It is not the consciousness of man that determines their being, but, on the contrary, their social being that determines their consciousness.
Do you think your status affects your consciousness, does your consciousness come from above, or somewhere between these two?
I read the quote above today and decided to share it with my Instagram family before I did my research. I wanted to know what people’s opinions were before I started digging in.
What does the quote mean?
Well, Karl Marx was a materialist who, unlike his teacher Hegel who was an idealist and believed in spiritual forces, [Marx] believed that consciousness came from social ranking. So, he believes that if you’re in a lower class that determines one form of consciousness verses being in the upper class which determines a different form of consciousness.
I vividly remember when I finished reading Charlotte’s Web in fourth grade. I cried when Charlotte died. Her loss left me in a strange place where I was contemplating death for days. I also remember the day my grandmother died. These two experiences are not the same. The loss of Charlotte did not prepare me for the loss of my grandmother. There is no book that can prepare you for some life experiences.
Literature supports in experiences we are going through or have gone through. When I thought of death without the real life experience of losing someone, the understanding felt distant. It was something foreign to me that I wanted to grasp without gaining it through my own experience. I was left with a world full of uncertainty and hugged my mom a little tighter after reading it.
Trying to prepare someone for a new experience is like describing what an orange tastes like to someone who’s never tasted an orange. We can explain how to eat it and that the peel isn’t the good part. We can even tell them the juicy fruity part is on the inside, but we can’t tell them if they will enjoy it or how much they will enjoy it. They may even find a different way to eat it than we taught them. That’s how I feel about literature. It can explain what to do and give some insight on how to do it, but an individual can not be prepared for how they will feel in new experiences using literature.
I do believe seeing how characters react to an experience can suggest the right thing to do and it may even give some insight on how someone else is feeling. I don’t think literature can prepare us for how we will feel going through our own life experiences. I do feel it can help readers learn to use understanding and empathy toward someone else’s experience by seeing the world from another characters point of view.
First thing today, is to figure out how he will love her. He loves her, that isn’t the question. But how would he show her? Yesterday, it was with a small note, I love you handwritten on it that hid underneath her tea cup. A teacup he picked out for her and filled with black tea he steeped the way she likes it. But, today was a new day and another chance to figure out how to love her. He walked to the kitchen and leaned against the counter to think. He looked around at the bills scattered in front of the Keurig and the pile of discarded recyclables by the trash. He takes a deep breath and fear overwhelms his thoughts. That feeling of not being good enough weighs him down. But she needs his love and so he pushes through it. I’ll find something in the living room. Toys surround the perimeter of the room. The plastic, colorful, and imaginative toys lighten his mood. But, his fears whisper the word tomorrow. Maybe tomorrow it will be easier he agrees. And sits in the rocking chair his wife nurses in. It’s an awkward chair, not his first choice, but it was for her. There’s no use in waiting a voice from inside says. He reaches into his pocket for a small notebook he carries around with him at work and goes to his disheveled desk for a pen hidden by months worth of mail to be organized. He walks back to sit in the awkward chair and taps his chin. Eyes shut tight, he writes I love you because you exist and I love that. Those words are embarrassing to him, but he knows she needs to hear it. So he tears the paper from his small notebook and stands up to leave it on her seat. He walks away and turns to look at the note. I should rewrite it. He takes a step. No, no she will like it. It’s good enough.
I am not always the easiest person to talk to. I am fully aware of that. But:
I am capable of change. I am capable of forgiveness, I am capable of learning/listening to new thoughts and ideas even if they compromise my own beliefs.
I tried just following a belief system even though the system compromised my beliefs. It gets hard to pretend once you really sit down and think about what your true values are. It’s always been extremely hard for me to pretend. And even though sometimes the truth pisses me the hell off, if I come to the realization that I’m wrong, I will apologize or I’ll admit I was wrong. And I will do whatever is in my power to either not do it again or adjust my own views to what was true. Even if it means removing myself from a situation. Removing myself is a last resort but sometimes I have to do it. Especially, if I’m explaining my needs, my thoughts, my feelings, and they are disregarded or shoved to the side like an old news paper.
If you can not come to me with the truth, don’t come. If you can not strip away and get to the core of why you believe something. Stop coming. Find someone else to be friends with. I’d rather be alone than have people around me pretending. Disagree with me. Tell me why you do. Most importantly, tell me your life experiences that made you come to this realization. Don’t come to me with non human bs. Be a human. Tell me I hurt you. I’ll tell you why I’m hurt by it. That’s how you bond, that’s how you grow. We get mad. We scream, we yell, or not. We go home, think about that shit, and regroup. Then we come back to it whether it be a couple days weeks months. Just be honest, that’s how bonding happens.
That’s what I want.
To be honest, 3 or 4 years ago this was all very hard because I wasn’t secure in my own faith or values. Over time, my husband and going to school helped me sit down and establish what I currently believe and where my boundaries when it comes to my beliefs and values. So I am now more secure in and listening to conversations (especially religious ones) that compromise my own beliefs. If a topic is sensitive to me I will say that. I will show that, but it took time for me to learn to say, “this is a sensitive topic for me and to explain why.”