The history of Chinese education has been a history of ideological indoctrination. The expression sounds too harsh, but it reflects nonetheless historical facts. Until the educational revolution instigated by Tsai Yuan-fei at the beginning of the 20th century, our education was no more than an ideological training which aimed at establishing a bureaucracy, training technocrats and defending the interests of the rulers. Despite Tsai's appeal for a pure education and form science, our education today continues this traditional path. After all, it is a well-established truism of our history that our education is an ideological education in disguise. This disguise-mask fell off in the Tian-an Men massacre (1989), or earlier, in the so-called Cultural Revolution. (1968), the Chinese Holocaust. It gradually unmasks its ugly face when the students resort to protest and revolt to reject the tightly controlled system of education adopted by both communists and nationalists. The military presence in school, the required long hours of political brain-washing, the over-burdened classes of militarism and authoritarianism show that free education, or education for democracy (John Dewey) are strange words or simple rhetoric. This part aims to depict a clear picture of the mature of ideology, and its power. It is the first step to demarcate the line between moral education and ideological education, and consequently to reveal the hidden, explosive danger implicit in ideological education adopted by authoritarian rulers.
The term "ideology" firs used by the French Encyclopedists has been an unfortunate, ambiguous and contradictory term. Even before them, ideology was understood by Francis Bacon as both positive and negative. He conceived of ideology in terms of a critique of false idola, of the fallacies of arguments. But his severe attack against idola tribus, idola fori and idola theatri served exactly as a means to work out the correct idea. The French Encyclopedists developed further Bacon's idea by identifying ideology as the most correct system of idea which serves as the foundation of our knowledge and as the guideline of our conduct. Such an understanding of ideology was not contested until Karl Marx who saw in it no more than a sheer reactionary force, a naked instrument fabricated by the rulers to serve their interests. It is also the false consciousness of the oppressed class which seek satisfaction in it. Marx's violent assault on ideology does not however dismiss its magic seduction. In contrast, the most ardent and fanatic believers in ideology are ironically Marx's followers. With them, ideology refinds its positivity in what they proudly named Marxism-Leninism, a system of ideas which claim to be the ultimate sciences serving as the principles of human society, or better, of the proletariat. However, once again history proves that such an ideology is instead the biggest myth we have ever fabricated. It is the false consciousness of the 20th century. Contrary to its boastful claim, communism could neither satisfy human needs nor meet scientific criteria. In its naked nature, one finds its fascist soul. Beneath its humanist appearance is hidden a demon. In the light of truth, it appears as a more rigid, more brutal system defending the interests of the rulers. It is exactly the false ideology that its founder, K. Marx, had tried to destroy.
The controversy on the nature of ideology demands a thorough reflection of its nature. In this section we intend to defend our thesis that ideology is historically and consecutively both positive and negative, by studying it genetical development, its effectiveness as well as its obsolescence. We try to incorporate Karl Mannheim's thesis of ideology as social structure (of either particular or total character), and P. Ricoeur's insistence on ideology as social function and as cultural imagination into a more systemic body of human cognitive development. Consequently, we seek to reject the theme developed but not followed through by Marx and Daniel Bell, i.e. the end of ideology by proving that we cannot escape from ideology but what we can do is to criticize the old one and to build a new one.
We know that the French Encyclopedists are not the first who have invented ideology, even if the term of ideology is strongly associated with their works. Actually, they have followed Bacon who had replaced false idola with correct idea which are constructed on experiences and experiments. Thus, to Bacon, ideology must be a system or, at least, a study of correct idea with the double function of preventing false idola and guiding true knowledge. The Encyclopedists went a further step by holding the view that the correct idea must be built on human nature. Therefore, like Bacon, they embraced a double task of criticizing a false understanding of human nature and then looking for a true human nature. Etienne Bonnet de Condillac argued that Bacon and John Locke had not gone far enough in locating the source of ideas in experience and observation. According to Condillac, the source should be human sensations. Pierre Cabanis and Antoine Louis Claude Destutt de Tracy systematized Condillac's philosophy of sensationalism, while Claude Adrien Helvetius applied it in politics. To Cabanis, physical sensibility is the basic factor not only in knowledge but also in the intellectual and moral life of man. Destutt de Tracy was much more radical in viewing ideology as a part of zoology. To him, human psychology, i.e. "the science of ideas" should be studied in biological terms. In a word, human nature is simply identified with human sensations and human mind is understood in terms of "psychological" (i.e. physical). It was no wonder that they dismissed the concept of human nature in religion as unscientific, non-sensical.
It is not our intention to examine their claim or to revise their accusation of the Christian doctrine of human nature as a false idea in this work. It is however sufficient to note the ambiguity and contradiction of their ideology which is seen in their unscientific speculation, confusion of physiology, psychology and epistemology.
Actually, with the Encyclopedists, ideology replaced the Platonian Idea, and claimed the power of the Christian God. It demanded the role of guiding human conduct and furthering human knowledge. Whether such a claim is justified is up to science and history to hand in the verdict. The fact that Napoleon Bonaparte pejoratively labeled the group as "ideologous", i.e. visionaries and daydreamers has not been quite unjustified.
As a matter of fact, the intellectuals of the modern age have not invented ideology. They just turned Platonism upside down by giving to the Idea a body instead of a mind. They showed that the true, correct idea must be constructed a posteriori in human senses. At the center of their theory, they still shared Plato's insight by holding fast to the view that only their idea is correct and as such, it could serve to be the foundation of human life. The validity of ideology is therefore unquestioned. Their idea that the reality of human senses must be the true one and that this idea has to represent the concrete faces of human nature is clearly Platonian in reverse. The struggle against Platonism led by Bacon with his Novum Organum actually confirmed the Platonian logic. They tried to restore the role of experience dismissed earlier by Platonians, but they still followed the logic that there should be an Archimedian point which is none other than their idea. We can understand the mood of the world of scientists at that time. The triumph of experimentalism in physics and astronomy justified the belief that experiences and experiments are the new correct idea. Ideology understood as a system of correct ideas is still embraced today.
Our question centers on two points: how did they come to such an idea and why could they have absolutized it as the most fundamental, the unique concept. That means, we question not only the procedure of the birth of ideology but also the reason for its change. The answers would be of great importance to explain the positivity and negativity of ideology. The first answer deals precisely with the process of discovery of the idea while the second deals with the process of indoctrination.
First, we cannot naively accuse Plato to be a daydreamer or an unscientific visionary. As a matter of fairness, we must accept the fact that he discovered the theory of idea not simply by imagination but through a long critical examination of all the theories about the universe available to him in his time. Unsatisfied with the simple explanation of his predecessors, he developed further the view that there must be a point of departure or there exists a thing or something which serves as the foundation of the universe. However, such a thing should not be a simple appearance such as a matter like water, air, number or whatever. Obviously, such a way of doing philosophy was tacitly adopted by most of the scientists of his time and perhaps even today. The obsession with an Archimedian point has always been the hallmark of scientists and ideologues alike. Descartes' cogtitans Ego, Leibniz's monad, Newton's mechanism... have been thought of as the Archimedian point for a new science. Of course, this kind of thinking has been justified by the tremendous advance of science, and by the refinement of thinking. However, its success is often accompanied by a danger of stagnancy, and, especially, the tendency of negative ideology. The fact that such a way of doing research is far from perfect in light of our knowledge today can be seen in its ideological nature. A correct idea is often mistakenly regarded as eternally valid and true. Its method is conservatively analytic, and its conclusion is rather deterministic. Thus, we argue that anything which we perceive as correct could turn out to be incorrect if not false in the course of historical and social change. This happens because (1) what philosophers and scientists observe does not appear in its full form. We know only a part of its partial appearance. Thus, any conclusion simply based on our observation of the phenomenon may be correct in some aspect but incorrect in other aspects. (2) The fact that the observer is often influenced by his social, historical and cultural milieu in perceiving the object, in judging its appearance and in classifying it, means that our knowledge of the thing is often pre-determined, and hence, biased. (3) Peter winch (The Idea of a Social Science and its Relation to Philosophy, 1958) added another fatal mistake, the category-mistake, i.e. the mistake of analogy and synthesis to our knowledge. We are often seduced by the easy work of comparing the phenomenal appearances or the unrelated things by some categories (which are often invented by us), but we ignore the fact that the thing known by us has not exactly the same characteristics as the other unknown thing. Immanuel Kant might have scored a point here when he insisted on the unknowableness of the thing. Our point is, the alpha point sought by scientists and philosophers cannot be regarded as the ultimate or the uniqueness playing the foundation role of all things. These mistakes make the procedure of research and observation fallacious. Therefore, we can draw a conclusion based on the above arguments and apply it to ideology; ideology may be fallacious if the procedure of its genetical construction is wrongly understood or falsely perceived. We may go a further step to say that its fallacy is of a double character: (1) The beginning of the procedure of ideological construction is mistakenly conceived and analyzed by scientists and philosophers due to incomplete observation, biased pre-understanding and one-sided judgment. (2) Even if our observation of the phenomenon seems to be correct and complete and if the appearance of the thing seems to fit our theory, it is still too early to draw a conclusion. We are often tempted by the desire of success to forget that no conclusion can be drawn as long as we do not firmly grasp the whole process of change in the thing and as long as it is not yet tested. It is true enough that a religious or political ideologue often commits such a mistake in drawing conclusions too soon regardless of the problems of data incompleteness, logical fallacy, category mistakes etc.
Secondly, after having discovered the Archimedian point, the scientist applies his theory in relevant fields. But his application serves primarily as a test. It is only when his theory stands up to the tests that he can generalize it. The ideologue does the same by following the same procedure, and he may be rigorously scientific. A close look shows us however, a big difference between ideologue and scientist. On the one hand, the scientist tries to apply his theory only to the relevant field while the ideologue prefers to generalize his theory and extend it to all fields, preferably practical fields. Here, the ideologue conceives of ideology as a body of political, moral and religious belief. On the other hand, the scientist often revises his theory in light of new discoveries or when it appears ineffective or irrelevant. He re-examines not only the conclusion but also the procedure. In contrast, the ideologue stands inert to new discovery, and is reactionary with regard to ineffectiveness or irrelevancy. He may blame the subordinate executor for wrong-doing by insisting on the absolute correctness of his theory.
In saying that ideology, in its genetical process, bears a remarkable resemblance to science, we want to make a point that ideology is not quite false in its developmental phase. A clarification on its scientific status must be made here however. We strongly insist that ideology is not science, especially exact science. The claim of Marxists on the science-status of their ideology is, in Marx's mind, unjustified. Of course, Friedrich Engels might have inclined to the version of Marxist science (in his dialectics of Nature), but such a claim contradicts Marx's understanding of human science as a branch of human knowledge acquired from human activities which are variable and developmental. The fact that ideology is correct in some phase or aspect... and equally incorrect in some other phase or aspect confirms our point that ideology can be understood and judged from the point of view of its genetical process. By focusing on the process and not the conclusion of ideology, we further claim that there is no absolute ideology and that any effort to absolutize it will transform it into a negative one. Our claim is based on the arguments that ideology is not accidentally or randomly fabricated, but empirically constructed. That means, ideology is socially and historically bound. Thus, it is logical to conclude that it appears correct at its very first developmental phase and in some particular social aspect. However, due to human change (historical and social), it becomes incorrect in the long run. It reveals its negative, ugly face, as Marx accused, when it resists new human activities and hence new world views and consequently, it jeopardizes human progress.
To prove our thesis, we will proceed first with some critical examination of some forms of ideology such as culture, morals, aesthetics in which the two traits of correctness and incorrectness, positive and negative appear consecutively in a dialectical manner.
The fact that culture is almost indefinable is due not only to its richness and complexity but also to its dynamic characteristics. Culture is in its first phase a process of synthesizing human experiences, evaluating and reevaluating them. In the second phase, culture either surfaces in the form of common values such as language, art, or is expressed in a hidden form and at a deeper level of human consciousness. In a third phase, culture is identified with the Zeitgeist (Hegel), i.e. the most common (universal) expression of history. Although we would not follow Hegel in claiming the universality of culture, we hold that culture expresses at least a process of human effort of building common values based on their successful experiences in dealing with problems, in satisfying human needs and in defending their interests. Thus , we understand culture not only in terms of language (Geertz), or morals (Confucianism), or technology (civilization), or arts, but more precisely all forms of human commonality which bear the above described functions and characteristics. The cultural analysis of Kroeber and Khilcholn (culture: A critical Review of Concepts and Definitions, Cambridge, 1952) results in an over-production of 300 definitions and 164 concepts. Actually, these definitions and concepts are worked out from what we mean by human forms of commonality in (1) dealing with human problems, (2) in satisfying human needs (basic), (3) in defending human interests and (4) in looking for a better life.
The effectiveness of our ways of dealing with problems secures the function and the validity of culture. That means, as long as culture still generates its effectiveness, it is still accepted as something relating to our life. Otherwise, it would be regarded as a museum-piece. In this context, we can say that culture bears a remarkable resemblance to ideology. Its genetical process is rooted in human ways of problem solving, and its validity is almost identical with its effectiveness.
One may object to our interpretation of culture from the point of view of problem solving by raising the question on its effectiveness. A great deal of traditional cultural values are no longer effective in dealing with our present problems. Could we reject them as non-cultural just because of their ineffectiveness? Should all cultures be effective in dealing with human problems?
It would be ,however, not difficult to point out that such an argument is a kind of begging the question. First, one just overlooks an important feature of culture: unlike a matter which may be entirely dissolved, culture would never completely disappear. It is better to say that culture is transformed, or enriched instead of dying off. A brief survey of our culture would verify our understanding: our present culture is rooted in old values, enriched with new values acquired from recent human efforts in problem solving, and open for any possible new values. The example of Chinese filial piety confirms the above view: instead of being swept away by new and modern (imported) ideas as many Western educated Chinese scholars (the members of the May-fourth Movement e.g.) have affirmedly predicted, it survives. But, of course, it does not remain intact in its old form; It no longer claims to be the sole structure of the family. In fact, it is transformed (by absorbing new ideas on family, on the relationship between parents and children) into a less rigid, less formal and more flexible kind of filial piety. Today, most Chinese still consider filial piety as the quintessence of familial structure, but they no longer accept its old form or regard it as the nucleus of the modern family. E still regard it as indispensable, but no longer a unique value. Second, filial piety is still effective in solving family problems. Conflict between family members is still solved by means of the authority of parents, or by the recognition of family codes such as filial piety... Further, filial piety could play a particular role in education and indirectly in solving social problems too. The recent crisis of education stems mostly from a negligence in family education, and consequently from its erosion. The classic example of Mencius who was primarily educated by his mother is still accepted by Chinese culture as an effective model of education and of social problem solving. The success of overseas Chinese justifies the effectiveness of family education.
Analogously, we may say that even morals are not a priori laws but rather a set of solutions constructed a posteriori by social beings to deal with their problems. The process of moral construction or the process of moralization bears a remarkable resemblance to the process of ideological construction. There would be at least two ways of understanding morals: First, one may take morals to be a set of laws imposed by mythical gods (as seen in primitive societies, or in earlier Greek civilization ) and faithfully execute them. However, in the light of new studies of the nature of mythology done by anthropologists, theologians (such as Rudolf Bultmann), and especially by depth-psychologists such as the Freudians, these a priori moral laws are primarily constructed on a set of agreements (voluntary or involuntary) by the members involved in social conflicts. They are "voluntary" or "autonomous" or "conscientious" if both parts of the community reach the agreement on the basis of equality in power, interest, and free decision. They are "involuntary", or "ideological", or "alienated" if the agreement is attained by means of violence, or external force... and if it does not reflect the interests of the ruled. The first kind of morals is sought after and defended by Aristotle, while the second kind is criticized by Marx as class-morals. The point is, the Aristotelian morals, though looked promising, could not have generated the expected effects. In contrast, the second kind of morals had gained a strong foothold in human history. Nicolo Machiavelli's Realpolitik is based on such a kind of morals. The question about the impracticality of Aristotle's morals and on the effectiveness of Machivelli's individual utilitarianism leads us to the meta-foundation of morals: morals are no more and no less than a set of rules dealing with human problems. They can be, like ideology, effective or ineffective depending on historical circumstances, on people's willingness to accept them and more importantly, on whether they can solve human conflicts. It is a fact that a priori morals are often rejected, partly because they do not reflect reality, but most important, because they cannot solve human problems without coercion, violence, penalties etc... Thus, we tend to the second kind of a posteriori morals. A posteriori morals are not imposed on our heads; they are mainly accepted by us as a form of conventional agreement. We freely accept such morals, because they could help to solve our problems, or in preventing us from committing mistakes. Its genetical process proceeds from human efforts in solving some puzzle, some anomaly or strange conduct. Thus, like the process of scientific discovery, morals are born from and in the ways of how we are dealing with our problems. To be more concrete, we may formulate its genetical process as follows: First, we sense something wrong by discovering some anomalies in our life. We are going to launch an investigation into it and may discover its reasons. We then think of a solution and then apply it in solving our problems. If it is going well, we may adopt it again and again the next time whenever such a crisis reappears. If it shows ineffective, then we may look for another solution. In the first case, the effective solution could be accepted as a model or a standard to deal with problems at its very first step. Slowly, it could become a kind of customs unchallenged by community. It then becomes a kind of laws if it meets no resistance and if it still generates its effectiveness. The example of filial piety in the Confucian society is a case in point. The conflict between parents and children is "normal" due to the growth of children, to their different world view, to their different interests etc... But the parents may regard such a conflict as disturbing which jeopardizes their own interests. To avoid such a conflict, they discover a kind of solution: educating the children in obedience, reverence to them. Such a solution seems to be very effective since the children themselves, once indoctrinated, believe that they ought to do so. In fact, the children follow such a standard not only because they are taught, but because they may discover that they could gain benefit from such a solution too. They may be entitled to inherit the wealth left behind by their parents, and they may also find it relevant in dealing with their own children. Such a solution is then accepted by the community, and with the time, it becomes a kind of rules or laws. It is morally bounded. It is de facto and de jure a moral law. In a word, the process of moralization begins with a human attempt to find a solution to a certain conflict, and ends with the human effort of institutionalizing such a solution. Filial piety becomes a moral law governing the conduct of the children, the symbol of parent-child relationships, and the fundamental principle of family.
However, such a moral, because of its a posteriori characteristics, could be easily contested if it is no longer valid or effective in solving our permanently emerging problems. In fact, it is better to say, such a moral may be of little use in solving some problems. It no longer has the absolute power it claims. The problems arise mostly from the part of the ruled, say, the children. They may find filial piety more a burden than a benefit. And, consequently, they try to abolish or simply ignore it. Sensed by the danger of a loss of interests, the parents may resort to the policy of stick and carrot and even institution to defend filial piety. Precisely at this stage filial piety becomes a kind of ideology.
The birth of science was hailed as an emancipation from religious, and philosophical ideology (A. Comte), and the new scientific age was proudly named the age of Enlightenment. However, the euphoria quickly eroded and one begins to doubt even science itself (Horkheimer and Adorno e.g.). the reason is simple: Science is scientific only in terms of its process but not in its claim. Once it absolutisms itself as the ultimate purpose, once it demands the role of God, it becomes what we call scientism, a theory which claims the absolute power determining the fate of mankind. Evidently, scientism is a kind of ideology too.
Here, we may inquire into the reason of such a twist. How could science as an anti-ideological force degenerate into a form of ideology: We will argue that, even science could not be exempted from ideology, and that a positive ideology remarkably bears scientific characteristics. To be more clear, we tend to the idea that science is itself a kind of ideology, while scientism is degenerated from science and as such, is a form of negative ideology. To explain the dramatic change from science to scientism, from positive ideology to negative ideology, we have to discuss the nature of science. Here we are inclined to Karl Popper's view that what determines scientific is not 'scientific knowledge' but its procedure of verification and justification (Conjectures and Refutations, 1951, p.36) as he categorically asserts:
"One can sum up by saying that the criterion of the scientific status of a theory is its falsifiability, or refutability, or testability." (Id. 37)
We neither rush to the side of Popper nor other's, but to show that science is positive as long as it is in the process of discovery. The idea defended by Popper is ideological too, but it is a positive ideology. The second point is, we need some ideology, even in the world of science, just in order to carry on the project of science. We need some kind of conventional rules or some kind of meta-languages. A breakthrough in science, say a revolution as Thomas Kuhn insisted, (The structure of Scientific Revolutions, 1961) can only be possible not by accident as Paul Feyerabend cynically suggested (Against Method 1970, 1973), but rather by a permanent critical reflection on the meta-language, meta-structure, meta-logic used in traditional science. That means, we need to rely on our previous knowledge to do science, but we are not allowed to stop short on this kind of meta-language. We have to explore further, to adopt the view that science is in a permanent revolution (Popper). That means, we have to take the stand of anti-ideology. To rest on a certain kind of knowledge, even the most certain knowledge, is to fall into the trap of negative ideology. Here we side with Imre Lakatos by arguing:
"The proving power of the intellect or the senses was questioned by the skeptics more than two thousand years ago; but they were browbeaten into confusion by the glory of the Newtonian physics. Einstein's results again turned the tables and now very few philosophers of scientists still think that scientific knowledge is, or can be, proven knowledge. But few realize that with this the whole classical structure of intellectual values falls in ruins and has to be replaced, one cannot simply water down the ideal of proven truth as some logical empiricists do-to the ideal of 'probable truth' or - as some sociologists of knowledge do to truth by (changing) consensus." (Falsification and the Methodology of Scientific Research Programmes 1968, 1973, p.2)
Lakotos' view is close to Hans Georg Gadamer's thesis that we cannot escape from tradition (Truth and Method, 1961) i.e. we cannot escape from ideology. Thus, our main argument will follow the line that we cannot blindly take Marx's view for granted and reject all kind of ideology. What we propose is to criticize such an ideology, to review it and to transform it as Hegel might have done.
Since Nietzsche (Genealogy of Morals, The Birth of Tragedy), arts are no longer understood in terms of categories established by the faculty of knowledge (Kant), but in terms of the human faculty of conceiving which is infinite, and undefined. Francois Lyotard, following Nietzsche and Heidegger, goes even as far as claiming that arts aim at "the sublime" and that the project of synthesizing aesthetic experiences into a unity which determines beauty is destined to be doomed. (The Postmodern condition: A Report on Knowledge, 1984, 77-79). Actually, Lyotard has dramatized the antinomy of the two faculties of conceiving and presenting, and consequently, the antagonism between arts as "the sublime" and arts as "beauty". He fails to discover an internal relationship between two faculties and hence between the sublime and beauty. Let us explain his failure by relying on the human power of discovering "the sublime" and the human faculty of expressing or presenting "the beauty". First, it is true that artistic feeling cannot be adequately presented in our language, and judged by our established categories. The unexpressed sublime clearly shows the limit of language and the obsolescence of categories. However, to deny a common feeling of sublime just because we have no adequate language to present the sublime is simply erroneous. Lyotard ignores the fact that our inability to present the sublime comes rather from our inexperience. The first time when we encounter some new spectacle, we are always "surprised", "astonished". There is simply no language to express, to present our feeling. However, suppose that we encounter the same spectacle often, it would no longer be a "spectacle", and we slowly find adequate language to present or to express it. Of course, we do not claim that we can completely describe it, but we could at least present its main characteristics. That shows, we could work out a kind of "meta"-language to express our feeling. Further, we can claim that, a meta-language is developed from our common feeling. Therefore even the feeling of sublime is not private or individual but common. Second, once we discover that we all possess the feeling of sublime, it is then a matter of how to express this feeling. It is a question of searching for a common language. Hence we can say, the common experiences could be identified as what we call aesthetical feeling or aesthetical consciousness while our common language is the result of our act of synthesizing, judging, cataloguing and categorizing these experiences. The "beauty" is the second stage, more concrete and manifested facie of the sublime. It is not what Lyotard claims to be the antagonist of the sublime. It is true that, aesthetical consciousness and most of culture are shaped by means of "terror", "coercion", "violence" etc... as seen in the world of the rulers. However, we may reply that, if such an aesthetical consciousness is not accepted , i.e. felt by the ruled, then such experiences will vanish once the terror disappears. But that is not the case with regard to classical music, or paintings or architecture. We still love the classics even when we are not manipulated, coerced, or terrorized. The love for classic art comes in fact from our common feeling. That means, beauty is not simply a product of abstract categories, of a violent unification of experiences but rather a second stage of the sublime. The two faculties to conceive and to present are not in opposition, but in a permanent dialectical process of communication of arts.
From another point of view however, we may say that Lyotard has seen in beauty, and quite rightly, its ideological nature. Criticizing the arts for example has taken the paradigms of beauty, which are constructed on rather abstract calculations, to determine the arts. Of course, such a method is wrong, not because of the incorrectness of the paradigms (they are indeed correct on their own terms), but rather because of an arbitrary "differentiation" between the sublime and beauty. The ideological essence of the classicism which sees beauty as its ultimate purpose is evident in its claim of foundationalism. Consequently, classicism demands that its criteria or paradigms be the sole legitimate grounds for determining the arts. The point that Lyotard may have rightly objected to, is domination by the classic criteria and the fact that these criteria are arbitrarily constructed. This we fully agree with. However, on the other hand, we may object to Lyotard and Jacques Derrida's program of "de-differentiation". In fact, such a de-differentiation is impossible. To return to the sublime and rest in it is as utopian as it is nihilistic. The utopia and nihilism of Derrida and Lyotard are seen in their radical refusal to accept any kind of ideology, be it negative or positive, be beauty or the meta-narratives. How can we conceive of arts, how do we understand them and how do we communicate them to others? These problems force us to accept the internal, dialectical relationship between the sublime and beauty, i.e. to accept a certain kind of positive ideology implicit in beauty. To be more clear, we may formulate the formation of the ideology of beauty as follows: In the first phase, we discover the sublime which is unexpressed and unpresentable. The second phase would begin with a reflection on the sublime, and with the discovery of a common feeling of the sublime. The third phase is seen in the human effort to reduce, classify, and categorize the experiences of the sublime. Finally, beauty is constructed from such a process. That means, beauty is not randomly or arbitrarily constructed as Lyotard falsely accused, and that the beauty bears an ideology of is rather positive and not negative character. However, the concept of beauty could become negative in the course of human change of aesthetic consciousness. That is, once we discover a new common feeling of the sublime, we need to work out a new concept of the beautiful. Failing to discover and to accept the historicity of aesthetical consciousness Georg Lukacs, A Theory of the Novel, 1914), failing to see in the relationship between the sublime and beauty a certain dialectical relationship (Walter Benjamin, "Theses on the Philosophy of History", and J. Habermans, The Philosophical Discourse of Modernity, 1985), is falling into the trap of negative ideology.
The analysis of culture, morals, science and aesthetical consciousness supports our thesis that ideology, in its genetical process, bears both positive and negative aspects. Further, ideology is not constructed a priori as understood by the Platonians. Quite contrary, it is constructed a posteriori from common human experiences. Its validity is tested by the degree of its effectiveness in solving human problems, in unmasking cosmic puzzles, in dealing with our difficulties etc. By insisting on the a posteriority of ideology, we go a step further to reject any kind of absolute, eternal, perfect ideology and we consider any such claim as absurd. Such a claim would transform a positive ideology into a negative one. One may raise objection to our understanding by accusing us of being the victim of another kind of ideology: that embraced by David Hume, John Locke and especially the positivists. One may argue for the necessity of a certain kind of metaphysics, meta-language and meta-rules in language-games and raise the question of how and why do we come to the idea of a perfect, absolute, and eternal ideology if such an idea does not exist. The transcendentality of knowledge proposed by Kant seems not quite successful in wiping out the meta-foundation as Heidegger has proved (Kant und das problem der metaphysica 1982) . Kant might have been good at treating metaphysical generalis as transcendental philosophy, but he failed to do justice to metaphysical specialis with his transcendental method. (Heidegger, p.3 - Kant, Critique of pure reason, 1929 [ Norman Kemp Smith], p.662). thus, it appears to us that the question of meta-foundation is not yet solved, or wiped out as the postivists have claimed. Actually our position is neither positivist nor empiricist in the strict sense. We acknowledge that we possess the idea of an absolute that we can hardly prove with experiences, but we challenge the idealists to prove its existence. It could be a pure psychological matter of our own human projection in the course of reflection about our own limits. Here, we will not go beyond our limit with pure speculation. It is sufficient to say that ideology is not quite a projection. Ideology does not exist prior to man. It is the result of human activities. Hence, we can categorically deny that it is by nature absolute.
Before coming to our main part, namely, to the process of transformation of ideology, from the positive to the negative, we have to deal with the question of how a positive correct idea could become a negative, "ideological" one. Marx's critique of ideology might be useful here to grasp a more adequate understanding of the nature of ideology.
The fact that almost all ideologues firmly believe that their theories are unique is nothing new. We all are tempted by the idea of the Archimedian point. We all are easily seduced by the irresistible meta-foundation which we name metaphysics, meta-philosophy or meta-sciences. In a word, the search for a foundation on which e build our knowledge (epistemology), we construct our life (social theory), or regulate our conduct (morality) is a matter of fact. The point is whether there exists such an Archimedian point in praxis, and how do we discover, or construct it. These two questions demand a thorough examination of foundationalist claim. On the first question, it seems to most philosophers, including the empiricists, that a meta-narrative, meta-language, or meta-theory is possible. But in praxis, it is a matter of controversy. The failure of the Platonians, of Kant and others in applying theory in the concrete world shows a great divergence between theory and praxis. By applying to ideology, we may say that an ideology could be right in theory, but not necessarily in praxis.
Marx is not concerned with the first question of foundation but with the problem of how we discover, construct and apply the meta-theory. To Marx the discovery of ideology is by no means a matter of pure knowledge, but a way of defending the interests of a certain class. That means, ideology could be right, scientific, etc. Only if its process of discovery, construction and application is scientific. Therefore, it is not our business to discuss ideology as such, but to criticize the process of ideologisation. Hence, Marx's main task is to examine (1) how ideology is constructed, i.e. and therefore, acceptable. Marx's analysis of the first question includes his critique of the phenomenon of alienation in religions, politics and economy, i.e. the three forms of ideology adopted by capitalism, while his labor for a scientific theory which can satisfy the demand of the proletariat gives birth to a new ideology which his followers proudly christened Marxism. Louis Althusser for example, attempts to prove, with remarkable vigor, the scientific characteristics of Marx's ideology in its genealogical process (Pour Marx, 1965, 1969 and Lire Capital, 1970, with Etienne Balibar). However, we think that Althusser is totally wrong because of his mistake of taking ideology to be science. We will follow Marx's arguments to show that any form of ideology, even Marx's own, could not stand the test of historical change, and more fundamentally, the test of human development. Any form of ideology cannot claim the universality of mankind but only the particularity of a class, a historical period etc...
Marx's contradiction in holding the view of an ideology of the proletariat makes his ideological criticism hypocritical, even if the proletariat is understood as the classless, universal class. Here, we are not concerned with Marxism as a form of ideology, but with Marx's original position against any form of ideology.
In his earlier works, influenced by Hegel, Marx rejected any form of ideology which he regards as false, alienated, or a meta-physical distortion of reality etc. We will concentrate on Marx's understanding of ideology in terms of religions and politics, Even if the term ideology does not appear in his earlier writings, the material elements of the future concept are already visible in his critique of religion, and in his objection to Hegel's concept of the state. To him, ideology is the inversion, the distortion of reality and finally, the alienation of man. He sees in religion for example an expression of the contradictions and the sufferings of the real world, and following Feuerbach, he claims it is the cause of alienation:
"Religion is the fantastic realization of the human being, because the human being has attained no true reality." (The German Ideology, p.131, 137)
Similarly, he criticizes Hegel's concept of the state as the inversion of reality. The Hegelian political state is not the product of an illusory perception, but of a false construction of reality, of better, of an inversion of reality. He expresses this idea in his "Critique of Hegel's Philosophy of Right" as follows: The state and society produce religion "which is an inverted consciousness of the world, because they are an inverted world." (Introduction).
After his break with Feuerbach, Marx uses for the first time the term ideology to attack the young Hegelians who, according to him, have not changed much from Hegel. They have replaced the Hegelian premise with their own, by forgetting that they are in no way combating the real, existing world. (The German Ideology, vol. 1, 1845-6). Actually, they still believe that the object of philosophy is consciousness and not the real social contradictions as Marx affirms. Ideology thus means a false consciousness built on a false basis. It is therefore negative.
After 1858, Marx rarely used the term ideology, though he developed it further and applied it in his analysis of the conditions and nature of the world of capitalism. The texts of Grundrisse and Capital (Vol. 1, chap. 6) unmistakably show that ideology is meant as the distortion of the conditions and the nature of the value-exchange, and that new forms of alienation such as reification, fetishism etc... are the logical consequence of the ideology of capitalism.
In summary, to Marx, ideology is not only a false consciousness: "Religious estrangement as such occurs only in the realm of consciousness, of man's inner life, but economic estrangement is that of real life... ", (Manuscript, 1844, p.136) but also the consciousness of a class (MEW 3, 46). It is not only a production of ideas, or representations such as religions or morals ... (MEW 3 26f., MEW 21, 179) but also the distorted condition of our real life. (Zur Kritik der Politischen Okonomie, Vorwort, 1859, MEW 13, 9). It is not only a simple illusion (MEW 13, 632) but also the abstraction of reality (Grundrisse, 1857-58, 81f.)
With these critiques, Marx clearly sees in the process of ideologization the decisive factor determining the nature of ideology. The ideology of the ruling class is born in (1) the process of commodisation of fetishisation, (2) the process of abstraction of labor (3) the way of defending their interests and (4) in the form of exchange (Das Kapital, MEW 23, 87).
All these mis-transform ideology into a negative force distorting, inverting reality, suppressing the human capacity for self-discovery and reifying man.
Marx's critique of ideology consists of two fundamental characteristics: First, ideology is not quite wrong in the first stage of the process of thinking, or with regard to a specific class, or in dealing with some particular problems. Religion for example, appears quite plausible as a force of consolation, reaction, resentment against the brutality of the world, or as opium helping man to escape from reality. A specific politics may be of good use to a certain class, and so on. He says of religion:
"Religious misery is on the one hand the expression of the real misery, and on the other hand, the protest against the real misery" (Zur Kritik der Hegelschen Rechtsphilosophie. Einleitung, 1843-44, MEW 1, 378)
and he then connects religion with politics and economics:
"The critique of Heaven transforms itself therewith into the critique of Earth, the critique of religion into the critique of Rights, the critique of theology into the critique of politics" (id., MEW 1,378f.)
Second, the same ideology (religion, politics, economics) becomes however wrong in the course of human history when: 9a) it claims the universality of all human activities, 9B) it overlooks the change of reality (social change, the growth of knowledge..) and thus, it no longer reflects reality, (c) consequently, it distorts the real world , and real human nature as in the case of Hegel's philosophy. That means, Marx stays in a dubious, and ambiguous position. On the one hand, he acknowledges the importance of ideology, but on the other hand, he also sees in it the danger of distortion, inversion and domination. Marx's attitudes encourage his followers to construct and ideology which reflects history, reality and human nature (by means of a scientific analysis as they boastfully claim).
The search for a correct idea is the main focus of Marx's later works. His analysis of Capitalism and its ode of production (capital, vol.1), its mode of distortion of economic reality by a process of circulation of capital (Capital, vol. 2), its forms of the process as a whole (capital, vol.3) and his reconstruction of the history of capitalism (planned vol.4) show that he was laboring a scientific, correct, socially conscious ideology even if he dislikes the word. We may venture to say that Marx, having dismissed other forms of ideology, is not content with a pure critique as he was in his young age. He goes a step forward in constructing the correct idea. That is true, when Marx declares that "religion, family, state, law, morality, science, art etc, are only particular modes of production, and fall under its general law" he intends to break down these particular modes and build a universal idea which he then identifies as "communism":
"communism is the positive transcendence of private property, as human self- estrangement, are therefore as the real appropriation of the human essence by and for man. Communism therefore is the complete return of man to himself as a social being-a return which becomes conscious, and is accomplished within the entire wealth of previous development." (Manuscript, 1844, p.135)
Needless to say, his followers take his writings for granted, and interpret them word by word. Their main task seems to be limited to elaboration of the scientific character of Marx's idea (Althusser, Reading Capital, Introduction), in applying it to a concrete world (Lenin), and ironically, in forcing the people to believe in it. From Marx, and against Marx's will, a new ideology is born: communism or the ideology of the XXth century.
Marx was not the first man who had engaged in such an enterprise. In fact, almost all great thinkers had done so. The story of philosophy is a narrative telling their struggle against Platonism. But, tragically, they are locked up, unable to break its grip. What they could do, and have indeed done, is complain against their fellow philosophers. The story of Friedrich Nietzsche who tried to destroy Platonism but remained Platonian is true with regard to Marx, Heidegger and even Popper. Therefore, we can say that man is obsessed with the idea of "correct idea" and that one tries to discover it mainly by a critique of "incorrect idea". We follow this tenet by looking for the key to open the black box of how a correct idea becomes incorrect and consequently how we can judge its correctness. We will treat the questions from the pragmatic, theoretical and progressive aspects.
Before explaining ideology in its three aspects, namely, pragmatic, theoretical and progressive, we need to say some words about Marx's attitude toward ideology. There is no doubt that Marx has made a decisive contribution to a more correct understanding of ideology even if he treated it from a negative aspect. For the first time since De Tracy, one discovers with Marx the dangerous, ugly, negative face of ideology. However, Marx contradicts himself in proclaiming communism as an absolute ideology. Marx's mistake is easily detected in his inconsistency. He seems to abandon his commitment to the dynamic, progressive and emancipatory nature of man for his dogma of the final stage of social development, the stage of communism. Actually, his first critique of German idealism demands the abolition of any form of determinism, and as such, it is incomprehensible to explain why he embraces the idea of communism. If he sticks to his idea of human development, he would reject the idea of the proletariat as the ultimate ideology. We follow Marx's ideological critique, but stand in an opposite position. We contend that ideology is in its first stage correct; It will however become incorrect and hence negative in the course of human history due to (1) newly emerging human activities, new interests and therefore, new problems (pragmatic aspect), (2) new knowledge as well as new puzzles and consequently a demand for new solutions (theoretical aspect), and (3) human aspirations for emancipation (progressive aspect). Unlike Marx, we have no ambition to discover a new theory or ideology to replace the old ones. Our aim is rather modest: we wish to explore the nature of ideology by demarcating the line between the negative and the positive and to understand the reason of such a transformation or deformation which we recognize as natural and permanent.
We begin with the pragmatic aspect of ideology. Ideology is constructed not by pure idea. It is born in the process of human search for satisfied solutions. In the first part examining various aspects of ideology such as culture, morals and arts, we discover a common characteristic explaining ideology: the pragmatic aspect of problem-solving. All cultures, morals, arts ... are various modes of problem-solving which have been satisfactorily successful in solving conflicts. Morals deal with practical problems arising from the conflict of practical interests; culture generally deals with social and communicative problems. It tries to establish pattern and models with which one could avoid conflicts and on which one could construct common regulations. Arts, a special aspect of culture are often taken to be the medicine of the soul, or regarded as force of emancipation etc...
From this fundamental thesis, we come to the second thesis, namely, an idea is correct as long as it is effective, i.e. valuable or usable. That means, if it could solve at least some problem. Failing to meet this requirement, it is no longer valuable or effective. It becomes incorrect. However, precisely here we encounter a rather epistemological problematic: how do we know, or judge the correctness of our act or of a thing. To Max Weber, the correctness or the validity of a thing is measured by the degree of achievement of the set purpose. But what happens if even the purpose is in a permanent changing state. The old Aristotelian and Thomistic formula of truth based on the adequation between the thing and intellectual criteria would crumble. Thus, we will not follow the classic definition of correctness. We understand correctness in terms of validity effectiveness in solving our problems. Like Popper, we contend that since human problems are in a permanent emerging state, and that the solution of a problem is not the final purpose (because such a solution will appear obsolete when one changes, or once the problems disappear or reappear in other forms). We accept Popper's view that solutions are to be upgraded by means of permanent testing. Therefore, the concept of validity or effectiveness can be accepted if it stands up to the test. That means, effectiveness, validity cannot be a priori determined or calculated. It is generated from ad hoc test which are in their turn needed for ad hoc problems. The kind of pragmatics is built rather on ad hoc solutions. Thus, the difference between theory and praxis could be formulated as follows: while in theory we need some transcendental schemata in advance that we test after; in praxis, the thesis and solution are mainly generated in an ad hoc manner. To a paysan, his ad hoc problem would be how to procure needed foods, and needed materials. He does not care much for the idea of exchange of production, surplus, or deficit etc. Thus, the test he will make is the sufficiency of food. The quota depends not on the demand of the market but of his and his family's needs. His way of handling or managing the work and the household, or better say, his method is sound if he is succeeding in meeting the demands, needs or the quota set by him and by his family. Failing to reach the aim, his method (idea) turns out to be wrong. He has to revise his way of handling the matter. He needs to have a new idea. Even his needs are not completely a priori known or determined. Most of his needs come unexpectedly, due to the news emerging problems, new discoveries... The need because it is a sine qua non conditio. But a tractor comes to his mind only if the paysan intends to mass-produce his products for market. In sum, we could say that, besides the basic needs (interests) such as those for our life (in the wider sense), most of human needs and hence, problems emerge a posteriori in an ad hoc manner.
Satisfying basic needs is often problematic. The history of human beings is a history of human search for solutions dealing with their basic interests and needs. However, in order to find the right solution, one needs first to understand basic human interests and the reason for the conflicts arising from these interests. With Marx, we could say that pragmatic problems are economic and communicative (Habermas). That mean Satisfying basic needs is often problematic. The history of human beings is a history of human search for solutions dealing with their basic interests and needs. However, in order to find the right solution, one needs first to understand basic human interests and the reason for the conflicts arising from these interests. With Marx, we could say that pragmatic problems are economic and communicative (Habermas). That meanundamental human power, i.e., labor with which one distributes the wealth in accordance with his principle "from each according to his ability, to each according to his needs" (The Communist Manifesto). Habermas develops further Marx's view in a more complete version. To him, the economic factor is undeniably important, but to reduce all human activities to a single aspect of Homo labor is to commit the fallacy of reductionism and simplicism. The practical aspects of human activities are not only economic but also moral, political, aesthetical. In short, one is searching for a total solution of communicative characteristics. The ideology which we seek is a linguistic model. Such a linguistic model represents a certain quasi-transcendental ideology. However, he also acknowledges that such a model has to be upgraded, implemented, and in some case, negated. That means, the model based on human communicative action could serve as a positive ideology; it could become negative if it is not "aufgehoben", just like any linguistic model which could become obsolete once it no longer reflect reality. Like Marx's ideology, Habermas' theory of communication consists of (1) a critique of negative ideology, i.e. a critique of obsolete linguistic models or language games and their distorted conditions which hinder a normal speech situation. Such a critique is applied not only to super structure models such as religion and morals but also to the infra-structure models such as economics. The aim of criticism is to discover the unreal, biased distorted conditions, to unmask the domination power of ideology, to dig out the hidden power which dictates our social conduct such as the Freudian libido, the Nietzchean Will-to-Power, the Marxian labor etc. Any criticism is thus of a double function: to eliminate the negative force and to rediscover the positive one. (2) The second step in his model of communication is to work out a model based on consensus of power, interests and needs which is best seen in language. The linguistic model has a decisive advantage explaining a new model free of negative ideology: it is both transcendental and empirical; it is both consensual and reflective and it is not rigid in the sense that it is interpreted. From another point of view, the linguistic model offers a relatively free, less oppressive consensus. The partners involved in a communication have to be sincere to be open, to agree on a starting condition (consensus), and to work towards a new consensus.
In summary, the solution-models to economic and communicative conflicts offered by Marx and Habermas are in many aspects worthy of discussion. Such models could be taken to be positive ideology if they generate effectiveness, i.e. if they can solve our economic and communicative problems. The Marxist ideology has shown some promises in the past. It has contributed to the realization of a more equal and conscious society, but it fails miserably in addressing human economic problems and thereupon in giving a definitive solution. Habermas' theory of communicative actions is not yet an ideology, because its effectiveness is not yet tested. The solution offered by Habermas has not stood any test so far. Actually, it will have a hard time to become an ideology for a great number of reasons such as (1) its theory must be proved on an epistemological level; (2) it has to be put into practice (and that is difficult because of his lack of the political power of a Lenin, or a Mao Tze-Tung) and (3) it has to be popularized or simplified for the masses (a point almost impossible for Habermas' obscure and difficult style).
On the theoretical level, a correct idea is correct (1) as long as it corresponds to reality, (2) when it expresses the sameness of a thing, (3) when it stands the test of certainty and consistency, (4) when it becomes universally and necessarily valid. In a word, to most philosophers, a correct idea or a correct proposition must be a scientific idea, or better, a mathematical idea or proposition. That means, a positive ideology must stand fast on the theoretical level too. The ideology of scientism, positivism and even Marxism... is understood in the sense that they claim for themselves scientific characteristics and therefore science. It claims for itself the role of Messiah (as the Enlighteners boasted) who can solve all problems once and for all. Thus, with the Enlightenment, one was sure that mankind would be only for better. Positivism follows suit by declaring that truth must be built on certainty, a kind of logical certainty; Only what we can prove is true and therefore real. It is clear that these ideologies strictly follow the categories of tautology, certainty, and consistency. They successfully demonstrate their scientific characteristics of universality and necessity. One point that they neglect is , their claim of universality and necessity must be tested too, and not by the criteria of consistency, tautology or else but by its effectiveness. Before giving a critique of such an ideology, one has to accept the fact that, if the correct idea is unchallenged, and if it produces satisfying results, it will become de facto an ideology regardless of our human reaction etc. We will develop further our thesis that even a theoretical idea must be tested by its degree of effectiveness. First, we know that the truth of a mathematical proposition is often taken for granted because of its certainty and tautological character. But such a proposition is meaningless if it does not produce any effect. The devastating effect of the atomic bomb proves that the calculation of quantum physics is correct. The discovery of the neutron, proton or quark is appreciated if it helps us to understand the mystery of our universe. It would be more appreciated if it could be of use in dominating the world. Of course, we acknowledge that a difference of degree of effectiveness between pure and practical sciences exists. However, our point is, the test of science is by no means of pure calculation. It would not be accepted as a magic power if it could not change the world. Second, the universal and necessity are to be accepted too. A proposition, say a logical proposition such as "the king of France is bald" is meaningless and thus useless to a Chinese paysan even if the proposition is true. To the paysan, it is not the question of true or false but of usefulness that is important. It is the practicality or applicability which make science universally and necessarily accepted. The idea of a pure science, fully free of interests is hardly accepted by most of us today. To the post-modernists like Jacques Derrida, Michel Foucault, Georges Bataille and F. Lyotard, there could be no pure knowledge because science is meant for problem solving. (J. F. Lyotard, La Condition post modern: rapport sur le savior, Paris, 1979). That means, a pure ideology is impossible. This impossibility is evident in the incompetence and arrogance of scientism, our modern ideology. We ma y with certainty say that while science could help us to solve our problems, scientism would, at its best, bring us back to the world of mythology. By putting more emphasis on the usefulness or the practicality of science, we are by no means playing against science, or denying its theoretical certainty. In fact, our aim is to demarcate the difference between science as such and science as ideology (scientism). The line which determines the divergence between science and scientism wants to dictate every aspect of our life. The latter proclaims itself to be the modern god. In other words, while science is set against any form of determinism, scientism takes determinism to be its soul.
The Enlightenment proclaimed itself to b e the age of progress, happiness and reason., Its claim has been proved to be partly true, but mostly wrong. It is true that we are developing more today, but it is impossible to assert that we are happier. We cannot even affirm that we are more rational than our predecessors, though we have relied more intensively on reason than before. The naiveté of the Enlighteners is seen in: (1) they reduce human progress to terms of scientific progress, and in doing so they ignore the role of the subject. (2) They see progress only in terms of knowledge accumulation, but not in terms of problem -solving . (3) They mistakenly identify happiness with progress and progress with reason which are in fact three different but related aspects of human life. However, their biggest error is to ignore the antinomy between determinism and progress. To regard science as the decisive factor is to put our fate in its cold hand. To believe in the absolute power of science is to divorce humanism and to refuse human progress. In the following lines we seek to show that human progress is not identified with scientific progress, and that while the latter may be of help for the first one, it could not determine it. First, scientific progress can be measured and thus predicted. This is evident in its own products such as technology. A civilized man with the most comfortable stuff surrounding him is far different from a primitive, uncivilized man. Their difference is measured by the tools, the surroundings, the way of problem-solving... they use. To use a washing machine is more civilized than to use our own ha nds for washing clothes. However, human progress could not be measured, especially in terns of the things we use. Owning a car, traveling by plane does not mean human or social progress. One cannot translate scientific progress into human progress without an understanding of the role of science in human life. The fact that we cannot escape misery shows the great difference between human progress and scientific progress. Second, technical and scientific progress cannot dictate our happiness. The technical and scientific progress did not make us happier. On the contrary, the two world-wars ere more or less a result of the over-confident and abusing attitude of scientists and politicians. Thus, we can say, scientific progress has a neutral function. It could further human progress, ; it could also destroy it. In a word, an ideology is of use if it further human progress, but if it hinders or destroys it, it becomes negative. Any form of absolute ideology such as scientism tends more to be negative because of its determinism. That means, it leaves no room for other possibilities. It tries to one-dimentionalize man and to put man back into the Plato's cave. In short, all forms of negative ideology always bear certain deterministic and conservative character, a point that Habermas has brilliantly discussed ("Modernity versus Post-modernity" and The Philosophical Discourse of Modernity, 1985/1987).
We have discussed so far the three main aspects of human life which may serve as provisory criteria to judge the positivity or negativity of an ideology. However, they are far from complete. In the following points, we wish to add some more criteria deduced from the three aspects of the pragmatic, theoretical, and progressive.
In our previous works (Tran, 1985/1989), we have attempted to describe ideology in a Kantian manner, namely from the scientific aspect. Such a description is inadequate because it is based on the dichotomy of truth and falseness. The criteria of truth and falseness however, could not be of use in dealing with human practical problems. They appear to be incompetent to treat human emancipative or progressive activities. That means, the scientific language game could not be fully applied to other activities. We may need other language games to deal with other practical activities. Thus, we turn to Marx's progressive, or better, productive criteria. The Marxian model has some advantage in dealing with our concrete life, but it leaves no room to the dynamic force of emancipation. Thus, it hinders instead of furthering our life. We soon revise the Marxian approach, and adopt a somewhat more balanced attitude toward ideology (Tran, 1989). E tend to believe that, ideology must be understood from all three fundamental aspects of the pragmatic, theoretical and progressive. The multi-dimensionality of human life reveals its openness towards new activities and hence new models, or new language games. For the sake of discussion, we tentatively classify them in three aspects: pragmatic, theoretical, and progressive. If truth-falseness belongs to the scientific, logical language game, then rightness and wrongness should be the language of pragmatics or practical activities. Similarly, we can also venture to say the same to the language of the third aspect of human life; it would be openness and closeness (Popper), emancipation and conservatism (Habermas), hope and despair (Ernest Bloch, salvation and slavery (Judeo-Christian tradition) and so on.
It is clear now that ideology should be treated from its two functions: the positive and the negative. The positive ideology strives for the correctness of idea (scientific), of common sense or commonality (practical), and of human aspiration(emancipative). The negative ideology resists any change. It wants to maintain the status quo. It tries to totalize all human activities under its domination. It generalizes its power beyond its limit. It is also important to acknowledge a dialectical relationship between the positive and the negative, the negative and the positive... Ideology could be also studied from its deterministic seduction, and from human resistance to be seduced. In short, ideology could be and should be treated from a more global perspective, i.e. from the total aspect of human life.
Following are the main criteria deduced from the three main aspects of human activities:
- In the pragmatic (practical) aspect, the criteria of correctness-incorrectness, rightness-wrongness, effectiveness-ineffectiveness, validity- invalidity... are often taken to demarcate the positive ideology from the negative one.
- In the theoretical aspect, the criteria of truth-falseness, universal-particular, necessity-unnecessity, consistency-inconsistency are used to differ the scientific (the positive) from the unscientific (the negative).
- In the progressive aspect, openness-closeness, emancipative-conservative, salvation-slavery, hope-despair (nihilism), development-backwardness may serve as the criteria to judge the positivity or the negativity of an ideology.
We may also adopt the criteria of power, domination, freedom, democracy... to study ideology as Karl Marx and Karl Mannheim have done . As we have discussed Marx's concept of ideology and Mannheim's elaboration of a sociology of knowledge based on ideology, the criteria of power, domination, freedom... are of an undeniable importance to understand our present ideology. One can formulate ideology as a system of power which seeks to rally force to defend the interests of a community, to support its members, to further their growth. Such an ideology is the positive one. The same ideology could become negative when it seeks, instead of self-maintains force, domination. The negative ideology does not aim at the community but at the power as such. It tries to dominate the community, and as such, it negates the freedom and the development of the individual. It expands its power to other areas of human life and mobilizes all human activities. Its expansionism results in modern forms of ideology such as imperialism, colonialism, communism, etc. Consequently, any social system or social structure of rigid character, any coercive, manipulative apparatus and method such as indoctrinary education, fascism, militarism... would fall in the category of negative ideology.
We may judge ideology from its dialectical nature. The dialectics of ideology is implicit in human history: The history of human development , and the history of intellectual growth. If in history, our ideas are enriched by means of "Aufhebung", i.e. a process of abrogation (negation), preservation and elevation of our concrete experiences (Hegel, Phenomenology of Spirit, 1807 and Popper, "What is Dialectic?" in Conjectures and Refutations, 1951), then in the intellectual development, we learn mistakes (Popper). The dialectic movement of history requires first an affirmation, the n a negation and finally a new synthesis of our experiences. Each moment is represented by certain ideas, while each historical moment is represented by a certain ideology. That means, each ideology is both positive and negative. It is positive in the moment of affirmation (thesis), while negative in the second movement of negation (antithesis). In the first moment, it is correct because it represents the commonality of a historical period (Hegel), a historical class (Marx). In the second phase, it becomes incorrect due to the change of reality and hence the change of history. It degrades into a kind of false consciousness (Marx), reactionary force (Lenin).
This short and sketchy description of ideology is of course insufficient in many aspects for a certain number of reasons: First, ideology is in changing too. The genetical process of ideology bears a remarkable ressemblance to the birth of idea, though, much complexer and richer. Like idea, it represents not only the view of an individual, a class, but also of a word, a history and even of human fate (as seen in Nietzche's amor fati, or in Messianism). However, unlike idea, ideology manifestes its power only if it is taken by a society, a class, or at least a strong individual (leader). Thus, the question of power, and its manifestative form, the way of acquiring power, the relationship between power and social structure must be investigated. Mannheim has done an excellent work in his Ideology and Utopia, that we do not need to repeat. Second, the progressive aspect of ideology is not yet explored. The work of Bloch and Ricoeur have shed some light on it, but like the Freudian Libido, this aspect shoul be given a more important place. Utopia is not simply a dream, an unecessary and toxical opium but a kind expressing human desire for a positive ideology. It may be the force behind human progress.
Thus, unlike Marx, we never claim, that we have to reject all kinds of ideology, or we have to build an absolute ideology, the kind of communism dreamed by Marx himself. Such an ideology is easily shattered by the Prague invasion (1968), earlier by the Budapest tragedy (1956), and recently by the Tien-An Men massacre(1989). Our point is, ideology has a role to play if it reflects reality, if it could defend the common interests, and if it could further human progress. In a word, ideology is positive if it is effective (valuable). Otherwise, it is destined to be rejected and replaced by a new one. Thus, we acknowledge the existence of a positive ideology, though we are aware of the fact that most ideologies fall into the second category, i.e. the negative one. However, we will not suggest a total abandonment of all ideologies. It is naive and irresponsible to break down Confucianism, or whatever and throw it away as the member of the May-fourth Movement or the Cultural Revolution did. We urge the authorities to revise and upgrade (in a dialectical way) our present ideology but not to destroy it. Any ideology was the expression of a historical moment which may still have impact on our present condition. This is true with regard to our culture in general and with morality in particular.
John B. Tran Van Doan, Professor of National Taiwan University, Taiwan
Last Updated May 26,1997 by Steven Proulx