We live in it all the time without all kinds of knowledge and norms, which guarantee some order and stability, but also constantly create some chronic diseases and prejudices, such as "women are weak for their mothers but strong", "boys can not use pink", "eight-hour work system will lead to the loss of competitiveness of enterprises"... However, as long as we look back on the historical development, we will find the essence of the "man-made" ideas, as well as the context of succession and evolution from generation to generation.
In today's highly developed commodity economy and scientism, we are accustomed to understanding human phenomena as things, giving them inhuman or superhuman status, as if it had never been so in history, and this is the matter of materialization that we are discussing today. Physicalization is to treat the products of human activities as non-human products, such as physical facts, natural laws or manifestations of God.
How does physicochemistry come into being
Physical phenomenon shows that people will forget that they are the creators of the human world, and further forget the dialectical relationship between creators (people) and products. Obviously, the materialized world is a dehumanized world. Human beings feel the world as if they are experiencing a strange fact. It seems to be an exogenous thing that can not be controlled by human beings at all, rather than an endogenous thing derived from human creative activities.
Once the objective social world is established, materialization is not far away from us. The objectivity of the social world means that people treat it as an external thing. However, the key question is whether human beings can retain a consciousness at this time: although the social world has been objectified, it is still created by human beings, and therefore can be recreated. In other words, materialization is an extreme state in the process of objectification. In this state, the objectified world loses its comprehensibility as a human cause. It is fixed and becomes an inhuman, impersonal and inert fact.
The typical consequence is that the real relationship between a person and his world is reversed in consciousness. As creators of the world, people are understood as products of the world, while human activities are understood as incidental phenomena of human processes. Therefore, human meaning no longer comes from a generated world, but from an existing world, which is the product of "the nature of things".
It needs to be emphasized that materialization is a form of consciousness, more accurately, an objective form of the human world. Even in the case of materialization, man can continue to produce the world, that is to say, man can contradictorily create a reality that negates man himself.
How are we materialized so that we don't believe in change?
If we confine the concept of materialization only to the intellectual's mental constructs, we will make mistakes. There is materialization in the consciousness of ordinary people, and this materialization is more practical in fact. In addition, if we regard materialization as the opposite of the original non-materialized understanding of the social world and regard it as a misguided cognition, that is not right.
On the contrary, evidence from ethnology and psychology has shown that human understanding of the social world is highly materialized, both at the level of speciation and ontogenesis. This shows that in order to understand materialization as a form of consciousness, at least a relatively de-materialized state needs to appear first in consciousness. Whether in human history or in personal life, this state of affairs is relatively recent.
What are the consequences of materialization
The whole system order and its various parts may be understood in a materialized way. The whole order of society can be imagined as a small universe, which is created by God in the shape of the big universe. Whatever happens "below" is only a pale projection of what happens "above", and a single specific system can be understood in the same way. A basic "secret recipe" for the materialization of institutions is to endow institutions with an ontological status independent of human activities and meanings. All kinds of specific materialization are only variations of this practice.
Marriage can be materialized into the simulation of divine creation, the universal rules of nature, the inevitable consequences of biological or psychological forces, or, as is often heard, the functional requirements of the social system. All these materializations have one thing in common, that is, they do not realize that marriage is a developing human product. It is not difficult to see that materialization can occur not only at the theoretical level, but also at the pre-theoretical level.
The mysterious religious enlightenment can then fabricate a very complex theory, covering issues ranging from the most concrete human affairs to the most remote corners of the sacred universe, while a couple of literate peasant couples may "materialize" what they do when they get married with a fear of metaphysical power. Through materialization, the institutional world seems to be integrated with the natural world, and the institutional world becomes necessary and destined. People live in a system world like this. Whether they are happy or not is another matter.
The above-mentioned materialization of the system also applies to the materialization of roles. In self-consciousness, those parts that have been objectified through roles can also be regarded as an inevitable fate, so that individuals can escape some responsibilities. The most typical model of materialization is the statement that "I have no choice in this matter. My position (husband, father, general, archbishop, chairman, gangster, executioner, etc.) determines that I must do so".
It can be seen that the materialization of the role will narrow the subjective distance between the individual and the role he plays. The distance in the objective sense is still retained, but the possible subjective distance caused by the problem of identity is reduced to zero. At the end of the day, identity itself (as a whole self) is materialized. This includes a person's identification with his or her own identity, as well as with other people's identity. At this time, the individual is totally equal to the type assigned to him by the society. He is not the other type, but that type.
From a value or emotional point of view, this understanding of typification may highlight both positive and negative implications. For example, the identity of "Jews" may be materialized into anti-Semitics and Jews themselves, but the latter is positive identity, while the former is negative identity. This type was originally made by human beings. When it was internalized, it only objectified a part of self, but two kinds of materialization gave the status of ontology and the whole to this type of society.
更进一步来看，正如前面所说的，从前理论层次到最复杂的理论层次都会出现物化，前者如“大家都了解的犹太人的事情”，后者则从生物学(“犹太血统” )、心理学(“犹太精神” )或形而上学(“以色列之谜” )的角度来定义一种“犹太性”。
Further, as mentioned above, materialization will occur from the former theoretical level to the most complex theoretical level, the former being "Jewish things that everyone knows", the latter defining a kind of "Jewishness" from the perspectives of biology ("Jewish lineage"), psychology ("Jewish spirit") or metaphysics ("the mystery of Israel").
The analysis of materialization phenomenon is very important, because it helps to correct the materialization tendency that exists in theoretical thinking, especially in sociological thinking. It is especially critical for Sociology of knowledge, because it can prevent the latter from falling into a misunderstanding, that is, to set up a non-dialectical relationship between what people do and what they think.