False consciousness refers to how ideological, material, and institutional processes are perceived to mislead the proletariat in societies. It conceals the rampant and inhumane exploitation by the bourgeoisie in a capitalistic setting. The term explain explains the case where the lower-class individuals willingly embodied the oppression of the wealthy. It is termed as “false” because peasants accept slavery which does not benefit them. Instead, their hard work keeps widening the socioeconomic gap between them and the rich. The goals which they assert themselves are destructive and worsen their situation. Accordingly, in this context, consciousness refers to an individual’s ability to identify and assert their will politically. The majority view it as a usual phenomenon even though they are exploited, and some even perceive it as desirable. The middle-class families take the view of the Bourgeoisie and, thus, impose it on themselves, thereby creating a misguided perspective. Peasants’ perception of their social position in society is thus borrowed and hence they are unable to defend their interests.
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Criminal laws set by the state are merely aimed at protecting the interest of the wealthy. According to Marx, these legislations safeguard the rich’s property and trade activities from the Proletariat, although the poor still believe that it protects them as well (Farley & Flota, 2017). The people are inhibited from perceiving the actual nature of their socioeconomic situation. Different paths can be taken for a broader understanding. One such trajectory is feminism, which took time to achieve its primary goals because of the false awareness of the interest of women blinded by the patriarchal media.
False consciousness directly relates to the lives of most people; therefore, its analysis is appropriate and legitimate. However, its evaluation can equally seem highly objectionable since an individual can posit that it is arrogant to assume superior knowledge (Farley & Flota, 2017). Moreover, I partially believe that the ideology is nonexistent because generally, there is multiple consciousnesses in an individual which are socially constructed. They are generated and sustained by power and can be referred to as regimes of truth. Accordingly, following this thought pattern, one can claim that a correct view can still be possible if it is not supported by power (Farley & Flota, 2017). To a larger extent, however, I support the idea because it can be substantiated. It is an equally sensible and straightforward concept that anyone can grasp since it accounts for a phenomenon experienced in most communities.
Personally, false consciousness relates directly to my life since I belong to a middle-class family. People have emotions that are wide-ranging and can be categorized into two prominent, positive and negative. These emotions are somehow influenced by desires and beliefs revolving around potential costs and benefits (Farley & Flota, 2017). Other categorizations of the influences on emotions include offers and threats. As such, people are intimidated to a point they fear the consequences of non-compliance and, hence, tolerate slavery. There are various instances when I have had to endure exploitation similarly. For example, some time back, I was working in a grocery store after school, and my boss used to overwork me. However, I could not complain because I risked being fired; it was the store closest to the school, so I had to bear the extra unpaid work.
The view equally can be subjected to criticism since it is heavily elitist and directly unverifiable. However, most lower-class people are ignorant of the concept or awareness that they are enslaved. It is commonplace for people to be ignorant of the complex world they live in. however, it can be explained in many ways, which include narrow perspective and structured ignorance. As such, we allow the authorities to make the decisions we assume are serving our interests. Generally, it is not easy to identify one’s interest, especially from the point of view limited in the information of false consciousness.
The knowledge has remarkably changed my life due to the growth of awareness. Initially, I was blinded by the bourgeoisie perspective, which did not serve my interests. However, presently, after studying the “fake consciousness,” I realized most people do not even know they are enslaved. One of the most important lessons that the concept teaches is a requirement of active mindfulness of individuals’ status quo to correctly assess the kind of policies and programs that serve them. Moreover, there is a need to create a convincing view of what is feasible. Additionally, a person must calculate the probability of the costs resulting from their decisions whether it will be beneficial enough to take the risk. These sources of fallibility can be utilized to instill change and awareness by the general public at the individual level and collectively.
False consciousness is a concept that draws from the sociology of Marx, who makes the distinction between the elites and low-class individuals. It asserts that the proletariat is blinded by the perceived might of the bourgeoisie and works hard to serve them in most cases. The peasant is made to believe that they are supposed to serve the affluent at the expense of their interests. The more work the poor do continually widens the economic gap between them and the wealthy. However, the most striking feature is that most lower-class people do not even realize that they are working for the rich while undermining their own interests. Studying the discourse has enabled me to see how the system really works, and it has remarkably transformed my life.
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Farley, J. E., & Flota, M. (2017). Sociology (7th ed.). Routledge.