Reality, relativism, and vision

Chris Burford cburford at gn.apc.org
Sun Jan 29 23:32:40 MST 1995


Rick Wolff wrote to Ron Press:

>>>>	I agree with you and with Hegel who wrote repeatedly about the
circularity of thought. Escape from the circularity (which is another
side of that relativism which frightens so many) entails embrace of an
absolute (which frightens me). The issue, wrote Hegel and Marx, is not
escape from circularity (a mirage, they thought), but which among the
contesting circular systems of thought each of us embraces and acts upon
in life.<<<<

I keep on getting reminded of some of the stranger passages in section 2
of the Communist Manifesto that look so relativist:

>>They do not set up any sectarian principles of their own, by which to
shape and mould the proletarian movement...
...
The theoretical conclusions of the Communists are in no way based on
ideas that have been invented, or discovered, by this or that would be
universal reformer.
They merely express, in general terms, actual relations springing from
an existing class struggle, from a historical movement going on under our
very eyes.<<<

Can we accept such relativism? Can we accept that the historical movement
may not have only one inevitable form and may change? But can we still see
the reality of the movement going on under our very eyes?  That for me is
the riddle and the challenge.


Chris Burford
Community Psychiatrist, specialising in schizophrenia.
Member of the Forum for Marxism, Philosophy and Science,
and the Southern Africa Economic Research Unit, SAERU.

London                                   "Only connect..."

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