Ideology and Totalitarianism

by Dilip Simeon, 2014

NB: this piece deserves attention by anyone interested into the the state of the present. t.a.

Ideology as a law of motion
Ideology means the logic of an idea. The dictionary defines it as a system of ideas
pertaining especially to political or economic systems, and lays stress on the tendency of
ideologies ‘to justify actions and be maintained irrespective of events.’ Ideologies also
tend to carry an attachment to absolute truth, for which another term could be certainty.
The Marxist use of the term associates it with ‘false consciousness’ – which raises the
question of how we may distinguish false from true consciousness. The term ideology
itself dates from the time of the French revolution, which is also approximately the time
that marks the advent of modern partisan politics. Ideologies must not be conflated with
theories – which are contemplations of reality. An ideology may stand by this or that
theory, but will always contain an element of faith as well. Ideologies tend to use a single
concept or set of ideas to explain the past in its entirety, and lay down a blueprint for the
future, along with instructions on how to get there. They are futuristically oriented, but
with a strong component of belief. Insofar as an ideology tends to negate the present, it
acquires a nihilist colour. Nihilism has been summed up by one philosopher as ‘an
attempt to overcome or to repudiate the past on behalf of an unknown and unknowable
yet hoped-for future.’5 Nihilist attitudes and ideas demolish the ethical fabric of the
present and enable its practitioners to suspend ordinary morality for the sake of a foretold
bright new dawn that never arrives.6

Read the complete essay:

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

ˆ Back To Top