cyberwars / cybertruth

hariette spierings hariette at
Sun Jun 30 19:41:51 MDT 1996

>If we can't learn the truth, if everything we do is in vain
>Is a life of suspicion any superior?
>Don't put the drink down if you have any trace of a brain
>In this darkness, what if you are drunk and what if you are sober
>("Rubai" by Omer Khayyam, the fascinating 11th century Persian poet &

Hi Zeynep:  Indeed you like some of the poets I most like!  However, wise
Khayyam was long before Marxism, which is precisely a weapon for elucidating
the class "truth" which serves the advancing of the class interests of the
proletariat.  Is there an ultimate truth?

I think this may answer the question:

"Contrary to idealism, which asserts that only our mind really exists, and
that the material world, being, nature, exists only in our mind, in our
sensations, ideas and perceptions, the Marxist materialist philosophy holds
that matter, nature, being, is an objective reality existing outside and
independent of our mind; that matter is primary, since it is the source of
sensations, ideas, mind, and that mind is secondary, derivative, since it is
a reflection of matter, a reflection of being; that thought is a product of
matter which in its development has reached a high degree of perfection,
namely, of the brain, and the brain is the organ of thought; and that
therefore one cannot separate though from matter without committing a grave
error.  Engels says:

"The question of the relation of thinking to being, the relation of spirit
to nature is the paramount question of the whole of philosophy..... The
answers that the philosophers gave to this question split them in two great
camps.  Those who asserted the primacy of spirit to nature .... comprised
the cammp of IDEALISM.  The other who regarded nature as primary, belong to
the various schools of MATERIALISM" (Karl Marx, Selected Works, Eng. ed.,
Vol I, pp 430-31)

And further:

"The material sensously perceiptible world to which we ourselves belong is
the only reality..... Our consciousness and thinking, however supra-sensous
they may seem, are the product of a material bodily organ, the brain.
Matter is not a product of mind, but mind itself is merely the highest
product of matter" (Ibid p. 435).

Concerning the question of matter and thought, Marx says:

"It is impossible to separate thought from matter that thinks.  Matter is
the subject of all changes" (Ibid, p. 937).

Describing the Marxist philosophy of materialism, Lenin says:

"Materialism in general recognises objectively real being (matter) as
independent of consciousness, sensation, experience.....  Consciousness is
only the reflection of being, at best, an approximately true (adequately,
ideally exact) reflection of it"  (Lenin, SW, Eng Ed, Vol XI, p. 377)

And further:

A) "Matter is that which, acting upon our sense-organs, produces sensation;
matter is the objective reality given to us in sensation......  Matter,
nature, being, the physical - is primary, and spirit, consciousness,
sensation, the psychical - is secondary".  (Ibid, pp 207, 208)

B) "The world picture is a picture of how matter moves and of how "MATTER
THINKS"" (Ibid., page 402)

C)  "The brain is the organ of thought"  (Ibid, p 214)

Contrary to idealism, which demies the possibility of knowing the world and
its laws, which does not believe in the authenticity of our knowledge, does
not recognise objective truth, and holds that the world is full of
"things-in-themselves" that can never be known to science, Marxist
philosophical materialism holds that the world and its laws are fully
knowable, that our knowledge of the laws of nature, tested by experiment and
practice, is authentic knowledge having the validity of objective truth,
that there are no things in the world which are unknowable, but only things
which are still not known, but which will be disclosed and made known by the
efforts of science and practice.

Criticising the thesis of Kant and other idealists that the world is
unknowable and that there are "things-in-themselves" which are unknowable,
and defending the well known materialist thesis that our knowledge is
authentic knowledge, Engels writes:

"The most telling refutation of this as of all other philosofical fancies is
practice, viz., experiment and industry.  If we are able to prove the
correctness of our conception of a natural process by making it ourselves,
bringing it into being out of its conditions and using it for our own
purposes into the bargain, then there is an end of the Kantian
"thing-in-itself".  The chemical substances produced in the bodies of plants
and animals remained such "things-in-themselves" until organic chemistry
began to produce them one after another, wher-upon the "thing-in-itself"
became a thing for us, as for instance, alizarin, the coulouring matter of
the madder, which we no longer trouble to grow in the madder roots in the
field, but produce much more cheaply and simply from coal tar.  For three
hundred years the Copernican solar system was a hypothesis, with a hundred,
a thousnad or ten thousand chances to one in its favour, but still always a
hypothesis.  But when Leverrier, by means of data provided by this system,
not only deduced the necessity of existance of an unknown planet, but also
calculated the position in the heavens which this planet must necessarily
occupy, and when Galle really found this planet, the Copernican system was
proved" (Karl Marx, Selected Works, Eng. Ed., Vol I, pp 432-33)

Accussing Bogdanov, Bazarov, Yushkevitch and other followers of Mach of
fideism, and defending the well known materialist thesis that our scientific
knowledge of the laws of nature is authentic knowledge, and that the laws of
science represent objective truth, Lenin says:

"Contemporary fideism does not at all reject science; all it rejects is the
"exaggerated claims" of science, to wit, its claim to objective truth.  If
objective truth exists (as the materialists think), if natural science,
reflecting the outer world in human "experience", is alone capable of giving
us objective truth, then all fideism is absolutely refuted"  (Lenin, SW, Eng
Ed.., Vol XI, page 188)

Such, in brief, are the characteristic features of the Marxist philosophical

It is easy to understand how immensely important is the extension of the
extension of the principles of philosifical materialism to the study of
social life, of the history of society, and how immensely important is the
application of these principles to the history of society AND TO THE

If the conecction between the phenomena  of nature and their interdependence
are laws of the development of nature, it follows, too, that the connection
and interdependance of the phenomena of social life are laws of the
development of society, AND NOT SOMETHING ACCIDENTAL.

Hence social life, the history of society, ceases to be an agglomeration of
"ACCIDENTS", and becomes the history of the development of society according
to regular laws, and the study of the history of society becomes a science.

Hence the practical activity of the party of the proletariat must not be
based on the good wishes of "outstanding individuals", not on the dictates
of "reason", "Universal morals", etc., but on the laws of development of
society and on the study of these laws.

Further, if the world is knowable and our knowledge of the laws of
development of nature is authentic knowledge, having the validity of
objective truth, it follows that social life, the development of society, is
also knowable, and that the data of science regarding the laws of
development of society are authentic data having the validity of objective

(Dialectical and Historical Materialism - HCPSU (b) Short Course)

As you can see, I believe that we can inded "learn the truth", and that not
"everything we do is in vain"  That there is no need for "a life of
suspicion" if people would indeed take the trouble to investigate the facts
with honesty.  However, we are not asking - anyhow - for any sort of
ultimate truth, just the necessary light to beat back a nasty
counter-revolutionary plot which is really endangering the people.

Omar Khayyam may say "with a loaf of bread and a jug of wine and thee, under
the bough":

>Don't put the drink down if you have any trace of a brain
>In this darkness, what if you are drunk and what if you are sober?

And that may be "happiness enough" for an XI Century philosopher, and
matemathician enjoying the Persian Court's favour.  He was great and
admirable and wondrous in his time no doubt.  But we, who are indeed
fighting for a better world in the here and now and for all humanity, may
counter, what if you are a Marxist, and what if you are not?  It is not all
the same to people, you must admit!

Because we do (hopefully) have a trace of a brain, we shall rather not open
the champagne bottles until the fight is over.  And it will be over when is
over.  Don't you think?


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