“The less you eat, drink, buy books, go to the theatre or to balls, or to the pub, and the less you think, love, theorize, sing, paint, fence, etc., the more you will be able to save and the greater will become your treasure which neither moth nor rust will corrupt—your capital. The less you are, the less you express your life, the more you have, the greater is your alienated life and the greater is the saving of your alienated being” — Karl Marx
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In this quote, Karl Marx is criticizing the mentality of accumulating wealth and capital above all other aspects of life. He argues that by depriving oneself of experiences like eating, drinking, pursuing intellectual interests and hobbies, socializing, and creative/artistic expression, one can save more money and grow their “capital” or wealth.
However, Marx views this pursuit of maximizing savings and riches at the expense of a full life as leading to an “alienated” or unfulfilling existence where people define themselves primarily through their accumulated wealth rather than through rich life experiences.
The overall message is that prioritizing the accumulation of capital over fully living and expressing oneself results in an empty and inauthentic life according to Marx, where one’s sense of self becomes primarily tied up in and dominated by their monetary assets.