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Ideology and Reality

May 13, 2014

We tend to speak of ideology when we are referring to something we disagree with, that we think is prejudiced in some way, that is telling us a lie. Yet we tend to ignore the ideological lies we tell ourselves to shield us from the reality and give us a sense of order and control where there is none. Basically any way  in which we decide to label reality is an ideology. Because all labels are limited, human creations for human purposes that come with preconceptions about the reality they are attempting to refer to.

One of the biggest ideologies we like to tell ourselves is that we live in a democracy. We label our society and what is around us as a democracy, and to hell with any economic, political, or other facts which may tell us a different story about reality. Yes, a minority of people have property, and a majority rent and are dependent on this minority, but we still have the same human rights. Yes, the same parties and the same people are in political power periodically, but we all have equal right to vote. Yes a minority of people have all wealth and resources, but we still have our democratic rights. And so on and so forth.

We cling to this notion of our democratic rights for dear life, in the face of the reality of all inequalities and exploitations we see around us in the world and in our society. Democracy to us, is a necessary illusion. It is a pure ideology. Not a lie about reality that some powerful or politically interested group tells to us, but a lie that we compulsively tell to ourselves.

Now I think for most of us, we realise this game, this ruse, and that it is just a case of a necessary illusion. The real dangerous people are those who take this illusion, this ideology of democracy at face value, and take it to be real. These then become the false prophets we see in recent generations, the classic example being Karl Marx. Herbert Marcuse is another example. The danger here with these people is that they want us to have a society, not maintained by a knowing ruse, but by an unknowing allegiance, a blind commitment and faith in the reality of certain values.

The results of this type of faith and commitment we have seen. It is not that hope for society is gone, that social progress is permanently thwarted by capitalist greed and by other things such as the prevalence of the performance principle in society. It is that we have had to disattach to some extent from an ideology. The ideology of democracy. We have had to realise that in some ways this is simply not the reality we live with, though we accept nevertheless, we have to maintain the ruse of such being the reality. That is where we currently stand. We need new and better future ideological commitments to aspire to. We don’t need to waste our time going in circles taking the current convenient ruse for the reality.

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