I've been feeling that something hasn't clicked well on my mind, let's see if I can articulate my confused thoughts.
I see many contradictions among self proclaimed communists, so it seems it's something many people struggle with, or at least, disagree with each other.
Let's start with the premise that our consciousness is a reflection of the material world, as Marx said "It is not the consciousness of men that determines their being, but, on the contrary, their social being that determines their consciousness"
We can all accept this, but how much? Marxism cannot be deterministic, otherwise it would be pointless to even fight for it, so I wonder why Marx used the word "determines" or if it was a bad translation choice. Then, how does our consciousness of this fact changes this and how did we became conscious of it in the first place? If we are well aware of the impact of the material world in our thoughts won't that make it possible to change the world so we change our thoughts too?
And is this ahistorical, and in that case, wouldn't it be part of "human nature" that we are determined by social being or it's only for alienated life under systems where we do not reproduce ourselves consciously but feel controlled by powers outside our control? Does base and superstructure exist under a self conscious society or this concept stops making sense? Is communism overcoming this? But for that, it has to start with us so we mold the world to our will, wouldn't that contradict the original premise?
Is there a weakness to consciousness? That strives me as reactionary since it's what makes us human, so what are the limits of consciousnesses? What will we never be able to master despite of our consciousness of it (laws of physics?) Or is it impossible to know?
Last edited by Full Metal Bolshevik; 19th April 2017 at 01:08.
does awareness of other religions make you an atheist?
Even if God does not exist, the impact God has on people mostly through religions is real, we can recognize this as atheists, of course simple awareness of religions doesn't make me a atheist by itself.
edit: on the topic subject, on Reddit some supposed communist said the way communists think and act have no relevance for the communist movement because the solution is in the "material conditions", what the fuck is this?
I mean, sure, one can't oppose capitalism 2000 years ago because such thing does not exist, you could't even be conscious of it, heck even now revolution is unlikely because there are no conditions for it, no organized workers movements, but if it's not us who create and help create such conditions then who is?
Last edited by Full Metal Bolshevik; 19th April 2017 at 12:29.
Well if it would only our consciousness and our will that makes change or revolution possible, the world today would be up in flames of the international proletarian revolution, right? People who always talk about "praxis" and "making revolution" would be out on the streets with guns in their hands fighting on barricades, etc, you get my meaning. The deterministic view is indeed somewhat reductionist and makes marxist thought look mechanistic, but we have to accept that despite being conscious of our exploitation, the material conditions have not "ripened" for a worldwide revolution by far. Consciousness is sometimes ahead of its time as Marx notes in The German Ideology, it is possible. But this kind of consciousness is, in our current conditions, just a ground for post-capitalist fantasies and anti-capitalist struggles. But it will be not the post-capitalist fantasies and/or anti-capitalist struggles (say, for better wages, improved living standards, etc) that will lead to revolution, but the material conditions of capitalism. It is not our fight that will make the current state of affairs collapse, the collapse begins, our fight emerges, and in the in the end, it will win. That is not possible without a working class that organizes and liberates itself, this is not "automatic", so I would not say that the "solution" is "in" the material conditions. But I think that the conditions have a significantly bigger role than any activism we could put up in times such as these.
I saw a quite cynical documentary "How TV Ruined Your Life", and the first episode is entitled "Fear", I wonder if fear (of death?) weighs so much on population that makes people paralyze. Many are discontent with their lives, but they fear bloodshed and revolution, it's too radical, the body count done by revolutionary activity (both for and against) weights on them heavily. Better improve bit by bit, even if in the log term it causes more harm, because no matter how bad things are, they are used to it because they live in it and it could be worse, we have food, tv and internet!
What do you mean "material conditions of capitalism", When you put it that way it seems it has to get worse so people fight back, but taking into account the recent past I don't think that's the way, unless it has to get even worse.
Absolutely no idea about 3rd world struggle, is it even that different to make differentiation necessary? Conditions are worse, but the mode and relations of production are similar with more emphasis on manufacturing than services.
Conditions produce people. From your birth you are copying the actions, language of other people, most importantly your immediate mother-figure etc. That's how we learn language and language is how we enter the social order. We didn't choose to live in this particular social order rather than a different one, but this is where we find ourselves and this is what produces us.
Our dreams, desires, what moves us and what drives us, all of this is produced. That doesn't mean to say that this is deterministic. All it means is that the field upon which we act, or moreover, the boundaries of our consciousness, are determined by the actual conditions of existence in a given moment.
Imagine if I wanted to flarblegate the Horsehead Nebula with Grumble-cruncheons. You'd be like 'what the fuck' right? But maybe in 2000 years, whatever the fuck this is, is exactly what humans will be doing. It's simply that the presently existing conditions foreclose this in thought, it makes no fucking sense.
Of course because of present conditions (given a certain history of sci-fi, imaginative fiction, theory etc.) this does make sense as an illustration of a point.
You ask 'what should a communist do until the revolution?' You do what German communists did in throughout the period 1850-1914, you join the struggle where it matters and press leftward in accordance with how things stand presently. They joined/made the German SDP, got socialist MPs elected, built trade union networks, printed newspapers, pressed for liberal concessions from the government, got involved with politics, not as they would have liked it to be, but how it was.
So too should we. Forget all that purity nonsense, politics is a filthy game and we must be the filthiest.
Last edited by Full Metal Bolshevik; 20th April 2017 at 14:15.
I think people are used to an *experiential* view of the world -- that their own life and experience is *unique*, in a *literary* kind of way, and so they feel that they have their own particular 'consciousness' which may or may not be like *others'* life experiences.
But on the *whole*, we are all in very similar physical and social surroundings, and so our general 'social being' *is* very similar to the next person's -- we all have to have food, shelter, warmth, etc.
Once the overall social conditions / social being becomes more-advantageous to handle in sustainably *collective* ways -- as opposed to our regular everyday conditioned-and-enforced 'individuated' social being, people will easily be mass-cooperative since that would easily yield more benefits for all instead of having to hack-out the necessities of life on an artificially *individual* basis.
Really the conditions for this paradigm-shift in our relations to the larger world *already exist* -- the capacity for the workers of the world to produce directly for ourselves -- but there's still the speed-bump of *class rule* to overcome, otherwise it would already have happened by now.
Humanities - Technology Chart 3.0
We need to keep in mind the *scale* of effect here -- we're not talking about this-person's-life or that-person's-life, but rather social conditions *on-the-whole*. Why do we currently wear Western-style clothes, instead of clothes that more-traditional / indigenous -- ? (Etc.)
Absolutely -- revolutionaries like ourselves wouldn't even *bother* with the distribution and socialization of revolutionary causes, as through organizations, if we weren't individually conscious and convinced of such to begin with. And we all know the potential of mass militant labor action, as through international workers strikes and accompanying solidarity.
We can certainly become *aware* / conscious of how the larger, class-riven world shapes our own, mass-individualized *experiences* of it, so we might call that 'human nature', to become more conscious of ourselves within our social surroundings, up to the global scale.
It could be considered as 'ahistorical' in the positive, *timeless* sense of the term:
History, Macro-Micro -- politics-logistics-lifestyle
Of course they continue to exist because that's how society / the social order *reproduces itself* -- just because many, or most, learn about social concepts like 'base' and 'superstructure' doesn't mean that that kind of mass-subjectivity is necessarily *exerting* itself into the larger world, though -- hence the need for the world's working class to collectively *withhold its labor* since that's the empirical basis of all value-creation, and is the true material leverage that the working class has.
The social world doesn't necessarily have to be the way it is now, with its historical-emergent class divide -- social conditions *could* be communistic, which would then shape mass consciousness / 'human nature' to *its* norms, post-revolution.
No -- this is like saying 'Ignorance is strength'. Those who have a greater awareness of themselves and the larger world have greater potentials to act correctly (with others) to affect the way society functions, as with mass militant labor actions.
How can being conscious be 'reactionary' -- ?
Yes, self-awareness -- especially collectively -- is what makes us human, and is what gives us the ability to mold the empirical world, unlike the far-more-limited capacities of animals.
Science tends to progress, especially in our modern (post-feudal) age -- we have discovered much about the physical world, but the real challenge regards *ourselves* collectively, as in how to correctly coordinate to overthrow capitalism's exploitation and oppression over so many billions in the world today.
Last edited by ckaihatsu; 20th April 2017 at 16:44.
Of course, it's also worth saying that just because human consciousness is intrinsically social, linguistic and rational, doesn't mean that there aren't rudimentary forms of consciousness which isn't characterized by those things.
It's worth saying here that I don't think Marx was a rigid determinist, or if he was, we don't have to be to accept his ideas. I think the issue for Marx of course is that, coming from Hegel and Kant, human freedom is a consequence of their rationality, but of course their rationality is itself shaped by their awareness of their socio-historical context (particularly their class). We are certainly responsible for our strategic, tactical and political choices once we are aware of something, though.But that means we do depend on ourselves to capitalize on the consecutive crisis and not only only external factors. If we take material conditions not just as how capitalism is at the moment but also the movements to abolish it (workers movements are part of social activity), then we are both dependent but also responsible for it.
Socialist Party of Outer Space
I think that Karl Marx meant was that our behaviour patterns, our selves, are a result of the social conditions, economic situation and place in which we live. So for example, a person can have a Masters College Degree from Harvard College and if that person lives in Haiti, Somalia, Guatemala, and some other very poor country, that person won't be able to get out of poverty and reach self-realization even if that person has a lot of knowledge.
Found this on wikipedia page of historicism:
Also, should one read Marx (and others) chronologically? I've been picking texts from different authors at random. I have no study ethic.The materialist doctrine that men are products of circumstances and upbringing, and that, therefore, changed men are products of changed circumstances and changed upbringing, forgets that it is men who change circumstances and that the educator must himself be educated. Hence this doctrine is bound to divide society into two parts, one of which is superior to society. The coincidence of the changing of circumstances and of human activity or self-change [Selbstverńnderung] can be conceived and rationally understood only as revolutionary practice.
— Karl Marx, "Theses on Feuerbach, III"
Last edited by Full Metal Bolshevik; Today at 02:14.