More on Dialectics

Chris Matthew Sciabarra cms10 at
Fri Sep 3 12:09:33 MDT 1999

Brief comments...

>Charles: Is knowing that you don't know more than you knew  you didn't know
>before knowing more or knowing less ?
:)  I'm still trying to figure this one out...  I just meant that knowledge
is not stagnant... our lives are finite, and there is only so much that any
one of us can know... and that is simply a fact of existence, regardless of
whether we live in the 12th century BC, or the 23rd century AD.

>Charles: Which Marxists think this ? Marx , Engels, Lenin, Castro,
>Luxembourg, Proyect ?  I think you have a straw Marxist here.

Ok, here's some quotes:

Engels:  "... the more [people] make their own history consciously, the
less becomes the influence of unforeseen effects and uncontrolled forces on
this history, and the more accurately does the historical result correspond
to the aim laid down in advance."

Engels, in the future, people "understand in advance the necessity of
changing the social system . . . on account of changing conditions . . .
[they] will desire the change before it forces itself upon them without
their being conscious of it or desiring it."  The producers will have "a <<
perfect >> understanding" of social forces...

Marx tells us that we go from being "playthings of history" to being in
control of it.

And so on and so on.  I think the socialist literature ... all the way up
to Trotsky -- where the average Tom, Dick, and Harriett become like
Aristotle, Marx, and Goethe -- and beyond, shows a penchant for utopianism
in this regard, a wonderful future in which everything is so perfectly
planned.  It is the Enlightenment's rationalist hubris writ large.

>Charles: It always changes ,but not necessarily continually, You make the
>errror of the old Greek philosopher, forget his name, who was
>ultra"dialectical", nothing was ever it self.Hegel doesn't totally throw out
>some definiteness and fixity.
Nor do I; part of that existence is dynamism.  The socialists have for too
long depended upon the neoclassical, Newtonian notions of equilibrium in
order to affect their command economy.  For all their dynamic analyses,
they fall into utterly bourgeois statics when it comes to planning.

>The changes of economy are not instantly continuous. I'll get the Greek's
>name. This is a well known error you are making.
Heraclitus?  Yikes!  :)

>More later,
Chris Matthew Sciabarra, Visiting Scholar
NYU Department of Politics
715 Broadway
New York, New York  10003-6806
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