On Karl Marx’s Ideal of Man

The question of Marx's ideal of man is quite simple: the whole image he lays forth in his works is overly childish, voluntaristic and outright untenable.

Human knowledge has grown so immensely since the Antiquity, so that the very basic jobs require quite a significant learning period. One cannot simply become an engineer or an analyst, even with a background in the adjacent fields.

A Huge Miss of a Good Thinker

James Lindsay and his New Disourses project is interesting in its critique of the Left indeed. However, I believe there is a huge mistake which undermines Lindsay's productiveness as a philosopher: he clings to the Leftism as Gnosticism idea (developing some of the Eric Voeglin's insights) while missing the meta-physical side of the questions.
Religions are not just sets of beliefs. They are philosophies, they have metaphysics – each has one of its own (leave aside the fact that the metaphysics of a religion may change under the institutional pressure – see the Catholic church as an example).
Thus, equating the leftism (or any version of Post-Modernism) with Gnosticism is a huge miss.
There is a certain meta-physical background which may be shared by most of the Gnostics and most of the Leftists. But this is an example of the convergent evolution of the ideas.

From my Meditations

Living the chaos and being the chaos: these are the only ways of dealing with the world around us. Fear of chaos is the fear of life itself.

Life as it is is neither pleasurable, nor pain-ridden. This is a simple fact, devoid of any value or meaning. We need to focus more on our own values, meanings and goals and thus make our lives truly ours.

The Principal Failure of Objectivism

The principal failure of Objectivism, which leads to rather glaring inconsistencies in its wielders' systems of views is the fundamental inability to distinguish between the natural and the social. Genealogically, it is obviously a result of following Aristotle's doctrine, which – in some of its views – takes inspiration from Plato.

The same Plato who rejected the division between the nature and custom first introduced by the Sophists.

Plato's caricature on this division was inherited by Aristotle and through him and some later authors – by Ayn Rand. And what baffles me is the rather uncritical adoption of essentialism and the idea of objective truth in the sphere of the social.

Of course, physics and biology that predicate our existence are totally subject to causality, and the systems which we observe are usually simple enough for us to wrap our heads around it. We can say that the law of gravity is an observation that reflects the objective truth about the matter, because no matter what you think about it, it works. We can say that heterosexuality is a biological norm, because it is the only way for the sexed species to reproduce (and even if not every being in the population is heterosexual, it does not matter on the evolutionary level).

However, there is no objective truth when it comes to social life. Here we cannot rely on the causation so easily because the intricate structure of the human mind and consciousness. If in physics we can have a picture of the causal links within the system, in psychology it is totally impossible, because:

  • a part of our thinking is done without using our self-awareness (see intuition, insight, educated guesses, etc.);
  • every human being remembers an immense amount of individual-specific information (with the as the upper limit of possible links between these bits);
  • all situations except the most simplistic ones are linked within the mesh of the individual's value system.

So, even if we have an experiment when most, or even 100%, of participants reproduce the expected action, we cannot be sure that they are reproducing it because of the same causal reasons.

The same goes for values – even if we take the individual's survival as the ultimate one, there are many ways to achieve that. If we take happiness as a value – we end up with our inability to quantify happiness and thus choose the ‘right’ option among the many ones available to us.

So, the fallacy the Objectivists fall for is taking one of the ways of living a life, one value structure, as the ‘objective’ standard and trying to rationalise away all the others as ‘irrational’.

It is not to say that Objectivism is a bad philosophy, though. I think it is as good a philosophy as many people it helps to live a fulfilling life. Yet, in its quest for integrity and cognitive security, it ironically strides away from the rationalist path it proclaims.

And, of course, whim-worship the Objectivist criticise is still a thing, and hardly one of the positive ones.