People often come up to me and say “Ramon, you filthy Marxist. Explain the concept of dialectical materialism or we’ll kill your cat.”
To which my response is always, “Yeah, fine, go for your life. She’s a vicious, furry anarchist thug and poses a threat to the peace and security of the neighbourhood.”
To which they usually say “Umm, well, we won’t actually kill the cat, but can you explain the concept of dialectical materialism anyway?”
Only too happy to oblige.
The concept of the dialectical goes back to ancient Greece but the concept was refined by the nineteenth century German philosopher Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel – or “Fred” to his mates.
Hegel believed society progresses through the conflict of opposites and that everything contains within it the seeds of its own negation. Essentially an existing condition (thesis) gives rise to its opposite (antithesis). Conflict between the two produces a new condition (synthesis) which in turn becomes the new thesis.
Marx accepted the idea but applied it to the material world, rather than the world of ideas, thus “turning Hegel on his head”*.
In Marx, the feudal order saw the rise of the bourgeoisie who gained power in the great revolutions of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, only in turn to face the challenge of the proletariat.
So there you have it.
Pers. trot this out at parties and any woman you desire will be putty in your hands.
*Which I believe was a popular pastime in 19th century Germany.