There is such an unpleasant thing – alienation. In the legal sense (sale or donation), not in the psychological sense (“Oh, we’re all strangers to each other!”) – but in the Marxist, political and economic sense.
The wage worker is alienated from the product of his labor.
What does that mean? This means that for a wage worker the meaning of his job lies only in wages, not in exactly what he does, produces, invents, creates. The hired worker is subjectively indifferent to all questions of “why” and “for what” as well as to the product itself. The employee only cares about the money received for the job. This alienation inherent in capitalism is not just a theoretical abstraction. And it’s not just the difference between a medieval craftsman and a modern industrial worker.
Alienation shapes attitudes towards work and people. When the purpose of labor is profit – workers are ready to hack, deceive, defraud as the situation permits. There are professions that are as ethical as possible – doctors and teachers. There, the alienation is minimal, because the product itself is, so to speak, multi-part, individual, unique: a cured sick person or an educated child. And where production is massive, not only a fool will miss the opportunity to reduce the cost of raw materials and minimize effort.
As we remember raw materials, we will have to admit that alienation is not simply the misfortune of the hired worker. Equally, this is the fate of a businessman. A tailor sews trousers not to make someone comfortable and beautiful, but to make money. But after all, the factory owner makes these trousers (and any other item) not to make the buyer happy, to provide him with something comfortable, quality and durable – to sell this thing faster. . The idea of a quality product is in irreducible contradiction with the purpose of the business – to make money faster. Not to mention the sustainability of everything in the world, from pants to complex appliances. Once, the seams were made with a margin – now everything is cut from end to end, so that in a few years there is not the slightest opportunity to “spread” your pants if you get a little fat. And the fabric is such that in two years there is nothing to look at.
But the alienation does not end there.
He makes very strange pirouettes.
One of my correspondents recently wrote:
“My family and their friends-colleagues were typical sixties. Technicians. They worked in closed research institutes in a small town near Moscow. As soon as the guests gathered – immediately Okudzhava, Galich, Strugatsky, Bulgakov, Tarkovsky, jokes, Voice of America (the organization was included in the list of foreign agents by the Ministry of Justice). They scolded Soviet power, famines, censorship, exit visas, laughed at the Politburo elders, resented the persecution of the dissidents …
And in the morning they went to work in research institutes and design bureaus, and enthusiastically got drunk, sometimes staying up until the night, sitting for weeks in laboratories, building rockets, radars and other equipment that strengthened this hated, this despised, this mocked Soviet. strength.
That is, the progressiveness of all these sixties and the opposition of the Soviet scientific and technical intelligentsia was the purest … “. Here the author used an inappropriate and very rude word. To put it mildly – pure hypocrisy.
But it’s not pure hypocrisy. This is alienation. Meaning alienation.
Let’s consider the steeper and riskier: the case of the great scientist, chief designer of the rocket designer Sergey Pavlovich Korolev. A talented person lived, worked in a design bureau, built a rocket for the country. Here’s a pause. We stopped, breathed, learned: for the country. That is, for the state, for the authorities: a rocket is not the pants a neighbor needs, and it is not a novel that can be written without relying on publication.
King did a good job. But then the authorities put him in a camp. No way: he didn’t mess around or spy. Yes, by order. In other words, homeland-homeland spit and messed with his work, humiliated him.
He left the camp and started the same job again.
Q: Was it difficult? If yes, then no question. Everyone in the temple will work with a pistol. The instinct of life, the instinct to protect his family, children – very strong in a person, almost irresistible. All kinds of thugs take advantage of it.
And if not, they did not force them, then there are questions. For whom did he build the already humiliated and trampled rocket?
For the country? This is an old misunderstanding. What is country? Have you seen a weak country? And without the people supporting this government? A powerless and uninhabited country is an empty landscape, though sometimes quite beautiful. Rivers, mountains, valleys. But he, this empty landscape does not need a rocket. The landscape needs nothing, not even Levitan, the landscape in itself is an absolute thing. Sorry, I got a little carried away. That is, if the great designer worked voluntarily, then he did not work for the country, but for the authorities who humiliated and humiliated him. Well, supposedly, as if – to this government “Hurray!” To people shouting.
But to be honest, people did not need a rocket from Sergei Pavlovich Korolev. Who are the people with this rocket? What are the benefits? Only minuses – robbed even more, the growth of well-being slowed down for another ten years.
And this rocket protected the powerful package militarily and inflated its prestige in terms of astronauts. For what? So that the same greedy and cruel overseas horde would not overthrow this herd. All this global conflict was not between countries, nations, peoples, but between power groups.
That’s basically the whole game. Neither the beautiful landscape with birch trees nor the “criminal people” have absolutely nothing to do with it. Power and its scientific and technical servants, period. As sociologists say, the elite and its technostructure. But I repeat, if the weapon is in the temple, then there is no question, only great human sympathy.
Or option number three. The demonic pride of the designer. Here you will all rest, you will all be buried in the dust of history, and they will remember and honor me. Therefore, I will wipe the spittle from the barrel and continue to build a rocket, hoping that I will outlive you in the afterlife glory. A whole poem, half with Dostoevsky Byron. Personal appropriation is, so to speak, the “reappropriation” of an alienated meaning.
Unfortunately, alienation also permeates the higher intellectual realms.
More than once I had to read important analytical notes – both Russian and European and American – political and economic. And many times I marveled at their nonsense, their empty talk, and their isolation from real problems. This nonsense was usually immediately visible, and almost always “ex posterioribus” could be diagnosed – that is, according to the consequences of the development of the condition. I wondered – what are they, idiots? Then I understood.
The goal of an employee is salary, the goal of a businessman is sales, the goal of a scientist is self-affirmation in solving difficult problems. And an expert’s goal is to get approval, a new appointment, professorship, commission, and council membership, and not “fix the situation” or “explain to the government what really happened.”
It often happens that realistic statements go against political leaning or intellectual fashion. Hard and truthful words disturb clients, donors, Academic Council members… Therefore, it is necessary to write an analytical note that is pleasant to read. Thus, the author wants to be invited to a committee where the same respected people sit. And again, it all depends on a grant or fee.
Simply put, there is an alienation of expertise.
Namely: alienation of the worker and alienation of the businessman, then alienation of meaning and alienation of reason.
But after alienation comes privatisation. Dialectical!
Where Marx is, there is Lenin: “People have always been stupid victims of deception and self-deception in politics, and there will always be until they learn to look for the interests of certain classes behind moral, religious, political, social statements, statements, promises” (PSS, 5. edition, vol. 23, p. 47).
A small fix for modernity: Today it is difficult to speak of the “interests of certain classes” when there is incredible stratification between classes, when one ruler “won” in a day and another “won” as much as he did in a lifetime. ”. Where are these classes?
The structure of employment has changed so much that classes – at least in Russia – should not be taken seriously. What is in common between a clerk and an oligarch (both businessmen), a nurse and a customs general (both government employees), a popular TV presenter and a flyer writer (both creative intelligentsia). In general, we have forgotten the working class. Where is it, the millions of industrial proletariat? In India, China, Vietnam – that’s where it is now. Very far.
However, the thought stated by VI Lenin is of lasting importance. Replace only “certain classes” with “certain individual citizens”. Individuals. The true masters of life. There are not many of them – about 0.01% of the population of any country. In Russia, this is about a thousand families. Well, two. But not more than three. That is, what is forbidden, allowed, announced, promised, chosen, promoted, etc. everything. – all this is done for the sake of deeply personal interests.
So when they call us to something and make a promise, or push the buttons of our moral senses, both in the economic and the political arena, let’s remember: we are persuaded to sacrifice something or suffer for something purely and exclusively for the sake of gain. For the sake of the greater well-being of a rather narrow group of individuals, I apologize, individuals. And their closest descendants.
Finally, let’s realize that we are once again invited to become stupid victims of deception and – especially annoying – self-deception.
The author expresses his personal opinion, which may not coincide with the editors’ position.