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Consciousness and Illusion: From Plato’s Cave to the Matrix

Down the centuries many thinkers have been convinced that how we both perceive and conceive the world can be very misleading if not downright deceptive. Humans no longer primarily depend on the sensory and instinctual facilities that our fellow animals exclusively do. Our instincts and perceptions are subordinate to the cultural education that we receive as children; and that cultural education is covertly political. The vehicle of education is language – the communication device par excellence. Human language is a complex system of abstraction: from shapes on paper (writing) to various sounds (speaking) not to mention gesture and expression. A child will take many years to master this system to a point where it doesn’t need its parents to survive. Because we do not live in nature the mastery of language is our primary survival tool.

Ideology and Revolution pt.3

The concluding part of our series on revolutions and the ideology under which they are carried out.

Ideology and Revolution pt.2

In the second part of this three-part series we look at the French Revolution

Ideology and Revolution pt.1

We begin a three-part series on the link between revolutionary social changes and the ideology of those who carried them out.

A series of discussions with friends of both leftist and liberal persuasions recently uncovered two classic objections to the Marxist perspective. They are essentially derived from the same misunderstanding of the nature of a socialist revolution.

The first objection was in the idealist tradition and centred on the connection between the Enlightenment and the Soviet gulags. It is more common to hear the terror of the French revolution being associated with Enlightenment ideals but not - via Karl Marx - with the Bolshevik concentration camps. The other accusation was that it was naive to expect a socialist revolution to be any different than those that preceded it historically.

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