The Superstructure

Intellectual production does not follow material production but occurs simultaneously and in constant interaction with it. What emerges as the “superstructure” is a totality of prescriptions and prohibitions, laws, institutions, judgments, and prejudices which correspond to the economic structure of society, the degree of division of labour and the interest of the class which, by reason of the division of labour, has become the ruling class of that time….Marx stressed again and again that every new society carries its own negation within itself, the inner contradiction which finds its most striking expression in the class struggle. Every new society is therefore the negation of the preceding one, whose habits, ideas and notions continue to exist deep within it. ‘The tradition of all of the dead generations weighs like a nightmare on the brain of the living.’

Ernst Fischer, How to Read Karl Marx, 95

What words/ concepts/ practices/ ideologies constitute our present day superstructure?

entitlement, diversity, international debt, The World Bank, surveillance, security, quality of life, pleasure, comfort, education, media/access to info, social mobility, individuality, democracy, maximum freedom, liberalism, apathy, internet, international community, globalization, rich/poor, terror (ism), nation states, nationalism, growth, atheism, secularism, science, activism, ignorance, sterilization/ sanitation, knowledge, conflict, xenophobia, war….

Which of these words are vestiges of the past? Which represent the consciousness of yesteryear?

Nationalism, the Nation State, Science, Democracy, Xenophobia…

Which of these harken to the future?

the internet, globalization, apathy, entitlement, atheism, security, pleasure…

Well, I think we did pretty well for ourselves.  Here are two videos that discuss changes that are taking place right now in our the way we think about work, life, love, and more. Watch them, then think about how they relate to those values above.


Tell me this: How much does mastery, autonomy, and purpose matter to you?


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