discuss the levels of alienation and the question of whether people are alienated if they cannot perceive it.

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I have felt alienated by work many times, which gives me a kind of practical experience on the essay title. I have divided my essay into two parts. In the first one I present my main points i.e. the ways in which and the extent to which work is alienating and illustrate them with examples. In the second and more evaluative part I discuss the levels of alienation and the question of whether people are alienated if they cannot perceive it.

By alienation is meant that a person experiences estranged from him. He does not feel as the creator or master of his own acts but instead his acts and their consequences have become his masters. To put the same in Karl Marx's words man's "own act becomes to him an alien power, standing over and against him, instead of being ruled by him". The meaning of the term "alienation" has been studied by other authors as well e.g. R.Blauner and Feuerbach...They take slightly different views to the term: socio-psychological and philosophical respectively. Since I do not think they contradict the definition given above I will not present them here. Work, being a quintessential part of human existence, is very important to mankind. Since the Industrial Revolution in the 18th century the nature of work has changed dramatically. Along with it came factory work with high degrees of discipline and supervision, time consciousness and the division of labour. Before, a worker e.g. paltry -farmer could do his job, from raising the chickens to selling them, as he pleased without having to adapt to rules concerning strict working methods and hours. Marx saw the capitalist mode of production as the central cause of alienation. I agree with him in so far that it is most easily perceptible and most total in capitalist societies but I do not believe it can be restricted to capitalism alone. I will return to this point later in my essay.

The division of labour and automation are the means to a more effective production. In practice this means that workers produce only a fraction of any given good. For example an employee of a company making cars does not construct the whole car but is responsible for attaching the seat belts. His fellow workers and the machines build the rest of the car. The product belongs to the worker neither while processing it nor when it is ready. They might not even know what it is that they are producing. Going back to my paltry-farmer example, the breeder would know what he was working for, with whom he was working, to whom he might sell the product he owned (if not used by himself) and why somebody might want to buy from him. The farmer was in close connection with his product and act of production, his labour. Today, work that once used to be "the end as well as the means of achieving an enriching and fulfilled life"...has lost it's meaning and simply become the means to an end i.e. earning money. If a person 'loses contact' with his product and the act of production and cannot see any other meaning for his work than getting paid he becomes alienated. He is no longer the master of his work or product but the consequence of working, money, becomes his driving force.

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Alienation from the product and the productive activity affects consumption. We are surrounded by unbelievable amounts of things whose nature and origin we know anything. We consume the same way we produce, without any concrete connection to the products with which we are dealing. We have got used to the fact that whenever we need something, we just go out and buy it. Most of the time we do not know how e.g. the clothes we buy are made and how much labour was needed in making them. It is easy to fall to a fallacy that goods and services ...

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