Beyond consciousness-raising?

Feminists and atheists have implemented the concept of consciousness-raising as a means of describing the aim of public activities. To wit, feminists attempt to raise consciousness about gender inequality that we would otherwise not see through a social filter of acceptable and unacceptable behaviour. Atheists also have raised consciousness about the unliklihood of a deity and implications of religious worship.

I do not think that consciousness raising should be an end goal. Hyperexposure to consciousness-raising tends to lead to some rather drastic and/or ridiculous situations. For examples, animal rights gave us ALF and PETA, the plight of the worker led to socialism and practically all ‘consciousness-raising’ religious groups create some new tomfoolery. The strength of these new institutions probably has something to do with the reduced reactionary capacity of the rest of the society- their consciousness not being adequately raised to counter radical outlooks. It also probably has something to do with missing the point of consciousness-raising. For these groups and others, their stance from one instance of consciousness-raising has become the final point, and the most important one at that. Rather than look outwardly into other places where conscioussness-raising may occur, they give up and sit in their own little space.

In any case, the end goal for worthwhile movements and institutions should not be to raise consciousness, but rather go one step further and make their issues an unconscious position, automatically selected. A good creator of consciousness-raising also directs their audience to think for themselves and to investigate other facets. This is why the truly revolutionary ideas tend to have socially changing effects.

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~ by freeze43 on March 31, 2011.

One Response to “Beyond consciousness-raising?”

  1. I think you’re confusing consciousness-raising with advocacy. Raising awareness of the suffering of animals is consciousness-raising, while campaigning for the end of factory farming is advocacy; pointing out that women are treated differently to men is consciousness-raising, while telling people they should treat both sexes identically is advocacy.

    You say that the end goal of a movement should be to “make their issues an unconscious position, automatically selected”. As this is the method of dictators and cult leaders, I would not want to be part of any such movement. Maybe you’re trying to say something like: “An effective movement is able to challenge the social and cultural forces which maintain the standard position as the default choice”. Consciousness-raising is often an important step towards this.

    You seem to contradict yourself with the next claim: “A good creator of consciousness-raising also directs their audience to think for themselves and to investigate other facets.” That’s more like it. Consciousness-raising is about getting people to think about things they’ve never thought of before. It’s a good and often necessary foundation for advocacy, but the two shouldn’t be conflated.

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