Friday, December 06, 2013

Materialist Version of a Myth -- Book

The central thread of the three great religions, Judaism, Christianity and Islam, all originating in the Middle East goes like this:
Once upon a time there was a pair, Adam and Eve, a pretty happy couple in Eden; if Eden is not heaven then it is darn pretty close to it. Adam and Eve trotted along with their jolly life, one day they slipped and ate the forbidden fruit. There went all the happiness out the door, or rather the happy pair were kicked out of the happy place, the Garden of Eden. All of our miseries are due to this original sin, eating the forbidden fruit. It does not matter if Adam and Eve misunderstood the heavenly law. That original slipup has put us on the path of committing more sins. The proliferation of sin is our lives. We have to repent everyday and the next day we blunder with a bigger sin. Our salvation is in trying hard to avoid sin, repent whenever it happens, and we know it will happen again. By the way, there are these saints or demi-gods that eventually will intervene and save us, we just need to be on their side by calling on them and believing in them; and if we did, eventually we will end up back in heaven, version 2 of Eden, as escorts to those demi-gods. It will be a little bit more crowded this time around, but it would be as good as the first time if not better. We are told if we look carefully we will see the saints are winking, or if we listen intently we hear them, murmuring “it is going to be better!”, “fantabulous!” For one thing implicitly it is implied or explicitly stated that there are going to be orgies, something Adam and Eve could not have! Moreover there are no material needs or any social inhibitions in heaven. The ones who are beyond this myth will just end up in hell, a worse version of what is happening on earth, version 2 of earth, with extreme exploitation of the flesh!

Here comes Marx saying, this is just religious myth and it is the opium for the masses. We need to rid them of it! Marx's truth is that there is no heaven or hell outside this earth. We are not a byproduct of an original sin but we are product of an original deed. All of our problems began with this deed and we have to undo the proliferation of this deed and the evil it has created. Marx has his own Eden, what he calls early or primitive communism. Actually, this early communism was composed of a lot of little edens, primitive tribes. In these tribes there are no trades or division of labor, pretty much all members of tribes cooperate with each other to find food for survival. All members pitch in to find food and everybody shares in the find and consumes together, a complete “egalitarian” society – the shining moment of our humanity. This is the first stage in our human history.

At a later stage the first division of labor appears. This division is among the two sexes, males and females. Male members did the hunting and the females became food gatherers. The males went out hunting big animals and the females went picking fruits, digging up roots and tubers, and finding other small grubs around the tribal compound. These two separate activities were conducted by the two sex groups but the fruit of their activities was shared communally. This is yet the same egalitarian little eden without any exploitation. It was a better eden since the division of labor and the resulting specializations eased access to the material necessities of life. It was a truly beautiful human society, everybody pitched in to do the chores and the result of work was consumed together. There was no exploitation, no social stratification and no classes. The lineage and the tribal stories were mainly female based, indicating a prominence for the female members, coined as the matriarchal period of our past. Some even termed this as the ascendancy of women over men. In any case, Marx’s notion is that in the midst of this “egalitarian” epoch of early communism something happened that changed the course of humanity. And that was trade. Trade was the original deed. This trade began with occasional exchanges between the tribes and evolved into regular meeting places, a market, for these deeds. This was the beginning of the erosion of the human relationship among members of the tribe, the creation of additional division of labor and other specializations among the members of the society and thus the breakup of the tribal system. And all this was just the extension of that original deed.

We curse the money and the riches, but we more and more become slaves of the proliferation of this deed, trade. This was the dawn of class differentiation and the end of cooperative relationships, the end of early communism and the end of the very beautiful human relationships that existed. This was the exit process from the Eden of early communism, and all because of this original deed. The rest has been just class struggle, going from one form of social stratification and mode of production to another more sever class differentiation, formation of capital and eventually dominance of the capitalist class. The full fledged evil of that original deed is now upon us. Marx thinks that by tagging along with the saint of all classes, the working class, siding with it when it decides to overthrow the capitalists, the demon of all classes, we will enter the Eden of communism once again. This time around it is a better Eden, it is no work and all fun, and one can go fishing in the morning if he wishes and become a poet in the afternoon if he chooses.

His choice of activities makes me wonder if Marx’s socialism wasn’t somehow tied up with his introvert mind and the reinforcing mechanism of his narrow circle of converts-supporters. His virulent debates certainly point to at least some hints of cult psychology, common among religious zealots.

The parallel between Marx’s story and the dominant religions of his era would be astonishing if one fails to understand the power of the myth and its endurance. From an evolutionary perspective prediction of this second coming of communism is also particularly strange. It is as if a biologist stirs up a story and his tall tale leads to a prediction, that the few bones at the end of our spine, remnant of the actual tails of our animal ancestry, in a not too distant future will grow back into a full fledged tail. This time around it would be even a bigger tail!

It is well known that Marx had problems with Darwin’s theory of evolution. And Marxists since then have struggled with the core concepts of this theory, particularly the concept of the “survival of fittest” or natural selection. This has been an uphill battle for the communist ideologues and their leftist supporters when the accumulation of evidence has verified Darwin’s theory over and over. The problems that other religions have with Darwin's theory of the evolution draws another parallel with Marxism.
The above piece is part of a book that I am developing.  If you would like to follow, please read the blogs titled "Perspective..." and then read all the blogs which the title name ends with " -- Book".  As you might have guessed, you have to read from the earlier posts moving to the present.

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