Alienation, Social Relationships and Free Individuality

  • David McLellan


It has been said, and bears repeating, that the beauty and grandeur of the system is founded on this connection and on this material and spiritual interchange, which is spontaneous, independent of the knowledge and desires of the individual, and in fact requires their indifference to each other and mutual independence. Certainly this connection by means of things is to be preferred to a lack of connection, or a merely local association which is founded on a relationship consisting of blood ties, or one of supremacy or servitude; and it is just as certain that individuals cannot dominate their own social relationships until they have created them. But it is absurd to interpret these purely material relationships as natural relationships, inseparable from the nature of individuality (in contrast to reflected knowledge and desire) and inherent in it. These relationships are produced by individuals, produced historically. They belong to a definite phase of the development of the individual. The heterogeneity and independence in which these relationships still stand opposed to individuals, prove only that these individuals are still engaged in the production of the conditions of their social life, rather than that they began that life starting from those conditions.


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Copyright information

© David McLellan 1980

Authors and Affiliations

  • David McLellan
    • 1
  1. 1.University of KentCanterburyUK

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