George Walford: Ideologic

In IC12 we presented a table of the patterns of thinking – which is to say the logics – used by the different ideologies. With revisions it goes like this:

Protostatic: X and non-X are not logically differentiated.
Epistatic: X and non-X are in principle distinct.
Parastatic: X is X and not non-X.
Protodynamic: X and non-X are internally related.
Epidynamic: X is united in opposition with non-X.
Paradynamic: X is and is not non-X.

Up to and including the epidynamic these logics can all be readily shown in use in non-political connections, but the paradynamic, so far, has been observed in the thinking only of the anarchists and anarcho-socialists. Can this also be demonstrated in non-political life?

First let us develop the idea a little in its political expression, to show more fully what we are to look for. In politics the assumption that X is and is not nonX appears in the thinking of the (Anarcho-) Socialist Party. Here the capitalist class is presented as the master class, dominating not only economic but also political life; it is the power of this class, exercised through the educational system and the mass media (and in other ways), that explains why the majority of the workers have not accepted (anarcho-) socialist theory. That, the capitalist class as dominant and masterful, is the X. But they also say this same class is something else. It is an obsolete survival, something which did once perform a social function but does so no longer and now continues to exist only because the workers do not choose to vote it out of existence. That, the capitalist class as dependent on the willingness of workers to tolerate it, is the non-X.

In each version it is the same class. The masterful and dominant capitaliSt class is also the feeble and dependent capitalist class. X is and is not non-X.

The Working class is treated in much the same way. It is helplessly exploited, working under orders, serving the purposes of the master class. But also it “runs society from top to bottom,” it performs “all the tasks necessary for capitalism to function… including financial operations.” It can, if it chooses to do so, abolish capitalism and establish socialism, overriding any capitalist resistance.

Here again it is the same class in each version. The feeble and dependent working class is also the powerful and dominant class that runs society from top to bottom and holds in its hands the choice between capitalism and socialism. X is and is not non-X.

The temptation to reject this sort of thinking as mere muddle-headedness is weakened when we find the same pattern of thought, the same logic, in a different field and one which enjoys respect. Douglas R. Hofstadter’s Goedel, Escher, Bach; an Eternal Golden Braid (Hassocks, Sussex, Harvester Press 1979) is a collection of articles which appeared in Scientific American. He says this:

one can let the meanings of ‘point,’ ‘line’ and so on be determined by the set of theorems (or propositions) in which they occur. This was the great realization of the discoverers of non-Euclidean geometry. (p.93)

In non-Euclidean geometry, then, X is and is not non-X, one version or the other being selected according to the need of the moment. That is the logic used by the (A-)SPGB. They, also, allow the meaning of some terms to be decided by the propositions in which they occur. And they have as much hope of getting their theories generally accepted as have the non-Euclidean geometers.

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THE CHARGE that we are unfeeling is unjustified; we have a deep sentimental attachment to money.

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REVOLUTION is the opium of the intellectuals.

from Ideological Commentary 27, May 1987.