The Social Superstructure

Shahidi Islam - Theologian and Author

Peace to the Gods and Goddesses of the foundation;

Much love goes to New York City;

And mad respect to London;

The social is a combination of individual actions made and given meaning by individual agents and structures set in place by an individual or group and also given meaning by individual agencies.

As regards groups and individuals communication and conflict may arise between two or more comparatively different groups or individuals.

Nevertheless, regardless of the communication or conflict one individual will always rise within the group and one group will always rise within the society.

The dominant group will establish the standards and the norms as the power relations remain in their favour.

Once the power relations shift or the power structure is changed, for whatever reason, the group will be replaced by a new dominant group.

Within the group the prototypic individual, who represents the group as a dominant or leading figure, will be one that has certain qualities that have allowed them to rise to their position of power.

These qualities are psychological and psychologically match the mentalities of the other members of the group or groups.

The groups themselves are made up of individuals with individual psyches. These psyches are interactive matrices and intersubjective collectivities.

The mind is a collection of thoughts, feelings, and images. The thoughts are based on language, the images are based on environment and culture. Thus the psyche is determined by the social world.

At the same time, the basis of the social world is the psyche. Without different individual and collective psyches there is no social world as the abstract establishes the corporeal.

The individual unconscious is instinctual and based on nature, the collective unconscious is cultural and based on nurture.

Both contain the social. The social instinct is a very powerful instinct in the human unconscious. At the same time, a collectivity must of necessity be social.

Collective consciousness is the internal, external, or expressed agreement of two or more individuals that a shared similarity or passion is worth sacrificing individuality and personal autonomy for.

With Racial consciousness the main aim is for the psychological improvement of the race; and while this can obviously be handled on an individual basis the fact that the race is dehumanised and emasculated shows that this problem must be solved on a social and collective level too.

Here racial consciousness is the agreeing among those of the same race that they are willing to sacrifice personal autonomy, time, energy, and effort toward the progression of the race.

This step is a glorious step but the challenge is false consciousness in the form of racial self-consciousness.

Racial self-consciousness is not based on an agreement with others to sacrifice self for the greater whole but is the internal understanding that your racial status has effectively excluded you from mainstream society.

This group rather than unifying with others to overcome this discrepancy tend to just see race in everything and blame their skin colour for all their problems in life.

They are willing to make no sacrifices as they are already lost and have nothing to sacrifice (at least in their own opinion) everything worth having they hold on to for dear life.

Class consciousness is a little more complex as the aim here is for material progression and not for psychological improvement.

Class consciousness is when those of the same class: whether capitalist class, middle class, working class, or underclass make an agreement to sacrifice individual and personal concerns for the sake of the broader class.

This is not easily achieved and most class conscious individuals find themselves alone surrounded by traitors who only claim class consciousness but have a false consciousness that causes them to secretly support the status quo.

That is mainly because class interests are at base-level material interests.

As we go higher the opposition gets less and less while also getting more and more complex.

With gender consciousness there is a united sisterhood of individual feminists all standing against a male dominated patriarchy in which women are controlled and abused second class citizens.

The problem is that as the only line of march is that against male domination there has erupted many factions within the ranks: some are eco-feminists, some are Black feminists (or womanists), some are radical feminists, some are liberal feminists, some are Marxist feminists, some are cyber-feminists, some are anarcha-feminists, and some are post-feminists.

It is unfair to claim any one of these groups as falsely conscious although all disagree as to how the problem of male dominance is to be confronted.

The sacrifice of personal autonomy is made in any case but as each group divides and divides further they become more and more ineffective.

Collective consciousness thus creates superstructures: these are the lines of march by which the group is going to move. Those who deviate must either be bought back in line or be given ground to leave the group.

The superstructure built during the formation of the group, in the agreement phase, is the foundation on which their collective unconscious will be made.

Whereas the individual human unconscious has its basis in the instincts, the chief being the libido, the collective unconscious has its basis in the primary objective of the group, the chief passion.

In Europe during the Middle Ages the three chief unifiers were religion, territory, and race (although race as a word did not exist until the 1600s).

These divided into separate national cultures during the Renaissance till Europe became the imperial power of the twentieth century.

The superstructure built in Europe as a result of its unification during the Middle Ages, Renaissance, and Reformation were such that Black people were not considered people but animals and if not property.

Two problems arose from this definition: Black people in Africa at that time (the European Dark Ages and post-Medieval Age) were highly civilised, advanced, and educated; more so than the White people of Europe.

They had to, first of all, pass off a more developed and civilised people as uncivilised and savage; and, second, underdevelop their lands and technologies.

Slavery, colonisation, segregation, and false narration did just that, but during these abominations they set up a superstructure that would create a system meet for them and dehumanising for us.

What we can therefore see from all this is that that person or group that is dominant creates the psychological qualities that match or inspire either the other members of his or her group or the other groups of that group’s society, so long as the power relations remain the same.

Again, that inspiration may not be justified, and it may not even be moral, but it is effective. For we Black people to gain for ourselves the position of dominant social group we must be willing to do whatever it takes to get there.

This is the secret to changing the social superstructure, first, you need to change the power structure, that is, become the new dominant power.