There is no royal road to science and only those who do not dread of its fatiguing climb have a chance of gaining its luminuos summits.
-Karl Marx

Dec 5, 2012

Negation of Negation



     With most insects, this process follows the same lines as in the case of the grain of barley. Butterflies, for example, spring from the egg by a negation of the egg, pass through certain transformations until they reach sexual maturity, pair and are in turn negated, dying as soon as the pairing process has been completed and the female has laid its numerous eggs. We are not concerned at the moment with the fact that the process does not take such a simple form with other plants and animals, that before they die they produce seeds, eggs or offspring not once but many times; our purpose here is only to show that the negation of the negation really does take place in both kingdoms of the organic world.
        Furthermore, the whole of geology is a series of negated negations, a series in which old rock formations are successively shattered and new ones deposited. First the original earth crust formed by the cooling of the liquid mass was broken up by oceanic, meteorological and atmospherico-chemical action, and these fragmented masses were stratified on the ocean bed. Local elevations of the ocean bed above the surface of the sea subjected portions of these first strata once more to the action of rain, the changing temperature of the seasons and the oxygen and carbon dioxide of the atmosphere. These same influences acted on the molten masses of rock which issued from the interior of the earth, broke through the strata and subsequently cooled off. In this way, in the course of millions of centuries, ever new strata were formed and in turn were for the most part destroyed, ever anew serving as material for the formation of new strata. But the result of this process has been a very positive one: the production of a soil out of a mixture of the most varied chemical elements and in a state of mechanical pulverization, which makes possible the most abundant and diversified vegetation.
        It is the same in mathematics. Let us take any algebraic quantity we like: for example, a. If it is negated, we get -a (minus a). If we negate that negation by multiplying -a by -a, we get + 2, i.e., the original positive quantity, but at a higher degree, raised to its second power. It makes no difference in this case that we can obtain the same 2 by multiplying the positive a by itself, thus likewise getting 2. For the negated negation is so securely entrenched in 2 that the latter always has two square roots, namely a and -a. The fact that it is impossible to get rid of the negated negation, the negative root of the square, acquires very obvious significance as soon as we come to quadratic equations.
    Engels

Nov 27, 2012

वामपंथी बुद्धिजीवी, ‘दायित्वबोध’ के पूर्व सम्पादक विश्वनाथ मिश्र का लखनऊ में निधन


लखनऊ, 26 नवम्बर. वामपंथी बुद्धिजीवी, ‘दायित्वबोध’ पत्रिका के सम्पादक विश्वनाथ मिश्र का अचानक दिल के दौरे से आजलखनऊ में निधन हो गया। विगत दो सप्ताह से मस्तिष्काघात की चिकित्सा के लिए वे स्थानीय विवेकानन्द पालीक्लीनिक में भरती थे और एक ऑपरेशन के बाद उनकी स्थिति में कुछ सुधार भी था।

                  विश्वनाथ मिश्र का निधन हिन्दी वैश्
विक जगत के लिए एक अपूरणीय क्षति है। करीब 16 वर्षों तक उन्होंने प्रसिद्ध वामपंथी वैचारिक पत्रिका ‘दायित्वबोध’ का सम्पादन किया। दर्शन और अर्थशास्त्र विषयक सैकड़ों लेखों का अनुवाद किया और विविध विषयों पर प्रचुर लेखन किया। पेशे से वे कृषि विज्ञानी (गोरखपुर विश्वविद्यालय से सम्बद्ध नेशनल पी.जी. कालेज में प्राध्यापक) थे और अभी कुछ ही दिनों पहले अवकाश प्राप्त किया था। विश्वनाथ जी के ज्ञान का दायरा प्राचीन भारतीय दर्शन, धर्मशास्त्र, संस्कृत महाकाव्य और इतिहास और भाषाशास्त्र से लेकर शेक्सपियर, बर्नार्ड शा, रसेल, डिकेन्स आदि की कृतियों तक विस्तारित था। माक्र्सवादी दर्शन का उनका अध्ययन गहन था। साथ ही वे क्वाण्टम भौतिकी और सापेक्षिकता सिद्धान्त के भी अधिकारी विद्वान थे। कृषि विज्ञान की लोकप्रिय पाठ्य-पुस्तकें भी उन्होंने लिखी थीं।
                         विश्वनाथ मिश्र देवरिया के एक निम्न मध्यवित्त परिवार में पैदा हुए थे। कानपुर स्थित चन्द्रशेखर आजाद कृषि विश्वविद्यालय से उच्च शिक्षा हासिल की थी। जीवनपर्यन्त वे एक छोटे से कस्बे में अध्यापन करते रहे और सामाजिक आन्दोलनों में भी सक्रिय रहे। आज ऐसी प्रतिभाएं महानगरों के विश्वविद्यालयों और संस्कृति-केन्द्रों में भी देखने को नहीं मिलतीं। संगोष्ठियों में विश्वनाथ मिश्र की ज्ञान की गहराई और तर्क कुशाग्रता का लोहा देश के ख्यातिलब्ध विद्वानों को भी मानना पड़ता था। विश्वनाथ मिश्र यश और पद की चूहा दौड़ में शामिल हुए बिना जीवन पर्यन्त ज्ञान-साधना करते रहे और जनता के प्रति उनका सरोकार बना रहा।
1994 में ‘राहुल फाउण्डेशन’ की स्थापना में भी उनकी अग्रणी भूमिका थी। ‘दायित्वबोध’ के अतिरिक्त मजदूरों के अखबार ‘बिगुल’ और छात्र-युवा पत्रिका ‘आह्वान’ में भी वे नियमित लिखते रहते थे। लखनऊ, दिल्ली, गोरखपुर, लुधियाना और चण्डीगढ़ में राहुल फाउण्डेशन, अरविन्द ट्रस्ट, आह्वान और बिगुल से जुड़े बुद्धिजीवियों और सामाजिक कार्यकर्ताओं ने बैठकें करके विश्वनाथ मिश्र को हार्दिक श्रद्धांजलि अर्पित की।
साइंटिस्ट्स फॉर सोसाइटी 

Nov 6, 2012

Dialectics..


(The general nature of dialectics to be developed as the science of interconnections, in contrast to metaphysics.)

It is, therefore, from the history of nature and human society that the laws of dialectics are abstracted. For they are nothing but the most general laws of these two aspects of historical development, as well as of thought itself. And indeed they can be reduced in the main to three:

The law of the transformation of quantity into quality and vice versa;

The law of the interpenetration of opposites;

The law of the negation of the negation.

All three are developed by Hegel in his idealist fashion as mere laws of thought: the first, in the first part of his Logic, in the Doctrine of Being; the second fills the whole of the second and by far the most important part of his Logic, the Doctrine of Essence; finally the third figures as the fundamental law for the construction of the whole system. The mistake lies in the fact that these laws are foisted on nature and history as laws of thought, and not deduced from them. This is the source of the whole forced and often outrageous treatment; the universe, willy-nilly, is made out to be arranged in accordance with a system of thought which itself is only the product of a definite stage of evolution of human thought. If we turn the thing round, then everything becomes simple, and the dialectical laws that look so extremely mysterious in idealist philosophy at once become simple and clear as noonday.

Engels 
(Dialectics of Nautre)

Oct 15, 2012

On negation of negation..

So, what is the negation of the negation? An extremely general — and for this reason extremely far-reaching and important — law of development of nature, history, and thought; a law which, as we have seen, holds good in the animal and plant kingdoms, in geology, in mathematics, in history and in philosophy — a law which even Herr Dühring, in spite of all his stubborn resistance, has unwittingly and in his own way to follow. It is obvious that I do not say anything concerning the particular process of development of, for example, a grain of barley from germination to the death of the fruit-bearing plant, if I say it is a negation of the negation. For, as the integral calculus is also a negation of the negation, if I said anything of the sort I should only be making the nonsensical statement that the life-process of a barley plant was integral calculus or for that matter that it was socialism. That, however, is precisely what the metaphysicians are constantly imputing to dialectics. When I say that all these processes are a negation of the negation, I bring them all together under this one law of motion, and for this very reason I leave out of account the specific peculiarities of each individual process. In fact dialectics is nothing more than the science of the general laws of motion and development of nature, human society and thought.

 Engels 
(Anti Duhring)

Oct 11, 2012

Polar opposites in natural science..

Dialectics has proved from the results of our experience of nature so far that all polar opposites in general are determined by the mutual action of the two opposite poles on one another, that the separation and opposition of these poles exists only within their unity and inter-connection, and, conversely, that their inter-connection exists only in their separation and their unity only in their opposition. This once established, there can be no question of a final cancelling out of repulsion and attraction, or of a final partition between the one form of motion in one half of matter and the other form in the other half, consequently there can be no question of mutual penetration or of absolute separation of the two poles. It would be equivalent to demanding in the first case that the north and south poles of a magnet should mutually cancel themselves out or, in the second case, that dividing a magnet in the middle between the two poles should produce on one side a north half without a south pole, and on the other side a south half without a north pole.
Frederick Engels
(Dialectics of Nature) 

Jun 16, 2012

Dirac on religion



I cannot understand why we idle discussing religion. If we are honest—and scientists have to be—we must admit that religion is a jumble of false assertions, with no basis in reality. The very idea of God is a product of the human imagination. It is quite understandable why primitive people, who were so much more exposed to the overpowering forces of nature than we are today, should have personified these forces in fear and trembling. But nowadays, when we understand so many natural processes, we have no need for such solutions. I can't for the life of me see how the postulate of an Almighty God helps us in any way. What I do see is that this assumption leads to such unproductive questions as why God allows so much misery and injustice, the exploitation of the poor by the rich and all the other horrors he might have prevented. If religion is still being taught, it is by no means because its ideas still convince us, but simply because some of us want to keep the lower classes quiet. Quiet people are much easier to govern than clamorous and dissatisfied ones. They are also much easier to exploit. Religion is a kind of opium that allows a nation to lull itself into wishful dreams and so forget the injustices that are being perpetrated against the people. Hence the close alliance between those two great political forces, the State and the Church. Both need the illusion that a kindly God rewards—in heaven if not on earth—all those who have not risen up against injustice, who have done their duty quietly and uncomplainingly. That is precisely why the honest assertion that God is a mere product of the human imagination is branded as the worst of all mortal sins.

                                                                                                                                -Paul Dirac
 

Jun 8, 2012

Causes..

Of course the speed of light is the same under socialism and capitalism, and the apple that was said to have fallen on the Master of Mint in 1664 would have struck his labour party successor three hundred years later with equal force. But whether the cause of tuberculosis is said to be bacillus or the capitalist exploitation of workers, whether the death rate from cancer is best reduced by studying oncogenes or by seizing control of factories- these questions can be decided objectively only within the framework of certain sociopolitical assumptions. 


Levins 
Lewontin 

May 27, 2012

Information Highway and Surveillance


Today around 10% of Indian population uses internet and this ratio is rising rapidly. The number of internet users and the number of mobile phone users in our country is third highest and second highest in the world respectively. Undoubtedly, these mediums have provided innovative ways to propagate pro-people ideas among the masses. Internet is being used extensively to raise voice against the atrocities committed by the Indian state from the North-East to Gurgaon workers' movement. Even Occupy Wall Street movement as well as the Arab Spring owed a lot to these new media. However, there is another facet of this new media revolution. There has been a directly proportional increase in surveillance of the state machinery with the advent of the new media. 
The huge information highway growth can be mapped by the fact that for 7 billion people in the world 5.6 billion mobile connections are there and 2 billion internet connections are in use. Obviously, this data could be misleading because most of these mobile and internet connections are used by huge corporates and wealthy class, who often own hundreds of mobile and internet connections. All these fruits of information technology revolution are owned by corporations. Comcast, AT&T and Verizon, Google monopolizes the market of internet related products and services. Corporate houses keep heavy surveillance on other corporate houses and individual consumers. But there is another type of surveillance that remains hidden to most of us. It is the surveillance by the government agencies on our private and political lives. 
Information Technology Act 2008 allows the government to tap any phone call, encrypt any information exchanged over internet or phone in any part of India. To make this encroachment even more effective, the government proposed CMS and NATGRID which will centrally collect all data exchanged and provide all information to secret agencies like RAW, IB, CBI etc. It also plans to fuse the anti-people NCTC with these institutions. It means any single word you speak on phone or write in email is under the eye of government and if you are under suspicion government agencies can arrest you without any arrest warrant, with no bail for 6 months! The 2012-13 Budget proposes to bring 400 million Indians under the UID scheme. 
Who the Indian state is afraid of? Its own people, which it claims to represent? Ironically, yes! Former president of India Venkatraman had said at the time of the inception of neoliberal policies in the early 1990s that if the Indian state persists with such policies, it will need a huge repressive and intelligence network. His allusion was clear. As an intelligent bourgeois statesman, he knew that such policies will necessarily lead to massive popular discontent and revolt-like situations, that in turn will necessitate a highly repressive state machinery to silence all voices of dissent. Presently the Indian state is bracing itself for precisely this task.
In such state of affairs, we can easily understand the real character of the state. We have our democratic rights! But the democratic rights to obey, give consent, to comply! We have the democratic right to practice statolatory! The moment you go against any action or step of the state, you'll be caught and declared a terrorist, an enemy of the state.