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Apple-tab-span {white-space:pre}As time goes by, political thought revolutionizes due to the role criticism has played in political life. One of the main critiques about political life is the way in which evolution has been portrayed. Paul Ricoeur developed the phrase “hermeneutics of suspicion” to portray the unique writings of Karl Marx, Friedrich Nietzsche, and Sigmund Freud.

This phrase highlights Marx’s’, Nietzsche’s, and Freud’s depictions of the harsh and negative truths that are overlooked either in oneself or throughout history but yet influenced the modern period. The three thinkers may have had varying aspects that they each focused on when engaging with criticism but, through their work one is able to see their suspicions on truths that were too obvious, and instead look for the truths that have been forgotten or overlooked due to the negative connotations they represent. Through their use of hermeneutic suspicions the three thinkers have influenced Western intellectuals to question politics and other aspects of their daily life closely in order to find the root of the pathologies in our political discourse. The thinkers critiques of commodity fetichism, genealogy, the uncanny is an approach to fixing these pathologies.  Karl Marx was one of the first thinkers to critique political life by criticizing the role economy has in politics.

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In his text Capital, Marx brings up the theory of commodity fetichism. He defines commodity fetichism when he states, “the relations connecting the labour of one individual with that of the rest appear, not as direct social relations between individuals at work, but as what they really are, material relations (Marx 29).”  In his text Marx is criticizing the social relation commodities have in a capitalist society, where humans no longer value the labor that makes a commodity instead they believe there is value in the commodity itself. This is seen when the exchange value of a commodity is dependent on the usefulness of the commodities being exchanged. Due to this thinking workers are separated from their work and no longer have control of their labor since it is no longer taken into consideration in the exchange value of the commodity they created. This then leads to the elimination of social relations among workers, because it makes them seem as they have no role in the working class because they don’t even have a say or representation in what they produce.

In his earlier text, The Communist Manifesto, Marx shows an example of the results commodity fetishism has produced. During the industrial revolution he stated that the Proletariat class was going to fight to destroy the system of class exploitation and destroy the Bourgeoise class. This highlights Marx’s notion that throughout history there has been a perception of one class exploiting another, that is possible only until technology leaves no more incentive for exploitation and causes a revolution. Marx argues that the capitalist notion of commodities and their exchange values have impacted the way society is structured today which can be compared to Nietzsche’s notion that our theory of the genealogy of bad conscience has also impacted the way in which we act. Both thinkers use historical approaches to criticize the political life of today due to the lasting impact of societal structures, Freud on the other hand brings up the theory of how psychoanalysis can also impact political life.

  Friedrich Nietzsche’s use of a historical approach is alike to Marx except that he used it to critique the concept of justice in modern political life. Nietzsche believed that there was nothing that wasn’t available for interpretation, which is why he decides to interpret the genealogy of morals. Nietzsche defines genealogy as the changes that have happened in history, and how we have a relationship with forgetting about those changes. He highlights that the concept of justice began with the pleasure people took in the suffering of others, and how this act has been suppressed. In his text, Genealogy of Morals, Marx looks closely at the harsh beginnings of morals by explaining the way promises were forced to be kept because of the consequences suffered after not keeping a promise. He does this by stating, “In this sphere of legal obligations, then, the moral conceptual world of ‘debt’, ‘conscience’, ‘duty’, ‘sacred duty’, has its breeding ground – all began with a thorough and prolonged bloodletting (Nietzsche 41).” This exemplifies Nietzsche’s method of historical approach by revealing that if people did not keep a promise they were in debt, and that debt was paid off with a punishment.

This means that the creditor was paid back with the pleasure of seeing his debtor suffer. Nietzsche then arises the theory of genealogy regarding bad conscience, and states that since the beginning of time hunter gatherers have been suppressed of their natural animal instincts which led to the creation of a bad conscience in ourselves. His critique regarding the concept of justice in modern political life stems due to this suppression of animal instincts. His solution is not to return to our animal instincts, but instead fight against that bad conscience so we are not shameful of ourselves because this leads to resentment. Nietzsche explains how creating acts of punishments led to the evolvement of morally correct societal actions, whereas Freud says that no matter what, no human is capable of ruling themselves or others as we are not always aware of our actions due to the unconscious mind.

  Just like the other thinkers of hermeneutics of suspicion, Sigmund Freud highlighted issues that society had suppressed, his focus was on the relationship between the unconscious and conscious mind. In his work of, The Uncanny, Freud critiques the issue that due to our unconscious mind we are not capable of ruling as it can lead to moments of uncertainty. Freud defines the uncanny as, “that class of the terrifying which leads back to something long known to us, once very familiar (Freud 1-2).

” This means that the uncanny is the feeling of fear when seeing something that we think of as familiar. According to Freud the reason for this is due to the fact that it may have to do with something that occurred in the past and our unconscious mind made us suppress it. Freud decided to test his method by having patients lay down, feel relaxed, and remembering past events that deem “traumatic,” this method later became know as the psychoanalytic method. Doing this Freud was able to prove that each human has a distinct experience regarding the world because of our distinct past experiences, that we had surpassed and were not aware of.  Freud uses the uncanny as a solution to improving negative experiences with the surrounding world, by uncovering those traumatic events and not creating a feeling of fear whenever encountered, to avoid negative actions. Freud understands that sometimes in order to continue with our everyday lives we need to suppress thoughts but the feeling of uncertainty when in contact with uncanniness, makes him fear political consequences which is why he creates his “talk therapy” sessions. Freud looks at the internal structures that were once overlooked as an “illness” in order to offer a better understanding of why humans have different understandings of the world. His critique allows to conclude the idea that no human is ever predictable because of the uncertainties that our unconscious mind can produce.

But, Freud’s psychoanalytic method helps offers a solution to fix problems in political life and thus avoid moments of uncanniness.  Marx and Nietzsche critique the way that societal structures have impacted modern political life, while Freud critiques that internal experiences also have shaped political life. They each distinctly offer historical approaches in order to better understand and uncover the root of the problems in political life and how to address them.