Monday, November 21, 2005


Email 6:

One thing that bothers me about Marxism is the idea that consciousness comes from modes of production and that production is what distinguishes man from beast. I don't believe this to be true. There are plenty of animals that also build and produce things. Par example, bees make honey in a very systematic division of labor. There are the bees that hunt down the flowers, the ones that grab the nectar, the ones that collect it, etc. The actual honey-making process is still a bit of a mystery, but that just shows how complex their production is. Beavers build dams, sometimes highly convoluted dams. Some primates can make tools and silk worms and spiders spin fibers into fabric. So we're not that unique in our ability to make things.

We are unique in our ability to reflect on the world around us and categorize it. I completely agree with the idea of a false consciousness and seeing life solely through the lens of ideology. I don't believe that all people think this way, but there are plenty who do. The key to overcoming the effects of ideology, however, is through education, not a classless society. I cannot tell you how many misconceptions there are about Islam and the Middle East. When people find out where I'm from, they ask all sorts of questions like, "Is your dad oppressive? Why don't you wear a scarf on your head? Do you believe in the Bible? Do you support terrorism?" These are questions out of ignorance that come from an ideology that doesn't include people like me. It isn't that these people are bad or that they think they're better than me. If we lived in a society where we were the same class (whatever that means), I don't think that these questions would necessarily go away. I think through education and teaching each other in order to understand one another, we can see how great it is that we are all so unique. As a child, I escaped a country that tried to make all women the same in order to come to a country where I was free to be myself. Marxism, paradoxically, has an ideology of its own which excludes individuality. As Americans, we know that this is a very high price to pay in the name of classlessness. If our own immune system knows to recognize non-self antigens, our minds should be free for us to know and express ourselves.

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