Re: [OPE-L] Why aren't non-labourers sources of value?

From: Andrew Brown (A.Brown@LUBS.LEEDS.AC.UK)
Date: Thu Apr 07 2005 - 11:35:01 EDT


You are surely confusing creativity per se with productive creativity?

I am talking about the latter not reducing the former to the latter!
Yep, animals display a great deal of creativity per se. This
distinguishes them from plants and rocks. But they display little in the
way of productive creativity, hence the emphasis on tools. And hence you
can't give me any examples of much in the way of tool making animals!
Without this they do not transform their environment nor themselves, nor
their social relations to anything but a limited extent because they are
forever limited by the same external necessities and the same means to
overcome these. They are creative (to a greater or lesser extent)
*adaptors* rather than *transformers*. They have social relations but
not a history of development of the same based on the progressive
overcoming of nature through production, i.e. beyond a history of
adaptation to externally imposed changes in the environment. 

I am not saying animals are unintelligent, just that they are not as
intelligent as humans, they have not reached the level where they can
make their needs and wants an object, developing themselves and the
object. Any animal is stuck with its own particular talents. Humans are
available to progressively overcome their initial lack of the same,
through production. A beaver is a great damn builder but not much good
at webs, a spider is the converse. Humans can achieve both through there

So you really think the whales discuss the meaning of life, and we just
haven't cracked their language yet? I doubt it myself but I don't know
for sure, I've never met one of these whales. However, I suspect the
development of language arises with the development of productive
activity of labour, hence of tools so non tool-makers are likely to have
limited (*not* non-existent) language.

Of course the questions we are discussing are objective -- otherwise
we'd hardly be able to have a fruitful discussion about them (or perhaps
you don't think we are?) 

Many thanks,


-----Original Message-----
From: OPE-L [mailto:OPE-L@SUS.CSUCHICO.EDU] On Behalf Of glevy@PRATT.EDU
Sent: 07 April 2005 15:55
Subject: Re: [OPE-L] Why aren't non-labourers sources of value?


The very way in which you pose your questions suggest a very
limited meaning of creativity.  Can't singers and dancers even without
accompaniment by produced musical instruments be creative?
Belugas dance and sing as well (in fact, they are sometimes called the
"canaries of the sea").  If we can't understand their complex vocal
language and social behavior, this reflects _our_ limited understanding
rather than any lack of intelligence or creativity on the part of that

The emphasis of many Marxians on tool-making  as an indication
of creativity and intelligence seems to me to be misplaced: it makes a
virtue out of a human failing.  Humans must be 'creative' in order to
survive. Other species do not require the same level of creativity for
survival but this can _not_ be taken as an indication of lack of
intelligence.  And whales can be spontaneously creative when they want
be -- I could tell  you some remarkable stories about this that I have
observed first-hand.

Fishing people in a number of cultures harvest fish with the cooperation
of some whales.  In these cases, whales voluntarily assist in human
hunting. (Don't ask me why.)

> Did they discuss the meaning of life -- or
> indeed the source of value -- with their US and USSR army friends?

Do you know that they don't?

There is certainly evidence that they have complex social relations and

> What
> is the history of the development of the social relations of
> of the beluga whale?

They have a cooperative society.

Unfortunately, some of their customary social relations have been
adversely affected by contact with the human species which has hunted
them and destroyed traditional habitats.  There is also lots of
evidence, especially for belugas in the St. Lawrence River, that
our pollution is resulting in their annihilation through birth
deformities and pre-mature deaths.

The descriptions that I have read concerning the birth of a new
calf  are remarkable: other females (called by human observes
'midwives') assist in the birthing and share responsibility in the
nurturing of the new calf while the mother recuperates.  And at
the moment of birth, they all joyously celebrate by making almost
every sound in their vocabulary!  The different sounds, btw, are so
plentiful that humans have not even been able to catalog them all -- let
alone comprehend their specific meanings.

> Note that these questions are objective.

No, I think not.  They are expressions of subjective, limited human

In solidarity,  Jerry

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