Trinity Formula Translation Error.

NB. I Just discovered that the English translation of the Trinity Formula on Marxists.org translates verkehrten form as distorted form. Distorted is a word analytical philosophers use that sounds concise but is really quite general. Distorted also contributes to fetish characteristic forms being treated as false consciousness. For example notice the difference between how it is incorrectly translated:

“Nevertheless, it is not in this form that the matter appears to the agents of production, the bearers of the various functions in the production process, but rather in a distorted form.”

and the way it should be translated.

“Nevertheless, it is not in this form that the matter appears to the agents of production, the bearers of the various functions in the production process, but rather in a perverted form.”

F that S.

As Bonefeld points out perverted is much better.

Bonefeld, following Backhaus, has this to say about the importance of verrückt and perverted:

In German, ‘verrückt’ has two meanings: verrückt (mad) and verrückt (displaced).Thus, the notion of ‘perverted forms’ means that they are both mad and displaced. In other words, they are perverted forms of human social practice, in which ‘subject and object do not statically oppose each other, but rather are caught up in an ongoing process of the inversion of subjectivity into objectivity, and vice versa’ (Backhaus, 1992, p.60).The essay refers to ‘perverted’ in this double sense.

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About HR

Deep in the adjunct crackhole.
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2 Responses to Trinity Formula Translation Error.

  1. JR says:

    Erm, you’ve complained about the translation of verkehrt as ‘distorted’, but the discussion you’ve cited to support the alternative ‘perverted’ is of verrückt.

    • HR says:

      “Erm, you’ve complained about the translation of verkehrt as ‘distorted’, but the discussion you’ve cited to support the alternative ‘perverted’ is of verrückt.”

      Erm is putting it nicely JR. I’ll add: what a motherfucking blunder. Don’t I look like a pseudo marxologist assclown. I clearly shouldn’t have attempted philology in a language I don’t speak on the day I stopped huffing glue and started smoking crack. Thanks for pointing that out.

      Luckily, as you probably know, verkehrt (inversion) does relate to verrückt (perversion). (Bonefeld and Backhaus also discuss this) So really the passage in question should read:

      “Nevertheless, it is not in this form that the matter appears to the agents of production, the bearers of the various functions in the production process, but rather in a inverted form.”

      So in my view I think the point can still be made that distorted is different than inverted. Distorted contributes to the interpretation of fetish characteristic forms of value as epistemological illusions, whereas inverted describes how these perverted forms social function in a more precise manner.

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