RE: [OPE] Spirit and self

From: Paul Cockshott <>
Date: Sat Mar 28 2009 - 12:12:50 EDT

Regrettably you rake up, out of the dustbin of history, all kinds of dubious so-called Marxists and spiritual quacks who put radical theory on a wrong track, who misled the progressive movement and set people back. You combine perfectly valid science with ideosyncratic pseudo-science and ideological quackery. With that sort of practice, no wonder that the Left is in such a bad shape.
My point was to show that the denial of a unitary self by cognitive neuroscience is not alien to the corpus of Marxist literature. You may regard Althusser and Pashukanis with disdain, but plenty of Marxists have taken them seriously.

You say
 "Kautsky, like Lenin, simply wasn't a great intellectual, a great thinker, and neither of them pretended to be one either. "

Well having read Kautsky, Momsen and Weber on the social structure of late antiquity, I think that Kautsky's account is at least as sophisticated as the others ( I give them as other German authors of roughly the same period ). It is also head and shoulders above most of the other works I have read on the origins of christianity.

Whose work on the subject of the origins of christianity do you consider superior?

Why should we try to marry Buddhist ideology to Marxist ideology? This is just an admission that Marxism is an inadequate quasi-religion, a metaphysical doctrine that cannot cope with the rich diversity of human strivings. But why should our understanding of what humanity is about, be constrained by a religion?

I am not trying to marry Buddhist ideology to marxism. I was asked by an Indian publisher to
write an introduction to Towards a New Socialism for an Indian readership, and for the purpose
to explain the relationship between marxian socialism and Ambedkar's Buddhist socialism.
The article is generally critical of Ambedkars Buddhist socialism and the point I quoted says
only that as compared to other religious ideologies Buddhist conceptions of the illusory nature of the self were less mystical and obscurantist than Christian or Islamic doctrine.

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Received on Sat Mar 28 12:14:50 2009

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