May 2002


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John Landon <[log in to unmask]>
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Science for the People Discussion List <[log in to unmask]>
Thu, 30 May 2002 12:09:30 EDT
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The chief defect of all previous materialism is that things are conceived
only in the form of the object, or of contemplation, but not as sensuous
activity, practice, not subjectively. Hence, in contradistinction to
materialism, the active side was set forth abstractly by idealism--which, of
course, does not know not know real, sensuous activity as such....
The German Ideology

Having brought up the subject of Buddhism I think we have found the essence
of the problem.
Marx's views on 'materialism' are elusive, and this passage, which I won't
claim to interpret, nonetheless suddenly struck me as an insight that is
unique in Marxism, but not always understood. Since I don't claim to
understand it, I will simply note its resemblance to the real with spiritual
naturalism of  the Indian Samkhya, whose 'materialism' was a completely
different variety than what we find in scientific reductionism, and is
visible in its influence on Buddhism, whose severe contrast with Hinduism
(which preempted Buddhism in a classic historical twist that deserves study),
and indeed with later Buddhism.

The point is that the 'materialism' of Marxism was its source of nineteenth
century strength and is now its nemesis. A point that seems impossible to get
right in the bouncing ball of sloganeering and attempting to forestall the

And this is the exact point where the left and everyone else is going wrong
on Darwinism, as the debate is polarized between reductive naturalism and
design supernaturalism. This is a closed debate.  In part because the theory
of evolution is taken and twisted to fit the most narrow form of materialism.
Marx, I feel strongly, I don't know, but I feel strongly, gives the great
clue that he has rediscovered the mood of 'Samkhya naturalism', for he seems
to be saying that one form of materialism is handing half of its subject
matter to the idealist, the 'outside laundry' effect that is the symptom of
the false polarization of idealism and materialism in Western thought, so
visible as it comes up short on the needed extensions of naturalism required
for any theory of evolution.

It is just here then that we find so many of these New Age movements flooding
into the void, and the case of Buddhism is worth considering if only because
the relation of idealism and materialism has been a collision for a long
time, with the Marxist version seeming to declare defeat in advance.

This is the stumbling block for the eonic model, and all critiques and
defenses of Darwinism, which tends toward a naturalistic evolution, yet
moves, seemingly, into the territory of religion.  The result is  a series of
discretely camouflaged decoys like punctuated equilbrium whose main purpose
seems to be camouflaging the problems with the theory.
So, the first thesis of Feuerbach is also the point where the Trojan horse
enters, but only into a walled city of stale Marxist ideology.

John Landon
Website on the eonic effect
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