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Word Count: 1,122
For Marx the history of mankind had a double aspect It was a history of increasing control of man over nature at the same time as it was a history of the increasing alienation of man Alienation may be described as a condition in which men are dominated by forces of their own creation which confront them as alien powers The notion is central to all of Marxs earlier philosophical writings and still informs his later work although no longer as a philosophical issue but as a social phenomenon The young Marx asks In what circumstances do men project their own powers their own values upon objects that escape their control What are the social causes of this phenomenon To Marx all major institutional spheres in capitalist society such as religion the state and political economy were marked by a condition of alienation Moreover these various aspects of alienation were interdependent Objectification is the practice of alienation Just as man so long as he is engrossed in religion can only objectify his essence by an alien and fantastic being so under the sway of egoistic need he can only affirm himself and produce objects in practice by subordinating his products and his own activity to the domination of an alien entity and by attributing to them the significance of an alien entity namely money24 Money is the alienated essence of mans work and existence the essence dominates him and he worships it25 The state is the intermediary between men and human liberty Just as Christ is the intermediary to whom man attributes all his own divinity and all his religious bonds so the state is the intermediary to which man confides all his non-divinity and all his human freedom26 Alienation hence confronts man in the whole world of institutions in which he is enmeshed But alienation in the workplace assumes for Marx an overriding importance because to hi man was above all Homo Faber Man
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