While I was a student of Architecture, Marxism appeared the movement and political will of rationalists. I studied the subject of “Dialectic Materialism” with utmost care and in no time turned red by thought. But with time, the realizations walked in and I could see that “Marxism” is no different than an Abrahamic Religion. Of all, the biggest revelation that came upon me was the anti-science strands of Marxism. I’ve penned this essay collating my learning about the anti-science stand of Marxism. This is a very brief analysis that can be turned into a series of essays.
One must begin inquiring into the subject by reading Marxist literature itself. It was in 1844 that Marx was looking for the incorporation of physical sciences with ‘the science of man,’ (Marxism). This idea is no different than Abrahmic’s notion about science. The passage below from Marx’s Private Property and Communism, 1844 gives a clear idea about the same:
Sense-perception (see Feuerbach) must be the basis of all science. Only when it proceeds from sense-perception in the two-fold form of sensuous consciousness and sensuous need – is it true science
Just a couple of years after Darwin published ‘Origin of Species,’ Marx wrote to Ferdinand Lassalle in 1861, explaining how it has explained “Class Struggle” historically. Marx was highly excited about it. Soon he requested Darwin to write a foreword for his book “Das Kapital”. Below is a passage from letter of Marx To Ferdinand Lassalle In Berlin, 16 January 1861:
Darwin’s work is most important and suits my purpose in that it provides a basis in natural science for the historical class struggle. One does, of course, have to put up with the clumsy English style of argument. Despite all shortcomings, it is here that, for the first time, ‘teleology’ in natural science is not only dealt a mortal blow but its rational meaning is empirically explained
Then after a year, Marx expresses further amusement towards Darwin’s theory stating that it speaks of class struggle even among animals and plants. Read the below excerpt from the letter of Marx To Engels in Manchester, 18 June, 1862 :
I’m amused that Darwin, at whom I’ve been taking another look, should say that he also applies the ‘Malthusian’ theory to plants and animals, as though in Mr Malthus’s case the whole thing didn’t lie in its not being applied to plants and animals, but only — with its geometric progression — to humans as against plants and animals
But two years before publishing “Das Kapital”, Marx wrote to Friedrich Engels mentioning how Pierre Trémaux’s work seems more significant than that of Darwin for its confirmation to his theory citing an example of class struggle in geology. Below is a passage from the letter of Marx to Engels In Manchester, 7 August 1866:
A very important work which I shall send on to you (but on condition that you send it back, as it is not my property) as soon as I have made the necessary notes, is: ‘P. Trémaux, Origine et Transformations de l’Homme et des autres Êtres, Paris 1865. In spite of all the shortcomings that I have noted, it represents a very significant advance over Darwin. The two chief theses are: croisements [crossings] do not produce, as is commonly thought, variety, but, on the contrary, a unity typical of the espèces
So the question arises that why suddenly Marx thought Darwin is wrong? It happened because he found some other ideas under the banner of “science” which would support his theory better. For him, every science that supported his theory was to be glorified and what didn’t go hand in hand was supposed to be exterminated.
(Aabhas Maldahiyar is an author and columnist)
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