Gnostic Marxist

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  • #216670
    LBird
    Participant

    You’ll have to take up your argument with the SPGB, robbo, if they stand by their Socialist Standard article of 1973, that ALB quoted.

    For Marx, ‘objects’ are socially created, and the SPGB appear(ed) to agree with him.

    You appear to have a ‘correspondence theory’ of ‘truth’, which argues that the ‘idea’ reflects the ‘referent’. The article specifically mentions this, and specifically rejects it.

    SS 1973 wrote “…talk of ideas “reflecting” social processes must not be misunderstood as a theory that the brain is a kind of camera photographing the world. It is a theory of the social origin of ideas.” [my bold]

    • This reply was modified 8 months ago by LBird.
    #216677
    alanjjohnstone
    Participant

    According to yourself now, the SPGB has indeed been correct in its interpretation and reflects much of your own thinking.

    In view of this admission, I consequently await your Form A, LBird.

    Despite your disagreements with various members, you will still be eligible for membership, IMHO.

    Even Robbo will welcome you as a party comrade, although you and he may never meet face to face, however, you will get the opportunity to share a few beers with ALB.

    Imagine being able to attend our conferences in person and addressing the delegates directly, having your position recorded and forwarded to the whole membership to consider and respond to. It will mean an audience far wider than presently encompassed by this forum.

    But as a party member, one responsibility is to create a healthy environment for membership growth which may mean re-directing your criticism and presenting other aspects of the party-case much more.

    #216679
    Anonymous
    Inactive

    “Imagine being able to attend our conferences in person and addressing the delegates directly, having your position recorded and forwarded to the whole membership to consider and respond to.”

    My understanding is that non-members can already attend any SPGB meeting in person and, with the chair’s permission, address those present.

    “It will mean an audience far wider than presently encompassed by this forum.”

    Hardly. Membership of this forum is significantly higher that that of the SPGB whose membership is at its lowest for decades.

    In any case, the SPGB has had more than its fair share of egotists over the years without the need to invite even more. 🙁

    #216681
    ALB
    Keymaster

    The argument is not over whether or not the contents of the human mind is a product of society but over how the mind interprets the information conveyed to it by the senses and the brain.

    #216682
    alanjjohnstone
    Participant

    My understanding is that non-members can already attend any SPGB meeting in person and, with the chair’s permission, address those present.

    Indeed so. Once at a conference, a passer-by who happened to look through the window and was intrigued by what he saw popped in for a listen and asked permission to speak. I was the chair and since no delegates or members were waiting to speak, i permitted him to offer his observations. However, there is no guarantees and i am not sure whether his contribution was produced in the summary of the conference presented to the branches and members. Maybe it was but i simply don’t recollect.

    If LBird was a member of a branch he could persuade it to put forward a resolution (or an item of discussion) which would be formally debated and then voted upon by a poll of the entire membership.

    From my experience, the majority of SPGB members do not use this forum for whatever reason. Only a minority are contributors. As for the number of non-members versus members of the Party, i don’t know the figures.

    Whether SPGB has a disproportionate share of egoists, i am not sure. But i do think members do have confidence in their views and are not reluctant to express them. We have a good number of auto-didactic, proud of being self-taught in many aspects of the socialist case.

    #216684
    LBird
    Participant

    alanjjohnstone wrote: “According to yourself now, the SPGB has indeed been correct in its interpretation and reflects much of your own thinking.

    In view of this admission, I consequently await your Form A, LBird.

    Thanks for your admission about the SPGB, alan! [joke]

    Indeed, I think that the 1973 article is very good, and perhaps would amend only some expressions, rather than the political content.

    However… given the response to my quoting of the article, I’m not sure if the current SPGB actually still supports that article. Do you, for example?

    Still, there would be more chance of me joining, if some other posters now start to support those arguments. Let’s see how things develop, eh?

    #216685
    LBird
    Participant

    ALB wrote: “The argument is not over whether or not the contents of the human mind is a product of society but over how the mind interprets the information conveyed to it by the senses and the brain.

    But ‘the mind’ of any individual is a ‘social mind’, ALB.

    That is, it’s the ‘interpretation’ (which is social in origin) rather than the ‘conveyance’ by senses and brain (which are biological), that is fundamental.

    Really, this rests on your interpretation of your own words ‘”how the mind interprets“‘ – is this an ‘individual mind’ or a ‘social mind’?

    If it’s a social mind then the argument is over.

    The ‘social mind’ is an inescapable input into any ‘reality’ that we know. Thus, nothing can ‘exist’ independent of society – that is, independent of the active consciousness, theory and practice, social production, of humanity.

    • This reply was modified 8 months ago by LBird.
    #216687
    LBird
    Participant

    Marx, The German Ideology, p.51, quoted in the Socialist Standard, No. 829, September 1973, ‘MEN, IDEAS AND SOCIETY’:

    Consciousness is, therefore, from the very beginning a social product, and remains so as long as men exist at all“.

    #216688
    alanjjohnstone
    Participant

    LBird. i think i have made my position clear. As i said, i don’t really find any of this debate fruitful because i don’t believe it convinces people to become socialist nor is necessarily needed to be a socialist.

    You may believe it is crucial, but my focus is elsewhere. I think there is a good reason why Marx did not dwell on his philosophical studies in later life and left his early works unpublished.

    For myself, it was not anything to do with Marx turning Hegel rights side up but hearing members explain that me and my fellow workers collectively as a class, possess all that is needed to build a new social system where we would no longer need to sell ourselves on the labour market as wage-slaves. The SPGB propose part of the strategy to achieve socialism although we still debate and discuss it without declaring we hold the ultimate answer, but just another piece of the jigsaw.

    #216689
    ALB
    Keymaster

    I don’t know about the rest of you, but I can’t conceive of a what “a social mind”, as distinct from individual minds with ideas derived from society, would be.

    Is our feathered friend saying that all living humans together constitute a biological organism with a brain and an ability to think and act as one? And that it is this entity that has created, sustains and can change reality as the external world experienced by individual humans?

    #216690
    LBird
    Participant

    ALB wrote: “I don’t know about the rest of you, but I can’t conceive of a what “a social mind”, as distinct from individual minds with ideas derived from society, would be.

    Let me help you understand, ALB.

    It’s from the Socialist Standard, 1973, quoting Marx: “Consciousness is, therefore, from the very beginning a social product, and remains so as long as men exist at all.”

    See, it doesn’t say ““a social mind”, as distinct from “individual minds with ideas derived from society”.

    What are these ‘individual minds’ which ‘derive their ideas from society’ but also, which no-one, including Marx, has mentioned, have another ‘internal mind’ which doesn’t ‘derive ideas from society’?

    What you are writing is incomprehensible, ALB.

    Either ‘mind’ is ‘social’, as Marx and the Socialist Standard argue, or ‘mind’ is ‘individual’, which is what the bourgeoisie argue.

    • This reply was modified 8 months ago by LBird.
    #216692
    LBird
    Participant

    alanjjohnstone wrote: “LBird. i think i have made my position clear. As i said, i don’t really find any of this debate fruitful because i don’t believe it convinces people to become socialist nor is necessarily needed to be a socialist.

    You may believe it is crucial…”

    Yes, I do think that ‘it is crucial’.

    As an example, ALB is currently arguing that ‘mind’ is ‘individual’, which undermines Marx’s theories, which concern social production.

    I think democratic socialism involves social production, so if we don’t thrash this out, there won’t be any socialism, just more bourgeois individualism. If that’s what you, ALB, robbo and the SPGB stand for, fair enough, but why claim to be socialist, democratic or following Marx?

    Why not just say that the SPGB thinks that ‘mind’ is individual? And merge with the Lib-Dems.

    #216693
    LBird
    Participant

    ALB, perhaps the best way to explain this to you is to say ‘mind’ is like ‘value’.

    They are both social products, not made up of ‘matter’, not touchable by an individual, but involve social relationships, which we can change.

    ‘Value’ in not in a physical good, just like ‘mind’ is not in a brain.

    ‘Value’ will never be ‘found’ inside a ‘good’, just like ‘mind’ will never be ‘found’ in a brain. Only the bourgeoisie insist that ‘value/mind’ are ‘inside something tangible’.

    If you can’t get to grips with this, you can’t understand Marx.

    Mind is a social product, not inside a wet organ.

    #216694
    ALB
    Keymaster

    Sorry Robbo, but it looks as if you are going to have to spell out again for our feathered friend that, even though an individual outside of society couldn’t be said to have a mind, as only individuals have brains only individuals (not human society) are capable of having minds.

    #216699
    alanjjohnstone
    Participant

    “Why not just say that the SPGB thinks that ‘mind’ is individual?”

    I chose to say, LBird

    collectively as a class

    Not as a hive mind like the Borg nor advocating a Spock mind-meld.

    “why claim to be socialist, democratic or following Marx?”

    For the record, can you suggest any political party, contemporary or historical, that has been more democratic than ourselves? Likewise, can you provide an example of a socialist party exemplifying socialism more than we do?

    As for being Marxist, we accept Marx on some of his positions and reject other aspects of his ideas. Call it cherry-picking if you wish but as Robbo has already explained, we are not cultists.

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