Narcissism, humanism and the revolutionary character in Erich Fromm's work
Scholars of Marxist persuasion argue that the ultimate task of political theory is to help create the revolutionary subject and transform society more generally. To do so, they go on to argue, political theory needs to engage with the historicity of domination, that is, to uncover and deconstruct the infra-conscious complicity between historically specified conditions of existence and the cognitive schemata of perception these conditions have produced to their own advantage (see further Bratsis, 2002). But whilst external, social realities exert immense pressures upon the apparatus of perception, so much so that they often become our 'second nature" (see, for example, Bourdieu, 1991), no historicity of domination can afford to miss the role of "first nature" or "prehistory": "what must have gone on before the subject could establish a relationship with "external reality" — the process which… acquires the form of the I's absolute act of positing (of itself as) the object" (Žižek, 1992/2008: 57, original emphasis). Whence the necessity to shift the theoretical starting point from the ways in, and the degree to, which perception comes to adjust itself to forces external to the self, to how the content and manifestation of external forces are moulded in accordance or, at least, in dialogue with esoteric perceptive dispositions, those hidden in the region of instincts (Craib, 1990).
Cheliotis, L. K. (2010)., Narcissism, humanism and the revolutionary character in Erich Fromm's work, in L. K. Cheliotis (ed.), Roots, rites and sites of resistance, Basingstoke, Palgrave Macmillan, pp. 36-58.
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