The need for a larger perspective….of modernity
January 8th, 2015 ·
The neo-communist left has to have a far larger universe than that created by historical materialism: it needs a global anthropology that can talk to a generalized modernity/secularism. But what is that? The nineteenth century created a reduced subset to all that in the forms of postivism, scientism, secular humanism, marxism…
Marxism needs to be rescued from this situation: the situation is not hard to solve: we use the ‘macro model’ (or you can skip that) to look at what we call the ‘modern transition’ from 1500 to 1800
(approx/) at which point the new era of modernity begins. The early modern clearly shows at once what
happened: marxism jumped on a yippee surfboard in the Feuerbachian reaction to Hegel and downshifted into a very limited perspective. The overall idea was brilliant, however, and can easily be recast to include 1. a larger whole than Hegel and his critics 2. the ‘dialectic’ of the modern transitional with counterpoints in the Reformation/Rise of Science, revolutions from Munzer to the French
Revolution. 3 the rise of liberalism, ideas of freedom, philosophies of freedom, 4. German Classical
In general the marxist perspective can’t even handle the Enlightenment very well. The so-called
‘dialectic of the Enlightenment’ started chasing a good idea for a critique and ended up in the hopeless
muddle of the postmodern critique of modernity.
In the larger view the issue of communism is 1. a response to the need for a post-transitional
‘revolution’ against capitalism, 2. the need to reconstruct modernity in this new context, requiring versions of the Reformation, Scientific Revolution, rise of liberalism/communism (socialism), industrialization and its technologies and globalization, 3.some reckoning with the complex chords generated: e.g. the Romantic Reaction, the export of buddhism and figures like Schopenhauer, etc…
You can see that the current tactic of trying to use marxism to challenge all other aspects of modernity is ill-conceived and the route to sterility and scientism made worse.
Last and First Men creates an historical context for not only the larger perspective of modernity, but a still larger context of world history. This approach requires looking at a whole complex(dialectic) of counterpoints, contraries and pairs of opposites.
In specific terms, the new left here needs to study the reality of global religion, from Xtianity/Islam to buddhism, and confucianism/taoism, etc.. It needs to have a larger philosophy that can work with materialism and idealism in a larger context than simple collision. Etc…
This problem of selecting a small subset of modernity to define secularism haunts the science world whose cadre of poorly educated scientism troopers has created, like marxism, an extremely narrow subset of modernity that beggars the whole transition to a new era.
It would be nice to ditch the old marxism and create a larger version that is tuned to the greater whole of modernity, and thence antiquity.