#Dialectic Burrito Deluxe: #Marx or #Hegel, Tortilla or Bagel…

Marx and Hegel are almost (almost!) equally famous for their dialogues and dialectics, with themselves and others, materialism and idealism respectively, thesis antithesis synthesis, history somehow some way marching forward zig-zag drunkenly, reconciling opposites into higher syntheses supposedly, like a ball rolling downhill, picking up speed, bouncing from side to side, before finally choosing a middle course out of entropy as much as any conscious decision-making progress…

And so we do just that, apparently, nomadic hunter-gatherers until we had the ways and means to settle down with plants and animals, sedentary farmer-herders until we had the ways and means to build elaborate cities with specialized skills, accomplished artisans-craftsmen until we had the ways and means to sell beyond our local ‘hood, market-based buyers-sellers until we had the ways and means to go long distances, peripatetic merchant-travelers until we had the ways and means to mass-produce anywhere any time…

But that doesn’t seem much like any sort of Marxist dialectical materialism to me, defined by ownership of the means of production, more like a fairly direct progression in which the individual gives up more and more of his freedom, in exchange for property, as he gains skills, in favor of increasing creature comforts and more toys to play with, moving around less and less while settling down more and more…

And arguably it’s just the opposite in politics, maybe in some sort of sub-conscious trade-off, more and more voting rights trickling down to the masses from upstairs, while those same creative people seem to sign their lives over more and more to those same rich and powerful corporations and corporate barons. So any true back-and-forth dialectic might be between economics and politics, playing one off the other to effect improvement in people’s lives, so maybe that’s what Marx meant…

And the idealism dialectic seems similarly inconclusive, if more plausible, a fairly logical progression from nature-worship and fertility rites toward a more modern scientific view, but with major back-and-forth swings to and from superstition, particularly in the form of witchcraft, which was so widespread so recently as to beggar belief…

If you’re from Sedona, AZ, then call that ‘divine feminine energy’ if you want, or whatever, but the fact remains that male control of the planet has increased in direct proportion to an increase in populations. In fact I think the theories of both Marx and Hegel are more predictive than descriptive, in that, while this supposed dialectic is hard to recognize in the past, it certainly seems as though it needs to happen now, that we need to make actual choices, rather than just ‘go with the flow’…

Dialectic of Fun and Futures

And if the recent past if any indication, then we are certainly in for a wild ride, the predominant democracy-capitalist paradigm first detouring toward a Communist-totalitarian alternative, then swinging toward an entirely opposite Islamic-fundamentalist one, with many of the former Commies indeed jumping ship for the democratic-capitalist joy ride, but without any real synthesis emerging in the process, at least not to my knowledge. Are we just swinging randomly, wildly and blindly?

Or are the Communist-totalitarian and Islamic-fundamentalist extremes merely two faces of one larger paradigm? Neither is especially democratic, to be sure. And both have rather dark sobering perspectives on life, officially at least, if by ‘sober’ we avoid any mention of alcohol abuse. So in this analysis the dialectic would be between the fun-loving capitalists and its bleak barren totalitarian-fundamentalist opposite.

I don’t think this is as far-fetched as it might seem at first glance, present gluttony vs. future sustainability, or fun fun fun vs. seriousness, nor do I think it’s a bad thing. The Western paradigm is bound to fail; it’s only a question of time. The ironic thing is that no Western country seems to have any desire to change even one single thing in the process…

The first thing every prime minister says in response to acts of terrorism is typically something like: “We will never change our way of life to accommodate these terrorists.” Nothing? Really? Is that wise? Of course, these are violent terrorists, so I understand that, but isn’t their disgust of the West also shared by many non-violent sympathizers? And I reiterate: these are not the people causing global warming. That would be us…

Of course the West HAS made some minor changes in consumption patterns, especially in Europe, which are capable of mitigating some of the grosser effects of climate change, but still: is not some larger change in lifestyle forthcoming, to at least offer some philosophical cover to an increase in sustainability?

I mean: if we really want to reverse global warming for a more sustainable future, shouldn’t we at least pay some lip-service to concepts that already debuted quite successfully in the 1970’s, like, oh I don’t know, maybe ‘global village’, ‘small planet’, ‘slow growth’, ‘mother earth’, ‘no-growth’, ‘back-to-nature’, ‘commune’, ‘whole earth’, ‘ecology’, ‘environmentalism’, etc., etc.?

But that just seems like a distant dream now, after the digital revolution and rise of Big Banking, financial ‘products’ and market ‘derivatives’, all of which separate us farther and further from our money, and control over our economy, which threaten to enslave us to technology and machines, far from our homes and loved ones, ever more dependent…

But the main cause of ‘terrorism’ in the present would seem to be colonialism in the past—and Zionism in the present. If we are to survive, it seems there needs to be a radical paradigm shift, both philosophically politically economically and socially…

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