Although the effort to find a basis for ecological issues in marx is of great historical importance, the danger is that the new claim for the ecological marx(ism) threatens to implicate ecologists in the marxist dogmatic system. Blending historical materialism and ecology won’t work and will reduce ecology to a form of marxist scientism.
We have extracted a short blogbook from a longer piece with older archived posts.
The text points the way to a new and simplified approach (we had several here) to a leftist paradigm without the confusions of historical materialism. The booklet is at most a series of notes for a whole book and/or an introduction to World History and the Eonic Effect.
Every scientific theory ends up obsolete and marxism is not exception, but leftists tend to keep it central in a kind fetishism of true believers.
Most of the rest of the marxism is another matter: filled with useful material of one kind or another. But the theoretical confusions of marxism pervade the whole subject and the whole left.
We need to make Marx/Engels historical introductions to a new formulation created in our ‘now’ and relevant to the conditions of current economics, globalization, and science, and with a rewrite introducing ecological socialism as a keynote.
Historical materialism is stuck in old-fashioned scientism of the nineteenth century: the left would be better off with simple outlines and empirical studies of world history: from that perspective the eonic effect emerges empirically and can be taken as an hypothesis, and a very useful way to balance historical study with the question of values in the realm of facts, to stand back from theories of evolution and not getting mired in bad theories, and many other issues…
World History and the Eonic Effect
March 15th, 2017 ·
http://history-and-evolution.com/: we have produced a large number of books this year and all have open source pdf versions as listed at this website.
The books adopt the perspective of the eonic effect which is a strange approach to world history and evolution via a new type of dynamic systems model. I advocate that the world of (marxist) leftists move beyond historical materialism’s reductionism and crypto-teleology in its stages of production theory along with its feuerbachianism (which can easily be updated, the left needs a religious critique), and finally its dialectical confusions, to some kind of new and updated set of perspectives. The left needs to get cracking and get this done asap.
Personally i recommend using the so-called eonic model from WHEE: this model has an immense number of advantages but is at first a bit daunting:
the model can be simplified to a frequency hypothesis and then reduced to a chronology of world historical eras or epochs
these epochs resemble a generalized punctuated equilibrium pattern and show a pattern of transitions inside these epochs
the epoch of modernity phases in with the early modern (1500 to 1800) in the frontier zone of a subset of Europe and is the successor to the axial age and its epoch
this transition rapidly generates a global oikoumene which now has a capitalist framework but the modern transition clearly generates a counterpoint socialism and the progression of the world system beyond capitalism was a potential indication from the start
the eonic effect is this set of epochal transitions and probably goes back to the neolithic or before
the model gives expression to an ‘evolution framework’ in the general category of ‘evolution’ and can be
used to highlight the problems plaguing darwinism
the model shows a meta-teleological system which is both directional and yet open to free agency
in fact the model shows a resemblance to questions raised by the kantian teleomechanists who are the real founders of a theory of evolution
the modern also expresses well the basic idea of lamarck on evolution as a process on two levels
the model makes economic history a subordinate process inside the larger history and this allows free agents to modify such systems: there is no absolute stage of history called capitalism
the world system at the full tide of globalization is predicted to begin a shift beyond capitalism and the
prophecy of the early socialists/ marxists remain relevant…
This model is neither material nor spiritual gives ample leeway to discuss religion, adopts the endpoint perspective of modernist secularism, and automatically enforces a complex disciple of counterpoint opposites.
this model is highly flexible and requires no dogmatic conversion or belief: a model is a model, if it helps to clarify the data we use it provisionally to clarify our circumstance. Ordinary views of world history are so far off that the discovery of a non-random process behind world history is a caution to our false views of scientific history.
This model can help to extricate thought from the false ‘end of history’ delusion about the inevitability
of markets. Much of the marxist canon remains of use, e.g. the critiques of ideology, class struggle, etc…
You are already using a simplified version of the eonic effect (why do you use the term ‘modern’ or
‘middle ages’, etc…?)
This model is thus useful even under negation: you can try and apply a critique but you rapidly discover its meaning under negation (e.g. the system is teleological, the system is not teleological…). you shoot the model full of holes and it still remains more or less the same because it is based on patterns of data, e.g. the emergent cluster of archaic greece…
This approach can discuss secularism and religion in stride and is a useful account of the Old Testament genesis, the rise of proto-modernity in ancient greece, etc…
We have repeatedly suggested the need to reformulate a postmarxist version of socialism (with reference still to Marx, no doubt) that is a non-dogmatic restatement of the basic issues of praxis, hopefully beyond the mostly doomed efforts to concoct a science of history and/or the ‘evolution’ toward communism.
There the theories of historical materialism, and the associated ‘stages of production’ theory (e.g. ‘productive force determinism’) are a millstone around the neck of leftists.
Historical materialism belongs to the nineteenth century post-hegelian turn toward reductionist scientism and while the attempt to create an economic theory of history seemed a good one at the time such a procedure is no longer convincing and is certainly not science.
We are better off proceeding empirically on the issues of economic history and making the passage beyond capitalism a strategy of free agents, not historical forces. It seemed once that marx’s theories showed that communism would be inevitable. But he didn’t show that and a host of critics have mauled marxist for that and other reasons.
Further marxists were caught in marx’s (or engels’) attack on utopian versus scientific socialism. But if those theories are scientific then we end doing what we were doing all along: assessing the social and historical realm and considering the issue of socialism on the basis of values rather than spurious historical laws.
The subject, and internet presence, ‘historical materialism’ is considerable in its scope and yet the entire discipline seems incapable of leading to a focused radical or social democratic path. Marxism is easy to jargonize and over-analyze, with no real result, and little connection with public thinking or with the equally barren fields of sociology, historical or otherwise.
We have pointed here repeatedly to some core problems with ‘histomat’ in terms of its obsessive Marx worship and rote assumptions about the canonical status of his legacy. We have pointed to the shallowness and misfire of economic analysis of world history as an odd fundamentalism, and then to the fallacy of ‘stages of production’ theory, and the failure to produce a viable model of the very socialism/communism projected, very much in a void. The whole legacy of leninism/bolshevism goes almost without critical comment alienating virtually the whole potential public for socialism…
We have suggested a whole series of remedies, among them a divorce with a failed past and a recasting of the socialist legacy that was so dogmatically appropriated to marxist monopoly by Marx himself…
Source: News | Historical Materialism
The will is a bit far from issues of historical materialism. The issue of the will is almost as elusive as that of ‘enlightenment’. The will in man is not his sense of willing, or will power. It is directly related to ‘free will’ issues, but in a different mode. Is in the real sense is unconscious and almost never visible…
The left might adopt some version of Bennett for a new version of the definition of man…not so easy…watch your step…
Without freedom man cannot create socialism…Marx’s productive force determinism is misleading…
This post was supposed to be at The Gurdjieff Con, but I pulled a fast one and put it at Darwiniana… Modern biology can’t do justice to the human ‘organism’/being: the issue of the w…
I have often recommended replacing historical materialism with something simpler and less reductionist. To make that theory a requirement to create socialism was a mistake. It antagonizes almost the whole of exterior culture. It forecloses on virtually the whole of human thought and history and imposes a brittle version of early nineteenth century scientism as a universal generalization. Whatever it seemed at the time it is now irrelevant for us. Historical materialism claims to debunk all religion, almost all philosophy, negates ‘idealism’ as some kind of evil delusion, reduces history to economic issues, negates teleology in the name of science and then creates a crypto-teleology that misleads anyone trying to construct a socialist entity in practice. It tries to seize high ground against all forms of thought with the weird claim that the mode of production stands beyond all that as the determinant factor. Small wonder socialists/communists always fumble the ball. Their view of society is crackpot.
Marx did one of the worst things you can do to a cadre: give a bunch of idiots an air-tight generalization that they will embrace the way people embrace religion: the end of creative thinking enters to establish the reign of dogma. Try this: try to critique Marx and the cultic crowd will react to you with a vengeance. The outcome has been “Marx the Prophet”, a misfortune that will blind adherents to the need for very careful thinking about practical action.
It is not hard to correct all this. We have recommended being wary of historical theories and working with outlines and empirical models. That way, the diversity and complexity of history is not sacrificed to a monomania. In that context the critique of political economy can be wrought via a robust set of empirical studies that do not presume to laws of history or scientific determinism. History is the sage of free agents who have choice, whatever the case that free agency is the same as free will. But issues of free will are better studied with Kant than Newton or scientists. The question of free agents is enough: we cannot expect ‘history’ to produce communism mechanically. It requires construction: we must create a socialism that makes sense, embraces a set of values and realizes new degree of freedom.