Here is the long reply you (Scaredy Cat) keep ignoring:
And in every case, I have replied.
In fact, we are still waiting for your reply to this response from me to your last attempt to reply to my demolition of Mao's 'theory' of change (that reply to you was posted again as part of my response to Rise Like Lions):
Notice what Mao says:Except, Mao says his 'theory' applies to every example of change in the entire universe, without exception (his words, not mine) and that the identity of opposites is conditional. This part Red Cat quotes, but he/she misses the next thing Mao says: the struggle of opposites, and the transformation of everything into its opposite is absolute. [Quotations below.]I also agree with Red Cat's "interpretation" of Mao's theory of change. To me, your criticisms stem from a very literal and inflexible reading of the theory. Despite the fact that Mao used "literal" and "concrete" examples (e.g. death and life, misfortune and fortune), it doesn't even make sense to assume that he would apply the same logic to concepts like subordinate class (proletariat) and ruling class (bourgeoisie). Yes, he used terms like "real" and "concrete" to describe the transformations of opposites, but why would Mao mean this literally? It's illogical to assume that he does
In that case, if, say, a cat dies, which they did even in China under Mao, then the following must be the case. [This is my last reply to Red cat, to which he/she has not yet responded.]
As far as this is concerned:I covered this in an earlier post:Red Cat:
6) And yet, if it turned into a flat cat, and everything turns into its opposite, that flat cat must be the opposite of the live cat it used to be. [Is this correct or not?]
This is where you go incorrect. A cat, like any other living organism, continuously interacts with its surroundings. It loses and gains chemicals and energy. At some point, when it dies, the nature of this interaction change too. For example, microbes begin to decompose its body etc. Hence, just after the cat has died, it cannot be called the opposite of its living self anymore, because certain interactions with its environment have already occurred, or in other words, the system cannot be approximated to a closed one.
Hence, it does not matter to what extent you decompose the life of a cat, it can't pass to the next stage, since that next stage must already exist, and this is because all change is a struggle of opposites, including the change of a cat into its next stage.Incidentally, the same result emerges if we consider the intermediate stages in the life and death of cat C.
Let us assume that cat C goes through n successive stages C(1), C(2), C(3)..., C(n), until at stage C(n+1) it finally pops its clogs.
But, according to the dialectical classics, C(1) can only change into C(2) because of a 'struggle' of opposites. They also tell us that C(1) inevitably changes into that opposite.
So, C(1) must both struggle with C(2) and change into it.
But then the same problems emerge, for C(1) can't change into C(2) since it already exists. If it didn't, C(1) could not struggle with it!
So, by n applications of the above argument, all the stages of a cat's life must co-exist; if so no cat can change, let alone die!
And this is so with the stages of everything else in the entire universe (cat's, atoms, electrons, forces...) and any changes they undergo; none can proceed to the next stage, since that stage must already exist for a struggle to take place. Hence, they can't change since that opposite already exists. Nothing can change into what already exists.
And this is so with the struggle between any sub-processes; none of these can change unless they struggle with what they become, their opposite. But this can't happen, since, once more, that opposite already exists.
We can adapt this to cater for your hastily-constructed reply:
Mao tells us that everything that changes, whenever it changes, does so as a result of a struggle with its opposite, and these opposites change into one another -- and this governs all changes, without exception.For example, microbes begin to decompose its body etc.
In that case, this cat of yours must turn into microbes, and these microbes must turn into a cat! But, that can't happen, for that cat already exists, and so do those microbes.
1) Why is this a 'contradiction' -- you, like other dialecticians, just help yourself to this word without justification.Now let us go for a better analysis. Life consists of an organization of particular molecules, chemicals changes, ion flows etc. The whole system concerned with this, that can be approximated to a closed system, is the whole biosphere itself, and we can assume that the energy obtained from the sun and volcanic activities inside the earth's crust is more or less involved with only the basic level of photosynthesis etc. Now consider an atom in the biosphere. This atom, over time, reacts to form and break molecules, collides with other atoms or molecules and what not. This involves basic contradiction of electromagnetic forces and as an outcome of this, the atom continuously changes from being a part of living matter to non-living matter and so on. So, if you consider life and death as opposing states of an atom, for which the much more complex changes of an organism can be broken down to simpler ones, it does pass on from life to death and vice versa.
2) If a dead organism is the opposite of a live one, as you acknowledge above, and a live organism turns into a dead one, then, according to Mao, this can only happen if it struggles with that opposite. But this is just a general version of my cat example.
A) Using "L" for a live organism, and "D" for that organism when dead, then L can only turn into D if they struggle with one another, otherwise Mao was wrong.
He also tells us that they turn into one another.
B) But that can't happen, since D already exists! If it didn't already exist, they could not struggle, and so L could not change.
C) So, we end up with the same ridiculous conclusion, (a) either live organisms (like cats) struggle with the dead organisms that they become, which means they must change before they change, or (b) nothing can change, since nothing can change into something that already exists
And, this is not surprising, since my refutation of Mao was completely general, so it will apply to any particular example of change, like this.
But this can't happen, for if these particles become a live cat again, they can only do this if they struggle with that live cat, according to Mao. But, if this is so, that live cat with which they struggle, must already exist, and if that is so, they can't change into it, since it already exists.In a hypothetical situation, if the conditions arise for exactly the constituent particles of a cat that lived earlier, to pass through the same contradictions at favourable time and place, then yes, they can once again result in a live cat. In the real world, the probability of this (that is, the effective closure of this system) is so low, that it can be neglected in the practical sense.
This refutes your argument.
Hence, we get the same result howsoever we try to repair Mao's defective 'theory'.
And it's no use decomposing this into countless sub-processes, as you attempt, since the same argument applies.
Consider Sub-process (1), henceforth "S(1)"; if it is to change it has to struggle with its opposite, say "S*(1)", and these have to change into one another, if Mao is to be believed. But this can't happen since S*(1) already exists. If it didn't, S(1) could into struggle with it, and thus change.
So, once more, we hit the same brick wall; this 'theory' implies that nothing can change!
[All this was covered in my original long post, the one that sparked this debate off. Once more, you must have skim-read that post, and thus missed it.]
Hence, your refutation of my refutation fails.
I have already dealt with this, when Red Cat tried the same ploy. Here it is again:but why would Mao mean this literally? It's illogical to assume that he does.
But, I have already covered this last ditch, desperate response of yours.That Mao didn't mean a literal change into opposites, or the classes gaining each of the opposing qualities, is clear from this:
Here it is again (for you to ignore once more) -- Mao is quite clear that what he has to say is literally true:
There is no way that this can be interpreted non-literally, otherwise the contrasts Mao draws would not work. As he underlines, here:The fact is that no contradictory aspect can exist in isolation. Without its opposite aspect, each loses the condition for its existence. Just think, can any one contradictory aspect of a thing or of a concept in the human mind exist independently? Without life, there would be no death; without death, there would be no life. Without "above", there would be no "below") without "below", there would be no "above". Without misfortune, there would be no good fortune; without good fortune, these would be no misfortune. Without facility, there would be no difficulty) without difficulty, there would be no facility. Without landlords, there would be no tenant-peasants; without tenant-peasants, there would be no landlords. Without the bourgeoisie, there would be no proletariat; without the proletariat, there would be no bourgeoisie. Without imperialist oppression of nations, there would be no colonies or semi-colonies; without colonies or semicolonies, there would be no imperialist oppression of nations. It is so with all opposites; in given conditions, on the one hand they are opposed to each other, and on the other they are interconnected, interpenetrating, interpermeating and interdependent, and this character is described as identity. In given conditions, all contradictory aspects possess the character of non-identity and hence are described as being in contradiction. But they also possess the character of identity and hence are interconnected. This is what Lenin means when he says that dialectics studies "how opposites can be ... identical". How then can they be identical? Because each is the condition for the other's existence. This is the first meaning of identity.
But is it enough to say merely that each of the contradictory aspects is the condition for the other's existence, that there is identity between them and that consequently they can coexist in a single entity? No, it is not. The matter does not end with their dependence on each other for their existence; what is more important is their transformation into each other. That is to say, in given conditions, each of the contradictory aspects within a thing transforms itself into its opposite, changes its position to that of its opposite. This is the second meaning of the identity of contradiction.
Notice, these are concrete and real, not non-literal.In speaking of the identity of opposites in given conditions, what we are referring to is real and concrete opposites and the real and concrete transformations of opposites into one another.
As he goes on to say:
Contradiction is universal and absolute, it is present in the process of development of all things and permeates every process from beginning to end.The relationship between the universality and the particularity of contradiction is the relationship between the general character and the individual character of contradiction. By the former we mean that contradiction exists in and runs through all processes from beginning to end; motion, things, processes, thinking--all are contradictions. To deny contradiction is to deny everything. This is a universal truth for all times and all countries, which admits of no exception.Things in contradiction change into one another, and herein lies a definite identity.All contradictory things are interconnected; not only do they coexist in a single entity in given conditions, but in other given conditions, they also transform themselves into each other. This is the full meaning of the identity of opposites. This is what Lenin meant when he discussed "how they happen to be (how they become) identical--under what conditions they are identical, transforming themselves into one another".All processes have a beginning and an end, all processes transform themselves into their opposites. The constancy of all processes is relative, but the mutability manifested in the transformation of one process into another is absolute.We may add that the struggle between opposites permeates a process from beginning to end and makes one process transform itself into another, that it is ubiquitous, and that struggle is therefore unconditional and absolute.Page references can be supplied on request; bold emphases added.We may now say a few words to sum up. The law of contradiction in things, that is, the law of the unity of opposites, is the fundamental law of nature and of society and therefore also the fundamental law of thought. It stands opposed to the metaphysical world outlook. It represents a great revolution in the history of human knowledge. According to dialectical materialism, contradiction is present in all processes of objectively existing things and of subjective thought and permeates all these processes from beginning to end; this is the universality and absoluteness of contradiction. Each contradiction and each of its aspects have their respective characteristics; this is the particularity and relativity of contradiction. In given conditions, opposites possess identity, and consequently can coexist in a single entity and can transform themselves into each other; this again is the particularity and relativity of contradiction. But the struggle of opposites is ceaseless, it goes on both when the opposites are coexisting and when they are transforming themselves into each other, and becomes especially conspicuous when they are transforming themselves into one another; this again is the universality and absoluteness of contradiction.
Once more, not much wiggle room there. Just like Hegel, Engels, Lenin and Plekhanov, Mao meant this literally, universally and absolutely.
Well, what I think is that Mao's 'theory' makes no sense at all, and you lot only think it does since you have never examined it critically, and this is because you are so used to just swallowing everything he says.You are obviously an intelligent person, so I can only assume that you know what Mao Zedong is really talking about, but your ideological bias and overly critical eye takes you to absurd and reductionist conclusions.
A soon as you try to work the details out, it falls apart, as I have shown.
It's not 'nit-picking' to show that Mao's 'theory' cannot account for simple, every day changes -- or that, if it were true, nothing in the universe could change.If one has enough time on their hands, one would be able to nitpick at all sorts of artistic liberties that many writers and theorists take.
You made a weak attempt to claim that all change is conditional, even though Mao said that this sort of change is "absolute and unconditional", as you can see from the quotation above.We may add that the struggle between opposites permeates a process from beginning to end and makes one process transform itself into another, that it is ubiquitous, and that struggle is therefore unconditional and absolute.