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Freedom is the recognition of necessity

Consider...

That human society must reproduce itself continually, because its constituents—we life forms—are compelled to replenish life continually.

That this compulsion for society to reproduce itself imposes temporal persistence upon the social modes of its reproduction.

That these social modes of reproduction are constrained by the historically developed means available for society to reproduce itself.

That these social modes of reproduction manifest themselves historically—in their pure form—as persistent moments in an evolving dialectical process.

That these persistent moments are grounded in persistent forms of social relations of ownership and control of the means available for society to reproduce itself.

That when persistent social relations of ownership and control of the means available for reproducing social existence are overturned then the entire social formation, which has been raised upon these persistent social relations, is transformed into a new mode for reproducing social existence that is raised upon, and appropriate to, the changed social relations of ownership and control.

That a social process that is grounded in persistent social relations is not grounded in our will, but rather grounds our will.

That ownership and control of the means of social reproduction by a class of society—the ruling class—is the foundation upon which the ruling class exploits the dispossessed social class—the working class.

That the capitalist ruling class has transformed the social reproduction process into the reproduction of capital, and has simultaneously transformed the worker from a producer of goods into a producer of capital, independent of his/her will, but determining his/her will; independent of his/her conceptions, but determining his/her misconceptions.

That so long as the necessity of the process of social reproduction is not comprehended by the dispossessed class, the current social form prevails.

That Marx and Engels gave their working lives to comprehending the necessity of the social process as a deterministic science, with the practical aim of ending the persistence of the current mode of production and establishing social relations of common ownership and democratic control of the means of social reproduction to ensure the persistence of a socialist mode of production.

That the capitalist ruling class has hijacked the necessary process of social reproduction and converted it into the socially parasitic process of return on investment.

That the capitalist social process has turned working life into a moment in the expansion of capital, and has produced the producer as a non-producer of goods—the unwitting producer of the ruling class’s capital that enslaves him/her.

That a persistent social system driven by return on investment is not driven by social freedom, but is necessarily driven by the negation of freedom for those compelled to labour persistently at producing illusory proxies for the capitalist class’s return on investment.

That the delusion that producers produce goods is the sustaining illusion of an unfree working class, that is productive only when productive of capital.

That the motive force of return on investment overrides consideration of sex, colour, health, disability, intellect, security, love, community—in short, humanity.

That the motive force of return on investment generates obfuscation, lying, brutality, cheating, swindling, war—in short, anti-humanity.

On consideration, capitalist society gives us zero freedom to control it.  Human will is powerless to intervene successfully in a process it doesn’t comprehend.  Society remains at the mercy of its uncomprehended process.

Gravity likewise acts independently of our will.  We no longer engage in merely willing freedom from a gravity that is indifferent to us.  We have learnt by bitter experience to unleash gravity’s inexorable necessity for our ends.  The modern motor car relies on gravity’s necessity, comprehended in the form of general relativity, to help it navigate by GPS.

This is precisely what Engels (following Hegel) means by his deep enigmatic gloss “Freedom is the recognition of necessity”.  Think it through.  Engels, like Marx, assumes a reader willing to think.

Necessity must be comprehended for us to be able bridle her, for us to gain freedom through her.  We can never free ourselves from necessity.  The illusion that we can ignore necessity is illusory ignorance—anti-human utopian dreaming.

Willed ‘freedom’ is zero freedom, so long as prevalent necessity remains uncomprehended.  That’s precisely why humanity needs science.

Consider the inhumanities we will free ourselves from when we free ourselves from the necessity to drive society for return on investment—when we free ourselves from the insatiable necessity for capital to expand itself at the expense of the socially crippled humans whose socially-necessary task it is to perform this compulsion for the capitalist class.  Those humans are us, you and me!


TWC

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