Go to the Index of 120 Philosophers Squared
Karl Marx (1818–1883) — the philosopher of capital formation and its control; he named it dialectical materialism. “From each according to his abilities, to each according to his needs !”
History calls those men the greatest who have ennobled themselves by working for the common good; experience acclaims as happiest the man who has made the greatest number of people happy.
The product of mental labor – science – always stands far below its value, because the labor-time necessary to reproduce it has no relation at all to the labor-time required for its original production.
To be radical is to grasp things by the root.
The philosophers have only interpreted the world, in various ways: the point, however, is to change it.
I am nothing but I must be everything.
Every step of real movement is more important than a dozen programmes.
History repeats itself, first as tragedy, second as farce.
Nothing can have value without being an object of utility.
The abolition of religion, as the illusory happiness of the people, is the demand for their real happiness.
The first requisite for the happiness of the people is the abolition of religion.
Religious suffering is, at one and the same time, the expression of real suffering and a protest against real suffering. Religion is the sigh of the oppressed creature, the heart of a heartless world, and the soul of soulless conditions.
It is the of the people. (alt) Religion is the sigh of the oppressed creature, the heart of a heartless world, and the soul of soulless conditions. It is the opium of the people.
Religion is the impotence of the human mind to deal with occurrences it cannot understand.
The only antidote to mental suffering is physical pain.
The production of too many useful things results in too many useless people.
Without doubt, machinery has greatly increased the number of well-to-do idlers.
The oppressed are allowed once every few years to decide which particular representatives of the oppressing class are to represent and repress them.
Sell a man a fish, he eats for a day, teach a man how to fish, you ruin a wonderful business opportunity.
The last capitalist we hang shall be the one who sold us the rope.
Anyone who knows anything of history knows that great social changes are impossible without feminine upheaval. Social progress can be measured exactly by the social position of the fair sex, the ugly ones included.
Reason has always existed, but not always in a reasonable form.
Men make their own history, but they do not make it just as they please; they do not make it under circumstances chosen by themselves, but under circumstances directly encountered, given and transmitted from the past. The tradition of all the dead generations weighs like a nightmare on the brain of the living.
Democracy is the road to socialism.
Social progress can be measured by the social position of the female sex.
Men make their own history but not in circumstances of their own choosing.
Surround yourself with people who make you happy. People who make you laugh, who help you when you’re in need. People who genuinely care. They are the ones worth keeping in your life. Everyone else is just passing through.
If money is the bond binding me to human life, binding society to me, binding me and nature and man, is not money the bond of all bonds? Can it not dissolve and bind all ties? Is it not, therefore, the universal agent of separation?
The way people get their living determines their social outlook.
All I know is that I am not a Marxist.
It is not the consciousness of men that determines their being, but, on the contrary, their social being that determines their consciousness.
The history of all hitherto existing society is the history of class struggles.
The ideas of the ruling class are in every epoch the ruling ideas, i.e. the class which is the ruling material force of society, is at the same time its ruling intellectual force. The class which has the means of material production at its disposal, has control at the same time over the means of mental production, so that thereby, generally speaking, the ideas of those who lack the means of mental production are subject to it. The ruling ideas are nothing more than the ideal expression of the dominant material relationships, the dominant material relationships grasped as ideas.” (alt) The ruling ideas of each age have ever been the ideas of its ruling class.
Let the ruling classes tremble at a Communist revolution. The proletarians have nothing to lose but their chains. They have a world to win. Working men of all countries, unite! (alt) Workers of the world unite; you have nothing to lose but your chains.
You are horrified at our intending to do away with private property. But in your existing society, private property is already done away with for nine-tenths of the population; its existence for the few is solely due to its non-existence in the hands of those nine-tenths.
The less you eat, drink and read books; the less you go to the theatre, the dance hall, the public house; the less you think, love, theorize, sing, paint, fence, etc., the more you save-the greater becomes your treasure which neither moths nor dust will devour-your capital. The less you are, the more you have; the less you express your own life, the greater is your alienated life-the greater is the store of your estranged being.
— Real dollars have the same existence that the imagined gods have. Has a real dollar any existence except in the imagination? Bring paper money into a country where this use of paper is unknown, and everyone will laugh at your imagination.
The bureaucracy is a circle from which no one can escape. Its hierarchy is a hierarchy of knowledge.
This is a kind of mutual reconciliation society… Actual extremes cannot be mediated with each other precisely because they are actual extremes. But neither are they in need of mediation, because they are opposed in essence.
We develop new principles for the world out of the world’s own principles. We do not say to the world: Cease your struggles, they are foolish; we will give you the true slogan of struggle. We merely show the world what it is really fighting for, and consciousness is something that it has to acquire, even if it does not want to.
The weapon of criticism cannot, of course, replace criticism of the weapon, material force must be overthrown by material force; but
theory also becomes a material force as soon as it has gripped the masses.
Theory is capable of gripping the masses as soon as it demonstrates ad hominem, and it demonstrates ad hominem as soon as it becomes radical. To be radical is to grasp the root of the matter. But, for man, the root is man himself.
Political Economy regards the proletarian … like a horse, he must receive enough to enable him to work. It does not consider him, during the time when he is not working, as a human being. It leaves this to criminal law, doctors, religion, statistical tables, politics, and the beadle.
The first premise of all human history is, of course, the existence of living human individuals. Thus the first fact to be established is the physical organization of these individuals and their consequent relation to the rest of nature….Men can be distinguished from animals by consciousness, by religion or anything else you like. They themselves begin to distinguish themselves from animals as soon as they begin to produce their means of subsistence, a step which is conditioned by their physical organization. By producing their means of subsistence men are indirectly producing their actual material life
History is nothing but the activity of man pursuing his aims..
The battle cry: The emancipation of the working class must be the work of the working class itself.
In every stockjobbing swindle every one knows that some time or other the crash must come, but every one hopes that it may fall on the head of his neighbour, after he himself has caught the shower of gold and placed it in safety. Après moi le déluge! is the watchword of every capitalist and of every capitalist nation. Hence Capital is reckless of the health or length of life of the labourer, unless under compulsion from society.
Greek philosophy seems to have met with something with which a good tragedy is not supposed to meet, namely, a dull ending.
I see a hierarchy of values: Needs for bodily survival, Lust for genetic survival, Wants for social survival, Submission to fantasy for soul survival, and Greed for money for economic survival.
“Sell a man a fish, he eats for a day, teach a man how to fish, you ruin a wonderful business opportunity.” It has been claimed that Marx says that as a joke on Capitalism, but the real capitalist would say, “Sell a man fish you have and you then have money and a customer, teach a man to fish and you have a competitor, but let him fish in your pond and your pond is soon empty and you are poor and starving yourself.” Unfortunately the original saying doesn’t go back to Marx but only to, “Give a man a fish, and you have fed him once. Teach him how to fish and you have fed him for a lifetime,” published in The Rotarian, June 1964. That’s 81 years after Marx died. There seems to be a natural tendency for refined sayings to become identified with a famous source rather than a real one.
Marx did write, “. . . and society inscribe on its banners: From each according to his ability, to each according to his needs!” The exclamation mark is in the original. A capitalist would say, “To each according to his ability to take what he wants, and from each according to his inability to hang on to what he he’s got.”
“Men make their own history, but they do not make it just as they please;” is a reasonable response to the free will problem. We do have considerable freedom of choice, but within a very small personal domain of time, space, physical opportunity, social constrictions and personal learning.