20 June 2013

The metaphysical dialectic



I'm too stressed and my brain is too close to a homogenous mush to work this out much further, but I want to extend the point I made in a post below that a dialectic approach to the thought/object, subjective/objective, spirit/matter, machine/soul dichotomy is the only alternative to either mechanical materialism (which lets stupid idealism in through the back door via voluntarism or "positive thinking" bullshit), or stupid idealism (which lets mechanical materialism in through the back door with the idea of cause -> effect between thought and action, eg. the Catholic Church attempting to draw up a scientific analysis of miracles).

And that addition is the question of quality turning into quantity. The way you can tell that Stalinism is a form of capitalism as opposed to a form of socialism is its belief in pursuing quantity above all else, in the blind assurance that this is automatically the same thing as quality. Whether this is measured in $$$ of profit or millions of surplus tons of pig-iron or kitty litter, no-one actually thinks of acting like Marx suggested and seeing what the use value to actual human beings is of all this piled up "stuff", and what its non-quantifiable costs are. A sure sign that a "revolutionary" group has succumbed to capitalist/state capitalist logic is that it measures its success using quantitative tools - X papers sold, Y people at this demo or that meeting, Z extra members. A real revolutionary group would measure itself by its use-value - i.e. what it actually makes happen.

Robert Fripp, who is one of those "intelligent idealists" whom Lenin liked better than the stupid materialists and so do I, talks about "quality" as if it came from a Higher Realm and intersected with quantity. That's at least a bit closer to a materialist dialectic and is a sign of taking the question seriously.