Marx's theory of alienation
Karl Marx's theory of alienation describes the estrangement (German: Entfremdung) of people from aspects of their Gattungswesen (“species-essence”) as a consequence of living in a society stratified into social classes. The alienation from the self is a consequence of being a mechanistic part of a social class, which condition estranges a person from their humanity.The theoretic basis of alienation, within the capitalist mode of production, is that the worker invariably loses the ability to determine his or her life and destiny, when deprived of the right to think (conceive) of himself as the director of his actions; to determine the character of said actions; to define relationships with other people; and to own the things and use the value of the goods and services, produced with his or her labour. Although the worker is an autonomous, self-realised human being, as an economic entity, he or she is directed to goals and diverted to activities that are dictated by the bourgeoisie, who own the means of production, in order to extract from the worker the maximum amount of surplus value, in the course of business competition among industrialists.Karl Marx expressed the Entfremdung theory, of estrangement from the self, in the Economic and Philosophic Manuscripts of 1844 (1927). Philosophically, the theory of Entfremdung relies upon The Essence of Christianity (1841), by Ludwig Feuerbach, which states that the idea of a supernatural “God” has alienated the natural characteristics of the human being. Moreover, in The Ego and its Own (1845), Max Stirner extended Feuerbach’s analysis that even the idea of “humanity” is an alienating concept for the individual man and woman to intellectually consider in its full philosophic implication; Marx and Engels responded to these philosophic propositions in The German Ideology (1845).