Louis Althusser Quotes

From: http://www.azquotes.com/author/319-Louis_Althusser

“Philosophy is, in the last instance, class struggle in the field of theory.”

“Ideology represents the imaginary relationship of individuals to their real conditions of existence.”

“Ideology has very little to do with ‘consciousness’ – it is profoundly unconscious.”

“What seems to take place outside ideology (to be precise, in the street), in reality takes place in ideology. What really takes place in ideology seems therefore to take place outside it. That is why those who are in ideology believe themselves by definition outside ideology: one of the effects of ideology is the practical denegation of the ideological character of ideology by ideology: ideology never says, ‘I am ideological.'”

“Ideology… is indispensable in any society if men are to be formed, transformed and equipped to respond to the demands of their conditions of existence.”

“To philosophize with open eyes is to philosophize in the dark. Only the blind can look straight at the sun.”

“In the battle that is philosophy all the techniques of war, including looting and camouflage, are permissible.”

“What art makes us see, and therefore gives to us in the form of ‘seeing’, ‘perceiving’ and ‘feeling’ (which is not the form of knowing,) is the ideology from which it is born, in which it bathes, from which it detaches itself as art, and which it alludes.”

“The rejection of all abstract formalism. Materialism reminds every science of its real source: the world men transform. No science can, whether in its history or its object, grasp its own origins within itself or constitute itself as a closed world, exhaustively defined by internal rules. Materialism refers every science and every activity to the reality they depend on, even if this dependence is masked by a great many abstract mediations: mathematics as well as logic, aesthetics as well as ethics and politics.”

“The ultimate condition of production is therefore the reproduction of the conditions of production.”

“If someone asks, ‘But what in the end is a philosopher?’ I would say ‘A philosopher is a human being who fights in theory.’”

“Relations of production are first reproduced by the materiality of the processes of production and circulation. But it should not be forgotten that ideological relations are immediately present in these same processes.”

“The economic class struggle is a struggle against inessanlty intensified exploitation: not only against the brutal material form of exploitation, capitalism’s tendency to reduce wages, and against the class ‘techniques’ for increasing productivity… but also around the question of the technical-social division of labor that prevails om enterprises, and against bourgeois ideology and repression.”

“However much an ideologue tries to bury [Lenin] beneath a proof by historical analysis, there is always this one man standing their on the plain of History and of our lives, in the eternal ‘current situation.’ He goes on talking, calmly or passionately. He goes on talking about something simple: his revolutionary practice, the practice of class struggle, about what makes it possible to act on history…not to demonstrate that revolutions are inevitable, but to make them in our unique present.”

“It is characteristic of ideology to impose self-evident facts as self-evident facts.”

“One of the goals of philosophy is wage theoretical battle. That is why we can say that every thesis is always, by its very nature, an antithesis. A thesis is only ever put forward in opposition to another thesis, or in defence of a new one.”

“Occasionally, the whole class struggle may be summed up in the struggle for one word against another word. Certain words struggle amongst themselves as enemies. Other words are the site of an ambiguity: the stake in a decisive but undecided battle.”

“Without claiming to be exhaustive, I maintain that every philosophy reproduces within itself, in one way or another, the conflict in which it finds itself compromised and caught up in the outside world.”