“Two people in love, alone, isolated from the world, that’s beautiful.”
Milan Kundera

“You can’t measure the mutual affection of two human beings by the number of words they exchange.”
Milan Kundera

“Anyone whose goal is ‘something higher’ must expect someday to suffer vertigo. What is vertigo? Fear of falling? No, Vertigo is something other than fear of falling. It is the voice of the emptiness below us which tempts and lures us, it is the desire to fall, against which, terrified, we defend ourselves.”
Milan Kundera, The Unbearable Lightness of Being

“Making love with a woman and sleeping with a woman are two separate passions, not merely different but opposite. Love does not make itself felt in the desire for copulation (a desire that extends to an infinite number of women) but in the desire for shared sleep (a desire limited to one woman).”
Milan Kundera, The Unbearable Lightness of Being

“Love is the longing for the half of ourselves we have lost.”
Milan Kundera, The Unbearable Lightness of Being

“for there is nothing heavier than compassion. Not even one’s own pain weighs so heavy as the pain one feels with someone, for someone, a pain intensified by the imagination and prolonged by a hundred echoes.”
Milan Kundera, The Unbearable Lightness of Being]

“But when the strong were too weak to hurt the weak, the weak had to be strong enough to leave.”
Milan Kundera, The Unbearable Lightness of Being

“The Greek word for “return” is nostos. Algos means “suffering.” So nostalgia is the suffering caused by an unappeased yearning to return.”
Milan Kundera, Ignorance

“The heaviest of burdens crushes us, we sink beneath it, it pins us to the ground. But in love poetry of every age, the woman longs to be weighed down by the man’s body.The heaviest of burdens is therefore simultaneously an image of life’s most intense fulfillment. The heavier the burden, the closer our lives come to the earth, the more real and truthful they become. Conversely, the absolute absence of burden causes man to be lighter than air, to soar into heights, take leave of the earth and his earthly being, and become only half real, his movements as free as they are insignificant. What then shall we choose? Weight or lightness?”
Milan Kundera, The Unbearable Lightness of Being

“He suddenly recalled from Plato’s Symposium: People were hermaphrodites until God split then in two, and now all the halves wander the world over seeking one another. Love is the longing for the half of ourselves we have lost.”
Milan Kundera, The Unbearable Lightness of Being

“She had an overwhelming desire to tell him, like the most banal of women. Don’t let me go, hold me tight, make me your plaything, your slave, be strong! But they were words she could not say.

The only thing she said when he released her from his embrace was, “You don’t know how happy I am to be with you.” That was the most her reserved nature allowed her to express.”
Milan Kundera, The Unbearable Lightness of Being

“Love is by definition an unmerited gift; being loved without meriting it is the very proof of real love. If a woman tells me: I love you because you’re intelligent, because you’re decent, because you buy me gifts, because you don’t chase women, because you do the dishes, then I’m disappointed; such love seems a rather self-interested business. How much finer it is to hear: I’m crazy about you even though you’re neither intelligent nor decent, even though you’re a liar, an egotist, a bastard.”
Milan Kundera, Slowness

“The brain appears to possess a special area which we might call poetic memory and which records everything that charms or touches us, that makes our lives beautiful … Love begins with a metaphor. Which is to say, love begins at the point when a woman enters her first word into our poetic memory.”
Milan Kundera, The Unbearable Lightness of Being

“I want you to be weak. As weak as I am.”
Milan Kundera, The Unbearable Lightness of Being

“There is no means of testing which decision is better, because there is no basis for comparison. We live everything as it comes, without warning, like an actor going on cold. And what can life be worth if the first rehearsal for life is life itself? That is why life is always like a sketch. No, “sketch” is not quite a word, because a sketch is an outline of something, the groundwork for a picture, whereas the sketch that is our life is a sketch for nothing, an outline with no picture.”
Milan Kundera, The Unbearable Lightness of Being

“We all need someone to look at us. we can be divided into four categories according to the kind of look we wish to live under. the first category longs for the look of an infinite number of anonymous eyes, in other words, for the look of the public. the second category is made up of people who have a vital need to be looked at by many known eyes. they are the tireless hosts of cocktail parties and dinners. they are happier than the people in the first category, who, when they lose their public, have the feeling that the lights have gone out in the room of their lives. this happens to nearly all of them sooner or later. people in the second category, on the other hand, can always come up with the eyes they need. then there is the third category, the category of people who need to be constantly before the eyes of the person they love. their situation is as dangerous as the situation of people in the first category. one day the eyes of their beloved will close, and the room will go dark. and finally there is the fourth category, the rarest, the category of people who live in the imaginary eyes of those who are not present. they are the dreamers.”
Milan Kundera

“Oh lovers! be careful in those dangerous first days! once you’ve brought breakfast in bed you’ll have to bring it forever, unless you want to be accused of lovelessness and betrayal.”
Milan Kundera, The Book of Laughter and Forgetting

“The termites of reduction have always gnawed away at life: even the greatest love ends up as a skeleton of feeble memories.”
Milan Kundera, The Art of the Novel

“How could she feel nostalgia when he was right in front of her? How can you suffer from the absence of a person who is present?

You can suffer nostalgia in the presence of the beloved if you glimpse a future where the beloved is no more”
Milan Kundera, Identity

“Remembering our past, carrying it around with us always, may be the necessary requirement for maintaining, as they say, the wholeness of the self. To ensure that the self doesn’t shrink, to see that it holds on to its volume, memories have to be watered like potted flowers, and the watering calls for regular contact with the witnesses of the past, that is to say, with friends. They are our mirror; our memory; we ask nothing of them but that they polish the mirror from time to time so we can look at ourselves in it.”
Milan Kundera, Identity

“[B]ut pain doesn’t listen to reason, it has it’s own reason, which is not reasonable.”
Milan Kundera, Identity

“Leroy interrupted Chantal’s fantasies: “Freedom? As you live our your desolation, you can be either unhappy or happy. Having that choice is what constitutes your freedom. You’re free to melt your own individuality into the cauldron of the multitude either with a feeling of defeat or euphoria.”
Milan Kundera, Identity

“The eye: the window to the soul; the center of the face’s beauty; the point where a person’s identity is concentrated; but at the same time an optical instrument that requires constant washing, wetting, maintenance by a special liquid dosed with salt. So the gaze, the greatest marvel man possesses, is regularly interrupted by a mechanical washing action.”
Milan Kundera, Identity

“Yes, they have. It was back when they still didn’t know each other by name. In the great hall of a mountain lodge, with people drinking and chattering around them, they exchanged a few commonplaces, but the tone of their voices made it clear that they wanted each other, and they withdrew into an empty corridor where, wordlessly, they kissed. She opened her mouth and pressed her tongue into Jean Marc’s mouth, eager to lick whatever she would find inside. This zeal of their tongues was not a sensual necessity but an urgency to let each other know that they were prepared to make love, right away, instantly, fully and wildly and without losing a moment.”
Milan Kundera, Identity

“To ensure that the self doesn’t shrink, to see that it holds on to its volume, memories have to be watered like potted flowers, and the watering calls for regular contact with the witnesses of the past, that is to say, with friends.”
Milan Kundera, Identity

“To where,” added Leroy, “resides the answer to your question: why are we living? what is essential in life?” He looked hard at the lady. “The essential, in life, is to perpetuate life: it is childbirth, and what precedes it, coitus, and what precedes coitus, seduction, that is to say kisses, hair floating in the wind, silk underwear, well-cut brassieres, and everything else that makes people ready for coitus, for instance good chow – not fine cuisine, a superfluous thing no one appreciates anymore, but the chow everyone buys – and along with chow, defecation, because you know, my dear lady, my beautiful adored lady, you know what an important position the praise of toilet paper and diapers occupies in our profession. Toilet paper, diapers, detergents, chow. That is man’s sacred circle, and our mission is not only to discover it, seize it, and map it but to make it beautiful, to transform it into song. Thanks to our influence, toilet paper is almost exclusively pink, and that is a highly edifying fact, which, my dear and anxious lady, I would recommend that you contemplate seriously.”
Milan Kundera, Identity

“He thought: that’s certainly how it starts. One day a person puts his legs up on a bench, then night comes and he falls asleep. That’s how it happens that one fine day a person joins the tramps and turns into one of them.”
Milan Kundera, Identity



FOUCAULT : Goverment Surveillance & Prison


On the 2nd of March 1757 Robert-Francois Damiens, who had attempted to assassinate King Louis XV of France, was taken through the streets of Paris wearing nothing but a shirt and holding a torch of burning wax to the Place de Grave, where the flesh was torn from his chest, arms, thighs and calves with red-hot pincers; his right hand, holding the knife with which he had committed the crime, was burnt with sulphur so the knife and his hand melted together, and, molten lead, boiling oil, burning resin, wax and sulphur was poured on his wounds.

His body was drawn and quartered by four horses, and his limbs and body were burned, and his ashes were thrown to the winds.

And I thought my weekend was bad! French philosopher Michel Foucault says that the way a society treats and defines its criminals says a lot about the nature of power in that society. The punishment of criminals has changed a lot over the last 250 years. It used to be very public and very gruesome, like the execution of Damiens, a spectacular reminder of the violence that made the boss the boss.

And it focused mainly on the body too: with executions, torture, branding, flogging, burning – all ways of inflicting physical pain. Nowadays punishment takes place further from the public eye. Further from government control too, with privately run prisons in operation.

The penal system – that’s law, policing, and surveillance – has also expanded hugely. You can’t live in a remote fishing village and act like you don’t know who the King is anymore, there are no “outlaws” – the law is everywhere, and applies everywhere, especially with surveillance, which we’ll be talking about in Part 2.

Nowadays punishment ostensibly aims more at the mind than the body as well. The story is that rather than inflicting punishment for punishment’s sake, the function of punishment is to prevent crime or reform criminals. But despite that, crime still happens.

And reoffending rates are pretty high. In fact some people have even argued that going to prison makes it more likely that you’ll reoffend. And there are some other odd things about the way the penal system functions too: for instance it seems to prioritise certain types of crime. A while ago in my country, the UK, a lot of companies were found to have been underpaying their staff; and they were forced to give them backpay and the companies were “named and shamed.” As a private citizen, try stealing that amount of money from a company and you won’t just have to give it back; you go to prison. We worry in my country a lot about benefit fraud but corporate tax avoidance costs us far more every year. Your local drug dealer or sex worker probably worry about getting their doors kicked in and getting dragged away by the police, but how many of the people responsible for the 2008 financial crash ever saw the inside of a jail?

And where banks were forced to pay settlements and fines a lot of that money came from shareholders and was tax deductible! In my country the police can stop and search you under certain circumstances, but you’re much more likely to get stopped and searched if you’re a black or minority ethnic person, and less than half of all stop and searches actually end in anyone being arrested.

So for a system that is supposed to prevent crime and reform criminals fairly and justly, the penal system sure has a funny way of going about it! And yet whenever anyone points this out the supposed answer is always, “More police, more prisons, more of the same.” Foucault says that’s because the penal system isn’t supposed to prevent crime, or reform criminals, or even dole out justice.

It exists to defend the power of the ruling class. Pause: step away from the comments section! Before I give you the details and before you leave a comment, you need to understand what this means. When Foucault says, ‘The penal system exists to defend the power of the ruling class’

He is not saying that there’s some shadowy conspiracy of bankers and politicians planning to use the penal system to take over the world, right?


‘The penal system exists to defend the power of the ruling class’

is like saying, ‘The human eye is designed for taking in light.’

The human eye was not designed: it evolved. But saying,

“designed to take in light”

Gets across the idea that it’s very good at that job and pressure to do that job was instrumental in its development. I It’s perfectly possible that many of the people in the penal system – lawyers, judges, police officers – really want to prevent crime and really want to do good and are lovely people.

That is completely consistent with what Foucault is saying: you can be a police officer and read Foucault. Please do! What he’s asking though is, when the penal system fails to achieve its stated goals who benefits from that failure? It’s also worth revisiting what philosophers and academics mean when they talk about “class.”

Classes are ways of talking about groups of people who are in similar situations or have similar experiences especially in terms of their access to money and power. If you’re in the same class as someone else it does not mean that your experience are identical. It’s a little bit like when we talk about the weather.

We know that not every air molecules in a weather front has the same temperature, speed, and direction; those molecules act as individuals. But we can model trends in groups of them and ask what we can learn by looking at those trends. Especially when we’re talking about the penal system and who gets arrested and who gets stopped and searched, never forget that things like race, gender, and ability can massively impact which class you fall into.

Okay, now we’re ready to continue. Foucault thinks that the function of the penal system is to recycle “waste product” into something useful, or at least profitable. That waste product is criminals, but only criminals of certain kinds: the ones not useful to the ruling classes.

That’s why a lot of the injustices we mentioned earlier tend to get treated a bit more leniently: if you’re a “job creator” you are very useful to the ruling classes especially when power is explicitly capitalist, as it is in the West. Because the law is set by the ruling classes they are very well represented in the administrators of the law: the politicians, the judges, the lawyers, the criminologists, these people are often white, often wealthy, often highly educated.

Not always, just often: remember weather fronts. Whereas the working classes, those surplus to power’s requirements, are more often found among those on the receiving end of penal justice. If you ever get the chance, as I have, just go and sit in a courtroom for a day and take a look at the differences between the kinds of people being accused of crimes generally and the kinds of people doing the accusing, generally.

If Foucault is right then as technology makes more and more traditionally working class jobs obsolete we would expect to see a rise in the prison population – and we have. Foucault says all that happens because the penal system isn’t supposed to be just, or fair, or even prevent crime, it’s supposed to make people useful to the ruling classes. He writes, “Prison, and no doubt punishment in general, is not intended to eliminate offences, but rather to distinguish them, to distribute them, to use them; that it is not so much that they render docile those who are liable to transgress the law, but that they tend to assimilate the transgression of the laws in a general tactics of subjection.” So now you know Foucualt’s general thesis – that the penal system is a tool for defending the power of the ruling class.

But save your questions and comments for Part 2, because you need to know how that works, you need to know the mechanism. In Part 2 we’ll be talking about government surveillance, prisons, and forced labour!

Welcome back. In Part 1 we talked about French philosopher Michel Foucault’s thesis that the penal system – that’s laws, policing, and survellance – exists not to prevent crime but to defend the power of the ruling class.

And that was supposed to explain some of the odd and inconsistent ways we see those systems actually being applied in the real world.

But in this Part 2 it’s time to learn about how he thinks the penal system defends the power of the ruling class – what is the mechanism there?

And in order to understand that, we need to talk about Bentham. 18th and 19th Century English philosopher Jeremy Bentham designed a hypothetical prison called the ‘Panopticon.’ The Panopticon is a circular prison with cells built into the circular wall and a central observation tower.

From the tower you can see into every cell, and from each cell you can see that the tower is there. But the tower is designed with shutters and blinds so that the prisoners can’t see into it, they can only see that it’s there. So at any moment the prisoners can’t be sure that they’re being watched but they know there’s a pretty good chance they might be. The name Panopticon is a reference to Argus Panoptes, a mythological Greek giant with 100 eyes. And the upshot of this design, Bentham thought, is that the prisoners would bloody well behave themselves all the time!

Just knowing that you’re visible, he thought, would be enough to keep you in line.

You wouldn’t need whips or chains or truncheons – most of the time: you keep them in reserve, just in case. But most of the time the prisoners would regulate their own conduct. He thought that as far as possible the prisoners should actually be under 24/7 surveillance but the great thing about the Panopticon’s design, he thought, is that even if you can’t quite manage that the prisoners are gonna behave themselves anyway because they don’t know whether or not they’re being watched 24/7.

He also goes on at great length describing how the Panopticon could be privately run and profitable, which will be important in a second. What Foucault realised is that the Panopticon is more than a building.

It’s the embodiment of a set of four principles. The first is Pervasive Power: the tower sees into every cell and sees everything that goes on, so it can regulate everything. The second is Obscure Power: the tower sees into the cells, but the prisoners can’t see into the tower, and they can’t ever know when, how, or why they’re being observed. Third: direct violence is replaced by structural violence.

Bentham makes a big deal about how you wouldn’t need chains or beatings – that prisoners would behave themselves “without being coerced.”

But what he doesn’t realise is that the structure of the Panopticon itself is coercive. It subjugates the prisoners just by being there. If you’d like to know more about the difference between direct violence and structural violence there are some links in the doobleydoo.

The fourth principle is related: and that’s that working towards power’s goals is the only option available. Bentham thought that you could make the Panopticon profitable: you could make the prisoners work on whatever you wanted and then sell the things they make for profit if the only alternative was to sit in their cells and and eat bread and water.

That’s taking the structural violence and using it for the benefit of those in power. By using these four principles the people running the Panopticon can expand their power into every facet of the prisoners’ lives and mould them into the kind of obedient workers that they want. The question they start with is,

‘What is good for me?’


‘What is good for the prisoners?’

or even,

‘Should these people be prisoners in the first place?’

And because the Panopticon is a set of principles Bentham thought you could make a panoptic hospital, you could make a panoptic school, you could make a panoptic mental ward – And Foucault realised you could even make a panoptic country.

There’s a connection between being seen and being known. When we learn something we might say,

“Oh, I see!”

or if we don’t understand:

“I’m in the dark.”

The more power knows, the more it sees into the prisoners’ cells, the more pervasive it becomes. So let’s shift now from the hypothetical to the real world. When Edward Snowden revealed that the US, UK, Australian, New Zealand, and Canadian governments were monitoring citizens’ phone calls and emails, and even forcing internet service providers to hand over personal information – why were they gathering all that data? Is there any reason to believe that all those people might be criminals?

Six British journalists are currently suing the Metropolitan Police Force because they found they were on the Met’s ‘Domestic Extremism Watchlist.’ These are political journalists: they take photos of political protests, a perfectly respectable job. I’ve even met some of them, they’re quite nice. But they found that their movements, their phone numbers, their addresses, even their clothing and medical records had all been noted on a police computer somewhere. Why?

Last time we talked about the police stopping and searching people in the UK. If that happens to you the police may ask you for your name and address, even though you’re not always actually required to give them that information. So why do they ask?

Well, the official answer to all these is that it’s hard to tell a criminal from a normal person and some investigation techniques, especially those that rely on technology, are unfortunately a little bit blunt.

And yeah, Ok, maybe that’s part of it. But Foucault would say that all that surveillance serves the ulterior purpose of expanding power. Allowing it to see further into the prisoners’ cells and regulate what it finds there.

That last one, stop and search, might also serve the purpose of reminding you that the tower is there. In the UK less than half of all stop and searches end in an arrest and you are much more likely to get stopped and searched if you’re a black or minority ethnic person – that is explained if the purpose of stop and search is more about reminding you that the police are watching and less to do with actually catching criminals. If you are in the UK and you want to know more about your rights with stop and search – what kinds of things you have to tell the police and what you don’t have to tell them – the London Campaign Against Police & State Violence is a great resource. Links in the doobleydoo.

Remember, you don’t have to forget legitimate security concerns – you can be a police officer or work for MI5 and still read Foucault!

You can be an anarchist or police abolitionist and still read Foucault! What he’s reminding us is that surveillance is necessarily a form of control. Some people say that when it comes to government surveillance the good have nothing to fear, but Foucault argues that if you’re being surveilled that is necessarily opposed to your freedom. And it’s never politically neutral.

If the people who design and staff the tower in the Panopticon are sexist, racist, transphobic, ableist, against sex workers, are particularly fond of capitalism, or whatever, then the Panopticon itself and the behaviours that it enforces on its prisoners will reflect that. Foucault calls the penal system, “A subtle, calculated technology of subjection.”

If you’re having conversations in your class about this, or you’re writing comments, you might wanna think about how could we dismantle panoptic structures and replace them with alternative law enforcement strategies; do we need to do that? Do you agree with Foucault?

Do you think that he’s right?

And would changing who sits in the tower necessarily make a Panoptic system better?




Pengertian Hegemoni

Istilah hegemoni berasal dari bahasa Yunani kuno yaitu ‘eugemonia’. Sebagaimana yang dikemukakan encylclopedia Britanica dalam prakteknya di Yunani, diterapkan untuk menunjukkan dominasi posisi yang diklaim oleh negara-negara kota (polism atau citystates) secaara individual misalnya yang dilakukan opleh negara Athena dan Sparta terhadap negara-negara lain yang sejajar (Hendarto, 1993:73).

Jika dikaitkan pada masa kini, pengertian hegemoni menunjukkan sebuah kepemimpinan dari suatu negara tertentu yang bukan hanya sebuah negara kota terhadap negara-negara lain yang berhubungan secara longgar maupun secara ketat terintegrasi dalam negara “pemimpin”. Dalam politik internasional dapat dilihat ketika adanya perang pengaruh pada perang dingin antara Amerika Serikat dengan Uni Sovyet yang biasanya disebut sebagai perang untuk menjadi kekuatan hegemonik dunia.[1] Adapun teori hegemoni yang dicetuskan Gramsci adalah:

Sebuah pandangan hidup dan cara berpikir yang dominan, yang di dalamnya sebuah konsep tentang kenyataan disebarluaskan dalam masyarakat baik secara institusional maupun perorangan; (ideologi) mendiktekan seluruh cita rasa, kebiasaan moral, prinsip-prinsip religius dan politik, serta seluruh hubungan-hubungan sosial, khususnya dalam makna intelektual dan moral.”[2]

Berdasarkan pemikiran Gramsci tersebut dapat dijelaskan bahwa hegemoni merupakan suatu kekuasaan atau dominasi atas nilai-nilai kehidupan, norma, maupun kebudayaan sekelompok masyarakat yang akhirnya berubah menjadi doktrin terhadap kelompok masyarakat lainnya dimana kelompok yang didominasi tersebut secara sadar mengikutinya. Kelompok yang didominasi oleh kelompok lain (penguasa) tidak merasa ditindas dan merasa itu sebagai hal yang seharusnya terjadi.[3]

Dengan demikian mekanisme penguasaan masyarakat dominan dapat dijelaskan sebagai berikut:Kelas dominan melakukan penguasaan kepada kelas bawah menggunakan ideologi. Masyarakat kelas dominan merekayasa kesadaran masyarakat kelas bawah sehingga tanpa disadari, mereka rela dan mendukung kekuasaan kelas dominan.


Berdasarkan pemikiran Gramsci tersebut dapat dijelaskan bahwa hegemoni merupakan suatu kekuasaan atau dominasi atas nilai-nilai kehidupan, norma, maupun kebudayaan sekelompok masyarakat yang akhirnya berubah menjadi doktrin terhadap kelompok masyarakat lainnya dimana kelompok yang didominasi tersebut secara sadar mengikutinya. Kelompok yang didominasi oleh kelompok lain (penguasa) tidak merasa ditindas dan merasa itu sebagai hal yang seharusnya terjadi. jika direfleksikan ke dalam kehidupan sosial-politik di Indonesia saat ini, maka saya mencoba mengambil contoh adanya ‘pasar modern ‘ yang marak saat ini dan menyebar hampir keseluruh wilayah di Indonesia. Pasar modern ini contohnya ada berbagai macam, diantaranya yang saya tahu adalah mini market (Alfamart,Indomaret, dsb) lalu adanya Mall yang dekat dengan rumah saya yaitu Metropolitan Mall, Giant, Bekasi Cyber Park, Bekasi Square, dsb. Serta makin maraknya bisnis waralaba yang ada dan datang dari Barat seperti KFC, McDonald, CFC, A&W, dsb.

Dari ketiga contoh tersebut dapat dikategorikan ke dalam bentuk hegemoni yang dilakukan oleh klas-klas borjuis menurut Gramsci dan penikmatnya termasuk klas proletarian. Dalam tulisan ini saya akan lebih memfokuskan pada refleksi tentang hegemoni dalam bentuk mall. Karena menurut saya mall adalah salah satu bentuk hegemoni berlapiskan budaya. Jika kita perhatikan, kini semakin maraknya pembangunan mall-mall di tanah air baik di ibu kota maupun di daerah. Dengan hadirnya mall di hampir setiap daerah, ternyata menimbulkan dampak yang cukup berarti. Melalui mall banyak hal yang dapat terjadi, lifestyle kita dipengaruhi. Mulai dari fashion, makanan, dsb. seolah-olah mall adalah sesuatu yang mempunyai legitimasi untuk membuat parameter seperti apakah seharusnya lifestyle  masyarakat saat ini. Mall lah yang dapat menjustifikasi mana yang modern dan mana yang norak. Disitulah, terjadi hegemoni budaya yang dikemas dalam pola lifestyle yang berpola pada kebudayaan tertentu.

Dan disini negara pun ikut menjadi pelaku dari tindakan ‘hegemoni’. Peran negara sebagai pemegang kekuasaan tertinggi maka negara punya andil besar telah memberikan ijin bagi para pengusaha mall untuk mendirikan usahanya dan mengalahkan pasar tradisional. Maka dapat disimpulkan bahwa hegemoni yang dilakukan oleh mall mempunyai dampak yang signifikan dalam masyarakat Indonesia masa kini.

Mengapa Gramsci Penting dalam Studi HI?

Sejak Robert Cox menulis buku Power, Production, and World Orders (1977), perspektif Gramscian mulai diperkenalkan dalam studi Hubungan Internasional. Perspektif ini seperti menjadi ‘undangan untuk angkat kaki dari tatanan dunia yang berlaku saat ini dan mempertanyakan apa jadinya tatanan itu’ (Cox, 1981 via Sugiono, 1999: 17). Karya Cox meramaikan perdebatan dalam studi Hubungan Internasional (HI) yang kala itu masih didominasi oleh pendekatan realisme, yang menerima begitu saja konsep ‘kepentingan nasional,’ ‘negara sebagai aktor tunggal,’ dan sejenisnya, dalam Hubungan Internasional.

Walaupun Gramsci tidak menulis spesifik dalam tema Hubungan Internasional, teori Gramsci tentang Hegemoni menjadi satu batu loncatan untuk memahami bagaimana sebuah kekuatan dunia dikonsolidasikan. Inilah yang menjadi concern utama dari Muhadi Sugiono, ketika mendiskusikan analisis Gramsci secara teoretik. Teori Gramsci berada di bawah satu tema tunggal ‘hegemoni’ (h. 19). Gramsci mendefinisikan ‘hegemoni’ sebagai ‘kepemimpinan moral dan intelektual secara konsensual’ yang mengimplikasikan adanya kepatuhan secara sadar atas kekuasaan seseorang (h. 31). Dalam perspektif ini, kekuasaan dibangun bukan melalui koersi, kekerasan, dan paksaan, melainkan melalui konsensus atau kontrol (h. 35).

Bagaimana hegemoni tersebut diciptakan? Proses penciptaan hegemoni memerlukan apa yang disebut sebagai ‘blok historis,’ atau ‘hubungan resiprokal antara wilayah aktivitas etik, politik, maupun ideologis dengan wilayah ekonomi.’ Blok historis adalah aliansi dari berbagai kekuatan sosial yang disatukan secara politis dalam satu perangkat ide-ide hegemonik’ (h. 42). Hegemoni itu sendiri diciptakan melalui praktek penundukkan dan persetujuan. Sementara menundukkan dan memenangkan persetujuan kelompok lain, sebuah kelompok harus mampu menciptakan ‘blok historis’ guna memperjuangkan ide-idenya menjadi sebuah pandangan dunia yang universal.

Oleh sebab itu, ‘ide’ memainkan peran penting (h. 39). Agar sebuah kelompok bisa menundukkan dan memenangkan persetujuan dari kelompok lain, maka ia mesti melakukan ‘importasi’ ide. Karenanya, bagi Gramsci, sebuah ide hanya akan menemukan momentum transformatifnya jika ia menjadi ideologi. Menurut Gramsci, sebuah ide tidak lahir secara spontan, ia pasti ‘memiliki pusat informasi, iradiasi, persebaran, persuasi… yang mengembangkan dan menghadirkan keduanya dalam realitas politik mutakhir’ (h. 40). Artinya, untuk menciptakan dan memproduksi hegemoni, sebuah kelompok membutuhkan ideologi dimana ideologi tersebut mesti memiliki basis material, didorong oleh seorang ‘intelektual,’ dan kemudian menjadi pandangan universal. Hanya dengan kondisi itulah maka penundukkan dan persetujuan menjadi mungkin dilakukan.

Konsekuensi logisnya, untuk menciptakan hegemoni diperlukan seorang ‘intelektual organik’ yang mampu menggerakkan blok historis dengan ide-idenya. Menurut Gramsci, setiap orang adalah intelektual, tetapi tidak semua orang memiliki fungsi intelektual (di masyarakat). Setiap kekuatan sosial yang hegemonik, ditopang oleh intelektual yang memproduksi pengetahuan dan memberi legitimasi pada tatanan yang dibangun oleh kekuatan sosial tersebut (h. 44). Peran sentral intelektual inilah yang kemudian membawa kekuatan tersebut menjadi kekuatan yang hegemonik.

Namun, tentu saja, pada dasarnya, ada kekuatan-kekuatan lain yang saling berkontestasi dan berupaya untuk menjadi hegemon. Oleh sebab itulah, Gramsci melihat bahwa status hegemonik sebuah kekuatan sosial akan sangat ditentukan oleh kemampuannya memenangkan ‘perang posisi,’ yaitu ‘proses transformasi kultural yang menghancurkan posisi hegemonik tertentu’(h. 46). Untuk menghancurkan hegemoni, maka perlu diciptakan kondisi-kondisi yang memungkinkan krisis hegemonik itu terjadi sehingga membuka jalan bagi adanya perubahan sosial.

Pendekatan Gramscian sebagaimana dianalisis oleh Sugiono (dan juga, dalam beberapa hal, Cox) sangat menekankan aspek suprastruktur (ide) dibanding produksi. Hal ini terlihat jelas pada kerangka berpikir Sugiono yang melihat Gramsci ‘melampaui pandangan determinisme ekonomi Marx’ (h. 13). Akan tetapi, pandangan ini bukannya tanpa sanggahan. Lorenzo Fusaro, misalnya, melihat bahwa Gramsci, secara fundamental, justru mengambil kerangka berpikir yang sangat Marxian – dalam arti sejarah ia pandang sebagai sesuatu yang ‘objektif’ dan ‘independen dari hubungan sosial manusia’ karena ia memiliki pijakan pada relasi produksi yang dilakukan oleh manusia (Fusaro, 2011).

Dalam analisis Fusaro, hegemoni pada dasarnya harus dilihat dalam kerangka hubungan produksi yang material, bukan sekadar transformasi ide-ide. Bahwa ide-ide, dalam analisis Gramscian, adalah penting, tetapi ia bersifat instrumental. Hal ini sebetulnya diakui sendiri oleh Cox dalam karyanya yang terbaru, The Political Economy of Plural World (2004), bahwa realitas manusia dilahirkan mula-mula dari produksi, walaupun ia sendiri malu-malu untuk mengakui bahwa argumennya berasal dari Marx (Cox, 2004: 31. cf. p. 27). Femia (2008) cukup tepat ketika mengritik pandangan Cox dan perspektif serupa yang ‘terpengaruh’ oleh pandangan post-Marxisme yang memiliki problem dalam melihat sisi objektif dari pemikiran Gramsci. Hal ini bisa berakibat pada ‘reduksi’ pandangan Gramsci menjadi anti-saintifik dan membuat kita gagal menjadikan Gramsci sebagai pisau analisis yang memadai dan objektif untuk mengiris tabir yang meliputi realitas sosial, wa bil khusus realitas kapitalisme global kontemporer.

Dengan demikian, untuk memahami Gramsci, dan lebih jauh, menjadikan Gramsci sebagai ‘pisau’ untuk mengupas perkembangan kapitalisme global kontemporer, kita tidak cukup melihat hanya pada kerangka gagasan/ideologi, tetapi juga fondasi apa yang memungkinkan gagasan itu terbentuk. Pada titik inilah kita meletakkan konsep ‘hegemoni’. Ada ungkapan menarik dari Gramsci, bahwa ‘a class is dominant in two ways, that is, it is “leading” and “dominant”…. one should not count solely on the power and material force which such a position gives in order to exercise political leadership or hegemony’ (Gramsci, 1929: 41 via Fusaro, 2011). Ungkapan ini memberikan clue untuk memahami ‘hegemoni’ dalam cara yang berbeda – bukan tujuan; melainkan strategi untuk mengokohkan kekuasaan.

‘Hegemoni’ perlu dipahami sebagai cara/strategi untuk melegitimasi kekuasaan material (power and material force) yang sudah dibangun. Sehingga, bukan hanya gagasan yang menentukan, tetapi basis material apa yang menyebabkan gagasan tersebut bisa bertahan. Dalam perspektif ini, kita dapat melihat bahwa hegemoni adalah cara peneguhan kekuasaan setelah menguasai basis produksi. Maka, ‘intelektual organik’ bisa kita pahami sebagai ‘intelektual yang merepresentasikan kelompok sosial tertentu dalam relasi produksi yang ada di masyarakat, dan membawa gagasan-gagasan untuk membuat tatanan yang ia bentuk bisa bertahan secara hegemonik. Keberadaan intelektual bersifat instrumental terhadap relasi produksi yang ada.


Nezar Patria, Antonio Gramsci Negara & Hegemoni, (Yogyakarta : Pustaka Pelajar. 1999)

Artikel “Hegemoni budaya”,  Jumat, 11 September 2009, dalam situs

[1] Nezar Patria, Antonio Gramsci Negara & Hegemoni, (Yogyakarta : Pustaka Pelajar. 1999) hal. 116



Erich Fromm: Tentang Cinta dalam Psikologi


Erich Fromm lahir di Frankfurt, Jerman pada tanggal 23 Maret 1900. Ia belajar psikologi dan sosiologi di University Heidelberg, Frankfurt, dan Munich. Setelah memperoleh gelar Ph.D dari Heidelberg tahun 1922, ia belajar psikoanalisis di Munich dan pada Institut psikoanalisis Berlin yang terkenal waktu itu. Tahun 1933 ia pindah ke Amerika Serikat dan mengajar di Institut psikoanalisis Chicago dan melakukan praktik privat di New York City. Ia pernah mengajar pada sejumlah universitas dan institut di negara ini dan di Meksiko. Terakhir, Fromm tinggal di Swiss dan meninggal di Muralto, Swiss pada tanggal 18 Maret 1980.

Teori Cinta Erich Fromm

Erich Fromm menjelaskan bahwa cinta adalah suatu kegiatan yang aktif. Karena itu cinta memiliki kebebasan untuk menentukan dirinya dan mencintai adalah memberikan kebebasan demi pertumbuhan yang dicintai. Dengan demikian cinta bukanlah suatu pengaruh pasif. Cinta adalah Standing in (tetap tegak di dalam) bukan Falling for (Jatuh untuk).

Jika cinta adalah suatu kegiatan, berarti ia bukanlah benda melainkan lebih pada kerja, aktivitas, orientasi. Cinta bukanlah komoditas barang yang dapat dibarter dan diperjualbelikan apalagi dipaksakan oleh orang lain, karena ia tidak bisa terwujud dengan paksaan. Cinta adalah pilihan bebas yang diberikan secara suka rela atas kemauan sendiri dan rasional. Jika sesorang ingin membagi cintanya kepada orang lain, ia bebas memberikannya. Begitu juga sebaliknya, jika ada keinginan untuk tidak memberikan cintanya kepada orang lain, itu juga memberikan kebebasan baginya. Oleh karena itu, dalam cinta dituntut kedewasaan dalam berpikir, serta kesadaran dalam memilih.Ekspresi tipikal cinta tidaklah mendominasi atau memiliki. Ekspresi ini, sebaliknya adalah pemberian secara mutual, yakni menerima dan memberi. Karena itu, menurut Marcel, cinta kita rasakan terhadap makhluk ini sama dengan keyakinan yang kita rasakan terhadap Tuhan.

Aktivitas yang paling jelas dalam kegiatan cinta dan mencintai adalah memberi. Menurut Fromm, selama ini ada kesalahan luar biasa dalam tindakan “memberi”. Memberi sering disamakan dengan “memberikan” sesuatu atau mengorbankan sesuatu. Bagi pribadi-pribadi yang perkembangan karakternya berhenti pada tahap orientasi reseptif, eksploitatif atau menimbun, tindakan “memberi” memang dimaknai dalam pengertian ini. Orang yang berkarakter pasar hanya akan memberi jika dia mendapat untung. Orang yang mengidap orientasi non-produktif akan merasa tindakan memberinya sebagai bentuk pemiskinan. Sementara orang yang berkarakter produktif, tindakan memberinya dimaknai sebagai bentuk ekspresi tertinggi dari potensi yang ada dalam diri mereka. Bagi mereka memberi adalah potensi dan vitalitas manusia yang menghasilkan kegembiraan luar biasa daripada menerima. Karena itulah mereka percaya dengan sebuah yang mengatakan “tangan di atas lebih baik daripada tangan yang di bawah”.

“yang terpenting dalam hal ini bukan soal bahwa dia telah mengorbankan hidupnya demi orang lain melainkan bahwa dia telah memberikan apa yang hidup dalam dirinya; dia memberikan kegembiraannya, kepentingannya, pemahamannya, pengetahuannya, kejenakaannya, kesedihannya-semua ekspresi serta manifestasi yang ada dalam dirinya. Dengan tindakan tersebut sesorang telah memperkaya orang lain, meningkatkan perasaan hidup orang lain lewat peningkatan perasaan hidupnya sendiri…..(Erich Fromm, The Art Of Loving, hal.41)

Fromm mengkritik orang-orang modern yang memandang cinta dalam visi keindahan dan kenikmatannya saja tanpa melihat cinta sebagai bagian esensial dari seni hidup. Bahkan cinta adalah seni hidup itu sendiri dan merupakan pandangan terhadap manusia yang lebih utuh.

Fromm mengemukakan tiga kekeliruan orang-orang modern dalam memahami cinta.

Pertama, persoalan cinta hanya dilihat sebagai persoalan “dicintai” ketimbang “mencintai”. Oleh karena itu, persoalan terpenting bagi kebanyakan orang adalah bagaimana agar dicintai, atau bagaimana agar bisa dicintai. Karena masalahnya adalah bagaimana agar dicintai (to be loved), maka orang-orang berusaha bagaimana ‘menciptakan’ dirinya semenarik mungkin bagi lawan jenisnya. Tentunya hal ini disesuaikan dengan selera zaman atau trend yang berkembang daam kehidupan sosial.

Kedua, persoalan cinta adalah persoalan objek bukan persoalan kemampuan. Orang berpikir bahwa mencintai adalah persoalan mudah, yang sulit adalah bagaimana mencari sasaran (objek) yang tepat. Namun persoalan objek cinta pun selalu mengalami perubahan dari masa ke masa. Fromm mencontohkan, bagi laki-laki zaman sekarang, gadis yang menarik tak ubahnya bingkisan yang selalu mereka inginkan. Sebaliknya bagi perempuan, lelaki yang menarik adalah hadiah yang selalu mereka dambakan. Arti “menarik” di sini tak lain adalah adanya kesesuaian dengan model karakter yang dicari-cari di pasar kepribadian.

Di Amerika tahun 1920-an, seorang gadis peminum dan perokok, ulet serta sexy akan dipandang sebagai sosok yang menarik. Namun pada zaman sekarang, sifat-sifat seperti senang tinggal di rumah serta pemalu justru akan dianggap anggun dan mengesankan pada saat ini. Begitu juga dengan laki-laki, pada akhir abad ke-19 dan awal abad ke-20, untuk dapat dikatakan sebagai “bingkisan” menarik, seorang laki-laki mesti memiliki karakter agresif dan ambisius. Namun sekarang laki-laki yang menarik adalah mereka yang berwatak sosial dan toleran.

Perasaan jatuh cinta biasanya berkembang karena adanya komoditas-komoditas yang dapat dipertukarkan. Sang “aku” selalu berada luar penawaran; karena segala sesuatu dihargai berdasarkan nilai sosialnya. Seseorang diinginkan karena ia juga menginginkan, dengan mempertimbangkan segala asset dan potensi yang dimiliki oleh masing-masing, baik yang tampak maupun yang tersembunyi. Dua sosok manusia akan jatuh cinta jika telah menemukan objek terbaik mereka di pasaran, dengan mengingat batas-batas nilai tukar yang dimiliki.

Ketiga, sebagai implikasi dari kekeliruan tersebut, bahwa pengakuan cinta merupakan pengakuan jatuh cinta (falling in love) bukan pengalaman meng-ada dalam cinta (being in love) atau berdiri dalam cinta (standing in love). Pengalaman jatuh adalah pengalaman objektivikasi, bagaimana jatuh senantiasa berimplikasi kepemilikan terhadap orang lain.

Bias-bias ini menurut Fromm merupakan akibat dari pandangan dunia yang begitu kuat dipengaruhi oleh nilai-nilai materialis dalam dunia kapitalis.

“Man’s happiness today consists in “having fun.” Having fun lies in the satisfaction of consuming and “taking in” commodities, sights, food, drinks, cigarettes, people, lectures, books, movies—all are consumed, swallowed. The world is one great object for our appetite, a big apple, a big bottle, a big breast; we are the sucklers, the eternally expectant ones, the hopeful ones—and the eternally disappointed ones.”
Erich Fromm, The Art of Loving

“To be loved because of one’s merit, because one deserves it, always leaves doubt; maybe I did not please the person whom I want to love me, maybe this, or that – there is always a fear that love could disappear.”
Erich Fromm, The Art of Loving

“Love is an activity, not a passive affect; it is a “standing in,” not a “falling for.” In the most general way, the active character of love can be described by stating that love is primarily giving, not receiving.”
Erich Fromm, The Art of Loving

“Love, experienced thus, is a constant challenge; it is not a resting place, but moving, growing, working together; even when there is harmony or conflict, joy or sadness, is secondary to the fundamental fact that two people experience themselves, rather than by fleeing from themselves. There is only one proof for the presence of love: the depth of the relationship, and the aliveness and strength in each person concerned; this is the fruit by which love is recognized.”
Erich Fromm, The Art of Loving

“Love is a power which produces love.”
Erich Fromm, The Art of Loving

“Love is possible only if two persons communicate with each other from the center of their existence, hence if each one of them experiences himself from the center of his existence. Only in this “central experience” is human reality, only here is aliveness, only here is the basis for love. Love, experienced thus, is a constant challenge; it is not a resting place, but a moving, growing, working together; even whether there is harmony or conflict, joy or sadness, is secondary to the fundamental fact that two people experience themselves from the essence of their existence, that they are one with each other by being one with themselves, rather than by fleeing from themselves. There is only one proof for the presence of love: the depth of the relationship, and the aliveness and strength in each person concerned; this is the fruit by which love is recognized.”
Erich Fromm, The Art of Loving

“I love you because I need you, or I need you because I love you”
“I love because I am loved, or I am loved because I love”

Aku mencintaimu karena membutuhkanmu, atau aku membutuhkanmu karena mencintaimu. Keduanya adalah frasa kalimat yang membedakan mature love dan immature love. Bagaimana kita dapat mengetahui perbedaan antar keduanya? pertanyaan tersebut akan dijelaskan dari perspektif Erich Fromm, melalui karyanya; The Art of Loving. Fromm adalah seorang psikolog-marxist, bersama Adorno, Horkheimer, Marcuse maupun Benjamin sempat menjadi generasi pertama institut sosial Frankurt, atau yang lebih dikenal sebagai Madzhab Frankurt.

Cinta, bagi Fromm, sekaligus yang membedakanya dari Freud, bukanlah semata-mata persoalan impuls seksual, lebih dari itu, ia merupakan persoalan hubungan antar seorang dengan orang lain, juga seorang dengan seluruh orang lain, bukan hanya persoalan antar saya dan kamu, tapi kita, sebagai manusia, persis dari titik pusat eksistensinya. Bagi Fromm, bahkan Psikologi sebagai sebuah ilmu memiliki batasan, dan karenanya, konsekuensi logis dari Psikologi adalah cinta. Tanpa cinta, semua hal akan tanpa makna, percakapan hanya menjadi perbincangan, dunia yang dihidupi hanya rutinitas beku tanpa arti, dengan kata lain, melalui sudut pandang cintalah manusia memiliki arti untuk hidup, untuk menghidupi hidup.

Kalimat yang paling saya ingat dari buku ini adalah “Love is an activity, not a passive affect. It is ‘standing in’, not ‘falling for’.” Guru saya pernah bilang, cinta itu seperti melompat dari Menara Eiffel jam tiga pagi. “It is not that I happened to love you,” kata dia. “It is that I will love you.” Kalau ada yang bilang jatuh cinta sama kita, jangan senang dulu. Sekarang dia boleh jatuh, tapi besok bisa bangkit dan jalan lagi seperti tidak pernah terjadi apa-apa, lho.. 😛
Jadi apakah kita memilih untuk jatuh cinta, atau cintalah yang memilih kita?
Kata Erich Fromm, bukan itu soalnya. Kita bisa mengalami ketertarikan dengan siapa saja dan kapan saja, tetapi mau diapakan ketertarikan itu? Cinta yang dibicarakan Fromm sepertinya adalah cinta yang diwujudkan dalam suatu hubungan yang berkomitmen. Cinta adalah sesuatu yang harus dirawat dan dikembangkan. Kalau kita merasa cinta pada seseorang, kita harus bertanya pada diri sendiri: apa yang bisa saya berikan untuk orang yang saya cintai? Memberi, bukan diberi. Menyayangi, bukan disayangi. Menjaga, bukan dijaga.
Menyelingkuhi, bukan diselingkuhi. #eh
Lalu bagaimana dengan ketertarikan kita pada orang lain, yang mungkin terjadi berkali-kali sepanjang hidup? Jawablah ketertarikan itu dengan prinsip yang sama: perilaku aktif, bukan pasif. Sadari ketertarikan itu dan ubahlah menjadi suatu tindakan yang produktif. Soalnya, suka itu bisa tidak sengaja, tapi butuh tanggung jawab untuk mengubahnya jadi cinta.