to fight with every weapon she can muster, including direct, naked takeover of the persona from the Ego.

Feuerbach's Witch Acts

That is, as we have indicated, approximately the case with the astonishing contradictions in Feuerbach's book. So long as Feuerbach has not applied his self-consciousness directly to critical-juncture materials through which he would gain total control over himself, away from the infantile Ego (and its witch), his self-consciousness is permitted to express itself without much interference from the witch. What, then, in this psychological setting of the matter, if he successfully locates the human qualities of the individual corresponding to the liturgical Trinity? This would require, as we have stated, a recognition — as Feuerbach himself almost stated in the opening chapter — that Hegel's Logos need only be modified to acknowledge that it is both reason and feeling (fundamental “cathexis”), and that it acts creatively to change the lawful order of the objective world as the mediation of its development as a self-subsisting positive. At this point, the self-conscious “I” would have to be regarded as self-sufficient, and the Ego and its witch-companion recognized as the evil overcome in the “imitation of Christ” in the passion and resurrection. As this danger to the witch develops, the witch intrudes, at first tentatively, and then more forcefully, then in the form of an obsessive takeover which compels the victim, Feuerbach, to boldly write lies, to deny what his self-conscious self argued, without conceding that any such statements had been made.

It is scarcely accidental that Feuerbach should situate such outrageous lying on the premise of his subjugation to the witch herself, invoking exactly the neurotogenic authority of “mother-love” and the image of the earthly early-nineteenth-century German petit-bourgeois family relations as what he never pretends to be more than an “intuitive” assertion against both Hegel and self-conscious reason itself.


To summarize this: Self-consciousness in the typical bourgeois individual is characterized by practical impotence, respecting the immediate practicalities of the individual's life. In all matters affecting the individual person qua bourgeois individual, qua heteronomic individual, of the otherwise self-consciously reasoning individual, the individual is controlled by the Edo-state identity, the infantile, mother-image-dominated self. Relative to the infantile antics of the Ego, the usual bourgeois individual, however otherwise rational, is impotent; his self-consciousness, if not blocked out entirely during such activities, can only watch helplessly with shame at the “deficiencies, the weaknesses, the heart has.”

Thus, the “purity” front passion which Feuerbach assigns to self-conscious reason. His self-conscious is emotionally impotent; it can only reason respecting matters which do not involve the prerogatives of his Ego, the practical “goals,” the subjects of infantile passions, of his Ego, his “heart.” Although he recognizes cathexis for those judgments of the reason which the Ego elects to employ, he sees the “head” and “heart” as opposites, since his “head” (reason) is one identity, self-consciousness, and his “heart” another, his infantile, witch-dominated Ego.

In particular, with respect to those material objects which are realized as subjects of his infantile Ego's prerogatives, the objects of sexual lust, gluttony, etc., he does not know the actual world in respect to reason, but only in respect to the infantile passion of elated object-possession which is the quality of his “mother-loving” Ego. Hence, he knows material objects only in their “dirty-judaical” form, since that is the only way in which his mother-image permits him to realize such objects. Hence, although his reason demands material objects as moments in a process of realization of higher states of the self-subsisting positive, the Logos, self-conscious reason, his mother-image will not permit him to discover such results; whenever a material object of his personal realization confronts him, she turns off his self-consciousness's power to act in the world and transfers control to the infantile Ego. Hence, Feuerbach knows actual material objects only as his Ego can know them, in a “dirty-judaical” fashion.

Hence, having discovered the Logos as both feeling and reason at the outset, the moment his mother-image assumes control of his pen, he is determined on no objective so passionately, so obsessively, as to bury that same Logos from sight — even to the extent of barefaced lying respecting the kernel of his inquiry, the liturgical Trinity.


We shall now consider the essential identity of our own and Karl Marx's criticisms of Feuerbach, and in that context show exactly where we go beyond Marx in the issues posed.

The special psychoanalytical approach we have employed as the standpoint for our criticism of Feuerbach's book indicates that he was unable to free himself of the neurotic “map” of the universe which is characteristic of the “mother-image”-dominated infantile Ego of capitalist cultures. Hence, in his criticism of religious belief, he commits two principle obsessive blunders, which represent sufficient evidence of the identity of his neurotic problem. Firstly, he waves aside the fundamental emotion (the Logos) in favor of the “more substantial” principle of “mother-love”[114]; this itself is characteristic of the “Ego-state” and the clinical correlatives of sexual impotence.[115] Secondly, he continues this same error as a central flaw in his entire epistemology, in the correlated form of an obsessive preoccupation with fixed objects, “reductionism.”

Apart from these particular, devastating and vicious flaws in his entire epistemology, he escapes from this infantile outlook at certain critical points in his work. Notably in the opening chapter and partially in the second, his self-conscious psychological standpoint is opposed to the Ego-state of, notably, the sixth chapter. Here, as in sections 32-33 and 58-64 of his Fundamental Principles, his connection to his own self-conscious self — and to his father-image of Hegel — is predominant. Clinically, this signifies that he has been able to think and write from a self-conscious standpoint on broad issues, but has regressed to the infantile world-outlook as his studies converge on more immediate matters of life.

He himself asserts such a distinction between the qualities of understanding and Ego-situated “mother-love” in connection with his startling characterization of the aspect of God which corresponds to the apotheosized pure understanding.[116] From the standpoint of man on earth, he asserts, understanding as such is incomprehensible. Man, to Feuerbach, is kept from such quality of understanding by the defeat of his passions, etc. As we have noted in this connection, he thus describes his own self-conscious understanding as impotent (lacking in either passion or objective goal). For Feuerbach, examining his own mental life, the self-conscious understanding is lacking in the impetus (passion) to actuate its reason as the will of a conscious identity with self-conscious real-world goals.

It must be interpolated here, so that the implied point is not left hanging, that in his God of pure understanding Feuerbach has essentially returned to the world-outlook of Kant's Critique of Practical Reason on this point. We shall shortly identify and develop the significance of that “hereditary” flaw in Feuerbach's argument.

Marx's “Theses” begin with the problem of the fixed object:

The chief defect of all hitherto existing materialism — that of Feuerbach included, is that the thing, reality, sensuousness, is conceived only in the form of the object or of contemplation, but not as human sensuous activity, practice, not subjectively.(117)

That is, that the thing is either axiomatically regarded as a self-evident object, a thing-in-itself, or that the discreteness of the appearance is taken as reflecting the existence of a thing-in-itself. (The latter, essentially the standpoint of the Kantian view of human understanding.) Feuerbach continues in the error of ignoring the fact that the object is to be understood as a determined feature of human activity, the concept of the discrete object a necessary but determined subjective concept derived from human social practice. In short, that the concept of the discrete object does not reflect the axiomatic existence of discrete things-in-themselves behind those subjective appearances.

Hence it happened that the active side, in contradistinction to materialism, was developed by idealism.

So-called “idealism” (N.B., Hegel) takes the subjective side of human existence as its principal subject of inquiry, i.e., psychology, and therewith concentrates on examining the ordering of those mental processes through which ideas are both determined and determined to the end of providing a coherent overview of the world as it is psychologically experienced. “Idealism” thus deals with the lawful processes by which the mind creates object-images, etc. “Idealism” thus treats the active side of life in respect to its concentration on defining concepts, by study of the way in which concepts are created by the mind. To “idealism,” the content of an idea is the specific process which necessarily creates that idea. Hence, “idealism” enabled man to break through that ingenuous, axiomatic belief in the given discrete object which is the hallmark and essential impotence of materialism.

— but only abstractly, since, of course, idealism does not know real, sensuous activity as such.

The defect of “idealism” is this. Although scientific psychology — in the sense of that science exemplified by Hegel's Phenomenology — represents reality as reality is reflected entirely within the mental processes, it has the flaw that it does not go outside mental processes to locate the appropriateness of mental laws to the existence of the thinker. Psychology per se fails to examine the quality of mind from the standpoint of the practical determination of the existence of the thinkers through the consequences of willful action regulated by a certain quality of psychological life as a whole.

Feuerbach wants sensuous objects, really differentiated from thought objects,

The positive achievement of Feuerbach is to locate the significance of psychology-in-general in the measure of its appropriateness to a material practice through which the existence of the thinker is determined.

but he does not conceive human activity itself as objective activity.

In Feuerbach, it is the objects of the “outside world” which are uniquely real, except as he admits (and indeed insists) that corporeal man himself is real in. this way. However, he does not — as Marx properly emphasizes here — acknowledge that man's willful action upon those objects is the essence of objectivity. From our standpoint, Feuerbach fails to recognize that objectivity is located, not in the concept of the objects, but in the conceptualization of human (willful) activity as the substance of objectivity, in respect to which the concept of the object itself is merely a predicate of that essential objective subject-matter.

Hence, in the Essence of Christianity, he regards the theoretical attitude as the only genuinely human attitude,

E.g., Chapter Two: God as the alienated idea of the incomprehensible-to-man apotheosis of his own understanding.

while practice is conceived and fixed only in its dirty-judaical form of appearance.

E.g., Chapter Six, in which the Logos is rejected from Feuerbach's Christian “trinity” in favor of the dirty idolatry of Mariolatry.

Hence, he does not grasp the significance of ‘revolutionary,' or ‘practical-critical,' activity.

In that there is already the essence of Marx's advances over both Hegel and Feuerbach. Here is already stated the essence Of Marx's notion of “expanded reproduction,” as we otherwise find this same conception of “supra-historical” revolutionary practice and practical-critical activity summed up afresh in the “Freedom”/“Necessity” thesis from the last section of Volume III of Capital.

We can immediately adduce that same thesis as the positive principle for which Marx argues even within the bounds of the first of his “Theses On Feuerbach.”

Classical materialism locates reality as something existing apart from man's will, and to that effect treats the world of objects qua objects as the only reality. To this classical-materialist point of view, man himself is real only as he himself is first located as an object detached from his own will, as an ordinary material body. This materialism then attempts to account for the will itself as a mere epiphenomenon of that world of objects in which the human body is located.

Into this religion intrudes with its ontological paradoxes. The essence of rationalist theology is therefore to entirely accept the classical-materialist view of the sensuous world, and to account for the human will as either a deus ex machina, or as the interplay of contending spiritual powers from outside the physical world. The essence of all theological argument in this connection is to prove the existence of God by exposing the empirical proofs of the absurdity of the claims of completeness for classical materialism.

Kant was the first thinker to make a general systematical attack on both classical materialism and theology from the vantage-point of classical materialism.[118] By focusing on the sensuous aspect of the will in human practice, instead of merely occupying himself with the abstract issue of the origins of a purely abstract “free will,” he developed his “fundamental antinomy.” Given the sort of mechanical predetermination implicit in the Euler-Lagrange notion of a total universe of lawful mechanistic relations in a present given state, he identified the predicament created for the notion of completeness in such physical science once we recognize that the human will itself becomes a material cause for succeeding states of the whole universe through human willful practice.

In more recent times, emphatically so since the demoralization which has overtaken intellectual life since the end of the First World War, the Kantian antinomy has been brushed aside. This has been permitted chiefly on the basis of the shared imbecility of self-sty led philosophers; each being too poor in mental vigor to consider “universals,” they have agreed to make no embarrassing references to the fact that this debilitation is indeed a debilitation. As it might once have been argued, “The world is flat! Everyone here knows that!” so modern “philosophers” deny their intellectual pauper's certifiability under the pathetic protocol, “There are, we all know, no ‘universals.' ” At the same time, a specious “scientologists' ” sort of supplementary case has also been offered, pretending that the solution to the Kantian antinomy is obtained in the substitution of “probability” for simple cause-effect relations. Obviously, Kant's fundamental antinomy applies as rigorously and comprehensively to a “probabilistic” as to a simple causal form of the celeste mecanique. Respecting the cited “philosophers,” one is reminded of the undergraduate students who protest that certain topics “are too complicated” to be included in the matters of final examination; as one knows, such students can be most emphatically moralistic — confronting the instructor like a mass, of justly-indignant rats in such pleadings. The essence of all such posturing is the superstitious conceit that the universe is obliged — in all decency, no less! — to limit its laws to those which ignorant students — and professors — find agreeable to the puny dimensions of their intellects.

What Marx properly demands, and this also represents his fundamental, original contribution to all science, is his seemingly rudimentary proposition: instead of making the world of sensuous objects the location of reality, let us make human sensuous, objective activity itself the unique subject of scientific inquiry. Instead of locating the reality of human practice in its seeming appropriateness to “self-evident objects,” let us demand that the notion of objects be subordinated to the reality of human practice. The continuum of human practice is for Marx the unique, universal subject of all scientific inquiry.

At first, this seems impossible to accomplish. How shall we judge human practice? If we adopt the existence of the entire human species as the objective goal of human practice, the apparent difficulty begins to evaporate. The significance of the object as predicate of the subject, human social practice in general, is now entirely defined by the momentary significance of that object as the mediation of two successive moments of human practice.

Hence, the neurotic, empiricist absurdity of the little Sraffa book, The Production of Commodities By Commodities, in which human practice is degraded to a mere mediation of the self-reproduction of those objects which, as commodities, are distinguished from non-self-reproductive objects only because they are objects of social consumption, i.e., objects distinguished as predicates of human social reproduction!

The last remaining difficulty in the way of making Marx's discovery the entire basis for scientific knowledge is removed once we have located the necessity of negentropic development of human practice itself, as we stated the case in “Beyond Psychoanalysis” and elsewhere.[119] Once we have done two things in this connection, everything else falls into place in a coherent whole.

Firstly, as Marx sums this up in the cited “Freedom”/“Necessity” passage, we have to abstract the general equivalent for an exponential positive value of S'/(C+V) as the general requirement of human practice, the reflection, as an abstraction, of the essence of our subject, universalizing human social-evolutionary practice. Hence, Marx's emphasis on “revolutionary.”

Secondly, we must comprehend (conceptualize) the determining effect of the material conditions of life on the productive powers of labor, as Marx also emphasizes in the cited “Freedom”/“Necessity” passage. There are no “basic human consumption wants,” through which to distinguish “necessities” from “luxuries.” Human wants are determined differently according to what society wants from man, according to the required productive powers of man for maintaining the rate of general productive development in accordance with the emerging new needs of human existence.

In this respect, since the “absolute” amounts “C” and “V” of the expression, S'/(C+V) are rising at least as rapidly as the ratio itself must rise, we are required to make this notion immediately the central principle of, firstly, human ecology, and secondly, ecology in general. The biosphere then becomes characterized by rising values of an invariant analogous to exponential positive values of S'/(C+V), a “world-line.” Coherence demands that the same principle of “world-line” be extended to the inorganic universe generally, on penalty of worshiping an elan vital.

The historical significance of S' in ecology generally as well as in human ecology in particular, is that S' is essentially realized as necessary new qualities of the process which become thus new, determinate, necessary particularities. When we equate ecology to a general thermodynamics, focusing thus on the import of this for the “energy relations” content of ecological evolution, the implicit approach to be introduced to theoretical. hypothesizing in mathematical physics follows.

Marx's shortcoming, his only fundamental shortcoming as a Marxian theoretician, is his inability to get beyond his own bare conception of the new scientific principle. This shows up, as we have noted, in his most inappropriate approach to mathematics and mathematical physics, and in the failure of his efforts to develop an elaborated model of expanded reproduction from the pedagogical point of reference of models of simple reproduction. In Capital itself, the exact nature of this difficulty is made plain by study of the contradiction between his formal amplifications of models of particular capital, in which he never succeeds in locating expanded reproduction, and his clear conception of that same expanded reproduction in other locations. Noting the order in which the various relevant parts of Capital were actually drafted[120], it becomes indisputable that this contradiction in Marx's work does not correspond, essentially, to different periods of his life. He possessed a clear general conception of expanded reproduction both before and after he failed in his attempts to reach the standpoint of expanded reproduction from the starting-point of models of simple reproduction.[121]

The essential significance of the present writer's fundamental contributions of Marxian theory is that this recent addition to Marxian theory as a whole corrects the only significant systematical error in the entire work as otherwise given by Marx. Hence, thus now being enabled to put the entirety of Marxian theory together, as could not be done before this, we are situated to defend Marx's own essential discoveries with an authority and forcefulness of comprehensive elaboration not previously possible. We seem to “read into” the first of the “Theses” the notion of transfinite invariance, etc., as we have summarily identified that above in defending Marx's notion of human practice. Yet, at the same time we thus factually add something to the extent to which Marx elaborated his own case, we have added nothing that was not already essential to defense of Marx's argument at the time those “Theses” were first composed.

The most difficult notion which we have to communicate is the concept of a continuity necessarily creating definite individual existences. Admittedly, modern topology implies an approach toward such an overview of true processes, but still lacks the most essential concept through which to realize such a potentiality. This problem identifies thus the essential discovery of Hegel: how to conceptualize a true continuum which did not fall into the Schelling-like “night in which all cows are black.” It is no true solution to the problem of conceptualizing true continuity to merely show that a continuous principle ought to be discovered to be immanent in every individual existence; it is necessary to show that self-existence of true continuity must necessarily create individual existence.

We treat that conceptual problem of “true infinity” here for two reasons. Generally — in the general interest respecting various activities actually or imminently in progress, it is necessary to proceed beyond what we have previously published on this core-problem of dialectical method. More immediately, for the tasks of the present paper, the clearer the reader's notion of the form of the Logos-concept in Hegel, the more probable his power to comprehend two decisive features of Feuerbach's problem. On the one side, to understand the form of the Logos-concept is to locate all of Feuerbach's formal blunders and ignorance in this connection. Otherwise, on the psychoanalytical side, this goes directly to the principal burden of our stated objective. As we show exactly what is involved in the conceptualization of a Logos (a “world-line” of true universal, primitive continuity), we show more clearly the exact relationship between Feuerbach's neurosis and his rejection of this concept. We thereby also expose the neurotic basis for “reductionism” generally.

“Infinite In The Finite”

The term, “infinite in the finite,” arises from the Spinozan ethic, itself interpreted as a realization of the significance of Descartes' “Perfection” theorem. Once creativity is identified as the essential feature of human existence generally, one side of the problem can be rather directly comprehended. Each creative innovation by an individual, as it is assimilated for general practice by society, becomes a permanent contribution to all future humanity, a stepping-stone to the future. Hence, an individual who develops an outpouring of such creative initiatives as his characteristic expression of social identity represents in his existence an infinitely-significant quality for humanity within his finite self.[122]

This creativity does not simply originate with the individual qua individual, but embodies all of the influences acting upon him, and is hence universal in its origins as well as its outcomes. Furthermore, this creativity is not limited to initiating specific discoveries, but also includes the development of cognitive powers for the realization of the discoveries initiated through others.

The modern discovery of the significance of the “division of labor” permits us to recognize that to the extent that individuals are creative either in the form of discoveries or power to realize discoveries in social practice, every such individual becomes essential for the entire human race. Not merely the future and present humanity, but also the past. It is the continued existence of humanity, an existence which depends upon and is therefore expressed by its development, which realizes the humanity of the past.

Marx's notion of the interconnection and interdependency of man's universal and cooperative labor[123], and the modern concept of the individual cadre of the revolutionary-socialist organization, are expressions of this notion of the “infinite in the finite.”

Through study of the necessary evolution of the total bill of consumption as embodying changes prerequisite to the present and future advances in the quality of productive labor, etc., and through corresponding study of necessary changes in the world-wide process-sheet and raw resources requirements to the same effect, we have both a model of the way in which the realization of surplus value and new scientific conceptions combine to determine new kinds of objects, etc. This also epitomizes the principle to be extended, first, to ecology in general, and ultimately to fundamental “physical science” generally. The notion of the necessary elaboration of individual qualities of objects of consumption as the mediation of advances in the value of the exponential tendency for S'/(C+V) is the heuristic for a fundamental law of the universe, a universe in which primitive continuity mediates its self-subsisting positive development through the determination of specific qualities of individual existence.

In “Beyond Psychoanalysis,” we referred to Koehler's chimpanzee experiment in such a connection. We elaborate that notion here.

Koehler “forced” chimpanzees to demonstrate their power to create conceptions by creating a problem and also supplying the elements which had to be conceptualized to solve that problem. This is more or less what man does for himself through the development of his productive powers.

Man is constantly creating both more objects of the existing kind and new qualities of objects through production. This greater abundance and variety of such elements represent immediately items which have but to be conceptualized for new concepts of interconnected usage to lead to advances in productive technology generally. Yet, by merely producing these objects, man is exhausting the relatively-finite resources employed in production. Thus, by solving the old problem, man is constantly creating a new task to be solved.

Hence, man situates himself somewhat as Koehler situated his chimpanzees. Man creates for himself both new problems and the elements which, conceptualized as new Gestalts of social practice, provide the solution to those new problems.

However, the higher his rate of development — i.e., the greater the value of S'/(C+V) — the more rapidly he creates new problems and the more significant the degree of development required — i.e., the greater value of S'/(C+V) which must be realized through new development. It is not difficult to demonstrate, at least in broad terms, that each value for S'/(C+V) corresponds both to a definite division of world-wide labor, necessary division in human social activities, generally, to a definite array of specific individual products as types, and to a specific mode of distribution of those products for human personal and productive consumption. Furthermore, the relationships among these products are also similarly determined, determined in essence by the value of S'/(C+V).

There is a certain practical difficulty in the effort to construct such models from modern capitalist history (in particular). The most notable feature of this difficulty is the lack of correspondence between the actual social-productive relations and their appropriate proportions, etc. However, this is no obstacle to such rough analyses as are sufficient to demonstrate the essential point to be made.

Marx himself elaborated the proof of his labor theory of value and notion of labor power in exactly such general terms, and at the outset of his drafting of Capital, no less. This is found in the treatment of the Physiocrats in his Theories of Surplus Value.[124] This is treated at some length in Dialectical Economics[125], and is also being treated more fulsomely in an ongoing research-pedagogy project of physicists and others whose general objective is the establishment of a new set of fundamental principles for ecology.[126] The current Labor Committee work on the development of food and energy programs to be applied on a world-scale is in substantial part a by-product of that research team's activities.

Briefly, Marx's demonstration was identical with his own and Engels' devastating refutation of the Malthusians.[127] The Physiocrats properly argued that the only productive activity was that which effected an absolute increase in the wealth of the entire society, i.e., an absolute profit to society as a whole. However, they arbitrarily located such productive activity in agriculture generally, and located the essence of this quality in nature rather than in special powers of man himself. In short, they defined peasants, miners, and foresters, as virtually indistinguishable from cattle. The carry-over of semi-feudal relations into capitalist modes of agriculture (production for market) was reflected in the notion that the yield of tilled land was comparable to that of pasture for cattle: putting-out the appropriate number of serfs on this land mediated the realization of its optimal “natural” yield. Once demonstration is made of the effect of industrial development on the increased productivity of agriculture per capita, both of the Physiocrats' essential errors are exposed as fallacies.

Furthermore, in place of the Physiocratic notion of wealth as a mass of specific products, we are obliged to locate the significance of objects consumed by agriculture (especially for manufacturers) in their effects on the increased productivity of agriculture. We must then apply this same standard to agriculture's consumption of its own product, as opposed to the alienation of that product for consumption of manufacturers. In place of “dumb” labor, the essence of production of absolute profit becomes the productive powers of labor. The independent significance of the object-in-itself evaporates; the object becomes merely a necessary, determined predicate of human revolutionary activity (development of the self-developing productive forces of society).

Hence, labor-power, the implicit expression of the total productive forces of society in the individual worker. The labor-power of the individual is the effect on S'/(C+V) for the entire society in the loss or addition of that individual worker. His value is not simply the measure of his effect on total production in a general way; rather, the value of his labor-power cannot be located except by considering his productive existence with respect to definite production at a definite place in the entire division of labor of that society.

The “Infinite in the Finite”

Hence, Marx's Thesis V: “Feuerbach, not satisfied with abstract thinking [Hegel] appeals to sensuous contemplation; but he does not conceive sensuousness as practical, human-sensuous activity.” The two terms of “sensuous contemplation” must be first examined somewhat separately to locate the force of their being placed together in this way. Sensuous contemplation is being distinguished from sensuous practice.

If Feuerbach had properly corrected Hegel, he would have carried forward the entire form of Hegel's conception of abstract labor into its sensuous equivalent, and thus made sensuous labor, as a self-subsisting positive, the substance of reality. The term, “contemplation,” signifies the setting the human sensuous will to act in opposition to the objects of its activity, rather than unifying the will and objects in their primitive actuality as human self-subsisting practice. Hence, to set the objects as existing for man as independent of his will is to degrade man's relationship to those objects to a contemplative one, the viewpoint of a detached “observer of nature” “vulgarly squatting outside the universe.”

The essential flaw in Hegel is not in the form of conception of the Logos, but, as Hegel himself emphasizes repeatedly, his refusal to permit the creative will of the Logos to alter “fixed laws of inorganic nature,” his insistence that inorganic nature could not presently have a “history.” Hegel's retreat into the “negation of the negation” was the result of his refusal, therefore, to locate advances in thought in the material prerequisites of the existence of the thinker.[128] Thus, he precluded the possibility that man could actually advance his own cognitive powers through willful advances in the negentropy of nature, precluded the Marxian notion of the successive moments of advancement of cognition as mediated through willful advances in the momentary organization of the material-world-for-man. To correct Hegel in this respect, it is merely necessary to bring him down to earth in this way, and to locate the development of the Logos not in the metaphysical communication of two spirits, but in the mediation of its successive states through willful advances in the material preconditions of thinking existence.

It is also necessary to add something else, the notion of a sensuous Logos, at once passion and understanding.

Marx On Psychology

Feuerbach's genius, which is manifest so long as his internalized “mother-image” reacts with tolerant boredom to his making self-conscious discoveries, is to replicate the standpoint of Hegel's Phenomenology, i.e., to take his starting-point in the self-conscious knowledge of his own mental processes. In this respect Feuerbach has the following principal accomplishments.

(1) His discovery of “cathexis,” that the universal human quality of man is both a universal quality of feeling and a universal quality of understanding. Also, that all particular human knowledge exists only in connection with associated feeling.

However, Feuerbach refuses to regard man's unification of his universal feeling with his universal quality of understanding as comprehensible to sensuous man. His argument for such incomprehensibility is, as we have emphasized, that he defends the infantile, “dirty-judaical” passion for the banalized object as essentially human rather than neurotogenic.

(2) His discovery of the social determination of the primitive existence of each individual's consciousness. (N.B., Theses 32-33 of the Principles.)

(3) His location of the determination of the existence of the thinking man, the will to act, in the material prerequisites of individual existence. Hence, the appropriate act in the act which produces the material prerequisites of the will to act. To that extent, Feuerbach properly junked the “negation of the negation” for a self-subsisting positive principle.

(4) Emphasizing what was developed only in a different form in Hegel's work, that individual man's need to existence made him dependent upon acting in concert with (ultimately) all other men.

(5) Recognizing the clinical fact, although confusing two qualities of emotion in this process, that the emotion of “love” was the unique, fundamental quality of human mental life and behavior, and in that respect the essence of man.

He blundered in attempting to equate the “oceanic” fundamental emotion with “mother-love,” and hence attributing to the fundamental emotion the same banal quality existent in “mother-love.” He made the miserable sentimentality of the “Macho” and “Pappagallo” virtually the essence of the universe.

So, in equating the fundamental emotion to “mother-love,” Feuerbach retreated from his accomplishments to the heteronomic standpoint of the infantile Ego and its witch-master.

Marx writes: “Feuerbach resolves the religious essence into the human essence.” Feuerbach's achievement, notably in the first chapter of the Essence. “But,” Marx continues, “the human essence is no abstraction inherent in each single individual. In its reality it is the ensemble of social relations.” What is the human essence for Marx but the quality which corresponds to its predicated expression as labor-power; it has the necessary form and content of human revolutionary practice, the form of Marx's sensuous Logos, the same Logos we have defined above.

Feuerbach, who does not enter upon a criticism of this real essence, is consequently compelled:

1. To abstract from the historical process

“historical process” = substance of revolutionary practice.

and to fix the religious sentiment as something by itself and to presuppose an abstract — isolated — human individual.

“Heteronomic” man; sexually impotent man, for whom his “feeling” is locked within himself, a feeling which can express itself only impotently, as mere objects, in respect to other men. It does not mediate itself actually to the feeling-state of the other person through “movement” of the object. It does not see objects themselves as merely predicates of a continuum of human revolutionary practice, but situates each individual in a relationship in mere contemplation of the movement of objects between them. Feuerbach's man is like a chess-player, for whom the essence of chess-play is to conceal his innermost feeling and thoughts from his opponent. (Only in teaching chess is there anything essentially human in chess-play; in chess competition, the emotion expressed is infantile hatred.) To share one's innermost feeling and thought through a continuity of shared revolutionary practice is the essence of the human feeling which Feuerbach rejects (especially in his defense of “mother-love”).

2. The human essence, therefore can with him be comprehended only as ‘genus,' as an internal, dumb generality which merely naturally united the many individuals.

“Dumb” here is synonymous with “linear.” This is emphasized in Feuerbach's own writings most clearly in his criticisms of Hegel's Logos-concept.[129] Feuerbach refuses to see in Hegel's Logos anything significantly more challenged than in the notion of infinity in Schelling. He makes the same blunder with respect to Spinoza. The idea of a negentropic primitive universal principle of continuity is beyond Feuerbach. Accordingly, on this point he himself goes back to Schelling to begin his movement toward self-subsisting sensuous existence.

Marx's Theses VII and VIII are his elaborations of further Theses along the lines we have already treated those point. In Thesis IX he goes further, to argue the devastating epistemological point, that the viewpoint which Feuerbach exemplifies in rejecting a dialectical sensuous Logos inevitably reflects the heteronomic notion of the individual. “The highest point attained by contemplative materialism, that is, materialism which does not understand sensuousness as practical activity, is the contemplation of single individuals in ‘civil society.' ”

“Civil society” for Marx signifies bourgeois society in particular, the society whose ideology characterizes itself in terms of “social contracts” among autonomous individuals: “nationalism,” “local control,” ‘‘anarcho-syndicalism,” and chauvinism in all its various forms of anti-human “intolerance” toward those of different languages, ethnic origins, neighborhoods, families, etc. “The standpoint of the old materialism is ‘civil' society; the standpoint of the new is human society, or socialized humanity.” Human here is defined for the individual by location of the sense of personal identity in appropriately modern Spinozan way: the individual who locates his or her identity in self-consciousness of the self-reflexive importance to oneself of contributing to the advancement of the self-development of the entire human species: “socialized humanity.”

Marx is plainly not sensible of the significance of the distinction between self-conscious self and infantile Ego as this bears upon “mother-love.” However, despite that lack of distinctions, the “Theses” reflect a viewpoint which is pervasive in his writings, on which the following can now be said.[130]

Firstly, generally speaking, Marx is consistently attacking Feuerbach's errors from the standpoint of self-consciousness attacking the infantile Ego. The form of that distinction is readily clear from the formal features of the criticism. However, from the vantage-point of our present psychoanalytical knowledge, it is also apparent that the conceptions he counterposes to Feuerbach's — beginning with the first of the Theses, are those notions which cannot be conceptualized (in the Hegelian sense of begreifen)[131] except by referring within oneself to the fundamental emotion in a definite way. These conceptions can be discovered as notions of actual existence and defended systematically as conceptions only when the individual has surpassed the point at which the fundamental emotion overcomes him as the “oceanic” sort of feeling. The experiencing of the emotion has become agreeable rather than merely overwhelming. Hence, on such evidence, we know that Marx's criticism of Feuerbach is the standpoint of a self-consciously creative intellect who has become habituated to locating his sense of “I” in self-consciousness.

That established, we know subsumed features of Marx's internal mental life. We know that he was necessarily aware of the conflict between the self-conscious and Ego-states. He could not have developed notions of the form and content we have identified unless he had successfully combated the very neurotic problem which Feuerbach reflects most luridly in connection with the “trinity.” Consequently, he certainly knew of at least those aspects of the psycho-dynamics we have outlined which can be more readily brought forward to consciousness.

The reader will undoubtedly tend to underestimate the precise “clinical” significance of the “Theses” on this account. We are lulled into confusing “learning” and “knowledge,” for reasons already identified. The accomplishment of a merely consistent circumscription of an idea, thus distinguishing it from other, similarly-circumscribed ideas is usually confused for knowledge. That degree of competence which suffices for passing undergraduate examinations respecting what one has merely learned usually passes for quality of knowledge. Also, we are familiar enough with the conceit of the student, “If I had lived then, I could have readily come up with such an idea.” Hence, the reader must tend to overlook the egregious effect of conceptions when they were newly presented, a mistake he would not make if he were accustomed to mastering a field by more directly conceptual methods. In such ways, on such grounds, the reader will tend to regard our “reading into Marx” such exact clinical evidence as at least considerably exaggerated.

As to that problem of the reader's, we are satisfied that we have sufficiently grounded our case. It is merely necessary to emphasize this. The reader must proceed from our identification of the notion of a negentropic primitive continuity, to compare Marx's arguments against Feuerbach's blunders with our own from that standpoint. It is only necessary then to recognize that Marx's conceptions have the same essential epistemological quality in this respect that ours do, and the entire psychoanalytical case respecting Marx's mind is implicitly uniquely demonstrated.


Both the NCLC (U.S.A.) and European Labour Committees have established unified task-forces for “Psychology, Ideology, Epistemology,” on the premise that these are so immediately interdependent that no one can have formal professional competence in any one without competence in the other two. We more conveniently identify the three as a whole either by “the new psychoanalysis” or by “epistemology” in that sense. Even if we had not already developed a substantial case for the proper unity of psychoanalysis and ideology as inquiries, the connection between them would be extremely plausible at the outset. The still deeper significance of the interconnection of the first two appears clearly as we demonstrate the direct interdependence of the first and third.

Consider so commonplace a superstition as the plausible but groundless assertion that intelligence, special talent, and other notable behavioral traits are genetically inherited. We are already on the track of this pathology when we consider not only the passionate stubbornness with which such a pathetic view is “axiomatically” asserted, but the anger of near-desperation with which such a silly prejudice is often attacked by educated persons who ought not feel intellectually threatened. More direct evidence if found in the case of individuals who know the overwhelming empirical evidence against “hereditarian” old wives' tales, but who nonetheless report themselves succumbing temporarily to just such “feelings” during each deeper recurrence of neurotic disorders.

A summary of the ordinary experience of individuals progressing in analytical programs makes the problem clear.

In most analytical programs, it is essential that the individual begin early to settle accounts with the parents, in one fashion or another. If possible, to establish a human, adult relationship to existent parents. In any case, to extirpate neurotic myths, etc., concerning childhood and later relationships to the parents. Usually, the initial breakthroughs in this effort cause a dramatic change in the individual's internalized perception of the parents as human beings, and often enough the beginning of mutually-beneficial relationship to the existent parents. This initial accomplishment is accompanied temporarily by significant gains in the individual's enjoyment of conscious life, a frequent attenuation of psychosomatic afflictions, etc.

This initial period of enthusiastic progress is usually followed by a period of partial regression. Such relapses are frequently associated in the subject's mind with some disappointment respecting the parents. For example, disappointment in the father.

Earlier, the individual had perhaps “felt” that his or her father was an unapproachable wretch of some sort. Then, through analytical sessions, had realized that this was at least partially slanderous and generally unjust. The individual had variously sought to meet with the father, or, if the father were deceased, attempt to reconstruct a more accurate memory of the father with the aid of the mother or other relatives. Or, the individual had merely worked at reconstructing a more appropriate image of the father by working at digging up recollections. At the start, there was significant progress; the individual had recalled incidents of warm feeling for one or both of the parents, etc. Then, the parents had somehow “disappointed” the individual. The exciting initial moments of discovering the real parent had given way to frustration and even anger; in place of the mythical shortcomings of the parent, the individual was now confronted with the real shortcomings.

At that point the individual frequently regresses, “explaining” this renewal of the manifest neurotic behavior by the disappointment.

The parent or parents are not therefore the true cause of the individual's relapse. (As with all clinical problems, in this it is essential to avoid being distracted by the reported form of the problem. Always keep in view what the individual is actually accomplishing by neurotic behavior.) On the surface the individual is contending that since his or her parents failed to become such-and-such, or, since they refuse to make giant leaps in development at a given week, the individual himself cannot be expected to make much more progress, either. Typical: “No matter which parent I identify with ... ” Precisely in this connection, and in this way, we have exposed the neurotogenic root of the epistemological belief in a genetical determination of personality.

What is the individual's real problem in such an instance? Is it not obvious enough? Is it not absurd that a gifted young adult should exploit the limitations of the parents as an excuse for not realizing his or her own gifts? Is this not analogous to the individual who willfully drowns in order to carry his identification with his parents (“Who could never learn to swim”) to the limit?

The essential flaw in the individual's rationalization is that he is locating his identity in an internalized identification with his parents. He is locating his “I” in his infantile Ego. The individual using his parent's shortcomings to justify clinging to the neurotic pattern — and neurotics are all a stubbornly sly lot when it comes to this! — is not being neurotic because the parent fails to provide a better “model;” the essence of the neurotic mechanism is reflected by the insistence of using the parent as a model. The parent might be Karl Marx himself, and the son would still be a neurotic; the essential mechanism of neurosis is located in any attachment to any parent in this way. “Identification” is neurosis.

What of “transference” in psychoanalysis? Yes, the transference of the patient's capacity for loving a father to the analyst as a “surrogate father” is a useful, often indispensable neurotic device, a necessary phase of the program. The object — the proper objective — is to transfer the identification-dependency to the analyst as a means of reaching the point at which all such dependencies cease.

The neurotic individual — to employ the strictest scientific criterion for neurosis — is the individual whose actions are regulated by his estimation of what someone will think of him in consequence of a judgment or action. He selects his judgments for the immediate goal of securing favorable opinion of others for himself.

By contrast, the sane, actually-adult individual locates his self-estimation in the search for those judgments which make him useful to the future of humanity, as these decisions variously represent his actions for society and his self-development of the qualities he needs to act appropriately for society. The sane, adult individual locates his identity in his entire society, not as a body of aggregated individuals' opinion, but a society as a process of self-development of future humanity.

This is a point on which Feuerbach becomes a tricky source. His notion of “species-consciousness” is to be regarded, from the way in which he develops it, as an approximation of a sane, adult, Spinozan self-conscious identity. Yet, in other locations, he employs the same term, “species-consciousness,” which he has developed in one state of mind (self-consciousness), to express “mother-love,” the ideas he expresses from the opposite state of mind, the infantile Ego-state.

To the sane, adult human being, the alienated opinion of him held by persons around him is useful only as a means for accomplishing an historic objective. Apart from that, his judgment cannot be deflected by either adverse “personal opinion” or the desire for “popularity.”

The individual whose self-conscious reason is “turned off” by the sight of a large audience, etc., is not only neurotic, but is necessarily acting under a large degree of control by his internalized witch. As long as the individual is neurotically subject to the immediate alienated opinion of himself by others, as an end, he has no means to escape the control of the hard core of ego-ideals associated with the internalized “mother-image.” As long as the “I” is located in the infantile Ego, there is no program, psychoanalytical or other, which could liberate the individual from such control of the “I” by the witch's ego-ideals.

Such an attachment to the infantile Ego, associated with a “mother-image” developed under capitalist conditions of life (which, obviously includes the Soviet Union in this special sense of the term, “capitalist”), is the dynamic of bourgeois ideology. It is in those circumstances in which the individual is being successively subjected to the most aggressive attacks by the witch that he “feels” that the essential features of his personality are “genetically determined.” In the cited example, above, in which one individual is stupidly asserting “inherited personality traits” and the other frantically denying this, the fact is that the first is being totally bestialized and the other is shrieking out protests against the internal threat of a similar takeover by his own witch.

This is exemplary of Marx's point with respect to the ideology of “civil society”: the individual who rejects or fails to reach self-conscious-“I” identification is therefore plunged back into an infantile Ego-state, in which the heteronomic view of the self-evidently autonomous individual prevails.

This same infantile Ego-state blocks the individual, however otherwise advanced his scientific education, from conceptualizing the notion of a primitive negentropic continuity. Formally speaking, there are two aspects to this blockage. Immediately, in the Ego-state, the individual is, as we have noted, incapable of conceiving objects as anything but self-evidently discrete objects. In the Ego-state, the possession of the object is an ego-ideal-determined end in itself. The conclusion of the action directed toward the object is the action upon the object itself. The object is the end of the action, and hence psycho-pathologically self-evident. Even if this obsession did not prevent the individual from freeing himself of the pathetic belief in fixed objects, the object-like character of the Ego-identity (as, primarily, an object for the “mother-image”) blocks positive notions of continuity. Firstly, because the Ego-state is depressed and overwhelmed by the only referent (the fundamental emotion) which the mind has for a true continuum. Secondly, for related reasons, since the fundamental emotion can be deliberately applied to a task only from the vantage-point of the self-conscious “I.”

This does not signify that the fundamental emotion is simply entirely locked away in neurotics. Under control of the witch, the Ego is permitted to “access” self-consciousness, whose activities always express at least weak surges of the fundamental emotion, as in the elation of “intuitively” seeing new ideas. The essential thing here is the witch's ability to withdraw the tenuous “Feeling of ‘I'-ness” from self-consciousness almost at will, to react to onsets of fundamental emotion to reduce the Ego itself almost to a pin-point, and in extreme cases, virtually shut down the Ego to take over the individual directly (“disassociation” phenomena).

In the relatively more powerful processes of a suitable type of group, the identification of the individual with the group creates a paradox for the infantile Ego-ideal dynamics, at the same time that the limiting of the group's intra-relations to a scientific perception of joint-action goals effects a constant pressure (at least) toward a shift of the sense of social identity from the Ego to the self-conscious “I.” It has the related advantage over individual analysis of undermining the “selfish” situation of the individual's concern with “my problems” by emphasizing the self-therapeutic concentration on empathy, on using one's own self-consciousness to reach and strengthen the self-conscious identification of others. The group collectively provides a strong Ego support for the individual, on one level — creating a paradox for the witch: locating Ego-gratification aiming for self-consciousness.*

  • Obviously, the favorable therapeutic” situation within the Labor Committee is not strictly comparable to the less-advantaged subject outside; the Labor Committee members work in the context of a Spinozan social formulation of identity lacking outside that organization. The individual member accepts the notion of determining social identity in terms of developing a scientific overview of the development of the productive forces on a worldwide scale. This does not presently exist outside the Labor Committee. Even within those organizations, of course, that sense of identity has been significantly internalized as a commitment of this sort with varying degrees of intensity. The man-in-the-street or the poor wretch from such USA groups as the CPUSA or SWP lacks the essential prerequisites for beginning to develop real mental health. The question of shifting the “I” from the Ego to self-consciousness, from the Ego consciousness to the so-called “preconscious” becomes conscious, demands firstly that preliminary scientific education of self-consciousness through which it is able to locate itself as a Spinozan “I” in respect to both a worldwide political working class and the positive, programmatic development of worldwide productive forces. Without the development of that sort of self-consciousness, it is impossible for the adult “I” to “cathexize itself” with the fundamental emotion.

Access To Self-Consciousness

The ordinary neurotic with some creative or semi-creative achievements can readily recognize a certain aspect of the connection between his Ego-states and his limited access to self-consciousness.

To employ an illustration of the most general comprehensibility, we cite the experience of that pedagogical horror the student encounters in ordinary U.S. secondary-school geometry classes. The student can perhaps recall — if he has not blocked out that painful experience entirely — that in standard classroom drill he was instructed to spell out every feature of the theorem-proof canonically. By contrast, in those alternative programs (as in certain European secondary schools) which are, literally, less mind-damaging, the student is expected only to identify the solution-concept.

The latter pedagogy limits the student's output to identification of an appropriate insight into the solution. If the U.S. ex-student reflects on the first, the ugly, typical U.S. secondary-school practice, he should be able to recall that there were two phases to “getting an ‘A' ” on the geometry paper. Firstly, one had to find the solution-concept. This phase of the work was the only part of the task which involved self-conscious mental effort. The second part, the drill of spelling out every detail of a “canonical Q.E.D.” was relatively idiot-savant drudgery.

Borrowing computer terminology, the following is the relationship between the two parts of the job. In the hideous U.S. practice, the student's sense of identity was emphatically located in the idiot-savant drudgery aspect of the task, on which the greatest amount of time and strain was expended. However, at a brief point in the process, the student “accessed” his “pre-conscious processes” for an “insight” which became the solution-concept once that bare insight had been “seen” and then projected into a bare conscious image. The insight aspect of the mental activity was a weak association with self-consciousness; the rest was not such an exercise of the student's real (self-conscious) intelligence, but rather an essentially propitiatory ritual, of the sort better performed by a “sycophantic” idiot of a computer than a human being.

The actual and implicit potential use of digital computer systems makes the point in what should be a horrifying fashion. In respect to the creative aspects of self-conscious mentation, no digital computer built at any time in the next billion years would seriously threaten to replace man's essential role. However, in respect to the mechanical drudgery associated with the Ego-state, there is little done in that mode today which could not be done better through sufficiently cheap, etc., digital computer control.


The general epistemological characterization of the two, opposed states of mind follows readily from this. The form of the characteristic ideas associated with each respective state can be summarily distinguished as follows. The characteristic emotion (“mother-love” = hate, fear, object-elation) of the infantile Ego-state is linear, and corresponds to the ideological representation of the primitive form of the universe as a linear system of “discrete variables” in the form of self-evident elementarities. The characteristic emotion of self-consciousness is the fundamental emotion, which is the referent for a primitive negentropy of the sort we have summarily described above.

The fundamental emotion, considered abstractly as a purely mental activity, has the abstract form of Hegel's Logos. An attempt to describe the universe as if it were fully contained within a psychology itself premised on the abstract form of the fundamental emotion, would be essentially a replication of Hegel's Phenomenology. The correction of Hegel, which results in Marxian dialectics as we have presented it above, is the actual science of reality essentially freed of ideology.

Four Types of World-Outlook

The following, admittedly schematic heurisms afford the reader a useful introductory overview of the connection between psychological states and epistemological qualities of world-outlook.

For this purpose, we distinguish four typical psychological states: (1) psychotic, (2) infantile, (3) enlightened, (4) self-conscious, for which the infantile and enlightened are most closely-related in their epistemological implications. We distinguish these from one another principally by the “location” of the immediate control of social behavior and, secondarily, by the predicated quality of this control. The following table summarizes the distinctions.

Table 2 summarizes the corresponding epistemological distinctions.

Examples of the epistemological viewpoints are given in approximate order of advancement of knowledge by Table 3.

In the psychotic state, the control of social behavior is held by the witch, who acts as if in the interest of her possession, the Ego. The “arbitrary” nature of existences and relations to her does not signify that these perceptions are purely fictional. They are a mixture of “pure hallucination” and distorted reactions to actual objects and events.

The infantile state is characterized by the absence of self-consciousness, such that all the “ego-ideals” are essentially supplied by the witch, and such that the impulses of the Ego are acted upon out of naive “sincerity of feeling.'' In this state, there is no self-consciousness of the way in which one's mental processes determine the emotions and goals associated with the Ego. The form of perception of the outer world (of sensuous practice, actually) is predominantly that of “self-evidently” discrete objects which are related in a mechanistic sense of fixed cause-and-effect connections. However, this is accompanied by a thinly-disguised belief that the permanence of such mechanical cause and effect rules of relationship are to be arbitrarily superseded under special circumstances — i.e., superstition.

In the enlightened state, the control of the social practice of the person is situated in the Ego, as in the infantile state. However, self-consciousness is “turned on,” as if a predicate of the Ego; the Ego thus reflects on the apparent determination of its own impulses, through a reflexive movement of passive self-consciousness. The terms of the problem to be solved are determined by the infantile ego — hence the discrete elementary-mechanistic world-view, but the world is otherwise seen as constantly controlled by law. The predominance of the Ego means the suppression of the fundamental emotion in the way we have indicated above, and hence the means for conceptualizing a positive evolutionary principle is suppressed. The creative impulse indirectly supplied by the weak employment of the fundamental emotion is regarded as “intuition” (e.g., “pre-consciousness”), and is considered outside the system of rational knowledge. The highest expression of this view in philosophy is Kant.

In the model case of Feuerbach, we encounter an individual who belongs predominantly to the Enlightenment outlook, but who, immediately strongly influenced by Kant ,also reflects an extraordinary degree of self-conscious activity. He is unable to sustain direct cognition of the fundamental emotion, and hence cannot employ it as a referent for actual self-subsisting process. Therefore, like Descartes and Schelling before him, he is only able to show the necessity for its existence as a universal principle, but is unable to distinguish its actual “internal” quality. He perceives the universal, primitive qualities in the bad sense, as if linear infinities, as was the case with Schelling. He is blinded to the emotion by encountering it.

In such cases as Feuerbach's we have the following principal directly epistemological features of psychology. The individual seems to determine his social behavior (including abstract judgments) according to a self-conscious notion of universal reality. This is only partly true in the final analysis. His “internal map” of the universe is the neurotic Ego's outlook, in which the mother-image operates as the center of that universe. What he has done in his rational behavior is to identify such rationality with the social success he reports to the internalized mother-image. She appears to reply to his reported such achievements, “That's my bright boy;” the internalized mother-image places a premium on this form of success. In the more advanced case, such as that of Feuerbach, this rationality converges upon the appearance of self-conscious identity, but only in the sense that the enlightened Ego of such rarer individuals places a premium on the use of self-consciousness. This sort of individual stands in contrast not to the ordinary enlightened case per se. In a case like Feuerbach's the ego-ideal is an internalized image of a synthetic authority-figure, in Feuerbach's case, his image of his existent father. Rather than pandering to the immediate opinion of whatever academics he encounters at that moment, he propitiates the favorable opinion of an abstract, internalized authority.

The two features of Feuerbach's internalized map of the universe which absolutely distinguish him from a self-conscious person are these. Although he locates truth in a universal totality, hence appearing to reject the mother-centered parochialist organization of the universe into degrees of inner and alien regions in that way, he makes “mother-love” the essence of that universe. In his preoccupation with the self-evidence of the existent object and his denial of a negentropic self-subsisting principle as the essence of totality, he preserves the essential ontological features of the mother-centered universe. Finally, in his self-situation of knowledge as the contemplative outlook of the mere “explorer of nature,” he falls into superstitious faith in a fixed order of nature, rejecting the notion of a human existence outside the mother-image-centered view, hence implicitly denying that the existence of man is located in the negentropic (i.e., revolutionary) principle of human self-reproductive practice.

Within these limitations, his principle achievements are of the epistemological form of the initiatives of a self-consciously creative mind, especially his linear approximation of a self-subsisting positive and his discovery of the social determination of the primitive quality of human consciousness in each new individual.

Contrary to the “kosher” variety of Left scholars, and contrary to Engels' shallow perception in this matter, Marx did not strictly reject Feuerbach's notion of “love” and “species-consciousness.” Marx rejected merely Feuerbach's “dumb” (linear) conception of these qualities. Where Feuerbach attempted to substitute “mother-love” for the “fundamental emotion,” Marx “returns” to Feuerbach' s raw discovery, which he comprehends in its actual form, as the negentropic or revolutionary principle of Freedom/Necessity. Where Feuerbach equated “species-consciousness” to a “dumb” sense of universality commonality with men in general, Marx situated that commonality only toward that portion of humanity which implicitly embodied the revolutionary principle (expanded reproduction) in its sensuous practice, the working class as a whole self-conscious of itself as a sensuously self-acting whole.


1. What currently passes for “fundamental advances in physical science” is at best a qualitative step below that species of genuinely fundamental breakthroughs in world-outlook typified by Kepler, Descartes, Leibniz-Newton, Kant, Hegel, Feuerbach, Marx, Riemann, Cantor, Klein, Einstein. Not overlooking the relative explosion in biology of recent decades, the celebrated accomplishments of the past forty-five years are essentially an elaboration of basic achievements effected over the preceding seventy-five years. The tendency toward contemptuous or indifferent treatment of Einstein's further investigations from 1926 onwards, reflects and exemplifies the stagnation of actually fundamental investigations. As John Dewey and his “scientism” reflect, from the end of the first world war, and the shock of the 1917 Bolshevik Revolution, “educated man” not only lost interest in “universal truth,” but came to regard the very question of such fundamental investigations as downright insolent. The modern view is viciously antagonistic to the hubristic attitude, and has more recently swung to the extreme tendency to break with the idea of necessary interdependency between human and scientific progress. (E.g., the fascist tendency immanent in the “Zero Growth” ideology.)

2. Campaigner, Vol. 6, Nos. 3-4, Sept.-Oct. 1973, pp. 71-74.

3. Campaigner, Vol. 6, No. 2, Spring, 1973, N.B., pp. 22-25.

4. “Beyond Psychoanalysis,” pp. 44-49, 80; “The Sexual Impotence of the Puerto Rican Socialist Party,” Campaigner, Vol. 7, No. 1, Nov. 1973, pp. 38-41.

5. Ibid.

6. Ibid.

7. Lyn Marcus, Dialectical Economics, Lexington, 1973 (in publication).

8. “The Sexual Impotence of the Puerto Rican Socialist Party,” pp. 62-64.

9. Ibid., pp. 38-41.

10. “Beyond Psychoanalysis,” pp. 71-74.

11. See New Solidarity, Vol. IV (1973-74), passim, for documentation.

12. Hylozoic: the notion that living and “inorganic” processes are subject to a common set of fundamental law, such that the invariant features of living processes are regarded as reflecting more faithfully the immanent primitive principles of the universe as a whole.

13. Hence, the invariant quality of human creative mentation is necessarily equivalent to a fundamental law of the universe.

14. “The Sexual Impotence of the Puerto Rican Socialist Party,” pp. 40-41.

15. New Solidarity, Vol. IV, passim.

16. See Section 4 below (In Part H: Vol. 7, No. 3, Jan. 1974); Dialectical Economics, Chaps. V-VIII.

17. “Beyond Psychoanalysis,” pp. 66-69.

18. Cf. L.D. Trotsky, My Life; I. Deutscher, The Prophet Armed; (Trotsky's “conciliator” role).

19. Moshe Levin, Lenin's Last Struggle, New York, 1968.

20. I. Deutscher, The Prophet Unarmed, N.B., Trotsky's denial of his own authorship of “The Real Situation in Russia.”

21. Transcript of conversations between Trotsky and SWP leaders on the 1940 “Browder Presidential Campaign” policy for the SWP; also, P. Valenti, “Towards A Myth-Free History of American Trotskyism,” Campaigner, Vol. 6, No. 2, Spring 1973.

22. New Solidarity, Vol. IV, passim on “SWP,” “Fuentes,” and “Lower East Side.”

23. Cf. L. Marcus, “The United States of Europe: Their Program and Ours,” Campaigner, Vol. 5, No. 4, Fall 1972, pp. 18-20.

24. Chap. XIX, “Financial Capital;” Chap. XXV, “Credit and Fictitious Capital;” Chaps. - II, “Money-Capital and Actual Capital;” Chap. III, “Currency Under The Credit-System.”

25. E.g., Dialectical Economics; “In Defense of Rosa Luxemburg,” in The Campaigner, Vol. 6, No. 2.

26. “The Sexual Impotence of the Puerto Rican Socialist Party,” pp. 41, 47-48.

27. “Beyond Psychoanalysis,” pp. 46-49; “The Sexual Impotence of the Puerto Rican Socialist Party,” pp. 38-41.

28. “Beyond Psychoanalysis,” pp. 76-77.

29. Ibid., pp. 46-49.

30. Ibid., pp. 49-54.

31. Socialism or Fascism? NCLC, New York, 1971.

32. Except for a reference to the opening paragraphs of his preface to the second edition (omitted in the George Eliot translation), we refer to the Harper, New York, 1957 edition of this book.

33. The nuances of difference between the original mss. and Engels' published edition of it are of no importance for our purposes here.

34. For Feuerbach's contributions, see Sections 4, 5, below (Part II).

35. See the next issue on the case of Alfred Schmidt for an account.

36. Cf. Herbert Marcuse, Reason and Revolution; Sidney Hook, From Hegel To Marx.

37. The Fiery Brook, New York, 1972, p. 250.

38. Cf. “The Case of Alfred Schmidt,” this issue.

39. Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, Sunday, Dec. 9, 1972; also Neue Zuercher Zeitung, Sunday, Oct. 7, 1973.

40. In which Feuerbach attempts a self-conscious overview of his position in the course of development of epistemology.

41. That the laws of “physical scientific” belief are themselves in the same general category of ideology as religious belief.

42. Cf. Dialectical Economics on Engels, passim.

43. See our extended footnote on Judaism, below.

44. On “womanish nature;” Essence ... , p. 64.

45. Ibid., Chap. I, passim. However, Feuerbach does not admit the Logos-concept itself in this way.

46. Ibid., Chap. II.

47. Ibid., Chaps. IV, VII, XV.

48. Compare New Testament account of Christ's altered relationship to the Holy Family with footnote, Essence ... , P. 202. Note also text, pp. 202-203. Note, pp. 209-212, on Holy Ghost.

49. Essence ... , Chap. XV, pp. 142-144.

50. Ibid., Chap. I; also, “Introduction” to 2nd edition and Chap. XVIII.

51. New Testament, both on Christ's relationship to Mary after his resurrection and Paul repeatedly on sexual relationships, women, etc.

52. “The Sexual Impotence of the Puerto Rican Socialist Party,” passim.

53. Essence ... , Chap. XIX.

54. Ibid., Chaps. IV-V.

55. Ibid.

56. Ibid., Chaps. I, II, XVIII.

57. E.g., Thomas a Kempis, a precursor of Protestantism.

58. A wretched reification of Freud's own blunder has been popularized through Herbert Marcuse's Eros and Civilization.

59. “The Sexual Impotence of the Puerto Rican Socialist Party,” pp. 43-44, 60-61.

60. G.W.F. Hegel, Phenomenology ... , “Lordship and Bondage.”

61. Essence ... , pp. 70-72.

62. Ibid., Chaps. I, II.

63. Ibid., Chaps. IV, V.

64. Ibid.

65. Bach, Mozart, and Beethoven are notable examples. The opening sections of the Mozart Requiem are exemplary of the cited principle. (As Beethoven observed vigorously on the issue of that score's authenticity, no musician could fail to directly recognize Mozart's distinctive genius.) It is not uncommon among cultured persons who otherwise report never experiencing the specific emotion of self-conscious loving, that their direct knowledge of that emotion is limited to certain musical experiences.

66. For observations respecting the general loss of this faculty during childhood, note especially Shelley's essay, “On Life.”

67. Essence ...

68. Ibid.

69. Essence ... , p. 37: “The understanding is thus the original, primitive being” (i.e. the Logos!), and also p. 39: “The understanding is further the self-subsistent and independent being” (again, the Logos!). P. 40: “Lastly, the understanding or reason is the necessary being” (again, the Logos!). However, p. 45: “A God, therefore, who expresses only the nature of the understanding does not satisfy religion, is not the God of religion.” Feuerbach, by introducing the infantile, superstitious principle of “mother-love” in place of the Logos loses all sense of the relationship between a “God the Creator” (Logos or “Holy Spirit”) and the alienated, determinate “God of Unchanging Law and Order,” the latter the alienated patria potestas of the liturgical Trinity. Cf. “Beyond Psychoanalysis,” pp. 74-76.

70. “The Sexual Impotence of the Puerto Rican Socialist Party,” pp. 38-39.

71. Ibid., pp. 37-38.

72. “Beyond Psychoanalysis,” pp. 48-49, 71-74.

73. Ibid. (pp. 71-74).

74. Essence ... , p. IV.

75. Ibid., Chap. IV.

76. Cf. Karl Kautsky, The Foundations of Christianity; Abraham Leon, The Jewish Question. Kautsky's one truly important contribution, reminding us of Rosa Luxemburg's penetrating observation, that his perception improves in direct proportion to number of past centuries intervening between him and his subject-matter of the moment. Despite some jarring notes of orthodox mechanistic “Marxist-Leninist” economic theory, the work of 26-year old Leon is a remarkable masterpiece, which no defender of “Jewish cultural nationalism” has even attempted to rebut by any other means than invective. This writer's own analysis of the evolution from Egyptian-Mesopotamian “hydraulic” into Hellenic cultures, and Hellenic cultures' super-session by feudalism and then capitalism provide the “political economic” context in which Leon's situation of the “Jewish Question” becomes the only rational view.

Although A.D. Judaism is an outgrowth of the development of Christianity (e.g., the first such rabbi, Philo of Alexandria), there was a preceding Hebrew faith of sorts, elements of which were syncretically assimilated in the successive phases of manufacture of post-Philo Judaism. The earlier, Hebrew doctrine is itself a syncretic hodge-podge of chiefly Mesopotamian legends. Rabbi Ezra, the author of the fictional personality of Moses, is exemplary of the circumstances and content of Hebrew doctrine — a creation of Achaemenid protection and edict. Ezra's Persian version of Hebrewism was, in turn, significantly influenced by an earlier, pre-Pentateuch version created in conformity with Babylonian edicts. In general, as Leon adequately develops the case, the doctrine of secular Zionism is entirely a Twentieth Century fabrication, owing more to the Russian Czar and (later) Hitler and to U.S.S.R. and U.S.A. political support than Ezra, Philo, et al. From Ezra onwards, and even before, Hebrewism was an assimilationist doctrine developed to provide special juridical status (and ideological self-image) for a caste of merchant-usurers within a pre-capitalist society.

However, despite the hysterical imbecility of the Zionist “pihpul” claim to an historic, pre 20th century, God-given title to Palestine, there is a 20th century Jewish Palestinian state, whose formal real estate title dates (with Soviet “title insurance” included) from the immediate post-war period. (Juridically, the Jews had a far more substantial claim to Poland and Lithuania, which puts an ironical aspect on Stalin's endorsement of their title to Palestine!) The existence of a Jewish population in Palestine is not justified by anything but the 20th century actual origins of that fact.

Such considerations are only necessary context for our working point here: Since Christianity and Judaism are, phenomenally, the characteristic religious expressions of capitalist ideology, do the differentia of Judaism therefore invalidate the comprehensiveness of a Christianity-based clinical study of capitalist ideology? Although a systematic anthropological study of specifically Jewish delusions has unquestioned merit and even some urgency — for other reasons, it is unnecessary to regard such a study as essential to the theses of this paper. For reasons already implicit in Leon's book, Judaism is not a true religion, but only a half-religion, a curious appendage and sub-species of Christianity. In this sense, as Charlemagne keeps his herd of protected Jews as “slaves of the treasury,” Christianity has regarded the Jewish religion as the imperfect, special form of Christianity — e.g., a kind of theological “cultural relativism” for one's slaves — and secular Christianity has always regarded the Jew as “our Jews,” a principle continued in U.S.A. and Israeli policy respecting the fief-State of Israel! This relationship does more than express Christian prejudice; it is the secret of Judaism itself. Judaism is ideological abstraction of the secular life of Christianity's Jew, the Roman merchant-usurer who had not yet evolved to the state of Papal enlightenment, a half-Christian, who had not developed a Christian conscience, etc. Judaism is the religion of a caste of subjects of Christianity, entirely molded by ingenious rabbis to fit into the ideological and secular life of Christianity. In short, a self-subsisting Judaism never existed and never could exist. As for “Jewish culture” otherwise, it is merely the residue left to the Jewish home after everything saleable has been marketed to the Goyim.

[Contrary systematic views on this special subject will be entertained for review by the editors.]

77. “Beyond Psychoanalysis,” pp. 87-89.

78. Marx's “dirty-Judaical” is emphasized here both to underline the characterization of Feuerbach's lapse in the “Theses,” and to emphasize the epistemological significance of the infantile object-elation of the devoutly-alienated religious Jew. The significance of the brutally-sadistic moral castration of the Jewish boy by the domineering “Jewish mother” is the basis for one of the most horrifying models of male sexual impotence, which expresses itself obsessively in the “business Jew.” He suffers a hideous sense of secret worthlessness which would be revealed without power over the fixed object in its (fetishistic) commodity-form.

79. In the course of translating theoretical works from English and German (especially) into Greek, French, Italian, and Spanish, the Labor Committees have been sharply confronted by the intrinsic conceptual of (especially) Greek, French, and Spanish. Study of these problems emphasize the content as well as the historic importance of Renaissance humanist writers from Petrarch to Rabelais. Not only is sixteenth century French a Gargantuan advance over that of a century earlier, but it is also an advance, in syntactical modes, over modem French. A similar case has been made for the Spanish of Cervantes.

To express rigorous epistemological notions and their derivatives in modern Greek, it is necessary to import the means for this from ancient Greek! Unless one returns to the sixteenth century modes, it is either impossible or awkwardly bulky to express rigorous epistemological conceptions in French. Spanish, revealingly enough, has no built-in notion of actual “self- consciousness,” and in general, the language's relatively enormous basic vocabulary of educated speech reflects a loss of the capacity to express categorical conceptions of the kind readily formulated in English or German.

In the case of French, the degeneration of the language, to the imbecility of philosophical “structuralism,” has been correlated with that national cult of linguistic death called “The Immortals,” but is obviously more deeply connected to the peasant/urban petit-bourgeois ideology of stagnating French culture generally, a decay which accelerated following the overthrow of the Paris Commune. In the case of Spanish, peasant/petit-bourgeois backwardness and cultural stagnation are key to the emphasis on sense-certainty “literality.”

Although English has been constantly threatened with similar degeneration, both from the pathetic grammarian admirers of the French “Immortals” and from “slang,” the vigor of the material culture has been the basis for an unconscious humanism, a constant source of enlargement of the language's conceptual potentialities. The case of German has been well-studied. It is only during the past half-century that German has tended to decay, under the influence of existentialist (e.g., proto-fascist and fascist) movements and the accelerating hegemony of empiricism. The English language has finally — in the past two decades — succumbed to the corrosive influence of endemic “anti-intellectualism,” exhibited in the most extreme form by the spread of jargon from the syphilitic pustules of the Rock-counterculture illiterates.

The remedy for the French and Spanish problem is to emulate the Renaissance, using important scientific writings as the activity of making necessary revolutions in the vocabulary and “syntactical modes.” The Labor Committees are already engaged in furthering such self-conscious efforts as correlative of our general educational work.

80. Essence ... , pp. 72-73.

81. Ibid.

82. T.B. Macaulay, History of England, Vol. I.

83. E.G., the wild speculation of Ranke, in part credulously adopted by Freud (Moses and Monotheism).

84. Cf. Section 5, Part II, The Case of Ludwig Feuerbach by L. Marcus in the January 1974 Campaigner.

85. Same as above.

86. Essence of Christianity, N.B., pp. 12-14.

87. Ibid., pp. 33.

88 .Ibid., p. 34.

89. Ibid.

90. Ibid.

91. Ibid.

92. Ibid.

93. Ibid.

94. Ibid.

95. Ibid., p. 35.

96. Ibid., p. 37.

97. Ibid., p. 44.

98. Ibid.

99. Ibid., pp. 22-25. Contrast p. 34-36; Feuerbach desires to attain what he repeatedly rejects.

100. Ibid., p. 44.

101. Ibid.

102. Ibid., p. 45.

103. Ibid., pp. 22-25. Cf. pp. 37-43 and Principles of the Philosophy of the Future, §§5-7, 9-11, 13-24. Also “Towards A Critique of Hegel's Philosophy,” (Fiery Brook), pp. 72-84, notably his attack upon the first chapter (“Sense-Certainty”) of Hegel's Phenomenology, and his careless partial equation of Schelling and Hegel on the very point of their most embittered and actually fundamental difference (“a night in which all cows are black”).

104. “The Sexual Impotence of the Puerto Rican Socialist Party,” pp. 36-37, in The Campaigner, Vol. 7, No. 1, November, 1973.

105. Essence ... , pp. xxxix.

106. Ibid., p. 34.

107. Principles ... , §§34-36. Cf. §57.

108. Essence ... , p. 34: “The father, who as a judge, condemns his own son to death because he knows him to be guilty, can do this only as a rational, not as an emotional being." It is curious that Feuerbach's father, P.J. Anselm Ritter von Feuerbach, was a judge,

109. Ibid., p. 9.

110. Ibid., p. 10.

111. Ibid., p. 11.

112. Ibid., p. 2.

113. “The Sexual Impotence of the Puerto Rican Socialist Party,” pp. 36-37.

114. Essence ... , pp. 70-79.

115. “The Sexual Impotence of the Puerto Rican Socialist Party,” pp. 41-42.

116. Essence ... , Chap. II.

117. Engels' edition is used throughout.

118. Cf. L. Marcus, “Introduction” to Rosa Luxemburg, Anti Kritik, in The Campaigner, Vol. 5, No. 1, January, 1972; also Dialectical Economics, Chaps. VII-VIII, passim.

119. Dialectical Economics, passim; “The United States of Europe: Their Program And Ours,” in The Campaigner, Vol. 5, No. 4, Fall, 1972; “The Sexual Impotence of the Puerto Rican Socialist Party.”

120. Cf. Editor's Introduction, Theories of Surplus Value, I, Moscow.

121. “In Defense of Rosa Luxemburg,” in The Campaigner, Vol. 6, No. 2, Spring, 1973, pp. 21-25.

122. Essence ... , pp. 2.3, 23-25, 34-43. Cf. Note 103 supra.

123. “In Defense of Rosa Luxemburg,” pp. 5-16, 21-25.

124. Moscow edition, Vol. I.

125. N.B., Chaps. V-VI.

126. Cf. New Solidarity, Vol. IV, passim. The published material on food, energy, and related world-wide problems reflects the applied form of on-going fundamental studies.

127. Cf. Dialectical Economics, Chaps. V-VI.

128. N.B., Phenomenology ... , “Observations On Organic Nature,” N.Y., 1967; N.B., pp. 315-323, 326; “But organic nature has no history.”

129. See Note 103, supra.

130. Cf. “Theses ... ; “ Marx overlooks the dichotomy we identify here.

131. I.e., “to seize,” or the largely misplaced usage of “to comprehend.”

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