Theosophy and Universal Brotherhood (12): World Problems And The Universal Brotherhood – Premises And Central Institutions Of Marxism

The Premises and Central Institutions of Marxism
(Chapter XII of the work “Theosophy and Universal Brotherhood”)

139 – “Liberty is a great celestial Goddess, strong, beneficent, and austere, and she can never descend upon a nation by shouting of crowds, nor by the arguments of unbridled passion, nor by hatred of class against class.” (A. Besant, The Changing World, p. 101)  

Further on we shall be examining in a more detailed form the influence that the faults of the liberal system, as well as those of Marxism, have on the great problems of the world.  However, before we do so, let us also examine the Marxist premises and system.

Premise:  Consciousness is the Result of Material Forces

What is the view of man which lies at the core of Marxism?  In this philosophy, human consciousness is seen as the result of the dialectic conflict or impact of material forces, especially those related to the models of production and distribution of economic goods.  In philosophical materialism, consciousness is seen as a clear result of the evolution of nature’s material forces.

In his dialectic and history-oriented materialism, Marx claims to have discovered the law of dialectic conflict (thesis, antithesis and synthesis), which is connected with the disputes over economic riches that would explain the development of social consciousness in humanity.  This law may be described as the conflict that exists in all historical societies (except in a supposed primitive pre-historical communism) between the exploiters and the exploited, the rich and the poor, the rulers and those who are ruled, etc.  In the liberal capitalism of our historical moment, this conflict occurs mainly between the class that owns the goods and equipment of economic production (the capitalists or the bourgeoisie) and the working class, which owns nothing but its work force.

This basic conflict is what would mainly generate and explain the enormous disparity where consciousness is concerned.  Those who are exploited because of their poverty, their ignorance and also their central culture which justifies this exploitation (which Marx calls “ideology”) become withdrawn (alienated) or unconscious of their rights and possibilities for development.  The exploiters, because of their wealth and their education which gives them a greater exposure and comprehension, reproduce the cultural forms which justify  exploitation or the ideological view of the world, in other words, the world view which justifies exploitation and domination.

Marxism, however, contrary to Liberalism, which views mankind with basic distrust, is a philosophy which views mankind through a kind of basic optimism.  This is due to the fact that Marxism defends the premise that this disparity between exploitation and withdrawal (alienation), which has distinguished  the consciousness of humanity  to this day, is only a stage in the evolution of the human species (defined as pre-historic time of mankind), a phase that cannot only be overcome but which is destined to be overcome.

This is so because, due to progress and the ever greater complexity of the models of economic production (industrialization, urbanization, scientific and technical revolutions, etc.), this exploitation was reaching its height and becoming more and more apparent.  Loyal to his premises, Marx declares that his own studies which identified this master law of the dialectical-material-economic conflict, a law which explains the alienation, etc., were already the result of this material development of the models of production which distinguish this our era.

This being so, Marxism believes that the evolutionary time has come in which those that are exploited are increasingly becoming conscious of this exploitation, and that through their organizations (unions, parties, etc. – themselves the result of this new social consciousness) will impose a new order which will no longer be based on the private ownership of production goods, nor either on exploitation, but on the socialization of these production goods.

This period of transition would involve the use of force and a temporarily dictatorial regime (dictatorship by the working class).  Others, neomarxists, especially in these times of reaffirmation of Liberalism after the collapse of the Soviet Union and other factors, believe that this transition can take place through the process of voting that is central to liberal democracies.  But this does not change the essential quality of this philosophy, and that is the reason why they continue to define themselves as marxists or neomarxists.

But the most important aspect is that, once these transformations have been accomplished and  exploitation overcome, these enormous differences in comprehension of human consciousness would almost entirely disappear.  All healthy men would become fully conscious in social terms.  An era would begin (man’s real  “history,”  since he would now be conscious  and lord of his laws)  in which true equality of all individuals’ social consciousness would reign.  The only differences that would be left would be those of temperaments, psychological types, and so forth, but not any more those of levels of social consciousness among human beings.

Egalitarianism in the Marxist View of Man

In Marxism, as opposed to Liberalism, man is no longer seen as a basically selfish being.  He is a being that is on the way to overcoming for good both exploitation (cruel selfishness), and its counterpart, alienation.  Thus, man is good potentially and only evil through circumstances and his history.  That is the reason why we call Marxism an “optimistic” prospect.  However, in common with Liberalism this philosophy also proceeds to a leveling of the human species.  Not as regards their present situation (where the existence of differences is the result of exploitation), but as regards potential.  All are equally capable potentially; it is only the historical-material environment (distinguished by  exploitation) which does not yet permit equality.

Insisting on this comparison to promote a better understanding, we may say that Liberalism levels humanity at its lowest point (“every man is man’s wolf”), and all human beings are therefore always seen as basically selfish.  Marxism, however, levels humanity at a high point because it believes that as soon as the historical-material environment changes, all human beings will see their consciousness overcome the alienation within a wide and unobstructed social consciousness.

The Perennial Philosophy and the Premises of Marxism

We need go no further in this analysis of the foundations of Marxism.  What we have seen makes it possible for us to confront this egalitarian prospect of the human being with the prospect previously shown of the Esoteric Philosophy summed up by the universal brotherhood, in other words, by the simultaneous existence of the essential Unity and the manifested Diversity of capacities or talents due to the differences in psycho-spiritual or Egoic levels of evolution.

In the same way as Liberalism, Marxism is also a logical construction; it could hardly be otherwise at a time ruled by the logic of nescient scientificism.  Therefore it is only logical that its methods for action, its concepts of ethics and duties, as well as its model for social organization, should derive from its basic premises.

However, as can easily be seen when these premises are compared with those  of the Perennial Philosophy, they are false as well.  On one hand, they are false because they do irreparable damage to the universe and to the human being because of seeing both as the result of blind material forces which are in themselves senseless (only man gives them meaning), thus expelling from the human stage the glory of his origin, his essential nature and his divine destiny.  On the other hand, they are false because they also stand for a form of equality of capacities and talents, which – although they may not yet exist – certainly do so in potential terms, which is more than sufficient to generate totally erroneous notions of ethics and duties as well as social institutions that are incompetent or incapable of creating a harmonious social order, as the historical experiments in this past century have amply proved.

Without the idea of an essential Unity (which is needed to accept, for instance, the concept of the One Divine Consciousness), and without the idea of the differences in the evolution of human consciousness, how could one possibly arrive at a law for correct conduct?  This means  concepts of ethics and duties that would be able to incorporate the eternal ideas of good and of evil with the relative conditions of the differences in levels of development, which result in different duties in accordance with each one’s capacities.

As both concepts are denied in Marxism and replaced by materialism and unconscious egalitarianism, it is only logical that it may have generated both an ethic and a method of social transformation that are brutally cruel.  They are methods that in some of their aspects are at least as cruel as the utilitarian ethic and the social exclusion which prevails in Liberalism.  The horrors brought forth by the sovietic regime and that of other countries that adopted a marxist model, are well known today and do not require further comment.

Model Wiithout Freedom, Usually of One Single Party

Let us, however, examine briefly the model of political organization directly connected to this philosophy, the one which concerns the dictatorship of the proletariat.

The typical structure of Marxism is an authoritarian order of little  flexibility, a form of despotism, which excludes from the political scene all parties and candidates that do not support it.  This usually implies only one party that rules or holds inflexible sway, as can be seen in these days, for instance, in China and in Cuba.

There the system of representation, or of the choice of political chieftains, which occurs almost entirely within the one party, does not follow the rule of mass suffrage but takes place through a pyramid-shaped system known as “inverted tree.”

In this system, representation takes place staggered over some levels of growing magnitude.  In this way, representation begins on a small scale with the election of representatives in a “cell,” which is the first organizational level and corresponds to a workplace (a factory, for instance) or a small geographical area such as a district, and moves up from there in an indirect fashion through other levels of geographical division (such as sections, federations or similar denominations) until it reaches a higher council of the republic such as a National Congress, which again chooses a Central Committee, which appoints a Secretariat and whatever other committees may become needed to fulfill government functions of greater political responsibilities within the State.
(Arnaldo Sisson Filho. Theosophy and Universal Brotherhood, Chapter 12)