Historical materialism for over a century never fails to yield bad social research


At the risk of being a bit harsh, I would reiterate my critique of this article at Jacobin on classical music and capitalism and take it as an example of the way historical materialism so often leads to wrong results. In fact, the amount of bad social theory in the name of Marx is very large because the foundation of Marx’s thinking is flawed from the start. To consider the commercial aspect of the rise of opera is not without interest, but to consider that capital somehow produces classical music is simply off the mark.
The eonic model is very strange at first but it is far more solid that anything in Marx’s historical theory because it adopts a post-Newtonian view of science, spots the flaws in Darwinism, essential before going on to world history, and adopts an empirical method that can embrace facts and values at the same time. The study of music deserves something better than Marx’s obsession with reductive economism. Classical music is a mystery of the rise of the modern, along with a host of parallel effects and its relationship to capitalism is tenuous. Socialism requires a broader methododology than that of reductionist scientism. Marx compromised his very cogent studies of class with his obsession to produce a theory, and the result is the misleading harangue over scientific versus utopian thinking. If Marxism isn’t really scientific then it must default to the utopian, or to put it better, since the term ‘utopian’ is now semantically vexed, to a robust social analysis that embraces facts, values, and in the process unites material and idealist elements in the comprehensive and organic unity of ethical, aesthetic, and natural elements. Classical music has been addressed multiple times at this blog in terms of the strange eonic model (use the search box for classical music), and it is a prime case, along with Greek Tragedy of the way the macroevolutionary process of the eonic sequence crosses the boundaries of facts and values into the aesthetic domain. Enough said. I recommend a new left that can simply drop the barren historical materialism and probably the strange Engels concoction of dialectical materialism. A new approach to Marx without his theories of history and economic base/superstructure (etc) would liberate what is very cogent in termsof the class basic of social existence, especially under capitalism.

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