Bourgeois school and psychology
At school, children generally ask for “help”, on a psychological level, when they reach the limit. And then it’s too late. Normally they face society (with its problems) in an individualistic way, because it has been taught to do so. They have no other models. It is the titanic effort of the individual against everything and everyone.
However the young person is a weak subject, subjected to various influences and influences, scarcely critical. Because so society wants it. A young drug addict or violent or mafia man gives fewer problems than a young man organized in political movements that contest the system. What is “healthy” in him is the need for justice, truth, authenticity, but this need is removed with ever greater ease and in ever shorter times.
One of the slogans of psychology is “Educate to prevent”. Educate yes, but how? Is it really enough to “educate”? or do we also have to “fight” (politically) to overcome the obstacles that hinder education itself? Some argue that it is possible to fight in a “cultural” way (against the models of society) or in a “psychological” way (against discomfort, frustration, favoring new human relationships). But can this be enough?
Our society, which is eminently bourgeois, must be overcome in its basic mechanisms. We must therefore fight to have cultural, social spaces, but also to have political spaces, since it is in these spaces that the management of power takes place, that the general programmatic lines to be followed are decided. As long as the various movements of opinion, the various political, social and cultural organizations are not represented in the parliamentary bodies that count, at national and local level, any work done on the cultural and social terrain will risk not coming to nothing, since it will always meet very strong resistance o attempts to exploit it by party politics and state institutions.
You can face the politician starting from the social and cultural (this is basically the Gramscian lesson), but sooner or later you have to get to the politician, and that day you will have to assert your competence, your professionalism and responsibility. Addressing only the social and the cultural, for fear of facing the political, means legitimizing the system, possibly limiting itself to perfecting it.
It is important to work well in the socio-cultural field, before turning politically to the system. The transition will thus be less traumatic. But one cannot speak of “reforms” without thinking that the ultimate goal is the “revolution” of productive relations and dominant properties. Reforms are useful when they speed up the times for the revolution, or in any case when they are used with these intentions, otherwise they help to deceive, even if it is senseless not to do them for fear that they will not serve.
Bourgeois psychology, in this sense, is characterized by a fundamental limit: relativism. It uses the “A” factor to contest the “B” factor, when “B” appears excessive, exaggerated, only then to use “B” to contest “A” of the same defect. That is, if a subject is too introverted he will try to make him express, but if he expresses too much he will try to stop him. Psychology cannot detect normal behavior in and of itself. “Normality” is only all that is not excessive, or at least all that is part of everyday bourgeois living. The difference between one attitude and another is, for Western psychology, only a matter of form, degree, intensity, not substance. E.g. a subject can be considered “
This psychology, in essence, is not able to consider excess as an instinctive response to a real frustration, which cannot be resolved with the so-called “normality”. If in an alienated society, based on exploitation, inequality, on the systematic violation of human rights, an individual is asked to be “normal”, this means that “normality” must coincide closely with conformism, with adaptation to dominant mentality.
Bourgeois psychology is limited precisely because it has no relationship with the human instance of liberation, which manifests itself on the social, cultural and political terrain. Psychology considers this instance as an instinctive and individualistic drive to happiness. But such an instance, while being natural, can also determine selfish behavior, unable to promote the humanization of social relationships.
Psychology must become social in order to be concrete, it must understand the social dynamics of the classes, the working relationships of the capitalist system, it must understand the needs of the workers. Human nature cannot be understood regardless of the context of the social relationships in which it lives. And within these relationships one must be able to identify which are the “subjective” and “objective” aspects that lead the human being to feel alienated.
Paradoxically, those who adapt to life are lost. The opposite may seem true, but bourgeois psychology is wrong when it is concerned only with finding the means and ways of conforming the individual to the environment, without ever questioning the legitimacy of this environment. Sometimes it does, but be careful not to delve too deeply into the subject. Psychology aims to be a neutral, objective science, valid for every social and political system.
Its main orientations are in fact the following: 1) to place on the individual the responsibility for certain behaviors deemed “anomalous”; 2) attributing a part of responsibility also to the environment, but excluding a priori that it can be a source of objective, structural influences, independent of the will of the subjects.
Bourgeois psychology refuses to consider the social objectivity of alienation: every time it comes across this problem it ends up considering alienation as a constitutive factor of the personality (as inexplicable as it is essential, like the “original sin” for Catholics ), or the classic question arises: “How come in front of the same environmental frustration one subject overcomes it and another does not?”. After that it obviously does not ask how the subject has actually overcome the alienating conditioning of the environment. It simply takes for granted that accepting the basic mechanisms of a given social context, or simply modifying individual aspects of relative importance, is already a guarantee of well-being.
This view of things does not take into account that the individual cannot infinitely bear the Buddhist attitude of resignation, nor can he be content with partial changes in the social environment, especially if he feels his discomfort with a tension so profound as to make the community fear of the pathological reactions of revenge, of repressed instinct, of gratuitous violence.
Psychology therefore cannot neglect the objective social factors (i.e. the political-institutional and economic-productive system, the dominant ideology transmitted through the media) which heavily condition the freedom of the individual. It must make the individual understand that his “liberation” also depends on his ability to transform the environment. This allows the individual to understand in advance which only the true limits of each of his actions and which objectives must be achieved to overcome those limits.
Returning to young people … It is very difficult to gain their trust. A young person can respect the teacher if he fears him, but this does not mean that he also has faith in him, that is, that he is willing to let himself be involved in issues that affect him personally. When asked about a non-scholastic topic, the young man is often silent for fear of being misunderstood, derided, misjudged. He does not want to admit to having problems because he knows that society does not admit imperfections. He was taught that mistakes are always paid for with many humiliations. That’s why young people, in school, only give what it takes to get something. Their relationship with the school is commodified, because this is how it is imposed, because it is thus imposed on the school by the system of power. Is psychology able to understand all these things? He is perhaps able to understand that a young man at school feels humiliated not so much because he has little profit (for him the teachers are too “unlucky” to make judgments of any importance), but because, having a low profit, he knows in anticipation that classmates – conditioned as they are by the selective, inhuman, individualistic logic of this society – will not help you? He is perhaps able to explain psychology why one of these children – accustomed to believing that in life to make their way every means is legitimate – if he had to evaluate his classmates in a final ballot, it would be much more severe than are not the teachers themselves? do you know in advance that classmates – conditioned as they are by the selective, inhuman, individualistic logic of this society – will not help you? He is perhaps able to explain psychology why one of these children – accustomed to believing that in life to make their way every means is legitimate – if he had to evaluate his classmates in a final ballot, it would be much more severe than are not the teachers themselves? do you know in advance that classmates – conditioned as they are by the selective, inhuman, individualistic logic of this society – will not help you? He is perhaps able to explain psychology why one of these children – accustomed to believing that in life to make their way every means is legitimate – if he had to evaluate his classmates in a final ballot, it would be much more severe than are not the teachers themselves