Human Beings

by cominsitu


Human beings become individuals only through the process of history. He appears originally as a species-being [Gattungswesen], clan being, herd animal – although in no way whatever as a ζῶον πολιτιϰόν in the political sense. Exchange itself is a chief means of this individuation [Vereinzelung]. It makes the herd-like existence superfluous and dissolves it. Soon the matter [has] turned in such a way that as an individual he relates himself only to himself, while the means with which he posits himself as individual have become the making of his generality and commonness. In this community, the objective being of the individual as proprietor, say proprietor of land, is presupposed, and presupposed moreover under certain conditions which chain him to the community, or rather form a link in his chain. In bourgeois society, the worker e.g. stands there purely without objectivity, subjectively; but the thing which stands opposite him has now become the true community [Gemeinwesen], which he tries to make a meal of, and which makes a meal of him.

– Marx, Grundrisse