Hi there, and welcome to the Marxian Matrix!
If you despise cowardice and are wary of false appearances, I think you will enjoy yourself here. What we discuss is not necessarily a pleasant thing, but I want to make it as close to real as possible.
So let’s make it real. I belong to a class of people who must sell their time and bodily life in order to survive. Ours is a class where we must pay the rent/mortgage and buy the food necessary for our survival: we do not have these things and we cannot produce them for ourselves. In Marxian terms, we lack the means of production. So to get these things, we go to work for the whole day so that we may come home and go work again the next day.
Sometimes, a few of us manage to find some free time. Others have a nice fat pension waiting for them, or cool benefits, or a very good salary with which they can buy 95% of the merchandise out there. In short, a lot of those in the working class have attained a certain level of comfort which makes life seem tolerable. (Also called golden chains.)
But I think we all have those moments, more or less every day, where we get a fleeting feeling that something is not OK. We wait for this to pass and we are so glad when it does. But it regularly comes back, and there is such a visceral solidity to it that we know deep down that we’re not tackling something.
It’s hard to find a reason to really tackle it, mostly because we don’t exactly know what it is. This is where Marx comes in, and this is the reason why we’re calling this the “Marxian” Matrix. I’ve been a reader for my whole life, but, until not so long ago, I’d never touched Marx because I had always told myself that whatever he was saying, it had led to a degree of human destruction in history that was unjustifiable. A few years ago, I finally had a class on Marx at an academic level, and that changed everything.
It was hard reading and complicated to decipher, but I took the time and in the end, I felt healthy. So the first thing I want to do with this publication is to try to pass on this feeling, because I believe reading Marx feels healthy because he can teach us quite a bit about what this “thing” is that we need to tackle.
I believe that the only way to pass on this feeling, other than reading Marx’s Capital in the right place and at the right time, is to analyze the world we live in systematically. This is the “Matrix” portion of this publication’s name. Be it in biology, in geology or in mathematics, the notion of a matrix points to a context, material or abstract, in which particular elements are embedded. I think we could also call this a totality: that background sum of notions indispensable for all thought and action.
In our case, we will attach our attention to the social matrix, to those social relations within which we are embedded. I think these objective relations work a lot to structure and limit how we think and act, but I also believe just as strongly that we can get out of objectified relations and talk about the objectifying nature of human action and what that means for us in terms of opening the horizon of our actions.
While this may seem a lofty objective, I want to find out just how hard it is to accomplish. We’re wary of false appearances, remember?
My highest ambition is to write the future posts in such a way so that they form a coherent and continuous mesh with all previous and future articles, while still being readable in themselves and offering interesting angles of analysis. The first of these will be a deep analysis of the Matrix trilogy: it is only fitting to pay a tribute to a movie whose subject is that very feeling of knowing deep down that we’re not tackling something; not only that, but I’m not aware of an elaborate analysis of the movie nor the trilogy through Marxian lens; finally, it’s a great way to introduce you to Marx himself.
There will never be any ads nor any other commercial interests present.
Please indulge in any honest engagement: questions, commentaries, rebuttals. I want this publication to be a place that nurtures the association of ideas and of bodies for collective action.