Among the qualities inherent in matter, motion is the first and foremost. (Frederick Engels)
These two great discoveries, the materialist
conception of history and the revelation of the secret of capitalist production
through surplus value, we owe to Marx. With them socialism became a science,
which had now to be elaborated in all its details and interconnections.
(Engels, Socialism Utopian and Scientific)
The philosophers have merely interpreted the world in various ways; the point, however, is to change it. (Karl Marx).
History shows that Marx and Engels greatly influenced world politics (there have been many marxist organisations involved in revolutions around the world based on this political philosophy). Unfortunately these revolutions have tended to be brutal short lived dictatorships.
We should not though, think that all revolutions are ultimately
doomed to failure. At certain stages in the evolution of culture and society
we become stuck with certain rules and methods that cause us harm, and require
force to change (e.g. military dictatorships). So it seems that rather than
reject revolution, we must understand our evolution (both as individuals and
a society) such that we may correctly direct our future evolution / revolution.
And to do this requires having the correct foundations for our ideas.
And so we now come to the purpose of this webpage, to discuss the Philosophy and Metaphysics that founded Marx and Engels Marxist politics, with the aim of correcting their errors.
The quotes below are interesting and important - as Engels & Marx were both reasonable philosophers (though their foundations were not quite correct which has caused many problems). It is from their metaphysical foundations that we aim to discuss their work and ideas, thus to begin it is necessary to understand the Metaphysics of Space and Motion and the Wave Structure of Matter. (Please see links on the side of this page).
I read Engels' Socialism about five years ago (2002). I have
added my (rather abrupt!) comments to the Engels' quotes below.
Engels is insistent that the only way in which we can judge the correctness or otherwise of our views about the world is by engaging in action which seeks to change the world. There is no other ultimate criteria. (p16 intro)
Geoff - Or as Marx wrote:
The philosophers have merely interpreted the world, the point however is to change it.
True knowledge of reality, thus absolute truths from this knowledge, are the ultimate / best way to change the world - any other foundation leads to error and conflict!
It has been, Engels argues, ‘the greatest merit’ of the Hegelian system that 'the whole world, natural, historical, intellectual, is for the first time represented as a process, i.e., as in constant motion, change, transformation, development; and the attempt was made to show internal connections in this motion and development. (p17, intro)
Geoff - I remember being impressed with their realisation of the importance of MOTION. They just needed to understand the correct foundations for it, as the Wave Motion of Space (rather than the motion of matter 'particles'). Simple once known, truth is like that!
Idealism breeds passivity by insisting that all we need to do is transform
our thinking and the world will follow suit.
Crude materialism ends in the same result by arguing that if we just wait on the world to change then peoples’ thinking will reflect those changes sooner or later.
Non-dialectical theory, or metaphysical thinking to use Engels’ term, may produce very valuable results in specialised fields but it ‘inevitably bumps into a limit sooner or later, beyond which it becomes one sided, restricted, abstract, lost in insoluble contradictions, because in the presence of individual things it forgets their connections; because in the presence of their existence it forgets their coming into being and passing away; because in their state of rest it forgets their motion.’ But dialectics ‘grasps things and their conceptual images essentially in their interconnection, in their concatenation, their motion, their coming into and passing out of existence.’ (p17-18, intro)
Geoff - Yes and no. Old / wrong metaphysics (founded on discrete particles in space-time) suffers this error, the metaphysics of Space and (wave) Motion / Wave Structure of Matter perfectly explains this "interconnection, in their concatenation, their motion, their coming into and passing out of existence".
As is well known, we Germans are of a terribly ponderous Grundlichkeit, radical profundity or profound radicality, whatever you may like to call it. Whenever any one of us expounds what he considers a new doctrine, he has first to elaborate it into an all-comprising system. He has to prove that both the first principles of logic and the fundamental laws of the universe had existed from all eternity for no other purpose than to ultimately lead to this newly discovered, crowning theory. (p26)
Geoff - I agree - must be my German Jewish ancestry! (I am an atheist / pantheist). But really we are just talking about the pervasive power of truth / true knowledge of reality.
Among the qualities inherent in matter, motion is the first and foremost. (p30)
Geoff - How could Humanity be so close to the truth for
so long and never consider the wave motion of space. Strange!
As Aristotle wrote;
The first philosophy (Metaphysics) is universal and is exclusively concerned with primary substance. ... And here we will have the science to study that which is just as that which is, both in its essence and in the properties which, just as a thing that is, it has. (Aristotle)
The entire preoccupation of the physicist is with things that
contain within themselves a principle of movement and rest. And to seek for
this is to seek for the second kind of principle, that from which comes the
beginning of the change. ...
There must then be a principle of such a kind that its substance is activity.
... it is impossible that the primary existent, being eternal, should be destroyed. ...
... that among entities there must be some cause which moves and combines things.
..about its coming into being and its doings and about all its alterations we think that we have knowledge when we know the source of its movement. (Aristotle, Metaphysics)
To us it appeared inconceivable that almost all educated people in England should believe in all sorts of impossible miracles, and that even geologists like Buckland and Mantell should contort the facts of their sciences so as not to clash too much with the myths of the book of Genesis; while, in order to find people who dared to us their own intellectual faculties with regard to religious matters, you had to go amongst the uneducated, the ‘great unwashed’, as they were then called, the working people, especially the Orwenite socialists. (p32)
Geoff - I suspect less than 1 in 10,000 people really function based on reason. We have evolved to be emotional creatures. History confirms this. I think over half of people in USA believe in God / Creation. Disturbing thought!
The agnostic’s conception of Nature is materialistic throughout. The entire natural world is governed by law, and absolutely excluded the intervention of action from without. But, he adds, we have no means either of ascertaining or of disapproving the existence of some Supreme Being beyond the known universe. Now, this might hold good at the time when Laplace, to Napoleon’s question, why in the great astronomer’s Mechanique celeste [Celestial mechanics] the Creator was not even mentioned, proudly replied: Je n’avais pas besoin de cette hypothese [ I had no need for this hypothesis]. But nowadays, in our evolutionary conception of the universe, there is absolutely no room for either a Creator or a Ruler; and to talk of a Supreme Being shut out from the whole existing world, implies a contradiction in terms, and, as it seems to me, a gratuitous insult to the feelings of religious people.
Geoff - The WSM requires that one and only one thing exists, Space (thus space is infinite & eternal). But this does not mean that there are not conscious beings 'out there' and perhaps on very different scales of size, that may affect us. I see no evidence for it so i keep an open skeptical mind (philosophical mind).
Again, our agnosticism admits that all our knowledge is based upon the information imparted to us by our senses. But, he adds, how do we know that our senses give us correct representations of the objects we perceive through them?
Geoff - This is the starting point for philosophy / metaphysics. The world we sense (naive real) is different to the real world that causes our senses. All animals (including most people) live in this naive real world and think it is real (think that discrete solid bodies really exist). But reason tells us they are interconnected, the WSM explains how.
And he proceeds to inform us that, whenever he speaks of objects or their qualities, he does in reality not mean these objects and qualities, of which he cannot know anything for certain, but merely the impressions which they have produced on his senses. Now, this line of reasoning seems undoubtedly hard to beat by mere argumentation. But before there was argumentation, there was action. Im Anfang was die Tat [In the beginning was the deed.] And human action had solved the difficulty long before human ingenuity invented it.
The proof of the pudding is in the eating. From the moment we turn to our own use these objects, according to the qualities we perceive in them, we put to an infallible test the correctness or otherwise of our sense perceptions. If these perceptions have been wrong, then our estimate of the use to which an object can be turned must also be wrong, and our attempt must fail. But if we succeed in accomplishing our aim, if we find that the object does agree with our idea of it, and does answer the purpose we intended it for, then that is positive proof that our perceptions of it and of its qualities, so far, agree with reality outside ourselves.
And whenever we find ourselves face to face with a failure, then we generally are not long in making out the cause that made us fail; we find that the perception upon which we acted was either incomplete and superficial, or combined with the results of other perceptions in a way not warranted by them- what we call defective reasoning. So long as we take care to train and to use our senses properly, and to keep our action within the limits prescribed by perceptions properly made and properly used, so long as we shall find that the result of our action proves the conformity of our perceptions with the objective nature of things perceived. Not in one single instance, so far, have we been led to the conclusion that our sense perception, scientifically controlled, induce in our minds ideas respecting the outer world that are, by their very nature, at variance with reality, or that there is an inherent incompatibility between the outer world and our sense perceptions of it.
Geoff - A very wordy way of saying that the world around us does really exist (it does). And with the WSM we can now explain how it exists, and how we can interact / sense it. And as WSM deduces fundamentals of Einstein's relativity, Quantum Theory and Cosmology, we can have confidence that it is true.
But then come the Neo-Kantian agnostics and say: We may correctly perceive the qualities of a thing, but we cannot by any sensible or mental process grasp the thing-in-itself. This ‘thing-in-itself’ is beyond our ken. To this Hegel, long since, has replied: If you know all the qualities of a thing, you know the thing itself; nothing remains but the fact that the said thing exists without us; and when your senses have taught you that fact, you have grasped the last remnant of the thing-in-itself, Kant’s celebrated unknowable Ding an sich. To which it may be added, that in Kant’s time our knowledge of natural objects was indeed so fragmentary that he might well suspect, behind the little we knew about each of them, a mysterious ‘thing-in-itself.’ But one after another these ungraspable things have been grasped, analysed, and what is more, reproduced by the giant process of science; and what we can produce, we certainly cannot consider as unknowable. (p34-6)
Geoff - Agreed. Add to that Kant's error and Idealism becomes
"There are two pure forms of sensible intuition, as principles of knowledge a priori, namely space and time."
And from this he concludes that because Space and Time cannot be united, they must both be merely ideas. His error can be found in the following quote where he writes;
"... even that of motion, which unites in itself both elements (Space and Time), presuppose something empirical. Motion, for example, presupposes the perception of something movable. But space considered in itself contains nothing movable; consequently motion must be something which is found in space only through experience -in other words, is an empirical datum."
Please read this quote several times, for it contains an error that has had profound repercussions for humanity. The error? That 'space considered in itself contains nothing movable'. And this error then leads Kant to conclude that;
"... in respect to the form of appearances, much may be said a priori, whilst of the thing in itself, which may lie at the foundation of these appearances, it is impossible to say anything."
Geoff - The solution to this error is to realise that the exact opposite is true, that Space considered in itself contains wave motions, i.e. Space physically exists as a substance with the properties of a Wave Medium and thus contains Wave Motions. Thus we should write that the two pure forms of sensible intuition, as principles of knowledge a priori, are namely Space and Motion - that we must place in this a priori concept of Space the correct meaning - that Space is a Wave-Medium and thus contains within it a second thing, Wave Motion. Thus we move from the Metaphysics of Space and Time (which also requires 'particles' and 'fields') to the Metaphysics of Space and Motion (where particles and fields are caused by the spherical Wave Structure of Matter) and thus finally unite these two things (Space and Motion as the wave Motion of One thing Space) that give rise to all other things. See Immanuel Kant
When Europe emerged from the Middle Ages, the rising middle class of the
towns constituted its revolutionary element. It had conquered a recognised
position within medieval feudal organisation, but this position, also, had
become too narrow for its expansive power. The development of the middle class,
the bourgeoisie, became incompatible with the maintenance of the feudal system;
the feudal system therefore had to fail.
But the great international center of feudalism was the Roman Catholic Church. It united the whole of feudalised Western Europe, in spite of all internal wars, into one grand political system, opposed as much to the schismatic Greeks as to the Mohammedan countries. It surrounded feudal institutions with the halo of divine consecration. It had organised its own hierarchy on the feudal model, and, lastly, it was itself by far the most powerful feudal lord, holding, as it did, fully one third of the soil of the Catholic world. Before profane feudalism could be successfully attacked in each country and in detail, this, its sacred central organisation, had to be destroyed.
Moreover, parallel with the rise of the middle class went on the great revival of science; astronomy, mechanics, physics, anatomy, physiology, were again cultivated. And the bourgeoisie, for the development of its industrial production, required a science which ascertained the physical properties of natural objects and the modes of action of the forces of Nature. Now up to then science had but been the humble handmaiden of the Church, had not been allowed to overstep the limits set by faith, and for that reason had been no science at all. Science rebelled against the Church; the bourgeoisie could not do without science, and, therefore, had to join in the rebellion. (p38)
Geoff - Fair comments about the importance of Science in the industrial revolution. What they don't acknowledge is humans evolved instinct to be religious, to believe in 'God Myths' which unite the 'tribe' and thus make it more powerful (explaining its evolutionary success).
A durable reign of the bourgeoisie has been possible only in countries like America, where feudalism was unknown, and society at the very beginning started from a bourgeois basis. (p49)
Tradition is a great retarding force, is the vis inertiae [inertia] of history, but, being merely passive, is sure to be broken down; and thus religion will be no lasting safeguard to capitalist society. If our juridical, philosophical, and religious ideas are the more or less remote off-shoots of the economical relations prevailing in a given society, such ideas cannot, in the long run, withstand the effects of a complete change in these relations. And, unless we believe in supernatural revelation, we must admit that no religious tenets will ever suffice to prop up a tottering society. (p53)
Geoff - As Friedrich Nietzsche wrote;
For such is man: a Theological Dogma might be refuted to him
a thousand times - provided however, that he had need of it, he would again
and again accept it as true.
Belief is always most desired, most pressingly needed where there is a lack of will.
Fanaticism is the sole "volitional strength" to which the weak and irresolute can be excited, as a sort of hypnotising of the entire sensory-intellectual system.
If pure reason and justice have not hitherto ruled the world, it is only because they have not been rightly understood. What was wanting was only the individual man of genius, who has now arisen and who has recognised the truth. The fact that he has now arisen, that the truth has been recognised precisely at this moment, is not an inevitable event following of necessity in the chain of historical development, but a mere happy accident. He might just as well have been born 500 years earlier and might then have spared humanity 500 years of error, strife and suffering. (p60)
Geoff - This was written in 1880. The WSM was worked out 100 years later. And because so many people in the past have claimed to know the TRUTH, it is now almost impossible to get anyone to believe you. An unfolding ironic tragedy (as our world dies from overpopulation / destruction of Nature).
But this has bequeathed us the habit of observing natural objects and processes
in isolation, detached from the general context; of observing them not in
their motion, but in their state of rest; not as essentially variable elements,
but as constant ones; not in their life, but in their death. And when this
way of looking at things was transferred by Bacon and Locke from natural science
to philosophy, it begot the narrow, metaphysical mode of thought peculiar
to the last centuries.
To the metaphysician, things and their mental images, ideas, are isolated, to be considered one after the other and apart from each other, fixed, rigid objects of investigation given once for all. He thinks in absolutely unmediated antitheses. ‘His communication is “yea, yea; nay, nay”; for whatsoever is more than these cometh of evil.’ (p77)
Geoff - Not true of the Metaphysics of Space and Motion / Wave Structure of Matter.
The metaphysical mode of thought, justifiable and even necessary as it is in a number of domains whose extent varies according to the nature of the object, invariably bumps into a limit sooner or later, beyond which it becomes one sided, restricted, abstract, lost in insoluble contradictions, because in the presence of individual things it forgets their connections; because in the presence of their existence it forgets their coming into being and passing away; because in their state of rest it forgets their motion. (p78)
Geoff - Again, not true of the Metaphysics of Space and Motion / Wave Structure of Matter.
Further, we find upon closer investigation that the two poles of an antithesis,
like positive and negative, are as inseparable as they are opposed, and that
despite all their opposition, they interpenetrate. In like manner, we find
that cause and effect are conceptions which only hold good in their application
to the individual case as such; but as soon as we consider the individual
case in its general connection with the universe as a whole, they merge, they
dissolve in the concept of universal action and reaction in which causes and
effects are constantly changing places, so that what is effect here and now
will be cause there and then, and vice versa.
None of these processes and modes of thought fit into the frame of metaphysical thinking. But for dialectics, which grasps things and their conceptual images essentially in their interconnection, in their concatenation, their motion, their coming into and passing out of existence, such processes as those mentioned above are so many corroborations of its own procedure. (p79)
Geoff - Again, the Metaphysics of Space and Motion / Wave Structure of Matter explains this interconnection of things.
An exact representation of the universe, of its evolution and of that of mankind, and of the reflection of this evolution in the minds of men can therefore only be obtained by the method of dialectics with its constant regard to the general actions and reaction of becoming and ceasing to be, of progressive changes. (p80)
Geoff - There mistake was to have the wrong view of Metaphysics. Again, not true of the Metaphysics of Space and Motion / Wave Structure of Matter, which explains this interconnected change due to wave motions of Space.
This new German philosophy terminated in the Hegelian system. In this system- and this is its great merit- the whole world, natural, historical, intellectual, is for the first time represented as a process, i.e., as in constant motion, change, transformation, development; and the attempt was made to show internal interconnections in this motion and development. From this point of view the history of mankind no longer appeared as a wil whirl of senseless deeds of violence, all equally condemnable at the judgement seat of mature philosophic reason and best forgotten as quickly as possible, but as the process of evolution of humanity itself. It was now the task of intellect to follow the gradual march of this process through all its devious ways, and to trace out the inner logic running through all its apparently contingent phenomena. (p80-81)
Geoff - Process metaphysics is close to the truth, WSM explains what is in motion that causes 'process' (which is merely an abstract idea). A. N. Whitehead wrote on this.
Hegel was an idealist. To him the thoughts within his brain were not the more or less abstract images of actual things and processes, but on the contrary, things and their development were only the realised images of the ‘Idea’, existing somehow from eternity before the world existed. Consequently everything stood on its head and the actual interconnection of things in the world was completely reversed. Although Hegel had grasped some individual interconnections correctly and with genius, yet for the reasons just given there is much that in point of detail necessarily turned out botched, artificial, laboured, in a word, upside down. The Hegelian system as such was a colossal miscarriage- but it was also the last of its kind. In fact, it was suffering from an internal and incurable contradiction. On the one hand, its essential postulate was the conception that human history is a process of development, which, by its very nature, cannot find its intellectual final term in the discovery of any so-called absolute truth. But on the other hand, it laid claim to being the very essence of precisely this absolute truth. (p81-2)
Geoff - I agree, "the Hegelian system as such was a colossal miscarriage". But its underlying dynamic unity is correct. Basically Hegel took the ancient idea of the dynamic unity of reality (from India, Greeks) and re-presented it in an abstract form that was a great disservice to philosophy in my opinion (I dislike his work and political thought).
These two great discoveries, the materialist conception of history and the revelation of the secret of capitalist production through surplus value, we owe to Marx. With them socialism became a science, which had now to be elaborated in all its details and interconnections. (p85-6)
Geoff - Socialism fails because global market economics is too complex to regulate (other than allowing free market forces), and humans have such a difference in skills / abilities. This is the point that Ayn Rand makes. But market economics alone is also harmful, it selects what is best for profit, not what is best for people. With computers and the internet it may soon be possible to better regulate markets to help humanity (rather than destroy us, which is our current path).
The materialist conception of history starts from the principle that production and, next to production, the exchange of things produced, is the basis of every social order; that in every society that has appeared in history, the distribution of wealth and with it the division of society into classes or estates are dependent upon what is produced, how it is produced, and how the products are exchanged. Accordingly, the ultimate causes of all social changes and political revolutions are to be sought, not in men’s brains, not in their growing insight into eternal truth and justice, but in changes in the modes of production and exchange. They are to be sought, not in the philosophy, but in the economics of each particular epoch. (p87)
Geoff- No. Both production / distribution, and regulations founded on truth and reality (philosophy) are necessary. This is largely why socialism / marxism failed (its metaphysical foundations where wrong).
The field of labour became a field of battle. The great geographical discoveries and the colonisation which followed on them multiplied markets and hastened the transformation of handicraft into manufacture. The struggle broke out not only between the individual local producers; in turn the local struggles grew into national struggles, the commercial wars of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. Finally, large scale industry and the creation of the world market have made the struggle universal and at the same time given it an unparalleled virulence. Between individual capitalists, as between whole industries and whole countries, advantages in natural or artificial conditions of production decide life or death. The vanquished are relentlessly cast aside. It is the Darwinian struggle for individual existence, transferred from nature to society with a fury raised to the n-th power. The brutish state of nature appears as the peak of human development. (p96)
Geoff - Societies, and their market economics must be founded on truth and reality. Truth and reality tell us that market economics, which destroys Nature and allows human overpopulation (in the short term), is not the final answer. The system must change, but socialism is not the complete answer.
The contradiction between social production and capitalist appropriation
reproduces itself as the antagonism between the organisation of production
in the individual factory and the anarchy of production in society as a whole.
The capitalist mode of production moves in these two phenomenal forms of the contradiction immanent in it by its very origin, it relentlessly describes that ‘vicious cycle’ which Fourier had already discovered. But what Fourier in his day was as yet unable to see is that this circle is gradually narrowing, that the motion is rather in the form of a spiral and must come to an end, like the motion of the planets, by collision with the center. It is the motive force of the social anarchy of production which increasingly transforms the great majority of men into proletarians, and it is the proletarian masses in their turn who will ultimately put an end to the anarchy of production. It is the motive force of the social anarchy of production which transforms the infinite perfectibility of the machine in large scale industry into a compulsory commandment for each individual industrial capitalist to make his machinery more and more perfect, under penalty of ruin. (p96-7)
Geoff - Read George Orwell's 1984. The Proletariat does not have the necessary knowledge of truth / reality to succeed (nor the ability to create a better system). Plato is correct.
"The society we have described can never grow into a reality or see the light of day, and there will be no end to the troubles of states, or indeed, my dear Glaucon, of humanity itself, till philosophers are kings in this world, or till those we now call kings and rulers really and truly become philosophers, and political power and philosophy thus come into the same hands, while the many natures now content to follow either to the exclusion of the other are forcibly debarred from doing so. This is what I have hesitated to say so long, knowing what a paradox it would sound; for it is not easy to see that there is no other road to happiness, either for society or the individual." (Plato, Republic)
"When the mind's eye rests on objects illuminated by truth and reality, it understands and comprehends them, and functions intelligently; but when it turns to the twilight world of change and decay, it can only form opinions, its vision is confused and its beliefs shifting, and it seems to lack intelligence." (Plato, Republic)
Geoff - Only when society (and thus individual thought and actions) is founded on truth and reality can we hope for a better world. But this will not happen any time soon, sadly (tragically)!
But the perfecting of machinery means rendering human labour superfluous. If the introduction and increase of machinery meant the displacement of millions of hand workers by a few machine workers, the improvement of machinery means the displacement of larger and larger numbers of machine workers themselves, and ultimately the creation of a mass of available wage workers exceeding the average employment needs of capital, a complete industrial reserve army, as I called it as long ago as 1845, an army available at times when industry is working at high pressure, to be thrown out onto the streets by the inevitable ensuing crash, a constant dead weight on the feet of the working class in its struggle for existence with capital, a regulator to keep wages down to the low level which suits the needs of capital. Thus it comes about that machinery, to use Marx’s phrase, becomes the most powerful weapon in the war of capital against the working class, that the instruments of labour constantly knock the means of subsistence out of the worker’s hands, that the very product of the worker is turned into an instrument for his enslavement. (p97)
Geoff - New inventions open up new types of work. Just think of the Information Technology (IT) sector now. They failed to realise this. But humans do need to exercise, thus we now have terrible problems with obesity due to machine labour and humans sitting too much (not to mention poor diet)!
The whole branch of industry is converted into one big joint stock company, and internal competition gives place to the internal monopoly of this one company; this happened as early as 1890 with English alkali production, which, after the fusion of all the 48 large works, is now carried on by a single company, under centralised direction, with a capital of 6 million pounds. (p102)
Geoff - This is definitely a problem with market economics. It tends to monopoly (or manipulation by several global corporations). The pharmaceutical industry is a classic example of this. And in Australia I think 80% of retail is controlled by two corporations. Dangerous in the long term, as they can control prices and wages. Governments must regulate to ensure competition, but it is complex / difficult.
The forces operating in society work exactly like the forces of nature- blindly, violently and destructively, so long as we fail to understand them and take them into account. But once we have recognised them and understood their action, their trend and their effects, it depends solely on ourselves to increasingly subject them to our will and to attain our ends through them. This is especially true of the mighty productive forces of the present day. As long as we obstinately refuse to understand their nature and their character- and the capitalist mode of production and its defenders resist such understanding with might and main- those forces operate in spite of us and against us, dominate us, as we have shown in detail. But once their nature is grasped, they can be transformed from demonical masters into willing servants in the hands of the producers working in association. It is the difference between the destructive force of electricity in the lightning of a thunderstorm and the tamed electricity of the telegraph and the arc light, the difference between a conflagration and fire working in the service of man. (p105)
Geoff - And I thought I was a romantic. Easy thing to write, very hard to achieve! But yes, in principle we must try and control the beast we have created. This requires truth, and thus true knowledge of reality.
The possibility of securing for every member of society, through social production,
an existence which is not only perfectly adequate materially and which becomes
daily richer, but also guarantees him the completely free development and
exercise of his physical and mental faculties- this possibility is now present
for the first time, but it is present.
The seizure of the means of production by society eliminates commodity production and with it the domination of the product over the producer. The anarchy within social production is replaced by consciously planned organisation. The struggle for individual existence comes to an end. It is only at this point that man finally separates in a certain sense from the animal kingdom and that he passes from animal conditions of existence to really human ones. The conditions of existence environing and hitherto dominating humanity now pass under the dominion and control of humanity, which now for the first time becomes the real conscious master of nature, because and in so far as it becomes master of its own social organisation. The laws of man’s own social activity, which have hitherto confronted him as extraneous laws of Nature dominating him, will then be applied by man with full knowledge and hence be dominated by him. (p110)
Geoff - USSR shows the failure of this view, as the system is too complex to completely control by government (not to mention that humans are by nature selfish so once in power they will manipulate the system for their own ends). I am surprised at the naivety of Engels, and Marxism has cost many lives because of this.
Lenin insisted that in denying that human experience is caused by a reality
external to it, the Russian Machists were embracing subjective idealism, which
inevitably terminates in solipsism.
He equated matter with 'objective reality, which is given to man in his sensations, and which is copied, photographed and reflected by our sensations, while existing independently of them.' Through this definition he reasserted materialism in the face of 'physical idealist' interpretations of the contemporary 'crisis in physics'. His effective identification of philosophical materialism with realism and a representational theory of perception was of decisive significance in Soviet philosophy and intellectual history.
..insistence that all philosophical positions are ultimately either materialist or idealist (the 'agnosticism' of Hume and Kant being concealed in idealism), and that these 'two great camps' represent antagonistic social classes.
Despite the philosophical crudities of Lenin's assault on phenomenalism, he was at pains to distinguish his position from the vulgar or 'mechanical' materialism of Vogt, Buchner and Moleschott. Thought is not secreted from the brain like bile from the liver; the psychical is 'the highest product of matter' but is not reducible to it. The relationship between thought and nature is dialectical ..
Unlike Engels, he placed the law of the unity and struggle of opposites above the law of the transformation of quality into quantity: it was the heart of the dialectic, which he now considered to be the essence of Marxism; and he found support in the dialectic for his typically activist belief that 'man's consciousness not only reflects the objective world, but creates it'.
One Hundred Twentieth-Century Philosophers - Stewart Brown, Diane Collinson, Robert Wilkinson
‘Why do you call yourself a National Socialist, since your party program is the very antithesis of that commonly accredited to Socialism?’
(Hitler) Socialism is the science of dealing with the common weal. Communism is not Socialism. Marxism is not Socialism. The Marxists have stolen the term and confused its meaning. I shall take Socialism away from the Socialists. Socialism is an ancient Aryan, Germanic institution. Our German Ancestors held certain lands in common. They cultivated the idea of the common weal. Marxism has no right to disguise itself as Socialism. Socialism, unlike Marxism, does not repudiate private property. Unlike Marxism, it involves no negation of personality, and is patriotic. We are not Internationalists. Our Socialism is national. We demand the fulfillment of the just claims of the productive classes by the State on the basis of race solidarity. To us State and race are one.
It does not matter, how many square miles the enemy may occupy of the national spirit is aroused. Ten million free Germans, ready to perish so that their country may live, are more potent that fifty million whose will power is paralysed and whose race consciousness is infected by aliens. (Hitler)
‘Men make history rather in their reactions to the definite circumstances in which they find themselves placed. Every generation has a new set of circumstances to face. In general it can be said that great men are of value only in so far as they are able to deal with the circumstances of their environment. Otherwise they are Don Quixotes. According to Marx himself, one should never contrast men and circumstances. As far as my opinion goes, it is history that makes great men. We have been studying Marx for thirty years.’ (Stalin)
‘We have had enough experience of three revolutions to know that one out of one hundred decisions made by individuals ninety are one-sided.’ (Stalin)
Somewhat later I brought the conversation around to the surprising change
of front that communism had made in abandoning the old theory of equality
and introducing piece-work in its place, thus giving the energetic worker
a chance to earn more than his companion. ‘We were astonished,’
I concluded, ‘when you yourself characterised equalisation as the remains
of middle-class prejudice.’
Stalin answered: ‘A completely socialised State where all receive the same amount of bread and meat, the same kind of clothes, the same products and exactly the same amount of each product – such a Socialism was not recognised by Marx. Marx merely says that so long as the classes are not entirely wiped out and so long as work has not become the object of desire – for now most people look upon it as a burden – there are many people who would like to have other people do more work than they. So long, then, as the distinction of class is not entirely obliterated people will be paid according to their productive efficiency, each according to his capacity. That is the Marxist formula for the first stage of Socialism. When Socialism has reached the complete stage everyone will do what he is capable of doing and for the work which he has done he will be paid according to his needs. It should be perfectly clear that different people have different needs, great and small. Socialism has never denied the difference in personal tastes and needs either in kind or in extent. Read Marx’s criticism of Stirner and the Gotha programme. Marx there attacks the principle of equalisation. That is a part of primitive peasant psychology, the idea of equalisation. It is not Socialist.’ (Stalin)
From Interview with H.G. Wells
‘There is not, nor should there be, an irreconcilable contrast between the individual and the collective, between the interests of an individual person and the interests of the collective.” (Joseph Stalin)
“You object to the simplified classification of mankind into poor and rich. Of course there is a middle straum; there is the technical intelligentsia that you have mentioned and among which there are very good and very honest people. Among them there are also dishonest and wicked people, there are all sorts of people among them. But first of all mankind is divided into rich and poor, into property owners and exploited; and to abstract oneself from this fundamental division is to abstract oneself from a fundamental fact. ..This struggle is going on and will continue. The outcome of the struggle will be determined by the proletarian class, the working class.” (Stalin)
“In speaking of the capitalists who strive only for profit, only to
get rich, I do not want to say that these are the most worthless people capable
of doing nothing else. Many of them undoubtedly possess great organising talent,
which I would not dream of denying. We Soviet people learn a lot from the
But if you mean people who are prepared to reconstruct the world, of course you will not be able to find them in the ranks of those who faithfully serve the cause of profit. ..The capitalist is riveted in profit and nothing can tear him away from it.” (Stalin)
“The transformation of the world is a great, complicated and painful
process. For this great task a great class is required. Big ships go on long
W: ‘Yes, but for long voyages a captain and navigator are required.’
S: ‘That is true, but what is first required for a long voyage is a big ship. What is the navigator without a ship? An idle man.
W: The big ship is humanity, not a class.
S: You, Mr Wells, inevitably start out with the assumption that all men are good. I, however, do not forget that there are many wicked men. I do not believe in the goodness of the bourgeoise.’
Stalin: ‘Of course the old system is breaking down, decaying. That is true. But it is also true that new efforts are being made by other methods, by even means, to protect, to save this dying system. You draw a wrong conclusion from a correct postulate. You rightly state that the old world is breaking down. But you are wrong in thinking that it is breaking down of its own accord. No, the substitution of one social system for another is a complicated and long revolutionary process. It is not simply a spontaneous process, but a struggle; it is a process connected with the clash of classes. Capitalism is decaying, but it must not be compared simply with a tree which has decayed to such an extent that it must fall to the ground of its own accord. No; revolution, the substitution of one social system for another, has always been a struggle, a painful and a cruel struggle, a life and death struggle. And every time the people of the new world came into power they had to defend themselves against the attempts of the old world to restore the old order by force, these people of the new world always had to be on the alert, always had to be ready to repel the attacks of the old world upon the new system.’
Wells: ‘There can be no revolution without a radical change in the educational system.’
Stalin: ‘Owing to pressure from below, the pressure of the masses, the bourgeoise may sometimes concede certain partial reforms while remaining on the basis of the existing social-economic system. Acting in this way, it calculates that these concessions are necessary in order to preserve its class rule. This is the essence of reform. Revolution, however, means the transference of power from one class to another. That is why it is impossible to describe any reform as revolution. That is why we cannot count on the change of social systems taking place as an imperceptible transition from one system to another by means of reforms, by the ruling class making concessions.’
Philosophy - Uniting Metaphysics and Philosophy by Solving Hume's
Problem of Causation, Kant's Critical Idealism, Popper's
Problem of Induction, Kuhn's Paradigm.
Philosophy: Economics - Controlling the Evolution of Market Economics for the Benefit of both Humanity and Nature (and thus survival). Truth, Reality and Nature (Wave Structure of Matter) as Market Economic Forces. Globalisation as Ecology of Economics.
Philosophy: Education - Plato, Michel de Montaigne, Albert Einstein and Jean Jacques Rousseau on Philosophy of Education, both for the Individual and their Responsibility to Society. On True Knowledge of Reality as Necessary for Education of Critical Thinking.
Philosophy: Politics Globalisation - On the Political Theories of Plato, Aristotle, Caesar, Machiavelli, Hobbes, etc. On the Evolution of a True Democracy Founded on Truth and Reality. Globalisation as Interconnected Ecology of both Political States and Reality.
Philosophy: Absolute Truth - Absolute Space - Absolute Truth comes from Necessary Connection which requires One Thing, Absolute Space, to Connect the Many Things (Matter as Spherical Wave Motions of Space). On the Absolute Truth and Reality of the Existence of Absolute Space as a Wave Medium. And ending such nonsense as 'The ONLY ABSOLUTE TRUTH is that there are NO ABSOLUTE TRUTHS' (Feyerabend) as Aristotle wrote, 'Finally, if nothing can be truly asserted, even the following claim would be false, the claim that there is no true assertion.'
'The Gift of Truth Excels all Other Gifts.' (Buddha)
One of the top ten shops at Cafepress for the past two years (out of 3 million shops!).
A brilliant collection of portraits and quotes from 500 of the greatest minds in human history.
The Philosophy Shop has six portraits and quotes from Friedrich Engels and Karl Marx.
Nature versus Humanity: Communist Theory Engels
'Let us not, however, flatter ourselves overmuch on account of our human victories over nature. For each such victory nature takes its revenge on us.'
Marx: Change the World
'The philosophers have only interpreted the world in various ways; the point, however, is to change it.'
Political Economics: Karl Marx History Analysis
'Catch a man a fish, and you can sell it to him. Teach a man to fish, and you ruin a wonderful business opportunity.'
Environment, Marx and Industry
'The development of civilization and industry ...has always [been] so active in the destruction of forests that everything ...done for their conservation and production is completely insignificant...'
Karl Marx Communism Religion Opiate Masses
'Religion is the opiate of the masses.'
Work Revolution: Union of Workers Karl Marx
'Workers of the world unite; you have nothing to lose but your chains.'
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