Why we feel so alienated? Why we feel so alone?

Tahmidur Rahman

In 19th Century Carl marx explained why we feel so alienated.

I’ll inform you straight away about the 4 reasons.

1. Alienation from work.

2. Alienation from other people.

3.alienated from nature

4. Alienated from ourselves.

But if you are willing to stick with me, we’ll deep dive within this unwanted solitude and try to figure out all together how to deal with this alien of alienation.

Let’s first find out the reason in details-

1. Alienated From Work:

Karl Marx defined alienation at work in the 1840s, but it remains important today. The Industrial Revolution compelled individuals into factory employment that strangled them unfulfilled. The issue persisted in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries, especially in low autonomy employment. Today factors such as division of labor and the displacement of certain abilities, despite the automation of manual labor, contribute to alienation. However, new technology also enables de-alienation by creating fresh possibilities through the interactive nature of the internet. Despite the technological modifications, the main alienating variables stay comparable to those of the 1840s and can be traced back to the capitalist system’s dehumanization of labor and employees. That is why the alienating and de-alienating aspects of 21st century technology are relevant but should be viewed within the social and economic context in which the technology operates.

From a sociological perspective, alienation can be defined as a sensation of impotence, meaninglessness and alienation as a consequence of being unable to discover fulfillment in one’s job. The concept was developed in early writing by Karl Marx (Fulcher, & Scott, 2003), which coincided with the Industrial Revolution when the “agricultural, handicraft economy” was substituted by “industrial machine manufacturing” (Britannica, 2015). Marx saw job as a means of people’s creative and central expression of human nature (Fulcher, & Scott, 2003). Work was more creative and flexible before industrialization, for instance, craftsmen worked at their own speed and regulated what they were doing and how they were doing it. Land work fluctuated seasonally and was important, as food was the product–a crucial requirement. In comparison, owing to technological advances and division of labor, factory workers had no control over the process, working hours or the final product. In order to survive, they had to conduct repetitive routines, generating something not necessarily helpful to them, but generating wealth for their employer. Due to class division and competition that substituted cooperation, workers became alienated from employers and each other (Kellner, 2006). Marx thought that work was “dehumanized” and that it no longer provided self-realization pleasure (Fulcher & Scott, 2003).

Sociologists in the 1950s-60s saw (Subberwal, 2009) that alienation was wider than manual labor and applicable to contemporary job, especially bureaucracies or service industries offering restricted liberty. Braverman (Lawson and Garrod, 2001) feared that technology and further division of labor would lead to the “disqualification” of the workforce, i.e. the reduction of the skills required by workers to do their jobs would make them less valuable and lead to further disempowerment. On the other side, Blunter suggested (Subberwal, 2009) that higher automation in the workplace would lead to a decrease in alienation as there would be less sluggish routine work and individuals could focus on more exciting and meaningful assignments. Nevertheless, some contemporary critics argue that new technologies take alienation to the next level (Kellner, 2006).

2. Alienation from other people:

For Marx, it relies on human nature whether capitalism and its class division are an appropriate arrangement for human beings. Because humans are biological beings and not just free-floating immaterial minds, we, like all other biological beings, have to interact with and transform the natural world in order to survive.4 But what distinguishes us from all other animals, such as bees, spiders or beavers, all of which transform the world on the basis of instinct, is that we transform the world consciously and freely. Like many other philosophers, Marx thinks that doing excellently what makes us distinctly human is the true source of fulfillment.

Marx’s second element of alienation is called alienation from other people or our human nature in a narrow sense. For the species essence of Marx humanity is labor itself. Labor is our’ exercise of existence aware.’ Marx argues that humans are conscious creative beings by nature and that in the products we generate we objectivize ourselves. Objectivizing ourselves is using our conscious exercise of existence to see ourselves as the topic in relation to nature and through our manipulation of nature to manifest or create real our conscious ideas, our objects. Unlike most animals ‘ species-essence, which is instinctual activity in existence. Since most animals function and satisfy their requirements by using their instincts, whereas by conscious ideas and our capacity to turn nature into the objects of our ideas we function and satisfy our requirements.

In fact, by being alienated from our species-essence: our creative conscious life-activity, we are alienated from our human nature to generate what we want at will and the potential that our species-essence offers us with. Simply put, capitalist society makes the free deliberate exercise of man, labor, a means to an end, rather than an end in itself. Marx articulates this when he says: “In taking the object of his manufacturing from man, alienated labor takes its species-life, its real and objective presence as a species.”

3. Alienation from nature:

Civilization resulted decisively to almost complete alienation through the seventeenth-century European Enlightenment and its goods: contemporary technology and industrial revolution. Rene Descartes, who most profoundly and influentially developed the vision of the Enlightenment, is known, on the one hand, for his radical dualism of the human soul and, on the other, merely matter in motion. On the mere-matter-in-motion side of the equation, animals and plants wound up.

Although the Enlightenment brought the alienation to its extreme from nature, it had other, more beneficial, impacts. It encouraged critical thinking about hereditary habits and thoughts and gave human dignity. It endorsed human rights concepts and even all human beings ‘ basic equality. We must be cautious not to lose what we have acquired in our desire to overcome our destructive connection with the rest of nature.

However, Charles Darwin showed in the nineteenth century that human humans are a result of biological evolution, so that they are part of nature. This opened the door to re-think nature as having ascribed some of Descartes ‘ characteristics to the human soul alone. The philosophy of Alfred North Whitehead and the conference “Seizing an Alternative” suppose this reaction to the fresh knowledge of how human beings were created.

We are working against the now dominant vision of our universities and our culture in general, however, in making this step. Science’s dedication to techniques related to the solely objective presence of nature (without its own subjectivity) was very powerful. Instead of altering this strategy to the remainder of the natural globe, researchers decided to study people as they had earlier studied human experience items–as very complicated devices. Where Descartes had made nature objective, human beings after Darwin also became objective.

Naturally, the previous choice to study nature had proved very fruitful as if it were solely objective and mechanical. It has also proved fruitful to apply this technique to the research of human humans.

Unfortunately, however, the fruitful scientific method choice ended up shaping how we regarded the truth of what was being studied. This had happened with Cartesian “nature” before. It was believed not only to be studied profitably in terms of its objective and mechanistic elements, but also to be exhausted by them in their own reality. To mechanistically describe nature was to tell everything that required to be said. Similarly, the new implications of including humans as objects of this type of scientific study included the view that the full truth about humans was limited to what could be studied in this way.

As a consequence, higher education is now encouraging individuals to believe that human aims, emotions, and actions do not really play a part in the globe. At most, they are side effects of the actual physical and objective causes. In severe thinking, there is no room for values.

In late modernity, therefore, Enlightenment dualism was substituted by reductionist monism. The Enlightenment has resulted individuals to see themselves as accountable citizens. The new reductionist monism backed the industrial system that represents us in the economic system’s wheel as cogs.

Millennia of nature alienation had deep, mostly damaging, psychological impacts. In fact, some of these reflect modifications in our brains. We have a lot of job to do if we are to be cured from these injuries.

Therefore, distinct basic concepts about the nature of the globe we inhabit are at problem for an ecological civilization. It’s the distinction between “nature lifeless” and “nature alive,” as Alfred North Whitehead put it. If we know nature as a whole to be alive as much as we experience ourselves as alive, we will experience our relationship with other living things, particularly other animals, richly. Maybe then we can start the process of healing.

4. Alienated from ourselves:

The fourth element of Marx’s alienation can be extracted from the reality that we are alienated from our own human nature or essence of Marx’s social nature. Thus alienation arises in capitalist society’s relations of manufacturing. In the capitalist interactions of manufacturing, we are alienated not only from the product and the manufacturing process, but since we are alienated from our human nature, we are alienated from ourselves and each other in turn. This element of alienated labor therefore deals with the reality that our social relations are alienated by themselves. For Marx, because we are a social species from birth, our conscious life activity is integrated in a social structure. This alienation is shown as hostility or rivalry between employees and members of society. As Marx wrote: “Everyone considers the other according to the norm and the relationship in which he finds himself as a worker in the relationship of alienated employment” (Simon, p.65). It is encountered in the workplace promotion contest and through the stand-off between manufacturing employees and management employees. The capitalist mode of manufacturing further reinforces it through the presence of a reserve labor army: the unemployed. Since full employment within the capitalist mode of manufacturing is not feasible, there is always a proportion of the population who are unemployed and looking for work at different times. This reality alone puts the employee against the employee in the position of being able to sell one’s labor power as a means to an end, that end being sustenance and our own reproduction. In other fields of our social relationships this aspect or form of alienation is also expressed. For instance, this can be seen in the political field in how employees vote against their own interests and other groups ‘ interests like the stigmatized victims of the capitalist mode of manufacturing: the poor on welfare.

The alienation theory of Marx can assist us know job and human nature by framing how we look at the two and how they are linked. There are many ideas on what work is and what it means to us, as Sayer’s assessment showed, and Marx’s theory provides a refreshing take on how we should perceive job. As Sayer described, the one posed by utilitarianism is a common concept of job. Mainly that work is laborious and unpleasant, and that pleasure or happiness can be derived from lack of job. However, Marx would claim that such a concept of labor is itself a result of alienated labor. In his alienation assessment, we discover that the estrangement of the employee from himself, his colleagues, their products, and the manufacturing process can describe such emotions or knowledge of the nature of job. This alienation is the consequence of private property in the financial arena or said otherwise to be confused with personal property. The fact that productive property and the means of manufacturing are private property and that by this reality employees are compelled to sell their labor power and in turn alienate themselves in the above-mentioned ways demonstrates how a utilitarian conception of nature job is inherently incorrect in condemning job, since labor is part of our human essence or nature. This also provides us the response to the manner Marx explains how to experience job. To experience job as the manifestation of our species-essence, our creative life-activity needs that we overcome our alienation and reorganize our community in order to create relationships that enable us all to behave in accordance with our species-essence.

Because alienation is the result of an objective experience derived from the relations of manufacturing within capitalist society, the alternative to overcome it lies within it as well. Alienation can be defined more directly as the consequence of uncontrolled manufacturers or employees owning the products they generate as well as the manufacturing process they operate in. The outcome of personal (productive) ownership is merely to put alienation. The capitalists, since only a few own the means of manufacturing and remainder, the employees, must sell what they own: their labor power to obtain access to the means of manufacturing. To overcome this alienation, this intrinsic antagonism within the capitalist mode of manufacturing needs to be corrected in order to bring about a fresh mode of manufacturing. This new mode of manufacturing was regarded by Marx as Communism and it is the overcoming of private property. Marx wrote: “Communism is eventually the beneficial expression of[ aufgehoben] overcome personal property” (Simon, p.69). In other words, communism is a mode of manufacturing in which personal productive property no longer exists and thus no longer prevents alienation as it is a symptom of private property. Therefore, getting rid of private property is a way for Marx to overcome alienation in all its manifestations as it arises from the social relationships in which private property exists. This is obviously indicated by Marx when he wrote: “Therefore, the overcoming of private property as the appropriation of human life is the overcoming of all alienation…” (Simon, p.71). We may wonder how would it look like a culture that does not include private property in its mode of manufacturing? Well, we can start to understand that response by concentrating on the reality that private property, in this case business and industrial productive property, is comprised mainly of the businesses and corporations where labor generates commodities and services. The inner ownership system of the workplace must be altered in order to overcome the antagonism between those who own the businesses and those who operate in the businesses. Therefore, it is necessary to change the inner composition of private property into its opposite, which is cooperative ownership. In order to overcome private property and thus alienation, society must substitute the private undertakings that make up its economy with worker-owned and managed undertakings widely known as workers ‘ cooperatives. Therefore, worker-owned and managed cooperatives are the basic construction blocks in the economy of a communist society. Any society whose economy does not include cooperative ownership of productive property is not a communist society, but an intermediate phase such as socialism or some other manifestation of capitalism, as is the case with the emerging Soviet-styled societies. In reality, they are what state capitalist societies can be called.

 

So is Alienation the ultimate future of humanity?

We need to heal from this alienation in seeking attachment. We can often lose our genuine self in all these scattered events. There is an illustration of the effect of bias, discrimination and stigma. We become alienated from ourselves and others if we live in a group or society where we are not free to express our identity.

This is often true of care-giving young individuals who often tell us the stigma they encounter throughout their lives. This stigma does not exist alone–we live in a culture where youth continue to face homophobia, transphobia, racism and misogyny.

Therefore, recovery must start by returning us to our genuine selves. The way we intervene is often the key factor for those who promote young individuals to do that. Dr. Maté asks us to wonder who we are when we intervene, do we do so from a location of compassion and without judgment?

We often punish kids as a community for’ poor’ behavior by offering them ‘ time out,’ playing on their worst fear and removing human contact. We understand that school exclusion levels are greater for kids with care experience than their colleagues, so this is especially relevant for young individuals with care experience.

This’ time-out’ can often take the form of sentences of custody for adolescents. The proof indicates that care-experienced youth are also more likely to participate as an adult in the justice system. During a panel discussion at the meeting, as Karyn McCluskey, Chief Executive of Community Justice Scotland, said: our prisons are “passive recipients of the wounded.”

So how are we going to alter that? We have to start with the person. We must start by wondering, as Sir Harry Burns said,’ What matters to you?And what are we going to do?Fundamentally, if societal change is to be achieved, we must include both those who provide services and the citizens who are supported by them from the outset. As Sir Harry Burns said: “When you want to bring about change, you need to involve those who need to create it occur.” That brought me back to Darren McGarvey’s early query: “How does this translate into politics?”In other words, how do we take Dr. Gabor Maté’s teaching and translate it into change?

For Staf, the day strengthened our faith that relationships and connections are important, but it also opened our eyes to the effect of the contrary–alienation. We will all be committed to tackling alienation and building the relationships required to cure from trauma.

We will continue to work to bring together lived experience with those who will be requested to introduce change in order to bring about that change in the care scheme. Only then can we create a society in which all young people are listened to, cared for and loved.

“Who we are when we intervene, do we do so from a location of compassion and without judgment?”

Dr. Maté

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