• 1 Post
Joined 1Y ago
Cake day: Mar 27, 2022


thanks for responding! i’ll try to be as brief as possible.

  1. this is a little silly imo: i am not calling for the repudiation of all ideas after someone has died, this was the entire point of quoting mao in my response later. the point here is that ideas are always determined by experiences and material conditions, and the applicability of old ideas to the present should be determined by the extent to which the material conditions that influenced/produced the idea are still present or relevant. this is why mao’s ideas regarding the theory of knowledge are still very applicable, because people acquire knowledge in exactly the same way. lenin’s ideas on finance capital are still very applicable, but less so because finance capital has developed since his death. mao’s ideas on a theorized immortality are not, because he could not realistically conceive of how it would be applied, and his society was not even close to developed enough to administer, let alone develop, the theoretical medical technique.

  2. this is where you need a better and more holistic sense of revolutionary optimism, because you’re repeating an undialectical idiom that we westerners are taught from a very young age: “people never change.” marxism and diamat understands everything as a process, and thus everything is constantly changing. if you can’t perceive the change, it’s because it’s either on a timescale or level of specificity/generality that is far enough from your personal experience to perceive it: we don’t notice dead wood rotting (time), we can’t see the motion of atoms in perceived solids (specificity), nor can we perceive the rotation of the earth around the sun (generality). if you can’t perceive people changing, then either you’re not looking hard enough or it happens on a timescale that is slow (again, a contradiction that would need resolving if immortality existed). and, you’re denying human change that is so obvious. after all, didn’t you change in order to become a marxist? in most cases people must change in accordance with their material conditions, or else they die! if youth is the best biological context through which people can quickly change, wouldn’t increasing our youthspan actually be good? and, finally, isn’t marxism the best means through which to not only induce change, but to accept and understand change?

  3. yes, i accept that the increased lifespan of society is obviously more important than increasing individual lifespans. however, a marxist shouldn’t absolutely favor one over the other in totality, this is undialectical. after all, stalin is the one that said that socialism intends to free society in order to free individuals. it’s not possible to teach all people to be completely selfless, and it’s probably not desirable either because individual survival is important for society! but again, i accept that society is dominant over the individual.

  4. there are many goals of socialism, but what is the primary one? in the broad sense, we can say that the primary goal is to take the reigns of society away from capital and move towards a classless society. in an even broader sense, the primary goal of a socialist society is to determine what the primary contradictions are within society, and to work towards resolving them. currently the primary contradiction is class, but at some point it will become lifespan, or health, or species, etc. in a more specific sense, the goal of a socialist society is to act in the interest of the working class to improve their lives, and consequently the lives of everyone in society. are cuban doctors not socialist for traveling the world to decrease suffering? and again, standards of suffering are also subject to change: if no one experienced aging, then we would have a different understanding of what the primary contradiction in terms of health would be, perhaps diseases given to us genetically. immortality, or wildly increased healthspans, would not necessitate the removal of pain, just excess pain in accordance with technological advancement.

  5. let’s go ahead and be more specific about what i mean by immortality: an indefinitely increased healthy lifespan, with an indeterminate end. after all yes, nothing is immortal because ultimately the universe will end unless we resolve that contradiction billions of years from now. immortality is a shorthand for the potential to live hundreds, thousands, or millions of years: to us, the difference would be so huge that it would effectually be immortal, even though it technically would not. and, i’m sure there will always be more contradictions to resolve in the quest for increasingly healthy lifespan, but claiming that death is better than life, or is somehow necessary, is just ridiculous and ultimately conservative. yes it serves a function, but you didn’t respond to all the very clear and obvious social benefits from having a wildly increased healthy lifespan, which essentially amount to the accumulation of more and more experiences. and yes, we have all the reason to be skeptical of capitalist science, but at the same time we should be able to separate that skepticism of the application of that science from the actual science itself. like i said, only time will tell if this is real science. but, is it out of the realm of possibility to achieve great advances in healthy lifespan within 50, 100, 1000 years? not really, given that other life already experiences these possibilities.

i think there’s a deep, deep irony in simultaneously bringing up how immortality (the resolution of the contradiction of aging, or the survival aspect of living) would create more intense contradictions regarding the ability of societies to adapt to material conditions, while using quotes from people who are long dead and lived in wildly different material conditions to uphold a seemingly metaphysical “communist morality.” mao was not a prophet, he was a leader of a largely agrarian and peasant society who did the most for his society that could be done with the tools that he had. with new tools comes new standards for what can be done to improve the quality of life of society. do you really think confucius would be the exact same after 2000 years?

treatment of aging would be an incredibly efficient, cheap, and easy way to treat all the diseases that are symptoms of aging, and that cause pain and suffering around the world. if we also assume that a longer lifespan means the accumulation of more experiences, more education, and more wisdom, then an older but healthy populace would produce more value for less time and have the ability to lead richer, fuller lives. how is this individualistic?? as new tools and standards of health are developed, so too do the standards of morality; claiming that there is one unchanging “communist morality” (especially before communism exists, how can you even know this?) is not very marxist.

further, what better society or social system to deal with the resolution of the contradiction between old and new – which has historically better allowed societies to adapt to material conditions, as you rightfully point out – than the application of scientific socialism and marxism? it is literally all about determining the material conditions of people in a society and adapting the society around that data and feedback. even if all humans were magically immortal overnight, marxist societies would still be better able to function with this development than non-marxist societies, thus trending towards global communism. this goes for the application of the hypothesized medical treatment too: socialist societies would be better able to develop and apply the treatment, especially in an equitable manner.

as far as the viability of such medical application, i’m not a scientist and can’t have an informed opinion: “no investigation, no right to speak” i think is a more broadly applicable mao quote, until knowledge acquisition changes. i admit it sounds fantastical, but having all human records and knowledge at your fingertips would have sounded fantastical to someone like mao. the idea that it would be inherently immoral, however, is dogmatic and ridiculous. if anything, like most technological advancement, it would accelerate the decline of global and then national capitalism.

just want to clarify that it wasn’t exactly mango press making that specific argument, but someone in telegram comments. and, the argument wasn’t that his english was fluent, but that he used specific idioms that only an american would use. mango press did make the argument that only a US citizen would be eligible for student loans.

i mean to be fair, yeah i think the british empire probably qualifies as the instigator and supporter of the most global violence before 1950 or so, when the US took control over the british and other empires. this isn’t to say anything good about US colonial and imperial violence before that, just a statement of fact.

one of the claims in that mango press thread was that hakim lies about being an iraqi, or at least living in iraq, for online marxist clout. the argument goes that because he was eligible for US student loans for medical school, he’s probably a US citizen. there were also some examples brought up about euphemisms he used that only a fluent or first-language english speaker would use. no idea how true this is and it’s not a lot to go on, and mango press has some fucking weird opinions sometimes, but i can’t deny that it’s possible.

hakim having weird, uninformed, or no opinions on present-day events is not totally out of character: i watched a conversation on present-day china between him and paul morrin (anti-china maoist), and was surprised at how lukewarm at best his defense was. no mention of like the NEP, him calling china bad because “state capitalism,” etc. anyone curious should watch it for themselves. let’s be honest, there’s no reason why we should all read theory and study historical trends other than better understanding the present, and consistently having not-great takes on the present makes me question what good his content can be except perhaps as an introduction for people who aren’t marxists or leninists.

also noticed recently that he’s put ads on his youtube videos. i’m sorry but this does affect the content, because at the very least it affects the purpose why the content was made. it also implies that the content is intitutionally-friendly enough for a company to buy advertising time from them. we should be extremely, extremely skeptical of theory youtubers and especially advertised content. if ben norton or BT news suddenly got sponsored by fuckin surfshark or expressvpn, i think we would all be very surprised. i haven’t unsubscribed yet, but just the title of this most recent video gives me “capitalist brainwashing” vibes, which ultimately gives ground to multiple anticommunist tropes. will perhaps edit after i watch.

zhao dashuai is a really great follow on twitter for sure

just want to add that hu and jiang are seen as continuations of deng’s legacy not just because they continued much the same process of developing the productive forces, but that both were hand-picked by deng as well

there’s a political element to everything, but some things are less explicitly political. wikipedia’s article on, say, meerkats is probably on average much better than its article on stalin for example.

i got a text from sanders the other day begging for 50 bucks so he can “campaign for progressive politicians” in the upcoming midterms. just honestly pathetic, what a complete failure.

man, who knew that being senile was contagious lol

that’s interesting, i didn’t know that at all although it’s no surprise that the US prefers the most reactionary slice possible. i feel like, whether through less sectarianism, eurasian integration, or recognition of the US as a common enemy, we could see cooling down in the contradiction between turkey and SA, again spelling doom for US oil by pushing them out of syria. nothin like adding even more fuel (or less, in this case?) to the fire haha. also might spell doom for israel too

yeah especially with how integral the petrodollar is to dollar hegemony and neo-imperialism. what with saudi arabia also looking to sell oil to china in yuan, and BRICS+ proposing more usage of national currencies…sure is a wild time to be alive

almost a third in less than a year??? wow lol. i can only imagine that as things get worse, the rate of usage over the long term will only go up, not down

to be fair he’s an old, senile monster that repeats what he’s told to out of a teleprompter. i can’t even imagine what better evidence there is for the fact that, especially since JFK, the president has little to no say over imperial policy haha

yeah my understanding is that there were huge protests happening literally the day before the likely-sabotage

haven’t they used, like, a surprisingly large portion of it too? i recall seeing something about that in the past few months

yeah i mean i agree with you given the situation as it stands now. the issue is what will happen when either it has no more “allies” to cannibalize or the world is thrown into a third world war. as it loses imperial domination and the cheap labor/materials from that, it will also lose its grip on its own national integrity. again, i’m not saying collapse is going to happen tomorrow, i’m saying that whenever it does, it may look very similar to what might happen in europe this winter and in that sense i see europe as a prequel.

of course, i mean as the breaking point approaches it will get progressively worse and worse. regarding US collapse: me neither, but what’s happening in europe will probably in many ways mirror what could happen in a US collapse, this is what i mean by a prequel. wildly increasing cost of living and consumption, unrest, and a surge in both communism and fascist reaction to varying degrees.

anyone else anxiously thinking “what the fuck is going to happen this winter”? like seriously, something’s gotta give. it’s like watching the prequel to US collapse, all in slow motion.

so technically not but basically yes haha. that’s wild, i know the atlantic council has its fingers in things like facebook too, and probably twitter

short answer: because reddit is an op and highly curated by western governments and other various bourgeois forces. isn’t someone formerly part of the US gov literally working at reddit now? feelsbadman

it is kind of sad how the subreddit is totally dead compared to before quarantine. but, i wouldn’t be here if not for it, so it is what it is. after all, nothing stays the same forever

the history of all things, not just humanity, is the creation, development, and resolution of contradictions. this happens on the small scale and the large scale, the general and the specific scale, etc.

the recorded history of society is the history of various types of class divisions because that’s primarily what has been the greatest catalyst for human development for all of recorded history. and, by class i’m referring not only to class divisions created by different economic models (feudalism, capitalism, etc) but also divisions like race and gender too.

but, there is a long history of contradictions before recorded history during “primitive communism,” and there will be a long history of contradictions once all class contradictions have been resolved as well. what about contradictions between humans and nature? these can range from ecological things like building infrastructure that becomes part of the surrounding ecology, to bioengineering that resolves contradictions with how our bodies have evolved for very different conditions that they no longer, by and large, inhabit. what about the contradictions between technology and biology? or of earth and space? what about inherent contradictions within human interactions? what about contradictions between species?

there will always be contradictions to resolve, and the resolution of contradictions always creates more contradictions to resolve, in an infinite cycle or until the human species no longer exists. this is really what “development” means in marxist theory. the difference between now and then would be that, for the first time in human history, we as a global society would be able to consciously, actively and efficiently resolve these contradictions with real intent. in this sense, this would better be understood as the beginning of human history rather than its end because it would be the beginning of self-directed human history.

just imagine a world without the need for violence and all the death and wasted production it entails, a world where you can reliably expect your life to improve rather than society being on the brink of extinction and enduring constant crisis all the time. there will still be things to do, and people will probably be better equipped to do them too.

lotta good comments here already so i don’t want to just repeat what’s already been said. but, i do want to say that marxism in application is dialectical materialism, and that because it frames the world in a way that it is, that anyone from anywhere at any time can use this framework. early marxists were all european so it’s no surprise that they looked at philosophy going back to the early dialectics in ancient greece, but the ancient chinese concept of yin and yang is essentially also an idealistic and early iteration of dialectics as well, just through a different framework. from the chinese marxists i’ve talked to, this is how yin/yang is treated, as a feudal concept of dialectics.

i’m a dirty westerner so i don’t have a cultural background or history to pull from, but as marxism is applied throughout the world in different cultures throughout the periphery, all with their own histories and specific material conditions, i’m sure they will all have a different historical and present way to fram diamat and its application.

honestly i don’t blame you, on contradiction is short but can be hard to get through without a good background on dialectics beforehand. i think it would be a great read after you’re done with what i shared with you, though.

glad it’s of use to you. let me know if anything is confusing!

when i first starting trying to understand diamat, i had issues with how everyone uses different terminology, and it seemed totally theoretical and couldn’t apply it to the real world. highly recommend this, which is something i read (probably like four times lol) in that process: it has very clear terminology and clear application to multiple real-world examples. would probably suggest reading mao’s on contradiction after that.

after getting a handle on the basic concepts, try applying to things in your life, or just random things. see what contradictions you can find, what poles, and how that contradiction developed over time. once you do it enough you’ll see it everywhere.

you can only bend something so much until it breaks. i feel like we’re in for a very wild winter

russia’s going pretty well atm actually, because the scarcity has made the price of russian oil skyrocket for those they don’t sell at a discount to (thus what’s in the map here). europe and the US still have a lot of sanctions on russia, but also created some ways to navigate around them because europe literally can’t replace its reliance on russia’s energy products in less than five or ten years.

essentially, russia is selling a lot less energy to europe now, but not making much less money from it. really shows how insane it all is: the EU is literally just falling on its own sword to please their american masters

i mean it’s fundamentally anti-communist, sooo. at the same time as i understand it there’s a lot of stuff about eurasian integration and he’s recently said ok things about china. at the best dugin should be approached like russia in general: a semi-south temporary ally against american imperialism.

destabilizing russia by attempting to assassinate someone who people have at least heard about (i.e. even if he actually wasn’t that important) was probably a bad thing given this context. after all, it was either NATO itself or through the ukranian SBU (or internal russian forces, potentially) that were responsible for the assassination attempt. it’s nothing like shinzo abe, whose assassination was totally home-grown and who represented something much worse

given this caveat, people like patsocs who stan dugin’s writing are seriously cringe and probably fascists or “national socialists.” mao’s CPC made a temporary alliance with the KMT to defeat japanese imperialism, but while retaining as much physical, organizational and ideological autonomy from them as possible. i feel this is a very important lesson to learn, and clearly shows how reactionary culty patsocs are.

never even looked at lemmy tbh. is it better than reddit?

i know almost nothing about the whole scene, that’s why i was researching it haha. but, personal convictions of anyone aside it’s more interesting to me just as a general product of american society and cultural hegemony, and how that’s been expressed in the real world and in history. i’m sure plenty of artists who aren’t twats still have the relationship to the imperial core, basically

metallica was joined by other heavy metal bands like AC/DC for a performance in september 1991, just a month after the last attempt to regain control of the country by the masses, and three months before the soviet union finally collapsed it's ironic because the song depicted here has some anti-religious undertones, and yet here they are, acting as cultural stewards of death and representing the cultural dominance of the west after the USSR gave up. over a million in the crowd, waving flags like the US/UK/confederate flags, all completely clueless as to the death and economic depravity that would soon beset them. i had to be sad, now you have to haha. some of the youtube comments are also extremely depraved. you can also watch the first five minutes of the video that was produced about the performance [here](https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=47vobB02nQ4). heavy metal is pitched as essentially being anti-authoritarian lol edit: wow, it just gets better and better. the exact same song was one of the many used to torture people at fucking [guantanamo bay](https://www.theguardian.com/world/2008/jun/19/usa.guantanamo). james hetfield of metallica, when learning about the use of his music in torture of essentially random foreign nationals, *laughed* and said "we've been punishing our parents, our wives, our loved ones with this music for ever. why should the Iraqis be any different?"

thanks for the readings! i don’t really know anything about the western music scene in china except that it’s rising, it has prestigious institutions, and that the more peoples’ material conditions improve the more likely they are to study things like music. i think it pretty well demonstrates what actual funding and smart planning can do for musical institutions, as opposed to the many dilapidated institutions of the west. the bit about higher emphasis on things like improvisation, at least in the context of orchestral members, was very interesting. i still stand by the fact that “singlehandedly” is probably a bit hyperbolic, but i could be totally wrong, and in fact i hope i am wrong haha

unless there’s some hard data to support this i highly doubt it. sure, there’s a lot less interest in mechanical pianos among the general populace of the west (and likely higher in places with rising incomes such as china), but music schools and departments i’m sure account for high enough of a portion of piano profits that china isn’t singlehandedly doing anything in this regard. after all, it’s only large institutions like schools and performance venues (and rich people) that can buy the big, full-size d steinways that cost a few hundred grand. schools also have to buy a bunch of smaller pianos for practice rooms and faculty offices. there are ofc such institutions all around the world, but so far as i’m aware the US is still on top in terms of music schools, although this is currently changing as it approaches collapse and is willing to spend less money on such programs. i think the same is true for classical music in general: universities would keep it alive to some extent regardless of popular interest, and the US is generally preeminent with the caveat that that is likely changing as well; there are plenty of top-tier conservatories in china.

a few things to note for anyone reading this:

first off, he doesn’t go into the overtone series at all, which i think is helpful for this kind of discussion. having 12 tones within a certain scale or key wasn’t a totally random decision, it’s related to the overtone series, specifically the prominence of unison, fifths and thirds in the overtone series. essentially every “note” as we understand it is actually a whole host of pitches being played simultaneously, in addition to the principal tone. our brains basically filter out the extraneous notes apart from the principal, and that’s why it just sounds like one note instead of technically an infinite number of notes, but the overtone series helps to determine imo some sense of harmony, or what notes sound good with each other. i think this is why things like drones on the principal or dominant can still be seen in non-western music, and can also explain non-western use of the pentatonic scale as well.

the main issue with the piece is that he completely leaves out an important aspect of the development of western tuning systems: they were developed not only to be able to reliably play with other instruments such as the violin, but also in order to further modulate from C major!! before equal temperament, you can think of keyboard instruments as essentially being in the key of C major: the pitches within the C major scale on the instrument were considered “pure,” meaning that they were taken directly from the overtone series. but, the issue with having C major be pure is that the farther away you get from C major the less pure the intervals are: G and F major are a little less pure, whereas F# major was literally unplayable as its own key. this is what he’s referring to when he says that keys used to sound unique from each other: their uniqueness was derived from how far away they were from C major (or whatever key the keyboard was tuned to). the important takeaway from this is that, even back then how people understood keys was in large part influenced by keyboard pitching systems!!

and, just to elaborate on this ability to modulate to far-away keys a bit more, this is so important to understand that i’m surprised he didn’t even mention it once. there was certainly some forays into chromaticism in the baroque period and of course bach wrote the well-tempered clavier in all 24 keys, but this limitation of key is a large part of why pre-baroque and classical era music featured fewer keys with modulations never going very far away from the tonic key. by the same token, this is why we see so much chromaticism in the romantic period: things like neopolitan chords or augmented 6th chords would just sound horrible without some sort of more equal temperament. to take his analogy of colors and painting: what if you were totally restricted to one color in each painting, such as “red”? you could use any shade of red, but only red was allowed. or, what if you were restricted to “warm” colors in every painting? you could surely make beautiful art, but what if you wanted to use more contrasting colors? it’s important to understand this because this is the primary thing that’s gained via equal temperament (and why keyboard instruments could play with every other instrument), while losing unique keys and pure tuning is what is lost. calling it an ivory cage is a little cringe imo

as far as what’s quoted here, regarding western colonialism, i think it’s important to note that piano is simply the mechanism through which 12-tone ET is enforced on other cultures, but it’s not the essence of what colonization or imperialism is lol. if western culture didn’t have 12-tone ET, then it would have some other tuning system imposed on other cultures to the same extent and similarly be unreceptive to indigenous tuning systems. i think it’s a little overblown here because, well, other tuning systems still exist (although i’m sure many no longer do), and 12-tone ET still at least has some relation to the overtone series and thus all other music as well. but, it’s certainly superstructural and ultimately not very important to understanding what colonialism actually is lol

he laments that pianos have essentially stopped being improved to the extent that there’s now a universal standard. this is true: during say beethoven’s era there were constantly both quantitative improvements (more notes, more durability, more/better sound) as well as qualitative improvements (more pedals that could do all sorts of things, more novelty, and ultimately bigger differences between how they played) to pianos. but, he doesn’t at all investigate why this is! the tendency of capital accumulation towards monopoly i think is the primary one. there’s only like two or three major piano producers in the world, and it’s not because they’re constantly innovating anymore. standardization of parts as a result of the various industrial revolutions is another minor reason. i think it would take essentially “central planning” of musical production and education to make meaningful strides/improvements towards just about anything in not just this sphere but all of western music education. i mean, one critical glance at western notation pretty quickly shows how dilapidated and nonsensical it can be.

as far as electronic keyboards not having alternate tuning systems, again this is in large part a result of monopoly. and, you should probably be able to do this with electronic keyboards, but positing it as a replacement for mechanical pianos is equal parts ridiculous and hilarious. i don’t doubt it’s possible to create electronic keyboards with the same durability, feel, and resonance as real pianos but it’s never going to happen with monopolies and the profit motive.