Ideology In The German Ideology

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Lauren Miller Prof. P. Cheah Rhetoric 103B Section 102 GSI R. Rhadigan 15 Feb. 2018 Essay Question #1 In The German Ideology, Karl Marx and Frederick Engels attribute the rise of ideology to the division of labor, where “man’s own deed becomes an alien power opposed to him, which enslaves him instead of being controlled by him.” Marx likens the division of labor to the division of ideas from reality. According to Marx, “men are the producers of their conceptions… and the existence of men is their actual life-process,” but ideology distorts this fact, inverting it so that ideas create reality, as German philosopher Ludwig Feuerbach would have it. Because the bourgeoisie controls the factors of production, it is this class’s culture – and thereby…show more content…
Barthes adds a layer to Saussure’s dissection of the relationship between the concept (the object being signified) and the sound image (the arbitrary signification of the object), theorizing that myth takes a sign (a paired concept and sound image) and turns it into a signifier, made to signify something else and thereby create a new sign. Barthes argues that myth is the most effective means to spread ideology because it appears to the consumer as natural. Myth can accomplish this because it does not “suppress the meaning” of the original sign but “impoverishes it… the meaning loses its value but keeps its life,” the myth feeding off of the original sign, “[drawing] its nourishment.” Barthes describes this relationship as a “constant game of hide-and-seek between the meaning [of the original sign] and the form which defines the myth,” for the meaning is always there and easily seen under even the slightest bit of scrutiny, but people don’t generally look to scrutinize it. That is why myth is so effective. The form is “made almost transparent” so that it doesn’t appear to mystify or seem to be hiding anything. The glass of myth is frosted lightly enough that you can see through it clearly to the original sign, but this clarity also serves to ensure that one cannot see through it because there’s apparently no reason to investigate or suspect that any…show more content…
However, when people identify as individuals, society as a whole falls into false consciousness and the bourgeois ideology is allowed to persist and redouble itself, mystifying the very air of society. Such is the need for the universal class – the proletariat. Marx believes there is a conceivable end to the degradation of the working class, but he theorizes such a realization is not possible until the class as a whole realizes it is truly universal, having “no particular claims, but one acting from the desperation of total deprivation.” Marx describes this fully realized class as having “radical chains, a class in civil society which is not a class of civil society, a class which is the dissolution of all classes, a sphere of society which has a universal character because its sufferings are universal.” This class would have experienced “a total loss of humanity,” needing to overcome through a “total redemption of humanity,” namely, revolution. When enjoined as the proletariat, the working class can rise and overcome the bourgeoisie and thereby the entire superstructure because “modern universal intercourse [the prevailing ideology] can be controlled by individuals… only when controlled by all.” Barthes is likewise partial to revolution, describing revolutionary language as distinctly political and thereby in no way mythical. “Revolution excludes

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