Now that the ideological caravans of modernism and post-modernism have run out of steam, what next? Mysticism? But this is a very hot potato – for two reasons: the primary Western form – Neoplatonism – has been treated by generations of academics as the pornography of modern Western philosophy, even as its Siren call has been eagerly responded to, particularly by male philosophers, and its profound influence on their work dissembled about or denied. To explore mysticism in this regard threatens to undermine gods, expose ideologically motivated lies, damage careers and lay bare a cultural arrogance and self-delusion that we in the West are the champions of (the Man of) ‘Reason’ while others stare at their navels or are obsessed with filial piety and particularly, as Marx recognised, its contradictory core, now absorbed by him into materialism, is nothing but revolutionary. It rings the bell for the passing of all and everything but matter in motion itself – it speaks of a mobile infinity.
But what is the ‘is’ and by what method do we know and say it is?
Marx, Engels and Lenin showed that the ‘is’ is objective, for ever changing, prior to consciousness and, in truth, reflected by it.
We can never step into the same river twice.
Further, what is is driven by contradiction, the engine of Neoplatonic dialectics, developed by Hegel and recognised by the materialist Marx, in the highest yet one-sided development of that philosophical current initiated by Plotinus, as the engine of the world.
To discern the truth is to develop our reason not abstractly but by passing from living perception to abstract thought and then from this to testing the product of that thought in practice.
Ideology – a system of belief delimited by the interests of the most powerful – is the ever-present foe of reason.
To speak the truth is to dialectically reflect in an ever-deepening manner – it was once true that the world is flat – objective reality.
The Americans, like the British and the Soviets before them, dug their own graveyard in Afghanistan. By Chris Hedges Source: ScheerPost.com The Carthaginian general Hannibal, who came close to defeating the Roman Republic in the Second Punic War, committed suicide in 181 BC in exile as Roman soldiers closed in on his residence in the […]
I listened to the 1st 1/2 hr of the video and pulled the plug – the level of ‘ideas’ was so unrelentingly stupid. Not once in that 1/2 hr did either White (for whom I used to have some respect) or the thug and standover merchant Mearsheimer use the words ‘capitalism’ and ‘socialism’ – they spoke of everything but. Another word they didn’t use is ‘necessity’ – the engine of the world. It was necessary that capitalism emerge from feudalism – nothing could stop it. And it is necessary that forms of socialism will replace capitalism. Again, nothing can stop it. Engels wrote to a friend in the US (I have posted on it) that the US would have to become socialist in order to compete with China. Similarly, Europe will become socialist as will that fearful, utterly servile nation Australia. These things will happen not because I like socialism or hate capitalism but because I recognise what necessity is and how it functions. You were born, will age and die. So was and will I. And the working of necessity goes on…
‘Let art be content with its lofty, splendid mission of being a substitute for reality in case of its absence, and of being a textbook of life for man. Reality stands higher than dreams, and essential purpose stands higher than fantastic claims.’
N.G. Chernyshevsky, ‘The Aesthetic Relation of Art to Reality’, MA thesis, 1855, in Selected Philosophical Essays, Foreign Languages Publishing House, Moscow, 1953, 379
Original illustration by Mr. Fish US leadership has stumbled from one military debacle to another, a trajectory mirroring the sad finales of other historical imperial powers By Chris Hedges Source: Mint Press News Princeton, New Jersey (Scheerpost) — America’s defeat in Afghanistan is one in a string of catastrophic military blunders that herald the death of the American […]
Thank you very much for your generous comment. What I particularly liked and is for me ‘the guts’ of Corinna’s and Gerry Gold’s essay is that two people who understand dialectics and write very clearly on it are not only calling for a major development of dialectics but, in the same essay, refer to ‘a new science of consciousness studies…rapidly moving into an area previously thought to be the reserve of those who believe in UFOs, ESP, table-knocking and “mind over matter”’.
I understand from this that not only are they calling for a development based on science of what we already know of dialectical laws and logic (a knowledge tested in practice), but they hold that that research should be undertaken in any area that could contribute to that development. It is to this that I responded.
Neoplatonism – a school that was always open to development – was an amalgam of Greek philosophy and a development on it, starting with Plotinus. Hegel wrote that Neoplatonism established ‘the ideal realm’ and that Alexandrian Neoplatonism incorporated all earlier forms of Greek philosophy within it and was the consummation of Greek philosophy and the greatest flowering of philosophy to the decline of the Roman Empire (Hegel, Lectures on the History of Philosophy 1825-6, vol. I, Trans., Robert F. Brown and J.M. Stewart, Clarendon Press, Oxford, 2009, 202).
In my view, there are two ways of thinking dialectically, which are intertwined in The Enneads – using concepts consciously and intuitively, subconsciously (I used both ways of thinking towards this reply – hence the slight delay). Plotinus did not clearly distinguish them. Hegel, as a Neoplatonist, subscribed both to patriarchal and intuitive reason, and, living after a long history of development within Neoplatonism, took Neoplatonism to its consummation.
Marx took only one halfof this current further (that of conscious reason and conceptual analysis) standing it on its material feet. He rejected the other half (that of intuition and subconscious reason) as idealist mysticism. He did this both because he was not a Neoplatonist and because of the domination in the West of patriarchal reason (‘The Man of Reason’). This is why I emphasise that what Plotinus initiated was not just Neoplatonism, but more importantly, a continuum.
To recognise this continuum and the place of Marxism on it is, I think, crucial to a further development of that current in its entirety, now dialectical materialism.
With regard to ‘mind’: my understanding of all scientific studies regarding our thoughts, speech and actions is that they are directed towards those parts of the physical body responsible for them (brain, muscles etc.), not to a ‘mind’. I definitely do not accept that there is a ‘mind’ or are ‘minds’. As Lenin wrote ‘From living perception to abstract thought, and from this to practice, such is the dialectical path of the cognition of truth, of the cognition of objective reality.’