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niks1112's avatar

What is false consciousness? and what it means culturally and examples in our society?

Asked by niks1112 (410points) April 19th, 2010

I am doing some research, on false consciousness, and i am having a difficult time finding what it means culturally and how it is applied in society.

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8 Answers

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

Like when a group of people experience mass brainwashing – happens in cults.

arpinum's avatar

Are you looking at this from a marxist or psychological angle? Think of it as hypocrisy where the person not only wishes to fool others, but also fool himself. Of course, it is hard to pin down when an individual is doing this. Except for Marxists, a belief that capitalism can bring about a continued increase in the worker’s standard of living must a lie he tells himself to believe.
Examples are open to debate.
1. Voting for and choosing politicians is not about their proposed policy, though that is what many claim to care about. Instead it is about wanting to associate ourselves with high status people. This is why media focuses so much more on their personal qualities and style rather than substantial policy.
2. People desire to give everyone access to medial care in order to show poor people they are cared for, rather than wanting better health for them. Visiting people in the hospital will not improve outcomes, but will show that the person is cared for, and might reassure the visitor that someone will care for them.
3. Military action is about gaining respect rather than safety.
4. Deregulation is for showing respect for business people, not belief in free markets.
5. Food is about cultural alignment, not nutrition.
6. Marriage isn’t about love but…
7. Church isn’t for dieties…
8. Consulting is to associaton of ideas with those of high status, rather than advice.

Pick your poison and run with it. All these things seem open to debate. Back it up with some evidence, don’t just be one of those crazy folks.

the100thmonkey's avatar

A good example would be the American Dream – by which I mean the idea that anyone can ‘make it’ if they just work hard enough.

Obviously, some people can make it if they just work hard enough, but it’s impossible for everyone to make it in a capitalist system, as from a Marxist perspective a capitalist system ultimately exploits someone.

There must be losers, but Marxism assumes that the only non-zero-sum game in town is Marxism…

CaptainHarley's avatar


I suppose it would depend upon what you mean by “make it” and “lose.”

ETpro's avatar

@arpinum I would debate that many people behind the former Iron Curtain did not believe for a moment that capitalism was evil incarnate and their system was far better. If they truly had believed that, the Soviets would not have needed a 100 yard wide no-man’s land, concertina wire, machine gun nests and walls to keep the workers in the Worker’s Paradise. :-)

ETpro's avatar


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