29 June, 2022

Systems-based Marxism

Hinting at a New Philosophy for both Science and Politics

There will be many who vigorously reject how the last essay in this important series ended, with Lenin standing on the rostrum of the All Russia Congress of Soviets, declaring “We shall now construct The Socialist Order!” I’m sure this radical and polemical tone will put many off what I have to say about Science.

Lenin has always been a divisive figure, but he had long understood the real universal significance of Dialectical Materialism - the most remarkable and indeed revolutionary contribution of Karl Marx. For, though Marx had never taken the crucial step of congenitally extending his profound philosophcial contributions into The Sciences, Lenin, did indeed know better!

For, very much earlier in the 20th century than the Russian Revolution, Lenin had himself, via his own brilliant book Materialism and Empirio Criticism, taken on the crucial task of debunking the contributions of Henri Poincare and Ernst Mach, the physicists who had insisted in their own version of Positivism, in which all the aspects of Physics which relied solely upon empirical evidence alone, with NO associated attempts at Explanation, should be given the Exact Same Weight and Status as the very different Causally Explained Laws, which always included full associated Explanations!

And, it was this undoubted major retreat, that finally “opened the door” to both Relativity and Quantum Theory, which were clearly “legitimised” if the claims of the positivists, were right!

When I arrived at University as a first year Physics student in 1958, I was immediately totally aghast, at literally everything my Physics Lecturers “taught”, who never made any attempt to Explain Anything: they merely gave empirical evidence and coupled it with the New clearly Positivist Stance, along with sophisticated Mathematics, which to them was wholly sufficient. But it wasn’t enough for me!

At school I had always been branded “the gifted mathematician”, who could “do it all” in that discipline. I had obtained 4 different “A” Levels in Mathematics, along with 3 others at the same Level. I had always found Mathematics very easy, and I was similarly successful in all of my subsequent three years of Mathematics at University! BUT, I had chosen Physics as my main subject there - because, it alone had always attempted to Explain Reality! I had eagerly looked forward to the much higher standard of Explanation that I thought I would get at University: but it turned out to be abysmal.

I endeavoured to get explanations, but the lecturers were never available - there were, after all, almost 100 students in my year, so such individual attention was NEVER available. We did, however, have access to post graduate Demonstrators, but they just dismissed my questions with “Is the Mathematics too difficult for you?”. And, at my insistence that it wasn’t that I couldn’d “do the math”, so, could they show me the required Explanations for why the Mathematics worked: they soon got angry, and, of course, always had the support of the other students present!

So, I took to long periods in the excellent University Library, but there was nothing available in the Physics Section that could give me answers. So I switched to Philosophy instead, and there I very quickly found Lenin’s aforementioned book on Physics.

I thought I had found the answer, but nobody on my Physics course wanted to know! So, I joined the Communist Party to try and find out more about Lenin’s work. But even there, I never found a single person who would even discuss it with me. So, I continued to seek more answers in Marxist literature, but Lenin’s Book was all I found there!

And all the other self-proclained Marxist tendencies were no better. Politics and Science, it seemed, were mutually incompatible (or taken together, appeared to be beyond any single consistent understanding).

But clearly, in the way that such Marxists seemed to argue, they always insisted that they were being “very scientific!” Clearly, what was being called “scientific” in their “Reasoning” was definitely something else! It appeared to involve only the Mathematical Rationality of the Greeks, along with most modern scientists, that is, of course, not-at-all Holistic, but definitely merely Pluralistic, involving exclusively Fixed Laws, due to the artificially imposed restrictions upon ALL of their studied Situations.

Literally all such “reasoning” was erroneous, as Marx’s criticisms of most reasoning tried hard to dispel - but, with Marx himself being an Historian and Philosopher, he did not comprehensively identify and codemn the still-remaining Plurality, as such, so he too was unaware of the still involved and numerous False Bases still used almost universally in most Consequent Reasoning.

Lenin’s crucial lesson, in his valuable book, was NOT yet integrated, as it should have been by then, into an appropriately revised Modern Dialectical Materialism.

He had been on his own in genuinely developing Marx’s work. It was, therefore, no surprise, on many subsequent key occasions, that Lenin, wholly alone, managed to correctly interpret dynamic situations, as were regularly proved correct by subsequent actual developments! Just telling everyone Newly Discerned Truths is never enough: they have, also, to realise why they usually got things wrong! Lenin, himself, always had his finger upon the true pulse of the Developing Revolution, and within the White Heat of constant, incipient Change, he was effectively forced to insist upon his arrived at analyses - there was no time for Education Classes!

But Lenin was no dictator: his credentials were always being confirmed by Events. While, far inferior leaders, like Stalin, also insisted upon their required conclusions! They seemed on the face of it to be like Lenin’s style of conclusions, but, in fact, they never ever were! And, with Lenin’s tragic and premature death, the most valuable link to the most developed Marxism was lost!

In a long career in Revolutionary Poltics, I rapidly achieved leadership positions, but was never, at that time, really educated into appreciating Lenin’s Developments in Marxism: so, I too suffered from the usual inadequacies. Indeed, only in retirement did I have the time to study Lenin’s methods properly. And, without the vital revelations of Modern Systems Theory I would not have cracked it yet!

For, so-called Science still was wholly restricted to the Bottom-Up Approach, which was supposed to reductively explain All Causality - but instead it was only by what happened at the Atomic and Molecular Level (initially only dealt with in Chemistry, but, thereafter, presumed to determine everything in all other Higher Levels too), and nothing created above that Level was considered to be Causally important, at all. But, that was obviously wholly incorrect, and many Levels both above and below the one in question are always causally-active - though involving Bottom-Up Causalities, actually only occurring within the Levels, BUT then delivering consequent Top-Down Causalities which were active Between the Levels!

And, such an Approach necessarily omitted all the significant Changes occurring in transforming Development, which are, therefore, NEVER predictable in advance of them actually happening (a vital aspect of all Bottom-Up Causality): for they alone deliver the Wholly New - such as Life, Man, Thinking and even Social Revolutions.

As they didn’t even exist before: they are clearly created for the very first time, along with and within the Wholly New Development!

You can see the difficulty here for Holistic Politicians - for they can never promise beforehand, all the anticipated and fought-for Revolutionary Gains! What they actually deliver, are always solely the consequences of the effective creative actions, which more than anything else equips Mankind to make the future, even though all they can say is that it will be better than the the System before.

Now, all the teaching I encountered in all of my own Education, as well as in every single post I obtained, as an educator myself, whether in Schools, Colleges or Universities, had everything generally still clinging to the established Pluralist Stance, in all the scientific subjects I had to teach.

And, of course, no developmental conceptions were even possible: for that stance could never actually explain any Real Qualitative Change! So, there was no such thing as the Emergence of the Wholly New; all Laws were necessarily Fixed, and, to ensure this, all experiments had to be severely restricted and rigidly controlled, so that the Laws - thereby revealed - would conform to the unavoidably involved agenda!

The Real Laws of Reality-as-is were never addressed, during six decades spent in Science Education!

Now, let us be crystal clear in this assessment, Plurality works very well for many things, which is why it is rarely if ever questioned - it works perfectly for Technology and seemlessly for Production, because we can rigidly control all of the Systems involved.

BUT, surely the crucial purpose of Science is not to merely make things but to Understand the Natural World, Understand the many Systems we don’t or can’t control, and to Understand Real World Causality. With Plurality that was impossible to ever achieve!

So, a Theoretical Explanation of exactly WHY things happened as they did could never be revealed by the usual scientific methods! And, of course, there were consequences for this dominant Philosophical Stance throughout the other major areas of Study too, such as History, Philosophy and, of course, Politics.

For, everything undoubtedy evolves, and the dynamics of all their changes are unobtainable with the usual Pluralist prejudices severely distorting All Real Qualitative Development!

And we need to Understand how Natural Systems evolve now, more than ever. We need to Understand how and why they fail... by far and away the most devastating avalanches of so-called Natural Crises, are now, all over the place, due increasingly to the many decisions that are attempts to solve other problems we don’t really understand, but actually only accelerate the speed of Natural Threats that, instead of being under our control, are now swooping headlong towards unstoppable disaster.

The most obvious of these problems is Climate Change - which is already very close to terminally undermining many of the Actively Balanced Systems of importantly maintained and life-preserving Stabilities, on which the Level of Human Civilization relies.

While, elsewhere the urgent push for ever higher profits, in order to allay possible economic collapse, is also simultaneously undermining the need for the better safety measures needed to deal with Climate Changes’s many damaging affects - such as flooding and pollution.

Attempts to balance the economic system without a working Systems Theory causes unforeseen problems at all different Social Levels. For example, over-zealous cuts in safety-measures within Maternity Hospitals in Shropshire, led to delays in essential Ceasarian Sections in problem Births, and the avoidable deaths of several babies.

And, of course, let us not forget the Covid Pandemic - which was very badly handled by pro Capitalist Governments the world over, and which inevitably led to thousands of deaths of old and infirm people! But you see, doing what was right for the majority of People was no good for Profits and an Economic System reliant on perpetual growth - so that largely determined Government policies including a rush to return to maximal profit making - much too soon. And the effect upon the Care Systems for the old, infirm and disabled not only made it widely inadequate, but also drove many of the very best carers to despair, and an increasing number of exits from that profession, into less upsetting and exploitative alternatives.

This is just one example of the many labour shortages caused by criminal mismanagement of the economic system during this period.

Sadly modern Marxists have no answers to any of these problems either. It is vital that we now take a Holistic and Materialist Systems Approach to both Science and Politics, before it is too late, and these life support systems collapse for good.

This short essay is taken from Issue 77 of SHAPE Journal - The Systems Theory of Everything II - It is also available on ResearchGate. 

28 June, 2022

Issue 77: The Systems Theory of Everything Part II


Issue 77 of SHAPE Journal

Issue 77 contains the second instalment of The Systems Theory of Everything.

This series of issues attempts to set out the first definitive account of Jim Schofield’s new Systems Approach to Science. The various papers collected here, and over the next few editions of this journal, explore the proposed theory and explain why it is such a radical departure from the current universally applied scientific method.

The series continues with a closer look at Buddha, Marx, Hegel and Zeno for clues on how to develop Systems Theory.


Introducing Schofield’s Systems Theory

Real Messy Development
Top-Down or Bottom-Up?

The Two-Way Street of Real Full Causality

Beyond Zeno and Hegel:
The Profound Significance of Contention

The Buddha and Quantum Theory

A Comprehensive Holist Approach:
How can we effectively deal with Levels?

Systems Contentions

Systems-based Marxism

Equations: Why they lead us to nothing...

Entering the Multi-Level Cosmos

20 June, 2022

The Bases of the Sciences

The Working Class Artisans - A (very) brief history of science

The very beginnings of what were later called The Sciences kicked off in ancient times, in the hands of able Artisans, who, initially as Farmers, attempted to make their daily tasks easier, by starting to devise simpler ways to undertake the many onerous processes involved, by the careful and intelligent design and making of helpful Tools. They were never initially trained in such tasks: they just had to "Suck-it-and-See" in attempting to alleviate some of the more time consuming jobs, that were absolutely essential to successful growing, animal husbandry, cooking and crafting. In time, these increasingly effective innovators became independent of individual farmers, and formed a valuable aid to the whole community. For doing their specialist tasks and nothing else quickly speeded up their Development AND the Efficacy of the aids they made, used or trained people for use. In the more developed Feudal Communities, they might be employed directly by the Lord of the Manor, and even equipped with their own small staff: and this greatly extended what they could usefully do...

But, these Artisans were essentially Pragmatists - finding the best and most effective means of achieving their aims through experiment. They rapidly became indispensable, and were joined, in the employ of the Lord, by professional soldiers, with the efficient tools of their defensive and coercive trades, to maintain and even increase the extent of that Lord's Territory! And, in such circumstances had to extend the skills of the local Tool producer to making and improving the weapons of the soldiers too. Indeed, in Sea-side or River-side locations these increasingly able Artisans began to be called upon to provide boats and minor bridges too.

Now in the so-called Classical World, dominated by Greece and then Rome, the soldiers became more associated with the Ruling Class, as feudal Domains became only parts of Militarily acquired Empires of great size, topped by a growing Ruling Elite, who were able to follow differently occupying lifestyles, and pursue concerns like Philosophy and the Arts! They got their riches from vast estates, particularly in conquered Lands. So, developments in attempts at Understanding began to take two very different routes: though in the case of the Ruling Class, their bases DID NOT originate as did the older Artisanal route within Pragmatism, and the solution of everyday Work Problems, but instead in their purely conceptual experiences in their cerebral preoccupations.

These two alternative routes in Thinking diverged markedly. For while the Pragmatist still solved the Everyday Problems, the Conceptions of what pure Reasoning could achieve, were considered to reside only in the Classical Ideas, and NEVER in the simple Pragmatism of the Artisans!

The Ruling Thinkers - A (very) brief history of science

So, when the Ancient Greeks came up with the very first Consistent, Concise and Comprehensive Rationality for Mathematics, it was Wholly Wrongly assumed to be about ALL Kinds of Thinking! But those privileged Thinkers, largely a part of the Ruling Class, knew Nothing about the Applied Knowledge of the Artisans! Indeed, their devised Logic was only legitimate within the tightly maintained and Restricted Areas of Disciplines like Mathematics: wholly Pluralist sets of circumstances and Processes.

Yet in the alternative approach of Pragmatism, they were also stymied by a very different and undermining mistake: for their approach involved NOT a purely cerebral Discipline, as was the Classical Stance, but changing Real World situations that frequently undermined their conclusions.

Interestingly, BOTH sides considered that they solved their inadequacies by Combining the Two! But this didn't fully solve the problem. The only approach for both of these just had to be Holistic: because, to some extent - Everything affects Everything Else!

Nevertheless, the Pragmatists embraced the classically developed Mathematics of their Rulers, because of its seemingly-reliable-consistencies (and in spite of its blatant Plurality): while the Classicists, in turn, embraced the Real World Causality of the Pragmatists (in spite of its evident inconsistencies and physical limitations - always limited to known, local and highly constrained situations). 

And the closer we study our consequent Laws within both of these alternatives, the more Significant Inadequacies are revealed: and, the more failures we notice, whichever Stance we choose to make!

Let us, therefore, re-address what was historically-considered necessary, in order to make sense of what was being revealed within the first general Approach of Chemistry!

The Petit Bourgeois Alchemists - A (very) brief history of science

For as this discipline developed, it certainly seemed able to deal with particular features, such as the various different Elements, which clearly combined-together, as units of the substances involved, and always as Single Atoms or Molecules, even if the Context was a great multiplicity of these units: the overall Bulk Effects being merely seen as multiplied-up versions of the Exact Same Products! - in spite of the individual single-unit-reactions by NO means happening simultaneously...

Of course, these methods work pragmatically within artificially-constructed Experiments, with absolutely nothing else in the mix - all variables must be controlled! But such circumstances would NEVER occur in unfettered Reality-as-is!

Indeed, absolutely all Experiments are limited-to these kinds of restricted cases. And, it is obvious that in less "clean-and-ordered" conditions, things would certainly not only be very different, but also would occur at different tempos, and include other usually NOT considered components too. And also, given time, and a Real World Complex Mix, all sorts of reactions including those that, by diverse routs, also end up adding to the expected result's total by other means.

And, of course, standing behind all of these assumptions is the Major Error, that separately derived cases simply Add - when happening together and simultaneously - but THEY DON'T! As The Systems Approach regularly proves.

And, of course, Chemistry played no part in the Artisan precidence in many other nascent Sciences! For, it was primarily developed by specialists within Education, and a limited band within Production, where in both of these, its study was given the usual greatly restricted Context, with the usual severely biassed results! Indeed, most supposedly relevant studies were treated to similar restrictions both in Education and Production. And, always seemingly with just Causes - as the more Natural occurrences would always involve a multiplicity of simultaneous, mutually-affecting Processes, thereby making any meaningful understanding of what was going on, impossible! And, particularly as, with little or no revealed Causal Laws, separating out the various contributions to any overall results, was effectively impossible too.

Indeed, the establishment of Causal Laws, AND their separation from the overall effects, was imperative - BUT also impossible as more and more such relations were initially totally Quantitative, and hence indistinguishable from all other Quantitative contributions. And as these Causal Relations didn't appear at the same Level, as the exclusively Empirical Results, this became increasingly difficult to both correctly match up and apply.

And, to make matters even worse, the multiplicity of confusing Systems Effects - which, remember, were NOT even acknowledged until recently - the disentangling of these differently caused contributions was never fully achieved!

The solution, though obvious, is nowhere generally admitted and hence NOT undertaken! It has to be an all-out assault upon Systems Theory, involving the detailed definition of Causal Elements, in order to Fully Explain their contributions, as well as including their purely Quantitative aspects. 

Now, with a well-entrenched and dominant Mathematical Rationality, the current scientific methods simply cannot easily do this.

The new series on SHAPE Journal attempts to outline an alternative approach

Let us look briefly at a single Systems Approach revelation by this researcher, in order to effectively reveal the involved difficulties!

It is the unavoidable preponderance of CHAINS and even CYCLES of Processes, that are necessary to analyse the Effects of particularly important faults that regularly disturb these Sequences!

Now clearly the Processes involved in these sequences are NEVER lined up in a queue, ready-and-waiting for their turn! They will merely be available within a pre-existing "random mix" - - perhaps more numerous than others not regularly required in this way: BUT, because of their randomised positions AND the possibility of their being pre-emptied by others with the same linking variable, could have a mistaken join up and hence a confusion which could show up in the final Quantitative results, with NO indication of WHY?

Now, an important aspect of Systems Theory, is when a particular Natural System, involving a whole consequent series of Separate Processes, gets established, and is multiply repeated simultaneously, and also over time: for the constant repetition ensures not only the resulting final products, but also the continuing presence of all the required components in the mix - especially if they are involved one way or another in other Processes too! For they came to have assured presences in the containing population, where others not so integrated, would tend to die out!

So the finding of the next required Process in a sequence would always be easier (though not always guaranteed). So fairly "ordered" populations could gradually be achieved!

Large-scale successful process successes, tended to restructure their environments, sometimes dramatically, at least to some extent removing the prior "randomness", and making the sequences ever more likely to succeed!

But such kinds of vital population massaging, would never be straight-forward to interpret Quantitatively. 

It is when we start to think this way about dynamic Natural Systems, that the age-old pact between experimental pragmatism and mathematical logic, begins to break down irrevocably...