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First as tragedy, later as farce

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Soviet cogitations: 237
Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 16 Jul 2014, 21:53
Ideology: Other Leftist
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Post 08 Oct 2014, 05:53
In history, we call certain periods of material and cultural development as history blocs. Those blocs are characterized by a specific mindset, worldview and by accordingly material and production relationships established by human beings while engaged in social life. If in modern times this historical bloc might be defined by a specific period of time where those relationships are based on capital ownership (or lack of thereof), we might return history back a few centuries, back in middle ages, to expose a specific momment in history and prove a point about dialetical historial analysis.

During the middle ages the main relationship was centered around the property of land. Culture as defined by the specific mindset of the church and the religious teachings. Men was divided into various classes, but mainly, churchmen, nobility and the peasantry. This does not mean that the burgeoise did not exist. They existed (in cities like those of Italy) and they engaged in commerce within and outside Europe.

This burgeoise class was seen by the nobility as lesser men, little better than the peasantry with whom they formed a class of people devoid of nobility titles. The burgeoise was, in that manner, "ignored" culturally. They did not take part of the paintings, the church teachings, the prose and verse of the era, etc. They were lumped together with the peasantry as the forgotten majority. The history - as seen by man of the time - was decided and created by the aristoi, the nobility, the men of blood lineage.

From the high middle ages towards modern era, we saw a increase in population and commerce. If the burgeois was ignored, socially "forgotten", took for granted as lower men - people who made a living by dealing with such things of lesser character as money - something that the nobility did not want to deal with, they did not stop from striving, from making commerce and take advantage of the increased population of Europe. We might say that what is forgotten, grows, becouse we dont deal with it. We reject it. So the nobility and the system created to sustain that nobility in place, exhausted itself.

With the population increase, came the petty disputes among the nobility. To be noble is not only an ideological exercice - by this i mean the "idea" of being a noble - the noble identity that comes from lineage - but to own lands. And thats where the exhaustion of feudalism starts. Only the first son of the noble was allowed to inherited land ownership. All other sons had to live in the shadow of the first son, engage in the church or fight for land possesion against already estabilished nobles of afair. This is the point where the church incentivates the cruzades. To give a output for the belligerant intentions of the landless nobility.

But, the cruzades increase the commerce. By capturing ports and cities in the levant, a new wave of commerce reached Europe. Italian cities prospered from this commerce. So in other words, the ideologically ignored burgeois class increased its power and influence. So we might repeat, what you ignore, becouse it does not fit your worldview, is allowed to grow, to gain roots. You cannot know what is to be what you dont already are. So the nobility of the time could not predict that the very cruzades, designed to grab land for the landless nobility - wich increased in size during that time - would activate something that would turn against them later on. Riches and a new lifestyle comes from the contact with the orient and the greater commerce. The european nobility takes for granted their even more luxurious life. The become addicted to the commodities bought from the far lands.

We might say that by fighting a contraction of the system (a noble is a landowner, "landowners without land" is a contradiction) they activated the very means that would destroy the system itself.

[this is a compression of centuries without exact dates]

Thats where what was ignored (the burgeoise) returns. We might say that what we ignore returns later on. They (the burgeois) start to mobilize and to vie for political power.

This is the tragedy for the nobility. The burgeoise takes arms, chants liberty songs. They promise a new world. The peasantry and the petit burgeoise takes arms with them. They are all high on the ideals of the enlightment. The landowners are seen as evil. History is now being written (literally) by those who were ignored and cast aside by the official thinking.

Burgeoise reaches the power sought, and quickly demolish the englightment buildings. They fear losing power to ever growing demands of the lower classes. The progressive wave is stopped dead. The revolution dont achieve the liberty, fraternity and equality ideals. So now, what does the burgeoise use to justify their power (and the fact that the revolution did not went on and on to achieve its stated ideals) ?

They reenact, time after time, the removal of the vile nobility from power. They celebrate their liberty time after time (you might detect this in current USA political discourse). As if by removing (simbolically "killing") the aristocracy and their absolutism, they reached the uttmost outcome in human civilization, something that cannot be surpassed by anything that men might do from now on.

That eternal reenactment of the fall of the aristocracy (the removal of ditactors from power and the repeated use of words like liberty, freedom, land of the brave - those brave who defied absolutist ditactors etc) is the farce. That farce is repeated in books, songs. A reified version of liberty is celebrated. Not a liberty that can be detected in the actual momment.

If we dont have liberty right now, this is a contradiction. This must be solved someway. The burgeoise ideology must delete from proletariat conscienciousness the perception of lack of liberty. What can be done ?

A farce ! If you talk, write, sing, take liberty for granted, if you celebrate the fall of ditactors, the eternal fight between the "liberating" burgeoise versus the absolute despots of the past (and present), people will forget to critically assess their current reality. Thats the mechanism of the farce. To bring back the past. To make people reenact the (partial) victories of the old, and then create in the people (the readers, the listeners etc) the feel of being liberated again.

If we were liberated, how can we not be free ?

So, because of that, first as tragedy (for those who were in power) then as farce (for those who gain power after the tragedy is overcome).

First you ignore, because it does not fit your worldview, your mindset, then what was ignored gains mommentum, surges as tragedy, causes a breakdown of the structures, is accepted - because this cannot be avoided - gains power, reaches hegemony (creates a new historical bloc) then is celebrated continually as farce, to make people remmember the enemies of old and by this justify the status quo.

This applies to USA culture, but might apply to URSS too, or any other system where you need ideology to justify power.

We might say that history is the movement of becoming actual of that was only potential. History is the history of becoming manifest what was only a seed. Capitalism existed as seeds inside feudalism. We might, too, say that in history nothing is new, everything is the expansion and ressurgence - with new and more developed forms - of everything that already existed from the dawn. History is then the expansion of mankind, where everything comes from man power, becomes manifest in the outside, is recognized as such, causes a transformation of man culture, and is surpassed - not becouse it stops existing - by being transformed by the surge of something new. The movement of history causes the movement of what is stopped. Because half the meaning of something is stored in the something itself, the other half is stored in the whole universe that exists around it. So that what is solid becomes smoke. As power is applied resisting change, that power turns against itself and becomes the cause of the changes that we tried to avoid.

That historical momments when people recognize the necessity for change, the times when the system exhausts itself, they are the tragedies of the eras. And those momments when nothing changes in the facade, those are the farce.

But you cannot say if it was farce then tragedy or tragedy then as farce, because the farce of the previous era becomes tragedy, and that tragedy becomes farce and vice-versa. Positions are exchanged, by the exchange of political power. What is tragedy now, becomes farce. Farce until the change cannot be avoided, then a new tragedy, and so on.

But why the current is always a farce ?

Because history is not allowed to flow in a single thrust from the injustice of former eras into a kingdom of freedom and liberty, a fraternity of mandkind. So every revolution is a single step into a new world. Because we cannot know what is to be what we are not already, we cannot want (or choose) to be simply the best we can. We want and chose what seems to be best right now (under certain uses of the world "best", the best now is trully the best, but not the uttmost best).

We strive to be just what right now seems best, we become that, we detect its failures, we want something even better, and so on. At the same time change is not cheap. Change includes suffering. People die in revolutions, something is lost. Those in power fear losing power. Those living rich fear losing their riches. Change is not cheap. So we reach those intermediate steps, and fear the change. Then the farce becomes. We search for reasons for not changing. We enact and act. That acting (as actors in a soup opera) is the farce.
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Soviet cogitations: 237
Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 16 Jul 2014, 21:53
Ideology: Other Leftist
Pioneer
Post 21 Nov 2014, 21:42
A long time and no answers. I will take it as people did not bother or did not understand.
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Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 20 Jul 2007, 06:59
Ideology: Marxism-Leninism
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Post 22 Nov 2014, 08:18
Or maybe they didn't see much point in it?

I can't speak for the rest, of course, but what I see is a very arguable presentation of some historical events, presented as a theory, thanks to a few name-changes.

The first half is a long text about end of feudalism and rise of capitalism, which seems obvious to the point of pointlessness.
A lot can be argued as to the actual impact of the crusades, but the basic idea remains the same so it's moot.

What's strange is how you present the change (which is the growth of new social relations within the old order and the crumbling of the old order when it becomes socially unsustainable) as an "ignoring" and a "return". Return from where? Where did the bourgeosie go? They were certainly snubbed from political power and physically and ideologically opressed, but they were certainly utilized by the then ruling elite, which also had to go to great lengths to control their merchant class. Later on, governments had to appease them, incorporate some of their demands, to maitain social stability (just like the bourgeois governments today appease the proletariat).
I think you are taking the word "ignored" in one sense and then applying in a different meaning. They were "ignored" as in disregarded, snubbed from power, but they weren't "ignored" as actually existing and even being a potential threat.
Would you say the bourgeoisie "ignores" the proletariat? Well, in one sense, when they ignore our pleas, or suffering, yes, but if you look at their police, their courts, their newspapers and how they react to us, can you really say they "ignore" us?

And so, you say that what is ignored grows, and then "returns"... from where? What is the actual practical application of this, beyond being a witty phrase?
I don't see any goings and comings, they bourgeoisie don't return when they vie for power. What we can say is that you have conflicting modes of production, and this spawns mutually exclusive ideological frameworks, so that you have the feudal order with its ideas about social stability, duty, honor, etc., and the bourgeois order with its ideas about liberty, equality, and so on. One lens, one filter is switched with the other and everything is seen in a different light. But nothing went away or came back.

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What I perceive to be the second part of you post is the idea of farce as the celebration of the end of the old order, as a reenactment of the initial conditions to once again make it seem as you are fulfilling your ideals.
Yes, agreed on this point.
I would add, though, that this reenactment would happen regardless if you fulfilled the promises made or not, because any social order will wish to ideologically assert itself and one way of doing this is by celebrating its origin, the reason that gave birth to it and that therefore justifies it.
There's a degree of social catharsis, for sure, of channeling frustration with the system through the retelling of the destruction of the old enemy, but even without frustration, without unfulfilled promises, it remains an affirming action aimed mainly at generating agreement with the existing order and closer identity between subjects though a common past and struggle. I'm sure that even if we were in a socialist order where things were going more and more our way, we would still reenact the revolution that made it possible through celebration, education and arts.
To say that it is a strategy devised because of the lackluster nature of the new order seems erroneously one-sided.

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Thirdly, we get an (almost?) metaphysical view of history with the final days of mankind already existing as a homunculus present from the dawn of our species. This to me is a gross exaggeration of the dialectical presentation of the seeds of the new being present in the old.
Marx and Hegel presented this by showing the progression of something that is posited, something that is affirmed from without, assuming its own existence and then finally asserting itself and then swallowing or becoming the basis for its predesessor. Commerce, from being an activity done with the surplus of feudal production, of being dependant and explained by the first, becomes the reason for production, it robs production of its purpose.
But this doesn't mean that all of history is contained in the actual. It reeks of metaphysics and doesn't seem to answer anything or to be useful to anything except, again, for witty postulates.

Finally:
Quote:
That historical momments when people recognize the necessity for change, the times when the system exhausts itself, they are the tragedies of the eras. And those momments when nothing changes in the facade, those are the farce.

This seems a needless name-changing for revolution and social stability. For what purpose? Didn't you say that farce was the reenactment of revolution? Now it's the entire historiical period? Doesn't that confuse things?

Quote:
But you cannot say if it was farce then tragedy or tragedy then as farce, because the farce of the previous era becomes tragedy, and that tragedy becomes farce and vice-versa. Positions are exchanged, by the exchange of political power. What is tragedy now, becomes farce. Farce until the change cannot be avoided, then a new tragedy, and so on.

So social stability becomes revolution in hindsight?, or the reenactment of revolutions become revolutionary? What are you saying? That revolutions follow each other between periods of stability? If that's the case, then why the long post just to arrive at this banality? I don't understand.

Quote:
But why the current is always a farce ?

Because history is not allowed to flow in a single thrust from the injustice of former eras into a kingdom of freedom and liberty, a fraternity of mandkind.


By whom? God? I take it you mean material conditions? Are you sure that fraternity of mankind was the purpose from the begginning, or is this something that has only envisioned lately? For example, did the Romans strive for a fraternity of mankind, or was it the thriving of their elite and the spread of its ideals? I think that you are taking Enlightenment ideals and spreading them ahistorically as our eternal goal.

Quote:
Because we cannot know what is to be what we are not already, we cannot want (or choose) to be simply the best we can. We want and chose what seems to be best right now (under certain uses of the world "best", the best now is trully the best, but not the uttmost best).

We strive to be just what right now seems best, we become that, we detect its failures, we want something even better, and so on.


So there are no classes in history, just Mankind with a capital M, evolving through time thanks to its own becoming. How Hegelian...
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Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 10 Aug 2010, 14:21
Party Bureaucrat
Post 22 Nov 2014, 11:02
When Marx, who was a man of culture, characterized Napoleon as a tragedy, he meant something grand, theatrical, because the tragedy was seen as the ultimate form of theatre, as opposed to a farce whose main characteristic is roughness. Nowadays tragedy tends to be used as a synonym of disaster, but that's certainly not the historical and actual sense of the term, and not the sense used by Marx in his comparison between Napoleon I and his nephew.
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Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 16 Jul 2014, 21:53
Ideology: Other Leftist
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Post 22 Nov 2014, 13:21
You will not understand the text if you dont take the emergence and fenomenological standpoint.

"return" means that something ever existed, but appeared back into consciousness because of a certain event.

"ignored" means that something emerged from the relationships yet people did not embrace it.
Soviet cogitations: 1
Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 13 Mar 2015, 11:26
New Comrade (Say hi & be nice to me!)
Post 13 Mar 2015, 11:29
From the high middle ages towards modern era, we saw a increase in population and commerce. If the burgeois was ignored, socially "forgotten", took for granted as lower men - people who made a living by dealing with such things of lesser character as money - something that the nobility did not want to deal with, they did not stop from striving, from making commerce and take advantage of the increased population of Europe. We might say that what is forgotten, grows, becouse we dont deal with it. We reject it. So the nobility and the system created to sustain that nobility in place, exhausted itself.
Nawaz
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Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 19 Mar 2005, 20:08
Embalmed
Post 18 Mar 2015, 06:58
It looks like you're using a famous Marx saying (and that's all it is, a thing he said to amuse readers) to justify your own unconnected stream of consciousness. Well, what can I say, it's happened to the best of us.
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