Labor Industrial Relations

Alienation And Freedom by Richard Schmitt

By Richard Schmitt

Drawing from existentialism, feminism, the concept of Karl Marx and novelists like Dostoevsky, Richard Schmitt appears to be like at glossy capitalist societies to appreciate what it truly is that will be incorrect for people. His drawback focuses in particular on people who find themselves alienated-- these folks who've trouble discovering that means of their lives, who lack self assurance in themselves and belief in others and, ultimately, who're continually distracted by way of purchaser society. He explores how and why alienation happens. From friendship, love, and paintings, Alienation and Freedom touches on concerns significant to us all.

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The strong have been emasculated through the machinations of the weak. Needless to say, that version of human history is worthless because it is not supported by evidence. Also central to Nietzsche’s story is his equation of this inner strength, the ability to resist the unexpected and often uncomprehended, with being independent from other people. Like Rousseau before him and like many contemporary philosophers, Nietzsche understood alienation as the lack of autonomy or self-determination. The autonomous person is his own master, beholden to no one, who needs no one and never wavers in the confidence in his powers and worth.

Not everyone believes that alienation is a real problem in human lives and many think that “whining about alienation,” as they call it, is the pastime of privileged academics. Such critics of the notion of alienation hold that what matters in human lives is that they be pleasant, filled with joy and accomplishment, and all this talk about having a life of one’s own, about the meaning of one’s life, and about alienation is just so much nonsense. What matters is to get what one wants—nothing more.

Sacrifices made for others may hurt me but are noble if they benefit others by filling their life with pleasure. This doctrine, known as utilitarianism, has come under criticism for undervaluing the rights of each separate individual. Utilitarianism, it is said, allows us to injure individuals if that would increase total human happiness. But individuals, the critics insist, have a right not to be used to increase the happiness of the whole. Writers about alienation are also critical of utilitarian doctrines, but for a different reason: In the course of a lifetime we do many good things and many good things happen to us, but it is a terrible mistake to call every one of these goods “pleasures” because our goods are of very different kinds and so are our experiences of them.

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