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Showing posts from June 7, 2009

what is false consciousness?

We all know that false consciousness can be manufactured by the yard, like ribbon. We have merely to pick up a newspaper or see a movie to confirm this belief. In fact, the most popular story about false consciousness, Hans Christian Anderson’s The Emperor’ New Clothes, uses thread as the emblem of false consciousness – for in its essence, false consciousness is that nothing at all for which someone gets paid. And haven’t we seen them sewing the invisible thread? What was Tarp, what was the Iraq war, but the work of the tailors? Who wove justifications through which it was quite easy to see – it was quite easy to see that Iraq, a country that had been crippled by ten years of sanctions, couldn’t even properly attack its breakaway Northern half, much less threaten a power that spends more on the military each year than the rest of the world spends in five years. Just as it was quite easy to see that the middle and working class, hit by a business cycle that had been put in motion by

doppelgangers in their cradles

There has been a story in the Western cultures about the Other cultures that has developed over a long, long time – one of the great traditions. In this story, the history of the people without history, the savages, is modeled on an equivalence between the savage’s world view and the child’s. Like the child, the savage naturally and incorrectly projects anthropomorphic characteristics on things, animals, and events. Animism, in this story, arrives as the first stage of our development in our cognitive schedule. The first attitude towards the world sees it as alive. Just as Ontogeny recapitulates phylogeny, children recapitulate the beliefs of savages, who express the cognitive development of children. In that circle we see expressed the natural, intuitive notions of man. Piaget reaffirmed this idea, in the twenties, claiming that children go through a period of “animism” – a period in which all things are living, and human intentionality is projected on non-human entities. But start

happy doppelganger 2

In brief, the story of Little Zaches, aka Zinnobar (Klein Zaches, sogenannte Zinnobar) concerns the fate of a dwarf (knirps), who is found one day lying on the ground next to his exhausted mother by an abbess, Rosengrünschön, who has magical powers. Her magical powers have led to her persecution – she is a fairy – and hence to her taking refuge in a vaguely described religious “house”. Zaches is described as a mute, misbegotten child, a changeling. In fact, when we first come upon him, lying in the sack of sticks that his mother has collected from the forest, the author notes that he could be mistaken for a log. Physically and mentally subpar, Zaches, in this story, rises to be the minister of the country, under the name Zinnobar. It is, then, a political fairy tale – but it is also a bit of twisted universal history. It is under the guise of universal history that logs, sticks and trees play their part. Freud, as we have pointed out, claimed that the psychic process of projection