[Marxism] (no subject)

Art Kunkin arthur.kunkin at gmail.com
Tue Oct 20 21:36:41 MDT 2009


Dear Oxford,

I found the implications of your posting on the limitations of Marxist
Materialism fascinating and would like to pursue this both in the forum and
off-forum by email. For your information I am the founding publisher/editor
of the 60s anti-war weekly newspaper, The Los Angeles Free Press, 1964-2009;
former Business Manager of The Militant in the 40s; a former president of
The Philosophical Research Society after the passing of its founder Manly P.
Hall and author of the eBook "Immortality: The Secret Finally Revealed."
etc. Thank you, Art Kunkin

On Tue, Oct 20, 2009 at 1:08 PM, <oxford at mailingaddress.org> wrote:

> A problem with regard to the traditional Marxist theory of ‘Materialism’,
> is that it ignores the innate human potential that may be viewed as the
> ‘subjective’, or that which represents and reflects the inner existence of a
> human being.  The theory itself excludes the possibility of a valid and
> contributing driving force to physical life, originating from the conscious
> processes of the human mind.
>
> The Marxist theory of Materialism, postulates that ‘matter’ creates ‘mind’.
>  Matter both pre-exists physical being (i.e. ‘birth’), and post-exists the
> physical death process.  In other words, individual lives come and go
> throughout the ages, but the physical matter of the universe continues to
> exist for all time.  Life simply arrives and departs within a material
> framework.  There is nothing beyond the ‘material’, and therefore no such
> entity exists, such as a Marxist Metaphysics.
>
> The Marxist theory further asserts that the conscious state of an
> individual, group or class, is determined and dependent upon the
> relationship of that between the individual (or group) and the economic
> means of production.  Working from this premise, the argument is further
> developed, whereby the outer circumstance of the physical world, serve to
> create the inner structures, (i.e. psychological states) of the  inner
> (subjective) world.
>
> This is a determinist model that suggests that ‘we are how we live’, and as
> a consequence, no other theory can be allowed, that might suggest a
> differing view, or offer a modification of the original theory.   This
> situation may have been arrived at by both Marx and Engels, as a reflection
> of their requirement for Marxist theory to be considered ‘scientific’ – and
> therefore appealing to the intellectual mind and the academic community of
> their time.  As a consequence, the Marxist theory of Materialism is a
> ‘closed system’ that can not, as a matter of definition, allow for any other
> view.  In this sense, this Marxist theory of social science, attempts to
> mimic the clarity of thought developed by such subjects as Physics, Science
> and Chemistry – which of course, make full use of the ‘scientific method’
> and the ‘closed system’.
>
> The Marxist theory of Materialism is, of course, philosophy rather than
> science in the classical sense.  Furthermore, it is a speculative
> philosophical theory – unlike classical science, it has not historically
> proven its central assertions.  Whereas, that which can not be proven by the
> use of the scientific process, is discarded as incorrect, or viewed as a
> methodological ‘error’.  In this sense, Marxist materialism treats humanity
> as the passive bystander in the living process.  A passive bystander that is
> acted upon by the social structures surrounding the economic process the
> individual experiences.
>
> This implies that the individual has no potential ability to contribute to
> (and possibly change) the outer social structures, through the agency of
> ‘will’.  A ‘will’ generated from within, and possibly the product of
> hitherto ‘unrecognised’ inner processes, existing free of the influence of
> the material determinism of external phenomena.   From this perspective, it
> can be deduced that an individual may well be subject to very powerful and
> oppressive external forces, but yet remain inwardly free of the influence of
> these forces.
>
> This capacity to remain inwardly free, may not be the case for all beings.
>  However, the potential for such a situation to exist, should not be beyond
> the remit of Marxist theory.  To maintain a form of self-determination,
> whilst experiencing oppressive social forces, can be interpreted as the
> product of the attribute, of the human requirement to ‘transcend’.  This
> attribute also serves as the basis of human spirituality – which has often
> become distorted by established religion.  Therefore, the human spiritual
> urge, can not be fully explained by the Marxist theory of Materialism.  The
> spiritual urge, together with the social structures it has created, can not
> be fully explained as merely the internalisation of outer material forces.
>  That is, the reflective mirroring conscious processes, that are believed to
> be the product of the relationship between the individual and the means of
> production.  If it were, it would mean that the inner urge to ‘transcend’
> outer circumstances, would be potentially imprinted in the outer material
> itself.  Marxist materialist theory would have to allow therefore, that in
> the oppressive outer forces of the social contract, the implicit requirement
> to ‘transcend’ is present.
>
> As it is not in the interests of the ruling and dominating elite, to have
> the social structures they have created, (and that serve their elitist
> purposes) transcended, it would be reasonable to believe that
> ‘transcendence’ is not part of the social fabric they have created.  It
> logically follows therefore, that this urge to transcend does not originate
> in the material of the outer circumstances, but instead is a product of an
> internal psychological archetype.  An archetype that even if not triggered
> by the external culture one is born into, nevertheless remains as a
> potential, and may well serve some kind of creative purpose through other
> social functions.  This is where Marxist theory has to tread carefully.
>  There must be a distinction between religious institutions that have gained
> political power, and have entrapped people in a self-limiting net of social
> superstition and undeveloped argument, and the legitimate pursuing (by
> individuals) of a spiritual path of self-development, that has no
> institutions or establishments, and is not interested in the securing of
> outer political power or in the pursuing of economic oppressive structures.
>
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