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    marxism and religion-an abstract impression

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    lost

    Number of posts : 151
    Registration date : 2010-12-13

    marxism and religion-an abstract impression

    Post  lost on Fri Mar 25, 2011 7:45 am

    1.for reasions i will make clear later the relationship between marxism and religion has long been of interest,and problematic for me.

    2.what follows is certainly impressionistic,i make little claim for what i am about to write.it might be seen as thinking aloud and i hope thinking is allowed without always having to drawer any particular let alone any firm conclusion.let me say here that i have found the founders,and moderators of this site very welcoming and tolerant-it is awpace which in my opinion should be rejoiced in and not abused.

    3.my thoughts are at best tentative,though they refer to my own experience,reading qand understanding.i suppose they form a preliminary sketch,though i dont think in academic terms they form an abstract which i understand to be abrief summary of an already considered,elaborated,demonstrated and maybe proven thesis.

    4.but then the world i inhabit and those who hqave philosophised about it have rendered it a much more relative and provisional place than at the time of marx.perhaps it was neitzsche who planted explosives under such certainty at least in politics and philosphy.

    5.to put my main idea at its most succinct,i consider marx's view of religion extremely problematic,and that rather than being resolved in virtually any way this remains the case today.i also consider that this problematic raises a string of important questions that go well beyond me.

    6.to indicate merely a selection,it raises questions of morality and ethics,the valuation and understanding of human life and being human,the role of the sacred.in an age when religion appears to be in resurgence within a perspective of combined and uneven cultural development,this raises major political questions and challenges some of marx's starting points.in rejecting marx on religion out# of hand offers and opportunity to reject marx and marxism entirely.yet it also seems to me that a crasss and accepting reading of marx at another ofers an excuse for a combination of crass ranting that betrays personal hurt and alienation along with a condemnation of most of the people of the world most of the time.

    7.of course a lot of this starts from misquotation of the classic 1quote about religion compumded by a rush to an easy misunderstanding.i will neither quote nor misquote the reference to opium of the people but simply refer to it.at best it is a powerful analogy,but like all analogy they open up new resonances without precision or exactitude.the reference to opium is soon followed by a description of religion as the heart of aheartless world.anotehr pwerful and poetic and imprecise analogy. a superficial reading sees the heartless world in which religion is rendered empty and meaningless.analogies are usually if not always at least double edged sword.in this case the other edge might be that in qan otherwise heartless world,religion is a heart,a real beating heart which may or not be meaningful.

    8.then of course,it might be explained by human alienation in class societies over both time and space,but it would still need to be understood differentially across time and space in different societies at different times,even oif there are common elements such as the displacement by alienation of ourselves and our understanding of ourselves.

    9.religion and both seperately and together psychology might be meqans of explaining as well as elaborating what it is to be human.we would also need to explore notions of human interiority,human nature and philosophicalunderstdfnings of the self as particlar idniodidualsand as an abstract category.

    10.it seems to me that religion needs detailed explanation in aworld in which idealogy,fundamentalism,secularism,notions of religiowsity and a lote else seem to move and change like tectonic plates,sometimes overlapping,colliding,contradicting.

    11.i would also want to add here to the ingredients qan element which is both personal and socially shared.one of the ways in understood or rather undesratnd my own spiritual journey is in relacing describing my own development as away from religion,as organised and hierarchical to a spiritual path of individual discovery of gteh sacred aned divine.this is a concession to atheist and a marxist attitude to religion,which i considered both a wheeze and a discovery but in the end a failed resolution of setting faith aside doubt aside materialist politics.now i discover that many describe themselves followiong a spiritual path or journey rather than a religion,recognising that this in turn might be another expression of alienation in capitalist class society in whicdh we are oppressively individuated,and our interiors opened to exploitation.

    12.n3ext i intend to describe an impressionistic thumbnail sketched view of the relationship of a number of marxists and their intellectual predeccessors before exploring some of the personal meanings for myself.

    -to be continued-

    lost
    25/03/2011



    lost

    Number of posts : 151
    Registration date : 2010-12-13

    marxism and religion-part ii-the marxist family tree

    Post  lost on Tue Apr 05, 2011 10:33 am

    1.what follows is indicative only of a further line of enquiry.it is not exhaustive even in naming some of the pantheon.

    2.karl marx was the sone of a jewish family,whose family had converted to christianity in order to maintain employment i believe as acivil servant.i belive that he was from a line of rabbis.

    3.marx was a young hegelian before he established an almost entirely independent line of thought.many of the hegeliqans,especially the left and/.or young hegeliuans considered religion and particularly christianity even if many were or became atheists.hegel himself was an esotericist and may have been a gnostic.

    4.leon trotsky and many other marists are or have been jewish.there is always at some level a close relationship between religiion and race/ethnicity for jews.i take the view that however much an individualk ior groupo seekjs to break with traditiions of thought or religion or culture,even that break is inicative of that rootedness,especially when that very tradition is powerful and vibrant as with jewry.

    5.lenin was very affected by the execution of an older brother involved in narodnik.nihilist politics and insuurection.many of those narodniks/nihilist were somewhat ascetic in their outlook,and indeed there is evidence of a thread of connnecytion between a number of forms of russian esotericism/mysticism/orthodoxy and radical politics in thought and in lifestyle.this is not i belive redducible to the imagination on the web.

    6.stalin had intended prior to becoming a marxist to train as an orthodox priest and had indeed spent some time in an orthodox seminary.

    7.luxemburg considered and wrote about religion from a variety of perspectives and in avariety of contexts.she can be read as more sympathetic to some religious/christian practice "below"the hierarchy and instiitutions of the church.

    8.gramsci considered religion and italian catholicism in particular expecially in the context fo the influnec of that church in italian politics and beyond.he also considered the catholic church in the context of the constructionnof ideological hegemony,and indeed the relationship between superstition,nonsense,common sense and good sense.he can be as sympathatic as well as critical.he can be seen as influenced by gnostic thinking.i mysekllf have considered gramsci in gnostic context in a seperate paper.

    9.in my own lifetime i am aware that terry eagleton was early associated with slant,which seems to have been a student left catholic current in the 1960s and has been described recently as maintaining an interest in religion.Alisdair MacIntyre was a member of the SRG/socialist review group and the IS/international socialists that grwe out of it.he was an editor of IS journal series 1 for atime and wrote at least one book about christianity and marxism.david mclellan who has wriiten extensively about marx was/is also a catholic.


    10.at the wider level of political currents(considwered at amore general level than the self naming of marxist currents that tend to focus on specific focus of ideas more or less strictly within marxism)i am aware of the dialogue between marxists/communists and christians in the 1960s,although i supsect that was more strictly an uneasy interchange between some formal structures in the catholic churches and official communist parties in western europe.marxism clearly influenced and impacted on liberation theology.catholicism and then very forcefully reactionnary catholicism also played its part in solidarinosc in poland in the 1980s.paulo freire is in this mix at least in relation to liberation theology and his work on basic education and literacy.ivan illich may also appear in the mix.

    11.i am only generally aware of some possibly similar interactions between islam and marxism,but my minimal knowledge here is even more fragile still.

    12.in my own interest in and research on gnosticism,i have relearned or ratrher reinforced my critical capacity in applying them to the internet where it is important to differenetiate the strange fringe which actually might be quite large as well as the influence of bias.gnostics as often and mostly yet another set of losers in history,have their story mostly told in highly perjudiced fragments and their practices and literature grossly distorted in hostile accounts.thisncontinues in modern scholarship where at least one edition of the catholic encyclopaedia describes the ebionites,which bear a reference to "the poor"or "poor inn spirit"are reduced to just being poor at(low in quality)in all their endeaveours which is given as a crass explanation for their demise and dissappearance.

    13.there are a number of websites that associate gnosis-atheism-paganism-socialism with a bizarre mix of imagery and ideas that may amount to something or nothing.one sems to have shifted from a focus on the liberatory power of socialist politics and gnostic spirituality.now it dsecribes itself as some variethy fo national socialism and as somewhat nasaty.i guess this picks up on the german nazi interest in the occult and gnosis,of archaeologista,historians,anthropologists and esotericists.hitler was nit only superstitious but interests in the darker aspects of magic,paganism and esotericism.but noe of this should be allowed to clloud the understanding of all those elements on their own,more independent terms.

    14.beyond qall this there does seem to be acontemporary relationship between gnosis and socialism,sometimes referred to as deep socialism,some of which re-awakens some of the connections i hinted at earlier in this piece.

    15.i will end thisa part here.in the next parts in iuntend to address the follwing:-

    part 3-a brief consideration of materialism in marxism and christian ideology.parrallels in christian and marxist thought.

    part 4-personal,aoutobiographical experience of these connections

    part 5-what is to be done?

    -to be continued-

    lost
    05/04/2011

    lost

    Number of posts : 151
    Registration date : 2010-12-13

    part 3-on materialism and common features of christianity and marxism

    Post  lost on Fri Apr 08, 2011 5:41 am

    a.materialism

    i was a christian when id discovered marx and then marxism,and gave no thought to how or if they fitted together,or potential areas of conflcit/dissent between the two,i guess primarilly because of my limited and undedeveloped understanding of the world.

    i was however quickly horriefied by what i soon saw as equally ignorant attack on marxist notions of marerialism which reduces that concept to one of greed for objects.eventually i learned that other things were going on in this battle of ideas.the marxist outlook here cannot fail to be more sophisticated:being about relations of production and the resulting complex that is society,in which whilst greed may play a role it is not entirely neccessary to capitalism,at least conceptually.materialism is about more than ethics and certainly about more than one negative aspect of it.greed mayw well be implied by the demands of an economic system based on maximising production,profit and the rate of profit but it is not reducible to individual or even collective greed.the acquisition of commodities by consumers,many if not most of whom are workers,is amongst other things a reflection of our alienation in a class society,particularly capitalism in which consumers are alientade from themselves.consumption of commodities in this srense is a substitute,a deflection,in which we make ourselves feel better by buying products rather than expressing our full humanity in the creative processes of living,above subsistence and not least work-which is not the same as doing alienated and exploited work under capitalist relations of production.neither is materialism about the greed of class envy.some may be greedy some of the time,but this is about the need for equality-it is not that she has more than me and that i wnat it but that the huge wealth and consumption of the minority is at the basic expense of the masses.

    on the other hand whilst christianity has adifferent explanation for"what is wrong",it still has asocial context for this and the change-through arelationship with the community and god.i am still of the view that the neccessary conflict is much less than the possibilty of complementarity here.

    b.some other considerations

    i will limit myself to one or two observations here.one is to drawer quite close parallels in relation to eschatology,the end days and the resolution of history in which marxism brings history or at least the end of the history of class struggle by establishing first of all socialism,a transition and then communism which is seen to resolve into classless society.it is not however automatically determined.the expression from lusxemburg rather than trotsky or lenin is "socialism or barbarism",although increasingly i see this as develping,growing,being present in the present as much as in the future.it is not an end point but a process.we seem to live in the barbarism now,both in the bloody variety and in the banalities of brutality,exploitation and oppression.in struggle we also see the possibilities and the germ and seed of socialism in embryo,in that same struggle-not least in human/worker solidarity in which we catch a glimpse of our unalienated selves as individuals and community.

    the books of acts of the apostles and the last book in gthe christian bible,revelations lay out a process of christian and wider community living in right relationships with itself and with god.

    both marxism and christianity present apocalyptic tumultous visions of the future.i also suspect that in both notions of time are much more fluid than it appears.i dont mean that particular dates are fixed for particular events but that the notions of crisis,moment(s)infinity,eternity,now,then,future etc are much more fluid.

    contemporary christianity can deny then that it is about "pie in the sky"at some point in the distant future but that we can "make"windows into eternity in the her and now through icons for example,and right relationships.as we do not yet have full blown international socialism and indeed from a pessimistic perspective have only fragments of an illusion of socillaism either now or in the distant future,marxism might also be accused of presenting "pie in the sky" in future.this is a notion i reject but in doing so acknowledge that we have to have both a vision and a path that is about proceses and creativity now.it seems to me that joh holloways vision "changing the world without taking power"opens up some keys parts of such a vision,although it does have gaps and doesnt answer everything,but then it is not a programme but a guide to thinking and action that includes our emotions and our deepest peronals selves.some of its language offers ecxhoes of the christian bible,intended or not.

    and there again like it or not both world outlooks share a common heitage of multiple clas societies over time,overarched by primarilly a western,judeo-christian tradition/history with all the positive and negqatives it carries with it.

    personally id not accept an approach by either than in keys ways they represnt breaks with evil or negative paths/histories,for in even marking the differences is an acknowledgement of continuity.neither outlook are pristine but impacted by and interactive with the forces around them.

    i regret however that i might end this section on a negative note.both world outlooks have terrible,absolutely terrible histories of sectarianism and division and persecution.both foster tendencies to turn on each other.forme this is turning on the weak particularly when the goal seems to move out of our grasp.then at least we can bicker with each outher and "big ourselves up".

    we may not be able to eradicate such tendencies but we can from both perpwsectives try hard and learn fromour experieces and our mistakes.we should not hide the worst in us or those traditions but face up to and overcome them.

    both have been mistaken in their engagements with the powerful-in linking church and state ansd military force,or in taking over the state and expanding by military force.

    that all said i remain of the view that both traditions need not be in conflict but can amke sense together.whether christianity is an illusion,an opium is yet to be tested and cannot be tested by forcible eradication andy more than the nuclear familhy can be changed by eradication.communism,genuine cmmunism like civilsation is another good idea yet to be lived and tested,minus the trappings of power and exploitation.

    a footnote-this is very much impressionistic thinking allowed.ther may be parallels and similarities with other religions but my experience and knowledge of them would take me yet further out of my depth.those other paths,threads,interconnections still lay open to even impressionsistic exploration.

    the point of all or any of it,is we stll have world to win.

    lost
    08/04/2011


    lost

    Number of posts : 151
    Registration date : 2010-12-13

    4.the personal experiences

    Post  lost on Thu Apr 14, 2011 12:31 pm

    i.i was brought up as a christian when i discovered marx,marxism and then revolutionary socialism in that order.

    2.i was brought up as an anglican,within the church of england,which has an interesting history in itself.briefly it is a church which broke with the dominant (roman)catholic church,over the personal whim of the english monarch,disguised by or hidden ina theological break in which protestant theology came to differ over a whole range of issues and which often,indeed mostly placed power in the hands of the local crown rather than the pope.international power politics"forced"the papacy to oppose heny viii wish for divorce,as the family of the "wife" was the dominant power.this has led toa strange but broad theology,often caricatured as if it were a muddled rowdy household unable to coem to a firm position,and often by the left as "the tory party at prayer",although sometimes in recent years the church whilst hand in hand with the state sometimes disagrees with that state,although any secular person with better things to do might not recognise any of this.at the ground floor it means there is a lot of klatitude and tolerance,inclduing the"blind eye"kind.there are 3 traditions in anglicanism-angl catholic/high church.along with evangelical/low church and the middle of the road,somehwre between the two which might also be called latitudinaian(?).i was brought up in the last,chose at about 14 years old to be confirmed.it was only then that i did the rounds of looking at other traditiions,and applied wsom3e kind of critical skills i must already have developed.although quackars have a theologically quietist position(compared with the historical rooots of the tradition)i was not then convinced by their politics when i discovered them,although i do have other thoughts about pacifism i hope i remember to come back to at some point.they alos have a tradition of silent worship in which people speak when moved by the spirit.i found this highly constrained although i do not doubt it has real value on meaning for those much more familiar with the tradition.

    i opted for the anglo catholic tradition,attracted by the radical left thread of politics and social action within 1960s catholicism and the"smells and bells"of its ritual.

    it was about this time i formed the view that i might become a social workers as an adult and looked for "social action"swwing it,i think largely wrongly now as part of a continuity with socialism and socialist politics.i volunteered for a local christian housing association.

    i discovered marx at school,introduced in the history and economics courses,although the material was cursory despite recognising his importance and stature.the criticism took longer than outlining his ideas.but i guess either propelled by my adolescent awkwardness or predisposition to "going against the current"my interewst was whetted.

    i was 14 in 1968 when on television i saw the horrors of the vietnam wsar,newspapre headlines about military dictatorships and starvation,student and workers occupying everything in paris and indeed further afield in france and then the soviet invasion of a peaceful czechoslovakia,memories of war in isreal,and mayor daley's attack on students and young people in chicago who were protesting againt the vietnam war.

    i associated with this and quickly formed the view that i would revolt with other young people on a generataional basis for asocialism based on the hippie conterculture.

    i grewmy hair and learnt minor ways to irritate or "pull strokes"on my parents generation,if not actually my parents.
    i began to learn a lot outside the curriculum of school about organising and self organising,resistance qand including when not to take no for an answer.

    i wasa impressed by the catonsville 8(9?)which include the berrigan brothers,catholic priest who broke into government offices to burn their own and others draft cards.i wished fortheir courage.once id discovered the small,radical christian paper,catonsville roadrunner her in britain,i joined in.

    i sold copie sof international times(hippie)and peace news(peace movement)and other papers as i belived in them aqnd to make pocket money.with other young people i set up a multi-dimensional youth organisation.

    i became nvlved in acamapign i started with a friend against the night assemblies bill which would not only have placed limits of open air music gigs but would have made any gathering of more than 5 in public illegal.i becam involved in the sau/schools action union,for school democracy and in the process leant the limitations of countercultural,generational politics but also some important lessons.i learnt about the realities of the world as i saw it and the tatse and lessons of both victory and defeat.

    having talked to other young people about the biblical primitive communism,i foudn myself denounced by a peer and expelled from the christian housing association,having been elected to a committee in a public meeting.so i learned about the modern day inquisition in miniature.that organisation was also angry with me becauses i would not hand over the youth organisation i built with others,and its preparation having offerred them the money we raised at our local festival!what taught me the issue was not generational was the confidence one particular elderly man,the chair of the local carnival committee in allowing ius a completely free hand for our gig in the park.i also larnt the pwower of local council bureaucrats who late that night shut us down like a bunch of thugs who barged us/me and the musicians off the stage,turning off lights and power in the process.

    i took a look at the socialist organsiatiosn around.i had already written off the labour party as to say the least a waste of time.i contacted the communist party who had a good reputatioin locally for organising amongst sections of workers.they took over 6 months to contact me after which id joined 2 organisations and remained in the second.somy decision had been made.i spent a few weeks in the predecessor of the wrp,the sll/socialist labour league,with whom i quickly disagreed as they had some strange ideas about the nature of the then eastern bloc and belived in a workers bomb!

    invited to a meeting of another less orthodox but much more open organisation,i joined it,attracted by its response tome,some understsnding of some of its politics and its reputation for certain members at the time-david widgery,peter sedgewick and terry povey.i was a member from 1972 until 1977,and then well into the mid/late 1980s when it became a full party.

    i remained a christian,with difficulty,and whilst chalenged by others who were clearly atheists,i was also more than tolerated.my religious beliefs were hardly likly to unedrmine revolution today,tomorrow or for a long time thereafter.

    that said things changed for me and my relationship with socialists and other believers.

    -to be continued-

    lost
    14/04/2011


    lost

    Number of posts : 151
    Registration date : 2010-12-13

    4b..religion and marxism and me

    Post  lost on Fri Apr 29, 2011 6:41 am

    i also became involved in catonsville roadrunner,the radical christian paper inspired by catholic and others draft resistance to the vietnam war,in the united states and indeed named after the catonsville 8(or 9?)who included 2 priests who obtained entry to a government office in catonsville where they took their own and others draft cards and burned them.

    on my way to an interview for a place on a social work training course,aged 19,i decided that if i failed the interview i would move on to visist and perhaps work/volunteer for the roadrunner.

    i got a place to train to my surprise,which was the reverse of what i had assumed if not expected so i returned home before tipping up at freshers week fair straight from the train.finding the army recruiting in the doorway,i decided i was not having that and began a picket immediately which attracted the attention of other students,and my comrades and the president of the union who was i think somewhat shoched at what he found.i like to think my recollection is rightg that in fact he asked the army to leave.i know that fairly quickly a resolution to the union general meeting,open to all students resulted in the army being expelled "permanently" from inside student union events although they tried having a stall at the college doorstep and then on the street where some of us gave the same resistance.

    but i digress except in indicating that very quickly i found myself almost fully integrated into student life,although that said the political tradition of which i was part never allowed its membership the cosy life of students as it was then and i am still appreciative of an organistaion that fought and organised alongside workers,both as members and in the wider community and at the many flashpoints of class struggle.my professional interests allso quickly brought me into contact with others outside the city and college and the interests developed in my recent past also occupied me.the political organisation i was in allowed me my idiosyncracies and my wider actvity.

    by the end of my 1st year i was involved in social work student organsiations,the student paper and other things.in my cohort of students we had several disputes within our own department and by the end of the year had a partially successful strike against exams.

    i remember meeting afriend of my then partner.both were roman catholics.in a lengthy discussion about politics and religion,the friend had suggested that i sought a pick and choose religion where i was free to select or reject as i wished.i had limited answers and it was a turning point in the sesnse that i withdrew most of my involvement as a christian and from a list of would be ordinands(candidates for priesthood).that withdrawal was never complete nor permanent for i kept in touch with the roadrunner,as a local but to my regret inactive correspondant/contact.i also had contact with the local college priest who in turn was connected with the somewhat radical origins of what i belive became the urban theology unit.i was active in the scm/student christian movement,which was then very mch of the left.i was also involved in the de chardin society which was a proto-green organisation.


    part of my training involved placements.my first was 2-3 days a week with the local authority social work department where i arranged to be supervised by a woman i had formed profound respect for as she was known as a a socialist and indeed was both a member of the same political organisation as myself and had written for the only social work magazine for revolutionaries,win which i also became involved and led the student organisation therof.i later tried,rather feebly to get aplacement in chicago,illinois with a catholic worker project-catholic worker being a catholic anarchist organisation with roots in poor communities.having failed in that endeavour i did an eye opening residential placement in a glasgow childrens home,where i ,learnt with ahsock some of the issues and problems of childcare,and met a huge range of fellow socialists who during the summer met everynight in a particular glasgow pub,which became a temporary organising centre of activity all over the city.that was my first introduction to the bitter sectarianism between catholics and protestants which shadowed and echoed the divide in the 6 counties of northern ireland.behind deep religiious divides were alsoeven deeper economic and political differences...

    by the time i left college,the socialist organisation had transfornmed itself into a party.one of its leading cadres wrote a historical piece about the"smallest mass party in the world".although i perhaps musquote,i amdit i never quite understood that idea and saw it as a non-sequitur.

    having qualified i returned to london where i worked as a local authority social worker and remained active in a number of other campaigns and organisations.i became involved in the rank and file organisations of the unions i was active in.i also became active in housing campaigns during my own search for independent accomodation.those organisations always tended to be soemwhat anarchist in outlook although inevitably reformist in practice,in that they were manageing the improvement of housing at thje bottom of the social and economic scale,although activists were not reformist in outlook.i also lived for a number of years in a collective/communal outlook who shared living together to strengthen our activities in political organisations and communities.

    when my party turned away from its particular rank and file focus,i like some others remained active in the left,rank ands file orineted organisations and managed to avoid the expulsions meeted out to other whole sections of membership.now i am able to acknowledge that i was grievously not as active in theior defenbce as i would have wished because i did not have an adequate grasp of the issues.i regret that.

    although the party did and still does not allow permanment factions,which are not allowed to exist at all outside the extended conference period of 3-4 months a year,i also became active in rock against racism for some time,following what the mythology refers to as the battle for page 11,by the post electric faction which launched RAR.

    i remained active in the party until the mid 1980s when opportunities enabled me to spend a period effectively living and working in the united states,where i joined and was then effectively expelled from the sister organistaion in the usa.that was a strange and deep political lesson that still has resonances today and damaged several people and their relattionships to this day.one of the things it taught me was how similar exclusion from anmy important organisation for the individual and groups the experience can be.

    returning to england i never rejoined but associated with the organisation for many years into the 1990s,and continued to work in trade union,peace movement.i became active in the churfch again,and indeed found myself propelled into church organisations also,sometimes amongst the "awkward squad"who seem to dra together in any context",and again lead me to belive that we make some of our personalreligious/spiritual and political and indeed other choices not as on a tabula rasa/blank background but in a situation in which to scramble marx-we make choices but not in situations of our own choosing.i think equally strongly that often such choices reflect our individual psychological disposition which is formed both from our genes and our environment.

    for over a decade i did not soc much step aside from activity,as make adecision to nurture my own family.my long standing partner has taken place as front runner in a numvber of activities,afgtefr we spent many years working together in capmpaigns.although she is of theleft our political and spiritual outlooks are very different,although this relationship has been a bedrock for me in reinforcing the lesson that people can work together for common purpose without the gulf of a sectarian divide.whilst i do not think that individual and particular experience of can be tranlated or transferred into wider political and social organisation,the comparison and the lessons of one are relevant to the other.

    for me the life path,my relationships of all kinds as well as self conscious,chosen learning have taught me much,although equally i have learnt that life lessons and knowledge of all kinds hav different standings,from belief to knowledge and the status and accuracy of that status is not always clear.its intellectually something also important to me.

    here i wsant to bring in one more factor of relevance.i would say that my own life is likea spiral in which i like to think that whilst i undoubtedly make and reapeat some mistakes i also approach life experience at higher levels.so sevral time sin my life i came across the idea of gnosis before fully embracing it in the new millenium.

    it is my engagement with gnosis that now forms my spiritual path and has allowed me to forgive myself alittle better than in the past.it also allows within my disposition for spirituality-and i dont mean spiritualism-to stand alongside a revolutionary politics in away which acknowldeges the probability that i and others are capable of believing diametrically opposite things at the same time,and that the resolution of such a conundrum is part of life's puzzle and does not need resolution now.i suggest that lookinbg at anyones life would reveal points where things do not easily"add up".it suggests that the dialectic of sorts is written in the very script or weave of life.

    being a materialist politically does not rule our also being spiritual in outllok even if there is the discomfort of a contradiction.indeed interestingly,reading recently about one of thje dutch,council communists-and i dont remember whether it was pannekoek or gorter,their own philosophising as a materialist allowed them to redasmit the thinkling of the human brain back into thne materialist fold.

    i myself do not know what to make of the assertion by some science journalists that the dna/genetic code,sets us up for a predisposition for "religious"belief.the notion of particular genetic constructs for crime,religion and much else is of course problematic,because what constitutes crime or religion is itself socially constructed rather than natural or pre-existing.and to say that crime and religion have enough in common imn say ancient egypt,medievela peru and contemporary britain is not an answer.

    it and much else does however lkead me to understand(believe?)that religion cannot be as easily dismissed from marxism as the avowed atheists would like.for me marx famous and often misquoted comments about religion are ambivalent,enigmatic,poetic,insightful but they are neither sharp nor fact,nor immediately practical.

    so where to from here?

    lost
    29/04/2011







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