Friday, July 13, 2018

Elaine Graham-Leigh — Marxism and Human Nature

Weekend reading.

This post presents the Marxist position on human nature as socially embedded and historically determined in contrast to the the natural law position of classical liberalism that is based on individualism.

Longish, but clearly written and informative.

Marxism and Human Nature
Elaine Graham-Leigh


Matt Franko said...

"modern arguments that poor, black people are genetically inferior to rich whites"

Darwin 101...

Descartes’ solution was to posit the soul as an immortal part located intangibly within the body but not of it"

iirc Paul taught that the 'soul' (psuche) was the COMBINATION of our flesh AND spirit... "spirit and soul and body" (1 Thess.5:23) so we are dealing with 3 things: spirit, fleshly bodies, and a combination (synthesis) of those 2 to form a living soul (psuche)...

"Marx describes in Capital how humans are the only creatures to undertake planned, purposeful work on the world around us"

Well animals are not created in the image (simulate) of God... man/mankind is... so you will ofc see mankind operating with purpose just a God is operating with a purpose..

"As Engels explained, dialectics are not imposed on the natural world in Marx’s thought, but arise from it. ‘Nature is the test of dialectics, and it must be said for modern natural science that it has furnished extremely rich and daily increasing materials for this test, and has thus proved that in the last analysis Nature's process is dialectical and not metaphysical.’

Science is not dialectical... maybe nature on its own could be considered dialectical not even sure about that (thesis and anti-thesis in nature????), but the management of nature (science) is not dialectical the false (anti-thesis) is always completely discarded in science it is not synthesized...

Matt Franko said...

"In fact, new developments in epigenetics reveal that genes can be turned on and off by environmental factors.[xi] The genetic determinist model has been shown to be scientifically bankrupt."

Uh oh!!!

"babies’ brains develop not simply according to a genetic programme or environmental effects, but also according to how the brain is used. In other words, we shape the pathways of our brains by thinking."

Boy somebody better straighten her out and let her know that its instead all a big "neo-liberal conspiracy!!!"

" It would make as much sense, after all, to ask if there is a genetic predisposition on the part of white US cops or Israeli soldiers to keep on shooting unarmed people dead."

Well if the shoe fits...

‘The philosophers have only interpreted the world, in various ways; the point is to change it.’

Yeah but then what happens is these Art people (or whatever you want to call them..) try to get involved in the material changes and it gets all f-ed up because they are NOT QUALIFIED to work with the material systems... imo their job is to just point it out and it should be left to the material qualified others to implement the changes... otherwise we see everyday out there how f-ed up it can get...

Intersting article Tom!

Tom Hickey said...

Intersting article

Yes, brings some interesting contemporary information to an ongoing debate, which is why I posted it.

But I would not take her too seriously. She is an "artist."

The fact of the matter is that we really don't understand scientifically how this works yet and are pretty far from a comprehensive theory.

Both the liberal and Marxist POVs rest on assumptions and presumptions (hidden assumptions).

It's necessary to understand both positions, since they figure prominently the contemporary mindset and the dialectic occurring within it.

The liberal position is integral to the Western narrative that underlies the cultural programming, while the Marxist position is integral to the Chinese narrative that underlies the cultural programming.

The West and China are now coming into close contact and conflict, which will turn the historical dialectic in this direction, so the POVs will matter.

Matt Franko said...

"But I would not take her too seriously. She is an "artist."

No this is when you DO take her seriously she is not talking about material systems... this is the realm of the 'artist' imo... this is what they do well... just dont let her anyway near the policy levers...

I think it is pretty good anyway...

Also I think I'm still not getting what you mean by dialectic btw.. I am seeing other definitions out there... request stay on it if you dont mind... I see some distinctions/forms in what you are writing but not really understanding it...

Tom Hickey said...

Matt, look at her credential. She has none.

This reads like a high school senior thesis. Not that one cannot learn something from a senior thesis. They just have zero authority, other than through the citations, which are lifted from context and may not represent the authors actual intent.

Matt Franko said...

“This reads like a high school senior thesis”

Ok I’ll take your word for it... maybe the uniqueness was appealing...

Tom Hickey said...

I would not have posted it if I did think it has merit.

It's just an interesting summary, though, and lacks authority. So I would not cite it as such.

Her point is that Marx's notion of human nature is nuanced and fits better with contemporary scientific literature than Enlightenment liberalism.

That is, of course, a controversial point and so while her article is worth considering in the debate, I would not be relying on her for authority.

jrbarch said...

Just another pov, but I don’t think Marx (‘The philosophers have only interpreted the world, in various ways; the point is to change it’), Hobbes, Descartes, Maslow, geneticists, really understood their own nature and therefore human nature.

The reason I think this is because for me, there is an inner and an outer nature to a human being, and they both seek to be fulfilled. This is the engine that drives a human being. All of human motion, is a search to be fulfilled!

On the outside it may be any pursuit in the world, from being a better mother (or GodFather!) to conquering the World Island. Always fulfilment is placed in the future: ‘When I own the world, then I will be fulfilled’. Aquarius will tell you when Leo, once Lord of the Jungle, becomes dissatisfied with his realm and wanders out into the desert, all that is left of this Lord is his tail (?). That is human nature on the outside: - a baby cries because it wants to be content; an adult cries and wants to rule the world, or some part of it. Alexander left two hands sticking out of his grave, empty, to show the world what he had learnt.

On the inside, it is the heart that wants to be fulfilled. This is an entirely different pursuit than the one on the outside. The heart knows what it wants. It knows nothing in the outside world can fill it. It doesn’t want to be fulfilled in the future or in the past: - for the heart there is one moment, Now, ever present. The heart knows that at the centre of your existence, all existence, is Life; the Divine. The heart seeks union, and when it finds it, it will be content and life will unfold from there.

So, two soldiers march in man, and do battle with each other and others – all seeking fulfilment.

Peace is possible ..... peace too, is a potential in man. The outer soldier has ruled for millennia and screwed things up, royally. I would have suggested to Marx, to let the inner soldier have a go; or at least give women a go. They couldn’t do much worse than the men (or could they)? Male or female or somewhere in-between on the outside doesn’t matter: - the inner soldier knows exactly what to do. (S)he is the real sovereign in man.