Sri Aurobindo's - 'The Life Divine' - The Human Aspiration - Chapter I

Track Running The Human Aspiration - Track 302

There are many psychologists who have considered this argument. Is it really true that you move from thesis to antithesis to synthesis, then that synthesis becomes a thesis which produces antithesis and that again produces synthesis? Does it really happen? Do we really perceive the world in this fashion?

Many people disputed his theory, many people agreed. One of the most famous men who agreed with Hegel, who had a tremendous influence on the history of the world, was Karl Marx. Marx agreed that our thinking process is certainly of this kind.

But whereas according to Hegel the concrete was spiritual, not only real, but spiritual in character, according to Marx the concrete was matter. It is the big difference between the two. That is why Marx's philosophy is called Dialectical Materialism. He accepted Hegel's idea of the movement of thought and also that the movement of the real is dialectical in which one set of phenomena manifests first, and then the next one is the manifestation of a set of phenomena which is the exact opposite of the first. But whereas according to Hegel the first to manifest is the Real and Concrete and Spiritual, according to Marx the first that manifests is the Concrete, the Real but Material. It is exactly the opposite of the theory of Hegel.

You know that Karl Marx made such a tremendous impact on history, that Marxism is one of the major trends of thought today and for some time in the Twentieth Century it ruled a part of humanity with a tremendous power. What is called the Russian Revolution was a result of Marx's thought. It is only now, that mankind is drawing away. Marx's dialectical movement was for the modern times centered on the idea of the State. What is the State? State is a collectivity which we call society. Any group of human beings is a society, but there is a difference between a society and a state. No state can exist without society first – that is why I defined state with a society first – so society is a basic group. But that basic group is not equivalent to State; State is that part of the society which governs the society, which has the power to govern the society. So unless there is society, there can be no question of governing it. Marx's thought was centered on the idea of the State and he perceived that every society tends to govern itself through an instrument, through a body, through an organisation of governance. So the governing body of a society is State.

The question is: who becomes the governing body? If there is a society, a number of people are assembled in the society, who and how does that body come to be governed. According to him, in the natural process, those individuals who are powerful, separate themselves as it were from the society in a certain way, and because of a certain power which they have, come forward and sit upon the higher pedestal of the society. They separate from the totality because of the power which they possess and they come up to the higher point of governance. So the state arises out of the movement of the powerful who achieve this by dissociating themselves in one way or the other and coming to the point of governance.

What is the power by which these people are able to come out? According to Marx the people who are governing today, have arisen because of the power of wealth. According to him a few individuals by virtue of possession of tools – tools which are able to produce wealth – begin to manufacture wealth. They accumulate that wealth, and by the accumulated wealth they come to power. This accumulated wealth is called capital. This word capital is used very often in normal parlance, so if you want to define what is capital, it is accumulated wealth. Because of this accumulation of wealth, there arises in the society two classes: those who possess tools that is those who possess wealth or accumulated wealth, and those who don't have the tools and accumulation of wealth. So now you see if the wealthy are thesis, those who don't have wealth are antithesis. Those who have wealth produce their antithesis – that is those who don't have wealth.

According to Marx there is a struggle between those who have and those who don't have. This is what is called class struggle – the struggle of classes. He said every society tends to build up this struggle – those who have the wealth, versus those who don't have it. And then they fight with each other. There is a thesis and an antithesis. Now they must arrive at a synthesis. According to him there is an inevitability of arrival at a synthesis. Now, how can this synthesis arise? It is this movement which is particularly seen as a dialectical movement and there is some kind of inevitability because of the laws of thought. Because thought always moves according to Marx as according to Hegel in this dialectical process. And as in thought, so in reality. So what is in thought happens actually in the world?

According to Marx we shall move in society to a point where those who do not have will rise. Those who do not have are called by Marx proletariat. A time will come when the proletariat who are opposed to the rich will rise. The rich are called bourgeoisie (Those people who belong to bourgeoisie are all gentilhomme, bourgeois gentilhomme, they may be illiterate, they may not even know that they know prose and yet they have got riches and they command the society.) There is a battle between bourgeoisie and proletariat. And as a result of it the proletariat reverses the situation. The proletariat at a given stage of class struggle comes up on the top. And the bourgeoisie comes down. It is a movement of antithesis from the other side. It is not yet a synthesis; it is only a movement from thesis to antithesis. Now, this antithesis becomes its own antithesis, its position is reversed, and when the proletariat becomes the master, the governors, then according to Marx a favorable situation arises for synthesis. What is the synthesis? There will be no masters in the society. This is the synthesis. All become equal, no class struggles. Therefore his famous aim is: withering of the State. The State withers away; there will be no state at all. This is his basic idea. 

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