Tuesday, September 6, 2016

You can do it? No you cannot. A take on how neoliberalism influences resistance

Dear Diaries,

Okay that was a joke, i don't have a diary, but i do have rants, a lot of them. This rant is a very old one, it emerged as i dug deeper in unpacking the mechanism in which neoliberalism orchestrate the way we think about life. This rant is about quotes, motivational quotes in specific. Let me tell you one thing about motivational quotes, they fucking get on my nerves so badly, and i am going to tell you why:

Our imagination of how to live is assembled pieces of what we have been exposed to, ideas, situation, life experiences, neighborhoods, smells, ideologies, anything can  play a role in how we imagine our lives, but a very important aspect of what dictates our social aspiration in terms of our economic class  - as in climbing up the class ladder if we ever could - is highly influenced by quotes. Whether intentionally or not, motivational quotes centralize our economic status within ourselves. In order to make my point clear here's an example: You Can Do It.

Who doesn't know this quote, it is small, simple and it motivates you. Imagine yourself being exploited by the capitalist load of production (and by load i mean load and not only mode - them rhyming is a pure coincidence for the lack of better term) load as in the pressure to produce all the time. But then sometimes you can't do it. No you can't do it most of the times if you are born from a working class family within a capitalist economical system that is built on sustaining class hierarchy.

My problem with this quote and the rest its quotes relatives from its type is that it removes the blame from a structural system that is entrenched in our everyday life and spill the blame on you. You could not do it, then it is your fault. You might have been too lazy, or even a looser. It is not capitalism's fault anymore, it is you who is a looser, who did could not climb up the class ladder, you probably were not smart enough, didn't get exploited enough or figured a way to exploit other people enough to climb the class ladder. The origin of the problem in your head becomes yourself, rather than acknowledging that there is an economical system set in place that does not allow people to out grow their class. The problem with this mode of thinking is that it shys away from looking at privilege, circumstance, color, location, geographies, it just erases everything and puts human being in the center of blame: you failed because of you not because of capitalism.

Another quote would be if you can dream it, you can do it. So what now, everybody who is poor lacks imagination? What else other than food on your table and a roof above your head will you be dreaming about if you are homeless and hungry?

There are billions of motivational quote that are rotating around the internet, in paper books, in PDFs, on TV, in ad campaigns, on the radio, etc. Look at the T-shirt you are wearing, it might have one of those. We are drowned in them, immersed, soaked with those quotes, and have you ever wondered why? And most importantly how did we get here aslan (this is an arabic word it means in the first place but it is more compatible with expressing my rage)?

So let me go back to my point about neoliberalism. One of the conclusions i reached after reading a lot of literature about neoliberalism is that its most vicious traits is that it can infiltrate our imagination and become part of how we view life. Through those motivational quotes, neoliberalism (and not as an abstract hand but as a system with very multi functional structures that are institutionalized in our lives) influence our sense of resistance against capitalism by constantly feeding us those quotes that situate us in the center of the blame thus our attention is shifted from fighting capitalism to actually diving into it. Becoming part of it, aspiring to climb the class ladder, get richer, work more, invest our bodies and minds and imagination in endless labor because someone decided to tell us: we can do it, and if we dream it, we can do it.

So now you will be thinking, but some people did it. Of course, a very small number of them because they figured out how to exploit other people's labor value. duh!

It is 1 am, i am having one of my intense insomniac fits again for almost two month now, which is why i am unable to properly write in length, but i am thankfully still able to think, and i thought maybe someone out there is as frustrated as i am with those bullshit malicious motivational quotes and would feel better if they read that someone else is also ranting about them.

When i said this is a rant, i meant it is because this is just an opinion that gather connections rather than references for it to become a valid academic argument, but that should never discredit it i guess.

One day i want to turn this into a paper, don't ask when, but until then, until we meet again in some rant.




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