Marxian Spirituality & Equality.

When nature is observed, one particular, and often disturbing factor is plain to see.  Nature is not equal in any obvious sense.  Life exploits life.  All that lives is dependent upon all else that exists.  The bare requirement to ‘exist’, and to continue to exist, appears to be the prima facto underlying all biological blue-prints and diverse sentient patterns.

Having established this natural exploitation, an interesting question has to be asked.  Is nature at its purest form, demonstrating a fundamental inequality, as the developmental and existential base of all life?  Is it essential for nature to develop life, via a route that does not, and can not, allow for any contributory mechanism that could provide a means for the releasing of the biological pressure valve?

The situation as described is dependent upon a particular point of view. Nature, by its disparate presentation, offers a tremendous diversity that is breath-taking in both implication and experience.  When one distinct life form, is linearly compared with another, as if they are placed side by side, out of the context of their respective natural existences, and measured, the results suggest inequality.  But is this view correct?

It is correct from the point of view that sees it that way, but it must be clearly pointed out that this view is limited by self-defined barriers of logic, that serve to channel all incoming information, toward a particular perspective.  The validity of this interpretation does not go beyond the structures of its own limiting logic.

Nature is equal because it is diverse.  The equality that underpins the diversity of life, allows for the apparently random creation and development of patterns of existence that are free to find their own developmental pathways through their particular allotted life spans.  Measuring life as if it exists as a bar chart, gives a false interpretation of what it is, that is exactly being observed.  By the method of observation, an idea is formed.  But it is also true that a situation as it exists, should dictate the model of interpretation that is used to quantify its existence.  Arbitrary logic structures, applied in isolation, give results that are purely idiosyncratic in nature and not valid in the final assessment.

Equality therefore, is an amorphous concept.  Equality that does not take into account the diversity of life hinders growth and renders impotent the creative impulse of the human individual.  For equality to be effective, it must not make victims out of those who are subject to it.  Throughout history, humanity has created societies based upon social hierarchy.   These have evolved out of primitive communism, associated with the tribal structure.  The castes or classes that developed are based upon the power acquired through a particular social function, be it hunting, building, selling and farming, etc.  The ability to wage war, has served as the bias for feudal societies around the world.

Today, economics is considered the main motivating factor of human organisation.  And the class structure that has developed based purely upon the acquisition of wealth.  Those with more wealth are considered to be of ‘greater worth’ than those with less wealth.  In Capitalist societies, equality is considered as the ability of all its citizens to access wealth creation ‘equally’ at the source of that wealth.  This is the Capitalist assumption of base equality.  It does not take into account, the social structures that have evolved around the acquisition of wealth, that are designed not to help those who have no wealth, to access wealth, but rather to legally assist those who have already acquired money and social status, to both maintain their privileged position, and make it very difficult for others to attain to the same position.  Capitalism is an economic philosophy that advocates the acquisition of material wealth – and therefore is considered a form of materialism, linked to both liberalism and individualism.

Communism, on the other hand, that is the Marxist theory of Communism, does not advocate the acquisition of wealth as the basis of social development.  Social planning, based upon the scientific method, is designed to develop society as a whole.  As a consequence, both wealth acquisition and individualism are viewed as unscientific and therefore against the common good of society as a whole.  Everyone within the Communist society, moves forward, together.  Human potential is focused toward the development of society in general, through a selfless attitude of endeavour.  Marxist Communism however, does not view human spirituality as valid, but a by-product of Capitalist exploitation.

To be ‘spiritual’ in the Marxist sense, is not to believe in gods or spirits, but rather to use the human mind in an advanced fashion.  Although consciousness is admitted by Marx, Communism, like its Capitalist cousin, is a materialist philosophy.  It does not advocate the acquisition of wealth, (on the contrary, it advocates the re-distribution of wealth), but it does reduce all of existence to that of matter, and its perception.  As matter at its source is the same everywhere, so it is that humanity is ‘equal’ at its material base.  Marxists view humanity as being freed from idealism, superstition and exploitation, and raised up to the equality of ‘matter’.

Depending upon the position of the observer, equality has no set criterion.  No permanent reference point that humanity can use to set a definite level, agreeable to all.  What is equal to some will be devastating to others.  It is not surprising that both Capitalism and Communism are material philosophies – that is systems of social organisation that advocate a pragmatic view of the world, generally free of idealism.  They are, of course, intimately related, as the latter is viewed as the solution to the inequalities and greed of the former.  From a Marxist perspective, a Communist society can only grow out of a Capitalist society, as wealth is actually needed to re-distribute to all people.  Marx believed that Great Britain was the only country in his time that could be Communist, because of its tremendous wealth and imperial power.

The term ‘spiritual’ however, is found in Marxist inspired texts.  For instance, Marx and Engels wrote:

‘…The class that possesses the means of material production, by virtue of this also possesses the means of spiritual production…  The individual’s composing the ruling class possesses, among other things, consciousness as well, and by virtue of this, think.  In so far, therefore, as they rule as a class and determine the extent and scope of an epoch, it is self-evident that they do this in all its spheres, hence rule also as thinkers, as producers of ideas, and regulate the production and distribution of the ideas of their age, and that means that their ideas are the dominant ones of the epoch.’  (On Communist Education: By MIKalinin – Page 139)

And although Lenin refers to religion as a ‘spiritual booze’, and a means of ‘spiritual oppression’, he nevertheless, appears to acknowledge a spiritual dimension to the working masses when he says:

‘The economic oppression of the workers inevitably calls forth and engenders every kind of political oppression and social humiliation, the coarsening and darkening of the spiritual and moral life of the masses.’  (Socialism and Religion:  By VI Lenin – Page 1).

The term ‘spiritual’, as used by Marx, Engels, Lenin and Kalinin appears to refer to clear thinking and the subsequent good ideas that emerge from such thinking.  It is linked in Marxist ideology to education and not to religion – which Lenin declared a ‘private affair’.  It is, as a concept, separate and distinct from religion.  Marxist spirituality is the product of a refined consciousness, and ‘spirituality’ in this context may be viewed as a human mind, fully functioning and achieving its complete potential through the outer structures of an idealSocialistState.  With such a mind-set fully established, equality, as a concrete physical attribute is ensured as a cerebral conclusion.  From the Socialist position, equality is a logical response to the diversity of the natural world, and not a denial of it.

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