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The ideal is therefore nothing else than the form of things, but existing outside things, namely in man, in the form of his active practice, i.e. it is the socially determined form of the human being’s activity. In nature itself, including the nature of man as a biological creature, the ideal does not exist. As regards the natural, material organisation of the human body it has the same external character as it does in regard to the material in which it is realised and objectified in the form of a sensuously perceived thing. Thus the form of a jar growing under the hands of a potter does not form part either of the piece of clay or of the inborn, anatomical, physiological organisation of the body of the individual functioning as potter. Only insofar as man trains and exercises the organs of his body on objects created by man for man does he become the bearer of the active forms of social man’s activity that create the corresponding objects.

It is clear that the ideal, i.e. the active form of social man’s activity, is immediately embodied, or as it is now fashionable to say, is ‘coded’, in the form of the neuro-cerebral structures of the cortex of the brain, i.e. quite materially. But the material being of the ideal is not itself ideal but only the form of its expression in the organic body of the individual. In itself the ideal is the socially determined form of man’s life activity corresponding to the form of its object and product. To try and explain the ideal from the anatomical and physiological properties of the body of the brain is the same unfruitful whim as to try and explain the money form of the product of labour by the physico-chemical features of gold. Materialism in this case does not consist at all in identifying the ideal with the material processes taking place in the head. Materialism is expressed here in understanding that the ideal, as a socially determined form of the activity of man creating an object in one form or another, is engendered and exists not in the head but with the help of the head in the real objective activity (activity on things) of man as the active agent of social production. (pp.154-155)
 
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