The purpose of this project is to concentrate the ideas that define a proletarian worldview, broad enough so that the reader is given a simplified and generalized overview that sets in motion the creation of a proletarian culture — first in the individual's psychology, and then in collective practice. This summarization will come from texts found both within and without the study guide.
This includes but is not limited to:
- The establishment of the scientific method as the implicit method of all creative and transformative action.
- The investigation of our social reality, and the recognition of the ability to transform it.
- The understanding and handling of social conflict, and the methods to investigate and resolve them.
- The mastery of criticism and self-criticism as primary tools of transcendence and self-transcendence.
- The self-motivated desire to investigate and resolve problems linked to concrete situations and immediate reality.
- The cultivation of solidarity with the most oppressed sections of all living beings and the overcoming of selfish and opportunistic action.
- The recognition of the necessity of linking all progressive social forces and to unite all those who can be united to push humanity in a direction of advancement, and the discovery of the correct methods in doing so.
- The commitment to cultivating self-discipline, sacrifice, strategy, organization, and leadership, and committing to be insatiable in learning and tireless in teaching, and to go against the tide when necessary.
The Objective And The Subjective
In a general way, we define "subjects" as the creations of matter that are able to make decisions, and "objects" as all existing matter. All subjects are objects, but not all objects are subjects. For the purposes of this topic, the subjects we are primarily describing are human beings.
What is "subjective" is everything which is dependent on the decision-making ability of subjects. What is "objective" is everything that currently exists. As above, everything that is subjective is objective, but not everything that is objective is subjective.
The subject receives its knowledge for decision-making from the objective world (this is what is meant by "matter transforming into consciousness"). When the subject acts, its actions transform the objective world. The objective world now carries within it the results of subjective action (this is what is meant by "consciousness transforming into matter").
Adding the concept of time, we can say that the objective world contains the results of past subjective action, and will contain, in the future, the result of present subjective action. The objective world is in continual development, and the subjects, being themselves objects, are also developing within it. In the course of development of the objective world, objective circumstances transform subjective circumstances and, in turn, the subjective transforms the objective.
What is "subjectively possible" is every potential subjective action to transform the objective world. What is "objectively possible" is every potential development of the objective world. Subjective possibility is bounded by objective possibility.
We can speak of both present and future possibility, but speaking of future possibility can introduce unpredictability and therefore uncertainty. Those possibilities that are presently independent of subjective action (like the movement of celestial objects) can be more certain and predictable, but are outside the scope of our investigation.
A subject can desire a future transformation of the objective world, and can attempt to realize that transformation through action, but will fail to do so if it is not objectively possible. However, the action will still cause a change in objective circumstances that may create new possibilites.
On the other hand, a desireable objective possibility realizeable through subjective action might not become a reality if the subject does not act with the intention of realizing the possibility. This could happen for several complicated reasons, but the most common reason is a lack of awareness: If the subject is not aware of an objective possibility realizeable through action, it is not subjectively possible, and therefore not objectively possible.
All of this to conclude that the knowledge of objective circumstances is necessary for subjective possibilites to emerge, and the purpose for developing this worldview is to transform subjects through the transfer of knowledge so that they can recognize as many possibilities to transform the objective world and make the best decisions they can make with their understanding (hopefully this is what is meant by "raising consciousness").
In simpler words: We can't change the world in certain ways if we don't understand the world enough, or if we don't understand the ways in which it can be changed. Lacking awareness, we will still continue to change the world in other ways, but we will miss certain hidden opportunities to do so even if they are available for us to change, because our consciousness can not reveal those opportunities. The purpose of studying our objective circumstances is to reveal those opportunities so we may act upon them, as they may be our best course of action.
The Scientific Revolution
What makes the proletarian worldview significant in the course of human development above all preceding transformations is the completion of the scientific revolution at the level of the individual. In other words proletarian society requires, as part of democratic necessity, that human beings are imbued with the knowledge and practice of the scientific method in social life.
Why this transformation has yet to happen in bourgeois society is due to the economic forces which optimize for social stratification: science remains secure in relatively small sectors of intellectual and professional workers who maintain an elevated status to generate the profits of advanced technological development. On the other side of this elitism remains the bulk of society that performs the majority of the labor necessary for humanity to continue to function. Should the scientific method penetrate into the daily lives of our average worker, this state of affairs would quickly be overthrown.
It is not only the scientific method which will cause a revolution in our way of life, but the education in social science, in the transformation of the individual into a social scientist. Once humanity understands the laws of its own social development, there will be a qualitative leap in our collective consciousness: homo sapiens will become homo methodicus. It is our responsibility to elaborate on this, simplify it, and ultimately carry this understanding into the world where it is most needed.
We are going to work with a generalized cyclical model of (Hypothesis->Experiment->Observation->Hypothesis), applicable at any starting point. The transition of (Hypothesis->Experiment) is the transformation of consciousness into matter. The transition of (Experiment->Observation) is the transformation of matter into consciousness. The transition of (Observation->Hypothesis) is the mental labor of analysis and synthesis. This is the scientific mode of being that can be consciously applied in the course of all human activity. It generates an internal body of knowledge which, when socially externalized and verified through the reproduction of the same knowledge, becomes similar to what we understand as formal science.
The Dimensions Of Idea And Matter
We receive information from the external world through our senses, which are biological systems. This information is processed by the brain and stored as memories. These memories are then manipulated, consciously or unconsciously, to form thoughts. Thoughts can be composed of memories from multiple senses — for example, they can be both auditory and visual — and therefore are not able to be sensed by any individual sense-system.
We also know that, as an example, listening to a thought is far different than hearing it through the ear. The thought does not produce sound waves, there is no physical matter being sent to the ear to produce the sound heard, and nobody else can hear our thoughts. It follows that the sounds we hear from our thoughts are being received and processed from entirely within our bodies. Memories from all sense systems are similar.
Thoughts can not be physically found. They are not composed of matter, they do not have mass, and are therefore not material, but they are real. Being real, they belong within a dimension of reality that is separate from the material dimension. We name this the ideal dimension, and we are consciously aware of this dimension because our brains are capable of "sensing" thoughts (note: analyze the difference between thoughts and ideas). In summary we have a two-dimensional perception of reality, composed of ideal and material perception.
It is important to note that the ideal dimension is dependent on the material dimension. As of our current time, there is no evidence that ideas can exist independently of matter. We have no proof that ideas existed before life was able to sense them, or that some ideas are formed independently of any mind, so we will not be assuming that such is the case. On the other hand, matter can exist without ideas - we can point to the development of the universe as an easy example of this.
It might then be easier to think of the ideal world as an extension of the material world — ideas emerge out of matter, and have matter as a precondition, but are not matter. This is an important distinction to make because it keeps the interface between the brain and our thoughts — the mind — on a material foundation
The mind operates consciously and unconciously — with or without volition. The mind can be directed to work on memories and produce new ones (note: go back to define the role of memory). Unconsciously, the mind also performs work that we are not directing. All mental work exhausts our energy in a way connected to, but different than, physical work. The mind is interdependent with the body: our mental experience affects our physical experience and vice versa. Our ideas transform our physical decisions, and in return those physical decisions provide us with new memories which can be used to transform our ideas.
The Transfer Of Ideas
Once an idea is created, it can be transferred into the world in several forms, such as through speech, writing, art, or even daily actions. However, what appears in material reality is not the idea itself, but rather a material representation of an idea (this is the exact opposite of what happens when a sense converts material reality into a memory). Material transformations can contain several ideas whether intentional or unintentional. It is through the processes of investigation and analysis that these ideas can be discovered in any observed phenomenon that was created through action.
Every human being struggles with ideological authority. Society, let alone reality, is too great a phenomenon for us to derive all of its truths through personal experience alone. It is impossible to deny even the passing influence of others: no matter how much we isolate, our history of ideas has mutated from the contact of external sources.
Authority is firstly permitted by trust. It typically begins with the authority of the family or community and follows up with the system of education or media of a higher organization. Children are taught ideas which generally ensure the stability of the society they find themselves in. Left relatively undisturbed, these ideas will result in a conformity, a common psychology that is recognized on a mass scale as a common culture.
Differences in this psychology arise for various complicated reasons, but it usually manifests as a disagreement or an inconsistency. This is the basis of ideological conflict, and it leads to a state of confusion. In some cases a lived experience can come into conflict with a belief conferred by an authority. In other cases it originates from coming into contact with opposing views and recognizing that such alternative views not only exist but are held by a significant amount of people. Trust in established authority is then questioned in what is in actuality a process of competing authorities.
The intellectual struggle is one that seeks the highest consistency, the resolution of the most complicated confusion, and the greatest confidence in ideological authority.
The Meaning Of Proletarian
Classic Marxist terminology defined the proletarian as a member of the class of workers, the proletariat. Here, class is determined by its relation to the system of production which materially reproduces society. Marxism speaks of the proletariat as a historical subject, as a "class-for-itself". In practical terms this suggests that, once these members of the proletariat became aware of their class position and their historical role, proletarians would begin to consciously work to advance the interests of the class as a whole.
These class-conscious proletarians did exactly that, pushing beyond the trade unions of traditional working-class consciousness into the establishment of socialist societies with the intention of liberating the class and ultimately eliminating classes altogether. While the end goals were never achieved, several developments were made along the way in the understanding of this class phenomenon. In particular, the perpetual cultural revolution was discovered as the necessary task that complements the material transformations underpinning socialist society.
The proletarian cultural revolution is the project of developing mass proletarian consciousness in social practice, with the ultimate goal being a stable mass culture that reproduces the conditions for establishing a communist society.
The pioneers of the cultural revolution in China initiated the experiment with the intention of preventing the reversal of socialist society by preserving its proletarian leadership. The Chinese had studied the first socialist state, the Soviet Union, and concluded that it had lost its socialist character due to a capture of state power by a new capitalist class. Seeing evidence that a similar capitalist takeover was underway in their own country, China experimented with putting an end to the counter-revolution by initiating the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution (GPCR). The GPCR briefly succeeded in combating the new capitalist class, generating unprecedented experiences and new lessons that were transferred internationally, until the Chinese proletariat was overthrown.
The international proletariat who came to China and studied the GPCR began to apply its lessons to the situation in their home countries. In its primitive understanding, the cultural revolution was seen mechanically as a revolution to be immediately carried out after the proletariat seizes state power. The revolutionary leaders in the Philippines expanded on this understanding by elaborating that every class that has ascended to power has done so with the aid of a new culture as a prerequisite. The Filipino proletariat called for a cultural revolution to struggle against the oppressive culture of their semicolonial and semifeudal society and to prepare the way for a socialist society before the seizure of state power. This strategy has in part guided the Filipino proletariat to become the most prominent torchbearers of the world proletarian revolution in the present day.
These developments in the world revolution leave us with some interesting questions for consideration. Firstly, if a proletarian cultural revolution can be carried out before the emergence of a socialist state, how is that possible? It is widely understood in Marxism that the economic base of a society will generate the consciousness corresponding to and reproducing that way of life. It was in the Chinese socialist period that the GPCR became reality, necessarily dependent on the society that generated it. It was through the generalization of cultural revolution from the GPCR in particular that would allow its application elsewhere and in different conditions, but how generalized can it become?
If a cultural revolution is an act of overthrowing one culture with another then how is it different from conscious ideological struggle? A common culture manifests from a common psychology, so it would follow that at the most atomic level, the level of the individual, it must be the overthrow of one worldview with another, the transformation of consciousness into proletarian consciousness. This process clearly begins at any point in history in which the ideas of the proletariat circulate, when the individuals grasp these ideas and accept them as their own.
Coming back to the definition of the proletarian: we understand that consciousness is necessary, but is it sufficient? Can it be said that anyone who grasps the proletarian worldview, sufficiently enough to work toward the proletarian society, be considered Proletarian? If so, the conditions already exist for a cultural revolution to be carried out by any Proletarian through the act of cultural work, which is the work of transforming consciousness with the ultimate aim of guiding society toward communist society.
Of course it would still be understood that the working class was the leading force in building the new society because of their relation to the productive forces of society. The Proletarian, then, seeks to simultaneously liberate the working class and dissolve all class distinctions, developing humanity to a classless (but still Proletarian?) society.
Table Of Contents
To us power is, first of all, the ability to define phenomena, and secondly the ability to make these phenomena act in a desired manner.
― Huey P. Newton
We aim to define the most concise set of ideas that generate the necessary core of proletarian ideology. This will be done by describing real phenomena with consistent language and connecting these descriptions into a working model. No model can perfectly describe reality, but it can serve as an abstract representation that will be useful regardless of its imperfection.
After this model is described, it will be used to "reverse engineer" certain proletarian methodology, attaching it to its foundation, which will hopefully simplify complex phenomena and help us to deepen our understanding. A deeper understanding should improve our methods and, in the long term, accelerate the process of developing a proletarian psychology as the individual aspect which works to develop a collective proletarian culture.
At the core of all well-founded belief lies belief that is unfounded.
― Ludwig Wittgenstein
Our understanding of reality is limited, not only because of our physical limitations, but also because of the limitations of our technological progress that allows us to observe and interact with the physical world. We can only speak of what we personally know, but we are also bounded by what humanity knows at this period of human development. Our knowledge of nature is flawed, but it is generally better than it was centuries ago, and it can be expected to develop centuries into the future if humanity continues in desireable conditions. Our language is also flawed: it can only approximate our reality, and we can only hope to improve on this approximation to the best of our ability. In spite of all this unavoidable imperfection we still make progress toward the less imperfect. There is a general tendency of our technology, our conditions, and our understanding of nature improving.
When we work in the context of the most basic concepts of our reality, we do not have perfect knowledge, so we have to make assumptions that we do not have the ability to prove even in the presence of abundant evidence. Since we wish to construct a model that conforms with reality, our reasoning is at best inductive: we derive our universal, foundational beliefs from particular evidence, acklowedging a certain degree of error. These foundations, or axioms, are as follows:
Material Reality Exists
When we speak of "reality" we mean what we experience, or what we live within, or what we are connected to. When we speak of "material" we mean that which is composed of matter, or that which has mass. When we say that material reality exists, we are saying that it exists regardless of our experience of it. It is not an illusion produced by our senses, and it is not a fabrication of the mind: it is something that our senses interact with, we exist within it. It existed before we were born and will continue to exist after we are gone. It has its own course of development that is not dependent on us.
Ideal Reality Is Produced By A Discontinuity Within Material Reality
When our nervous system interacts with material reality through its senses, it can create representations of matter which are stored and may later be retrieved. The re-experience of this representation through retrieval is one example of the realm we refer to as ideal reality, and we define these representations of matter as our most basic ideas. These ideas do not have a mass, but they are generated by the mass of our nervous system. They cannot be found separately from the nervous system generating them either, as we cannot interact with the ideas of others unless they are transferred back into material reality through some sensible medium.
If ideas do not have mass, can they be called material? We can find an analogy in electromagnetic fields: photons, the elementary particles that produce electromagnetic waves, are massless, and we do consider them part of our material reality.
If ideas cannot be sensed, can they be called material? This is a much more difficult question to answer. We at least have research in neuroscience that links brain activity with thinking, but the ideas are not observable. Dark matter and energy are also not observable, and despite their questionable existence there is at least some acceptance of unobservable phenomena in cosmological models as part of our material reality.
We see no reason to believe that ideal reality is separate from material reality, we only wish to distinguish between the two to describe the way that they interact. It is merely a convention of language and in no way does it imply a mental-physical duality: we see mental processes as physical processes, the ideal completely contained within the material.
A discontinuity, or a qualitative leap, is a phenomenon where something in its continuous development eventually becomes qualitatively different from its preceding state of being. A quality is a property of a thing, such as its shape, or color, or circumstance, or anything that we observe that a thing *has*. The change in a qualitative property comes about through a change in a quantitative, or numerically measurable, property. We distinguish qualitative and quantitative properties in that both are observable but qualities are not numerically measurable.
The classic example is the transformation of water to ice when its temperature sufficiently drops, or when water turns into steam when its temperature sufficiently rises. What happens when the temperature of water rises is that the molecules of water are increasing in kinetic energy, they move or vibrate faster. Once a certain energy, or speed, is reached, water changes from a liquid to a gas. In the opposite direction, as the kinetic energy of water decreases, it changes from a liquid to a solid. Solid, liquid, and gaseous are qualities/properties of matter that arise in certain conditions of development. In water it is the quantitative, numerically measurable, property speed of its internal motion that causes a change in its state of matter, which is a qualitative property.
Other commonly experienced discontinuities are the transition from awake to asleep, from hungry to full, from energetic to tired, from loud to quiet, from hot to warm, from warm to cold, and so on.
The Ideal Discontinuity
We thus have the brain producing representations of matter from its interactions with material reality. The matter is not taken and stored but approximately copied into memory. Sounds from memory do not cause our ear drums to vibrate, nor do images from memory require our eyes to be open. Instead these ideas are remembered and brought into working memory, either to transfer them back into material reality or to use them to generate representations of representations of matter (which we will distinguish as "complex" ideas, in contrast with "simple" ideas that are only representations of the senses).
As far as we are aware, no evidence exists of any ideas which are not dependent on some representation of material phenomena. This is why we treat ideal reality as completely contained within material reality, as a subset of matter. We cannot call ideas "immaterial" even though they lack the qualities of mass and perceptibility by external senses. Instead, the massless and externally imperceptible properties of ideas are qualitative changes in the brain's transformation of matter into ideas. Ideal reality is a discontinuity that is unique to those living beings that are capable of this two-dimensional (very roughly like space-time or electro-magnetic) perception.
The Mind Exists In Ideal Reality As The Mediator Between The Material And The Ideal
We previously emphasized the lack of the quality of external perception because ideas are internally perceived. There is some quality that comes from our brain which is capable of this internal perception, and we refer to this quality as the mind. It is unknown how the mind emerges, so what follows is only an assumption that is necessary to build our foundations: there is some threshold passed that involves several neural properties such as nerve cell quantity, density, architecture, and likely other properties which causes the discontinuous emergence of the mind. The origins of the mind are not too important, but this is a plausible explanation that is consistent with the foundations we have presently established.
What we are practically saying is that the mind "senses" ideas. We are less certain in saying that every nervous system senses ideas, or even that every brain does, as these questions lie outside of the scope of our investigation. It is possible that the sensing of ideas can happen before the emergence of the mind, but for now we are assuming that the mind is the first quality of the brain that interacts with representations of matter.
A more interesting property of the mind is, regardless of whether we choose to self-identify with it, the mind can be directed to mental work. The mind can also direct the body to physical work, where work is considered in its most general sense. This ability to direct work will be called volition, or willpower. There are material limitations to volition such as energy and ability, but also ideal limitations such as knowledge and awareness. Decisions are made with the constraints of both our physical capacity and the ideas that we have in our memory.
Voluntary mental work happens inbetween or alongside involuntary mental work, and the distinction is sometimes hard to determine. Dreams are an example of involuntary mental work that, once the dreamer becomes lucid, can be transformed with volitional activity. Another example is when an intrusive idea enters the ideal perceptual space and distracts a mind, signifying that the ideal workspace is shared between voluntary and involuntary action.
Our willpower is often times subordinate to these involuntary mental processes. We can not, as examples, instantaneously change our habits, drop our addictions, fix our mistakes, learn new skills, adopt new perspectives and the like. These changes are often met with resistance as if the involuntary mind has its own momentum. The voluntary force is weak in comparison because it is something new coming into conflict with established circumstances: such changes require persistent effort and determination.
The Interaction Between The Ideal And The Material
It would be near useless to have a mind which deals with sensing and transforming ideas if these actions had no impact on material reality. The ideal and the material are interconnected: while the material generates and transforms the ideal, the ideal transforms the material through the actions of the body. Ideas can transform our perspective of our world and can transform our decisions in turn, which changes the world in a way that it would not have changed had there been no idea to guide our decisions.
The mind is the bridge, the mediator, between these two dimensions of matter. How effective the mind is with the transformation of each dimension is dependent on the recognition and understanding of its role as mediator, which is ultimately dependent on knowledge and practice. The purpose of this writing is essentially to elaborate on this knowledge and the practical methods necessary for its verification.
Reality Is Composed Of Contradictions In Motion
We define a contradiction as two things which cannot coexist in the same time and place because they are completely opposed to each other. We have basic ideal contradictions like true and false, up and down, life and death, positive and negative. Basic material contradictions are harder to find, but the best example is antimatter: electrons and antielectrons, protons and antiprotons, neutrons and antineutrons. More complex contradictions are not directly opposed but usually have properties which negate each other, such as fire and water, friend and enemy, or kinetic and potential energy. Each contradiction behaves and resolves itself in its own unique way, determined by the properties of those two things which compose it.
What allows these contradictions to exist in reality is that they are displaced in time. We can look up and we can look down, but we cannot look up and down at the same time. Likewise matter and antimatter cannot come into contact or else they are mutually eliminated (transformed into other particles). Every day we can say that it is Friday, but only one day of the week will it be a true statement.
Ideas can also come into contradiction with each other, such as those which represent completely opposing interpretations of material reality. We cannot believe that it is both Friday and Saturday, or that it is both night and day. It is immediately apparent that these simple pairings of ideas cannot be accepted as true because of their contradictory nature, but more complicated ideas can be accepted as true because their contradictory nature has yet to be uncovered. Contradictions in ideas will also reflect contradictions in decision-making, which will be discussed later.