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Utopia and Marxism in Ernst Bloch Author(s): Douglas Kellner and Harry O'Hara Source: New German Critique,

No. 9 (Autumn, 1976), pp. 11-34 Published by: New German Critique Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/487686 . Accessed: 02/09/2013 10:42
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in Ernst Bloch Utopiaand Marxism


byDouglas Kellnerand HarryO'Hara
in the Summerof 1975 and was ErnstBloch celebratedhis 90thbirthday as "one of the mostimportant acclaimedthroughout of Europe philosophers in our epoch."I He was awarded honorarydegrees fromthe Universities Paris, Prague and Tiibingen, and receivedglowingeulogies in the mass fora self-proclaimed Marxist commemoration media. This widespread by a one as surofsources theideologicalspectrum mightstrike variety spanning of Bloch's work. is the wildly variantinterpretations prising.More startling On the Left, he was appraised an "exemplaryMarxist," 2 the "German A New LeftFestschrift forBloch in oftheOctoberRevolution."3 philosopher claimed: "Fromno otherMarxist theoretician can one learn bluntly Germany so much as fromErnstBloch."4 In Der Spiegel, GershomScholemsaid of a masterwho has old has become a blind visionary, Bloch: "theninety-year withthedragonsthathe has waged forforty thefight survived yearsand has of an 'old man' as definition becomea wiseman in thesenseof theoldJewish of his latestworkdescribes one who 'has conqueredwisdom'."5A reviewer as one of the and Bloch was acclaimed by theologians him as a "mystic,"6 of A recent influences on thefashionable foremost theology hope. biographer and thethreepoles of Marxism,mysticism, of Bloch claimed: "It is between of thephilosopher ErnstBloch has taken Karl May thatthelifeand thought a colFestschrift Presscontains put out by Suhrkamp place."7 An important lection of reviewsof Bloch's major works and personal testimonies by who call HermannHesse,WalterBenjamin,Siegfried Kracauer, and others to the astonishing rangeof Bloch'swork.8Hans Mayersummedup attentiotn aestheBloch as philosopher, the conflicting by describing interpretations with is saturated theorist whose ticianand political experienced "philosophy
1. See Rolf Denker'sdiscussionin Erperinger Zeitung,Tuesday,July8, 1975. 2. Der Spiegel, No. 30 (1975), 11. aus Ungleichzeitigkeit und das Problemder Propaganda," in Es 3. Oskar Negt,"Erbschaft muss nicht immerMarmorsein (Berlin, 1975), p. 10. 4. JUirgen Petersin Es muss nicht immerMarmorsein, p. 35. 5. Gershom Der Spiegel,No. 28 (1975), Scholem,"WohntGottim HerzeneinesAtheisten?" 110. 6. Carl Dahlhaus, "PhilosophieUnterwegs," Die Zeit, No. 28 (1975), 26. 7. ErhardBahr, ErnstBloch (Berlin,1974). Karl May was a popularstory tellerof the 19th century. 8. ErnstBlochs Wirkung. zum 90. Geburtstag am Main, 1975). Ein Arbeitsbuch (Frankfurt

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12 NEW GERMAN CRITIQUE

history and historical experience."9 Born in 1885 in Ludwigshafen, Bloch's life and work has spanned the 20th century. He has deeply experienced its major events and appropriated (and attacked!) its culture. Already in school he was introduced to socialist literature and studied philosophy, philology, music, and physics in Munich and Wurzburg, writing a philosophy dissertation on Heinrich Rickert.10 Bloch tellshow his father,an officialwith the Bavarian railroad, opposed his study of philosophy until one day when on vacation, Bloch discovered, and showed his father, a mausoleum on which there was a sign: "Here lies Friedrich August Wilhelm Schelling." And beneath: "Dedicated to his honored teacher in loyalty and with eternal gratitude: Maximilian, King of Bavaria." Bloch's fatherwas impressed and saw that even such a "breadless discipline as philosophy"mightpay offand even win one honor. Hence Bloch was allowed to study philosophy and says he was eternally grateful to Schelling! 11 Bloch moved to Heidelberg before the firstWorld War and began his stormyfriendshipwith Georg Lukics. Both participated in the circle around Max Weber. Bloch recalls withhorrorthe day when the war broke out in 1914 and Max Weber appeared in his officer'suniform. The young pacifist Bloch went into exile in Switzerland where he wrote his firstgreat work Spirit of Utopia. During the 1920's Bloch became increasinglysympathetic to communism and participated in the heated Weimar discussions of politics, art, and philosophy. Bloch was immersed in avant-garde art, and was a staunch defender of expressionism.He was an early enthusiast for the Russian Revolution and an early opponent of fascism. When the Nazis came to power Bloch was on the top of the list of intellectuals Hitler wanted out of the way, and in 1933 he emigrated to Zi*rich, Paris, Vienna, Prague, and then the United States. There he began work on his greatest book The Principle of Hope which ends: "Once man has comprehended himselfand has established his own domain in real democracy, without depersonalization and alienation, something arises in the world which all men have glimpsed in childhood: a place and a state in which no one has yet been. And the name of this something is home (Heimat)."12 In 1948 Bloch returnedto Germany and hoped to help constructsocialism
9. Hans Mayer, "Drei Schwierigkeiten mit Ernst Bloch" in FrankfurterAllgemeine Zeitung, Saturday, May 17, 1975. 10. For a discussion of Rickert and the philosophical milieu in which Bloch was then immersed, see Andrew Arato's article, "The Neo-Idealist Defense of Subjectivity," Telos, 21 (Fall, 1974). 11. Cited in Denker, p. 10. 12. Ernst Bloch, "Karl Marx and Humanity" from the Principle of Hope translated in On Karl Marx (New York, 1971), pp. 44-5.

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in theGDR. He was namedprofessor ofthehistory ofphilosophy and director in Leipzig.Bloch'sbookswerepublishedand he Institute ofthePhilosophical and his studentsedited a philosophyjournal, Deutsche Zeitschrift fiir In 1955 forhis 70thbirthday, Bloch receivedthe nationalprize Philosophie. and special honorsfromthe SED. But onlytwo of the GDR, a Festschrift, in theGDR, Poland, and Hungary, Bloch unrest and revolts after later, years in was hands of the philosophy the was forcedintoretirement, journal put and was no longeraccessibleto Blochians(the former Marxists "orthodox" and an anti-Festschrift Harich,was imprisoned), editor,hisfriend Wolfgang was publishedin 1957, "Blochs Revisiondes Marxismus."Things became worseforthe Blochs: his workwas no longerpublishedand he increasingly was not allowedto teach; hiswife out of Carola lostherjob and was thrown Bloch was speakingin West Germany a 25 yearmembership. thepartyafter in 1961 whentheBerlinWall was put up, and the Blochsdecided to stayin in Ttibingen. a professorship whereErnstwas offered West Germany, ofWest in the Socratic his became third Fromthenon, Bloch, exile, Gadfly in the student the activities of protesting opposition, Germany, participating laws," the law againstthe atomicbomb, the Vietnamwar, the "emergency thatforbaderadicalsto servein government jobs, and so on. Bloch totally to and the appeared on television frequently groups supported oppositional incredible an the He and the bourgeoisie. published castigate government honor. about every ofbooksand received number and variety possibleliterary Marxist radical of an Hence, thecontradictory rising outspoken phenomena to the tip of the culturalsuperstructure throughhis publications. Bloch's work is of major importancefor radical social theoryand the or "critical" Marxism.In thisessay ofwhathe calls a "creative" development of theontology ofhis humanistic our focuswillbe on thethemes historicism, ofhope, concrete his concepts thenot-yet, utopia, thenovumand hisunique to showhow his work of Marxism.Above all, we shall be concerned version of revolution and socialism.It theMarxianconcepts to enriching contributes We is necessary. of Ernst Bloch'sthought thata reevaluation is our conviction in some sort or a mediator a revisionist, need to see Bloch notas a romantic, forradical social ofChristian-Marxist dialogue. Rather,Bloch's significance or a need in to revitalize Marxism lies the against theory practicewhich theory as or dealingwiththe future, from alternatives refrains positing purposively sortof dogmatic economistic well as againsta mechanical,non-dialectical, in such thinkers as Korsch, Lukacs, and Marxism.The revivalof interest of as a theory Marxism toward has provided Gramsci reconstructing impetus to this and we believethatBloch has muchto offer and revolution liberation project.

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willbe on Bloch'sphilosophy and theory ofrevolution and noton Our focus There is a his complex,oftentortuous politicaldevelopment. strangeand between Bloch's often and that philosophy politics contradictory relationship can only be adequately developed in a detailed historical-theoretical and political in thecontext ofBloch'sphilosophical of reconstruction writings withhistory. It is well knownthataftera period of youthful his interaction romanticism Bloch stoodpolitically close to the positionof the revolutionary of the Soviet the 1920'sto the 1950's,and was a staunchsupporter CP from defender Union and sometimes of Stalinism.13 He thenbecame a criticof and SovietMarxismforwhichhe was harshly criticized and then Stalinism in the GDR. Afteremigrating to the BRD, he has firmly ostracized totally withtheforces ofdemocratic and libertarian and has allied himself socialism, dedicated a recent book to the memoryof Rosa Luxemburg. What is surprisingis that Bloch's philosophical position has remained rather while his politicshave oftendramatically consistent, changed. One might who modified Bloch's theoretical with his Lukacs, rarely compare constancy his to fit theoretical and who often changingpolitical position, position his radical and brilliantphilosophical to the partyline. sacrificed positions Bloch,on theother hand,neverabandonedhis libertarian-utopian socialism, his Hegelian Marxism,or his attemptto develop creatively the Marxian to nourishrevolutionary consciousness. It is thistheoretical core philosophy of Bloch's workthat we shall attemptto capture in this paper. 1. History and Revolution The startingpoint of Bloch's theoryof revolutionis his humanistic historicism. For Bloch history is a struggle which against those conditions the human being fromattaining in non-alienating, self-realization prevent non-alienatedrelationships with itself,nature, and other people. Bloch itstelos,whichis, as constantly arguesthatMarxist theory oughtnotto forget
13. Oskar Negt discusses Bloch'spoliticsin "ErnstBloch-The GermanPhilosopher of the OctoberRevolution," New GermanCritique,4 (Winter,1975), and explainsBloch's Stalinism intelligentsia" (p. 6). It has been argued that Bloch's politics and philosophyare simply For example, StephenBronnercites the "disparity betweenBloch's theory contradictory. and actual praxis,"suggesting that Bloch's "laudation of the 'new,' the aestheticand historical " is responsible fora rejection ofmundanepoliticalrealities ofthepresent. 'interruption' Stephen Bronner, and Tradition,"MinnesotaReview,NS6 (Spring,1976), "Revolutionary Anticipation 93-5. It is perhapsmoreaccurateto suggest thatsometimes thereis a disparity betweenBloch's and politics but thattherehas often philosophy (i.e., duringtheperiodof his ultra-Bolshevism), been a quite consistent betweenhis theory and politics(i.e., his earlyperiodand the two unity decades).
rather problematically in termsof "the identitycrisis and strong reality needs of the revolutionary

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Marx puts it in the 1844 Economic-Philosophic Manuscripts: "the naturalization of man and the humanization of nature."l4 Bloch comments: "Naturalization of man--that would mean his incorporation into the community,his final this-worldly awakening, so that, freefromall alienation, we could reallycontrol our hic et nunc. Humanization of nature - that would mean the opening-up of the cosmos, still closed to itself,to be our Home; the Home once expressed in the mystical fantasy of new heaven and new earth, and echoing on throughthe beauty and quality of nature as these have found expression in painting and poetry, with the great leap out of the realm of necessitydrawing ever closer to man. Not to mention that out-and-out qualitative, all-shattering horizon of apocalypsis cum figuris kept open not in antiquity but in the Christianityof Diirer's day, at least in the realm of fantasy."Is Our focus in this paper will be on what Bloch, following Marx, calls "the development of the wealth of human nature," its enrichment and fulfillment.16 Bloch finds prefigurationsof a liberated and non-alienated condition in humanity'srecords of its hopes, dreams and strugglesfor a better world. The human being has incarnated its quest for an enriched humanity in its great artworks, philosophies, religions, and mythologies. No philosopher since Hegel has explored in such detail and with such penetration the cultural tradition,which forBloch contains untapped emancipatory potential. One of Bloch's great contributionsto Marxism is the restorationof a cultural heritage that is often neglected or dismissed as mere ideology by many Marxists. Critique of ideology, Bloch argues, is not merely unmasking (Entlarvung) or de-mystification, but is also uncovering and discovery: revelations of unrealized dreams, lost possibilities, abortive hopes-that can be resurrected and enlivened and realized in our current situation. As Habermas dramaticallyputs it: "What Bloch wants to preserve for socialism, which subsistson scorning tradition, is the tradition of the scorned. In contrast to the unhistorical procedure of Feuerbach's criticismof ideology, which deprived Hegel's 'sublation' (Aufhebung) of half of its meaning (forgettingelevare and being satisfiedwith tollere), Bloch presses the ideologies to yield their ideas to him; he wants to save that which is true in false consciousness: 'All great culture that existed hitherto has been the foreshadowing of an achievement,
Collected 14. Karl Marx, Economic and PhilosophicManuscripts of 1844 in Marx-Engels Works,Vol. 3 (New York, 1975), p. 298. 15. ErnstBloch, Atheismin Christianity (New York, 1971), p. 271. of the Blochian 16. ErnstBloch, On Karl Marx (New York, 1971), p. 44f. For a discussion theme of the "humanizationof nature," see JilrgenHabermas, "Ernst Bloch--A marxist Romantic," Salmagundi, No. 10-11, (Fall 1969-Winter 1970), 633-654. See also Alfred Schmidt,Marx's Concept of Nature (London, 1971), pp. 156-62.

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inasmuch as images and thoughtscan be projected fromthe ages' summitinto the far horizon of the future.' Even the critique of religion.., .is given a newold interpretation.God is dead, but his locus has survivedhim. The place into which mankind has imagined God and the gods, after the decay of these hypotheses, remains a hollow space. The measurements-in-depth of this vacuum, indeed atheism finally understood, sketch out the blueprint of a future kingdom of freedom."17 Bloch urges us to grasp the three dimensions of our temporality: he offers us a dialectical analysis of the past which illuminates the present and can direct us to a betterfuture. The past--what has been--contains both the sufferings, tragedies and failuresof humanity-what to avoid and redeemand its unrealized hopes and potentials-what could have been. Crucial is Bloch's claim that what could have been can still be: for Bloch, historyis a repository of possibilities that are living options for future action. The present, for Bloch, is characterized by latency and tendency: the unrealized potentialitiesthat are latent in the present, and the signs and foreshadowings that indicate the tendencyof the direction and movement of the present into the future. This three-dimensional temporality must be grasped and activated by an anticipatory consciousness that at once perceives the unrealized emancipatory potential in the past, the latencies and tendencies of the present, and the realizable hopes of the future. Above all, Bloch's is a philosophy of hope and the future, a dreaming forward, a projection of a vision of a futurekingdom of freedom. It is his conviction that only when we project our futurein the light of what is, what has been, and what could be can we engage in the creativepractice that will produce the world we all want and realize humanity's deepest hopes and dreams. No Marxist has more convincingly demonstrated the importance of philosophy,18 art, and religion for revolutionarypractice. Bloch finds a red path weaving through history,revoltingagainst alienation, exploitation and fora betterworld. He findsa seriesof red arrowsin our oppression, struggling cultural tradition pointing toward and anticipating Marxism and socialism. In his first great work Spirit of Utopia (1918, 1923) Bloch investigatesmusic, art, and religion to discover the higher potentialities that will fill the emptinessand dispell the despair and pessimism of the present. This strange,
17. Jilrgen Habermas, op. cit., pp. 634-5. See Frederic Jameson's discussion of Bloch's "hermeneutic method" of deciphering the cultural tradition in Marxism and Form (Princeton, 1971), pp. 116ff. 18. For a helpful discussion of Bloch's contribution to clarifyingthe problematic relationship between Marxism and philosophy see David Gross's article, "Marxism and Utopia" in Towards a New Marxism (St. Louis, 1973).

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romanticism" is burning withthehope fiery, baroque bookof "revolutionary fora better ofa bitter future. Bloch describes forthetranscendence it present und Drangbook,contrawar,brewedwithagitation... a nos ipse as a "Sturm The book first workof an alreadybegunutopianphilosophy."19 constructed with is overflowing revolutionary passionand a unique "revolutionary gnosis" that sees historyinexorablyon its way to socialist revolutiondespite setbacks:"War breaksout, revolution beginsand withit the contemporary doors are open. Althoughto be sure, they have soon closed themselves to be opened again and knows again."20Bloch wantsthedoorsof revolution thiscan happen onlyif the actorsin the revolutionary processare activated desireforsocialism.Realizingsocialismrequiresthe will to witha yearning practice revolutionary practiceand a clearsenseof thegoal whichwillinfuse The problemis: "I eat withtherequisite revolutionary passionand foresight. bread and I singsongs... But we have no socialist concept.We have become if the then the state is our God, the warm not than animals; belly, poorer have to We else sunk fun and has longingshortsighted everything games. and as itsfailures no breadth, no vistas, butlittle clarify, activity, knowledge, whichwe anticipatecrossing no end-goal,no innerthreshold over,no core, Bloch's conscience of thegeneral(Ueberhaupt)."21 and no gathered together of the thatwill developconsciousness workis conceivedas a newbeginning in is rooted which finalgoal ofrevolutionary every person's goal struggle--a dreamsand embodiedin the greatworksof art, in music,in religion,and above all in revolutionary struggle. Over the ensuing decades, Bloch and continuously meditatedon history's revolutionary deepenedhis inquiry in Das expression potential.His workfindsitsmostcompleteand powerful of into the over of excursion 1500 concept hope, pages PrinzipHoffnung, utopia, phantasy,and dreams of a better world.22The riches in this thispaper. encyclopediaof hope will be drawnupon throughout the Geist der After Bloch'scorpusis utterly Utopie,he publisheda unique. brilliantstudyof Thomas Miinzer als Theologe der Revolutionin 1921,
19. ErnstBloch, Geistder Utopie(Frankfurt am Main, 1974), p. 347 (translations of the German by Douglas Kellner). 20. Ibid., p. 11. 21. Bloch, Geist der Utopie, pp. 10-12. 22. ErnstBloch, Das PrinzipHoffnung, threevolumes, am Main, 1973). In his (Frankfurt "smallday dreams"in Part I; the"anticipatory consciousness" magnusopus he investigates and of wish-images" utopia in Part II; "the reflection (display,fashion,fairytales, travel,film, in Part III; "theoutlines of a better world"in social utopias,technology, theater) architecture, and leisurein Part IV; and "wishimages of the fulfilled painting,opera, poetry, philosophy moment"- an investigation ofmorality, music,death,religion, nature,and the highest good in Part V.

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und menschliche and in 1961 publishedNaturrecht a Hoffnung, Wfirde,

followed by three collections of essays, philosophical vignettes,and critiques of the present age (Durch die Wisste, 1923; Spuren, 1930; and Erbschaft dieser Zeit, 1936). These fascinatingbooks disclose an utterlyoriginal thinker and stylistwho has created his own genres and mode of expression. After a long period of exile, Bloch published his study of Hegel, Subjekt-Objekt in 1951, the conclusion of which, "Dialectic and Hope," is translated in thisissue of NGC. From 1954-9, Bloch published the three volumes of Das Prinzip

studyof natural law theoriesand the heritage of the bourgeois revolution and its importance for socialism. In 1962-4 he published Tiibinger Einleitung in die Philosophie, a concise and accessible summary of his philosophical stance.23 In 1968 he summed up his philosophy of religion in Atheismus im Christentum,24 and brought together his meditations on the history of (1975). Bloch's aesthetic essayswere collected in Verfremdungen (1962-4) and in Philosophie des Vorscheins (1974). His political essays were collected in

in Das Materialismusproblem Mundi (1972) and Experimentum philosophy Politische (1970) and VomHazard zurKatastrophe (1972).25Two Messungen

volumes of selections from Bloch's main works have been translated into English: Man on His Own (New York: 1970) which featuresBloch's writings on the philosophy of religion and messianic socialism; and On Karl Marx (New York: 1971) which records his encounters with Marxism. Although Bloch has produced an astounding variety of works (sixteen volumes in the Suhrkamp Collected Works edition) over seven decades of productive activitythat responds to a changing historical situation, there is a strikingcontinuityin his works that reveals a relativelystable set of themes, concepts, and emphases unified in a theoretical frameworkthat informshis work fromthe beginning to the present. It is our view that Bloch's important contributionto Marxist theoryis found in his continual infusingof Marxism with its telos: its theoryof revolution and drive toward concrete utopia. It is precisely this theme which has been most misunderstood by his "sympathizers"such as the "hope theologians" and most violentlyattacked by his "opponents" in the GDR and elsewhere who flail Bloch's "revisionism." Both groups see Bloch as somehow spiritualizing or "mystifying" Marxism, largely because Bloch doesn't dismiss religion as mere delusion and "bourgeois philosophy" as mere ideology. Both groups fail to see the
23. The first volumeofthiswork was translated and publishedbySeabury Cumming byJohn Press as A Philosophy of the Future (New York, 1970). 24. Publishedin a truncated whichinfuriated version Bloch bySeaburyPressas Atheism in Christianity. 25. See OskarNegt'sintroduction to Bloch'spoliticalwritings and a translation ofBloch's"A Jubileefor Renegades" in New German Critique,4 (Winter, 1975).

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of Bloch'sworks whichsacrifices againstanyMarxist theory polemicalthrust of total social-economicthe mostradical demandsof Marxismas a theory human transformation. Against both his orthodox Marxist critics and and works we wishto showthatall of Bloch'sconcepts theological champions are infusedwith political contentand are directed toward revolutionary the relationin Bloch's thought between practice.This will requiregrasping and seeing how religion,philosophy, and art can utopia and revolution for to practiceby helpingto produce the subjectiveconditions contribute revolution and outliningthe revolutionary goal. 2. Religion,Art,and Utopia warnsof "the pervasive Oskar Negt rightly theologicalmisuseof Bloch's of Bloch has been to canonizehim as a The treatment thought."26 theological in movement A called the theology a Marxist-Christian dialogue. spokesman of hope claims Bloch as one of its own. It is perhaps indicativeof the ofAmerican thatvarioustheologians by 1968 consciousness(less) philosophers to Bloch long beforehe was discoveredby much attention were devoting book of his translated into English,Religion im The first philosophers.27 titledMan on His Own (to give Bloch some sort of Erbe, misleadingly is introduced existentialist fashionable flavor?) by such theologicalstarsas Moltmann. In Cox and Jiirgen (Theology-of-Hope) Harvey(Secular-City) as an "Atheistfor Bloch is characterized-caricatured these introductions, God's sake" (p. 28-whatever that meansl). The claim is made that one of a "system cannotpin Bloch downto Marxism(p.20) and thathe presents of move Moltmann's messianism" theoretical viewing interpretative (p. 24). of remindsone of Robert Tucker's distortion Bloch as a religiousthinker of Marx Tucker's moralist. Marx as a myth-making reading religious perverse thinker" is analogousto the theologians' readingof Bloch as a "conciliatory William A. Johnson'sThe Search for betweenMarxismand theology.28 Bloch betweenchapterson R.D. Laing and C.J. sandwiches Transcendence of the Gospel" and a in the service Bloch "is an atheist and claims that Jung 29 of Bloch we distortions these grotesque Against "crypto-Judaeo-Christian." is of the "determinate his that negation" of philosophy religion suggest contentof the human which elevates and Christianity religion (Aufhebung) of it a vision socialist transforms into and utopia. religion
26. Negt, "ErnstBloch--The German Philosopherof the October Revolution,"10. of hope, Vol. 18, No. 3 dedicated to the theology 27. See the issue of Cross Currents (Summer, 1968). 28. See the discussionin Cross Currents, op.cit., p. 267. 29. William A. Johnson,The Searchfor Transcendence (New York, 1964), p. 106, 108.

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toward letus reflect To properly religion uponthe appraiseBloch'sattitude we in which on decisive Marx's was, believe, shaping young position religion of religion. It is important to see thatmuchof Bloch'sdialecticalconception is rootedin the issuesand problemsof the Bloch's philosophical enterprise in the1840s.Someoftheproblems thatBloch addresses are "Left-Hegelians" concernswhichhave been eitherignoredor "forgotten" by Marxistsafter and thecritiques of religion, Marx. Bloch'sconcernwithutopiansocialism, ofthe Hegel, and FeuerbachthatpervadeBloch'sworkparalleltheconcerns young Marx. The polemical thrust and current relevance of Bloch's of the debates of the young Hegelians reacts against (and reworking whofailto grasptheconcrete for)theamnesiaofmanyMarxists compensates locus of Marx's problematic.Moreover,these debates provide important into the conceptof socialismand goals of revolutionary insights practice. Bloch'sattitude is groundedin his takingseriously toward Marx's religion that makes not does make man. "man insight religion, religion Religionis indeedman'sself-consciousness and self-awareness so longas he has notfound himself or has losthimself again. But man is not an abstract being,squatting outside theworld.Man is theworldofman, thestate,thesociety. This state, thissociety, an inverted because world-consciousness, religion, produce they are an inverted is "theexpression ofreal suffering Further, world."o30 religion and also the protestagainst real suffering. Religion is the sigh of the the heartof a heartless creature, world,just as it is the spiritof oppressed It is the opiumof the people."31All too oftenMarxists conditions. spiritless fixupon the"opiumof thepeople" formula and truncate therichdialectical evaluation ofreligion in theearlyMarx. Not Bloch. He continuously citesand discusses thesepassagesand is especially fondof Marx's description of the has tornup the imaginary fromthe flowers critiqueof religion:"Criticism bleak chainbut so thathe chain,notso thatman shallweartheunadorned, willshakeoff thechain to plucktheliving flower."32 The "living flower" is a of The Principleof Hope whereBloch analyzesits expressions leitmotif in and all of which are of For art, Bloch, daydreams, utopias, expressions hope. wheremen struggle which hope is chargedwitha fervor againstconditions immutable. Bloch is in interested the moments where this appear especially fervor into action. is a Bloch's explodes revolutionary Throughout writings fascination withrevolutionaries likeJoachimde Fiore and Thomas Miinzer, both of whom foughtto transform the world to theirvision.
of Law," in Karl Marx, to theCritiqueof Hegel'sPhilosophy 30. Karl Marx,"Contribution Frederick Engels, Collected Works,Vol. 3, p. 175. 31. Ibid. 32. Ibid., p. 176.

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a numberofselections from The volumeMan on His Owncontains Bloch's One works thatgivea good idea ofhiscomplexstancetoward should religion. of Spiritof Utopia33 note that the wild revolutionary-apocalyptic-chiliasm ofreligion as foundin giveswayin thelaterBloch to moresoberevaluations and Atheism in as The Principle Consistent suchworks Christianity. ofHope on work the of Bloch's is his elements revolutionary emphasis throughout in which and a number of he finds embodied heretics Moses, Jesus, religion he sees a conwho opposed the churchand the rulingpowers.Moreover, notion of the of Heaven and the conceptof between the Kingdom gruence and movements who socialism. He believes that great religiousthinkers to realizethevisionofheavenon earth,inexorably fought opposedthestatus force.34Evidently, Bloch's revolutionary quo and were oftena subversive and religious is to convince strategy theologians people thatthe telosof their he wishesto show that religiousconbeliefis reallysocialism.Moreover, and is rootedin humanneedscaused bysuffering and oppression, sciousness in revolutionary in the hope fora better worldthat can findits fulfillment is a productof the human is thatreligion Hence, Bloch'sposition struggle. of in turncan be translated some needs which that its deepest being expresses forms. if freed from and life-negating intoemancipatory oppressive practice for of human is crucial A correct of nature Bloch's theory understanding as a his of sees human revolution. Bloch the being theory grasping such because of not human who become has fully yet species-being as capitalism and Christianity. institutions Bloch, like Marx, believesthatto and revolution is be radical is to go to the rootand thatthe rootof history human self-activity.3s In Bloch's view, the human being is incomplete, whichare laden withunsatisfied needsand unrealizedpotentials unfulfilled, are the repoand religion themotorofhumanself-activity. Art,philosophy, forexpression, hencethey ofneedsand potentialities giveus sitory struggling work is a is be. human and can Bloch's cluesas to whatthe magnificent being to restore to us ourhumanpotential. ofdecoding ourcultural heritage project His concept of the "not yet" militatesagainst the notion of an innate, humanessence,forour specieshas notyetbecomewhatit can be ahistorical At bottom,the human beingis a and thushas notyetrealizeditshumanity.
33. See the mind-boggling selectionfromSpirit of Utopia, "Karl Marx, Death and the in Man on His Own,pp. 31ff. To place this work in thecontext ofBloch'sthought as Apocalypse" a whole, see the 1963 afterword to the Spiritof Utopia wherehe critiquesits "revolutionary romanticism," p. 347. 34. See the selectionfrom The Principleof Hpe, "ChristianSocial Utopias" and "Man's in Man on His Own. IncreasingEntryinto ReligiousMystery," on Marx's"Theses on Feuerbach"in On Karl Marx, pp. 54ff. 35. See Bloch'scommentary

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In a 1975 interviewin Die Zeit, Bloch argues that the problem and a mystery. human being is an "X of determinateness"and an "X of indeterminateness." Further, "We really don't know at all who and what the human being is; we don't even know ifwe are humans in the old sense of the word. I would like to say that we are an experimental expression."36 Bloch proposes an anthropologywhich sees the human adventure as a series of experiments whose outcome is unknown in advance. Like the world (see Bloch's latest work,Experimentum Mundz),37 human lifeis a venture,a series of risks, that is radically open to an indefinite future without a certain conclusion. The essence of the human being (and the world) is firstrevealed at the end, in the final goal in which human potentials are firstrealized. Bloch's use of such paradoxical formulas as "the true is the whole, but the whole is untrue" and "the genesis begins at the end" should be seen in this context. Humanism for Bloch is a historical goal. Bloch maintains a revolutionary humanism that sees the human being firstattaining its goals and realizing its potentialities through a process of revolutionary struggle (as opposed to bourgeois humanism which glorifiesthe human being as it is). For Bloch the human being is "not-yet"because at presentwe are trapped and held back by a set of social-historical conditions and institutions that prevent us from realizing our full potential. The categorical imperative of humanist-revolutionary morality is, Bloch constantly reiterates, hearkening back to the explosive dicta of the young Marx, "to overthrowall conditions in which man is a degraded, enslaved, abandoned, and wretched creature..."38 For Bloch and Marx, the transformationto the free society and liberated humanity involves a project of revolution. Bloch's anthropology is directed toward the "release of the richnessof human nature" that will in the future achieve the fulfillment of the human being: a futurewhich will come about when men and women join together and overthrowthose relations which inhibit and prevent the realization of humanity.39 Bloch's principle of the "not yet" contains a critique of Hegel's identity theory.40 Central to Bloch's philosophical anthropology, philosophy of
36. Interview withErnstBloch, "Das kostumierte Bise," Die Zeit,July4, 1975. 37. GeorgeSteiner offers a review ofExperimentum Mundi and appreciation of Bloch in the TimesLiterary October8, 1975. A moredetailedanalysis is foundin Hans-Dieter Supplement, Bahr's "Theatrum Mundi--Experimentum Mundi" in ErnstBloch's Wirkung. 38. Marx, op.cit., p. 182. Cited in Bloch, "Karl Marx and Humanity,"p. 22. 39. For an amplification of thisthemeand brilliant discussion of Marx'shumanism (which revealsthebankruptcy ofAlthusser's thatMarxismis not a humanism) see "Karl Marx position and Humanity,"pp. 16ff. 40. For a discussion ofHegel'sidentity and its critiquein the hands of the Frankfurt theory

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The history,and metaphysics is the guiding principle of a not-yet-identity. ontological premise underlyingall these aspects of Bloch's work is found in his famous formula "S is not yet P." For example, Bloch maintains, "the proletariat is not yet sublated (aufgehoben), nature is not yet home, the real (Eigentliche) is not yetarticulated reality(pradizierte Wirklichkeit): all this is in process."41 In regard to the human being, "S is not yetP" means we are not yet what we should be, we are not yet fully human. "S," the subject, is the living, existing human being full of dreams, passions, and needs. "P," the predicate, is our unfulfilledand unrealized potential, our possibilities. Bloch has devoted much energyto explicating the logic and ontologyof the not-yet which he has said is the key to the future-orientedthrustof his philosophy: "Marxist philosophy is that philosophy which ultimately relates itself adequately to becoming and to what is still approaching.... Marxist philosophy is a philosophy of the future."42 Bloch's philosophy is a "calling for what is not, building into the blue that lines all edges of the world; this is why we build ourselves into the blue and search for truth and reality where mere factuality vanishes-incipit vita nova."43 Its task is to interpret what-isnot-yet-realizedand to change the world in accordance with what could be. Bloch's project--and the centrality of the concept of the not-yet--has remained consistentfrom its beginning. Already in Spirit of Utopia, Bloch perceived "too much round about us is stillhalting, and ultimatelywe are still in a state of not-yet-being."44In the succeeding decades Bloch continually worked on the logic and ontologyof the not-yetand systematizedhis inquiries in The Principle of Hope. The ontological foundation of his theoryis what he calls "Left Aristotelianism."'45Aristotle's concept of matter as activity and potentialitysuggests an ontological priorityof possibilityover actuality and necessity: reality is conceived as a dynamic process latent with possibility directed toward the realization of its potentialitieswhich provide its telos and entelechia. But all is not fullness and ripeness in this metaphysical scenario, for the not-yetis permeated with a constitutivenot: "The not is the lack of somethingand the flightfromthis lack; hence, it drives toward that which is lacking. With the not drives are modelled in the living being: as drive, need,
School see Martin "The Jay'sThe Dialectical Imagination(Boston, 1973); Susan Buck-Morss's DialecticofT.W. Adorno," Telos, 14 (Winter,1972); and AlfredSchmidt,op.cit., pp. 159ff. 41. ErnstBloch, Subjekt-Objekt. 42. Bloch, Das PrinzipHoffnung, p. 8. 43. Bloch, "Karl Marx, Death, and the Apocalypse,"p. 43. 44. Bloch, Geist der Utopie, p. 59. 45. See ErnstBloch, Avicennaund die Aristotelische Linke fora discussion the concerning followers into what Bloch perceives, on the mode of the dissolution of the splitof Aristotle's tradition. Hegelian school, as a rightand leftAristotelean

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striving,and primarily as hunger."46 For Bloch we are needy, hungering beings who are driven to fill our emptiness, our lacks, our needs, and to appease our hungers: "All other drives are derived from hunger; and hencefortheverylonging turnsupon the desire to find satisfactionin the what and somewhat that accord with it and are outside it. This means that all that lives must tend towards something, or must move and be on its way towards the void satisfiesbeyond itselfthe need something; and that in its restlessness that comes from itself. This kind of want is soon answered, as if there had been no question, no problem. But satisfaction is always transitory; need makes itselffeltagain, and must be considered in advance, above all to ensure its disappearance not merelyas hunger and deficiency,but as a lack of what is most necessary."47 The "not-yet"contains the "not-yetconscious" (noch-nicht-Bewusstes).We have, Bloch believes, an unclear and undefined awareness of our needs and potentialities which are prefigured in our daydreams and desiring. These yearningsstrugglingfor consciousness are present, first,in youth. Youth says Bloch, is driven by a dim presentimentof something ahead, something new, for a somethingbetter. Youth is burningwithenthusiasmsand hopes, striving clearer understandingof itselfand the world. Secondly, the not-yet-conscious reveals itselfin changing times which are "overcharged with the not-yet-conscious," strugglingto throw off old forms of life and to discover new ones. Such ages as late Antiquity, the Renaissance, the age of 18th century revolution,Storm and Stress, and--significantly--our age are pregnant with the new, strivingfor consciousness of the momentous changes occurring, discloses tryingto seize and guide the future. Thirdly, the not-yet-conscious itself in productivity. The artist who creates something new, something unexpected, is guided by an unconscious passion to produce a work which is at first only dimlyconceived, then takes clearer and more concise shape as the creative process reaches fruition.In the young Goethe, Bloch believes, all of these phenomena--youth, changing times, and creativity--appear simultaneously.48 Bloch contrastshis notion of the not-yet-conscious, and the anthropology he builds on this notion, with Freud's concept of the "no-longer-conscious" and Freud's theory of the primacy of sexual drives and their psychic

46. Ernst Bloch, 1961 lecture "Zur Ontologie des Noch-Nichts-Seins" in Ernst Bloch: Auswahlaus seinen Schriften am Main, 1967), p. 42. (Frankfurt 47. Bloch, A Philosophy of the Future,p. 3. 48. See Das PrinzipHoffnung, section 15. A briefsummaryis contained in "Man as in Cross Currents, Possibility," op.cit., p. 281.

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repression.49Bloch argues that wishesfunctionmore visiblyand openly in our daydreams than in the night dreams which Freud focused on. For Freud, what is interesting about daydreams is that "a great number of human beings create fantasies at times as long as they live,"so but nonetheless, most adults are ashamed and secretive about their daydreams. Yet, despite this to their daydreams to the extent that embarrassment,people hold on tightly one "would rather confess all his misdeeds than tell his daydreams."5s Beneath the differences there are importantsimilaritiesbetween Freud and Bloch. For both thinkers, daydreaming and fantasy are integral parts of human personality. Like Freud, Bloch understands that wishes play an importantrole in influencingthe way we see (and construct) our world, as we fill our lives with beliefs, illusions, dreams, and delusions. For both thinkers, the root of our desires and illusions is the human situation, our needs and hungering(see Freud's derivationof the need for religion in The Future of an Illusion). For Bloch, one of the marvels of human life is the capacity to fill life with "utopian projections, mirrored ideals, dream-manufactures, even under socio-economic relations of brutal exploiand travel-pictures,"52 tation. A key to understanding oppression and liberation is thus to be found in the examination of dreams and fantasies. Dreams are significantfor Bloch in that theyexpress human needs and wishes despite all repressionin a given society, hence they reveal a condition of repression and the need to overthrow it.53 Dreams thus prefigureand energize the strugglefor liberation and a better life. Dreams manifest yearnings for transcendence and can function as symbols of human freedom and defiance regardless of social circumstances. As Bob Dylan noted, "if my thought-dreamscould be seen, they'd probably put my head in a guillotine."54 For Bloch, dreams are "the firststep to art"55 and are the source of social utopia. Bloch's theory of daydreams, art, and revolution illuminates his position in the so-called expressionism-realismdebate with Lukacs in the 1930s. Expressionism is championed by Bloch as early as Spirit of Utopia for its utopian potential: for its daring to rebel against the given society and its
sections11-14. 49. Das PrinzzpHoffnung, 50. SigmundFreud,"The Relationof the poet to day-dreaming" in Character and Culture (New York, 1963), p. 36. 51. Ibid. 52. Bloch,A Philosophy oftheFuture,p. 88. Sections12 and 13 of thisworkcontainone of the best discussions of Bloch's concept of utopia. of therevolutionary of dissatisfaction, see Bloch's essay"Marx 53. For a discussion potential am Main, 1968). als Denker der Revolution"in Marx und die Revolution(Frankfurt it all back home (New 54. Bob Dylan,"It's all right, ma, I'm onlybleeding"fromBringing York, 1966). 55. Bloch, Das PrinzipHoffnung, p. 106.

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aesthetic and foritscreation of newforms thatembody dreamsof traditions, a better world.Ratherthanmerely what is, reproducing expressionism sought to portray whatis not,thusallowing freereignto fantasy to express itswishes in existing Thus expressionism whichcould notbe fulfilled contained society. of the statusquo, and its workscontaineda forBloch a radical indictment whichBloch saw as revolutionary "dream-content" potential.Expressionism offacts, is not,likerealism, "thesimpleportrayal butofprocesses;it is finally of thatwhichhas not as yetcome into existenceand which the revelation needshimwhowillactualizeit."s6The expressionists' embodied experiments fora newreality thatcontainedforBloch an important yearnings parallel to socialutopias.Further, of the crisis is a symptom of capitalism expressionism and a fractured, Bloch contradictory totality. AgainstLukics, polemicizes: thatoftheinfinitely mediatedtotality is notat all so "PerhapsLukacs'reality, objective; perhaps Lukacs' conceptionof reality still contains classical is also interruption traits;perhapstruereality systematic (Unterbrechung). because Lukacs retains an that is to say closed, Precisely objectivistic, on the occasion of expressionism, conceptionof reality,he consequently, turns artistic to of a world againstevery attempt bringabout the dissolution view(evenshouldthisworldviewitself be capitalistic). he sees Consequently, in but an art which the real nothing subjectivistic ruptures interprets ruptures of the surfaceinterrelations and which attempts to discoverthe new that he equates the experiment of alreadyexistsin the crevices.Consequently, dissolution with the state of decadence."s57 Hence for Bloch expressionist art both mirrorsthe dissolutionof the a striving fora betterworldthat is a radical societyand expresses existing of thisworldand is thussubversive and potentially rejection revolutionary. artistsmay not be fully conscious of their Although the expressionist norperceive thegoal of theirstrivings or effect of theirart, their intentions, works are an embodiment of genuineradical impulsesthatmay be decoded and utilizedfor revolutionary purposes. The not-yet-conscious foundin dreams,changing times,and art is related For Bloch we are to the not-yet-come-into-being (noch-nicht-Gewordenes). with unrealized that our fantasies and dreams seething potentialities ground and propelus to change and self-realization. We are alwaysmore than we are, are alwaysahead of ourselves, currently alwaysdrivenby potentialities whichare stilloutstanding, whichsummonus to action and struggle. This dialecticalfirewithin, our needs, desires,dreams,hopes, burningthrough
56. 57. ErnstBloch, Die Kunst, Schillerzu Sprechen(Frankfurt am Main, 1974), p. 64. ErnstBloch, Erbschaft dieserZeit (Frankfurt am Main, 1973), p. 270.

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the basis of an anthropology of revolution. This and potentialities, provides an important contribution to a activist conceptof the human being offers Marxist theoryof the subjectiveconditionsof revolution.Most Marxist of of changingconsciousness conditions discussions producingthe subjective consciousness: false revolutionfocus on the obstacles to revolutionary consciousness,ideological dissemblance, reactionarytendencies in the not unimportant but it class, etc. This sortof analysisis certainly working to the crucial question: whatmotivates often doesn'taddressitself people to Bloch that our and dreams action? desires, hopes, argues revolutionary if understood are and contain great revolutionary potential they properly that Bloch is clearlynot supporting idle acted upon. It should be stressed or "No been man has satisfied desire by daydreaming escapistfantasizing: ifwhat is wishedis not but enervates alone. Wishingis not onlyineffectual It must be accompanied, too, by a keen willed, and willed resolutely. visionwhichshowsthe will what can be done."'8 far-seeing and potentials and Thus forBlochourdreamsare rootedin our hungerings For Bloch every toward dreameris a containan impetus changeand struggle. The same hopes and desiresthat produce religion potentialrevolutionary. like Thomas Bloch studiesspecificindividuals can producerevolutionaries. to discern whatdrovethemto revolutionary and Karl Marx,and tries Miinzer he inquiresinto the experiences that and conditions action. Moregenerally, is his discussionof can radicalize anyonewho dares to dream. Interesting on the alliance between what radicalizes intellectualsand his reflection which and Marx saw as a key to the (intellectuals) proletariat philosophy The proletariat is radicalizedbybruteneed, hunger,and their revolution.s9 to the "What has brought radical chains.But whatradicalizesintellectuals? red flag thosewho did not, in a sense, need it? Perhaps that sympathetic of the heart (insofaras it existsat all) before such universal movement awakensin some silent suffering. Perhapsthe consciencewhichthismisery membersof the rulingclass while theiractivebusinesspartners pocketthe And perhapsthe thirst forknowledge also helped quite undisturbed. profits in scientific by providing analysisa knifeto lop offthe branch on whicha had been and expectations youngman or woman of solid circumstances sitting.... Hence the least that is needed is a collaborationof feeling, conscience, and above all knowledge,in order to present a socialist in opposition to one'sownpast social being..0.. "0 Here too the consciousness
58. Bloch, "Karl Marx and Humanity,"pp. 16-7. of Right," to the Critiqueof Hegel's Philosophy 59. See Marx's earlyessay"Contribution op.cit. This essay is of inestimableimportancefor Bloch. 60. Bloch, "Karl Marx and Humanity,"pp. 18-9.

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importance of Marx: "this goes to show that the combination of feeling, conscience, and objective insight that so often has caused intellectuals to move to the left makes Marx indispensable. Clearly Marx unadulterated offersa secure paradigm of the red path of the intellect: the model of a humanism that conceives itselfin action."61 Marxism for Bloch is "the heir of whatever was intended by the earlier revolutionarybourgeoisie in respect to human decency."62 Marx's "humanization is the born enemy of dehumanization... True Marxism, in its dynamics of class struggle, and in its substantivegoal is, and must be, humanism and humanitarianism enhanced.,"63 Revolutionary humanism was a central motif in Bloch's thought from the beginning. Marxism for Bloch is revolutionary humanism. In Spirit of Utopia, Bloch writes: "(Marx) is guided simultaneously,so to speak, byJesus with a whip and the Jesus of brotherlylove. Sometimes the conquest of evil may be managed in more quiet fashion, as by the proverbial horseman who simplydidn't see that he was crossing a frozenlake, profoundly and--more in exceptional situations, by the saint who succeeds with the kiss of love, ignoringevil creatively.Yet the rule is still that the soul must accept guilt in order to destroyexisting evil, lest it incur the greater guilt of idyllic withdrawal, of seeming to be good by putting up with wrong. Domination, or power in itself, is evil; but it takes power to counter it. The categorical imperativemust carrya gun whereverand forso long as power can be crushed by no other means; and wherever and for so long as anything diabolical maintains its violent resistance to the (undiscovered) amulet of purity."64 Crucial is Bloch's linking of humanism with socialist revolution and his constant articulation of the goal of socialism with a new human being in a human society. In Spirit of Utopia Bloch portrays the "socialist idea" in quasi-religious terms, but in The Principle of Hope and subsequent work, utopia--and above all concrete utopia--is conceived in terms of socialism: "All utopias or nearly all, despite their feudal or bourgeois commission, predict communal ownership, in brief, have socialism in mind."'65 One of Bloch's major contributions to Marxist theory is his rethinkingthe utopian socialist component of Marxism which he believes can be of value in producing the subjective conditions of revolution. From the Spirit of Utopia to Experimentum Mundi Bloch focuses upon and enriches the concept of utopia. To appreciate the boldness of this move we should recall the scathing attacks of Marx and Engels on the "utopian socialists." Ever since this
61. 62. 63. 64. 65. Ibid., p. 20. Ibid., pp. 21-2. Ibid., p. 21. Bloch, "Karl Marx, Death and the Apocalypse," p. 36. Ernst Bloch, "The University, Marxism, and Philosophy" in On Karl Marx, p. 136.

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have avoided or scornedthe term"utopia." Yet a critique,mostMarxists of utopian speculationin of mostfamouscriticism examination the careful shows that the the Communist Manifesto utopian thinking being attackedis to a disastrous leads them of whose theideas ofcertain theory groups utopians of of accommodation to the status and surrender the demands quo practice from forradical change.Bloch's conceptof utopia is carefully distinguished rebuts.66 the sort of utopia that the Communist Manifesto forMarx and Engelsis The fundamental failureof theutopiansocialists in theircritiqueof socialists thelack of a conceptof class struggle. Utopian of and to conceive radical social change fail to class distinctions make society the As Marx and attack class such, struggle. Engels utopiansocialists' through above and to themselves history struggleand the political attempts place when"they revolutionary resulting rejectall politicaland especially quietism in utopian critical element Marx and Engelssee a positive action."Although believethat ofexisting whenitattacks socialism society," they "every principle of classstruggle, "these in thehistorical without development beinggrounded fantastic attacks...lose all practicalvalue and all theoretical justification." Because of their"fantastic standingapart fromthe contest,"the utopian socialists degenerate from their revolutionaryideals to "reactionary wheretheescapistutopianmentality "deadenstheclassstruggle" sectionism" and reconciles"the class antagonism."67 If Bloch's concept of utopia is to be relevantto a Marxist theoryof avoidthetrapswhichtheutopiansocialists revolution itmustat theminimum is of Marx's timefellinto. Bloch's conceptof utopia is groundedin history, class and towardpoliticaland revolutionary directed acknowledges activity therevoas thewayto concrete grasping utopia. Crucialto properly struggle of Bloch'sconceptof utopia is his notionof concrete thrust utopia. lutionary While both abstract(or traditional utopian thought)and concreteutopian projection are concerned with the exploration of human possibilities, whichexistas tendencies latentwithin concrete utopiadeals withpossibilities dreamoffarawayEl Dorado, theland of Abstract a givensituation. utopians of a negation tale kingdoms thatmaywellexpress milkand honey, Oz, fairy the statusquo and the projectionof a betterlife, but theyremain mere forthey containno road map (keinFahrplan)thatshowsus how to fantasies there. Concrete utopiadoes notimpatiently leap intoan ideal beyondbut get
"Marx and Bloch," Telos 13 (Fall, 1972), fora discussion Solomon'sarticle 66. See Maynard of Marx's positionon utopian socialismthat also relatesBloch's concept of utopia to Marx's positions. sectionIII on "Critical-Utopian 67. Marxand Engels,The Communist Socialism Manifesto, and Communism."

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explores the present situation to discover real possibilitiesforradical change. Concrete utopia is exemplified in Marxism, but a Marxism that encompasses both a "cold current" and a "warm current," both immediate goals and the final goal, both theoryand practice. The "cold current" of Marxism involves "the detective glance at rigorous scientificanalysis of the present history,'"68 situation, hardheaded evaluation of the possibilities and openings for radical change, and ruthlesscritique of everythingexisting. The "warm current"the heating up of which Bloch's life has been dedicated to--contains the "liberating intention and the materialist-human and humane-materialist tendency,"69i.e., the living, pulsating passion to change the world, burning desire for socialism, active participation in the struggle. From the warm currentflowsthe revolutionaryactuality of Marxism: "From here, the strong appeal to the humans who have been defaced, enslaved, abandoned, and made contemptible; from there the appeal to the proletariat as the point of departure of emancipation."70 The problem is that this warm current of Marxism has been suppressed by orthodox economistic or evolutionary Marxists who merely focus on the objective conditions for revolution and neglect the subjective factors. Bloch critiques objectivistic versions of Marxism laden with "theoretical exaggerations of the objective factorsand its supposed self-journeywhich carries practical defeatism into the subjective factorsof the masses."71 What is wanted is a proper mediation between the subjective and objective factorsof revolution and between the warm and cold current. "The subjective factors, as the objective, must be conceived in their constant, dialectical, reciprocal interaction that is indivisible and inseparable. Whereby, certainly,the human action aspect must be preserved from isolation, from the standard putschistic activism as such which tears itself loose from the objective economic laws and believes the subjective factors can leap over them. But no less harmful is the social democratic automatism as such, as superstitiousbelief in a world which runs by itself."72 A proper mediation of the subjective and objective conditions of revolution requires a fusingof the warm and cold currentsof Marxism. It is not enough to have a burning desire for revolution: one must have a clear understanding of what is possible and a clear vision of both the means and the ends of the struggle. For Bloch, creative Marxism is a unity of "dreaming ahead, sobriety,enthusiasm." Mere yearning is rejected for docta spes, "rationally
68. Bloch, Atheismin Christianity, pp. 268-9. 69. Bloch, Das PrinzipHoffnung, p. 241. 70. Ibid. 71. ErnstBloch, in Philosophische am Main, 1969), p. 540. Aufsatze(Frankfurt 72. Bloch, Das PrinzipHoffnung, p. 168.

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informed hope": "If in the building of mere castles in the air there is little concern about the expense, which results ultimately in false paths and deception, even then, in the long run, hope (with a plan and with a link with the potentially possible) is still the strongest and best thing we have.... Reason cannot blossom without hope, and hope cannot speak without reason: both must operate in a Marxist unity; no other science has a future, no other future,science." Sobrietyand enthusiasm complement and correct each other: the warm and cold current can merge togetherin a two-pronged attack on the status quo. Bloch sums it up: "Only Marxism both detects and liberates, providing both the theoretical and the practical solution for this so long-standing contradiction. Furthermore, only Marxism has produced the theoryand practice of a better world, not in order to abrogate the present one, as in most of the abstract social utopias, but in order to transformthis world economically and dialectically. Marxism never renounces its heritage, and least of all the primal intention: the Golden Age. In all its analyses Marxism plays the part of the sober detective, yet takes the legend seriously and reacts pragmatically to the dream of the Golden Age."74 Bloch's stresson the importance of the subjective conditions of revolution can be seen as a reaction against deterministic-objectivistic-economistic versions of Marxism: "The exploding factor is the subjective factor of the It is not an accident that Bloch dedicated his late work proletariat."'75 Experimentum Mundi to Rosa Luxemburg, for he continually repeats Luxemburg's critique of those socialists who forgetthe end goal of socialism or total immersion in immediate tasks. For Bloch, through shortsightedness the final goal should nourish, activate, and radicalize practice concerned with immediate goals. For Bloch one's current practice should be infused and illuminated by continuous awareness of the final goal: "The form of incipit vita nova which is attached to the present respects immediate ends in theory as well as in practice; but while these present ends are enclosed within the possible range of a human life, theymust at the same time set their sights on the distant goal of a society without alienation. The perspective must offer help, though not violent oppression; it must inspire, though not mediate. It must not leap over the route to the ideal, but follow its stages without for higher wages abandoning the ideal."76 For, "If the goals of a man fighting do not include the disappearance of society that compels him to fight for
73. Bloch, "Karl Marx and Humanity,"p. 33. 74. Ibid., p. 36. David Grossis therefore wrongto suggestthatBloch solelychampionsthe "warmcurrent" of Marxismand dismisses the "cold current" as "blind empiricism, positivism," etc. ("Marxism and Utopia," op.cit., pp. 96-7). 75. ErnstBloch, Das Materialismusproblem am Main, 1972), p. 310. (Frankfurt 76. ErnstBloch, "Incipit Vita Nova" in Man on His Own, p. 86.

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higher wages at all, he will not get far in his fight for wages either."77 of the warm currentand cold currentof Thus concrete utopia is a synthesis Marxism, of the distant and near goals of socialism that holds together the disparate momentsin a Marxian revolutionary project; moments that have so often fallen apart in Marxian theoryand practice after Marx. Bloch restores to us an integral revolutionaryMarxism that maintains the unity of theory and practice: "Marx stressed exactly the reciprocal interaction between theoreticaland actual practical work, in so far as he enlivened the theoretical with a drive toward realization.... theory without a reciprocally effecting relation to practice remains abstract ideology.... But so that theory is not indifferent and ineffectualit must actually be mediated with real interests."78 For Bloch in so far as theory and practice "both reciprocally and interchangeably oscillate witheach other, praxis presupposes theory,just as a new theoryconnects itselfas a continuation of a new practice."79 Bloch's lifework is a testimonyto this position.

Herbert Marcuse has argued that in the face of the developments of late capitalism we confront"the task of developing reviseddialectical concepts." Bloch fulfillsthe need to continually revitalize Marxian dialectics by both infusing new life in the old Marxian categories and by creating new ones: "Three categories of the dialectical process are... central: Front, Novum, and Matter. All three presuppose the most worthy human capacity for comprehension and participation: namely, hope. Front is the foremost segment of time, where what is next is determined. Novum is the real possiwith the accent of bility of the not-yet-known, not-yet-wrought-into-being, the good novum (the realm of freedom), when the trend toward it has been activated. Matter is not just mechanical mass, but--in accordance with the that which implicit meaning of the Aristotelean definition of matter--both has being in accordance with possibilityand hence that which in a particular case conditionally determines the capacity of something to become and hence the real historicallymanifest,and that-which-exists-in-possibility, possibilitysubstrateof the dialectical process. Preciselyas being in movement, matter is being that is not yet manifest; it is the ground and substance in
77. ErnstBloch, "Man's Increasing intoReligiousMystery," in Man on His Own, p. Entry 203. 78. Bloch, Experimentum Mundi, p. 65. 79. Bloch, Das PrinzipHoffnung, p. 315. 80. Herbert Marcuse,"The ConceptofNegationin theDialectic," Telos, 8 (Summer,1971), 131.

3. The Novumand theDialecticsof Transformation

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UTOPIA AND MARXISM

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out."81The Novum,thenew too- is carried ownfuture whichourfuture--its whichhe chargeswithrevolusocial selfis a centralkeyto Bloch's Marxism tionaryenergyto the extent that he equates Novum with revolutionary a break with the past, the change that containsan eruptionof novelty, whichis concretely the is on Newness focus new. Bloch's possible qualitatively worldpicture no "in because Marxism of advent the with pre-Marxian only (Weltbild) could one findspace for the Novum."82Bloch findsa psychoof love whichtransforms of the Novumin the experience logical harbinger oftheNovumin thenotionof an anticipation tooprovides one'slife.Religion Yet forBloch, theSecondComing,theKingdomofHeaven, theApocalypse. of the end of pre-history to providetheconcrete Marxism without possibility ofhumanhistory and thebeginning (in whichthehumanbeingis theactive, no qualitative historical of the conscious changebeyondthe process) subject the trivially of mere novelty, new, is possible. For with the bad infinity movement, embodiedin a real, historical ofMarxism existence revolutionary of revolutionary realpossibility theNovumcomesintobeingas theobjectively in a social-self transformation. Althoughthe Novum has existedpreviously discontent of in itself latentstatewhichmanifested periodically experiences those of history theNovumexplodedintothecontinuum and revolt,83 during of its Revolution. the Bolshevik the world: shook tendayswhich Regardless of a as manifestation Revolution Russian saw the Bloch laterdevelopments, in lies life of Bloch's The in the Novum out history. tragedy acting humanity of the Russian Revolution.His returnto the GDR the unfilfilled promises WorldWar II and hisdecisionto leave thantheFederalRepublicafter rather and and (in the GDR) frustrated the GDR in 1961 are rootedin unfilfilled the and liberated a classless for even suppressed humanity: society hopes Novum incarnate.Still Bloch remains, as Oskar Negt remindsus, "the of the October Revolution."84 Germanphilosopher thereis some of Bloch'swritings, tourde force In lightof thewide-ranging was ironythat the book whichbecame the mostcontroversial his book on in the US and GDR afterWorld War II Written Hegel: Subjekt-Objekt.85 in theGDR in 1951,Subjekt-Objekt and published arguedfortheimportance
81. Bloch, "Karl Marx and Humanity,"pp. 38-9. 82. Bloch, Das PrinzipHoffnung, p. 230. Section 17 containsBloch's discussionof the Novum. in Marx und die Revolution 83. ErnstBloch, "Marx als Denkerder Revolution" (Frankfurt am Main, 1968), pp. 7ff. 84. New German Critique,4. 85. See theGDR anti-festschrift ErnstBlochsRevisiondes Marxismus (Berlin, 1975). For a discussion of theStalinist attackson Bloch see IringFetscher, Marx and Marxism(New York, 1971), pp. 117ff.

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34 NEW GERMAN CRITIQUE

p. 12). Yet Bloch's book is clearly not an apologetic for Hegel. For Bloch, Hegel's thought contains "the limit of idealist dialectics, i.e., mere contemplation" (p. 516). Whereas Hegel's philosophy is oriented toward the past and appropriating its contents post festum from a contemplative standpoint, Marxist philosophy is oriented toward the future which it actively strivesto shape. Hence knowledge for Marx is an instrumentto transformthe present and to realize the possibilities which will produce a better future: "the destructionof slaveryand the masteryof necessity"(p. 519). Although Marx's philosophy is rooted in Hegel's dialectic, it breaks with all previous philosophy. Bloch describes the change as "a leap into the new as it has never been experienced in previous history; it begins through Marx as a continuation as well as a sublation of Hegel--the transformation of philosophy into a philosophy of world-transformation" (p. 519). "Philosophy," Bloch writes, informed by docta spes: rationally constituted and scrutinized hope. Philosophical intervention "is theoretically-practical work against alienation." It aims at constituting the realm of freedom, socialist utopia, humanity'shomeland: "in so far as socialism liberates from all conditions of existence which carryin itselfthe character of alienated labor, it will liberate the entire societyfrom alienation and will thus create the foundation for the entire earth as the home of humanization (Inland der Humanisierung)" (p. 520).

of Hegel in the Marxian project. Against the orthodox Stalinist interpretation of Hegel as a bourgeois reactionary,Bloch saw Hegel as having positive as well as negative aspects. Bloch's book and the reaction in the GDR reminds one of the experience of Lukacs and his History and Class Consciousness. For both thinkerssaw the importance of Hegel for Marxism and both were viciously attacked by the communist orthodoxy for their heresy. For Bloch, "whoever in theirstudyof the historical-materialist dialectic omits Hegel, has no chance for fully conquering historical-dialectical materialism" (Subjekt-Objekt,

"is no longerphilosophy but "dialectical if it is not dialectical-materialist," is nothing it materialism is not itself intoa future philosophical," throwing if

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