[OPE-L] Marx Meets Buddha

From: Jurriaan Bendien (adsl675281@TISCALI.NL)
Date: Sat Sep 30 2006 - 07:29:19 EDT

I notice that the article begins with the statement that "Karl Marx's
materialistic philosophy of history might seem to exclude all possibilities
of a spiritual dimension to human existence." This just shows what a
terrible caricature the ruling Marxisms have made of Marx. Still, it seems
difficult to reconcile Marx with Buddhism, given e.g. Marx's comments on
religion in "A Contribution to the Critique of Hegel's Philosophy of Right"
which refer to the practical, specific and active overcoming of the
conditions that create human suffering, rather than the abstract
eternalization of suffering (or its overcoming by means of the destruction
of the self, and quietist meditation/contemplation). I would say that the
evidence is that for Marx, need and desire are part of what it means to be
human - so it's not a question of wandering around with a begging bowl or
clutching a horse's neck, but of trying to satisfy those needs and desires
practically, in healthy ways, and thus realise human potential. For that
reason, I don't think Nietzsche's in-denial philosophy would have appealed
to Marx - who rarely told people how, in general, they should live but lived
his own life (one of the very few comments he made in this regard is
recorded by Paul Lafargue: ""Science must not he a selfish pleasure," [Marx]
used to say. "Those who have the good fortune to be able to devote
themselves to scientific pursuits must be the first to place their knowledge
at the service of humanity." One of his favourite sayings was: "Work for


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