Deanimation - The removal of agency, spirit, or soul.
In this text, I will propose and analyse the concept of deanimation. Deanimation (de-, prefix from Latin meaning “removal, undoing”, and anima, word meaning “spirit, soul, mind”) is to be throughout this text understood as the aggregate of social processes which make it possible for an individual to be dichotomized from themselves, characterized by a constantly accelerating process of disassociation between a being and their so-called “atomic identity”. This disassociation, which isn’t unique to humans but more widespread within humanity because it happens in the context of human social relations, is what I will choose to call “deindividualization”.
This text will seek to deconstruct and analyse the basis of many mass social relations and the ideals we perpetuate, consciously or unconsciously. Using these analyses, I will identify the movements and historical tendencies which emerged therefrom, or in opposition to these ideals. These mass social relationships are what I will call the “Social Mass”.
The Social Mass is not to be understood as a purely social phenomenon, as nothing can be so. It is just like everything a product of uncountable factors; such as economic material conditions and even ecological conditions. It is the result of a plurality of interactions between these realities which create the necessity for a Social Mass to emerge.
2. IDEAL OF SOCIAL MASS
During this, I will be extensively using the term “Social Mass”. What is understood as a “Social Mass”? It is, summarily, a term that describes any form of collective arrangement emanating and arising from certain Ideals which are thought, defined and imposed as taking precedence over the “individual”. A Social Mass, here, is a descriptor for the many social groups of unrelated people who are perceived as sharers of a set of core characteristics that they hold to be in some form integral to their definition as beings. These people often regard these characteristics to be in some form superior or believe that they must be imposed upon other groups of society.
Further, Social Masses refers to groups of society which try to either detach and isolate themselves from other groups or achieve hegemonic dominance over those. These other groups of society are not necessarily organic, that is, they don’t always spring out of an Ideal themselves, but in opposition. Said groups only exist because they are applied their definition in relation to another one, as in, group A fabricates group non-A that asserts the existence of group A. They exist as perceived groups, stemming from the perception of an external source. A certain Social Mass distinguishes any of these groups, organic or not, as “Others”, as they exist outside of the Ideals and internal functioning of the Social Mass in question. They are strangers, foreigners. Both perceived groups and other organic Social Masses are thus in conflict.
What gave rise to Social Masses? It is one of the direct products of deindividualization, which is going to be dissected later. For now, it suffices to say that it has existed for much of the history of human societies, just as deindividualization has; but we can trace the institutionalization and promotion of what is the Ideal of the Social Mass back to the Enlightenment, and from there even further back to Renaissance. The Ideal of Social Mass, which again did exist before these “philosophical revolutions”, is the building block of a Social Mass which idealizes it as something superior and taking precedence over the “individual being”, something that is higher and more sacred or important than an “atomic individual” itself. It is also important to remark that the individual can only be defined as a single unit of a Social Mass, and that the Social Mass starts as a collective of individuals; the individuals are not individuals by themselves but in relation to the collective. What binds individuals to the Social Mass is the Ideal of the Social Mass.
The Ideal is, fundamentally, the “shared” and constant characteristics of the individuals within a group. While individuals present themselves as diverse, different and incomparable, the Ideal of Social Mass ignores varying specificities, only looking forward to founding a Social Mass through the application of generalized characteristics. These characteristics are adopted by everyone within a mass for the sake of the survival of the mass, as they unite the individuals composing one behind one goal and idea. The Ideal has various applicated and notorious examples that can well illustrate its nature – among them, they are the concepts behind nationalism and racism.
First, let’s define as an example how the national citizenry is a Social Mass. We can already summarily connect these concepts together, simply because the national citizenry is a group which shuts itself from other national citizenries (or rather, the nation, expression and Ideal of the national citizenry shuts itself from other nations). It labels them as foreign and often as dangerous, and the hostility between Social Masses is observable with the mentality of “the nations next door never have our best interests in mind, and thus we must always protect our own”. The mentality of nationalism is not only in the upholding of one’s own nation but the mistrust and opposition to anything which is foreign, unless they shall unite under a greater Social Mass (e.g., pan-nationalism, which does not seek to make other Masses foreign but rather integrate them to a greater Mass). National citizenries are also a particularly interesting example for a Social Mass. They are the most “obvious” example of Masses that, because have attained such an elevated level of hegemony, they’ve been able to create institutions aimed at their own protection.
To use the example of nationalism, its Ideal of Social Mass is the generation on the pride on the nation itself, a nation which is upheld by the Social Mass, which is subject to the Ideal. The Ideal rests on the construct of the nation as a political entity rather than the aggregate of beings within it, and the characteristics & achievements which are perceived as integral to the nation. For example, one might say that France is the country that forged the most important studies on radioactivity, or elevate Marie Curie to a symbol of national pride for the country of France, even though if she was German or Spanish she could’ve accomplished the same feats.
The Social Mass of the national citizenry, centered around and built upon the nation, allows for people to find a certain comfort in finding that they’ve made something, even for people who had no bearing in the creation of such a thing. Through this Ideal, a French or Polish person might forget their concerns about themselves and about achieving greatness, because through the Social Mass they are led to perceive something they had no effect on is a feat of them, as they are but an extension of the Social Mass. It can be observed that it wasn’t only Savery who invented the first modern steam engines, but rather England, the English, or whatever it may be.
We can see through this that the Ideal of Social Mass is ever evolving, as it integrates other aspects within itself even though they weren’t previously present. It can take the idea of a single individual and transform it into the pride of the Mass, and it can propose itself as a way for people to connect with this creation as if they had any influence on it. This generalization of the things which compose the mass is what gives it shape and form, what makes it a moving body of social groupings.
The Ideal and the necessity of protection of the Social Mass will also incite the adoration of it, as it is put above any form of social grouping or category. The nation comes first, and whatever ideology and core tenets you might hold come second. What form of State or government is not important, it is wholly ignorable, as long as the nation remains intact and unthreatened. The integrity of the nation is considered, within the Social Mass, paramount. This adoration of the nation, and thus the idea of the nation, makes the nation an Ideal around which a certain Social Mass can group itself.
The conception that there are certain characteristics which are intrinsic to and inseparable from the populations of nations and regions, and members of certain cultures, is a prime example of the Ideal of Social Mass in action. Both in the application of stereotypes and highlighting the understood “inherent qualities” of the national population, we are seeing examples of Social Masses. It takes a set of characteristics that unfoundedly separates “Social Mass A” from “Social Mass B”.
There is no Social Mass that forms without an ideal around which it can group and build itself. There is no Social Mass without a way of dichotomizing, separating and making it out to be different and foreign to other Social Masses. That is done by ideals, as their opposing natures are best for delimiting where a Mass ends and another Mass begins. Furthermore, the mass can only exist if its defining ideal, the ideal upon which it was founded and develop, can be indefinitely reproduced and preserved. It is an idea that lodges itself to a social environment and individuals and maintains itself by altering, defining and creating worldviews which are in line with its values.
Not all common identities are necessarily Social Masses. Not every culture, religion or other common identity implies the existence of a Social Mass based on them as a necessity. They are organic social relations that can instead be weaponized by Social Masses; the weaponization of these leads to the dichotomizing institutions that define everything outside themselves as “Other”. A religion is not necessarily a Social Mass or even an Ideal, but through capturing it and leading it to a dichotomizing conclusion you transform it into an Ideal. There is an organic social group that arises from things other than the expansive necessity of this group, and this social group is captured and transformed into something new around which the Mass can group itself. Social arrangements are not by themselves exclusive and expansive, but they can become so. To devout your life to the belief of the sun being a deity does not make this belief inherently expansive and exclusive, but those who group around this belief may very well found in themselves a shared identity which becomes itself expansive and exclusive. This belief is then rather developing itself into its expansive and exclusive form, a form which emanates not from the belief itself, but from the necessity of the group formed around such belief to find a certain goal which allows for its expansion to be centered around something.
This is then the role and nature of the Ideal of the Social Mass: it is the basic component of any Social Mass which exists, a component which dictates the actions of people within the mass and the conception of the Social Mass itself. Within human society there can be no Social Mass without an Ideal – people do not conglomerate around nothing – and once they find an ideal, the people within a Social Mass will protect it, as it is necessary to protect the Social Mass created around it. Since the Ideal of the Social Mass is strictly necessary for the existence of the Mass, the protection of its existence and integrity is paramount for those existing within the Social Mass, as in the Mass you need to preserve it.
3. ORGANIC & ARTIFICIAL MASSES
Certain Ideals can be said to be intrinsically tied to Social Masses. They are not necessarily what was able to “enable” the creation of the mass nor an Ideal which was “appropriated” by a Social Mass, but the consequences and explanations created by the Social Mass to justify its own existence. As Social Masses don’t form around nothing, these consequential, artificial Ideals can be the logical conclusion to the Ideals put forward and upheld by the Social Mass. The Ideal of a nation exists, and the ideals of the posture and duties of a national citizen as well: the nation is in relation to the national citizenry an Ideal of Social Mass, which exists dependent on the national citizenry and arising from it. The national citizen can, though, only exist in relation to the nation, existing only through their own recognition of this one, such recognition being the only thing that gives the national citizenry form. They both, in this way, shape each other.
The Organic Ideal happens through spontaneous practices, ideas and reactions to environmental and material conditions. The Organic Ideal of religion is not inherently tied to the creation of a Social Mass that seeks to destroy what surrounds it, and it can be show as there have been historical records of religions coexisting or not forming institutions with the pure and simple objective of expanding the religion. The religious Social Mass, which seeks to propagate itself and defend itself from the “Others”, surely arrives from religion, but religion does not automatically imply the existence of a Social Mass based on it. Religion wasn’t itself created to justify the existence of a church or clerical hierarchization, but rather to apply a general sense of meaning to the Universe, it is an organic practice coming from human perception. Religion was though coopted into the creation of several Social Masses.
Culture and Religion, as examples, are things which exist by themselves, but when they are coopted for the creation of a Social Mass they are transformed into Ideals; these ideals do not come from within the Mass or based on another Mass, nor is it on a two-way dependence relation. A religion can exist without the Social Mass, but the Social Mass based on that religion cannot exist without it. In contrast, as demonstrated before, the national citizenry cannot exist without the nation and the nation cannot exist without the national citizenry.
That means the Organic Ideals can be “saved” from their status as Ideals, even though their role as Ideals of Social Mass invariably adapts them to the Social Mass which they have become. For example, a religion which is institutionalized will over time start to integrate the elements that allow for hierarchical structures to be based on it. There is then a dichotomy between the organic personal religious practice and the doctrinal, institutional religion, which is now used to justify the existence of hierarchical structures, role which it didn’t have before.
Organic Ideals can be subtracted from their role as justifying Social Masses, and they can be subtracted of the characteristics which they have acquired as Ideals, but that cannot be done through assimilation nor force, but only through the conscious realization of the members of the Social Mass based on the organic ideal in question. If it is done by force, it will be all in vain as it will simply strengthen the Social Mass. The Social Mass is made to protect itself, and foreign force is just showing itself to be foreign, threatening, a danger to the integrity of the Mass.
Organic Ideals thus have the potential to be recuperated from their status as Ideals of Social Mass and come back to a more spontaneous state in which it doesn’t only exist for the justification of a Mass, but Artificial Ideals are necessarily tied to a Social Mass and upon the abolition of this one it will cease to exist altogether, as it cannot define itself from nothing. There can be no rescuing and no reforming of an Ideal which is generated from the Mass and created to give a meaning to the mass. The death of the mass is the death of this Ideal.¹
4. THE HUMAN MASS
One of the most recognizable Social Masses, besides that of the national citizenry, is the Mass of humanity: it is born out of the greater dichotomization of “Nature” and “Man”, a false recognition and conception of nature as something foreign, detached and unrelatable to what is considered “human”. The human social mass treats the human as a higher being, putting everything that is outside of the human as the “Other” and thus necessarily subordinate to it. It is not only the separation of Nature and Man, but also often a dichotomization between humans.
The conception of human is not inherently the manifestation of a Social Mass of humanity, but it has been developed as such. The ideals of the absolute sovereignty of humanity over everything that isn’t human existed in several societies for millennia, but the establishment of the real Social Mass of humanity was Renaissance Humanism; it was used in order to separate man from nature, man from god, and man from other men. It was an anthropocentric movement which put “human” above all else, even those considered “subhuman”, almost human but not in fact. It talked about “humane” ideals and actions, characteristics which are inherent to and typical of humans.
This Social Mass was able to capture the whole of Western society and place the European human as “the most human among all humans”, all while characterizing the other “humans” which were not assimilated within the Social Mass as inferior. They were still seen as partly human, but still in a “foreign” way, as the European society recognized the “merit” of their civilizations but thought less of what they saw as inherent characteristics to them. This manifested itself in the context of race. The construct of race as we know it today is the result of many events and processes, but it doesn’t exist as it existed prior to this “new conception of human”, if it did at all. The new institutions of colonization and the dire need of cheap labor and thus slavery was able to shape this conception of “human” which dichotomizes human from humanity.
It is then important to assert that the Social Mass does not spring out of nowhere: for example, the Social Mass of humanity, which was now centered around a newborn humanism, was a direct consequence of the historical factors existing in its context, e.g., the birth of the Renaissance as a reaction to the so-considered “Dark Ages”, the “savagery” of the Middle Ages and the changing economic and political scenario. The way this ideal of humanity expressed itself was dependent on these factors, and we can see so with the creation of the opposition of the “most human among all humans” and the “subhumans”.
This Social Mass of humanity is quite remarkable because it perfectly illustrates how to Social Mass presents itself: taking the idea that the conception of human was tied to the conception of the European man, those affected by this Ideal would make the perceived “Other”, the “subhuman”, appear both the most pathetic beings and the most threatening of monsters. The discourse of those affected by the Social Mass always posed and poses itself in this way, making that which is foreign be seen as dangerous to the integrity of the Mass, but necessarily made to be subjugated, in a laughable contradiction.
We can see how those of African descent were portrayed to be emotional and unintelligent, harmless as a whole, but also showed as the greatest threats to Western society and the integrity of civilization. Or even how the so-called “Asiatic” peoples were considered to be in a certain form “submissive and machinic”, with the idea that “the Asian is worried with efficiency and productivity” and “is made to be controlled”, but who would’ve thought! Also portrayed as possessing wits and intellect, and a force of will unmatchable, which would in some way create a threat to the European Social Mass.
The Social Masses created in relation and opposition to a certain Social Mass are always, within that one, portrayed like this: they are pathetic and harmless, as a way to assert the superiority and the grandeur of the Mass it is based on, making those who are “foreign” seem laughable and ignorable, but they are also showed as monstrous beasts who will do everything to destroy the Mass. The Social Mass will create this contradictory image of the “Other”, the threat being a non-threat, the proof of superiority also bringing a necessity to be wary. It will at the same time assess that the Social Mass is the strongest and most powerful, while portraying what is outside as a nefarious enemy.
The Social Mass of humanity is one of the most generalized Social Masses in modern society. To this point, it has evolved and changed itself in order to include the considered “different races”, although within the structure of the Social Mass the differences in treatment and a substantial amount of societal privilege still exists. The Ideal of the human, though, remains largely unchanged in many of its basic characteristics, such as the very idea of a human nature.
5. THE ENLIGHTENMENT
The enlightenment is a dichotomous and irreconcilable set of ideas. It was aimed towards eternal development and a certain form of inclusive expansion, through which it would be able to preserve “diversity” and the ideals of liberty and harmony. It prevents, though, real liberty. It merely creates an image which is its own self-contained liberty, which it has fabricated and imposed upon many, and its inclusive expansion is only inclusive within itself, that is, the only things on which this expansion is based are the ideals of the enlightenment. This inclusive expansion is only inclusive of the concepts it has already included within itself.
While seeking to grow and expand, change and morph, to evolve, it could only reproduce itself as it indefinitely and irreversibly destroyed and unmade everything that was not descended or related to it. It did, eventually, maintain the useful characteristics of what was “foreign”, repurposing them for the application within the enlightenment, but they had their uniqueness subtracted in order to become a compatible structure with the enlightenment.
These enlightenment ideals that talk about diversity and inclusion are presented as an imposed diversity, a diversity which can only exist through the diversity it, by itself, creates. In other words, the diversity of the enlightenment could only express itself through an artificial diversity, created in order to replace the potential diversity which was destroyed with the expansion of the enlightenment. This artificial diversity also served the purpose of, while maintaining itself in constant expansion, eradicating the elements which could be in a certain sense detrimental to the accelerating expansion of enlightenment. It came out of the adaptation of the enlightenment towards the environment to which it was brought, but also the integration of “reprogrammed” and “repurposed” foreign elements. These elements from things outside of the enlightenment being coopted while subtracting from them their essence in order to make them compatible.
There is nothing that was as painfully contradictory as the enlightenment: in its quest for growth, it only found a laughable stagnation. It tried to spawn its ideals of diversity and bring them unto the Earth through institutions of homogeneity, defeating the purpose. It took a shot at liberty, and this liberty was spread through the institutions of oppression and even colonialism, it was a taught and imposed liberty rather than a fulfilling ideal of liberty. And through these stagnant structures, it tried to spawn evolution and growth, even though it was contained within a cold and unmoving system that though seemingly dynamic at first contained nothing but its own circular logic.
This doesn’t make the enlightenment necessarily a failure, but simply a failure when it comes to loyalty to the ideals it proposed. The enlightenment is, though it tries not to be, the revolution of the Social Mass: Before, the Social Mass mostly existed to expand itself from within, pushing away all that which wasn’t part of it. It still assimilated, but its main form of expansion was through the expulsion and destruction of what was where it expanded: the enlightenment was the institutionalization and the generalization of a new strategy of expansion of the Social Mass. Now assimilation was exposed and used by any of the Social Masses affected directly by the enlightenment.
This strategy was not focused on making space for the expansion of the Social Mass, pushing away all which is foreign, but rather of subtracting the elements incompatible with the Social Mass and then absorbing that which can be recuperated. This was the strategy of the expansion of the enlightenment, and whilst it can be discussed whether it is a Social Mass or even an Ideal, the model of expansion of the enlightenment was necessary for the development of the new strategy.
The Social Mass could, as the enlightenment, generalize itself: If before the Social Mass could be represented as a growing bubble enclosing its ideals and individuals within itself, pushing away that which was outside and protecting what was inside, now it could be represented as a singularity. It became an attractive force, to which everything gravitated, and the incompatible things were shredded and rejected whereas the now incomplete image of foreign objects could be very well adapted and integrated to the Social Mass. The Social Mass stopped trying to develop itself but adopted the “foreign” ideals after rendering them harmless and compatible with its existence, trashing everything else. The Social Mass is now an inclusive Social Mass in the sense that it creates an amalgamate of everything that it has absorbed.
The Social Mass could now both assert itself through the destruction and negation of other Social Masses while it also could integrate their characteristics. It destroyed diversity in order to generate its own growth, not through a simple technique of making space for its expansion but rather expanding itself through the things which are already set in space. Through that, it can rewire itself, adapt to the situation in which it finds itself to reprogram its ideals and behavior, without changing the core. The Social Mass is, with the advent of the enlightenment, able to repurpose foreign patterns and ideals for its own advancement.
6. VOLK IDEALS & THE ROLE OF THE MASS
In opposition, but also consequential to, the enlightened mass, we have the Volk Ideals. Whereas the enlightenment gave us a method of propagation for the Social Mass which can now rely on the assimilation of the outside and the collapse of other Social Mass onto itself, Volk ideals offer an opposing tactic: they are entirely destructive, seeking to establish immutable Social Masses bent on the destruction of everything outside of it. They never expand through assimilation but through annihilation, seeking to generalize themselves. The Volkish masses present themselves as the fanaticism of the Social Mass.
Volksgemeinschaft and Volk ideals in general are one of the epitomes of the Social Mass. They will seek to only grow through its own self-reproduction, and with an almost “dogmatic” ideal, making it so that the Social Mass hardly adapts and evolves. This Social Mass is inherently flawed, i.e., it is inefficient at propagation, because it has no growth of potential growth. There is no incremental potentiality for growth, the mass does not develop a potential for growth, because the Ideal which is enclosed around itself remains trapped within its own logic. It negates the possibility of evolution and thus the mass cannot develop and alter itself in function of the conditions in place.
These masses are, though, extremely efficient at achieving their fixed potential growth. Even though they invariably collapse under the weight of their own lack of evolutive potential, their propagation is rapid and expansive because the Ideal is fanaticized. It is the most important aspect above all other ideals which govern Social Masses and human society in general, fabricating a social reality of its own which allows for its propagation. It tries to create the conditions for its own propagation. The flaw lies there though, because the conditions for the propagation of the Mass cannot be evoked from beyond, but they stem from the already existing conditions.
Their efficiency is also because once they are established in a social environment, not much can be done from within that environment to stop its propagation. The Volk Mass is a Social Mass which dilutes and rejects every single dichotomy and conflict existing within it. In the context of a X Volk Mass, you would still have the definition of a X woman and a X man, but within the Mass they are regarded not as different within a social hierarchy but as equals. Within this hypothetical mass, there is no more X man and woman, but just an individual defined as being X. The reality of the social relations will certainly be one in which women are socially regarded as inferior to men, but within that Mass that is not considered true. The conflicts still exist within the Mass but they are not recognized, because the Volk Mass, in its fanaticism, cannot acknowledge the conflicts it contains because the threat comes only from the outside, that is, they come from what is regarded as foreign to the Social Mass. Any form of dichotomy within the Mass is thus negated because of the higher need to protect it from the Other.
This brings us to Volksgemeinschaft. In both World Wars, it had a clear goal: unity in Germany. That is unity of all Germans, across all classes, to further national goals. Class struggle and class character, that is the conflicting relations between the classes in Germany, were absolutely negated to exist even though their effects were seen and felt. This makes the Social Mass useful for the rulers, as it allows for ignoring the issue of class struggle because it negates it. Class struggle has not existed within Volksgemeinschaft because the nation is seen as an ultimate unifying force which annuls any form of conflict that does not emanate from the exterior. If certain Social Mass relations are conflicting within the Volk Mass, then they are to be eradicated in favor of what is better for the Volk Mass.
Many of these Social Masses have then specific objectives; among them, a common theme is obscuring class struggle. Several Social Masses have class character and stem from class struggle, being extremely important within the context of social class relations, but other many Masses have the objective to negate, ignore and deny class struggle, or even other forms of social struggle – such as gender or racial relations. We can see through, for example, the idealization of a nation: one could very well claim that in “Nation” there is no more racism or prejudice, for “Nation” fully accepts those minority groups, for they have been emancipated. Their belonging to oppressed groups does not matter because they are first and foremost members of “Nation”, and thus we can ignore the struggles which they experience. Class, race, gender and several other example – any of these can be obscured by the existence of a strong, influential and socially shaping Social Mass.
This explicates the main role of the Mass: that to dominate, but also to justify domination. There are uncountable kinds of Social Masses, and all (or at least most of them) further one specific thing, that being the interests of the rulers. These rulers might be class rulers, as is the bourgeoisie, or be simply the whole of the ruling system, that being Capitalism or other contextual “rulers”. Volk Masses take this role to the extreme because they are the fanaticized and maximized versions of the Social Masses, but most Social Masses which don’t exist as oppressed by another have this inherent quality of being tools of oppression and consent manufacturing.
After seeing the Social Mass, we need to understand the process by which they are formed. This is done through deindividualization; that refers to the singular process by which a being is dichotomized from their status as a being. This can happen to any given being, but as we are discussing human social relations, the focus shall lie on human beings. Deindividualization is, in a few words, to enforce and then negate the individual: there is no a priori “true individual”, because the individual can only be expressed and defined as a lone part of a social collective, a unit within a whole. It can only exist in opposition to the conception of a non-individual, and thus for deindividualization to be able to take place the individual is defined. Deindividualization therefore starts with the process of asserting and recognizing the existence of individuality within a collective, in this case the Mass.
Deindividualization is then the process by which a being is stripped away from their status as a being insofar their individuality is negated. It is the process by which a being is deprived from their specific characteristics, of their properties, in order to transform them into a common part of the whole with only a shared essence. They are made to fulfill a role within the Social Mass and that is the role of allowing its propagation. A Social Mass always seeks to further and impose itself, and deindividualization allows for its survival as a Mass: although beings still have their considered and perceived “individualities” within the Mass, deindividualization disallow them to become true individuals, that being status as a being without being bound to a Social Mass. Surely, a being might seem individual by itself, but in the context of the Mass the division between the being itself and the essence of the Mass is blurry: if you consider the social space which the being occupies the distinction between the person and the Mass seems almost impossible to make, to such a point you can only stop considering them part of a Mass at arbitrary points.
One example would be a being who still holds their own individualities, regardless of their place or role within a Social Mass, but should this Mass be, for example, the Nation, and should this Nation go to a war, the deindividualized being would in a certain form abandon their conception and vision of themselves as “individuals” to pose themselves as the members, fighters and defenders of the “Nation” which they integrate. The protection of the National Mass and the Ideals it upholds are what is of utmost important, and not for the people within the nation, but the idea of the nation itself.
The process of deindividualization ensures that the institutions which rely on Social Masses, and the Social Masses born out of these same institutions, can maintain their dominant hegemony existent. It ensures that although a being can have an understanding of individuality and perceive themselves as individuals, the being can only perceive their own individuality through the lenses of the Social Mass; that is, they perceive their existence as subordinate to the Social Mass. It allows for the “individual being” to exist, but a diminished and distorted version of an individual, and this individual might have attributed characteristics and qualities that though not often representing them they will accept and integrate as part of their individuality. They are forced upon the Ideals of their respective Social Masses and their job is to adjust themselves to those.
Furthermore, this process ensures social cohesion and stability. Alienation within Capitalism allows for the workplace to transform the worker into a meat gear, a cell composing a greater system, and such a cell cannot be understood as an individual. Just as we perceive our bodies as singular objects and not collections of cells, the worker just becomes the cellular composition of the Capitalist firm. Alienation is thus a consequence of deindividualization, in which the worker is not an individual but rather they are part of a growing and developing organism. Everyone in said organism has a role, just as cells have biological roles within the body, and everyone is expected to maintain the integrity and cohesion of this organism. Within its context, the workers are not diverse beings but units of a much greater mass in which they are not regarded as independent. The creation of the working class and the creation of alienation through deindividualization is one of the most remarkable elements of this phenomenon, because it illustrates the condition of the being within the Social Mass.
Within the context of labor, the worker becomes deindividualized, they become made of essence and not properties. They start to understand themselves as workers, and their fellow workers do the same, and they constitute this collective of workers. As soon as that happens, they become part of a moving and productive body, a machinic apparatus. They become a sort of Social Mass, that being the Social Mass of the workers. The worker is seen as possessing this or that characteristics, and they are made out to exist in relation with another class, that being the bosses, or simply the bourgeois class. Class struggle thus stems from the movement of this Social Mass towards its liberation from its definition. Class relations are though special in relation to Social Masses, because while Social Masses try to assert their total domination with the assimilation or subjugation of other Social Masses, the subjugation of class is not done through the extermination of the working class caused by the bourgeois one but through hegemonic, social domination.
We could in comparison show yet another deindividualized group, which is not a mass per se but an extension of another Mass: an army. The army is composed of soldiers, making it so that the unit of the army is a soldier, but the soldier is simply a number among many, which composes the larger organism of the army. We can then demonstrate that Social Masses are in some form similar to armies: as armies train their soldiers, the Mass deindividualizes their beings, both with the objective of protecting something and fighting against an enemy. That is, armed conflict is comparable to the protection of the Social Mass against other masses.
Deindividualization is inherent to social massification. As said before, it is a singular process, happening upon the integration of a being within a mass; it isn’t continuous and repeating but unique. Upon the removal of a being from a Social Mass, and their eventual transfer to another, the status of deindividualized subject inflicted upon the being is lifted and replaced by another similar status relying on different Ideals. A being within a Social Mass still retains part of their perceived individuality, making it so that the individuality is not lost but made secondary, deprioritizing it.
Even animals can experience deindividualization, but they do so from our perspective, that is, we transform them in Social Masses. Cattle does not have any Social Mass to rely on, but their massification – which is still social, but in a different form, only being social in the context of human society – happens because they are seen and defined as cattle, not individual beings but an exploitable group to go through industrialized mass production.
Deindividualization is, at the end, this: reducing the perception of individuality to a background picture, an additional and forgettable addition. Individuality itself does not exist inherently, but only in relation to the Social Mass, and the objective of the Social Mass is to negate this individuality. It does so by putting itself above it, presenting the Ideal the Mass is based on as an alternative to the complex individuality of the being. Deindividualization arises from the conditions in place. It emerges normally in environments where conflict, competition and limited resources can be found, though it also happens in other contexts; Social Masses of all sorts were established during the epoch of colonization because of the wish for wealth accumulation, not necessarily because of limited resources. Deindividualization is a direct consequence of the socioeconomic conditions in place and socialization: it arises from social ideas and said conditions.
One question that might be left unanswered is why the Social Mass is so easily replicable. Besides being a product of the conditions in place, socialization plays an important role in the propagation of the Social Mass. We are constantly socialized to accept and integrate the Ideal of the Social Mass, as it is made out to be pivotal for the existence of human society. When one gives birth, they are not giving birth to a free and true individual, but to another host to the parasitic Ideal of the Social Mass, another being to be deindividualized within the social context of the collective Mass they inhabit.
The Social Mass is also so deeply ingrained because it offers basic and simplistic statements about the perception of the world. Through the lenses of the Social Mass, we can observe reality in a simple and understandable way. It follows the logic that: There is I, the righteous, and my group, the good, and there is the foreign, the wicked, and the Other, the evil. Many are on my side, and many are on the side of the foreign, and the prevalence of the collective I integrate is paramount not only for my survival but for “good” to win the world.
Furthermore, at least for those masses that do not exist only in relation to another, it offers unfounded but comforting conceptions which aim to please the deindividualized beings. Those who believe themselves superior through the Ideals of Social Mass that are imposed upon them will hardly want to abandon that belief, and thus will categorically refuse to reject these ideas that assert their own superiority, because within the social relations of the Mass their socialization made one unable to regard themselves as “of value” without being in relation to their utility towards the Social Mass. Though the discussion of whether this “individual value” exists is to be had, the Social Mass cripples any form of recognition of self-worth because the worth offered to those living within it is the simple prestige of the Mass. They are prestigious not because of any of their properties, but because of the essence which permeates them, an essence which emanates from the Mass. Through the assertion of what a being considers to be the reality of the Mass, they are able to uphold and proclaim their worth as real, even if this assertion is detrimental to them.
The Ideal of the Social Mass is prefabricated and self-justified. Within a Social Mass, in which a being has undoubtedly lived, the Ideal is offered as the truth behind everything, with fanciful words and beautiful discourse that mean nothing at all, in order to mask its shallow dimension. It asserts its own value and the essential value of those who compose it in order to announce itself as true and “good”. It is, though, almost unquestionable to some, which is why the individual fanaticism of the Social Mass isn’t that rare, even for Social Masses not existing as Volk Masses.
8. THE WORKERS AS SOCIAL MASS
In the domain of Social Massification, the condition of the proletariat and the working class in general is unique. They are, in a certain way, a variation of a Social Mass, but one that has direct relations with the means of production of the society. They express themselves as continuations of Social Mass relationships which existed before. The dominant Social Mass is the point of reference by which the other Social Masses exist; they only exist insofar they aren’t the dominant Social Mass, but also, they aren’t one another.
The Social Masses of the workers and the bourgeoisie manifest themselves all the same through Ideals of the Social Mass, but these Masses are more than the rest dictated by the realities of material conditions in place. Although they do have Ideals applied to them, these vary greatly whereas the definition of the socioeconomic classes is totalizing and global. These socioeconomic classes express themselves not through Ideals, or not primarily, but through the raw economic relationships they uphold. The Ideal of the Bourgeois Mass exists only insofar the bourgeois class aims towards the establishment of a bourgeois society, working within bourgeois values and organization. While the origin of the socially massified relationship between bourgeois and worker is from their relationships with the means of production, and that is what the Mass is based upon instead of an Ideal per se, the Ideal still exists.
We can see Social Masses wane and wax, rise and fall, morph and amalgamate, and social classes do so as well, but in a much more complex form. At the end, most Social Masses who don’t hold the strict socioeconomic relationship that social classes do, and their association with the means of production, are made with the objective of fixing, justifying or obscuring the issue of class struggle: they appear in opposition to it, or as a solution to it. It is thought, for example, that class collaboration can exist within a nationally homogenous societal structure by some, and such a structure is fully dependent on Social Masses to exist. Some other Social Masses emanate from and are created as consequences to the social classes and their relation to Social Massification; such as those created under colonization.
Class issues are often also coopted in order to continue the struggle between masses, in order to allow for a mass to prevail: thus is the problem of a certain strain of nationalism, the nationalism which transforms the fight of bourgeois and proletarian classes into the fight of so-called “bourgeois and proletarian nations”. Though proletarian nationalism is a proposed concept, this strain of nationalism is not related to it, because it has as only objective to assure the prevalence of a certain national Social Mass rather than the right to self-determination, which in itself taps on much more complex Mass relationships.
As I’ve mentioned before, the other characteristic unique to this mass is contained within the relationships between the social classes and their forms as Masses. They are unique in that the dominating Social Mass does not seek to annihilate the classes under it but preserve a relation of hegemony. Though that can be observed elsewhere (especially in the old relations of race, in which the objective was firstly the creation of a subservient Mass instead of its destruction), class is the Mass that has been upholding this relationship the longest. The dominant class does not seek to destroy those which it is dominating, but nonetheless they antagonize them.
The dominant class cannot work towards the annihilation of its subservient masses, because its survival is dependent on them. While this might seem clashing with the concept before proposed of the Social Mass, the relations of Social Mass still exist insofar the dominant class tries to impose its values, ideals and whims upon the class it dominates. The annihilation is not of another Social Mass, but rather of the Ideals they hold. The dominant class walks nonetheless towards the generalization of its own nature.
The Social Mass contained within classes then finds itself as one of, if not the main struggle between Masses, and it is also one of the most arduous and longest conflicts. As Social Masses exist to justify these classes, or often stem from these, it is reasonable to propose that upon the resolution of class struggle, that is, the destruction of classes and thus hegemonic relations and asymmetrical material relationships would lead towards an abolition of the Social Mass as a whole.
Deanimation is, in a sense, the constant and repeating process of deindividualization. It is deindividualization which happens as a cyclic operation rather than a single event or process, differing from the unique procedure which constitutes deindividualization. This procedure that is deindividualization exists with the objective of inserting a being into the Social Mass it derives from, and it can be counteracted even though it might be hard to dos o. It only exists to the extent where it deprioritizes the perceived “individuality” of a being in favor of their seamless insertion within the Social Mass. It is surely a reinforced process, that has its effects reasserted overtime through societal interactions and constant reminders of the nature of the Social Mass. Nevertheless, it happens only as the insertion of the being within the mass, and as such the individual cannot be inserted within the mass repeatedly. It is a single process.
The process of Deanimation is though similar to this process of deindividualization, with the difference that it happens continually and consistently. It a repeating process which constantly and gradually deindividualizes not the “individual being”, but the whole of the society which that being integrates. It negates the idea that any being is a unit within a mass, instead collapsing all the composing parts of the being within the mass, as if the mass was a unique and singular thing, and not an organism of cellular structure. The mass is through deanimation transformed into a homogenous unity. Deanimation consists here of the full integration of the perceived individual within the workings of the Social Mass through the definition of this individual as integrally tied to the mass.
It is a reality which exists alongside the Social Mass, and thus has existed as long as the Social Mass, but it only started becoming a noticeable and distinct process with the conception of humanity formalized during the Renaissance. The conception of humanity was now tied to the human individual, and therefore the institutions made way to accommodate this conception of human. Furthermore, with the Social Mass of the human behind all Social Masses outside of it, Deanimation had finally an open ground in which to work without the collapsing and morphing nature of the Social Mass. It changed the entire framework in which the Social Mass existed, and this new framework allowed for the new arising Ideals to accommodate themselves.
Since then, Deanimation has been a process which has followed deindividualization; that is, the most basic structure of what is considered and understood as a human, therefore a being, has been shifted and altered over time in order to include, exclude or repurpose elements of the Social Mass, not through insertion but assimilation characterized by a complete change of patterns. Deanimation serves not to insert the being in the Social Mass, but to shape the Social Mass and the socialization of a being in such a manner that it can be more easily be inserted within the Social Mass. It changes the patterns in society in order to reify a falsely codependent relationship between beings and Masses.
Deanimation does not entail the “destruction” of an old perception of individuality, it does not mean the individual is socially redefined but rather it experiences as a change in its basic composition, what constitutes an individual. This change is necessary for the development of a Social Mass more efficient and with more potential of propagation. With the enlightenment, the effect of Deanimation was expanded once again, as the ideal of humanity itself shifted towards a more general and more “self-centered” one. The “diversifying” ideals of the enlightenment allowed for the definition of the human to be malleable and adaptable, and thus the phenomenon of shift of composition was more easily applicable.
Deanimation accompanies Deindividualization because, even though the latter is efficient, it is something that happens on an individual and isolated level. It is a manner by which the being is inserted within the Social Mass in the context of their own unique perceived individuality, in an isolated point of view. When compared to Deanimation, this process is rapid, because Deanimation is the procedure of Deindividualization applied both at the perceived “individual” level and the aggregate of societal structures and relations. Deanimation is a generalization of Deindividualization expressed by its effects on the whole of society, as it does what Deindividualization does in large scale, comprehending the whole of individuals and the web of relations they have between themselves.
It is a secondary process because it is, so to say, “slower”. The process of change of the functioning and structuration of society and inter-being relationships is slower than the process to insert the beings in said society. It is driven by Deanimating mechanisms in order to reprogram behavior so deindividualization can be socialized. Deanimation basically creates the framework in which the processes of Deindividualization can manifest; it renders the possibility of Deindividualization real. Deanimation can also, in another level, be regarded as the aggregate of deindividualizing processes within society as they interact among themselves and evolve, but in reality, the whole of Deanimation encompasses Deindividualization.
The role of Deanimation is then to collapse the individual within the Social Mass, completely negating individuality instead of “deprioritizing” it. While Deindividualization would cause the Social Mass to be prioritized in relation to a being’s individuality, in the process of Deanimation this individuality is completely negated and the Social Mass put forward as the only thing to be considered part of the “identity” and understanding of a being about what a being is.
We cannot point out a case in which Deanimation has fully developed its potential and caused beings to completely integrate within the Social Mass, for the reason that the pace of human development has always been faster than the ability of Deanimation to capture individual beings and strip them from any individuality. Deanimation has then never been able to impose itself as the dominating, main process within the structure of Social Massification because it adapts and shifts towards the material conditions and spontaneous socioeconomic changes at a much slower rate than those are generated. Spontaneous changes in society which are not directly tied to or caused by the Social Mass are numerous, and while deindividualization, because it happens in the individual level, can adapt itself in a dynamic manner to compensate for the shifting conditions, Deanimation is the process that happens in a social scale. It does not act only upon the individual but upon the collectivity of the members of a society. There is a coordination problem that disallows Deanimation from imposing itself and fully developing as a primary process of Social Massification. The socialization of the individual as part of the Social Mass is frail and incomplete, which leads to the development of rebellious groups in Social Masses that are not fully in sync with its processes.
Deanimation will then change the basis of the society in which it operates, but it has never done so fully: it operates within the limitations offered by the changing and morphing society and the altering material conditions. It creates the framework in which deindividualization operates, but that framework is prone to be imperfect. We are able to then understand that the Social Masses are not perfectly adjusted to the material conditions, but they have a delay as the deanimating processes try to reach the developmental speed of society, the changes in modes of production, and the various reorganization of socioeconomic relations. Just as most other human social relations, the Social Masses necessitate the development of new strategies of Deanimation, these strategies stemming from the new and transformed premises which exist in the moment.
As the conditions in place (not necessarily meaning the mode of production, but meaning the conditions within the current one), Deanimation must constantly adjust to them as well, and then the process gets stretched. As several breaks and changes in society happen, Deanimation must shape its processes and strategy, adapting in order to express itself through the new institutions that arise.
Deanimation maintains itself in the individual level both through the persistent feelings of otherness and devotion. Within the Social Mass, each deindividualized being experiences those. In the context of Otherness, it must be understood that they still maintain their own individuality, but the Ideal prevails in their manner of being, it stems from the fact they cannot realize the full of their uniqueness. Otherness is the feeling of being foreign to the Mass. Fleeting thoughts or persistent feeling, as each being experiences their individuality, they are in a constant state of perceiving themselves as individuals outside the Social Mass. The deindividualized being perceives that they are not fully part of the Social Mass, that they retain their individuality, but socialized to accept themselves only in the context of the Mass they experience otherness.
Otherness causes a being within a Social Mass to further reject their own individuality. As their individuality makes a being feel inadequate within the context of the Mass, but they’ve been socialized to accept and incorporate the elements of the Mass, what rests is to further discard the individual properties which are not part or directly related to the mass. One would then distance themselves from their own uniqueness in order to comply with the Social Mass and heal the agony of experiencing misplacement and estrangement. This distancing would be expressed by an intense defense of the Social Mass, and constant labor towards fitting within the standards of the Mass. Beings within the Mass, when this one operates with strong enough Deanimation, tend towards their own assimilation.
Devotion, though, acts in the different way. Instead of being domination by fear, by the apprehension of feeling separate and rejected within the Social Mass, it is the domination by the need of pleasing the Social Mass. As a being is led to adore the Social Mass, socialized to understand it as something that must be of utmost importance for their existence, they are also induced to uphold the Social Mass. Homogeneity is important within the Social Mass, and therefore one within the Social Mass must preach homogeneity. Only so and such beings are to integrate the Social Mass, and they’re to do this and that, all with the objective of upholding the Social Mass. It creates the desire for homogeneity, through the imposition of this one. Homogeneity thus becomes compulsory.
The processes of Deanimation and Deindividualization both arise from the conditions in existence; they exist because of the necessity of their existence based on this condition. For example, a Social Mass might form in order to protect the integrity of a group in face of a challenge. That does not mean Deanimation and Deindividualization are inherent to society, but that they arose from the conditions in place. Perhaps their existence is not necessary under the conditions in place, but they’re the continuations of the time in which their formation was necessary. Even if competition and scarcity is not an issue of primary relevance, and the Social Mass is not necessary for the survival of the group, it reproduces itself in adaptation to the conditions in existence.
It is also important to understand that the Social Masses affect reactions towards the premises in existence. A particularly strong Social Mass thrived in Germany after it was economically crushed due to its defeat in the First World War. The Social Mass that thrived in Germany was a reaction against an “outside threat”, in times of global tension. As there was an identifiable enemy against which this Mass was fighting, and these tensions were high with the rise of Masses alike all over Europe (with the rise of nationalism and the such), this one quickly edified the institutions to protect itself. The reactions of people towards the conditions which they were experiencing were in direct relation to the Social Mass, to the massified thinking and idealization of the protection of a collective from a foreign, hostile force. The effect of this Social Mass was then to eliminate anything that wasn’t understood to be within it. It had to create terrain for its own expansion, and for its own reproduction. It did so by attacking the groups already targeted by the perception of them as foreign to the Social Mass which lived under the institutions created by this one.
This remarkable reactivity towards the conditions in existence confirm the relationship between them and the Masses. Massification is born from the conditions in which they first appear, and they shift and change in order to assure their own continued existence within different contexts. It also highlights the capability of a Social Mass; Deanimation at a large scale, in rapid progression, sparkled during the rise of the German Social Mass after the First World War, conflating the collective that formed with the Social Mass and the Social Mass itself in an unparalleled manner. The conditions in existence, thus, have a role on how Deanimation spreads. This process can be accentuated and reaffirmed by them, effectually capturing all the beings and all the institutions within it. The premises in existence can be thus weaponized for the development of the Social Mass.
The conditions under Capitalism have found a way to weaponize Deanimation. Whereas the conditions were before used to justify and assert Deanimation, now Capitalism has efficiently created a manner through which it can use the processes of Deanimation to assert itself. Deanimation is thus now not only a process used by the Social Mass, but a process used by Capitalism itself for the formation of its own Social Masses. These conditions also allowed for deindividualization to become more of a secondary process, happening still as a necessity for the formation of the Social Mass but at a lesser priority. As a single process, deindividualization allows for the possibility of the deindividualized being to recapture their individuality and, in a way, “reconnect” with their sense of an individual self. A being in the position of a worker could observe themselves as a person outside of their position as a worker, and this awareness lead them to the opposition to the Social Mass. It is one of the reasons why the proletarian class tends towards self-abolition. Whereas they are a Social Mass dependent on the existence of another one to dominate them, that is, the Social Mass of the “working class” can only exist as long as the bourgeois mass exist. As all Social masses have as a goal to impose and propagate themselves, the imposition of the power of the “working class” over the bourgeois class would mean a destruction of what makes the Social Mass of Workers that which it is. However, the awareness of the proletarian stems from the fact they can see themselves as separate from their societal role as workers. As the perception of the workers as beings by themselves prevail, the self-abolitionary character of the worker Mass is revealed. Deanimation, though, can be much harder to negate; the tendency of imposition of the working class as the domineering power might keep on, but it is doomed to fail as the existence of “workers” is dependent on the existence of “non-workers”.
Deanimation changes our social patterns in forms we cannot immediately identify nor point out. We are imprisoned within the system, and any patterns which happen to shift or reprogram might go unnoticed for the fact that, while it is something that comes from our societal interactions and relations, they are observable in larger scale and they are triggered by our own adaptations to the Mass. These changes of patterns are thus not forced but organic reactions to the conditions of Capitalism to which we seamlessly acclimate. It is also a process that is continuous, happening not once and not only in the context of the capture of the being in the Social Mass but during the whole process of living within the Social Mass. The Social Mass is though not inescapable because of this: Changes in patterns are not unpredictable, as they do not come from beyond us but are direct reactions to material conditions which we can observe, and they are slow societal processes. Though they might seem sudden and all-encompassing, they are slow and spreading adjustments.
Capitalist Deanimation, especially but not only during the era of neoliberalism, has greatly changed the patterns by which our societal structures operate. Nowadays, our interactions are not mutual between individuals nor simply societal but tied like a global web englobed by Capitalism. Our decisions and our actions are made with the pure objective of perpetuating Capitalism, should we be for or against it. Even if we do not notice, our actions are engineered towards allowing for its expansion and proliferation. The social relations we uphold haven’t been “subtracted” of genuineness, but simply been integrated into the gears and workings of Capitalism. There was no genuineness taken away about the act of talking with a friend, having tea at the bakery or going to attend the game of your favorite baseball team, but the implications and the objectives of these actions within the societal structure have been assimilated in such a way they are unconscious moves towards the continuation of the system in place. It is done so that most of our actions have no other objective than perpetuating and reproducing Capitalism.
Capital presents itself as the Ideal, using the same tactic as the Social Masses. It creates its own enemy to justify its existence, and this enemy is a strawman of “totalitarianism”, the lack of the civilization, and the unknown. It is thought that Capitalism is the last system that works because it presents itself as a totalizing and universal reality which cannot be challenged or contradicted lest it falls and gives rise to something viler and more opposable. Capital creates unconsciously a fear of the Outside, of whatever finds itself to be beyond the boundaries of Capital, accommodating the beings within its framework not through adoration but fear what is Outside. What is external, foreign and unknown, the proverbial deadlands beyond the borders of Capital, is what compels us to protect it. Many of those not benefited by it may adore it, surely, but this adoration comes from the conception Capitalism is what protects us. Capital is not necessarily to be loved and praised, but to be understood as a “necessary evil”, a system we need to protect us from that which is outside of it. Within Capital, the ideology which propagates is the one that says we should never contradict or challenge it; because it has taught us all about the evil and bizarre world beyond it, a reality from which it can protect us, as long as we are willing to give up ourselves to its total control. In sum, under Capital, and under the ideology of Capitalism, we are reduced to sentient gears fearing what might happen should the machine break down.
Deanimation is able to collapse us within the workings of Capital because it creates the idea that Capitalism is the last resort for a functional society, and that idea is adopted by most as an automatic reaction, incentivized by our socialization within Capital and triggered by our reactive fear of the Outside, the fear of what is external to Capital. In such a way, even many “anti-capitalists” can’t help but adapt their ideas and their conceptions to the functional framework of Capitalism. “Anti-capitalism” has largely been coopted not as a way to oppose Capitalism but mitigate part of the damage it does. It has become in the conception of many as a way to fix the permanent and immanent problems of Capital; and even if those “anti-capitalists” dream of a post-capitalist world, the necessity of fixing these unfixable issues comes first, as such that the task of fixing them is indefinite and eternal, and Capital continues to thrive as they are moved towards trying to continue the perpetual task of solving its problems. Though the sphere of Anti-Capitalism is large, and that which acts in opposition to capital exists, several of the “anti-capitalisms” will often translate themselves to the upkeeping of Capital.
The fact is that through extensive conditioning with the processes of Deanimation, we have been led to accept and fully adopt the view that anything external and differing from what currently exists is unimaginably worse in comparison. Id does not need to be described and shown, but it is almost an instinctive knowledge. “Capitalism is terrible, but what alternative we have?” is said by many of those who describe themselves against the horrors of the exploitation of Capitalism. It has indeed made itself out to be the natural order, the last development of human society that needs to be eternally embraced for the sake of our own protection.
Capitalism, in this way, presents itself as an exploitation of the Social Mass, and obviously so. It is, after all, one of the various consequences of the breaks and processes (such as the enlightenment) which led to the institutionalization and rapid development of the Social Mass. It has found a way to exploit the mechanics behind the Social Mass for the benefit of its own propagation and expansion. Instead of capturing external and unreliable masses to make the bulk of its existence as a main process, it simply absorbs them into its own unique Mass, which though possibly having infighting and conflict within keeps going towards the maintenance of Capitalism as the dominating power.
10. REMARKS & CONCLUSION
A problem with this model can be the question: where does a certain Social Mass ends, and another begins? Better yet, where does the being end, and the Social Mass it belongs to begin? There exists a problem of delimitation. There isn’t an exact definition that says when an individual belongs or not to a certain Social Mass, as though they are based on sets of “shared characteristics” the scope of these sets might vary. Certain institutions might try to define what constitutes someone who is part of the Social Mass, but even then, that is not failproof. It is not because the French government recognizes an American with a French passport as French that the social structure of the French Mass will accept this one as French. They may though accept someone of French descendance, speaker of a French language, and with knowledge of the French customs, but none of the institutional recognition, as someone who integrates the French Mass. This characterizes the Mass as something malleable.
It would then be that the Mass depends on a series of factors. A Mass does not exist only because such individual has such characteristics. It would exist based on region, and societal standing of a certain being, and a series of other factors that affect how someone is seen within a mass. But these factors all emanate from a same place: from the Social Mass in itself. There surely are two problems of delineation: one about the boundary between the being and the Mass, the other about the inclusion within the Mass.
The second problem is the most pressing, though. The problem lies simply on the fact that I failed to characterize, in this text, the changing and shifting nature of the Social Mass. It is, indeed, an error to present it as something binary, within the scope of is-or-isn’t. The Social Mass is not only a thing, but an extensive process, and though there are things that can be said to be surely within it and surely outside of it, the Social Mass has unclear and changing boundaries, gradients that morph and alter. That which is, today, part of the Social Mass, might not be so tomorrow. Assimilation does that, surely, but also adaptation, movement.
A Social Mass is, like all things in the universe, something moving. It is not only moving, but it is living, it breathes, it reproduces, it consumes. It cannot be characterized as a set of yes-or-no questions, is-or-isn’t definitions. Changing, fluctuating, transforming, that’s all which a Social Mass does. It does so while restricted; the organic social group does all of this, in a much “freer” way. It still does so, though. The Social Mass is not to be regarded as something singular, a thing structured around another thing, but as multiple, with myriads of facets and definitions.
¹ One argument could be made that, as an example, the projected view of Proletarian Internationalism offered by the Bolshevik current, tries to transform the Artificial Ideal into a social group of organic matter. This one does not qualify as such an act. The idea of Proletarian Internationalism is the advocacy of the self determination of peoples, but this frees the identity of peoples from the burden of being nations as they are seen nowadays. The peoples are not expansive groups, and in proletarian internationalism they’re not in eternal competition and fight, but it’s a collaboration between differing social groups. Said idea might or might not hold true, but it is an example of how even in this sense there can be no nation that is rescued. In this theory, even the nation loses its expansive, dichotomizing and isolate character to become a social group linked to other social groups in webs of mutual upholding. The rescuing of the nation in the Bolshevik conception of Proletarian Internationalism is not rescuing it but rather completely changing the nature by which social groups interact.