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What is Alienation?

Living in this world had brought us to changes that we are not used to, from living

in a simple life in to a convenient one. Due to the continuous evolution, man continued to

provide products in order to accommodate not just his needs and wants but also his or her

family and the societys necessity. A man is known to be a hardworking and a generous

person that he or she will work not just for himself but also for the better of the society or

the world. But as time passes by the people tend to become self-centered, for they own

things without thinking that there are a lot of people who are in need. People tend to work

so hard but not for himself rather for the benefit of other people especially the owner. A

person keeps on devoting his life to work but yet he or she cannot harvest or receive the

fruit of his or her hard work.

Karl Marx wrote a written work entitled Economic and Philosophic Manuscript

of 1844 that focuses on the estranged labor. The alienation happened in the work force

where workers were being alienated with the owners. By this the economic system of

private ownership falls in dividing the society into two classes: the property owners and

the property-less workers (page 28). In this setting, the workers will not only suffer of

being poor because of loosing his or her wealth but also experience an estrangement or

alienation from the world. This estrangement happened because the more the worker

devote himself in work the more powerful becomes the world of objects which he creates

for himself, the poorer he becomes in his inner life, are the less he belongs to himself.

The worker puts his life into the object and his labor is invested in the object, but yet the

worker does not own or receive any of his labor. Everything that a person makes to
contribute to the world will not be considered as his belongings but rather to someones

ownership. In this area, Karl Marx has stated the four aspects of alienated labor; the

first one is the estrangement of the worker from the product of his work; second is the

estrangement of the worker from the activity of production; third is the workers

alienation from species being or human identity; and the last one is the estrangement of

man to other man. (Fall 2007)

What is Alienation the common question that we people has different answers.

Some would think or define it literally as an alien who does not belong to our world

and probably came from other dimension. One person may define alienation based on

what they understand because each of one has our own perspective in life but no one

could ever give the exact definition of the word alienation. For us to fully understand

what is really alienation means then we must look, dig, and read information on the views

and perspective of one of the philosopher named Karl Marx about his famous theory.

In the 19th century there was a German intellectual named Karl Marx who

described and identified four types of social alienation. As stated in Wikipedias article,

Social alienation is a condition in social relationship reflected by a low degree if

integration or common values and a high degree of distance or isolation between

individuals or between an individual and a group of people in a community or work

environment. As we all know, our society is divided into his so-called stratified social

classes, we are divided into a series of graded statuses. This states that if you have an

alienation from yourself, it is most likely is a consequence of being a mechanistic part of

a social class. According to Merriam's library of definitions, Mechanistic is an act of

doing something without thought or without any effort to be different or interesting.

Mechanistic is also related to be having a spontaneous behavior in which a person may

have been doing things that have not been planned but seem enjoyed and at the same time

feeling that it was worth doing at a particular time. Karl Marx identified four types of

alienation, the Alienation of the worker from its product states that the capitalist class and

not the workers nor the buyers determine the products design and the means of

production. The workers have no control over the products design and production

protocol, this alienation describes that labor is performed to generate a product's use

value in onto a commodity which is bought and given a value, and can be assigned with

an exchange value. In short, the profit that is generated by the product's sales and services

that should be paid to the workers is paid to the capitalist instead, who manages the

means of production and owns the means if production. Second is the alienation of the

worker from the act of production which states that the worker is bound to unwanted

labor as a means of survival, labor is not voluntary but coerced which says that labor is

forced. Where the worker is only able to reject wage compulsion and the feeling of

pressure at the expense of their life and that of their family. Third is the alienation of the

worker from their species-essence. Which states that every individual has the desire and

the tendency to engage in the many activities that promote mutual human survival and

psychological well being, by means of emotional connections with other people, with

society. It misunderstood that humans are willing to take part in such activities to gain

personal benefit and think of their actions as purposeful ideas. The fourth is the

Alienation of the worker from other workers. This is well connected and related to the

third type of alienation. Which states that humans become competitive who is an effort
performed for personal survival and the betterment of society. It is said that the

businessman will establish a competitive labor market meant to extract as much labor

from the workers as possible, in the form of capital. They provoke social conflict by

pitting worker against worker, in a competition for higher wages, which the workers are

willing to do in order for personal survival, benefits, and purposes.

The history of mankind according to Karl Marx refers to the increasing control of

man over nature; man was above all mankind (Hegels Phenomenology), is basically

attributes that man compromises more about dealing its role or obligation as human as

we are, we cannot deny the fact that we are focusing more on others more than ourselves.

Alienation is described as domain of all forces of their own creation, it emphasis all

mankind aspect or all major institutional spheres. In the capitalist society that was being

stated above, it is clear and concise speaking that it connects of all the root of mankind as

it includes capitalist society, religion, money and the stated of being infer with the

political economy aspects. Belief is one of the major factors of dominating a person of

what he or she worships in the inner behavior of a man.

For Karl Marx, one of the most influential figures in human history, and his work

has been both lauded and criticized, it basically emphasis more that his work has laid the

basis for the much current understanding of labor and in the relation with the concept

being emphasized and being determined about the nature of the man as the role of the

society. Many people in the world had influenced of what Karl Marx implemented about

the main affecter of the nature of man in the capitalist society. It also includes human

liberty, which economic alienation focuses in mens daily activities, the process of
production for himself in which in return is being enjoyed by the whole community as

well, the ability of production deals with how the man is poor by the inner self with out

hanging out or having some quality time for himself because what he produces as the

production does not belong to himself. Religious belief also is one of the factors that

affect the mans ability of dealing in connection with his daily activities in the nature of

being a man.

For us, Karl Marxs main purpose of having this Alienation theory is to establish

commodity of the mans perspective in the ability of dealing with the other people in the

capitalist society. Although Karl Marx gained acceptance movement after his death but

still many have doubt his theory because of his unreasonable perception as what other

think. According to Karl Marx that governing one self is the way of presenting the day

capitalist mode of production, it deals on how the man acts as an actor in the capitalist

society without hesitation in his nature of being a man. Overall we can barely infer that

the theory of Karl Marx has consecutively improves our thinking in terms of developing

our purpose and way of showing the real essence of being man as it connects with the

capitalist society and the way of rolling it as human as we are.


Merriam-Webster Dictionary