Some Notes on Karl Marx’s The German Ideology (1846)

05-035

Notes:

  • …that definite individual who are productively active in a definite way enter into these definite social and political relations.
  • The social structure and the State are continually evolving out of the life process of definite individuals, but of individuals, not as they may appear in their own or other people’s imagination, but as they really are; i.e., as they operate, produce materially, and hence as they work under definite material limits, presuppositions and conditions independent of their will.
  • The production of ideas, of conceptions, of consciousness, is at first directly interwoven with the material activity and the material intercourse of men, the language of real life.
  • Consciousness can never be anything else than conscious existence, and the existence of men is their actual life-process.
  • …we do not set out from what men say, imagine, conceive, nor from men as narrated, thought of, imagined, conceived, in order to arrive at men in the flesh. We set out from real, active men, and on the basis of their real-life process we demonstrate the development of the ideological reflexes and echoes of this life-process.

Morality, religion, metaphysics, all the rest of ideology and their corresponding forms of consciousness, thus no longer retain the semblance of independence. They have no history, no development; but men, developing their material production and their material intercourse, alter, along with this their real existence, their thinking and the products of their thinking. Life is not determined by consciousness, but consciousness by life.

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