User talk:Gewgtweg

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Rise, necromancer! Reverend Black Percy (talk) 21:32, 21 October 2016 (UTC)

I wouldn't stay up all night. My life isn't so meaningless for that. You can get what I'm saying here. Thanks for the welcome. Gewgtweg (talk) 18:23, 22 October 2016 (UTC)
No problems, friend. Just ask if anything crosses your mind. All the best, Reverend Black Percy (talk) 18:35, 22 October 2016 (UTC)

Your edits to that essay on objective morality[edit]

Your edit: http://rationalwiki.org/w/index.php?title=Essay:If_there_is_indeed_no_objective_morality...&diff=1747933&oldid=898346

Conventionally, one should not edit the essay itself. Instead, one should create your own essay as a response to the first one. Eg: Essay:In response to 'If there is indeed no objective morality...' If you could transfer your edit over there, that would be great. Thanks! :) FuzzyCatPotato of the Female Lints (talk/stalk) 01:58, 24 October 2016 (UTC)

You could also transfer your words to the talkpage of said essay. Regardless, Fuzzy is right. A comment on somebody's essay normal does not belong in it. All the best, Reverend Black Percy (talk) 10:01, 24 October 2016 (UTC)
Thanks! Cømяade FυzzчCαтPøтαтø (talk/stalk) 12:54, 24 October 2016 (UTC)

Saying something is reasonable isn't the same as saying it's my opinion[edit]

So postmodernism has a central point that can't be ignored: the modernist obsessives of the early 20th century followed objectivity as a suicide pact and ignored dramatic subjective harm that things like, say, eugenics, brought about in the name of chasing an objective goal that wasn't as objective as the perpetrators made it out to be. So my own view is that post-modernism brought an unquestionably important thing to the table and isn't to be dismissed trivially.

However and can sympathize and empathize with someone who feels the world abounds in subjective viewpoints that are poorly substantiated and prefers modernist ideology. ikanreed You probably didn't deserve that 21:40, 8 December 2016 (UTC)

The theory and perception of 'post-modernism' appeared in the decades immediately following WWII in what was already a mature phase of the post-bourgeois era. However in terms of an analysis of the literature, it seems obvious to me that the prerequisites and materials of post-modernism (as well as its sociopolitical requirements) were extant quite a long time before that post-bourgeois era. This allows us to apply the notion of post-modernism retrospectively and understand it in terms of social history, i.e. in its anti-bourgeois, anti-liberal and mass-democratic references. Both modernism and post-modernism are to understood in their references to the mass society that first started to grow from within the bourgeoisie-dominated oligarchic liberal society and then transitioned into mass-democracy.
Social-Darwinism which is what you're referring to was in fact anti-bourgeois (cf. slogans of degeneracy) and can be reckoned as post-modernist. Fascism and related stuff is simply the dark-side of post-modernism not some kind of atavism that comes from beyond post-modernism. The Hippy and the Neo-Nazi are two symmetrical and related measures much as they seem to be worlds apart.
The viewpoint that people have false subjective beliefs (i.e. 'misguided') is not unique to post-modernism. Post-modern is about being skeptical about the belief that this subjectivity can or should be overcome at all. The pessimism of the Social Darwninist is in negative agreement to the optimism of the champion of 'political correctness' which Aneris was really riling against.
You might want to check out my essay on Marxism and the 20th century. Modernism and post-modernism are mentioned. Just visit my main page and you'll find a link to it from there.
It would be much appreciated if you could inform me of your opinions on social and political matters. You could maybe start with commentary on my essay. By the way, feel free to correct spelling or grammar errors should you find one. If you think something doesn't make sense (regardless of what's 'correct' or not) or could be written better please do notify me. Gewgtweg (talk) 09:17, 9 December 2016 (UTC)
Marxism, is, traditionally speaking, a modernist philosophy. There are plenty of post-modernist marxists, in fact, nowadays probably more than not, but when Marx laid out his ideas in Das Kapital, it was fully intended to be a objective, philosophical approach to economics. And not just social Darwinism, that was an example of the failings of modernism. GDP as a measure of a country's quality, leadership inherently being meritocratic, or technology being a strict progression of worse to better were all core elements of a modernist ethos. ikanreed You probably didn't deserve that 16:39, 9 December 2016 (UTC)
Regarding Marx, keep in mind that his writings were notoriously razor thin (even unintelligent) on accounting for the "nature of man" (per se). For the system builders that based themselves on his theories, this could take expression in a truly heartless way — clearly, in favor of social darwinism. But before confounding "mere" semi-intentional social darwinism with principles of active eugenics, it's also important to recognize that Marx didn't espouse any overt biological theories whatosever. Further, while he wrote in favor of a form of general emancipation so wide as to be naïve (and at the cost of the physical annihilation of a class of people), it's important to remember that his definition of "freedom" stemmed powerfully from that of Hegel — and Hegel's conception of freedom wasn't the least bit "free" in any current sense (it was, in fact, complete nonsense). Marxism amounts to a grand world-historicist system, grown out of the urn in which rested the fantastical ravings of Hegel. Interestingly, the — ultimately hollow — core of unadulterated Marxist theory was one of the reasons why Marxism always worked far better when "adulterated" (or rather, adapted) — by the same democratic party movements which Marx' grand theory failed to predict — more as a lesson on the pitfalls of industrial capitalism, than as some coherent instructive totality (which it wasn't) with mystical metaphysical and epistemological ramifications (which it lacks anyways). Marx was as brilliant an economist as he was terrible as a historian — even by the standards of his age. Sadly, he debased this talent for understanding economics by forcing his work through the warped lens of Hegelian mysticism (the same greasy looking glass lauded by postmodernists today). As such, his over-arching theory was bound to fail on the basis of being critically woo-laden — all the while, of course, insisting on its purportedly "scientific" nature. Reverend Black Percy (talk) 17:47, 9 December 2016 (UTC)
@ikanreed I cite these two paragraphs from my essay. After reading them carefully tell me what still makes you think Marxism was a modernist philosophy. Feel free to disagree. There's nothing I like more.
The mass-democratic re-interpretation of Marxist humanism which was joined harmonically by the material interpretation of egalitarian rights, was necessary for a reason that might seem paradoxical at first sight. Marx's ideal of man, originated in its basic features from the bourgeois educational ideal, mixing classicist ideas about harmony with the anthropological utopia of the homo universalis; the classless society where all could develop their capabilities freely would rather be full of great and small Goethes and Shakespeares and not so much pop stars, tourists in search of experiences and jet set intellectuals. Marxism's essential cultural debt to the bourgeois model of education and more generally to bourgeois forms of literature and art was shown during the 20th century in its systematic rejection of the literary-artistic avant-garde and post-modernism despite sporadic and fruitless attempts to reconcile them. That Marxist rejection was often seen in the west as an indication of petite-bourgois close-mindedness or provincial attitudes from the provincial Slavic east but this impression was born only because the west itself, through the 'paradigm shift' in the decades around the 1900s, had meanwhile turned its back on bourgeois culture.
So the Marxists were now invoking the great realistic traditions of bourgeois art, which 'socialist realism' would continue, in order for them to be able to interpret the distances taken from them by the avant-garde and by modernism as ideological expression of current bourgeois decline; because they saw themselves as the sole historically possible claimant to the bourgeois legacy they were not able to see that, following the bourgeois era, something too was possible in the west other than communism and of which the ideological projection had been precisely the anti-bourgeois currents of modernism and the avant-garde. The Marxists were the last to hold high the flag of bourgeois traditions and schemes of thought in the domain of historical theory, where they remained beholden to a hypostatization of history and to their perception of history's progress. Whereas the homo universalis and the progressing history had been exactly the entities or substances through which the bourgois-liberal world itself had ousted the theological, so too, the mass democratic culture of the 20th century crushed these essences, put in their stead alternating and freely combined functions, and seriously wounded the bourgeois world of ideas. Soviet collapse and with it the end of the anthropological and history-philosophical orientation of Marxism put the final nail in the coffin of what had remained of bourgeois culture. Naturally, in the perspective of ideologically-inspired interpretations and perusals of 20th century history, this observation will strike as the paradox of paradoxes.
I think I must repeat to you that modernism as well as post-modernism grew out of the liberal/bourgeois era. Modernism represented the early mass society in development and post-modernism the mature mass-democratic society. Modernism appeared around 1850 and post-modernism a century later. Nevertheless the two are not as distant as the proponents of each would have it. There is a quasi-organic continuity there. Modernism was formed in the struggle of the early mass society against bourgeois culture and thought. Post-Modernism appears in the absence of a bourgeoisie. The organic break between modernism and post-modernism is precisely the demise of the bourgeoisie as a class and with it the eradication of a class society. In that respect, Marx was right. A society void of class which he predicted for the advanced western capitalist countries really did come.
@RBP Thanks for answering my invitation. I couldn't disagree more. While I'm not a Marxist (in any sense) or even a leftist (by any stretch of the imagination) the idea that Marx was not only a good economist but a terrible historian and sociologist and to boot, an essentially starry-eyed mystic and merely an intellectual offshoot of Hegel's provincial philosophy is totally unfair and outlandish and would probably seem so to you too if you were more acquainted with the enormity of Marx-Engels' writings and their scope. In fact the historical and political sensors of the fathers of historical materialism were astonishingly acute (and not just for their time). They were intellectual heavyweights (unlike Hegel) and have to be recognized as such by anyone who has seriously studied them firsthand.
The reason why Marxism "worked better when adulterated" is because Marxism had to transform into an ideology in the first place in order to be able to play a historical role which it otherwise wouldn't and couldn't have played. This historical role among other things promoted mass-democratic tendencies in the west itself; exactly those which Marx failed to predict. I explain this in both my essays on the communists.
For the record, while Marx didn't believe in biological inferiority he did believe in social and cultural inferiority but didn't see the two factors as causally connected (as white supremacists do) neither did he see this inferiority as bound to last forever. Where he believed in social and cultural inferiority he understood this on scientific (materialist-bound) not folkloric/mythological reasoning as is done universally with all manner of nationalism (left-wing nationalism included). Few people know that Marx was more than happy that the US conquered California from those backward Mexicans. Social Darwinism is critique on bourgeois culture coming from the right. Gewgtweg (talk) 19:50, 9 December 2016 (UTC)
The problem I have is not so much that I think you're wrong, but that you encode a great many assumptions and interpretations into your declarative statements. They are, in many cases, assumptions I'd challenge one by one if I had an infinite amount of time to approach your point of view socratically. Instead I find myself increasingly arguing by example. I'm neither making an impassioned defense of Marxism as a great perspective, nor attacking it as an idea to be scorned, just asserting that when it was created, it was proposed with the apparent intent of being a modernist philosophy(i.e. looking beyond the ideologies of the past and framing things objectively). ikanreed You probably didn't deserve that 20:07, 9 December 2016 (UTC)
@Ikanreed Goodpost.gif (Though, I would just add that the way in which Marxism proposed to "look beyond the ideology of the past and frame things objectively" was, although novel in its materialism, fashioned from a Hegelian blueprint — and if the term "convoluted balderdash" had its own place in the dictionary, it would feature a portrait of Hegel).
@Gewgtweg Thank you! Actually I didn't mean to "take sides" in the discussion; I merely popped in and started writing, and by the end of it, what I had written was getting long and off-topic, so I snipped it down to something reasonable in length and pressed Submit. Don't treat it like some type of "final verdict" from me on Marx (though I stand by my words). Regarding your essays, I obviously haven't read them (yet?) — but, nice to hear, regardless! Keep up the good work and all that. Regarding the discontinuity between Engels and Marx, I'm not going in-depth enough in this particular discussion to meaningfully differentiate their influences on each other and their works, respectively — though Engels and his writings are likewise riddled with Hegelian thought. Also, to be clear, Marx himself wasn't a "starry-eyed mystic" — he just based himself on the works of one, overtly identifying as a so-called "Left Hegelian" (writing satire on the "opposing" campWikipedia's W.svg which consisted of the so-called "Young Hegelians", of which Engels had previously been a vocal part). Hegel, you will admit, was quite the eccentric, with some very esoteric metaphysical ideas — including that of Geist, for starters. While you may disagree that Marx was (as you put it) "merely an intellectual offshoot of Hegel's philosophy", I'm simply going to defer to the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy's opening paragraphs on Hegel, which read:
"[Hegel] is perhaps most well-known for his teleological account of history, an account that was later taken over by Marx and “inverted” into a materialist theory of an historical development culminating in communism."
One modern instance of teleological thinking being that of the intelligent design movement, for example. Further down, the article also states:
"From the left, Karl Marx was to develop his own purported scientific approach to society and history which appropriated many Hegelian ideas into a materialistic outlook. (Later, especially in reaction to orthodox Soviet versions of Marxism, many so-called Western Marxists re-incorporated further Hegelian elements back into their forms of Marxist philosophy.)"
It also notes (regarding the mainstream scholarly view that dominated the twentieth century):
"Despite [his] seemingly dominant theological theme, Hegel was still seen by many as an important precursor of other more characteristically secular strands of modern thought such as existentialism and Marxist materialism. Existentialists were thought of as taking the idea of the finitude and historical and cultural dependence of individual subjects from Hegel, and as leaving out all pretensions to the Absolute, while Marxists were thought of as taking the historical dynamics of the Hegelian picture but reinterpreting this in materialist rather than idealist categories."
It further states, regarding Hegel's analysis of the contradictions of the unfettered capitalist economy:
"Starting from [Hegel's] analysis, Marx later used it as evidence of the need to abolish the individual proprietorial rights at the heart of Hegel’s civil society and socialise the means of production."
Alain de BottonWikipedia's W.svg put it well when he said, in a short video on Hegel by The School of Life:
"Hegel wrote some very long, and very famous books — among them The Phenomenology of Spirit, The Science of Logic and Elements of the Philosophy of Right — but — we'll be frank; he wrote horribly. His work is confusing and complicated when it should be clear and direct. He tapped into a weakness of human nature — to be trustful of grave-sounding, incomprehensible prose."
Even Lenin complained that reading Hegel "gave him a headache", though he still maintained that:
"It is impossible completely to understand Marx’s Capital, and especially its first Chapter, without having thoroughly studied and understood the whole of Hegel’s Logic. Consequently, half a century later none of the Marxists understood Marx!!"
And indeed, as Lloyd Spencer of the Leeds Trinity University puts it in his Introducing Hegel (on page 160):
"When Marx's early writings — in particular the 1844 Economic and Philosophical Manuscripts — were published in the 1920s, they revealed how much of Marx's own radical philosophy had been developed through his reading of Hegel. Today we can see that the young Marx, who had no access to the writings of the young Hegel, retraced much of the same ground. The young Marx and the young Hegel are extraordinarily close in spirit."
Also, I think it's very important that you not mistakenly downplay the great impact of Hegel (and his most zany ideas) — an influence which is still profound to this day, never mind through the derivative work of Marx (as described above) and later, as endorsed by postmodernists. The fact that you would suggest that Hegel was not an "intellectual heavyweight" confuses me. Indeed, to quote Bertrand Russel himself:
"[Hegel's] influence, though now diminishing, has been very great — not only, or chiefly, in Germany. At the end of the nineteenth century, the leading academic philosophers — both in America and in Great Britain — were largely Hegelians. Outside of pure philosophy, many Protestant theologians adopted his doctrines, and his philosophy of history profoundly affected political theory."
For the record, Russel immediately goes on to point out that:
"Marx, as everyone knows, was a disciple of Hegel in his youth, and retained in his own finished system some important Hegelian features."
Regardless, I'm getting bogged down in the discussion, and I don't plan to (though I find it very interesting, generally). But the existence of a direct link, though broad and nuanced, between Marxism and Hegelianism is clear, compounded with the utter nonsensicality of Hegel (which even Marx himself was quite overt about at times). I'm sure we'll have plenty of chance to discuss this at some other time. Thanks in advance. Reverend Black Percy (talk) 21:33, 9 December 2016 (UTC)


Thanks for the effort to produce a long reply. Hegelianism was indeed one of the wombs of Marxism and the chief influence of the young Marx, Marx the philosopher. When Marx matures he becomes the social historian, the social scientist and sees his former philosophy in a different light that really entails more than just an inversion, miserably imprisoned to millenarianism and mysticism and without serious worth. If you try to compare the teleological and normative element in his work and compare it to his particular analyses of human social reality (and I don't mean just the Kapital, as you know, his work is far wealthier) you will discover that there is a contradiction there that cannot be healed. His thought, just like that of Nietzsche, but in Marx's case even more so and far more impressively, is characterized by an ambivalence. Besides the perspicacious critic of ideological forms (in metaphysics and axiology) stands the prophet and visionary.
In my personal experience, the study of these contradictions, blemishes and weaknesses in his voluminous historical, ideo-critical and journalistic work was the catalyst for three more general theoretical insights: Firstly: The observation of the multiple and multifarious instances of an osmosis between scientific analysis (i.e. a view of human social reality from a materialist or concrete perspective) and morally-inspired eschatology (the view of reality from an magical perspective) brought to the fore in my mind an investigation of the question of the structure and shifts of the age-old conflation between Sein and Sollen, i.e. ontology and deontology (On and Deon in classical terms). Secondly, Marx's great discovery that we can summarize in the notion of 'ideology' (false consciousness) automatically begat the problem of whether that notion could be applied on Marxism itself just as Karl Mannheim saw. Thus the problem of skepticism inevitably had to re-surface with an intensity that was unknown ever since the standoff between Platonism and Sophism. So I had to focus into tracing a viable theoretical way that can synthesize the objectivity of scientific knowledge with the concrete and empirical knowledge that moral values are subjective. I invite everybody to ponder this issue too and think how this could be done.
Thirdly, the dogmatic primacy of the economical factor within the construct of historical materialism formed a visible contradiction with the actually drastic and autonomous quality of the political factor which is attested to by the historical analysis of particular situations and ages, attested precisely by Marx the historian. Even further: the linear progression of the logic of the economy was opposed to the remarkable structural stability of the political game regardless of the incessant transition of norms and institutions. Investigation into the political factor made me think — and I invite all of you to think too — whether certain stable measures exist that reach out to the level of society's ontology (the way it's made and how and why it's made that way) and anthropology (the nature of man).
Now, can thinkers like Machiavelli (about whom I am going to post a serious study which goes far beyond the principe) and especially Thucydides offer in that respect? How could he have been so right to predict that 'the history of all time will resemble if not indeed reflect what happened here'. Indeed what happened two millennia and a half back is so recognizable today to the point that his work continues to be studied by professionals of statecraft. Why are Plato's Laws instead unable to fulfill this function? The idea that history has no meaning to it and that therefore there's no eschatology or determinism in it doesn't mean that history doesn't indeed have certain reproducible complex mechanisms that propel it and which allow it to be known and studied and which consequently allow history and human social reality themselves to be known and studied. I need also mention that a critical attitude in the study of Kant and especially Max Weber can sharpen our insights into the nature of the rift between Sein and Sollen and the methodological foundations of social science.
I wish I had the leisure of time to talk about Hegel and Marx here but I will do it in an essay at some point. Let's just say here that the statement that Hegel's work is 'bullshit' is indeed true. However that's really not the same as saying it's nonsensical. This judgement reveals a trivial understanding of how intellectual production and philosophy works. In the Grand Synthesis, a extremely vast essay (de facto volume) I will illuminate aspects of what we call philosophy and metaphysics. The primary and secondary literature I'll be using and the number of thinkers discussed will be vast to say the least. In closing let me just cite a paragraph from my essay on Marxism.
In short, Marxism had to transform into an ideology in order to fulfill its historical influence - either by assuming the form of 'dialectical and historical materialism' or by getting thinned down to anthropological axioms. In that sense, Marxism belongs completely with the communist or 'leftist' political movements of the west and east, it does not exist beyond their each given ideological expression and cannot be found in some chemically pure form. But it would be unfair towards the great scientist that among other things Marx had been and it would also be a great loss for social science itself if we failed to add and to stress that certain of his central ideas have permanent significance and in themselves cannot find ideological application - in contrast, they provide they very key to understanding the fabric and the trickery of ideological thought and its role in social reality. Never did some basic positions of the Marxist view of history, I believe, ring truer than they do in the context of the new phase of planetary history that we now have entered after the collapse of communism: that namely, the level and character of the relationship between man as a natural being and the rest of nature impacts decisively the constitution and arrangement of human society; that human relations which are crystallized in a social arrangement, are first conceived, solidified or modified on the part of historically active human subjects by means of ideologies, i.e. they are echoed in a 'false consciousness' which at the same time sates both moral-normative (individual-existential) and militant needs (social-existential), i.e. the social necessity to engage in polemic as expression of the tension of social reality; that the rift between false consciousness and the inward, deeper reality of the actual developments not only doesn't paralyze history's Werden, it propels it forward, and that the 'heterogony of ends' is the natural mechanism governing the development of 'longue durée' processes.
If they're interpreted without dogmatic ulterior motives, these positions hold true independently of sociological preferences about the 'Primat' of x or y historical material factor and can be productively combined with a methodology, anthropology and social theory more or less different to those in Marxism. But that exactly proves that Marx's work, even if understood as just an extended catalogue of fundamental problems, belongs permanently in the legacy of modern social science. No modern thinker other than him showed so deeply and so impressively that economy, politics, philosophy and anthropology are essentially one and the same science - regardless of the investment that Marx himself attempted to unite all these. If the herd of myopic 'experts' that floods the mass-democratic scene of knowledge, cannot, for the love of God, face up to the reality of this achievement and either will try to either get ironic about it and mock it (in vain), or mimic it with toothless constructs made of second- and third-hand materials, then that's no fault of Marx, that high-class, heavyweight thinker. Gewgtweg (talk) 08:23, 10 December 2016 (UTC)

Responding formatting and essays.[edit]

Hi.

I've glanced at a few of your contributions but I'm afraid that I haven't read them. "Why not?" you might ask.

Well, your responses to questions tend to be very long and (I suppose) include multiple arguments. (I say "I suppose" as I lack the fortitude to read them - but if they are so long then I guess you must be making more than one point.)

The problem with such posts is that it is very difficult to reply to them. If you make ten points in your post then it is highly unlikely that anyone is going to respond to all ten. And often people feel that if they if they are disinclined to respond to all the post then they will not respond to any of it.

In any event, the longer the post the less likely it is that it will be read.

A further problem is that you write in massive blocks of text. On a computer screen that is another reason why people won't read your posts. You may have the secret to Life, The Universe and Everything - but if you don't use short sentences in small paragraphs then it won't be read.

If you disagree or wish to respond - you might want to consider the above when posting.--Bob"Life is short and (insert adjective)" 18:23, 21 December 2016 (UTC)

An experienced reader knows to read even people whose writing styles or whose ideas he may not appreciate. I'm sorry but unwillingness to read signifies one thing only and that is called intellectual rigidity and laziness. Lack of fortitude as you put it. I've tried to make my essays as readable as possible. I cannot go much beyond that. I just cannot keep every second sentence apart. Sometimes the reader has really got to try a bit. And again, this is something experienced and passionate readers know well how to do. No offense, but it seems obvious to me, based on the cues you give me, that you are not one of them. Gewgtweg (talk) 00:00, 22 December 2016 (UTC)
Is it normal for essayists to insult their audience when the audience says they aren't getting the message? I honestly think the onus is on you to make yourself more understandable, not RW's responsibility to wade through replies the size of novellas. That doesn't make us stupid. MyNameIsMudd (talk) 00:05, 22 December 2016 (UTC)
The 'audience' (meaning you and other two guys), didn't say that it isn't getting the message. It rather said that it's bored to take the message. I had a discussion with Bob about atheism and if you searched my contributions pages to locate it, it provides ample evidence for his arrant laziness which he partly admits to by himself both on that page there as well as right here. When somebody admits that he doesn't even have the fortitude to read me then obviously I cannot help a person understand what I am saying that doesn't really want to be helped but instead desires to be spoonfed the info bit by bit. Sorry, but I'm no babysitter.
If someone's reading habits and ethics are more akin to that of a toddler then by all means, that's not the audience I was aiming for. I called nobody stupid. But I am entitled to call them intellectually lazy at the very least. If you yourself don't belong in this category then go and reply to me as I replied to you. Before you attempt to teach me community ethics, try to respect the effort made by your interlocutor to extend a reply and to devote time for you. In any case, feel free to do as you like. I won't be offended. I suspect however, that you will. Well, feel free to be offended. Gewgtweg (talk) 00:25, 22 December 2016 (UTC)
I'm not offended, you just seem pretty full of yourself. MyNameIsMudd (talk) 00:36, 22 December 2016 (UTC)
I am not. And that's precisely why I take my time to respond in length and in detail and to all. I neither consider in theory nor handle in practice any person here, whatever their intellectual and knowledge level or their particular beliefs may be, as unworthy of my time. You can't really get less conceited than that on a wiki. But I demand at least a bit of effort IF, I repeat, IF we are going to have a discussion. We don't really have to have it. In that case, I invite everybody to just be silent, to ignore me and to read or do something more interesting.
I might get a little disappointed that I won't be receiving feedback but as I said I won't be offended. I see nothing wrong in someone being bored to read and write about what are admittedly highly abstract and complex matters. On my part, no matter how much I might try to make it seem like it's not complex using an excessive number of paragraphs, it will always still remain abstract and complex regardless. But I thank all of you guys for commenting and even for offering your counsel even as it won't prove very useful. Gewgtweg (talk) 00:56, 22 December 2016 (UTC)
See what you just said there is much more useful than ad homming, calling us idiots and toddlers. We don't have to be enemies on this. You seem like a really smart guy with useful things to say about Marxism and stuff and I could certainly stand to learn more about how communism influenced the Civil Rights movement in the US. It's a deeply important subject to me, I was born in Selma where the big march started and was surrounded by pretty ugly hate and inequality from the get go. If anything can help our cause going forward I'm willing to learn. MyNameIsMudd (talk) 01:16, 22 December 2016 (UTC)
Just wanted to pop in and say again: I never intended to be antagonizing in the saloon bar. I merely wanted to offer advice. First, that you'll probably gain a larger response from the community if you change your writing style. When I say "reply to specific points individually where they are made", I mean reply to posts individually at their respective locations in a thread, instead of in one large block addressing multiple posts. Further, proofing/revising your posts can help you avoid grammatical structures like the following one, which can be confusing to read: "When somebody admits that he doesn't even have the fortitude to read me then obviously I cannot help a person understand what I am saying that doesn't really want to be helped but instead desires to be spoonfed the info bit by bit." It's fair for you to demand a reader's best effort to understand you, but it's also fair for a reader to demand your best effort to be easily understood. Finally, as Mudd says, you do come across as full of yourself when you call people idiots and fools. Your claim "I called nobody stupid" above is simply untrue. Not calling people stupid would also probably gain you a more intellectually substantive response from others on the site. This advice is freely given and of course can be freely ignored if it suits you; again, it is not an attack or an attempt at antagonism of any kind. I'd like to go forward in peace. Can we? B) talk 06:17, 22 December 2016 (UTC)
I did antagonize and intentionally provoke you and I did make ironic remarks directed at the others but I never called someone stupid per se. I don't see anybody here as incurably intellectually inferior or as being inherently unable to understand what I'm writing. I just tried to show them that their criticism about how I structure my writing is unfruitful. Those grammatical structures are a part of personal style. It sounds trivial and mutable but it is not. It comes naturally and it is really hard to change.
I never said that you guys don't have a point. The content and the structure are slightly more challenging than usual. The reply to my 'the radical right has won' post at the saloon bar was directed at one person and only slightly touched on what another guy wrote about energy. So I didn't really reply to that many folks at the same time. In fact most people there were talking about the elections. I didn't even mention that. Your comments make me think that after all you didn't read what was written at all. In any case, thanks for the comments. And forget about my provocative remarks. Sometimes there's friction here. Sure, let's just deescalate.
If the reader doesn't understand something, let him specify and I'll gladly help him immediately. If however, like it happened with Bob a few days back at the saloon bar, there's hardly any effort made by others to read and to reply, well, I can understand and accept that boredom fully (if indeed it's really boredom and not say, inability to really contribute something). But mark this: I won't apologize for that behavior by others or hold myself responsible for it which is what you are essentially asking of me. Mark also this: The posts were edited before posting, are grammatically correct and thus readable if someone just cares to read them.
Read a single paragraph from the text I contributed at the Hegelian debate, which is a piece intended to be the introduction to a future essay (or volume) of mine about dialectics and tell me that it was just 'verbosity' and that there's nothing new to see or to learn there. Tell me that there's a way to put it a lot simpler without changing the content. If I spent every bit of my time addressing the misconceptions of each and every poster (because I really CAN answer to all while most contributors are more limited in scope) I wouldn't really get any work done. Sometimes, when the level is generally so low, you have to bust into the debate from the outside and produce a voluminous work outlining everything you have to say. That's what I intend to do here. Gewgtweg (talk) 12:08, 22 December 2016 (UTC)

The point being[edit]

I'm just going to cite Ikanreed from above, in regards to your (Gewtweg's) style of writing:

"The problem I have is not so much that I think you're wrong, but that you encode a great many assumptions and interpretations into your declarative statements. They are, in many cases, assumptions I'd challenge one by one if I had an infinite amount of time to approach your point of view socratically. Instead I find myself increasingly arguing by example."

Without taking sides in your most recent discussions, I'd also like to just generally extend Ikanreed's warning once more, and indeed generally advise against the writing of massive blocks of text — the latter of which I'm often responsible for doing myself. In hindsight, it's rarely in anyone's interest when I do (especially not my own).

Your command of the english language is obviously great, and not the problem. But in the light of what quite a few editors have alluded to, regarding your chosen style of prose (though not your points, per se) — maybe consider making some adjustments squarely for the purpose of succinct clarity (ultimately in order to be understood and be replied to). Taking the time to do so is an exercise which we all have use for. All the best, Reverend Black Percy (talk) 15:25, 22 December 2016 (UTC)

I only wish ikanreed would find the time to do just that. Challenges are great. So far he has not delivered. But at least he did read and he did understand what I was saying. I'll try better to make what I'm writing reader-friendly. I just edited some mistakes in my Hegelian post. I encourage everyone reading my essays to make any suggestions or corrections they think are in order, if of course they find the time or the 'fortitude' to read them. Changing my writing structure per se is very, very difficult but I pledge to try better next time. Gewgtweg (talk) 18:43, 22 December 2016 (UTC)

A brief response.[edit]

To continue our discussion from the cultural marxism page,

I don't think my narrative about the spread of Christianity implies that Rome's ability to influence foreigners would be hamstrung. To the contrary, Christianity (unlike Roman paganism) is one of the most powerful universalist and proselytizing heuristics in human history. Since you mentioned the term science, I will state this: when all the facts of the physical sciences and mathematics are exhausted, the historian relies on value judgements to arrive at a recollection of past events. These value judgements, in turn, are nothing more than an application of the historian's understanding; Bergson referred to it as intuition, while German historians simply called it Verstehen. Like any other interpretation of history, Spengler's model is by definition not scientific, but that doesn't make it wrong. Of course his time periods are arbitrary; every model is an arbitrary abstraction designed to shed light on a vastly more complex occurrence. The Roman empire as such was not inevitable; what was inevitable according to Spengler was the transition from culture to civilization, which we've seen again and again throughout global history.

I never wrote that the Vikings were especially brutal for their time; they weren't. I was just pointing out that while several of the central European Germanic tribes are unfairly caricatured as bloodthirsty nomads who live to rape and pillage, the popular scholarly conception of the the Vikings is more or less well-earned. They did have a raiding economy; they did burn routinely down monasteries and slaughter their inhabitants; they did take slaves; before the mass conversions began, they often did torture and murder priests like Archbishop Alphege and desecrate Christian religious sites for the sake of doing so. Were they the only ones to behave like this? No, but that doesn't mean that their reputation for such acts is unearned. I'm not criticizing them when I point this out; the past is what it is. If I'm criticizing anyone, it's the extreme revisionists (like that unfortunate Viking exhibition that came to Britain in 2014) of the past decade who argue that the Vikings were the Anabaptists of their day, peace-loving farmers and seafarers whose commitment to tolerance and inclusivity set them apart from the rest of the world. K155 (talk) 00:02, 8 January 2017 (UTC)

If Roman power wanes, then by definition, the power to influence foreigners wanes. The influence of Christianity and the influence of Rome are two different things. Christianity spread beyond the circles of some philosophers because it facilitated social conflict. This narrative is radically different than the one you propose. Christian ideas of humility and penitence were born to be turned specifically against the values of the idolaters. It was not by chance that the stories in the new testament occur in the background of humiliating foreign occupation and crushed rebellions. But the birth of Christianity and the spread of Christianity are too different things.
All knowledge has to rely on evaluations and abstractions for reasons of presentation. But not all knowledge is scientific. A tried and distinction which can be found in any serious sociology textbook since Schumpeter, tell us that the scientist and the intellectual are not cut from the same cloth. In addition, your definition of science is too strict and basically refers only to natural science. But still, in the ranks of the hard sciences, e.g. in cosmology, disputes are essentially the norm without that giving the impression that these people are not scientists. Nevertheless, it's true that in our days, the social sciences (especially in the Anglo-Saxon countries) have been partly dumbed-down and partly lost their social significance and prestige (which applies everywhere).
As you know, Spengler didn't just assert that civilizations, cultures, or whatever, are born, develop and die but that this happens for a very particular set of reasons, that it follows morphological norms and deterministic causalities, which are also supposed to even provide forecasts. If 'Western civilization' is bound to perish which I cannot see how it would happen without the globalized civilization we live in today also collapsing, then that will be due to reasons that Spengler cannot account for and explain. Although his work contains many enlightening observations on the side his work is unscientific because his main positions are untenable in the face of an analysis of particular historical situations beyond the commonplace that what is born will die. Besides, where civilization begins and where culture ends is not very clear cut if we look things in the historical perspective. Civilization has been mostly applied to organized societies in the history of Eurasia in particular.
Such things of course occurred but the activity of those people are more complex than that and spans many centuries and many places. The reputation for violence is not unearned and yet in the minds of the popular imagination caricatures are the prevailing image (just as in the case of the tribes, although here public interest is rather less or focuses on certain key events like the treachery of Arminius and Varus' ambush and defeat) because folks focus on the sensuous and lurid. But on the other hand, it is true that the Vikings were not really that violent compared to the political history of their era although comparatively-speaking they came in (positive and negative) contact with more political subjects and societies than other contemporaries did. Regardless, the Vikings themselves were not a uniform thing and while all the Vikings were Norsemen, they were not a nation in the political sense. I don't agree that their (false) image as caricatures is more fair compared to that of the Germanic tribes. Violence during the migration era was in fact even greater than at the time the Vikings were active. Much more was at stake here. In any case, we cannot speak of 'brutal people' and such stuff. The universal historical phenomenon of the spasms of war and brutality is determined by particular situations and as such war and brutality are multi-dimensional phenomena. Gewgtweg (talk) 21:41, 11 January 2017 (UTC)

To your point about the dialectic between power and influence, a useful analogy for late Rome's soft power is to think of it as a leper: feeble but highly infectious. Christianity absolutely facilitates social conflict, and that's not mutually exclusive with the idea that Christian doctrine elevates servility. The conflict is precisely in the agitation and social subversion of Roman Christians who worked to undermine Roman hardness and striving with notions of egalitarianism and class antagonism that appeal to some of the basest human instincts.

I am apprehensive about an overly promiscuous definition of science because I think it promises something that is epistemologically unattainable. For example, why did Operation Barbarossa fail? The hard sciences can tell us many peripheral and potentially relevant facts like the weight of the various Panzer tanks, the effective range of the Katyusha rocket launchers, and the temperature below which the human body begins to shut down, but they can't directly answer the question as such. The only tool available to historians is to apply their subjective understanding to recollect, arrange, and evaluate the evidence as they see it. Even if they agree on a universe of causes, they then have to isolate the cause(s) that played a larger role form the ones that didn't; again, the only way to do this through a series of ultimately subjective value judgements.

I would encourage you to read Spengler's narrative for yourself if you haven't already, but I think he answers your challenge adequately. The gist of it is this: as rational-legal authority collapses under the weight of political factionalism and spiritual-economic stagnation, present borders will fracture into many smaller principalities ruled by Caesars with private armies and vast imperial ambitions. The west will degenerate into a battlefield between warlords and their mercenary forces. Like the Germans who came to Russia in tanks but were eventually reduced to horses and plows, the west's technological state will become increasingly primitive; genocide and mass-starvation will be the new norm. Spengler wouldn't have known about this, but it's not unreasonable to speculate that even limited nuclear war will become commonplace in the west. This unending cycle of war and civil war will disintegrate the west to such a degree that whatever is left of it will be carved up by the remaining civilizations. It should be noted that this includes Russia, which Spengler considers as part of "Magian" rather than Western civilization (he also predicted the collapse of Bolshevism and even the resurgence of a new Russian Tsarism-Putinism-, but that's a discussion for another time). Obviously, no one knows what this great partition will look like. There will have to be some massive global restructuring and perhaps even a third world war, but I suspect life will go on as it did after the collapse of the Roman empire, which was far more of a global hegemon at the height of its power than the collective west is today.

I think we basically agree on the Viking question. "Brutality" as we think of it in the 21st century west would have been a foreign and quite bizarre concept to the Norse raiders. And that's not necessarily to boast about how far we've come; as you might have inferred from my posts, I think the pre-christian western cultures were in many ways remarkable and even disposed of some social values that we would do well to revisit in part. K155 (talk) 01:57, 14 January 2017 (UTC)

Operation Barbarossa failed because the initial Blitzkrieg thrust failed to knock out the regime quickly (which was exactly what it was intended to do) while Germany found itself embroiled in a war of attrition with an empire that outproduced, outmanned and outgunned its own. We know well why the war was lost and the way it was lost. What we don't know and will never know is what COULD have been. The communist civil war era song was right. 'The Red Army is the strongest'. That's the reason the Wehrmacht ultimately lost. The Germans were definitely the most fashionable and imposing. But in war, it takes the greater power and not the greater taste in order to win.
Fine, we agree to disagree about Spengler. But you have to ask yourself how and why the Satanist cult called the 'Order of the Nine Angles' can use his theories and be inspired by them if they were strictly scientific. To me the link doesn't seem tenuous at all. But anyway let's better not discuss this. I think we've exhausted the discussion.
I don't have any problem with that but I have the feeling that you are maybe lying about being a former Marxist. More likely you are perhaps a far-right pessimist of sorts with intellectual tendencies that just tries to be heard here. It strikes as very strange that a former Marxist would have the particular ideas you have. If you were a liberal, a christian who saw the light or a hard-green type it would make more sense. I cannot be 100% sure. At any rate, the concept that old traditionalist cultures have something to offer to us today seems very odd, if not also, to be honest, naive to me. Whatever the case is, you might be hardcore Nazi, I still understand and respect your beliefs. I was once a Neo-Nazi myself. I have quit using intellectual drugs forever but I do not have the aggressive mentality that apostates usually have in the slightest.
In my view, the current political environment is too dense to allow a fragmentation into distinct 'civilizations' in the future. The Roman Empire was just a separate greenhouse among many greenhouses in an as of yet unknown and undiscovered world. The era of cultural greenhouses is over and the modern world is radically different. So, as I said, we agree to disagree. I thank you for your participation and interest. Gewgtweg (talk) 04:00, 14 January 2017 (UTC)

Thanks for the discussion, it's been fun.

Your view of Barbarossa is shared by many last generation military historians like Bevin, Ziemke, and Stolfi, as well as my myself, who believe that an instant unilateral thrust at Moscow would have been decisive. But more recent scholarship like Stahel and Glantz argue that that a successful invasion of the USSR was impossible because even if Moscow quickly fell and Stalin died, the rest of the of the bureaucracy would have retrenched in Samara and successfully continued the war effort. Who is right? There is no scientifically verifiable right answer because there are not scientific observations, but rather subjective interpretations that rely on understanding and value judgements. My point is that most historical questions fall into this category. I'm happy not to talk about Spengler. I will only note that if we're going to mention the Occult appropriation of his ideas, then we need to balance it out by noting that Spengler also enjoyed widespread circulation among mainstream intellectuals like Kissinger, who wrote his undergraduate thesis about Spengler, Toynbee, and Kant.


I did stray quite far from Marxism's values and conclusions, but I've retained quite a bit of the Marxist or perhaps Hegelian epistemological toolkit. I continue to gravitate toward teleological theories of history, hence my study of Spengler. I am also still a dialectician of sorts, just not necessarily a historical materialist. That said, former Marxists are a wildly diverse lot. We have existentialist christians like Malcolm Muggeridge, Anarcho-Capitalists like Hans Hermann-Hoppe, Christian traditionalists like Whittaker Chambers, populist traditionalists like Eugene Genovese, free market thinkers like Thomas Sowell, mainstream American conservatives like David Horowitz and Irving Kristol, countless Left offshoots like Critical Theorists and the Post-Marxists who call themselves Social Justice Advocates, etc. I can't think of many Nazis off the top of my head without resorting to Mussolini, but I'm sure there must have been at least a few. Since Nazism was brought up directly, I can state that I never had an interest in it after my disillusionment with Marxism. Like the latter, I was repelled by its collectivism, vulgar populism, destructive class-struggle mentality, revolutionary iconoclasm, and chiliastic mission to evolve human consciousness. K155 (talk) 03:23, 16 January 2017 (UTC)

That essay you blanked[edit]

You did want it deleted didn't you? Christopher (talk) 18:04, 10 June 2017 (UTC)