10 Jun 2013, 6:00pm
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Letter to Andrew Kliman on the subject of the ‘Self Thinking Idea’

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Andrew,

I thought I’d finally make the time to get back to you with some questions about the self-thinking idea because I hope we might be able to talk about this subject on Diet Soap fairly soon.

So, your response was compelling, especially when you pointed out that my concept of the totality as self-divided and self maintaining was self-refuting, however your further point about the difference between logic and consciousness was not only something I agreed with, but helped me to clarify the intention of my original question and how my intent was not to suggest that the current totality is organic, stable, and functional, but rather that it is a system that tries to preserve not its members but its logic.

In Hegel’s Phenomenology of Mind he wrote that “Virtue is not merely like the combatant whose sole concern in the fight is to keep his sword polished; but it has even started the fight simply to preserve its weapons. And not merely is it unable to use its own weapons, but it must also preserve intact those of its enemy, and protect them against its own attack, seeing they are all noble parts of the good, on behalf of which it entered the field of battle.”

I would tend to see Virtue as synonymous with Ideology in this case. I see Capitalism as a Virtue or ideology that seeks to maintain a logic of class struggle, to maintain a battle with weapons of various sorts. To be clearer still, while the Capitalist class perpetually attacks and tries to suppress the working clases their aim should not be to wipe out the working classes, or to permanently defeat them, but rather to keep the working classes swords sharp.

This isn’t a matter of thought or consciousness, but real antagonisms acted out in the world. Antagonism set up by a logic that sets limits on what kinds of relations can exist and kinds of thoughts can become more than mere fantasies.

So, my question, reformulated, is this: Under what circumstances does one side or another in this struggle manage to break the weapons of the other side of the totality, and further if the proletarian class is to emerge as the new source of a logic for a new society, would it have to divide against itself with new sets of weapons?

Thanks,

Doug

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