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Rebel against the forced sickness of capitalism

George Clark, April 2002
rtf (8Kb)version of this document

Countervailing power can be more or less radical.

The elegant power of the hegemonic elite outlines, allows and embraces delimited forms of countervailance (acceptable opposition) which do not threaten the dominant paradigm. There are times, however, when the paradigm needs shifting (the only constant thing is change) and when the countervailing forces come to be seen as unacceptable to the established order.

bulletIs the elegant power of the emergent globalised elite reaching hegemonic proportions?
bulletIs the oligopolisation of the media and the knowledge industry becoming a threat to human freedom?

This brief collection of quotes from western illuminati of the last century suggests that it might

For more on this theme see
bulletCapitalism Calling
bulletSocioeconomic factors leading to the emergence of modern capitalism in the west
bulletFour Clusters of Political Attitude
bulletFinding mental space for movement
bullet The Third Enlightenment  (sister site)


bulletHaving – Force – Rebellion
bulletThe having mode and the anal character
bulletThe organisation of thoughtlessness

Eastern wise men have for long noted that you are what you think and that it is never too late to change your mind. Hopefully this is true as it offers a glimmer of hope for a future of human beings rather than human havings.

The short extracts given below come from Erich Fromm, one of the world’s most influential and brilliant thinkers on psychological, philosophical and social issues. They are from his 1976 book "To Have or to Be" which sees the immature and pathological ‘having’ mode of existence as bringing the world to the brink of ecological and psychological disaster, and envisages a new emphasis on mature and healthy ‘being’ as the only course if humanity is to avoid catastrophe.

Having – Force – Rebellion p83

The tendency to grow in terms of their own nature is common to all living things. Hence we resist any attempt to prevent our growing in the ways determined by our structure. In order to break this resistance, whether it is conscious or not, physical or mental force is necessary. The use of … force … that tends to bend us in directions contrary to our given structure, and that is detrimental to our growth, arouses resistance.

What is resisted is the free, spontaneous expression of the infant’s, the child’s, the adolescent’s, and eventually the adult’s will, their thirst for knowledge and truth, their wish for affection. The growing person is forced to give up most of his or her autonomous, genuine desires and interests, and his or her own will, and to adopt a will and desires and feelings that are not autonomous but superimposed by the social patterns of thought and feeling.

Society, and the family as its psychosocial agent, has to solve a difficult problem: How to break a person’s will without his being aware of it?

Yet by a complicated process of indoctrination, rewards, punishments, and fitting ideology, it solves this task by and large so well that most people believe they are following their own will and are unaware that their will itself is conditioned and manipulated. [How does this process evolve?]

The having mode and the anal character p87-88

(Freud’s concept of) the anal character (is) a person whose main energy in life is directed towards having, saving and hoarding money and material things as well as feelings, gestures, words, energy. It is the character of the stingy individual and is usually connected with such other traits as orderliness, punctuality, stubbornness, each to a more than ordinary degree.

His concept of the anal character as one that has not reached maturity is in fact a sharp criticism of bourgeois society of the nineteenth century, in which the qualities of the anal character constituted the norm for moral behaviour and were looked upon as the expression of ‘human nature’.

Freud’s view (was) that the predominant orientation in possession occurs in the period before the achievement of full maturity and is pathological if it remains permanent. In other words, the person exclusively concerned with having and possession is a neurotic, mentally sick person; hence it would follow that the society in which most of the members are anal characters is a sick society.

the person exclusively concerned with having and possession is a neurotic, mentally sick person

The organisation of thoughtlessness

"Because society with its developed organisation exercises a hitherto unknown power over Man, Man’s dependency on it has grown to a degree that he has almost ceased to live a mental existence of his own … by a general act of will freedom of thought has been put out of function, because many give up thinking as free individuals, and are guided by the collective to which they belong … With the sacrifice of independence of thought we have – and how could it be otherwise – lost faith in truth. Our intellectual-emotional life is disorganised. The over organisation of our public affairs culminates in the organisation of thoughtlessness." (Fromm’s translation (p158) of Albert Schweitzer’s (1923) Die Schuld der Philosophie an dem Niedergang der Kultur)

The over organisation of our public affairs culminates in the organisation of thoughtlessness

Sigmund Freud

1856-1939 - Austrian founder of psychoanalysis

Albert Schweitzer

1875-1965 - German theologican, physician, musician and moralist

bullet1952 - Awarded the Nobel Peace Prize

Erich Fromm

1900-1980 - German/American psychoanalyst

bullet1941 Escape from Freedom
bullet1956 The Art of Loving
bullet1976 To Have or to Be; Abacus; ISBN 0 349 11343 2



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