Friday, April 10, 2009

After Karl Marx, another view of history


By Cage Innoye 

Two peoples are at war today in a very interesting and symbolic conflict -- Afghanistan and America, a very tribal culture vs. the most advanced culture on the planet, one culture near the beginning, one very far away. This raises some interesting questions about history.

Karl Marx gave us a perspective on history focusing on class struggle. It was called ‘historical materialism’. Here is offered another thesis that is based on the principle of ‘differentiation’. In the cosmos all things differentiate over time, they become more diverse, more individual, more particular over time. This is a long-term process in the world too, call it ‘historical differentiation’. 

In this view, class struggle is incorporated as one type of ‘differentiation’ though it is modified here. The general notion addresses not only classes but all forms of inequality – gender, race and more. The thesis also appends the class issue with problems in the formation of individuality. It addresses the rise of social institutions, the rise of complexity in society, and the war of institutions. It addresses the consequent war of minds within the brain. It addresses the appearance of false ideologies and delusions like consumerism and more. 

What is the fundamental theme of history? It is the same as the whole cosmos! It is differentiation -- the creation of difference, individuality, particularity, complexity. Humans are no different than over living organisms or inanimate things. This force produces galaxies, planets, living things, humans, human minds and human society. 

This differentiation must begin somewhere. For the cosmos it begins, at least as far we can trace it now, in the Subsume of a singularity and then the ‘big bang’. A Subsume is an origin point where all things are fused and confused, and all future things exist in potential. At some point, there was an earth Subsume for nascent life, though we don’t know yet what it was and when, but it ‘elaborated’ outward into many species and an ecosystem. Then human Subsumes appeared in evolution too. For the purposes here concerning modern history, we begin in another Subsume -- that of the tribal village long before the rise of ‘civilization’. 

The village splits into parts, differentiation causes this. Class groups arise at a certain point, classes of all sorts, inequality appears. Institutions arise -- church, economy, government, science and technology, education, art, theatre etc. Affluence, specialization and organization propel this process.

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