classstruggle offers the following comment and question to the first part of my essay on the ideology of space consciousness:
"Was there some sort of conflict between Marcuse/Horkheimer and Mannheim? I reviewed some of my notes on the Frankfurt School after reading your post and came across this quote from Marcuse's Negations with a note next to it suggesting it was directed at Mannheim:
“sociology that is only interested in the dependent and limited nature of consciousness has nothing to do with truth. While useful in many ways it has falsified the interest and goal of any critical theory” (Marcuse p. 152).
Marcuse criticised the relativist nature of Mannheim's sociology of knowledge and from what I remember, so did Adorno, Jay, and Lukacs because they felt Mannheim's sociology of knowledge undermined the critical force of a Marxist analysis of ideology. Later in his life, I believe Mannheim also rejected to a small extent his former writings, and started adopting a new, orientation (Anglo-saxon science). Perhaps the interest in Mannheim in the 21st century has something to do with his idealist, revisionist and relativist deviations (read heretical) which some from his 'camp' saw as dangerous?"
I would like to respond to this at some length, because it gives me an opportunity to explain how my mind works, and in particular how I differ from so many of the people who write in this general area. First of all, a direct response to the question: I haven't a clue what Marcuse thought of Mannheim. I never talked with him about it, and I doubt that I would much have cared had he expressed to me the criticism voiced in the passage classstruggle quotes.
I simply do not think about these questions in that programmatic, factional fashion. I am drawn to deep, brilliant, penetrating, insightful ideas, regardless of who voices them or what cause they serve as weapons. I am blown away by the philosophy of Immanuel Kant. I delight in the grace with which Hume articulates the most devastating sceptical critiques. ume articulates the most opoHI read Kierkegaard with the greatest of pleasure. I find Marx profound and revelatory. I consider some of the essays of Michael Oakeshott brilliant and very deep. And I read Durkheim, Weber, and Mannheim with the greatest of pleasure. I think Mannheim's anatomization of the structural differences in the time-consciousness of liberals, conservatives, chiliasts, and revolutionaries is a tour de force. These are not aesthetic judgments, mind you, although I experience ideas aesthetically as beautiful or ugly. They are judgments of truth and of the force and rigor of arguments.
In the essay I am now writing, which I have interrupted for this response, I am trying to find the words to craft an analysis of the ideological significance of differing conceptions of space. I think of this as a deliberate homage to Mannheim's treatment of time. I believe that what I have to say will enable the reader to see connections, implications, and structures that may not be immediately apparent, and will thus help the reader to a deeper understanding of the unacknowledged ideological significance of superficially non-ideological modes of thought. I do not conceive this essay as a weapon in a political struggle, although it can certainly be used in that way. It would never occur to me to hedge an argument or delete a paragraph or hesitate in expressing an insight for fear that it might give comfort to my enemies. I suppose that I really do believe in the liberatory power of truth, even though I understand that notion in as complex, nuanced, and multi-layered a fashion as is possible.
In this, I am, I believe, quite unlike most of the intellectuals on the left who write about the subjects I devote so much time to. So be it. That is how my mind works. I try to give voice to my ideas with as much grace, subtlety, power, and beauty as I can muster. I offer them to anyone who finds them worth reading. As Martin Luther said in another, rather more serious, context, Ich kann nicht anders.