Discussion in 'theory, philosophy & history' started by jusali, Mar 22, 2012.
(((kitty))) I understand how you feel.
I think a lot of people are felling worried about the future and see somethings very wrong with the economic system. They just can't quite put their finger on what it is or what the solution could be. Meanwhile the clever Marxists are debating at a theoretical level that 99.99% of the rest of us find almost impossible to access. The growth in conspiracy theories and other weird ideologies fill the gap giving easy but wrong answers.
so about this "dialectical relationship" between Ideas and material forces, is it something like this?
1) the economic base of a society creates the dominant ideology
2) as long as the economic base is stable the dominant ideology will be fairly hegemonic.
3) if the economic base becomes unstable/goes into crisis holes will appear in the dominant ideology
4) this gives room for new ideas to appear and challenge the dominant ideology's hegemony.
5) if the new idea catches on with enough people then they may be able to change the economic base.
6) new/altered economic base = new/altered dominant ideology.
well it was sort of late/early...
Just to begin from the beginning (which I'd guess isn't necessary) dialectics - Marx, Hegel, Classical, whatever - reckons that instead of a situation where one person/statement/class is 'right', 'truth' is eventually reached through a linear progression. For example In Marxist dialectics, one 'state of things' e.g. the proletariat asserts its needs and interests, in opposition with the ruling class. The circumstances that result from this opposition produce new material circumstances, which affect the position of the proletariat and the ruling classes in different ways. They then make new oppositional assertions, according to their needs, interest and experience of the new circumstances. In theory, as this process continues over time, society changes. Revolutionary Marxisism believes that the dialectic process eventually favours the ruling class while depriving the proletariat of the basic necessities of life, which leads to a revolution and the destruction of the ruling class, together with its values, needs and interests.
A recursive process works in a similar way, but isn't so extreme about opposition. It doesn't identify each side as simply made up of these values, needs and interests. Instead of progressive change happening in the material world (Marxist dialectics) or in ideas (Classical, Hegelian), the idea is that it happens because of increasing complexity and diversity of values, needs and interests on both sides. From the wiki I linked to, there's that nice image of two mirrors exactly facing each other. This process produces relational complexity, because people aren't mirrors and the complexities produces changes in the way a person sees themselves, and the world around them.
Then, recursive processes don't exist in isolation. Human beings are involved in lots of them at once. Together, they produce a sense of being that might be described as 'subjectivity'. Philip Glass is interested in that kind of thing, and plays with it, for example here and here. Glass is mainly interested in patterned repetition (which is only half an account of recursiveness and its emotional impact. Especially for butchersapron's interest (if he reads anything), here's quite an interesting paper. Visually, fractals illustrate the way recursive processes can achieve complexity and development without having an 'other' opponent (which is excellent because tripping hippies going "wooo" pisses me off). And there's also this quite nice thing here.
Class war is only the 'main show' if its regarded as the single source of energy that produces change. In philosophy, mathematics, biology, computer science, physics, and to a lesser extent in music and visual arts (and experimental word plays that aren't literature imho) there's plenty of evidence and products that have come out of non-dialectic development. History, politics and maybe the whole 'practice' of literary production depend on dialectic principles because that's been the customary way people have related to one another since they started actively organising themselves in social groups. Because the 'ruling class' is inevitably in control of the means of production, while at the same time the means of production is having an increasing impact on the way that people behave in the world and perceive it (online, mobile phones, store cards and algorithms --> environments shaped by targeted marketing etc etc) . It's practically impossible to offer any kind of potent opposition without making use of the tools that place you in the hands of what you're trying to manipulate.
Which leaves me feeling the same way as LBJ: that it's not the means of production we need to lay our hands on, but the means of resource production. A while back, in a similarly incoherent manner, I was suggesting on some other thread that perhaps the esoteric and necessarily spread out production of digital 'engines' (software and basically any algorithmic thing that produces a material function) might offer some hope in relieving the prevailing ruling class of control. Except that producers of this kind who are 'taken up' i.e. get contracts, develop business networks etc are quickly subsumed into positions very close to those with authority over how all the other resources are used and distributed.
So... no I don't think class war is the main event any more. In fact it might conceivably be a distraction.
Sounds pretty good to me. And with all due respect to butchersapron (I can never understand why you're so keen to make personal attacks on people talking about ideas like some Victorian schoolmaster), part of the problem is this business about "the idea". It's clearly impossible for one single idea to unify and resolve social life. Unless you're a crusader, I suppose.
And if yes there's dialectical materialsim, the way human physiology and psychology works shouldn't be ignored: http://www.ted.com/talks/dan_gilbert_asks_why_are_we_happy.html
e2a Dialectic method is an heuristic (a method producing results) that generates an epistemology (a particular language that generates ideas which conform with the values of that langauge). The purpose of dialectic materialism is conflict. And the purpose of conflict is... justice?
You've completely misunderstood Marx and dialectics imo. Dialectics is not about two actually separately existing things, its a way if thinking about relationships in a non-linear way. So when I say ideas and material conditions exist in a dialectical relationship, I mean not that they are separate entities, one affecting the other. I mean they are two aspects of a whole, in a dynamic relationship with each other.
Same with class - the working class only exist because they are in a relationship with the ruling class and vice versa. Each affects the other in a dynamic relationship. This is the motor of history.
Might as well stop right there. The "economy" is not material.
Well I was trying to simplify. I think I've suggested that dialectics is about discourse. But It is sort of linear in its progression - or as has been claimed, 'spiral' - because it can only propose something along the lines of a conversation. I suppose it's a matter of emphasis: dialectics relies on complexity existing in the ideas and the material conditions. I'm suggesting that these have a direct impact on the formulation of ideas in the subjective position taken in the thesis/antithesis conflict. I'm saying dialectics offer a narrative that's too thin in acknowledging all the dynamics that are actually at work. Although they certainly conform with the perspective of history, which is a very particular way of looking at the meaning and development of society in itself.
But I definitely agree with you that the working class and ruling class co-construct one another. I'd simply say that the relationship of each in relation to wealth and resources in no way comprises the full story of their identity. Maybe worth looking at the Dan Glaster vid. He's a professor at Harvard and certainly no idiot.
As for "completely misundestanding"... well if you need to say you're disagreeing with what I'm saying by suggesting I don't think well, that's up to you. It encourages me to shut up on this thread. It's been interesting though. Thanks.
Don't stop posting on my account. Maybe other people get what you're on about.
Ta. I'm probably better off reading though.
I have no idea either.
Although it has material capacities from the point of view of cultural materialism: determines and shapes discourses, has a hegemonic capacity etc
A capitalism based around finance is the destiny of all powers prior to their end. Give it a decade or two and wishes will come true... or perhaps not - what will replace this?
When Marx was talking about the economic base I thought he was talking about factories and machines and people labouring with materials to make stuff so they could earn a wage to provide for their necessities and other people owning those factories to make a profit etc.
How's that not material?
I wish I was as clever as teahead.
afaik, "the economy" refers to the way factories, machines, people and resources function together to produce goods that have value; and the value in wages given to workers in exchange for the work they do, by the owners of the goods, resources and means of production. Or something like that.
I wish I was as likeable as you are. Life's shit innit
I think I can see what teahead is getting at with recursion. It's a simpler idea than dialectic - ideas affect material conditions, and material conditions affect ideas, that's all.
I would probably say that ultimately it's a false opposition - ideas are material; dualism has no explanatory value.
I think the word 'dialectic' is often used colloquially to mean recursion, but that isn't usually what's meant by it in philosophy. Hegel's dialectic - thesis, antithesis, synthesis - is, to my understanding at least, a rather prescriptive and limiting idea. I'm not sure what value I've ever found in it, at least in its formal form. I'm not entirely sure how Marx uses it, but he seems to be using 'dialectic' in a similar way, just applying it to the material world rather than 'ideas'.
Oy! That's not what I meant at all. But really, it doesn't much matter does it. Not quite sure how you came to that understanding, which seems to ignore several of the other things I was trying tp get into that explanation there. Anyway sod it I'll get myself off back to my home planet and keep what I get out of what you peeps are saying (which is plenty) to myself.
Keep up the good fight
Oh, ok. Did I oversimplify? Recursion to me is simply the idea of feedback loops, which can, as you said, be complex and multi-layered, but don't require a formal thesis–antithesis opposition.
Anyway, I'll leave it too. I've never quite understood the value of formal dialectics.
Oh alright since you've mentioned feedback loops (thanks - at least I'm not talking total bollox then). But feedback loops don't really capture the way people respond to their environments, including other people, groups, interests, political processes and all that. We constantly reinterpret our position in response to our experiences and the narratives that let us make sense of what's happening to us and around us. Without getting even more boring by working the whole thing theough again, I think where Marxist thinking falls down is in not being able to consider in any detail the way that consciousness works in determining individual and social behaviour. Which makes lots of his grand narrative assumptions a bit dubious.
Right. I mow nearly at a pub garden where a long hard night of drinking is going to begin. So I'm off.
The way I understand it is as conceptual, as helping to resolve what are (as you say) false dichotomys. Ideas and materialism are the same thing, part and parcel of a whole, an "interpenertration of opposites", two seemingly opposing aspects (thesis, antithesis) of a whole (synthesis). Same as class - the contradiction of capitalism that capital continually comes up against in crisis but cannot resolve.
I'm sure love detective will be along in a bit to tell me I'm wrong, lol
Yes. That is why "dialectical materialism" is an oxymoron.
and here-in the problem lies. All this intellectual theorising with words that mean nothing to the common man, is it any wonder simple people like myself end up shaking our heads and wandering off into the sunset. The macho posturing with "my words are better than your words" offers nothing in fact most of the arguments seem to imply discussing a solution is a pointless exercise anyway?
Maybe humanity's constant need for competition is the cause? An underlying feeling of inadequacy that is fleetingly satisfied with winning an argument, a game of footie, 100m dash, grand prix, tennis match etc etc.......
Well.. Part of my work involves collaboration with a multidisciplinary team. We have different professional priorities and sometimes differences of perspective associated with who we are personally. Sometimes the conversations we have can become heated, but we're all trying to achieve a general goal, which is the most effective outcome of our work together. What generally happens is that we bring out each other's knowledge, and in the process learn more about what we're doing, about each other and about ourselves. Its really not a question of 'winning' there, and doesn't need to be here either, does it?
I don't think my inability to understand what you're waffling on about normally is due to a lack of intelligence on my part. Rather, you don't really understand what you're talking about, or what you are referencing, just posting in the vaguest manner with superfluous language so as to seem profound, and hope nobody notices your lack of having anything to say, while at the same time wanting everyone to notice. That is, you want to appear clever I suspect. It is having the opposite effect, though. All I see is pretentiousness.
Is that waffle for one, Captain?
Takes all kinds to make a world eh?
E2a sorry small phone - pretty illustration. Sort of an empty one, but pretty.
But its also good to play and you're a winner. I can see that.
Blaggs' last post seemed spot on though. What do you reckon?
E2a2 though capitalism has a number of options to resolve its dichotomies - for example by investing some of its wealth in producing compliance amongst those workers who won't accept their shit situation. Another is just to destroy the coherence of their families community and culture with the help of products that diminish their collective self-interest.
Separate names with a comma.