18 July, 2019

Practice without Theory: The Retreats in both Science and Marxism





For nearly 60 years I have been a committed Marxist and activist, while also being a professional Physicist. I am therefore equipped better than most to be critical of the evident and damaging declines in both of these absolutely fundamental disciplines. 

These failures have been generated within the hearts of the very organisations which should have been their veritable fountains-of-further-development, which should have fought for each of these crucial intellectual focii to generate the required research, analyses and consequent programmes of action, for the necessary (indeed essential) innovations within these areas, to enable them to equip their adherents to confidently achieve ever greater objectives!

However, such could have ONLY occurred, if, and only if, they continued to develop up to, through and even beyond, their own unavoidable crises and Revolutions - to ascend to wholly New and necessary Levels, capable of transforming Humanity upon this planet, beyond current limitations.

"But, what were you doing?" is likely to be the immediate response from Physicists and Marxists alike, "Why weren't you doing all that?" The right questions, for sure!

Well, I was only 19 years old and in my first term at University when I found myself disagreeing fundamentally with my professors, in my Physics degree studies. Here I met Marxists for the first time too and joined one of the Marxist Parties present in that University, and looked for answers, both within it, and in the University's excellent library, for alternatives to the evident prevailing decline in my studied subject.

I was a continuing student of Physics throughout my life, and in politics read a great deal, including Marx's masterpiece Das Kapital: but, nevertheless, as to The Marxist Analytic Method in politics, and my sought-for alternative to the Copenhagen Interpretation of Quantum Theory in Physics, I was regularly coming-up empty on both fronts!




Very slowly, I began to realise where the problems lay.

It was in the inadequate Philosophies of the Theorists of the consensus groups in both of these fields!

They weren't the same problems, of course, but they were both, in different ways, embarked upon the wrong tracks. There was no real Theory going on in either discipline.

Sadly, I wasn't initially up to undertaking the tasks in either area, but I persevered in political activism, without myself developing very far, even though I continued to read extensively.

In Physics, I eventually gave it up as a bad job, and in spite of all my qualifications being in the area, I never professionally did Physics again. Instead, I taught Modern Mathematics and even Biology in Schools and Colleges, and latterly, in my afternoons off, did Mathematical Research using the local University's Mainframe Computer, which I taught myself to both program and use. And, in no time, I was also teaching these new-found skills to interested students from my College, ultimately developing one of the first such Computer Sections in the country. Later I was approached to write a Machine-independent Fortran Compiler, which I finally achieved...

It is a long story, but I finally got back into Higher Education, lecturing in Information Technology, and in that role was soon involved in assisting researchers across a wide range of disciplines. And, in that very varied and interdisciplinary work I finally began to see what was wrong with Physics!

I returned to tackling Copenhagen, but now increasingly equipped with ideas directly abstracted from Marx, which I slowly extracted from Das Kapital (by also reading David Harvey's superb analyses of Kapital's volumes I, II and III). The gains made in this work were purely philosophical, and centred upon the inadequacies of the Principle of Plurality which had actually underpinned all the major Intellectual Disciplines, ever since the Greek Intellectual Revolution of the 5th century BC. 

For, both Logic and Science had been wrongly assumed to be "just-like Mathematics", as wholly pluralistic- that is composed only of qualitatively-fixed concepts or Natural Laws, which naturally limited both these crucial Disciplines significantly to only maintained Stable Situations.

All real Development was wholly excluded!

A key epiphany came through my research in Motion Studies in the 2000s (the analysis and computerised delivery of accurate Dance Performance - complex creative movements captured dynamically via interactive video recordings and animation) remembering Zeno's crucial, dialectical Paradoxes. Without revolutionary means, neither Continuity nor Descreteness were ever capable of delivering real Movement.



Now 200 years ago, the idealist philosopher Hegel had realised such flaws in Formal Logic. It did not allow qualitative changes of any kind due to the assumed stance of Plurality. Hegel began to address this inadequacy with regard to Dichotomous Pairs of contradictory concepts (such as Continuity and Descreteness) - leading to his Dialectics!

Science and Logic cannot deal with contradiction and its role in change, and consequently considers only Fixed Natural Laws as capable of explaining absolutely Everything - and hence had no solutions to the many anomalies of the perplexing set of Double Slit Experiments, contradictions they "solved" by inventing Wave/Particle Duality, and the Copenhagen Interpretation of Quantum Theory.

Unfortunately Hegel had been an idealist philosopher and had never seriously investigated anything beyond Human Thinking. So, his follower, the historian and philosopher, Karl Marx, immediately realised that an extended version of Dialectics also applied to all Development in Concrete Reality too - and revealingly also to the Developments in Human History!

For the first time, it would clearly be possible to address Historical Development, especially in those seemingly-unanalyse-able convulsions of Change termed Revolutions!

Now, all of this was certainly not yet available: no such explanations had yet been revealed! But, Marx knew that the alternative holist stance, concentrating-primarily upon qualitative change, could indeed deliver what the current wholly pluralist Disciplines never could. And, as a professional Historian, Marx knew precisely where to start - with the recently ended French Revolution, which had overthrown the Feudal State, and replaced it with a Capitalist alternative, but one which was definitely NOT delivering the Libert√© Egalit√© et Fraternit√© that it had promised to those workers who had carried in out.

So, Marx embarked upon the obvious research to reveal the Nature of Capitalist Economics, but only within the very process of establishing the required Holist means to do it! Das Kapital was never merely applying a ready-made method of doing this, as none yet existed at that time, but no one was better equipped to do it: for Marx had already devised Dialectical Materialism as his New Philosophy, but being Holistic, and hence including all Qualitative Change, it meant that a wholly new, as yet undefined Methodology had to be developed, and it would inevitably be far more complex and even more constantly-developing than anything employed previously.

These difficulties are clearly reflected in Marx's work, as in order to deal with these crucial changes, he had to first always establish a "basic" unchanging initial model (a Generality), and then as each dealt-with Phase led to another, he then had to retrace back to see how the new (Particular) Phase affected the initial one.


David Harvey deals with this aspect of Das Capital very well


NOTE: He was effectively involving the cyclical approach defined by The Buddha in his famed Loka Sutta, wherein each Phase, on completion, had to be repeated-from-scratch in the light of what it had produced.

It was a recursive, and indeed truly Holist, method!

So, Marx greatly simplified a Phase, in order to get an initial (General) handle upon it, but then, doing the same thing in the next Phase, he had to repeat, not only that current-Phase-reviewing process, but also to even adjust a prior Phase, due to changes due to a following (Particular) one!

[This is described elsewhere in a paper on Generalities, Particularities and Singularites, by this theorist]

And, many of the overall systems involved were cyclic, so, with all these recursive effects, would all take several circuits to into become settled repeating cycles! Many of the features described in Volume I of Das Kapital, were shown to be modified by subsequent processes, only reveealed in Volume II.

NOTE: Now, if this seems to infer an unavoidably infinite, never-ending sequence of necessary modifications, that would also not be true! For, though at some later and different stage the sequence of recursions would be necessary once again: for each and every set these would always terminate in some sort of "Balanced Result", which could be used effectively, at least for a while.

But, clearly, constant vigilance would still be required, just in case that balance was about to be challenged, precipitating a necessary whole re-assessment.

And, many such effects were never understood by readers brought up throughout their Education by systems which assumed total Plurality throughout. Most Marxists haven't grasped this aspect of Marxism, and Physicists don't even know the problem exists!


Ten Days That Shook the World, by John Reed


Reading "Ten Days that Shook the World" by John Reed, or the "History of the Russian Revolution" by Leon Trotsky, as well as accounts of Lenin's necessary switches at key moments in 1917 - all demonstrate what Real Marxian Dialectics was, in the hands of those who had understood what Marx finally arrived at.

But, it wasn't what I came into contact with during a whole lifetime in professedly Marxist parties!

And certainly, without any application of his method to the Sciences, what was then understood, though vital, would still necessarily be inadequate in many other very important areas.

Now, to finally return to my title for this key paper, namely Practice Without Theory!

These words have great relevance to both Politics and Physics - the current chaos in Sub Atomic Physics is clearly due to that Science's continuous and unspoken subscription to both Plurality and pragmatism - why question the method if it just seems to work?

The Real Philosophy of Science attempts to challenge the clueless scientific consensus and the somnambulant Marxists, by using one to explode the other!


The Real Philosophy of Science by Jim Schofield
A Marxist refutation of Science, which is also a scientific approach to Marxism


The more difficult role is actually presented by the "Marxists", who are still totally unaware of the true nature of Dialectical Materialism when applied to their own area of political practice (let alone Science), and hence are totally ill-equipped to do anything significant politically! 

Activism and political practice without the directing guidance of real theory can never succeed in preparing for a coming Revolution!

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