Sunday, May 10, 2009

64 Friedrich Engels

I dont know how you think about it, but lecturing on Marx and Engels fills me with ambivalent feelings. On the one hand we may say that these two were the philosophers, whose theories had the greatest impact on history.

And on the other hand I am tempted to say that their theories, or at least the application of them on society have shown to be the biggest historical mistake. It just didnt work.

Engels, considered inferior to his colleague thinker, contributed more than Marx to the development of the philosophical aspects of Marxism. Indeed he was the creator of orthodox Marxism as a system based on historical materialism and on dialectics.

One might say that dialectical materialism constitutes the logic, ontology and epistemology of Marxism and historical materialism its ethics, politics and philosophy of history.

Fundamental to Marx materialism was that he denied the possibility of any knowledge of the world that not is based on sense experience. Hence Marx' s view of the world was naturalistic and opposed to any form of religion or supernaturalism.

One word on socialism to put everything in the right order. The word was not invented by Marx. As far as anyone knows, was the word first used in print to describe a view of what human society should be like. This was in 1827, in the English 'Co-operative Magazine'.

A periodical aimed at expounding and furhering the views of Robert Owen of New Lamark, generally regarded at the father and founder of the cooperative movement.

The origin of socialisme, as of much else in modern thought, was the French revolution and since then the term has gotten a lot of different meanings. This doesnt make the word meaningless. It describes a living thing which grows and changes as it lives.

What these observations show is that Marx and Engels didnt come out of the blue with their analysis of society. Due to the French revolution and the industrial revolution in those days and due to the evident social abuses, caused by the production system, there was a widespread social debate going on.

So Marx's and Engels' theories were one among others, eventually with the greatest impact.

Engels emphasized the scientific, positivist component in their joined theories, which he compared with those of Darwin. Like Darwin had discovered certain laws in evolution, so Engels believed that he and Marx had discovered a rigid system of historical laws that would lead with inexorable necessity to socialism.

These laws, Engels held, were dialectic rather than mechanical in character. That is, in stead of being like the laws previously discovered in natural science and extrapolated to social studies, they were laws that took account of the contradictions in reality and of the effect that the development occurred in revolutionary leaps to higher levels.

To give an example of this dialectical process; The industrial bourgouisie generates its opposite, the misreable proletariat, which then negates bourgois capital in a revolutionary leap to the higher stage of classless industrial society.

It was Engels who molded Marx ideas into a formal system out of reverence for a friend who just disliked such formalism. One may be tempted to set Engels, as a scientific pedant, against Marx as an idealist.

It was Lenin who put the theory into practise. Next lecture we'll meet the man, who has been proven to be wrong by history. And one of the main reasons may be that Marx and Engels made the mistake to believe that everything is society eventually can be interpreted as the result of economical relations.

The Discussion

[13:22] Herman Bergson: So far on Engels
[13:22] Herman Bergson: If you have any questions or remarks..fel free to speak..:-)
[13:23] Mickorod Renard: could u explain: To give an example of this dialectical process; The industrial bourgouisie generates its opposite, the misreable proletariat, which then negates bourgois capital in a revolutionary leap to the higher stage of classless industrial society.
[13:24] Mickorod Renard: please Herman
[13:24] Varick Vendetta: yes, I'm a bit sketchy on what you meant there as well.
[13:24] Herman Bergson: The basic idea that Marx and Engels borrowed from Hegel was the dynamics of dialectical process
[13:25] Herman Bergson: Thesis - Antithesis Synthesis
[13:25] Varick Vendetta: I'll have to read up on hegel, I only know the old greek dialectic process
[13:25] Herman Bergson: Everything in the world goes through that process..
[13:26] Herman Bergson: The Synthesis is always of a higher level of development than thesis and antithesis
[13:26] Vladimir Apparatchik: but hegel saw the dialectic as ideas wherea Marx/Engels saw it materialistically as forces of production and class structure
[13:26] Herman Bergson: so on the one hand you have the Haves on the other hand you have the havenots....
[13:27] Herman Bergson: They collide in a revolution
[13:27] Herman Bergson: and the synthesis is a better world where you havent these two classes anymore
[13:27] Mickorod Renard: yes, I see thanks Herman
[13:28] Herman Bergson: lenin made this to the Soviet dogma...
[13:28] Varick Vendetta: seems to me the communists tried to push the process foreward when it seems to be more of an evolutionary process over time
[13:28] Samuel Okelly: did marx formulate his ideas knowing they would used in such a way i wonder?
[13:29] Herman Bergson: What I think is interesting, is the historical fact or actualy question why this marxism developed only in certain countries
[13:29] Mickorod Renard: yes Varick, and of course u have to compete too, with other nations in world economy
[13:29] Osrum Sands: Herman do you think it reasonable to suggest a similar process is occuring today between Islam and the USA or western Capitalism ?
[13:29] Vladimir Apparatchik: Marx thought the revolution would happen in Britain or Germany
[13:30] Varick Vendetta: it may simply be that the ideas are too far ahead of their time to be implemented the way the communist revolutions had tried to do.
[13:30] Herman Bergson: A SEC....
[13:30] Gudrun Odriscoll: I think that is quite interesting, but one had Rosa Luxembourg in Germany, and after 1914 the communists in Germany and Austira, they were somehow overtaken by the Socialists who had similar ideas
[13:30] Herman Bergson: Marx believed in this revolution to come indeed
[13:31] Vladimir Apparatchik: he actively worked for it as well - he was part of a communist group in London
[13:31] Herman Bergson: And Osrum..I dont think it is a correct analogy...
[13:31] Osrum Sands: ok
[13:31] AristotleVon Doobie: Do you suppose he was sincere about this utopian world?
[13:31] Osrum Sands: just asking
[13:31] Osrum Sands: have and hav nots etc
[13:31] Mickorod Renard: Maybe the 2nd world war upset the process in britain
[13:32] Herman Bergson: I wouldnt say that Mickorod..
[13:32] Vladimir Apparatchik: I dont think so - it was the rise of the Labour movement
[13:32] Vladimir Apparatchik: Marx never properly understood politics
[13:32] Samuel Okelly: could the reason for it's failure be that that it was a subjugated system domianted by a larger capitalisist system?
[13:32] Herman Bergson: yes....the Western European countries had a strong democratic tradition...
[13:32] Herman Bergson: I think that that is the difference
[13:33] Varick Vendetta: well relations between the US, and pretty much the entire western world, and the middle east seem to be going throught the dialectic process, and at the end both cultures will be modified to, hopefully, live better with one another
[13:33] Varick Vendetta: then again, there really isn't ever an end
[13:33] Vladimir Apparatchik: but islam is not an antithesis to western capitalism
[13:34] AristotleVon Doobie: I think that the motivation of Lenin and all other self professed 'peoples leader' is base on ecomnomics indeed. Self or clique economics.
[13:34] Herman Bergson: There is criticism on Engels's ideas about apllying the dialectic process on everything...
[13:34] Herman Bergson: It is just a rational model...
[13:34] Herman Bergson: not a description of reality though Hegel presented it as such
[13:35] Varick Vendetta: I think he had the right idea tho, dialectic is much like processes in evolution, and its clear from history that cultures evolve.
[13:35] Vladimir Apparatchik: but it's far too mechanistic and has no explanatory or predictive power
[13:35] Herman Bergson: In economic relations you may see the antagonism indeed......owner of production means and workers owners of production power...
[13:36] Varick Vendetta: might not have hit the nail on the head, but he seemed close
[13:36] Herman Bergson: Indeed Vladimir
[13:36] Vladimir Apparatchik: But it's still useful to see today by thinking about the relative power of Capital and Labour
[13:37] Vladimir Apparatchik: except there are other forces as well such as gender, race and religion which dont appear in Marxism
[13:37] Mickorod Renard: this is where the power of unions is relevant
[13:37] hope63 Shepherd: gosh-- where did you all live the last 30 years..
[13:37] Varick Vendetta: yes, marxism was very narrowly minded because of their view of economics
[13:38] Herman Bergson: As I said..the mistake was to interpret everything from the perspective of economic relations
[13:38] hope63 Shepherd: definetely not in the so calld third world..
[13:38] Gudrun Odriscoll: what do you mean, Hope
[13:39] hope63 Shepherd: gudrun.. look back into history.. south america.. asia.. africa..
[13:39] Gudrun Odriscoll: I mean with the last 30 years, though I would say that economy does mainly define the world. Power and powerless
[13:39] Varick Vendetta: I have to go. Please excuse me.
[13:39] Varick Vendetta: thanks for the class herman
[13:39] Laila Schuman: something that i think is important is the change from an agriculturally based society to the ... ta daa... INDUSTRIAL revolution.... it had SERIOUS impacts on people's one generation everything had changed.... beliefs, family and family values, way to have a job, economics... development of things that labor unions would later address... new feelings of alienation... blah blah blah.... the stress level for an entire society to change...that quickly.... was huge... and so it seems only logical that these ideas were discuseed and even felt to be necessary
[13:40] Gudrun Odriscoll: bye varick
[13:40] Mickorod Renard: c u Varik
[13:40] Varick Vendetta is Offline
[13:40] Vladimir Apparatchik: not sure where you are coming from hope - are you arguing for or against the marxian perspective?
[13:41] hope63 Shepherd: laila.. in short: the industrial revolution was at the base..
[13:41] Laila Schuman: similiar to the stress that we have from moving from the industrial revolution to the society of computers.... in less than a generation....
[13:42] AristotleVon Doobie: yes Laila
[13:42] Laila Schuman: yes i feel conditions in society propel philosophies and other things
[13:42] hope63 Shepherd: science - developping new production methods..
[13:42] AristotleVon Doobie: rapid adjustment
[13:42] Laila Schuman: insecurity
[13:42] Vladimir Apparatchik: yes laila - the forces of production determine the structure of society and its ruling ideas
[13:42] Herman Bergson: Well this is a fundamental point, what Laila mentions
[13:43] Laila Schuman: exactly..and there was a HUGE change in that
[13:43] hope63 Shepherd: read an article 40 years old about "computers" it will show a new world where we have to work less because machines take over most of our work..
[13:43] Herman Bergson: Marx thought that the material circumstances produce the immaterial upperlayer..
[13:43] hope63 Shepherd: we will get more free tiome lol
[13:43] Vladimir Apparatchik: as marx said .. the water mill gave you the feudal lord and the steam mill gave you the capitalist
[13:43] Herman Bergson: philosophies, politics etc.
[13:43] Gudrun Odriscoll: yes there was the talk of a leisure society, but we are more or as enslaved as ever
[13:43] Herman Bergson: but its this the whole truth?
[13:44] Laila Schuman: good one Vladimir
[13:44] Herman Bergson: for if it is you adhere an abbsolute materialism
[13:44] Mickorod Renard: yes, i agree
[13:44] Laila Schuman: another good one Gudrun
[13:45] Mickorod Renard: we must revolt
[13:45] Herman Bergson: When we look at it philosophically this idea has consequences
[13:45] Gudrun Odriscoll: against computers? just kidding
[13:45] Vladimir Apparatchik: It's not the whole truth Herman as said before but Marx and Engels provided great insights
[13:45] Mickorod Renard: ohh ,,,ok
[13:45] Herman Bergson: True Vladimir
[13:45] Vladimir Apparatchik: and both they and their disciples were too rigid
[13:46] AristotleVon Doobie: The advent of the global economics with the minimizing of sovereign nations is doing away with the prospect of increased leisure time and actually is deminishing the standard of living
[13:46] Herman Bergson: But the analysis that is interesting is to find out what is determined by economics and what is not
[13:46] Gudrun Odriscoll: they were control freaks and powermad
[13:46] Osrum Sands: They provided an analytical tool. The tool can be used right or wrong
[13:46] Gudrun Odriscoll: I mean the disciples
[13:47] Herman Bergson: lenin made it to a dogma and a rigid control system
[13:47] Herman Bergson: Fortunately Stallin is not in my list
[13:47] hope63 Shepherd: grin.. like the catholics.. like some islamists:)
[13:47] Vladimir Apparatchik: and he got that from the late Marx I think
[13:47] Gudrun Odriscoll: and Stalin was even more of a mad control freak, but that is for later, I assume
[13:47] hope63 Shepherd: and some bankers lol
[13:47] Samuel Okelly: a dogma that was imposed and not chosen
[13:47] Vladimir Apparatchik: the early Marx was interesting on concentrating on things like alienation
[13:48] Herman Bergson: Yes....there is a tendency in human mind to belief in absolute certainties
[13:48] Vladimir Apparatchik: and Marxism was very seductive - you could put everything into its framework
[13:49] Osrum Sands: one could say that it is a psychological need arising out of fear
[13:49] Vladimir Apparatchik: the world looked simpler
[13:49] Herman Bergson: Yes...Vladimir....finally some theory that explained everything
[13:49] Samuel Okelly: " hope63 Shepherd: grin.. like the catholics.. like some islamists:)" offensive and unsubstaintiated - show respect for all views / belief
[13:49] AristotleVon Doobie: ahhh' fear' the controlling factor
[13:49] hope63 Shepherd: ideologies.. they never read about common sense.. was it locke, herman?
[13:49] Herman Bergson: Yes Hope....the theory moves from philosophy to religion
[13:50] hope63 Shepherd: sure.. for the conquistadores 16th century.. and for al quaida?
[13:50] Mickorod Renard: fear is indeed a controling tool
[13:50] Vladimir Apparatchik: I suspect a modified version of marxism will become more fashionable in the future
[13:50] Vladimir Apparatchik: it was killed by the fall of the Soviet Union
[13:50] hope63 Shepherd: my respect.. for the extreme they can think- and do..
[13:50] Osrum Sands: I tend to agree Vladimir
[13:50] Herman Bergson: With these dogmatic theories we leave philosophy..
[13:51] AristotleVon Doobie: you must scare the hell out of the citizenry to controll them
[13:51] Gudrun Odriscoll: That is interesting, vladimir, where do you think this will happen?
[13:51] Vladimir Apparatchik: but as ultra free-market capitalism is seen to fail - and show the symptoms predicted by Marx then a new more "political" marxism will develop
[13:51] hope63 Shepherd: we live a modified version - socialist-- in europe already..
[13:52] Gudrun Odriscoll: or if we are unlucky some theocratic capitalist society.
[13:52] Herman Bergson: Yes Hope but socialism has deeper roots in history then Marxism..
[13:52] Osrum Sands: I feel that some form of Global Socialism will need to arrise in order for society to survive
[13:52] Herman Bergson: The debate on equality is timeless
[13:52] Vladimir Apparatchik: you may also see a form of green marxism develop
[13:53] hope63 Shepherd: i don't know .. of course the solon laws were already going that direction.. 2600 years from now..
[13:53] Laila Schuman: i agree with you Osrum
[13:53] AristotleVon Doobie: Well everyone know that we are nopt 'equal'
[13:53] Mickorod Renard: global socialism sounds great,,but it will be the banks who use it to control us
[13:53] Osrum Sands: intersting point Mick
[13:54] Laila Schuman: i feel they do already
[13:54] Gudrun Odriscoll: Yes Mick
[13:54] Osrum Sands: but only as we put money at a high level
[13:54] Mickorod Renard: yes,,,but they will always control
[13:54] hope63 Shepherd: ever saw the film " la banquziere " with Romy Schneider ,mick)? based on true facts..
[13:54] Vladimir Apparatchik: that's why there will be a marxist perspective about the control of Capital
[13:54] Mickorod Renard: no
[13:54] Laila Schuman: or from iron mountain?
[13:54] hope63 Shepherd: banquiere.. the banqquer-ess:)
[13:55] Vladimir Apparatchik: Look at the credit-crunch and the power of the banks
[13:55] Herman Bergson: We are simplifying here again...
[13:55] Herman Bergson: words like capital...the banks....
[13:55] Gemma Cleanslate is Online
[13:55] Vladimir Apparatchik: it is slowly being realised that it has been a massive global racket
[13:55] Osrum Sands: Val that comes from human weakness
[13:55] Herman Bergson: what do tyou mean.....there is not such a thing as the bank
[13:55] AristotleVon Doobie: I agree Vlad
[13:55] hope63 Shepherd: we-- the people-- are the bank lol
[13:55] Laila Schuman: and bush and his buddies... used elections to provide them with a private army to do what their businesses wanted done
[13:55] Osrum Sands: and desire to be better based upon material things
[13:56] Laila Schuman: money
[13:56] Herman Bergson: There are human beings involved in complex money processes
[13:56] Gudrun Odriscoll: money makes the world go round
[13:56] Herman Bergson: Money doesnt do anything....
[13:56] Herman Bergson: humans make choices
[13:56] Osrum Sands: money talks... but is cant dance or sing or walk
[13:56] hope63 Shepherd: come to the cabaret gudrun:)
[13:56] Mickorod Renard: yes sorry herman...i meant those in control of world finance
[13:57] AristotleVon Doobie: yes, money provides the wherewithall for the receiving group to survive and procreate
[13:57] Laila Schuman: fear affects choices
[13:57] Vladimir Apparatchik: yes Hermann but as you remove regulation and Keynesian models then the banks will act just as marx said they would - capital accumulation and concentration
[13:57] AristotleVon Doobie: it is all ancietn brain
[13:57] Samuel Okelly: has history demonstrated that a preoccupation with purely economical issues alone is insufficient as a means to serve society?
[13:57] Gudrun Odriscoll: I used a quote, but money seems to be the most powerful tool for controlling the world
[13:57] Osrum Sands: Keynesian econimic throry works in closed economy
[13:57] hope63 Shepherd: ari... lol.. i think you are far tooo young to cite ancient brain every three classes:)
[13:58] Osrum Sands: very difficult in open global market
[13:58] AristotleVon Doobie: Hope it is the driving force of us all
[13:58] Vladimir Apparatchik: sorry Osrum I understand
[13:58] Vladimir Apparatchik: but that's why it has to be global
[13:58] Laila Schuman: and money is...more and more and more... making monopolies of the media... which will take care of the pen/sword problem
[13:58] AristotleVon Doobie: admit it or not
[13:58] hope63 Shepherd: could someone tell me what the heck we are discussing here.. in a philosophy class?
[13:58] Osrum Sands: money is just conjealed energy
[13:58] Vladimir Apparatchik: and it was keynes who was the theoretical strength behing Bretton Woods after WW2
[13:58] Herman Bergson: Right Hope....
[13:59] Osrum Sands: hahah
[13:59] Vladimir Apparatchik: OK
[13:59] Herman Bergson: What we basically are discussing here is the question of human ethics
[13:59] Vladimir Apparatchik: Fair enough
[13:59] Laila Schuman: discussing: why marks etc were listened to... the needs of the people at the time
[13:59] Mickorod Renard: humaan ethics,,,as determined by greed
[13:59] Herman Bergson: What you should not overlook is that at the basis there is an interpretation of being here
[13:59] Laila Schuman: marx
[14:00] Herman Bergson: basic questions regarding the meaning of life actually..
[14:00] AristotleVon Doobie: seems like a search for the fundemental reason we behave as we do
[14:00] Vladimir Apparatchik: Yes Hermann - Marx like Locke etc were wrong about human nature
[14:00] hope63 Shepherd: having the economic means to lead a free life
[14:00] Gudrun Odriscoll: the most important things in life are hydrogen and oxygen *quote from one of my videos, sorry guys
[14:01] Osrum Sands: I think Marx was wrong with his assumption re Material dialectics
[14:01] Laila Schuman: smiles
[14:01] Vladimir Apparatchik: it is not a blank slate - infinitety malleable
[14:01] Herman Bergson: History has shown that indeed osrum
[14:01] hope63 Shepherd: without sex and procreation the question of hydrogen and o would not be a problem gudru^n lol
[14:02] Herman Bergson: Well let me conclude this discussion...
[14:02] AristotleVon Doobie: maybe in theory Marx was not wrong, he just failed to consider the human factor enough
[14:02] hope63 Shepherd: right 'o ari..
[14:03] hope63 Shepherd: lack of interdisciline knowledge..
[14:03] Herman Bergson: tho we may discuss matters like money..banks...power the very bottom is the naked ape we are questioning himself about the reasons of what he is doing
[14:04] Herman Bergson: In our discussion you see how you can discuss about it looking at reality as having multiple levels
[14:04] Herman Bergson: contexts of discourse..
[14:04] Herman Bergson: And indeed Hope ..what are we discussing here today..
[14:05] hope63 Shepherd: well, herman.. he realized he lost his fur coat and had to think about getting a credit card to buy some cloth to keep him warm /( sounds like a joke-- but ain't)
[14:05] Herman Bergson: I would say....try to go to the most basic level
[14:05] Gudrun Odriscoll: all of you, I have to go, see you Sunday. Herman thanks a lot
[14:05] Vladimir Apparatchik: bye
[14:05] Herman Bergson: bye Gudrun...
[14:05] Mickorod Renard: c u gudrun
[14:05] AristotleVon Doobie: bye Gudrun
[14:05] Laila Schuman: gogol... hope?
[14:05] Herman Bergson: And Class dismissed..:-)
[14:06] hope63 Shepherd: i'll expalian after herman has finished - if you
[14:06] Vladimir Apparatchik: Thank you Herman - my first class and I enjoyed it
[14:06] Mickorod Renard: its like everything in life...a balanced mean is good 4 you
[14:06] hope63 Shepherd: laila
[14:06] Laila Schuman: please come again Vladimir
[14:06] Laila Schuman: yes hope?
[14:06] Herman Bergson: Thank you Vladimir..:-)
[14:06] Samuel Okelly: thanks herman, another good one with lots to think about
[14:06] Mickorod Renard: but its never enough for many
[14:06] AristotleVon Doobie: Thank you Professor
[14:07] Herman Bergson: Thank you all for your participation

Posted by herman_bergson on 2008-05-04 14:49:21

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