The following is typical of recent dialogues on the F.E.D. Dialectic and "Dialectical Theory of Everything" in which I have been recently involved, genericized to help bring out its wider meanings, laid out in Query/Response format.
Q: First of all, I want to express my appreciation of the extraordinarily conscientious, way-beyond-well-informed presence you are.
As a deeply committed Marxist, perhaps my deepest dismay of the past eleven years has come from encountering the degraded condition of Marxism in the West.
R.: Thanks! Your appreciation is appreciated!
Alas, I have to concur with you about the condition of the Marxian movement in general.
There are individual exceptions -- David Schweickart, Tony Smith, Bertell Ollmann, Karl Seldon, Sophya St. Germain, Hermes de Nemores, and Aoristos Dyosphainthos come to mind -- who provide harbingers of that movement's self-regeneration.
Q: . . . I'm also all too aware of our present situation and am attempting to facilitate revolutionary consciousness and practice in a profoundly passive era that desperately needs to "get radical."
R: Given ongoing events in the states ruled by the Arab servant-dictators of the ruling U.K. / U.S. plutocracy, as well as in Greece and Spain, for just two examples, in Europe, I'd say that the "profoundly passive era" is showing some signs of coming to an end, as the plutocracy tightens the noose that it has placed around our necks, worldwide.
It is the Americans among whom -- with the exception of Wisconsin, recently -- passivity still seems to reign.
The plutocracy has stolen their civil liberties, their rights of election [corporatization of electoral financing], their property rights [corporatization of eminent domain], their pensions [via corporate bankruptcies], their 401(k)s [via their "bubble engineerings" of stock market collapses], their jobs, and their homes, but they still try to play the "doormats" [for the very homes from which they have been evicted].
The British imperialist oppressors of their past have transmogrified into the home-grown Wall Street Finance/Oil Company oppressors of today: it's time for the Americans to revive their "DON'T TREAD ON ME!", and to put it to their own [inter-]national ruling class, as well as to that of the U.K.!
Q: I am also becoming as invested in understanding the F.E.D. dialectic and making it available to popular use . . . I can see much of value in the F.E.D. dialectic already . . ..
R: Glad to hear it! Am planning to write more about that issue in later blog-entries, both today's and beyond.
Q: I'm not hung up on Gaia or prebiotic evolution, Miguel. I'm hung up on the self-organization of the living systems of the process of life on Earth. Pre-biotic autocatalytic evolutionary scenarios are self-organizations of a sort, as is the planetary self-regulating ecosystem of Gaia. But these are all scientific concepts, and I draw no "new age" conclusions of which I am aware. I HATE new agey pseudo-spiritual self-worship.
My point . . . is that all living systems on Earth at present, despite the number of emergences they have gone through, are self-organizing material systems that are dynamically interdependent with each other and their physical environment. In this sense it really doesn't matter whether there was molecular evolution on Earth or Earth was seeded from space or God created it all. Present life on Earth is entirely composed of self-organizing, material, living systems, and human social systems must be organized as living systems.
This theory of mine generally abstracts the process of life on Earth from cosmic doings. This is a Hegelian/Marxist abstraction, though, that certainly recognizes there is a formative universe "outside" our world.
I am definitely saying there is a physical organizational layer of matter on Earth of which humans must become aware. We must become conscious of life's organization and apply it to our lives. Otherwise, we remain trapped in ignorance. We who must produce and create our lives will not understand life's design.
You wrote, "successor emergence always embodies a higher and ontologically richer principle of self-organization than does its predecessor emergence."
I hadn't realized this, but this is all still the emergences of self-organizing networks, isn't it? I see molecular evolution into the life process as the big emergence, followed by many others of varying sorts. The Cambrian "explosion" was a big emergence, and an embryo goes through many evolutionarily programmed emergences. Mind is an emergent process. And all of these emergences are by self-organizing material living systems.
R: Most of what you wrote above is quite reassuring, from my point of view.
If I correctly understand what you wrote in the passages quoted above, you are not seeking to impose the "[natural-]historically specific" organization of the pre-human biosphere upon the human noosphere, reducing the latter to the former, but are seeking that humanity understand and consciously apply, to its own conscious self-organization -- to the revolution out of capitalist society, and to its design of the successor social system to capitalism -- the [natural-]historically generic principles of living organization, which are common to the successive "historical [temporal] species", or historical epochs -- named tau = 4 through tau = 8, per F.E.D. -- which irrupted prokaryotic cellular life, then eukaryotic cellular life, then "meta-biotic" [multi-[eukaryotic-]cellular] life, then animal-social and plant-community life, and then human, meta-animal-social life.
[The "Cambrian Explosion", by the way, was the irruption of the neo-ontology of "multicellular [multi-eukaryotic-cellular] organisms" -- i.e., of the epoch tau = 6 "meta-biota" -- on Earth -- and the irruption of the oceanic "meta-zoan" neo-ontology especially].
The cultivation, in the "human phenome", of the understanding of the subtleties and of the "invisible" interconnexions of the networks of human and extra-human nature -- subtleties and interconnexions that are not apparent to the sensorium and "perceptorium" given to us via our "human genome" -- is the work of science in general, a vast work of humanity, implicitly throughout its entire history, and, especially, since its explicit irruption from out of "Natural Philosophy", a work hardly confined to the work of the few and recent other authors who you cite.
However -- as both you and I are aware -- capitalist era "science", "natural" and "social" alike, exhibits certain "historically-specific" traits of debilitating capitalist <<mentalite'>> or ideology -- atomism, reductionism, abstract "matterism", one-sided quantism, externalism, equilibriumism, isolationism, separatism, pseudo-dynamical linearism, incapacity to comprehend dynamical and, even more so, "meta-dynamical" nonlinearity [as in its inability to solve, in "closed form", general nonlinear total and partial differential equations-systems, or to "semantify" zero-division dynamical "singularities"] -- that have made it fail to fully serve this function of science, until the recent -- still very partial -- overcomings of some aspects of this capitalist ideology and <<mentalite'>> that are associated with the writers who you cite.
Q: I sense your F.E.D. dialectic heads in a teleological direction.
An earlier quotation (by Errol Harris?) along the lines of "man is in the process of becoming nature" indicated this to me.
But this isn't a problem for me in this instance. Your F.E.D. dialectic might be heading for cosmic consciousness; my theory seeks a consciousness of the organization of life, community, and revolution. So let's have that revolution we so desperately need and see where we wind up. A full human consciousness of life on Earth would surely be a developing cosmic consciousness.
. . . I never think of Gaia as conscious; Gaia has "ecological mind." Gaia is a self-regulating ecosystem.
R: "Teleology" is the positing of a "final cause", that operates "from the future", upon the present, to bring about a pre-ordained end. It is the idea that all of Nature [not just human Nature(s)] has conscious goals and/or "designs".
I see nothing in the F.E.D. writings, or in my own views, that assumes or posits any such "teleology".
Seeing the "expectability", or even the inevitability, of certain developments that have arisen in our past, as having arisen from the "premises" of their own pasts, is not teleology, any more than is the capability of NASA to "calculatively" predict -- using "equationizations" of Newton's proportions of ratios, or Einstein' equations -- the location of Mars ~2 years hence, and so to direct a probe to actually meet up with Mars at a precise location ~2 years hence.
Even Gould cops to this.
Science is based upon such successful predictability, and upon myriads of successful predictions.
Likewise, the fact that a certain system of nonlinear differential equations, one that aptly models our data on aspects of a physical system that we experience and measure, "contains" a "self-oscillatory" state-space "attractor" "solution-geometry" -- say a "limit-cycle", or a ["chaotic"] "strange attractor", to which all state-space trajectories of the family of systems aptly described by this equation-system-expressed dynamical "law", and "born", at t = 0, within the "basin of attraction" of this "attractor", are asymptotically drawn, as t increases -- is not teleology.
Such equations do not posit a cause, "located" in the "future", and, somehow, acting on the present, to bring about this "attraction", this convergence of trajectories ever-closer to that attractor, or any conscious "goal" or any "conscious "design" in pre-human Nature.
The equations simply assert that, in each successive present, the concrete dynamics of the systems that are described by the specific system of nonlinear total-differential equations in question self-constrain their state-variables in such a way that convergence toward the attracting recurrent self-oscillation ["attractor"] of their state-variable-value "vital signs" becomes ever-closer.
Anyone who thinks that a trend of convergence -- such as we so ubiquitously observe in all of Nature -- requires a "future cause", or a pre-ordained, conscious purpose or design, operating in pre-human Nature, and acting upon all present(s) -- is the real teleologist.
Q: You wrote, " 'nature' is also a realm where self-organisms incessantly, unceasingly seize one another alive, and eat one another alive."
Yes, but these organisms are just maintaining their species' relations and place in the life's bootstrap of self-organizing systems.
Nature keeps species going at the expense of its individuals, and "nature red in tooth and claw" relations are ecological relations.
The individuals who eat and are eaten are just communicating.
[emphasis added by R.]
R: Although your first two sentences above are broadly accurate, I cannot help but feel that the third and last sentence exhibits a compassionless cavalierness, not only toward the horror that humane beings feel when witnessing such violence, but also and especially toward the animal victims of predation -- sentient beings who suffer both fear and pain.
The violence, suffering, and horror of predation is, from a humane perspective, a defect in sub-human nature, that only an actualized human[ized] nature can mitigate.
It is not "just" anything -- it is not anything less than endemic -- epidemic -- bloody murder as the foundation of pre-human animal reproduction!
Q: Human consciousness, though, locks us into individual being. We don't "see" or "feel" the social of social individual. We have become parts that do not recognize our wholes, yet our individual selves have become wholly captured by The System.
R: By posting a merely genomic, historically-generic cause for the inadequacies of present human consciousness, one not only confuses phenomic, including historically-specific, e.g., capitalist-ideological, causes, with genomic causes. One also wastes all of the rich insights of Marxian theory.
Such "socio-biological" theories of the defects of human consciousness present another <<species>> of the very defining gambit of "historically-specifically" capitalist ideology itself: reducing historically-specific human-social causes to generic, "gene-ic", "natural" causes.
Per this capitalist ideology --
'''The past was "The Flintstones"!
The future will be "The Jetsons"!
The problems that "human nature" is heir to are identical throughout human history!'''
I.e., per this perverse view --
'''There is no real "past"!
There is no real future!'''
In a profane version of the "Advaita Vedantists" "sacred" -- and equally-oppressive -- "There is only God.", we have capitalist ideology's "There is only Capitalism." !!!
Q: I refer to capitalism as a "cancer" as the best metaphor for popular understanding.
I can, of course, describe capitalism in Marxist, more accurate terminology, and should and do.
I hadn't realized, as you pointed out, that capitalism, unlike a cancer, also contributes to the organism (society).
But, Miguel, isn't it also true that this capitalist "bounty" has also become a malignancy? That its production malignantly eats away at human and natural relations?
R: I was criticizing one-sidedness of judgments.
I was therefore NOT advocating replacing one one-sidedness ["Capitalism is ["just"] a cancer."], with a contrary one-sidedness ["Capitalism ["just"] grows the human-social forces of production."]!
Yes!!! The phenomena of capitalism, especially in its "descendant phase", are well-metaphorized to those of multicellular malignancies.
A cancerous tumor draws away bio-negentropic nutrition from the rest of the body, while giving nothing but bio-entropy back to the rest of the body in return, including by squeezing-to-death other cellular tissues and organs that do give back to the rest of the body their own special, unique bio-negentropies -- and/or that give back neutralizations of certain bio-entropies that other parts of the body produce as by-products of their production of their own special, unique bio-negentropies -- in return for the bio-negentropies from the rest of the body that they consume in so doing.
"Descendant phase" dominant capital -- especially finance-capital, military-industrial complex capital, arms-cartel capital, drug-cartel capital [including tobacco-cartel capital], human [sex-]slave-trade-cartel capital, etc., all orchestrated by the ruling U.K. / U. S. plutocracy -- is increasingly found[er]ed upon "Profit on Contraction" [of human-social reproduction], no longer upon "Profit on Expansion" [of human-social reproduction], as it was so much more so during the "ascendant phase" of the capitalist system.
"Descendant phase" dominant capital consumes real social use-value, real "social negentropy" -- produced under still-"productive", relatively healthy, subordinate capital elsewhere in the "body politic" -- and gives back to the rest of human society only "social entropy" -- military "goods" [really, "bads"], terminations of whole historical streams of use-value [re-]production in the form of weapons, gathering dust in armories, unused, or, worse, in the forms of weapons used to devastate productive, negentropic human lives and productive infrastructures; gutted factories, unemployment, and other "products" of "Mergers & Acquisitions", of "hostile take-overs" and of their subsequent dis-memberments and sell-offs of fragments of once-productive, at least partially negentropic enterprises; escalating "production" of pollution externalities; "bubble engineerings" and "Designer Depressions", which induce vicious, descending spirals of contracted human-social reproduction and of human-social auto-cannibalization, in order to augment the power of the ruling U.K./U.S. plutocracy at the expense of the vast majority of humanity, such as we are witnessing worldwide today.
Q: You write in a long passage that I'm too embedded in consciousness as the root problem "without any reference to human-historical, cultural, 'meme-etic,' human-Phenomic ideological causation."
The consciousness problem I see, via Maturana and Varela, is one that cannot see the organization of the things of life and that also gets trapped in the self-organization of living systems. Human relations became so complex with a corresponding growth of complexity in the brain that our individual self-organization connects with itself and a partial solipsism results. I believe Roy Bhaskar's critical realism gets this right: there is an objective world that is subjectively defined.
I believe our consciousness problem must be overcome if we are to function as social beings and continue.
Was capitalism inevitable, given early biological and social evolution?
It seems so, but I'm saying that people with a full social consciousness would never allow capitalism -- a system of massive splits -- to develop.
We would also "see" and honor the unity of male/female and of the human species.
As my theory models the dynamic interdependence of life's self-organizing systems, I believe it potentially goes a long way toward healing humanity's split consciousness.
R: I can only repeat:
"By positing a merely genomic, historically-generic cause for the inadequacies of present human consciousness, one not only confuses phenomic, including historically-specific, e.g., capitalist-ideological, causes, with genomic causes. One also wastes all of the rich insights of Marxian theory."
You wrote: "I'm saying that people with a full social consciousness would never allow capitalism -- a system of massive splits -- to develop."
But that very assertion is a "contra-factual conditional", because, especially per Marxian theory, that "full consciousness" is not given to human beings genomically, but requires a whole series of laborious stages of "pre-historic" [Marx], "alienated", acquired, cultural, ideological, scientific -- in short, human-phenomic -- self-development of humanity, to become even possible.
Per Marxian theory, capitalist society is the last of those historical stages of growing human-social alienation, and of the self-cleavage of human society into classes, required to make that "full consciousness" -- "democratic-communist consciousness" -- both possible and likely.
Is your thought an instance of Marxian thought or not?
Q: In my second post to you, Miguel, I said something along the lines of "Damn you, Miguel. You're going to make me work much too hard."
I stand on that remark. And thanks.
R: The "damned" writes back: "you are most welcome"!
Yes, constructing democratic communism is hard work, and that construction is what I'm all about.
However, I observe that, once our self-identities and self-identifications rise to the level of humanity as a whole, or to that of the <<kosmos>> as a whole -- as in the cases of Karl Marx, Frederick Engels, Karl Seldon, Sophya St. Germain, etc. -- that "work" becomes exhiliarating: becomes a form of personal "ecstasy"!
Definitions for F.E.D special term used in this post --
[no definition for this term -- also a key Marxian term -- has been posted to the Archive so far]
[no definition for this term -- also a key term implicit in Marxian theory -- has been posted to the Archive so far]
historical [temporal] <<species>>
[no definition for this term -- also a key term implicit in Marxian theory -- has been posted to the Archive so far]
[no definition for this term has been posted to the Archive so far]