Diwakar Pyakurel Sub-Editor of The Himalayan Times Online Edition/ Faculty Member at GGIC
Karl Marx, Sigmund Freud and Jacques Lacan, all three are among few most important scholars of the modern era who delved into what constitutes beings and behaviours of human race. The essays “Preface (to a Contribution to the Critique of Political Economy)” by Marx, “A Note on the Unconscious in Psychoanalysis” by Freud and “The Mirror Stage as Formative of the Function of the I as Revealed in Psychoanalytic Experience” by Lacan also present their ideas on what actually forms human personalities and behaviours. Founding fathers of Marxism and two prominent schools of modern psychoanalysis respectively, the scholars have respectively attributed to economy, the unconscious and the Mirror Stage as formative elements of human consciousness, activities and life as a whole.
In Karl Marx’s “Preface…”, the author boldly claims that economy is the sole basis for every aspect of human existence. For him, economic status or “material conditions” of society precedes every other activity by human beings, including how they think of themselves and the world. In the essay, he says, “the mode of production of material life conditions the general process of social, political and intellectual life” (7). With this perspective, he is inverting a set belief that consciousness precedes human activities and the conditions they live in. Vehemently rejecting that idea, an inversion is proposed, “it is not the consciousness of men that determines their existence, but their social existence that determines their consciousness” (Marx 7).
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