Date: Tue, 6 Aug 1996 16:12:48 CDT
Sender: Activists Mailing List <ACTIV-L@MIZZOU1.MISSOURI.EDU>
From: "Erwin Marquit, University Of Minnesota" <MARQUIT@physics.spa.umn.edu>
Subject: Marx and Freud:special issue NST vol. 8, no. 1
In his mechanical, physicalistic diagnosis of European capitalist society, Freud addressed problems appearing in individual persons of the bourgeois classes; Marx, dialectical and economic, investigated class conflict and its potential working-class resolution. Only incompletely accounting for the social- ization ego, Freud stressed the internal tensions between id, ego, superego, and social reality, whereas Marx described social communication and collective labor as its formative processes. The aim of Freud was individual and social equilibrium through acknowledging and guiding unconscious repressed drives into conformity with social demands (of the ruling classes). But for Marx the goal was class consciousness, social revolution against ruling-class demands, and the transformation of a class-ruled society into a universal human community.
The work of Marx and Freud is described as the second and third information science (the first being Darwin's) in the context of the transition from the industrial to the information age. Marx showed that consciousness (information) is dependent on practical activity, whereas psychoanaly- sis shows that the individual can escape his or her unconscious past determinants through regaining lost information. Both Marx and Freud formulated their theories in terms of the industrial age, where matter meant substance and energy, not as yet information. The outline of a reformulation of both theories into information-centered ones is given. The demise of the socialist regimes and their rejection of psychoanalysis is analyzed in close connection with their (and Marx's) philosophical error of not subsuming information as part of matter.
The theory of the mind-body relation, critical to psycho- analysis, has a philosophical history. Following Spinoza, Hegel, and Feuerbach, Marx advanced the idea of the dialectical, developmental unity of thought and the material world. Psychoanalysis also applied science to the improving of human society. Today Freud's theory has split into many schools questioning the concepts of libido, id, ego, superego, infantile sexuality, conscious therapy without activity, psychosexual stages, and unchanging needs, as well as Freud's fixed categories (human nature, society) and determinism. Many early Freudians were socialist and Marxist, forced to flee from Hitlerism and repressed under McCarthyism. Their innovative work was paralleled by such Soviet researchers as Vygotsky, Luria, Leontiev, and Lomov. Recent trends emphasize the organism's activity, self-regulation, goal-seeking, environmental conditions, systems, interaction, and development.
Comments by John P. Pittman and Peter Feigenbaum
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