Ron Press anclondon at gn.apc.org
Mon Mar 6 15:32:37 MST 1995

>>>From: wpc at cs.strath.ac.uk

>>Chodos wrote of L&M

>What they get right is related to the idea that society is
fundamentally an open process (in their terms unsutured). I think
that anyone truly committed to purging detrerminism from Marxism
has to agree with this. It means, of course, that any notion of
"determination in the last instance" has to be abandoned. This is
the only possible conclusion from a rejection of determinism, in
the sense of not postulating an epochal trajectory of social
systems (primitive communism, slavery, feudalism, capitalism,
socialism, communism, or some such list). <<<

The above quote reminds me very strongly of the relationship
between a linear mathematical approach to the study of comples
phenomena and the non-linear approach.

In classical mechanics one can formulate a set of equations which
will predict for example the trajectory of a missile. It goes from
A to B via a definite trajectory.

Applying the same mathematics to determining the trajectory of a
jet of water coming out of the spout of a hose pipe then the
analysis breaks down at a certain water pressure. The flow of
water is too complex for a linear mathematical approach.

 Water flowing in a river definitely moves from the hill top to
 the valley. But on its path it may well get into a whirlpool and
 for a part of it's motion go upstream.

It seems to me that society is an even more complex system but
there are similarities.

Marxists were given the impression that the sequence was as given
above (primitive communism, slavery, feudalism, capitalism,
socialism, communism, )

Then there where those who said that perhaps there should be other
possible paths which would incorporate the asiatic ...

There was never any talk about going backwards. Water does not
travel uphill.

Well the demise of the USSR was a shattering blow to the linear
mathematical approach. Water does under complex conditions do just
that. ( Granted momentarily only)

To put it another way. It is clear that summer will follow winter,
( Just as the night the day ala Shakespear). But there are winter
days in summer and summer days in winter. And in the United
Kingdom sometimes we don't have a summer at all.

I exaggerate. However there are studies of the motion of a
pendulum. A simple one just moves along an arc from A to B (and
back again). However a complex pendulum can be constructed where
it moves in a complex ever changing path. Some times in a figure
eight, sometimes triangular, then eliptical and back again. There
is a definite pattern. In this pattern it passes near to A and
then near to B ( and back again).  This indicates to me that if
one looked at society as a linear process then one would expect it
to follow the linear mathematical path. from A to B. But if it was
complex ( as indeed it is) then non linear analysis would indicate
that it would pass from somewhere near A to somewhere near B. And
there would be a distinct possibility that it could pass back to A

A non linear analyis does not negate a linear analysis, it
incorpoatres it and enlarges it's scope. (Einstein Gravity and
Newton) The demise of the USSR does not indicate the death of
socialism but does indicate a simplistic analysis by the
capitalist Gurus. We were wrong who thought socialism was
irreversible. I do not believe were were wrong when we thought it
was the next best thing after capitalism.

I do not imply that society can be interpreted by mathematics
howevr complex. We after all do act irrationally, and do in our
very imperfect way try to create our own laws of progression. But
mathematics and the way society works are both natural phenomina
so there aught to be some similarities.

Ron Press.  The distorting mirror on the wall.

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