Showing posts from December, 2021

The Two Most Important Statements in Marx

  The two most important statements in all of Karl Marx's writings come from the same book ("Contribution to the Critique of Hegel's Philosophy of Right").  In fact, they come from the very same page.  I call them "thesis 1" and "thesis 2," though Marx does not number them.  They are as follows: Thesis 1: "...It is evident that all forms of the state have democracy for their truth, and for that reason are false to the extent that they are not democracy." and  Thesis 2: "...In true democracy, the political state disappears."  How one interprets Marx hangs completely on how one interprets these two statements.  In a few words, Marx brings together all the diverse tendencies that made the group of thinkers to which he belonged so distinctive - a group that was familiar and conversant with the writings of Hegel and other important philosophers of the period, and yet represented a rebellious, even shocking divergence from tradition. 

Four Levels of History

The 4 levels of history: 1. War 2. The State 3. Religion 4. Philosophy (& science & art) These should not be thought of as occurring distinctly and subsequently; they all happen, of course, simultaneously.  Nonetheless, there is a kind of order between them: not a chronological order, but a kind of logical order, because each step represents the recursion of the previous step. The state is the recursion of war - it is war turned inward, war turned back on itself.  A side of the war turns back on itself, turning what had been outward aggression inward, so that the struggle for dominance (the "will to power" as it were) is no longer directed towards the enemy but rather towards one's own.  You might say that the state is war turned inside-out. Similarly, religion is the recursion of the state: the self-referential "meta-state" so to speak.  You could call it the state of the state.  The church has been, traditionally, the center of morality, and morality c

The Ego Is Not Selfish Enough

    The problem with having an ego is that it may not be selfish enough.   As I mentioned in my previous article, " A Defense of the Ego ," the ego can be understood as an illusion, or more accurately, as a construction.  But that doesn't make it wrong.  (It doesn't even make it untrue, because social constructions are real.)  The problem with the ego is not that it is too selfish (and thus evil).  It's just the opposite.  The difficulty with the ego is that it may come into conflict with your selfishness.  This problem may arise in various ways.  Let's look at some of the most common: Let's say you are trying to eat as much chocolate peanut butter pie as you can.  That is your selfish motivation.  Now let's say there are many strategies for getting chocolate peanut butter pie: strategy 1, strategy 2, strategy 3, etc., etc..  You have landed on strategy number 54, and it's working pretty well.  But unbeknownst to you, there is another strategy, st