Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Humanism etc.

KARL: Hello Andrew. I read your message with some interest.

ANDREW: The object and the subject are in dialectical unity.

KARL: There exist thousands of what may be called objects and subjects: rocks, beer cans, mountains, stars, artists, actors and transvestites. Which
subject and which object do you have in mind Andrew? It is only when
you have selected your particular pair that you can begin to outline the particular relation they may have to each other. However I have my doubts as to whether a dynamic relationship of dialectical pirouetting will emerge as a possible relationship between the pair. But then Andrew I am not a humanist.

ANDREW: Humanism is the essential epistemological frame through which a world made by humans for humans--a social relational ontology--is to be grasped.

KARL: As I have already indicated humanism is a philosophy that deifies humanity, attributing to it transcendental absolute powers: powers that transcend history. In the above remarks you provide evidence of the validity of this definition when you make the false claim that "a world made by humans for humans" exists. The point is that there has been no world made by humans. The ability of human beings to create a world is the ability of Hegelian gods. Human beings are by nature limited beings which is why they cannot escape history. A being that is absolute, such as god, is history free. It is transcendental and therefore an abstract hypothesis.

Again you posit an abstract philosophy, humanism, as the
necessary and universal form by which we understand and experience
reality. In this way you posit abstract transhistorical notions as
the necessary conceptual forms by which we can understand history.
This being so the nature of capitalist society can be analysed and
valildly expressed by means of transhistorical categories. If transcendental concepts and categories are the necessary transcendental forms by which a specific society, capitalism, can be adequately analysed and descrtibed
then it follows that this society is a correspondingly absolute society that transcends all historicity. This being the possibility of social revolution is a no no.

ANDREW: Humans beings create god and stick it in
the sky. To it they give all their goodness, all their love, all their
power of creation, all their forgiveness, all their law; and for
themselves, humans leave only an evil, sinful, hateful, wretched, weak,
*created* shell. Eventually they forget they created this god. They have
rendered themselves powerless before their own creation! Should we, in
Marxism, similarly deny the human agency that built the structures that we
now struggle under? Is this not self-defeating? Those structures that rule
us, like the faith some give false idols, rule us in large measure because
we legitimate them, and this legitimation is born in the separation of
subject and object--alienation. To recognize the power of our own
self-creativity, and of the collective power that created the structures
that now ensnare us, is to realize those structures are, in fact, not
legitimate, not void of human agency, they are the alienated structures of
our own alienation. And this recognition is crucial in the step toward
cultivating mass revolutionary consciousness.

KARL: This, in many ways, constitutes the kernal of your humanist philosophy. Human beings invest god with absolute creativity. Yet it is they that create that god and attribute to it this absolute creativity. For humanism, Feuerbach and you the task is to return these absolute attributes to humanity or "man". The task is the transformation of a limited humanity into a humanity all-powerful and all creative: the deification of humanity. This is you religious mission. Humanity is no longer a limited historical form of being but is instead the universal absolute being: the Hegelian Geist.

For you social revolution is no longer the decisive historical necessity. Instead we simply need to, as you claim, "recognize the power of our own self-creativity". No longer is revolutionary practical activity (entailing a somatic dimension) decisive. The decisive condition for redemtion is to "RECOGNIZE" our absolute power. We must all become bona fide humanists: join the one true churc. Noetic action is all that is now required. There is now no need to change society instead we merely have to think (fantasise) the change, to critique and all is heaven. This is idealism as stand-up comedy. Incidentally it was essentially the conception of Bruno and Edgar Bauer about whom Marx had no few things to say. Needless to say it was Fueuerbach's too.

ANDREW: You purge Marx completely of idealism. Marx did not deny the power of ideas, or the ability to see patterns in world history. Yes, of course,
his theory was the product of his epoch; this follows from the tenets of
historical materialist method. However, within this method lies the key
out of the trap of historicity; for Marx, by creating a method which could
subject itself, as a historical category, to its own internal logic of
critique, constructed a method that could be transformed through each
subsequent sociohistorical ordering.

KARL: History is not, as you claim, a "trap" but the form by which society develops. Marxism does not seek to escape from history, as you again claim, but to contribute to its development. Again you suggest, as I indicated in my previous posting, that marxism as critique transcends history. This being so marxism is now liberated from history to be turned into a transcendental, transhisotrical theory. This is but a shabby and vain attempt to reduce marxism to humanism.

In conclusion I want to make it clear that the criticism contained in my last posting still stands unchallenged by you. Your current response rather than presenting itself as a challenge amounts to little more than a slight defensive shift in ground poorly concealed behind a smokescreen of wordy obfuscations.

Incidentally I am not nor ever was an Althusserian.