File spoon-archives/bhaskar.archive/bhaskar_2001/bhaskar.0106, message 23


Date: Mon, 18 Jun 2001 12:24:26 GMT
Subject: Re: BHA: Bhaskar, Marx and self-consciousness


Dear Gary, 

Good to hear from you. 

You said: 

> There may well be political problems emanating From East to 
West but
> these are not due to the mysticism in the book.  If anything the
> difficulty is with the concept of unconditional love.
> 
> regards
> 
> Gary

I share your humanist sentiments and orientiations completely. And 
I agree with everything you say about the depths at which the 
present crises are developing. I'd even go on to extend the idea, with 
crises developing within the depths of social being, within our selves 
(body and mind) as well as within the ecosystem. I also agree that 
part of the intention of FEW is to find a single language with which 
to disclose this multiplicity of interrelated impending crises. 

However ... 

The positive aspects of Roy's development of DCR pave the way for 
the radical incoporation into Marx's mature work of a critque of the 
ecological consequences of capitalist modernity. Indeed, it paves 
the way for a much more general Marxian theory of modernity. FEW 
though is deeply ambiguous. It develops this possibility of 
humanism in an irrealist, mystifying, manner. It ends up producing 
the very thing you, we, are looking for but in a distorted fashion. 

This kind of humanism, simultaneously intimated and obscured by 
FEW, is properly expansive, allowing us to encompass our 
responsibilities towards our planet within our sense of ourselves and 
our being in the world. To develop that humanism, however, we need 
not to go down the road opened by FEW. That road is only hinted at 
by 'unconditional love'. The problems go much more deeply into the 
structure of its concepts, so they are irreducible to unconditional 
love or any other single concept. Rather, concepts like 
'unconditional love' all belong to the new range of 'absolute' 
categories introduced by FEW. These kinds of concepts are the 
problem, so 'uncoditional love' is just one symptom of the deeper 
problem of the new irrealism. 

Here's the alternative path to FEW: The critique of 'unconditional 
love' must develop from the the particular concept into a critique of 
the general kind of concept it is. This higher level critique ends up 
as the critique of 'absolute categorial structure' and it therefore 
carries on to become the critique of the concept of 'god' at the heart 
of the book. The critique of an irrealist concept 'god', in turn, takes 
us back to the best of DCR. That, finally, takes us back to a 
substantive and realist historical sociology of capitalist modernity 
which encompasses all of kinds of crises emerging from within it. 

Very best wishes, 

Nick. 

> 
> 
> >Well I will enter a note of dissent. That will not surprise either
> >Nick or Mervyn.
> 
> Nick, bless him, writes as if From East to West is letting down the
> side politically.  Mervyn is not free from that criticism either.  
> But if we take the question say of the ecological criiss then a
> different picture emerges. It is precisely the depth of the crisis
> that has partly produced 
>  From East to West.
> 
> 
> It must be said that Roy was criticised for his Apocalypse now view on
> the environment at Lancaster and on my way home I picked up the papere
> and there it was on the front page - the ice cap at the North Pole had
> melted for the first time in quite a few millenia. So if we think of
> the eco-system, my argument is that here we have an element that is
> absolutely essential to any contemporary politics and where East to
> West is *NOT* a hindrance.
> 
> 
> There may well be political problems emanating From East to West but
> these are not due to the mysticism in the book.  If anything the
> difficulty is with the concept of unconditional love.
> 
> regards
> 
> Gary
> 



---------------------------------
Nick Hostettler,
Department of Political Studies,
SOAS (University of London),
Thornaugh Street,
Russell Square,
London WC1H 0XG
---------------------------------


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