Frases de Henri Lefebvre

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Henri Lefebvre

Fecha de nacimiento: 16. Junio 1901
Fecha de muerte: 29. Junio 1991

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Henri Lefebvre fue un filósofo y sociólogo de orientación marxista que debido a sus investigaciones suele ser reconocido a su vez como geógrafo y critico literario. Su obra intenta responder a las preguntas abiertas por el pensamiento de Karl Marx, Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel y Friedrich Nietzsche respecto al análisis del mundo moderno. Sus principales líneas de investigación se centran en el estudio del Capitalismo, la Crítica de la vida cotidiana y la Producción del espacio, este último, un concepto acuñado por el autor que intenta dar cuenta de la forma en que se expresa la reproducción social de todas las distintas experiencias sociales. La principal propuesta política del autor se enfoca en lo que denomina el Derecho a la ciudad, la cual aboga por la capacidad y necesidad de las sociedades a producir conscientemente su espacio .

Frases Henri Lefebvre

„Castles, palaces, cathedrals, fortresses, all speak in their various ways of the greatness and the strength of the people who built them and against whom they were built.“

— Henri Lefebvre
Context: Everything great and splendid is founded on power and wealth. They are the basis of beauty. This is why the rebel and the anarchic protester who decries all of history and all the works of past centuries because he sees in them only the skills and the threat of domination is making a mistake. He sees alienated forms, but not the greatness within. The rebel can only see to the end of his own ‘private’ consciousness, which he levels against everything human, confusing the oppressors with the oppressed masses, who were nevertheless the basis and the meaning of history and past works. Castles, palaces, cathedrals, fortresses, all speak in their various ways of the greatness and the strength of the people who built them and against whom they were built. This real greatness shines through the fake grandeur of rulers and endows these buildings with a lasting ‘beauty’. The bourgeoisie is alone in having given its buildings a single, over-obvious meaning, impoverished, deprived of reality: that meaning is abstract wealth and brutal domination; that is why it has succeeded in producing perfect ugliness and perfect vulgarity. The man who denigrates the past, and who nearly always denigrates the present and the future as well, cannot understand this dialectic of art, this dual character of works and of history. He does not even sense it. Protesting against bourgeois stupidity and oppression, the anarchic individualist is enclosed in ‘private’ consciousness, itself a product of the bourgeois era, and no longer understands human power and the community upon which that power is founded. The historical forms of this community, from the village to the nation, escape him. He is, and only wants to be, a human atom (in the scientifically archaic sense of the word, where ‘atom’ meant the lowest isolatable reality). By following alienation to its very extremes he is merely playing into the hands of the bourgeoisie. Embryonic and unconscious, this kind of anarchism is very widespread. There is a kind of revolt, a kind of criticism of life, that implies and results in the acceptance of this life as the only one possible. As a direct consequence this attitude precludes any understanding of what is humanly possible.

„Everything great and splendid is founded on power and wealth.“

— Henri Lefebvre
Context: Everything great and splendid is founded on power and wealth. They are the basis of beauty. This is why the rebel and the anarchic protester who decries all of history and all the works of past centuries because he sees in them only the skills and the threat of domination is making a mistake. He sees alienated forms, but not the greatness within. The rebel can only see to the end of his own ‘private’ consciousness, which he levels against everything human, confusing the oppressors with the oppressed masses, who were nevertheless the basis and the meaning of history and past works. Castles, palaces, cathedrals, fortresses, all speak in their various ways of the greatness and the strength of the people who built them and against whom they were built. This real greatness shines through the fake grandeur of rulers and endows these buildings with a lasting ‘beauty’. The bourgeoisie is alone in having given its buildings a single, over-obvious meaning, impoverished, deprived of reality: that meaning is abstract wealth and brutal domination; that is why it has succeeded in producing perfect ugliness and perfect vulgarity. The man who denigrates the past, and who nearly always denigrates the present and the future as well, cannot understand this dialectic of art, this dual character of works and of history. He does not even sense it. Protesting against bourgeois stupidity and oppression, the anarchic individualist is enclosed in ‘private’ consciousness, itself a product of the bourgeois era, and no longer understands human power and the community upon which that power is founded. The historical forms of this community, from the village to the nation, escape him. He is, and only wants to be, a human atom (in the scientifically archaic sense of the word, where ‘atom’ meant the lowest isolatable reality). By following alienation to its very extremes he is merely playing into the hands of the bourgeoisie. Embryonic and unconscious, this kind of anarchism is very widespread. There is a kind of revolt, a kind of criticism of life, that implies and results in the acceptance of this life as the only one possible. As a direct consequence this attitude precludes any understanding of what is humanly possible.

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„There is nothing more unbearable than the intellectual who believes himself to be free and human, while in every action, gesture, word and thought he shows that he has never stepped beyond bourgeois consciousness.“

— Henri Lefebvre
Context: It is through knowledge that the proletarian liberates himself and begins actively superseding his condition. Moreover in this effort to attain knowledge and awareness, he is forced to assimilate complex theories (economic, social, political...), i. e. to integrate the loftiest findings of science and culture into his own consciousness. On the other hand the petty bourgeois and bourgeois, as such, are barred access to the human. For them to become humanized, they must break with themselves, reject themselves, an endeavor which on an individual level is frequently real and pathetic … We should understand men in a human way, even if they are incomplete; conditions are not confined within precise, geometrically defined boundaries, but are the result of a multitude of obstinate and ever-repeated (everyday) causes. Attempts to escape from the bourgeois condition are not particularly rare; on the other hand, the failure of such attempts are virtually inevitable, precisely because it is not so much a question of suppression but of a complete break. (Among intellectuals, this notion of super session is frequently false and harmful; when they supersede themselves as petty-bourgeois or bourgeois intellectuals, they are often merely continuing in the same direction and following their own inclinations in the belief that they are 'superseding themselves'. So far from gaining a new consciousness, they are merely making the old one worse. There is nothing more unbearable than the intellectual who believes himself to be free and human, while in every action, gesture, word and thought he shows that he has never stepped beyond bourgeois consciousness.)

„The 'meaning' of life is not to be found in anything other than that life itself.“

— Henri Lefebvre
Context: The 'meaning' of life is not to be found in anything other than that life itself. It is within it, and there is nothing beyond that. 'Meaning' cannot spill over from being; it is the direction, the movement of being, and nothing more. The 'meaning' of a proletarian's life is to be found in that life itself: in its despair, or conversely in its movement towards freedom, if the proletarian participates in the life of the proletariat, and if that life involves continuous, day-to-day action (trade-union, political...).

„There is a kind of revolt, a kind of criticism of life, that implies and results in the acceptance of this life as the only one possible. As a direct consequence this attitude precludes any understanding of what is humanly possible.“

— Henri Lefebvre
Context: Everything great and splendid is founded on power and wealth. They are the basis of beauty. This is why the rebel and the anarchic protester who decries all of history and all the works of past centuries because he sees in them only the skills and the threat of domination is making a mistake. He sees alienated forms, but not the greatness within. The rebel can only see to the end of his own ‘private’ consciousness, which he levels against everything human, confusing the oppressors with the oppressed masses, who were nevertheless the basis and the meaning of history and past works. Castles, palaces, cathedrals, fortresses, all speak in their various ways of the greatness and the strength of the people who built them and against whom they were built. This real greatness shines through the fake grandeur of rulers and endows these buildings with a lasting ‘beauty’. The bourgeoisie is alone in having given its buildings a single, over-obvious meaning, impoverished, deprived of reality: that meaning is abstract wealth and brutal domination; that is why it has succeeded in producing perfect ugliness and perfect vulgarity. The man who denigrates the past, and who nearly always denigrates the present and the future as well, cannot understand this dialectic of art, this dual character of works and of history. He does not even sense it. Protesting against bourgeois stupidity and oppression, the anarchic individualist is enclosed in ‘private’ consciousness, itself a product of the bourgeois era, and no longer understands human power and the community upon which that power is founded. The historical forms of this community, from the village to the nation, escape him. He is, and only wants to be, a human atom (in the scientifically archaic sense of the word, where ‘atom’ meant the lowest isolatable reality). By following alienation to its very extremes he is merely playing into the hands of the bourgeoisie. Embryonic and unconscious, this kind of anarchism is very widespread. There is a kind of revolt, a kind of criticism of life, that implies and results in the acceptance of this life as the only one possible. As a direct consequence this attitude precludes any understanding of what is humanly possible.

„It is through knowledge that the proletarian liberates himself and begins actively superseding his condition.“

— Henri Lefebvre
Context: It is through knowledge that the proletarian liberates himself and begins actively superseding his condition. Moreover in this effort to attain knowledge and awareness, he is forced to assimilate complex theories (economic, social, political...), i. e. to integrate the loftiest findings of science and culture into his own consciousness. On the other hand the petty bourgeois and bourgeois, as such, are barred access to the human. For them to become humanized, they must break with themselves, reject themselves, an endeavor which on an individual level is frequently real and pathetic … We should understand men in a human way, even if they are incomplete; conditions are not confined within precise, geometrically defined boundaries, but are the result of a multitude of obstinate and ever-repeated (everyday) causes. Attempts to escape from the bourgeois condition are not particularly rare; on the other hand, the failure of such attempts are virtually inevitable, precisely because it is not so much a question of suppression but of a complete break. (Among intellectuals, this notion of super session is frequently false and harmful; when they supersede themselves as petty-bourgeois or bourgeois intellectuals, they are often merely continuing in the same direction and following their own inclinations in the belief that they are 'superseding themselves'. So far from gaining a new consciousness, they are merely making the old one worse. There is nothing more unbearable than the intellectual who believes himself to be free and human, while in every action, gesture, word and thought he shows that he has never stepped beyond bourgeois consciousness.)

„But it is equally possible to follow this link in another direction, taking real life as the point of departure in an investigation of how the ideas which express it and the forms of consciousness which reflect it emerge.“

— Henri Lefebvre
Context: The method of Marx and Engels consists precisely in a search for the link which exists between what men think, desire, say and believe for themselves and what they are, what they do. This link always exists. It can be explored in two directions. On the one hand, the historian or the man of action can proceed from ideas to men, from consciousness to being - i. e. towards practical, everyday reality - bringing the two into confrontation and thereby achieving archieving criticism of ideas by action and realities. That is the direction which Marx and Engels nearly always followed in everything they wrote; and it is the direction which critical and constructive method must follow initially if it is to take a demonstrable shape and achieve results. But it is equally possible to follow this link in another direction, taking real life as the point of departure in an investigation of how the ideas which express it and the forms of consciousness which reflect it emerge. The link, or rather the network of links between the two poles will prove to be complex. It must be unravelled, the thread must be carefully followed. In this way we can arrive at a criticism of life by ideas which in a sense extends and completes the first procedure.

„The method of Marx and Engels consists precisely in a search for the link which exists between what men think, desire, say and believe for themselves and what they are, what they do.“

— Henri Lefebvre
Context: The method of Marx and Engels consists precisely in a search for the link which exists between what men think, desire, say and believe for themselves and what they are, what they do. This link always exists. It can be explored in two directions. On the one hand, the historian or the man of action can proceed from ideas to men, from consciousness to being - i. e. towards practical, everyday reality - bringing the two into confrontation and thereby achieving archieving criticism of ideas by action and realities. That is the direction which Marx and Engels nearly always followed in everything they wrote; and it is the direction which critical and constructive method must follow initially if it is to take a demonstrable shape and achieve results. But it is equally possible to follow this link in another direction, taking real life as the point of departure in an investigation of how the ideas which express it and the forms of consciousness which reflect it emerge. The link, or rather the network of links between the two poles will prove to be complex. It must be unravelled, the thread must be carefully followed. In this way we can arrive at a criticism of life by ideas which in a sense extends and completes the first procedure.

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„Socialism, when it attempts to predict or imagine the future (which Marx refused to do, since he conceived of a path, not a model), provides us merely with an improved form of labor (salaries and material conditions on the job).“

— Henri Lefebvre
Henri Lefebvre (1970/2003) The Urban Revolution p. 110. Variant: Marx... conceived of a path, not a model. As cited in: "Anti-Capitalist Meet Up: Henri Lefebvre looks out into space" at dailykos.com, 2012.04.29

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