03 August, 2017


Photograph by Michael C Coldwell

How does Reality develop? It’s certainly a fair question!

But, it will be answered very differently depending upon your accepted philosophic premises.

If you are a Materialist you will start with Matter!

If you are an Idealist you will start with Principles!

But, right away, you will have a problem - What is Energy? Clearly, Matter isn’t always totally static: it moves. But, what moves it? Does an impulse come from outside of Matter - from outside of Reality, from a supernatural source? And, exactly where does everything in Reality actually happen? Must we also have a Nothing (Totally Empty Space?) as well as Matter? And, is that Nothing merely a point, or is it infinite? Are questions of Origin and Development reasonable, or is what exists eternal, and has always been, basically, the same?

Now, certain ideas are quite obviously rubbish!

A moment’s consideration very quickly disposes of the more blatant suppositions.


It is because of CHANGE!

And, that is evident not only everywhere we look, but also in our thoughts!

And, it is in our thoughts that we find both Infinity, and even the impulse to act: so, this led to the idea of the Thinking of a Supreme Being, thinking up absolutely Everything!

That diametrically opposite idea to Materialism - Idealism, is centred upon Thought - as the Active Impulse, but exactly where is that happening? It isn’t in my head or yours, and also for it to manipulate Reality, it somehow has to be both outwith our Reality, but capable of changing anything in our Reality. 

You can certainly see where the idea of God came from! It is that Super Being, conceived in Man’s own image in his Thought. But, millennia of the experience of Mankind does not gel with such a concept, so something entirely within Our concrete Reality just had to be the active Impulse. 

So, it was next embodied in Pure disembodied Energy, which existed alongside a totally passive and inert Matter. Without this Energy, absolutely nothing would change in any way. So, it could only be in that situation. and only then, that anything could possibly be eternal.

Yet, the results of millennia of studies by Mankind, has “revealed” only a series of “discovered” eternal Natural Laws, which never vary, but somehow add together to produce real CHANGE

But, how does that work? How can fixed Laws produce some things that are wholly New? Something more complicated - Yes, that’s definitely possible! But, such a mechanistic view can never cope with the wholly NEW. Clearly, what is produced must not only deliver “the complex”, but also change-the-very-context that produced it: there must be Recursion!

You can never step into the same river twice!

Indeed, “Everything must be affected (changed) by everything else!” The earlier assumptions, outlined above, must have been wrong-from-the-start: instead of the pluralist idea of eternal Natural Laws, we must, instead, have the holist alternative of constant or incessant CHANGE

Now, what does that mean?

It can only be that Materialism must involve both Matter-and-Energy - present together always - from the outset. Indeed, Energy is the mode of existence of Matter: Energy is Matter in Motion!

Now, this seems just as counter-intuitive as there being no-change-at-all: for, quite evidently, we are surrounded by a multitude of things, which are, quite clearly, both Static-and-Unchanging. But, that is an illusion, as conversely is also the sudden inexplicable major transformations that seem to occur as well.

The problem is that Man lives for altogether too short a time to observe great changes, while also living too slowly to see others. Indeed, our world appears to be dominated by what we term Stability - things remaining exactly as they are - seemingly forever.

But, that is never the case, for though constant the changes occur to different things, and at different rates; and the summations of multiple affecting factors are changing all the time, it is usually insufficiently to undermine their Stability overall.

Yet, at some inevitable point the multiple factors can tip the balance and precipitate a major transformation, which crucially also changes the context too.

At our rate of living, we are seeing only Stills within a much longer Movie - only occasionally observing the big changeovers, which we then call Emergences or Revolutions.

Indeed, when Man had no means of extending his view beyond what he could immanently experience, his conclusions had to be totally and erroneously determined by that very selective experience. To conceive of things beyond that very limited “now”, required means of delivering sequential and indisputable records of past situations. And, the first of these was in Writing, when accounts of past experiences gradually accumulated as History - to be passed on to later generations.

And, even more profoundly, via a study of the rocks beneath our feet, in Geology - there was a realisation of significant changes, upon a mammoth scale, and taking, often, millions of years to both happen, and then be left as consequent records-in-the-rocks.

In addition, Man’s viewing of the extremely small was vastly extended by the Microscope. While, his grasp of the colossally-large was significantly improved by the Telescope.

Many intrinsic developments within Mankind itself, also enabled a vast number of such extensions - pragmatically via Technology, and conceptually by Reasoning, and in understanding via Science.

Of Course, in spite of such extensions in the ideas and thinking of Mankind, what was achieved could not but be compromised: there was not, never has been, and will never be a direct route to Absolute Truth, and all gains, though they appeared to be such - never ever were! But, nevertheless, each concrete gain possessed a “Measure of Truth”: it was best described as Objective Content, for in appropriately maintained circumstances, it could deliver what was intended.

Yet, each and every achievement always contained the seeds of its own inevitable failure as the Domain of its application was attempted to be significantly extended.

Indeed, right at the beginning of these developments in Ancient Greece, these flaws were already apparent. Zeno of Elea in his famous Paradoxes, demonstrated such failures via the alternative concepts of Continuity and Descreteness, when considering Movement.

Indeed, many more such Dichotomous Pairs were discovered all over the place, but never rationally transcended. Instead, Mankind fell back upon his earliest discovery - Pragmatism, so -”If it works, it is right”, was used to by-pass such impasses.

Indeed, no real rational resolution, to Zeno’s revelations, was achieved over the next 2,300 years, until Friedrich Hegel, sought-out and used such Dichotomous Pairs to reveal the underlying problem, which turned out to be in the premises used to logically arrive at such dead ends. Hegel realised, further, that the standard means of reasoning, namely Formal Logic, did not, and indeed could not, deal with Qualitative Change. He developed a means of dealing with changing situations via such Opposites, and transitions between them, which he termed Dialectics. But his objective of a Logic of Change wasn’t achieved, and to this day is still absent in most Reasoning.

Yet, the possibility of a path to a resolution had been exposed.

The possible solution surely resided in Science. But, Hegel was an Idealist, and he could never achieve such an integration. His best follower, Karl Marx, however, did glimpse that path. It would involve a major switch from Idealism to Materialism, but would, necessarily, involve a major revolution in both Philosophy and in Science, the way forward was indeed possible.

Clearly, the only receptacle of past changes, that was available for study, had to be History, so that is where he started. For, only in Social Development were the necessary trajectories of Qualitative Change, available for study - in Social Revolutions. And, just such a transformation had recently taken place in France, and had been intensively studied and recorded in great detail by the brilliant French Historian - Michelet.

Marx’s objective was Science, but, first, he had to be adequately equipped to do the job, so in History, his own expert field, he had to find the means. But, History’s lessons turned out to be endless: Reality was NOT a static, conquerable area, but a constantly developing headlong-rush. And, in addition, that study imposed unavoidable political imperatives upon Marx, and his new main emphasis became preparing for the next Revolution - the Overthrow of Capitalism. 

Science would have to wait!

A scientific study of Capitalist Economics had to be the paramount task, and it took him the rest of his life. Indeed, the Fourth volume of his Das Kapital, was only published after his death.

CHANGES were still unanswered in many areas: and the key area of Science was still relatively untouched.

And, in addition, though Marx had wrested Dialectics from Hegel’s idealistic grasp, he had still NOT formulated it comprehensively and overtly as a [philosophical method, nor had he addressed Abstraction in the new context, nor the actual Trajectory of what was now generally termed an Emergence (a Revolution). That would only be possible by a Marxist revolutionary living through, and acting in, such an event, and that would soon happen in the Russian Revolution.

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