The word ‘man’ is used here as a generic term to refer to both men and women.
which rises a legal and political superstructure and to which correspond definite forms of social consciousness” (4). Likewise, Marx understands Hegel to “mystify” the relationship of the state to man. He criticizes Hegel for giving the state an “independent existence” from the people who create the state, “as if the actual state were not the people” (18). He goes on, instead, to advocate the idea that the state must be understood as “an abstraction.” As he writes, “the people alone is what is concrete” (18). To understand how man became alienated from his “true” self, Marx argues, man must be understood at his essence. He writes that man in his natural state, as a “species being,” is an individual who consciously engages in life-activity. For man, conscious life-activity goes beyond merely maintaining one’s physical state. As Marx asserts, “Man produces even when he is free from physical need…[H]e duplicates himself not only, as in consciousness, intellectually, but also actively, in reality, and therefore he contemplates himself in a world that he has created” (76). He goes on to argue that estranging man from this free productivity essentially alienates him from his true form. Thus, Marx turns his attention from the spiritual sites of analysis that his philosophical predecessors focused upon, and turns to the question of how man became estranged from his “species being” state of free production. He accomplishes this, in the “Economic and Philosophic Manuscripts of 1844” (1844 Manuscripts), by presenting a macro or societal viewpoint and showing the negative consequences that capitalism engendered in men, whereby they no longer felt connected to themselves, their social and familial relations, and society as a whole (74-75).
Marx writes that in past, non-capitalistic economic systems— for example, feudal society— a man worked for himself and produced and made what he needed for himself and his family, while trading on a...