‘Most people would sooner die than think; in fact, they do so.’
‘Most people would sooner die than think; in fact, they do so.’
Truth is to say of what is that it is.
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.
Original illustration by Mr. Fish, “Mind Games.” He committed empire’s greatest sin. He exposed it as a criminal enterprise. He documented its lies, callous disregard for human life, rampant corruption and innumerable war crimes. And empires always kill those who inflict deep and serious wounds. By Chris Hedges Source: ScheerPost Let us name Julian Assange’s […]Hedges: The Execution of Julian Assange — Desultory Heroics
‘The counter-thrust brings together, and from tones at variance comes perfect attunement, and all things come to pass through conflict.’
Heraclitus, The Art and Thought of Heraclitus, LXXV
‘Appearance…constitutes the actuality and the movement of the life of truth. The True is thus the Bacchanalian revel in which no member is not drunk; yet because each member collapses as soon as he drops out, the revel is just as much transparent and simple repose. Judged in the court of this movement, the single shapes of Spirit do not persist any more than determinate thoughts do, but they are as much positive and necessary moments, as they are negative and evanescent.’
G.W.F.Hegel, Phenomenology of Spirit, Trans., A.V.Miller, Oxford University Press, Melbourne, 1977, 27-28 (Preface, 47)
The ‘Thing-in-Itself’ (continued)
The question at issue is Marx’s second Thesis on Feuerbach and Plekhanov’s translation of the word Diesseitigkeit.
Here is the second Thesis:
“The question whether objective truth can be attributed to human thinking is not a question of theory, but is a practical question. In practice man must prove the truth, i.e., the reality and power, the ‘this-sidedness’ of his thinking. The dispute over the reality or non-reality of thinking which is isolated from practice is a purely scholastic question.”
Instead of “prove the this-sidedness of thinking” (a literal translation), Plekhanov has: prove that thinking “does not stop at this side of phenomena”. And Mr. V. Chernov cries: “The contradiction between Marx and Engels has been eliminated very simply…It appears as though Marx, like Engels, asserted the knowability of things-in-themselves and the ‘other-sidedness’ of thinking” (loc. cit., p. 34, note).
What can be done with a Voroshilov whose every phrase makes confusion worse confounded! It is sheer ignorance, Mr. Victor Chernov, not to know that all materialists assert the knowability of things-in-themselves. It is ignorance, Mr. Victor Chernov, or infinite slovenliness, to skip the very first phrase of the thesis and not to realise that the “objective truth” (gegenständliche Wahrheit) of thinking means nothing else than the existence of objects (“things-in-themselves”) truly reflected by thinking. It is sheer illiteracy, Mr. Victor Chernov, to assert that from Plekhanov’s paraphrase (Plekhanov gave a paraphrase and not a translation) “it appears as though” Marx defended the other-sidedness of thought. Because only the Humeans and the Kantians confine thought to “this side of phenomena”. But for all materialists, including those of the seventeenth century whom Bishop Berkeley demolished (see Introduction), “phenomena” are “things-for-us” or copies of the “objects in themselves”. Of course, Plekhanov’s free paraphrase is not obligatory for those who desire to know Marx himself, but it is obligatory to try to understand what Marx meant and not to prance about like a Voroshilov.
V.I.Lenin, Materialism and Empirio-criticism: Critical Comments on a Reactionary Philosophy, Progress Publishers, Moscow, 1975, 89
Part three/to be continued…
Marx’s Theses on Feuerbach
In the theory of knowledge, as in every other sphere of science, we must think dialectically, that is, we must not regard our knowledge as ready-made and unalterable, but must determine how knowledge emerges from ignorance, how incomplete, inexact knowledge becomes more complete and more exact.
Once we achieve the point of view that human knowledge develops from ignorance, we shall find millions of examples of it just as simple as the discovery of alizarin in coal tar, millions of observations not only in the history of science and technology but in the everyday life of each and every one of us that illustrate the transformation of “things-in-themselves” into “things-for-us”, the appearance of “phenomena” when our sense-organs experience an impact from external objects, the disappearance of “phenomena” when some obstacle prevents the action upon our sense-organs of an object which we know to exist. The sole and unavoidable deduction to be made from this – a deduction which all of us make in everyday practice and which materialism deliberately places at the foundation of its epistemology – is that outside us, and independently of us, there exist objects, things, bodies and that our perceptions are images of the external world.
V.I.Lenin, Materialism and Empirio-criticism: Critical Comments on a Reactionary Philosophy, Progress Publishers, Moscow, 1975, 88
Part two/to be continued…
Theoretical mind is the attempt of the self-conscious person to take possession of the world through the exercise of the intellect, but Hegel argues that without the supplement of practical activity such a grasp cannot be achieved. In practical activity man transforms objects and once they are thus transformed by human activity, the products can be appropriated by the human intelligence. Full self-consciousness is achieved when the mind can fully elucidate its own relationship to the world in practical activity. This is a point of crucial importance. A conceptual grasp of an object can only be attained when that object has been formed and structured by human praxis…
Accordingly, full self-consciousness is achieved when man can have a full grasp of the kinds of transformations which he has effected through his practical activity on a world which is not the mere product of his mind, but which can be shaped by his will, this process at the same time contributing to his own development as a person.
Raymond Plant, Hegel, An Introduction, Basil Blackwell, Oxford, 1983, 151-2