Dialectics. Matter. Dialectical Materialism

It was Hegel who discovered the dialectical nature of the working of Nature. He saw the unfolding of “Idea” in dialectical manner and coming into being of this material world. Then, he tried to explain the human history in terms of dialectics. Karl Marx, following Hegel, agreed that the working of Nature is dialectical in nature. But he saw the unfolding of “Matter” (instead of “Idea”) in dialectical manner and coming into being of this world, including “Idea” (which he said, was nothing but the reflection of matter in human mind). Marx greatly admired Hegel for his discovery of the “laws” of the working of dialectics.

We live in 21st century, when science has much advanced since the age of Hegel or Marx. Today, philosophy has been reduced to mere speculation by modern science. A philosophy which is not corroborated by science is nothing but mere speculation and Marxism is no exception to this. Our scientific understanding of the working of Nature is changing with each new discovery and so must change the philosophical enunciation of Nature.   It looks obvious to say that “dialectics” is a process; and that “Materialism” is a conviction about the nature of things. Today, we can ask ourselves the question: what is the relationship of dialectics with Materialism?

We know that there are many kinds of things in this world. There are mountains, trees, humans, electricity, water, air, sky, Earth, sun, books, machines etc. The list will go on endlessly. We put a question to ourselves: Do all these things have any inter-connection with each other? Yes, they have: they all are made-up of matter.

Can we understand this relationship of diverse things that connects them together? Yes, a scientific equation has been found by the humanity that makes their relationship very simple. It the famous equation: E=mc2

What does it tell? It tells that energy of a given thing is equal to the mass of that thing multiplied by the square of the speed of light. It is an equation of “equivalence” of matter and energy, where the speed of light is a constant (and which is squared, so that the result of the calculations in a given case is tallied with the results observed in the concerned experiment). Here, we are not concerned with energy or with matter; we are concerned with their relationship.

Dialectics is an equation that explains the process that inter-connects all things with each other. This process is defined in terms of thesis, antithesis and synthesis.

The process was first discovered by a German philosopher, W. F. Hegel and was named by him as “Dialectics”. This term was borrowed by Marx from Hegel; and Marx acknowledged it.

Dialectics has nothing to do with “materialism”, which was associated with it by Marx (when he famously said: Dialectics with Hegel was standing at its head, I have simply upturned it to make it stand on its feet); dialectics has nothing to do with the “Idea or Spirit”, which was associated with it by Hegel (in an effort to explain the world).

Dialectics has nothing to do with “Matter” or “Spirit or Idea”. It is the enunciation of a process.

The whole world evolves and moves on following the dialectical process, giving out as the result of this process this whole varied world, including human beings who are able to understand and explain this process as dialectics. It is Hegelian “Idea” operating in dialectics.

Without there being humans, to understand or explain this process, the world still evolves and moves on in the dialectical terms. It is Marxist “materialism” in interpreting dialectics.

In the context of “Matter” of Marx and “Idea” of Hegel in the operation of dialectical process of Nature, we can very well say it is the “equivalence” relationship between the two. As in the case of the above quoted Einstein’s equation, it is futile to find out “mass” is primary or “energy” is primary, so is the case of the primacy of “matter” or “idea” in the dialectical process. We know that in this world, energy and mass (of matter) both exist. Likewise, all that exists “independent of human mind and outside of human mind” is “Matter”. Here, “Matter” means the “Reality” and nothing more.

Dialectics is dialectics; and, through this device we can understand the working process of Nature.

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