Interesting experiments with silicon appear to come to similar conclusions regarding wave/particle duality to my Alternative Theory of the Double Slit. Thanks to youtuber Alex Claros Fernandez for sharing this clip. Have a watch of both videos and see what you think.
26 March, 2013
Interesting experiments with silicon appear to come to similar conclusions regarding wave/particle duality to my Alternative Theory of the Double Slit. Thanks to youtuber Alex Claros Fernandez for sharing this clip. Have a watch of both videos and see what you think.
22 March, 2013
My son, who was a member of this group at that time, had been extolling the virtues of my Marxist philosophy, and thought it would be interesting for the group.
No particular remit was involved, so no-one had much idea of what I was going to speak about. So, I chose an area that I had been involved in, in my professional life, for several decades, and one where my philosophical standpoint and approach had allowed me to make a unique and significant contribution.
But I must admit that, to my audience, my choice of topic was a very surprising area. The reponse from them was clearly total incomprehension! For, I had chosen to speak about the detailed methods and analysis that along with a specialist in the field had developed for the teaching of Movement in Dance – both from a performance aspect and also from creative choreographic considerations too.
They could hardly believe their ears! Here was a so-called Marxist, talking to an active Marxist Group about how to perform and create Dance? Was he off his rocker? He is fairly old!
I suppose they must have been expecting an analysis of the current political situation, with maybe a little more theoretical ammunition to use in arguments and discussions. But, instead, they had this academic talking about Descreteness and Continuity, and explaining Zeno’s Paradoxes.
They could see absolutely nothing for them in what was being revealed. To them, it sounded totally useless as a contribution to what they did, day-in and day-out. But, they were wrong!
Indeed, having been in revolutionary Marxist organisations for most of my life, I finally knew clearly exactly what was wrong with them, and it certainly wasn’t insufficient arguing points. It was that they were NOT Marxists! They never thought about Philosophy at all, and frankly could see no real use for it in what they did! They distrusted academics who “pretended” to be Marxists, but who were, as far as they could tell, merely treating Marxism as a subject to be studied, analysed and criticised.
But they had forgotten what both Marx and Engels were: they were academic philosophers situated in German Universities, and originally were the disciples of the Absolute Idealist Philosopher Frederick Hegel.
Their first and most important "revolution” had been to “stand Hegel on his head, or rather upon his feet”, and transfer bodily his holistic dialectics into Materialism. Without the struggle of these Young Hegelians to transform “academic” Philosophy, there would never have been any Marxism at all!
So. the very focus upon something NOT part of their everyday practice was my plan to make them consider things philosophically, and away from the ready clichés that purported to be Marxist Philosophy. It had to be an entirely universal approach applicable to absolutely everything!
And, Marx’s initial impetus was also clearly insufficient to arm a whole following movment.
For, at the beginning of the 20th century Vladimir Ilyich Lenin knew that his Bolshevik Party could never lead a revolution to success in Russia, unless it tackled its abysmal Philosophy. He both wrote Materialism and Empirio Criticism and set to reading the works of Hegel materialistically, which he then captured in his Philosophical Notebooks - Volume 38 of his collected works.
Frankly, the position at this present time is incomparably worse than it was then. These activists know ZERO about the Marxist Philosophical standpoint and even less about its importance. You would never know from such people that such a philosophy was, and still is, THE most powerful existing anywhere at this time. Yet not only does it never get aired – much more important it also NEVER gets used!
So, as far as I can tell no one studies it, and most certainly no one is developing it. Almost all so-called Marxists know absolutely nothing about the gains made by the founders of Marxism in Philosophy, and certainly no one knows how to use it in the myriads of areas, where it would be both necessary and revolutionary today.
For example, even after 100 years the totally reactionary Copenhagen Interpretation of Quantum Theory still rules Sub Atomic Physics, and in most sciences the assumed primacy of Natural Laws is presumed to actually drive Concrete Reality to be what it is, and behave as it does: a purely idealist concept!
At the same time the real strength of Science – its Explanations (its Objective Content), have been dumped in favour of eminently useful Equations. Yet the way that these are extracted from Reality and raised to Natural Law status relies totally upon the Principle of Plurality, which makes all such extracted relations totally independent of their context, and hence makes them eternal. Mere complication of many such Natural Laws is supposed to deliver absolutely everything! NO, it does NOT!
The whole thrust of Marxist Philosophy is that it is Holistic – the exact opposite of Pluralistic, and, instead of concentrating on Stability, as does Science, it instead concentrates upon Qualitative Changes, and in particular, Emergent Events, which in Society are termed Social Revolutions, but which also occur in all Development, no matter where and when it happens.
How, did a handful of Marxist leaders manage to intervene in the Russian Revolutions of 1905, February 1917 and Octover 1917, and not only win, but rebut the monarchist Standing Army, and the armies of 14 invading nations intent upon defeating the first ever Socialist Revolution.
Do you really think that slogans in the Russian Revolution lasted throughout? NO they did not! The leaders had to constantly be reviewing what they put forward as demands, and had to unify disparate elements the poor – not least the vast majority – the peasants from the countryside, and the Working Class from the cities and towns.
This they did, though at one point Trotsky was in prison and Lenin was in hiding in Finland. Yet by October they had it correct and took the power.
15 March, 2013
Indeed, to even maintain its original power and method, it must be both rediscovered and rejuvenated, if only because no knowledge or understanding can be absolute.
History is real, and Reality will change and regularly deliver the entirely NEW: how can it ever be complete! Indeed, any complete standpoint based solely upon what has occurred previously will find itself unable to cope with entirely new situations, and will inevitably drift towards the consensus delivered by the dominant Class, and away from the Marxism of Revolution.
The most urgent task of revolutionaries is to constantly extend and renew the Philosophy. As soon as that is sidelined and current “Activity” is allowed to dominate, the ever-sharp tool of Marxism is blunted, and the established routines of past phases take over, and will most certainly not equip us for the tasks ahead.
Indeed, in this Issue there is an account of the attempt to discover the inner trajectory of all revolutions – or, more accurately and abstractly, of a general Emergence .
For the contributions of Marx and Engels were significantly added to by the experiences of the Bolsheviks in Russia in two revolutions – an unsuccessful one in 1905 and a successful one in 1917. That revolutionary Party was fused into an effective implement of change in the white heat of revolution, and hence vastly added to what Marx and Engels had delivered in the previous century.
Yet once more there wasn’t time or enough Marxist thinkers to further extend these ideas into an ever wider set of areas, and, most important of all, into Science.
The writer of this Issue is both a Marxist and a Scientist, and has slowly and necessarily had to also become a Philosopher too. The task here is to investigate the inner processes that take place within an Emergence – the revolution that is possible in all developments, and crucially in Science too.
Read the Issue
13 March, 2013
Re-draw of my Trajectory of an Emergence Diagram to feature in the next Special Issue, Marxism II: Emergence
10 March, 2013
Claiming the Moral High Ground
Currently, in Bangladesh, the Awami League government there has set up what it calls an International War Crimes Organisation, to identify the “Crimes against Humanity” committed in the Bangladeshi War of Independence from Pakistan in 1971. At that time the Pakistan Army was used to oppose the Bangladeshi separatists and millions died. Almost 40 years later the Awami League promised that, if it won the next General Election, it would set up such a body to try the criminals of that war. But the main defenders against the accusations, all turn out to be members of the main opposition party to the current ruling group. And to confound the mess even further, there is, as in every Third World Muslim country at the present time, a Fundamentalist Islamic Organisation, who will do literally anything to achieve their goal of an Islamic State obeying Sharia Law.
Now, this is just one of the many such politically unstable situations across the globe, which are, unavoidably it seems, laced through with religion.
Even in the English Revolution of the 17th century, both sides insisted that they had “God on our side”, and claimed the moral high ground essential to deliver Justice to all. And, it is that claim, which is immediately meaningful to ordinary people upon both sides. Who can disagree with such criteria?
For the people do indeed see clearly the injustice of their own position, and look to a standpoint with the moral authority to act in their interests – in the interests of Justice!
And, after millennia when this was channelled into religious moral codes, and the Right or Wrong of every situation, it is clear that they would be looking for an organisation that would truly fight for the justice that had long been explained as principle in their religions.
Indeed, the more the politicians betrayed in such countries, the more the masses turned to “honest Holy Men” to speak for them, and the more the establishment figures in that religion also failed them, the more they turned to radical clerics with a terrorist agenda. After all, they argued, the Islamic Fundamentalist Taliban had defeated the Russians and won a whole country. It could be done!
Even in so-called western advanced countries, the politicians profess to be religious and attend all the most significant religious events. They want to drape the moralist cloak of such religions around their shoulders, while doing what they really believe to be important.
And this attitude within the masses is not easily changed.
In the Revolution of 1905 in Russia the people marched behind a senior Russian Orthodox cleric to petition the Czar for Justice. But it took a World War and two more Revolutions for this iron belief to be fractured and for new revolutionary leaders to be the only ones left to trust.
You can’t have one without the others!
But though he was right to answer the Middle Class student in that way, he was wrong when it came to training a Marxist Revolutionary Leadership for the Working Class, for those would have to go well beyond Trade Union consciousness: they would have to understand deeply about Capitalism, and even more fundamentally, would have to become both a Marxist Philosopher and a Trained Marxist analyst and theorist. And that would involve the necessary Philosophy – including both Holism and Dialectical Materialism, which would have to be their steadfast yet developing worldview, in order to supply their required methodology for dealing with all problems at all levels. The gut reaction may place a speaker, like Healy, on the right track, but the preparation of a revolutionary leadership required a great deal more than that.
After a lifetime in and around revolutionary politics, I finally realised that those who currently profess to be Marxists were NOT doing what Marx and Engels, and later Lenin and Trotsky, knew to be imperative. They were neither developing Marxism (absolutely essential), nor training a new cadre to be Marxist in the Leninist sense. They weren’t, and still aren’t, equipping a leadership, and hence they were failing the Working Class.
Now, I have just finished reading the most detailed (and extensive) Marxist essay on Syria (written January 2013), which was a serious and competent delivery of much that we need to know. It was, by far, the best that I have read, but it gave no clues as to what Marxism really is – and by that I mean it did not reveal its philosophy and method. The dialectics of a tract by Marx were absent. You either took what the writer revealed, or you didn’t.
There wasn’t an evident and unstoppable imperative of a superior philosophy clearly in action, and that, as Lenin himself was well aware, is vital! He didn’t write Materialism and Empirio Criticism as a filler between vital political activities. He wrote it because he was attempting to train a Marxist cadre, and even colleagues like Lunacharsky (later Commissar for Education in the Revolutionary Regime) were tarnished with the positivist brush of Henri Poincaré and Ernst Mach.
It seemed to me that there are many sides to the essential activities of Marxist revolutionaries. The common denominators to all groups who profess to be such are Reportage and Activism the first must inform of the facts before any appropriate action is decided upon. BUT both will be flawed without the essential ground provided by the Marxist Philosophy, and its methods. For the World is in constant change, and a Marxist cannot just “look up” appropriate measures: he has to re-invent them as things change. In the midst of a revolution, the revolutionary will be changing “what has to be done” by the hour!
What characterised Lenin was this sound Marxist basis and analysis. In the midst of the Russian February Phase, only his philosophy and method saw “what had to be done”, and in his April Theses, he turned the whole Party around.
Finally, in the turmoil of fast transforming Reality, he usually knew what to do. No time for reportage or even political activism then! The correct analysis of the moment, and the right immediate actions were essential. Without his solid and brilliant philosophy, he simply could not have done it.
I, therefore, ask, with respect, the writer of that excellent piece of Marxist reportage (**see reference below), “Where is the Marxist Philosophy?” Needless to say, I ask because I am attempting to contribute towards that standpoint and theory via my expertise as a scientist and teacher, plus 50 years in the revolutionary movement.
Jim Schofield : A Marxist Philosopher - March 2013
** Economic & Philosophic Science Review (EPSR) on the internet article dated January 2013
Also several Special Issues and individual articles by Jim Schofield on SHAPE Journal, SHAPE Blog and SHAPE Channel on YouTube
06 March, 2013
Documentary by Michael Coldwell on the work of philosopher Jim Schofield. "The Problem With Science" looks at several flawed assumptions at the heart of the scientific method, and how they have adversely effected how we see the world.
While few would deny the great technological and scientific advances of the last century, even fewer are aware of the methodology's many drawbacks and pitfalls, and how these have lead us to a distorted view of reality, and an inability to understand both qualitative change and the inexplicable emergence of the wholly new.
Is the answer to adopt a more holisitic approach to Science?
How can we characterise what is going on in Syria?
It was correct to see it initially as part of the Arab Spring - then the capitalist predators finally got their acts together, to (in some way) intervene, in an attempt to turn the situation to their own advantage, and are now playing an increasingly determining role.
Their first effort in Libya certainly didn't work out as hoped, so the second effort in Syria had to be more circumspect, and the genuine nascent popular revolution had to be distorted into something very different.
Of course, it has all happened before in the case of the Russian Revolution, with devastating failure as the result. First of all, there was support for the Monarchists and White Armies of the ensuing civil war, which was then followed by the invasion of armies from 14 different nations, with the sole purpose of defeating the revolution. But they failed completely and had to switch to a very different long-term objective, latterly termed the Cold War, to undermine the revolutionary regime.
So with the Arab Spring things had to be different - and considerably cheaper! Nevertheless, the results, so far, have been, if anything, a great deal worse.
For, who are those who are interfering, what are their intentions and how are they doing it?
First of all you have the reactionary monarchies of the Middle East, such as Saudi Arabia, who pour money and arms into Syria, but pick and chose who gets it - primarily Islamic fundamentalist groups intent upon establishing an Islamic State.
Then you have the western capitalists states, which pretend that they only have humanitarian motives, which is clearly untrue!
Indeed all sorts of individuals from all sorts of countries associated into many different kinds of groups (including terrorist organisations) have poured into Syria. The result has been a multiplicity of armed groups fighting the regime, with looting the only way of financing their actions and maintaining their forces, and these are rapidly turning the situation into total chaos.
But what of the other side - the supporters of President Assad? They will be those who benefit from his largesse internally, and from his buffer-state role externally.
In this melee there is no revolutionary party armed with the essential Marxist theory to correctly interpret what is going on, and organise a secular alternative to both sides of this conflict, based upon the mass of the population.
For the interventionists have no understanding of the dynamic of a revolution: and only know about the ebbs and flows within a stable society, and the single alternative of repression and war to re-establish their required hegemony. In a revolution everything they do only makes things worse, and their methods (particularly the local monarchies) have been repressive for centuries.
Indeed, if you want to characterise the process, there are many exemplars throughout history. Whenever a particular stability became undermined and began to collapse, the positive outcome via Revolution to a new and higher Level, was never guaranteed. And with powerful, but uncomprehending forces smashing against one another, for their own interests only, the most likely outcome was always what we term a Dark Age. Only losses of a major nature could possibly result with Mankind taking a giant step backwards.
While the capitalist powers are arranging conferences to decide the kind of future they require for Syria, where are the revolutionary parties worldwide doing the same? Even humanitarian interventions can be achieved better than the symbolic gestures of the western charities. Does anyone remember Workers' Aid in Bosnia Herzegovina?
05 March, 2013
Radically Transforming Interludes
But, do they address the really important phases in any actual qualitative changes – in the actual development of Reality, or do they merely deal with the local and immanent snapshots of that trajectory or longer exposures of forcibly maintained stable setups, and, therefore, only within one form or another of an unchanging stability?
My contention is that they most certainly do only the latter, and deal with any evident qualitative changes by merely switching between alternative stabilities, and totally ignoring any transformation interludes from one to the other entirely!
But, of course, if these crucial interludes are omitted, such a paradigm will never manage to explain why and how the measured phenomena come to be in place, both in our arranged Domains, and certainly never for totally unfettered Reality.
We may be able to construct analytic and synthesizing methods, within each stability, but they will only encapsulate pattern, and allow prediction thereby: they will be merely technological and certainly not explanatory, for the latter is essential for both true Science and real Philosophy!
And, of course, this is exactly what usually happens, and has done so for centuries.
But, what it means when unavoidable and major transformations occur is that we are then totally ill equipped to either understand them or, indeed, cope with them.
We, in such periods, are tossed about like corks in a stormy sea, and can do nothing to, in any way, intervene.
We are consigned to merely suffer these transformations, and dearly hope for the quick return of our interpretable Stability.
Clearly then, our basic conceptions and methodologies are inadequate to deal with such interludes of qualitative change!
Our achievements are predicated solely upon Stability, and the overall trajectory of any real Development is entirely out of our hands.
We are pragmatic users of stability, yet sufferers of Change!
But, are we congenitally restricted to such a stance?
Can we only do what we do, and no other?
The answer has to be a resounding, “No!
For, to start with, we do not deny these transforming interludes at all. We greet the births of our babies with great delight, and what are such events but interludes of almost miraculous changes?” And we see and recognise the metamorphoses of worm-like caterpillars into devastatingly beautiful butterflies without a qualm. And as a scientist, I recognise these revolutionary episodes throughout the history, not only of all Life, or the development of the Earth, and even of the Cosmos too, and the Life histories of its stars.
We know that these episodes do indeed occur!
Why do we not address such in generality as a natural consequence of the necessary evolution of Reality, and study them all scientifically?
The trouble was, and still is, the unavoidable occurrence of exactly those transformations in Society – the Social Revolutions! For, these can throw out all those who rule or dominate.
They frighten the establishment to death!
So, any serious scientific study of these transformations in general – usually termed Emergences, would also unavoidably have to include Revolutions in that very same remit, and that could be devastating!
Good God! It might equip agitators like Lenin to intervene in a Revolution to work to change its outcome!
Could the establishment ever risk such an occurrence?
The answer is clearly, “No!”
And it has always been so, whatever the establishment consists of. Instead, such researches and methods of investigation, and its resultant theories must be roundly condemned, and even ridiculed, and such people get away with it (most of the time) because they have the old “pluralist science” safely on-their-side.
For that methodology never addresses such transformations – indeed, they are avoided at all costs, and where stability doesn’t naturally exist, it is skilfully imposed to enable successful experiments to be carried out and appropriate laws extracted.
And this can quite adequately produce a galaxy of products, without any recourse to these emergent considerations.
For, their kind of investigation is strictly limited to Stability. And given constrained and maintained Domains, they can find laws that can be used to reliably predict, and hence produce!
The counter to truly explanatory, and, therefore, real Science, is, as always, technology.
For it will work while-ever any system of transforming Revolution does not take over!
For such plurality-determined “science” delivers without addressing any emergent events, except perhaps as “midwives” to the inevitable, or “surgeons” to the catastrophes.
Indeed, this medical-type metaphor is doubly appropriate because more generally, you have to ask -
“How can a profession such as Medicine cope with living people, and all their inevitable health crises that they are bound to undergo, without a standpoint that addresses emergent events?
Surely, they must extend their methods to unavoidably include these events?
For, if not, what you learn and apply must be mere recipes.
If your diagnostic methods, named complaints, and systems of treatment for all possible illnesses are of this nature, then the doctor becomes a database for such a body of knowledge, rather than any kind of investigating scientist
And in a much wider general field, can we call most of what is usually termed “research” (in our society today), Science?
For, it is entirely dependant upon the discoveries, formulations and explanations of other people – scientists who attempt to find laws in given Domains (artificially maintained stabilities).
Those that form the majority of those involved in such “research”, are merely finding the best, quickest, cheapest, most alluring, or most profitable products of already known laws.
They can keep it up almost indefinitely, but it is not Science, but only Technology!
Now, anyone following the current narrative in the media about “Science” will doubtless feel that they have to disagree with this analysis. For, they constantly hear from populists like Professor Brian Cox, Jim Al’Khalili and Marcus du Sautoy of all sorts of phenomena, many of which purport to address qualitative change, but actually do no such thing!
Most of Cox’s qualitative excursions are about things, which cannot be interfered with, far away in the Cosmos, while those from du Sautoy are diversions into Chaos and Fractals (with a substantial addition of the condiment of Pure Chance) to “explain” various Emergences in Mathematics.
But his narratives are a fraud, they are never about Reality, but about the mathematical World of Pure Form alone – what I insist should be called Ideality.
NOTE: In fact his position was put very succinctly by Stanislav Lem when he said:-
“Let us imagine a mad tailor, who makes all sorts of clothes. He does not know anything about people, birds or plants. He is not interested in the World; he does not examine it. He makes clothes but does not know for whom. He does not think about it. The tailor is only concerned about one thing: he wants to be consistent. [….] He takes the finished clothes to a massive warehouse. If we enter it we would discover that some of the clothes fit an octopus, others fit trees, butterflies, or people. We would find clothes for a centaur and for a unicorn, as well as for creatures they have not even been imagined yet. The majority of his clothes would not find any applications.
Mathematics works in the same way. It builds structures but it is not clear of what. These are perfect models (i.e. perfectly accurate), but a mathematician does not know what they are models of. He is not interested. He does what he does because such an action has turned out to be possible."
Summa Technologiae – Stanislav Lem
Indeed, no one actually addresses such questions.
Finally, we must come to the science that first did actually address Emergences – namely by Charles Darwin with his Origin of Species. With such an epoch-making contribution, surely of all the sciences, Biology must be the one to pursue what Darwin began and go ever deeper into Emergent Events?
But, I’m afraid you will, sadly, be disappointed.
The touchstone was the second brilliant piece of holist science carried out by Stanley Miller in his famous Experiment, in which in a totally isolated experimental set-up, containing what were then considered to be the substances dominating the atmosphere of the early, pre-Life Earth. He designed and constructed his apparatus to emulate what was likely to have happened in what might reasonably be called the “Weather Cycles” from that period, and set the system into action by the addition of just heat and lightning (via electric sparks).
In only a week, the water in his closed system had turned reddy-brown and later analysis was found to contain amino acids – the crucial building blocks in all known living things on Earth today.
It was as revolutionary as Darwin’s contribution, but the majority of scientists were not satisfied, and asked, “Well, what exactly was going on within this set-up. What were the various processes going on and in what order?” And they universally concluded that, “Without knowing these things, the experiment had no consequences. It was a dead end!”
And, in spite of some improvements by Miller, the technology of that time did not allow him to answer their crucial questions, without, in the usual pluralist way, intervening to analyse, and so destroy each and every sub-process of the self-moving, holistic system.
The line of research was dropped.
And that is symptomatic of all modern biological research. They too do not address Emergences!
Now, though these wholesale criticisms are correct, there would naturally still be some scientists, who would indeed address crucial transformational episodes in new and imaginative ways. For example Hunt in studies into how, why and when the cells of fertilised eggs divided, for he developed a technique, which neither stopped nor interfered with the natural process of cell divisions, but also enabled him to separately analyse the chemicals present during successive phases of the process. He cracked what was initiating cell division, and for this brilliant work was awarded the Nobel Prize for Biology.
While in a very different and surprising area, Pagel studying large numbers of fossils, was able to show statistically that Species Origin had to involve a single event, and not the usually assumed set of small incremental changes over an extended period. Species Origination was an Emergent Event, and definitely then needed an explanation for what actually happened during this remarkable multi-phase Event.
Finally Ryan with his work on viruses and their penetration into other organisms, not only on the well known symbiotic type of relationships, but also in unifying single but unrelated organisms - a virus and a much higher living thing into a single amalgam, the results of which could be crucial in explaining alternative forms of genetic mutation other than the usual “random damage “ version.
The title of this paper was chosen as Metamorphoses for very good reasons. Can we just study the caterpillar and the butterfly totally separately, and in great detail, and ignore the amazing metamorphosis in between?
The answer has to be a resounding, “No!” What on earth is going on within the chrysalis and why? It is almost as if two species have been merged – one with the idea of eating its way to nirvana via leaves, and the other perfect for the reproduction of the species with the added and miraculous facility for flight.
Think what actually occurs!
A soft bodied, worm-like creature gets fat enough and then retires into a chrysalis, wherein the most radical transformations occur.
It is like a re-invention of the organism.
Instead of being soft-bodied, it transforms into a hard exoskeleton-encasing insect, with elaborate wings. Instead of eating leaves, it now switches to sucking up nectar from flowers, and, instead of being camouflaged, it erupts into a galaxy of colour to signal its presence to potential mates.
It usually only lives long enough to copulate and lay eggs before dying. (The mayfly (another relative) actually emerges in the adult stage without mouthparts, for it doesn’t even need to eat during its very short life).
So, what on earth happens inside that chrysalis?
Why was there such a revolutionary transformation?
Where did the imperatives for resorting to such a two-phase life and its absolutely essential transformation event come from?
All these questions are valid and definitely need answers.
In other areas, there are organisms (some incredibly simple – even single celled), which, in very hard times, transform themselves into a dormant and maximally protected state to “see-out” the bad-times (the seed being the simplest example), but it also happens to multi-celled animals too, and they can survive for truly remarkable periods of time in these defensive, totally-inactive states.
But even there the process from original organism – to dormant version – to fully-functioning organism again, is never merely “shutting-down”. It is always a major and profound re-organisation into “something else”. Clearly, there must be resonances between those defensive transformations and the much more short-term and functional metamorphosis of the caterpillar/butterfly.
One area that may be revealing can be seen in the study of developing embryos. For, it is evident that to some significant extent, these tend to pass through similar stages to what happened to prior species in the evolution of the present–day organism to arrive at its current state. It seems to indicate that prior phases in evolution are not lost, but are still present within the genetic material of the current organism, and in fact function as before, but only in the embryonic development stage
Could it be that reversions under extremely damaging conditions can take place, to put the organism in a more survivable prior state, and that when conditions improve, the organism can re-instate its current development path (within the safety of the chrysalis) until it can emerge as the final version of the current organism.
When we talk of a blueprint in the DNA of an organism, it is usually interpreted as a single trajectory through the various necessary phases of development. But several things would be essential even for such a seemingly” simple” plan.
For, the necessary “instructions” are not available in that DNA as a linear, physical sequence – starting at the beginning and going through each successive phase in turn.
It just isn’t like that!
The instructions are arranged in no particular physical order: they are dispersed throughout the DNA.
So what determines the actual sequence to be followed?
Each phase produces along with its primary functions the necessary chemical trigger for the immediately following phase, by producing a unique “key” that alone can “turn-on” the next phase, wherever it turns out to be. And these can be anywhere in the DNA, for the necessary key, being a chemical molecule, can bathe all parts of the complex molecule, but only act upon its target area(s) that initiate the required next phase. So, the whole sequence is elicited one at a time by the products of each immediately prior phase.
Indeed, the assumption that the overall sequence is the only one coded for, would, therefore, also be inaccurate.
In fact there could be alternative sequences that are almost never switched into action, including many redundant vestiges from past incarnations of the organism. And some of these might be triggered by adverse circumstances, which push the organism to the limits (and maybe beyond) of its normal envelope of survivable conditions, which would act as emergency solutions. A fairly common example in plants might be that which produces seeds – still the living organisms, but nothing like the fully-functioning adult plant. And in the same way a whole variety of similar “dormant” defensive forms might be triggered as the only way to maintain the spark of life.
Once such a set of alternative possibilities is considered, we can then consider that old (not usually still used) plans can be triggered, which could help a species in difficulties with impossible conditions to return to such a sequence as a survival alternative. Indeed, they might have been common in the very earliest scraps of life in the most demanding of circumstances of the early Earth.
And once we see that, much of the usually considered to be “junk DNA” is in fact still functional, but never triggered in normal sequences of a given organism, then we can view mutation very differently indeed. For whatever the cause of the mutation, it will respond initially to this unused storehouse of sequences, which might make the difference between success and failure for that change.
Also, situations such as metamorphosis may be a special case wherein two phases not originally run as a one-after-the-other sequence, might well be not only triggered in hostile circumstances, but regularly, as a superior alternative.
“What is Marxism for?” And the response is, “Absolutely Everything!”
Now, that doesn’t sound right, does it? Surely, Marxism is the means by which the Working Class gets tooled-up for the coming Revolution? It is a method of analysis of the current state of Capitalism, and also a means for defining its alternative, Socialism, and therefore, crucially the standpoint and method for developing the revolutionary forces to defeat the forces of reaction by means of a Socialist Revolution.
Well, no, that is by no means sufficient, and many others could make a similar sounding claim, without even claiming to be Marxists, as to their objectives and professed means.
Indeed, long before it was so central to political action in the Working Class, it was an unnamed revolutionary re-direction in Philosophy, and was initially composed of a group of young followers of the philosopher Hegel – the Young Hegelians.
And it was certainly because of that origin that it could develop into a materialist philosophy that could better than anything else understand current society, and also analyse what crucial revolutions, such as the English Revolution in the 17th Century and the French Revolution in the 18th century actually were and what the trajectory of significant qualitative changes were going on within those total turnovers of the state of those countries.
So, what point am I trying to make?
Have a look at this diagram.
This is a Marxist conception of the trajectory of a Revolution but maybe not as you've seen it before.
You may with justice wonder what its use is, and I will insist that it is an attempt to show in diagrammatic form what people such as Marx, Engels, Lenin and Trotsky were aware of and used to guide their actions as leaders of the Working Class.
You will not have failed to notice that it doesn’t call the depicted event a Revolution, but an Emergence! And this is because absolutely all Qualitative Changes, which result in major transformation of Level, occur in any kind of development process, wherever it is happening, and whatever it is happening to!
Indeed, the most important Emergence in the History of the Universe was the Origin of Life on Earth. And in the fossil record that particular episode is invisible and would still be so even if First life were ten feet high.
It is bound to be invisible, because the Key Transformational Events are of infinitesimal duration compared withy the Stability from which they arise, and the Stability into which they emerged.
And remarkably, you may be surprised to hear that literally ALL Science never addresses these kinds of Events at all! Indeed, Science as it is at present grounded, can only study Stability, and the non-qualitative (quantitative) changes that occur within that much more easily investigatable state.
So, perhaps the surprising answer at the head of this paper is becoming clearer.
Marxism is not only about all development, but also without it NO real qualitative development can be addressed.
Now, I would go further, and suggest that if present day Marxism does not fulfil the promise that only it can deliver, it will also fail to be entirely adequate in the usually agreed areas. It will very easily become something else!
And this is not a mere subjective guess by this observer.
I have been a Marxist, a scientist and a teacher all my life, and have seen failure after failure in my colleagues addressing these precise questions.
They were all as useless at the big questions in Science as their pro-capitalist colleagues.
I am primarily a physicist, and the retreat in the early part of the 20th century usually called the Copenhagen Interpretation of Quantum Theory, and even Einstein’s explanation of Gravity in terms of the distortion of his so-called Space-Time, were not addressed and demolished, but actually embraced!
Many are the contributions in socialist newspapers “explaining” these difficult areas to the uninitiated.
Have you read The Crisis in Physics by Christopher Caudwell?
He knew it was drivel and began the task of debunking it. But, he was also a real revolutionary, and when the time came went off to Spain to fight Franco, where he was killed.
You should read Caudwell and take up where he left off!
So, Marxism is a philosophy, and not of the armchair-interpretative kind, but of the kind that can and indeed must, change things. And, there should be no narrow restriction in what Marxists do: they are equipped to address all aspects of Reality including both Physics concerning Copenhagen, and Biology with the Origin of Life. The gulf in attainment in such areas, cannot merely be put down to mediocre practitioners in those specialist fields, but must also be laid at the door of Marxists.
For this achievement by Marx and Engels furnished Mankind with the very best Philosophy yet, which could throw light upon all of Mankind’s areas of study. And, the lack of progress, in the fields mentioned, does reveal that we have truly cut our great philosophy “down to size, and in so doing also severely restricted its role in politics too. For success in answering the big questions in Science will further deepen and widen the scope and profundity of marxian concepts and methods. An evident weakness in such areas will surely mean that Marxism has ceased to be a philosophy and become instead a series of political prescriptions to guide day-to-day political activism.
So, if you want to be a marxist, you will not achieve it merely by reading books. You must tackle the big questions that non-marxists have no hope of solving. If you are a biologist you should tackle the Origin of Life. If a physicist, then your target must be the Copenhagen Myth. If you are a teacher, you should be crucifying the politicians of capitalist democracy for their reactionary policies, and make significant contributions in Pedagogy. And, even if you are none of these, you must include a profound appreciation of the real content of these areas in the definition and development of your method.
And to all those who would energetically oppose such activities as “running away from the struggle”, let me remind them about Lenin.
At a crucial period in the sometimes very slow if not actually retrogressive development towards another Revolution in Russia, he wrote the crucial philosophical work Materialism and Empirio Criticism, when some of those he criticised were actually within his own tendency. And even more unlikely he produced his Philosophical Notebooks in which he read Hegel materialistically.
Is anyone of our persuasion going to condemn Lenin for avoiding the fight?
As he stepped from the train at the Finland Station after a long forced exile abroad, he immediate jumped up and harangued his welcoming crowd with a trenchant criticism of their policies, and via his following April Theses managed to turn his erring party around and ready for October.
Yet what has been done in deepening our understanding of the detailed Nature and Trajectory of an Emergence (a Revolution!)?
In my addressing of this area, I have studied Emergences in all area of human endeavour - all sciences and subjects and even the development of the Universe.
Do you really think that Marx only studied revolutions? He studied History, Economics, Palaeontology, Literature and even Mathematics.
Have you read the drivel they peddle about the Origin and Development of the Universe? It is the most unutterable rubbish, and yet they assure us that they will be able to fully and finally explain the actual Origin, as soon as their particle smashing in the Large Hadron Collider is fully up and running.
Where is the deep investigation of the whole trajectory, from the first murmurings of possible change to the complete overturn? And how about the processes occurring within the Event itself - what is being changed and how?
Can we read a series of books considering Emergence in all possible spheres? Again, you know the answer, it is, “No!”
And we cannot leave out that most important Crisis in Physics, which has beset the Sub Atomic Area for over 100 years without any real resolution.
In 1927 at the Solvay Conference, the idealists Bohr and Heisenberg defeated Einstein and established a major Kantian retreat in that subject, which has reigned ever since. Why has no Marxist tackled this impasse?
Though Christopher Caudwell did attempt the task and would have made a profound contribution, his Marxism also took him to Spain to fight Franco, where he lost his life before he could complete his valuable contributions to Marxism.
So, who took up the reins and continued his contribution? Nobody!
And, what of Evolution? Was Darwin’s incrementalist theory of Natural Selection sufficient?
The answer is certainly , “No!”
It did jettison God from the Nature of living things, but the actual mechanisms, and indeed revolutions, of change were only inferred.
The most important questions in Evolution, as in all other forms of development, has to be how Stability is established and maintained, and how it is consequently and inevitably undermined, and even occasionally totally destroyed in short interludes of what appear initially to be entirely dissolutionary changes, but which can establish a wholly new level of Stability in a crucial Second Phase.
Where are the investigations into these vital revolutionary episodes, which are the only times that can create the entirely NEW? And where are the studies of how mutation could possibly be integrated into an entirely new and almost perfectly reliable set of genetic instructions?
Again, this is not a job for biologists as such, but for Marxist biologists focussing on the processes of real qualitative change, and the establishment of stabilities, not to mention the subsequent and inevitable demise of every single one.
Such tasks are beyond the capabilities and standpoint of the specialists in the various areas: they are too general and holistic for head-down pluralists. They need the philosophical approach that only exists within Marxism. Indeed, to localise Marxism to politics alone, is a major mistake, and a self-inflicted injury to its real universal applicability. WE cannot wait around for the next revolution to increase our grasp of what happens in such events. We must enrich our ideas constantly by the tackling of revolutionary qualitative change wherever and whenever it occurs.
Let me ask an important question.
Have you ever got lost in the abstractions of Hegel, of even Marx himself? Of course you have! So, where is the continuing Marxian investigation into the Processes and Productions of Abstraction?
For my thesis throughout this paper has been the universality of Marxist Philosophy: it is not only a political standpoint and method. It applies to the whole of developing Reality!
Over the last rather long period, very little has been tackled outside of politics and economics within the Marxist Community. Yet without that inevitable widening and constant availability of our considered sources, we will shrink-not-grow!
In my researches, all the real successes were always interdisciplinary.
These questions have to be addressed!
Can we expect to achieve the status of the intellectual leaders of our Class as long as the Copenhagen Myths are allowed not only to exist, but for its followers to condemn all who attempt to explain anything within their hallowed territory?
And, the same can be said for the current nonsense about the Origin of Life and the idealist drivel about Parallel Universes, and Physical Singularities, not to mention Dark Matter and Dark Energy in what passes for Cosmology today.
Let us be clear!
If a so-called Marxist cannot demolish that rubbish, they are unlikely to cope with the minute-by-minute decisions in the midst of a Social Revolution.
Do not forget the importance of a pamphlet like, The Part Played by Labour in the Transition from Ape to Man. And also remember when it was written and by whom.
Marxism is the Philosophy of Mankind and must be established on all fronts!
Marcus du Sautoy - The Code
It just had to happen!
Picture mathematics professor Marcus du Sautoy staring up in wonder at the soaring structures of Chartres Cathedral, while extolling the ethereal wonders of Number in its design and construction.
He does it, of course, to reveal the essence of The Code (his version of the determining World of Pure Form alone, usually called Mathematics). For, his standpoint has the World bowing to such majestic Form as the Cause of All Things. And, clearly, such a position makes him an idealist, and most certainly no kind of scientist, and hence is related, at least philosophically, to The Designer and Cause of All Things” as also celebrated in that towering edifice at Chartres.
His theme in this episode of his series - The Code, was Number, and he delivered a veritable aria on the wealth of content hidden in this deceptively simple category.
Except that many of his examples were not in that category at all. For he dallied (with positive delight) over the wonders of i ,“the square root of –1”, and showed its many uses. But i certainly is not a number at all, but an Operator.
In its most basic form it is the spatial operator “Turn anticlockwise through 90 degrees”. Yet, he blithely defines i followed by i as i squared , which means “Turn anticlockwise through 180 degrees”, (or alternatively “Turn into its opposite” – the operator –1 ). His lyric to the virtues of Number is full if such ambiguous poetry, and yet he wants us too to worship this man-made set of abstractions which deals only in Pure Form and absolutely nothing else!