Advance and Follow – The Death and Resurrection of Karl Marx

Small Logo By J.V Capone

(Edited excerpts from his upcoming book Advance and Follow: Socialism – Regeneration – Imperium.  This part explores the genealogical foundation of esoteric Marxism, and highlights some if Marxism’s necessary contributions to scientific socialism which every Revolutionist must absorb.)

The Death and Resurrection of Karl Marx – Esoteric Marxism and the Failed Enlightenment

THIS IS A WIP AND NEEDS FURTHER REVISING AND INTEGRATION OF HERMETIC ELEMENT OF HEGEL

No truly approximating or descriptive approach to this general subject of Karl Marx and Marxism is possible, let alone one that is really accurate or complete.  Hundreds of thousands of articles in hundreds of academic peer reviewed journals, and thousands of monographs also in scores of languages have been produced on the subject of Marxism from within the Marxian framework.  There are perhaps equally as many works about the general subject from outside of the Marxist schools.  Then, finally, there are countless mountains more of material produced from the governments and universities of the old Eastern Bloc.

Our methodology here is only interesting in that we take an approach that connects otherwise disparate ideological and theological movements to strike at the root of understanding, in line with our syncretic approach.  It would be foolhardy to find an alignment where it does not fit, but it would be tragic to miss a perfect fitting where it begs to be found.  For over a century, many competent, even gifted individuals, have pointed to some of the obvious connections between Marxian teleology and the teleology of the general Abrahamic trajectory. 45808_141594255875792_2937468_n

Hitherto this has been framed in the manner of an error, or of a birthmark of the older Western tradition on Marx.  Later positivist revisitings of Marx have attempted to eliminate the Hegelian eschatology deeply embedded in Marx’ work.  Self satisfied with having correctly found these apparent ‘defects’, no further real analysis along those lines is performed.  Having found something obvious, their own limitations nevertheless compel them to declare these as acute observations.  As practically every related sociological or philosophical venture since Marx has been an answer to Marx, others are all too ready to declare these findings as ‘defects’.  Hastily, all sorts of elaborations and improvements are suggested to ‘rectify’ Marx, to ‘cleanse it’ of its idealist imperfections.

We are compelled by the evidence to take a different path, to soberly confront a haunting question: is there another Marx?

Is there a Marx beyond images and things; a Marx of forms?  This would be an  esoteric Marx and the Marx behind our perception of Marx.  Only the acting phenomenologist can lead us out of the cave of the apparent Marx of our perceptions, and to the true Marx of religion and form.

Most seductive then is when we understand  Marx’s expertise in Hegelian philosophy and his accomplishment as a philologist.  From both perspectives, Marx was intimately aware of Hegel’s Gnosticism and Platonism, as well he was intimately familiar with Plato; being able to read and write in the original Greek and having consumed for himself a large portion of the entirety of the known works of Classical Antiquity.  Marx understood the Platonic, Christian, and Gnostic foundation of Hegel’s work, but also understood that the era of Hegel the idealist was coming to an end.  It was written all over the walls, the Young Hegelians like Bruno Bauer and Ludwig Feuerbach were trying to salvage a Hegel that was mostly secular, to make it something entirely secular.  There is an interesting parallel here between what was done to Hegel and what was being done to Marx by the positivist-Marxists like L.Althusser.

The Young Hegelians were committed to an attack on Christianity as to undermine the entire Prussian establishment.  Not just Marx, as it is already widely publicized, but the Young Hegelian movement was aimed at turning Hegel on his head.  But Marx was perhaps the best student who wasn’t.  Being acutely aware of the direction of scientific and intellectual discourse for the foreseeable future, within the Newtonian paradigm of naturalism, then recently vindicated by C. Darwin, any credible scientific rational approach would necessarily be materialist.  Even if it ultimately meant not to be.

God is God only so far as he knows himself. his self-knowledge is, further, a self-consciousness in man and man’s knowledge of God, which proceeds to man’s self-knowledge in God.

— Hegel, Encyclopedia of the Philosophical Sciences

This is precisely the early Christian, Gnostic or Platonic method as we shall continually refer to in this exploration.  Most are already aware of the ‘two’ Platos – the literal apparent Plato and the Platonism behind the Plato.  Indeed, Plato’s approach to epistemology was woven directly into his very explication of it.  This means that there two intended interpretations of Plato – one which Plato meant for the general public and one which could only be understood by the initiated.  So to is the case with Marx, who has a student of Hegel understood the correctness of Hegel’s trajectory when counterpoised to the unintelligent ‘materialism’ of the Young Hegelians.

Rightly, Hegel’s body of work was presented as it was; and as it was it was nearly impossible to be understood by any but the longtime student of Hegelian philosophy.  This was perfectly acceptable for a court philosophy, but in the rising era of Republicanism, Revolution, and Democracy – the broad masses required a more comprehensible ideology.  As these ideals were testaments to the rise of the Enlightenment, the ideology would have to have that element too.  For the support of the intelligentsia and literati, the radical philanthropists and early middle-class ‘activists’, the actors on the world stage of relative but still commonplace privilege – in short the political class – would have to be on board with any such project.  And the framework of that weltanschauung was scientism and materialism.

Again, at the same time it would have to be structured in the comprehensive way that religion is.  In short it would have to be a Gnostic and Platonic Christianity with elements of the Orphic and Dionysian, dressed up in Aristotelian materialism.

This means that there is a hidden Marx – a Platonic Marx who tells the noble lie of materialism; which can only be understood from a careful and intimate study of Gnosticism, Hellenic Theology, and its realization in Christianity.

Mammon

Mammon

We must find the Eschatological Marx – the Marx where the Telos has a defined meaning and is embraced warmly; therein is the Messianic Marx, the Marx of Christ of redemption and resurrection.  This is the cryptic Marxist struggle against the worldly Metatron, against the Demiurge – the Marxian fight of the proletarian Israelites against the worshippers of Mammon and the Seven Princes of Hell, who worship at the alter of Yaldabaoth.

We cannot offer a final prognosis or judgment, but we can state that for the death of Marxism to be followed by the miracle of resurrection of the corpus of Karl Marx, we must cast the following incantation . . .

The Image of Popular Marx – Significant Lessons Nonetheless

Marxism was apparently the final attempt to deliver a scientific, rational and materialist foundation for human social organization and practice.  This was to be amoral but nonetheless good.  It succeeded in its analysis and critique of the capitalist mode of production, in particular the processes involved in the appropriation of surplus value from the proletariat during the cycle of production, which defines capital accumulation.

The arithmetical approach of Ricardo, Smith, and before them Locke, who understood the Labor Theory of Value – a development upon the Classical Hellenic view of the role of labor in the value and utility of commodities –  was exponentially radicalized with the superimposition of their basic multiplication onto the complex calculus of motion.  This defines the process-evolution method of Marx embodied in Das Kapital.

In addition his development of a class analysis is equally indispensable , when understood as part of a Marxian scientific toolbox containing different usable components in a manner explained by the otherwise wrong, L.P Althusser.  This must be counterpoised to the simplistic morality play framed in ‘oppression/liberation’ discourse as is typical of the old ‘New-Left’ who dominated Western Marxism in the last thirty years of the 20th century.

Their vulgarization in theory and in their popular press existed both in academia and in various pre-party organizations of the Trotskyist and Maoist variety in the ‘1st World’.  This made their audiences and followers susceptible to the Atlanticist perversion of the discourse ultimately embodied in Gene Sharp’s neo-liberalism. The failure of apparent Marxism therefore is not here in its successes.

Nor is there much merit to the commonplace fallacy which descries the collapse of USSR as equivalent to the death of Marxism, which typifies the view of the ostensibly intellectual historian or philosopher wing of the professional class of petit-bourgeois charlatans who presently find employment in any number of institutions today.

The death of apparent Marxism, rather is tied up with the death of Liberalism, and not the collapse of the USSR which was more than not the product of a number of geostrategic and geopolitical phenomenon mostly external to the epistemological underpinnings of Marxian ideology.  Sharing with Liberalism its materialism, Marxism was destroyed by Liberalism not for its materialism but for its crypto-religiosity, which is the same reasons that Karl Marx must be resurrected.

A great exception here though must be noted, which is the apparent atheism of Marxism as promoted by the Soviet state, and the degree to which the politically inclined portion of the devoutly religious were compelled to conspire internally and sow seeds.  Additionally the apparent atheism of Marxism inspired opposition in Afghanistan on religious grounds.  This presented a problem in Latin America also, but the popular materialist Marxism was confronted by the next synthesis of Socialist thought – in Fascism and National Socialism.

In each revolutionary upsurge, from 1848 through 1872, Marx believed firmly that the Socialist revolution was afoot.  Instead, these were frustrated and Marx wrongly projected the possibilities both politically and as a matter of the material development of the means of production, as Engels is most clear about in his 1895 introduction to Marx’s Class Struggles in France.

The horrors of the Great War after the first decade of the 20th century began to break down the public and academic support for the ideals of the Enlightenment, rationalism, and materialism – a phenomenon already understood and discussed widely.  The then new and syncretic socialist thinking which emerged from this time had the effect of connecting the social struggle to the broader existential and theologic struggle.  Things had changed significantly from the time of Marx – the ideals of bourgeois democracy and enlightenment materialism were overturned in part by a not public engagement with existentialism and theology.

Marx could not have foreseen this development, and instead believed that the rational, materialist, enlightenment mode of thought would be the predominating discourse through the early socialist historical stage.  And so while Marx, had he been alive in the 1910’s or 1920’s would have certainly become more public with his Christian and Gnostic underpinnings, the matter of Marxism – having then already experienced two great crises – was entirely different.  Marxists, as opposed to Marx, were more or less as Marx had intended them to be.  Yet while Marx is famous for declaring to the ultra-radical French Marxists that (if they are Marxists, then) “I am not a Marxist!” – it is nevertheless clear that Marx had intended for the primary materialist and scientific framework to be promoted by anyone claiming to uphold his system.

The task of real significance regarding Marxism is in separating the wheat from the chaff. One of the primary defects in apparent Marxism was in its presentism of sorts, taking for granted that the then prevailing materialist scientistic worldview, which imperfectly situated itself in top of a naive empiricist model later propounded by Popper et al, was the absolute pinnacle of epistemology.

This indeed contradicts a fundamental position of Marxism, which is in its radical progressivist futurism: immediately it should be understood that the philosophy of science in the 19th or 20th centuries is not the final word.  But within such a contradiction so obvious, it must be concluded that this is an intentional clue left to us by Marx.  This is a clue, a glaring gem of mystery and wonderment seducing us ever farther down the rabbit hole.

Nevertheless, the apparent Marx should be understood, even credited, for working with what was available at the time.  We may dare say that the prevailing paradigm was manipulated to such an extent.  Kuhn explains clearly in Structure of Scientific Revolutions that scientists are entirely justified in their errors insofar as the paradigms they operate in are still historically valid.  More correctly; scientists are compelled to make these errors, perhaps at times knowingly, insofar as the dominant paradigm legislates it.

But to understand this prevailing paradigm and its total weight, and to understand our paradox it is first necessary to approach the matter from the preceding several centuries.

This materialist foundation had been set in place in the several centuries before, from the Copernican to Newtonian Revolutions.  CopernicusThe Church, the ecclesiastical dominion, had failed to recover from this major upset in the realm of Ptolemaic Cosmology. The Church, wherefrom a Medieval Socialist state was otherwise emergent, failed its own mission; a symptom of which was investing heavily in the rational-scientific and materialist weltanschauung earlier on, reflecting Aristotle, of which Ptolemaic Cosmology played a critical role.

An element may have been the hyper-focus on legalism which became the obsession of the early 15th century Church emerging from the Great Schism of 1378. One problem here to note is the the debate had already shifted, and had no possible good outcome given the prevailing framework.  The Church had already essentially favored the Aristotelian and materialist ontology over the Platonic and illusory.

This parallels the position of the Hermetic over the Gnostic.  The Church ultimately favored the rational scientific materialism over the semi-Talmudic materialism of the Puritans.

That approach, however, seems inevitable in light of two emergent and opposite social and ideological trends, puritanism and scientism.   The religiosity of what became the puritan protestants and the materialism of what became the scientists had previously been maintained in relative balance within the sphere of the Ecclesiastical.  Both vulgar trends were led by individuals themselves raised in the bosom of the Church.

The so-called ‘literacy’ campaign of 1520’s Lutheranism had ostensibly a series of political objections to the rigid bureaucracy and corruption of the Church.  Made possible by the printing press, the blow-back effect of the mass production of bibles and the underproduction of other related works or of gifted theologians led inevitably to the ‘bible fundamentalism’ of the ‘single-text’ literalism identified as Calvinism and Puritanism.

Given the predisposition towards intellectualism which caricaturizes the emergent Jesuit faction after 1540, and in light of other prevailing conditions, a large sum of energies were directed by the Church towards capturing the scientific and opposing the religious.  This, naturally, is a generalization meant to capture the essence of that development.

403px-Egyptian_-_Gnostic_Gem_with_Scarab_-_Walters_42872

Egyptian Gnostic Scarab

Whereas the eternal Gnostic element of knowledge through cogitation in abstraction was a thoroughly chartered domain, more reflecting the Platonic and early Christian theology, the Hermetic element of knowledge through manipulation of matter was an ever-growing mass.

The Church was reasonable in attempting to fix itself on top of this ever-growing mass in order that another Church – eventually realized in an interesting twist as the University which it itself founded – did not consume it first.

Since the Newtonian Revolution and the European Enlightenment, this scientific framework had been the emergent basis of social morality and social good; thus overthrowing the ecclesiastical, venerable, sacrosanct epoch which defined several preceding millennium.

This created a particular imbalance in human consciousness thereafter; between the mastery of matter and the mastery of soul.  And so the Hermetic path, the alchemist’s path, was followed to its final destination; our post-modern dystopia.   From Hermes, God of Mind from Stone; thief of Apollo’s prize oxen – Hermes introduced himself to the world stage thus:

Atlas, who wears on back of bronze the ancient

Abode of the gods in heaven, had a daughter

Whose name was Maia, born of a goddess:

She lay with Zeus, and bore me, Hermes,

Servant of the immortals.

This historically necessary and inevitable, but destructive path was the purely Alchemic, Hermetic, Materialist, which lay itself prone to the eventual conquest by the Talmudic, Demiurgic, and Capitalistic.  Hermes_statueThe neurotic, now ablaze, obsession with the Stone-Mind God Hermes.  The first and primary obsession of the alchemists, as organized by the  Church, was the  creation of Gold from other matter.  Now, the incantation of the Sorcerers Apprentice has been cast into omnipresence; threatening all who live and breath.  It can only be undone one way.

Indeed, the industrial productive, mercantile, capitalist, and banking paradigm, paradigm of the thievery of Apollo’s Oxen, paradigm of the Atlanticists, paradigm of the Bourgeoisie – this succeeded in the Alchemic, Hermetic and Talmudic mission of creating Gold from other matter.

Does this not mean there is no place for the Hermetic knowledge; the knowledge of chemistry and technology, of architecture and the like?  No, rather that there is a deadly imbalance.   This is now requiring a total Revolution of spirit and law to rectify.

And so the Proletariat for Marx is likened to the tribe of Israel led by Moses; it must be led by the Phenomenologist out of the Desert, out of the Cave.

The Enlightenment, and Karl Marx, failed in the endeavor to rationalize good on a materialist foundation.  What followed was the logical outgrowth, the realization of the actual trajectory of a social organization based upon amorality – late capitalism and the neo-liberal Weltanschauung.  Hedonism, sadism, masochism, perversion of the self and soul at all levels.  The conversion of all life and all matter into Gold.  The touch of Midas, a total collapse from Gold; The total subsumption of use values by exchange values, including love itself.

The Enlightenment was made possibly by, and in turn made further possible these developments.  The developmental stage of the sciences of that time were wrapped up in paradoxes developed out of critiques and developments of Descartes and Spinoza, Comte, Darwin, and others.

Karl Marx’s search for a good, his search for a ‘humanism’ was sought out in a type of social-Darwinian project which, while trapped in many of the concepts and the lexicon of materialism and to a certain extent positivism, was concealing an idealist and romantic reaction to the soullessness and heartlessness of the Capitalist machine.

The great danger he, like A. Smith, saw in human beings becoming entirely alienated and subordinate to the very machine they had once created to meet human needs, has now been realized under these conditions of post-modernity. The horizon on the future appears even more bleak. The master would become the slave to his own invention, in an alienating process – reification. The conundrum for the apparent Marx, naturally, was that we understand from him that man is without a soul.

But in these contradictions we see Marx gives us more clues, as he falls repeatedly into the Cartesian dualism of the ghost in the shell.  Descartes held that existence had a dual nature.  The body, he maintained, was physical while the mind and cognition were the workings of a soul.  While considered a (continental) Rationalist, the machinery of the world and the body that would otherwise preclude a free-will, is accompanied by a non-physical mind which presides uniquely in humans.

Interestingly his variant of Rationalism, while the whole school of Rationalism was opposed by the British Empiricist school, would itself foreshadow Empiricism in that he held that all things we believe about reality must be approached skeptically.

This skepticism would be taken further by the Anglo Empiricists who rejected any a-priori assumptions, the naive Anglo Empiricists. While much has been written about the influence of another figure of the Continental Enlightenment school, Baruch Spinoza, the argument of Marx’s ‘ghost in a shell’ view of human existence as being primarily Cartesian is presented uniquely.

In short, Marx presented a form of Monism as an apparently resolute materialist, but was rather a Dualist which is misleadingly termed Compatiblist Monism. Compatiblist Monism, however, provides the interesting possibility that the human brain is actually effects the world as would a random event generator and operates upon a physics not contemplated outside of conscious acting minds.  For the mind to be a mover containing an element of the unmoved, for it to be acting from a position of free-will, it cannot be acting from within a materialist – an atomically determined – framework, based upon the presently accepted view of matter and determination.

There is then within Marx’s materialism another clue of the hidden Marx, for Marx would have necessarily been aware of the Compatiblist dilemma.  Marx, the genius, begs the initiated to take this sign as an invitation to dig much deeper.

We then reach the problematic atheist humanism, often wrongly termed secular humanism – the latter term being simply redundant and misinformed.  This is the now stale debate, where it is argued whether there can be a compelling morality without a God.

This too is so glaring to become obvious, for Marx gestures for us to see these errors, for the apparent Marx fails to adequately answer at least these questions which are begged by his body of work.  How would a soulless humanity be able create anything other than a soulless reifying system? On what basis is the struggle for such a system, like socialism, just?  Why would putting the ‘human’ first, as the purpose of progress rather than as tool of progress, be of concern?  A corollary here is; Why would there be a value placed in the man over the machine?  And back to our Compatiblist dilemma; without succumbing to the dualism of Rene Descartes, how can we suppose that man possesses a free will when the machinery of the brain is understood upon a wholly materialist, causally connected foundation?

The traditional Marxist answer is that these questions are really out of the scope of Marx’s concern – that Marx is talking merely of class interests, and the inevitable outcomes of the class struggles upon history.  Man’s own conscious reflections of these inevitabilities as being primal are more illusory than real, much in the way the determinists explain the cognitive phenomenon of ‘making choices’.

And this inevitability component is a very compelling piece of Marx’s; but then we are left with the dilemma of the redundancy of all of Marx’s work if the compelling propaganda of Marx is unnecessary to the outcome of the class struggle.  This question has naturally been addressed by others before, so glaring is this problem.  But none have adequately addressed this in a manner which recognizes the problem and simultaneously salvages the Marxism.

Again the traditional Marxist approach to this is to take down the barrier between observer and observed, which is brilliant on the face of it.  Yet we are confronted with the problem that the forms which the struggle takes are manifested through conscious acts of tremendous will and conviction.  Without them, there is no successful struggle.

The manifestly authoritative Marxian view is normally summed up in this line from 18th Brumaire of Louis Napoleon :

 Men make their own history, but they do not make it as they please; they do not make it under self-selected circumstances, but under circumstances existing already, given and transmitted from the past.

Here at face value there is an apparent contradiction, however.  Marx clearly separates this phenomenon of history making into two categories.  First, there are the historical circumstances transmitted from the past (a) which co-determine the present, and the circumstances of man’s own making (b) which is the second category.

Initially we may find it easy to see that the historical circumstances (a) were themselves once present events which in turn were co-determined (a+b) the same way as present history making (b).   But is such the case?  This must be resolved, by taking this to its logical conclusion

Now we have three components: the past which itself was co-determined by the two parts (a+b) and in turn makes itself the now ‘not’ consciously decided element co-determining the present (a), and we have the present consciously acting persons (b).

Furthermore light of Gramsci’s development of the Hegemon, we understand that there are counter-revolutionary bourgeois forces acting upon the consciousness of the proletariat which transform otherwise revolutionary situations into counter-revolutionary stagnation and decline.  This parallels Lenin’s conception of ‘false consciousness’, and taken together it becomes obvious that consciously acting human agents require, as individuals and classes, intentionally derived beliefs, ideologies, in order to maintain resolve in the face of bourgeois consciousness.  We can then see that from within apparent Marxism is the call for a Marx of Forms, of Religion, in order to realize the Victory of the Proletariat; the Eschaton, the Kingdom of Heaven on Earth, deliverance by the Messiah and his apostles by the Second Coming, the Vanguard Party.

Whether the soul of man, the essence of man, is physical or a-physical; both individual right and a conception of good cannot be substantiated in a consistent manner, whether rational or empirical, without metaphysical conceptions of repentance, sacrifice, submission of the ego, and an extra-secular detachment from the illusory apparentness of our daily existence and experiences as individuals and a species-being.

Hegel’s ‘atheism’ was not, as the world-spirit and the unfolding of increasing truth through the course of history as embodied through individuals who signify the world spirit, for the whole species-being, was indeed teleological and implicitly therefor deist. For Hegel, the revelation of God’s mind and will is developed and disseminated throughout the course of history.

The linear nature of the Biblio-Koranic system, from Adam, to Noah, Moses, Jesus, Mohammed, begs this understanding. For Hegel, emerging from the Christian paradigm of early 19th century Prussia, the revelation of the world-spirit’s telos happens through apparent historical stages. This is not alien to Auguste Comte’s Law of Three Stages, and it is also evident that Marx is influenced by Comte.

Enlightenment Rationalism and materialism fails to provide us with adequate answers. Nor should we expect this incomplete 17th, 18th and 19th century science to rise to such a task. In hindsight, we can see that this paradigm disallowed 20th century Marxists from understanding the rise of Fascism and National-Socialism through the lens which the latter saw itself. It also precluded them from foreseeing and predicting, and adapting, emergent 20th century anti-liberal trends.

This single fact would, perhaps alone, be the primary intellectual and ideological fallacy that would force into existence a new socialist populism which was not only anti-capitalist, but also anti-Marxist. Naturally, having the advantage of hindsight and One-Hundred Years of contemplation and meditation on this subject, we are at a distinct advantage. A view of the ‘Structure of Scientific Revolutions’ of Kuhn is significant in understanding how the sciences within a paradigm are limited by that paradigm, and justifiably dismiss and discard new and old ideas which might have otherwise propelled the sciences further than was actually conceivable at the time.

There were, exceptions, naturally, such as Aleksandr Bogdanov – a founder of the Bolshevik Party – who attempted to get ahead of this curve and introduce Machian (of Ernst Mach) neo-empiricist and semi-existentialist perspectivism, based in emergent sciences of cognition, physics and anatomy, into a modernist reformation of orthodox Marxism.  His work of 1908 was ‘Empirio-Monism’.  However, Bogdanov would lose out to Lenin in a struggle for power surrounding an unrelated manner (boycottism), and Lenin instead would emerge as a champion of ‘Orthodox’ (revolutionary) Marxism which, while maintaining the aesthetic of orthodoxy, would also turn Marxism on its head.

While the realpolitikal struggle between Bogdanov and Lenin for leadership of the Bolshevik Party was based on an evolutionary struggle for power – as expressed between men – in and of itself, the practical reason was over the boycotting of elections to the semi-feudal/bourgeois Dumas which Lenin opposed. On the ideological frontier, however, Lenin made the issue out to be much more fundamental and principled. It became Empirio-Monism vs. Marxism. The irrefutable truth, and the great fallacy of materialism, which Bogdanov attempted to expound, had been put forward by the physicist Ernst Mach.

Mach, for whom Mach Speed is named, did profound work in the area of shock waves after Doppler which was a precursor to relatively and was a primary influence upon Albert Einstein. But also he did work on the philosophy of science -in the areas of metaphysics as in ontology and epistemology. Here he understood cognition and the lack of an solidly objective interpretation in the physical world. From this, we can rightly see that with manner ‘matters’ the closest thing to objectivity human cognition can approach is, when in conjunction with other people, inter-subjective agreement. Mach writes, correctly:

The goal which it (physical science) has set itself is the simplest and most economical abstract expression of facts. When the human mind, with its limited powers, attempts to mirror in itself the rich life of the world, of which it itself is only a small part, and which it can never hope to exhaust, it has every reason for proceeding economically. In reality, the law always contains less than the fact itself, because it does not reproduce the fact as a whole but only in that aspect of it which is important for us, the rest being intentionally or from necessity omitted.

In other words, we are only capable of constructing in our minds a map, not the terrain itself. We will not, for the foreseeable future, actually see or fully understand the terrain. Mach also writes:

“In mentally separating a body from the changeable environment in which it moves, what we really do is to extricate a group of sensations on which our thoughts are fastened and which is of relatively greater stability than the others, from the stream of all our sensations. Suppose we were to attribute to nature the property of producing like effects in like circumstances; just these like circumstances we should not know how to find. Nature exists once only. Our schematic mental imitation alone produces like events.”

While approaching these questions from a different perspective entirely, Schopenhauer similarly wrote:

“…materialism is the philosophy of the subject who forgets to take account of himself.”

In the process of cognition, the observing subject can only know material objects through the mediation of the brain and its particular organization. The way that the brain ‘knows’ determines the way that material objects are ‘experienced’. The key here is that it is an experience being had through the brain, the mind. The ‘self’ does not directly ‘experience’ ‘the world’.

“Everything objective, extended, active, and hence everything material, is regarded by materialism as so solid a basis for its explanations that a reduction to this (especially if it should ultimately result in thrust and counter-thrust) can leave nothing to be desired. But all this is something that is given only very indirectly and conditionally, and is therefore only relatively present, for it has passed through the machinery and fabrication of the brain, and hence has entered the forms of time, space, and causality, by virtue of which it is first of all presented as extended in space and operating in time.”

Indeed, Enlightenment rationalism and materialism failed to rationalize ‘good’, and failed to present to us any alternative vision of the future absent this contradiction. It also failed to properly define ‘objectivity’ in a coherent way which does not lead us to imagining that we are capable of having a ‘view from nowhere’.

To be continued ….

 

 

***

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One Response to Advance and Follow – The Death and Resurrection of Karl Marx

  1. Pingback: “THE RETURN OF MYTH” & “Through the Door of History” | Center For Syncretic Studies

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