What is reification?

Reification is a society-wide process where one person assumes something is real that isn’t. Like you say about nature, we think about “the market”. The market wants this, the market wants that, but it’s bigger than that.

To reify something is like to cast it into law, to make it permanent, almost like you’re taking ephemeral, concepty air and turning it into rock. It’s like to make something real. It’s important to note that when reification isn’t a solitary activity; so using a famous example from Althusser, when you’re walking down the street and you hear a police siren and a man yell “Hey you!”, when you turn around, you are reifying the policeman’s right to yell at you.

But how would I explain this to a small child with a concussion? I would say that the adult world is no more delusional than the children’s world. We still have invisible friends, we just call them commodities.


Please explain postmodernism (/r/fuckingphilosophy)


Postmodernism means A LOT OF DIFFERENT SHIT, so hold on to your buttholes, kids. Let’s start with what it is not: modernism. Modernism is also another word that means a lot of different things to a lot of different people, like artists, historians, philosophers, etc, but I’m gonna go ahead and keep talking because fuck it!

Modernism is basically everything from 1600 to 1975. In this fucking time period people had a number of interesting beliefs, like that there is an objective truth, that people can be trusted for being rational actors, there are universal features across different cultures, people have things called “rights” and it’s fucked up when you violate them, and there isn’t a problem that science can’t explain, and that European civilization is the same thing as progress. All of these ideas are outcomes of the biggest circlejerk in all of history, The Enlightenment, when all the rich-ass nice guys from all the corners of the land decided to say fuck religion’s control on society, and fuck the king too, I can think for myself and I want to live in a society where decisions are made by thinking them out.

Post modernism is not that. Postmodernism calls all of that a sham. Objectivity, truth, rights, progress, all illusions. Postmodern critics like Foucault point out that the truth is always the truth of whoever’s in charge, and postmodern artists like Andy Warhol usher in a new age of thinking about meaning as a whole. An easy way of thinking about postmodern is the difference between parody and pastiche, or mashups, if you can’t be fucking bothered to learn a new fucking word. Parody is using a piece of media in a place where it’s not supposed to be and this clash between what it’s supposed to be and where it is is what’s funny. So if I were to sing the Star Spangled Banner and replace all the words with how much America sucks, that’s parody. But if I were to take the Star Spangled Banner and just use it any time at all in any other location, like in a mashup, that’s pastiche. In pastiche, an object’s essence is depleted. It no longer has any rules for how it can be used.

So in general, you know all those BIG ideas you have that organize every other idea you have? Stop using them, shred them into pieces, now they’re only as good for their scrap parts. That’s postmodernism. (Also another reason why deconstuctionism is called deconstructionism!)

In response to an article claiming the new Star Wars movie was pro-capitalist and should be boycotted

Articles like this appear around the internet every time a new movie becomes big. Critical theorist bloggers preach to not be swayed by the new movie, don’t go to see it, don’t enjoy it, it is actually a piece of capitalist media aiming to subvert your anti-capitalist spirit with false messages. The Interview is about the impotency of communism, American Sniper overflows with imperialist sentiment, Django Unchained is a world where collective revolution is impossible, false consciousness abounds. The remedy for this, the bloggers remind the reader, is a different ending where revolution, properly executed according to a specific theoretical outlook, resolves the conflict of the film. I don’t know what these writers are expecting, it seems like none of these bloggers can enjoy a movie without it ending in revolution or class struggle done specifically as they would like it, because as soon as they hit publish other bloggers pile on in to take cracks at it and to accuse the author of false consciousness themselves, because apparently being anti-empire for the wrong reasons is as bad as being a stormtrooper. This is what happens with false consciousness arguments: everyone who’s not you must be brainwashed. And these types of articles ignore the actual sentiments the movie is trying to appeal to. Would you really see a version of Star Wars spent in the countryside teaching the countryfolk revolutionary theory? (Wait, wrong crowd, I mean, I know WE would but how about normal people? Who want to see explosions and something exciting?) And then the author writes back arguing the specifics of their point until I’ve lost interest and then the whole thing repeats itself in a couple of months, while the movie makes millions at the box office. I think we need better tactics.

There’s this kind of subterranean liquid of emotion and memory and upbringing and class that the superego tries to shape into an identifiable self. This chaotic fluid like consciousness has its own dynamic and sense of direction which conflicts with the Superego from time to time. So the Superego is responsible for the management of the chaos of internal life and presenting it to the outside world as something respectable. A respectable spectacle.

Political Commentary vs Political Action

When I listen to politicians and media people talk about things in the way that they do I get very depressed because

  1. they’re removed from what happens on the ground of people’s lives. You see this when Bill O’Reily talks to anyone who doesn’t have his opinion when he questions the basis of their own experiences and opinions.
  2. I get the sense that they’re terrified of anything that doesn’t follow parliamentary procedure. People aren’t supposed to block intersections or lay down in the street or interrupt the flow of daily life. It’s just rude to them. In the story weaved by the media, the common people aren’t the main character endowed with nuance of expression, they’re “the people”, an anonymous backdrop of people coming and going from work, who at most make themselves heard every 2 or 4 years by picking out of a limited range of options. Aside from that, the story of politics is the story of politicians. They’re the players, they’re the actors. And we believe them.

Civilians need to learn how to flex their muscles and believe in themselves. And I think that protests aren’t good enough because we still want to be seen by the media. Protests have this idea these days that it’s about showing the media how much you care. I think any effective organizing has to stop trying to appeal to the media and just do the damn thing they want to do. If a guy is going to do something bad, call him up every day until he disconnects his phone. If bulldozers are going to come and bulldoze your home, get a used car, drive it into the intersection, take out the battery and walk away. Just do the damn thing. Enough of wanting to be seen. Politics is action. Let’s see it.

What is a social construct?

A social construct is an idea that other people give you. A table, as a device that has four legs and whose purpose is to hold something up, is a social construct, because when you were coming into this world you didn’t know it was called a table or what it was used for. Was it for sleeping on? Was it an altar? Over time and through experience you learn that it’s called a table and that you do certain things on a table and not other things. You didn’t come up with the word ‘table’ nor the rules for what you do on a table, but you don’t turn it up side down or put your grandma on it. Hell if you even sit on it, you know deep down that that’s not what it’s meant for. And you know why? Because the idea of a table was not your idea to begin with. It was somebody else’s.

Economy as libido (a shitty reading of D&G)

DAE feel like there’s an underlying libido trying to express itself when people talk about free markets? Like how there needs to be less governmental restrictions, women just need to spread their legs more, lower your barriers! Even on an international level, somehow export led development for poor countries seems to sound like (at least to me) “Shake what ‘cha got, girl!”, all in order for some big stud investor country to come over and fuck this little, inexperienced but very attractive countries’ brains out, oh yeah, invest! Invest! Invest! and then the money shot…RETURN ON INVESTMENT!!! Another satisfied customer! Bang bros! I mean, Lehman bros!

Like this is never what they say explicitly but like I just can’t help but think that people think of economics in terms of shitty porn cliches. Maybe I watch too much porn?