Re: [OPE-L] re the 6 book plan

From: ajit sinha (sinha_a99@YAHOO.COM)
Date: Wed Sep 13 2006 - 09:41:00 EDT

--- Jerry Levy <Gerald_A_Levy@MSN.COM> wrote:

> > Jerry, how can you understand capitalism without
> > analyzing the role of education in creating the
> > ideological conditions for capitalist reproduction
> and
> > further the role of media, and then again the
> > historicity of a culture, the sociology of a
> culture,
> > the geography of a culture, the whole of natural
> > environment and its relation with the mode of
> > production on the one hand and the solar system on
> the
> > other, and the relationship of the solar system
> with
> > the universe and its relationship with the
> multiverse,
> > etc., etc. to understand the totality of it all.
> How
> > many more books did I prescribe for Marx or you
> > already? Do you get my point? 'Totality' is just a
> > mere slogan!
> Hi Ajit:
> I understand the point you wish to make but don't
> agree
> with it.  We discussed this topic  last year, not
> within the
> context of  the 6-book-plan but in a more general
> way in the
> thread which included a discussion of Anita's
> Chocolate
> Cake.
> 1. My objection to the above is that it conflates
> topics associated
> with an understanding of capitalism in general and
> topics which
> are associated with conjunctural analyses of
> specific social
> formations.  It also conflates topics associated
> with an
> understanding of capitalism in general with topics
> arising from
> specific natural sciences.  So, to comprehend the
> general
> nature of capitalism as a totality does _not_
> require that we
> include within an analysis of that subject  an
> accurate analysis
> of the nature of the solar system and whether Pluto
> is or is not
> a planet.  Nor, for example, does it require a
> comprehension of
> the historicity of _a_  culture or the sociology of
> _a_ culture, or
> the geography of _a_ culture: these topics are all
> (to use your word)
> historicized and need to be grasped within the
> context of  specific
> conjunctural studies of individual social
> formations.
You seem to know a lot before even venturing, which
creates methodological problems. My point was that the
idea of totality as such is nonsense given that
everything is connected with everything else one way
or the other and thus an understanding of anything in
its totality is impossible. So you have to come down
from total to less total, you have to draw some lines
to frame your canvas, to delimit your subject matter
or the object of enquiry. The modern divisions of
disciplines is one way the Enlightenment and Science
has tried to do it, with which many people have not
been happy (including Marx). Can any attempt at
delimiting the subject matter be a purely positive
exercise without introducing normative consideration
is a question that needs to be asked. I do not have
time right now to get involved in a debate on what is
capitalism or its "inner nature" etc. My sense is that
a lot of people think that they know a lot about
something without knowing how did they get to know
such things. For example, how do you know that
capitalism has "inner nature"? and how did you find
it? As far as I'm concerned, a short story model is
good enough for me. We start abruptly at some point
and we stop abruptly at some point and still we say
something that interest a community of people. In the
final analysis, all creative work is art and our
choices are in the end driven by our sense of
aesthetic. The idea of totality is also nothing but an
aesthetic choice.  Cheers, ajit sinha

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