Date:    Wed, 18 Jun 1997 18:50:02 -0500
To:      marxism-international@jefferson.village.Virginia.EDU
From:    Yoshie Furuhashi 
Subject: Re: M-I: (POF-6) The Ideologi//"Spontaneous development???"

Ben wrote:
>Unfortunately both lack of time and the fact that this question is not
>central to the development of M-I prevent me from giving much of a

I think you ought to give this question more thought. After your reply to
my inquiry on chaos/complexity theory, I read your work on your website
closely. It appears that your theory of how communism (which you
characterize as cooperative anarchy) works depends crucially on the
"consiciousness of the masses," or better, "every thought, word, and
action" of the masses. This key term in your theory, it seems to me, is

>To say that "matter spontaneously tends to develop in the
>direction of consciousness" is not mysticism but materialism.

That statement might be charazterized as "materialist," but does it belong
to the materialism of a *marxist* kind? Not every materialism is marxist,
you know.

Ben also wrote:
>What is the "direction" of consciousness ?  The "direction" of
>consciousness is "complexity".  Large systems of matter (the universe, the
>solar system, etc) evolve and create "complex adaptive systems" which are
>characterized by (at the risk of redundancy)--complexity.  Ecosystems also
>tend to evolve (again, given favorable conditions) in the direction of
>complexity.  The most complex phenomena (of which we know) is
>consciousness.  Such is my view anyway.
>Of course it is true that a "good definition" of complexity does not exist.
>But I believe that most people, in spite of this, understand that
>"complexity" as a phenomena--is very real.  People tend to know it when
>they see it.
>It is probably the case that I cannot "prove" to the satisfaction of
>everyone here that matter spontaneously evolves in the direction of
>complexity (or that the highest development of complexity is
>consciousness).  But I will argue that such a view is not "mysticism" at
>all--and is supported by all the natural sciences.  If we study cosmology,
>geology, molecular biology, ecology (etc, etc, etc)--we see everywhere that
>complex, emergent phenomena result from the interaction of the simple (or
>more primitive) interactions of matter at a lower level.

After reading your work at your website, I was struck by the frequency with
which you use analogies between society and nature as well as those between
human beings and computers. But you never seem to get around to *arguing*,
instead of just asserting, *why* such analogies are valid when considering
questions at hand. You seem to assume that your analogies will be accepted
by your readers without your explaining why we sould. I, for one, find such
analogies to be of limited significance. Moreover, such analogies can be
quite dangerous, in that they tend to naturalize or instrumentalize human

You seem to teat all kinds of complexity similarly. Nature, society,
individual human beings, and computers may be said to be all very
"complex," but are they "complex" in the same way? If you think so, isn't
your theory of "complexity" rather too simple?


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