Sunday, September 18, 2016

Marx-Engels on Hangovers as Evidence of Dialectical Process

I must admit that I’ve never expected to find humor in ‘The Collected Works of Marx and Engels’; but … never say never.

In a discussion on dialectic transformation of quantity into quality, V. Afanasyev observed that “quantity and quality are interconnected; in the process of development imperceptible, gradual quantitative changes pass into basic, qualitative changes.  This transformation takes form of the leap.  This is the essence of dialectical law of the passage of quantitative into qualitative changes.”   Marxist Philosophy, by Victor Afanasyev, Moscow: Foreign Languages Publishing House, 3rd Ed. 1968, p. 113.

Interestingly, Friedrich Engels offers a great example in “Dialectics of Nature.”  Marx-Engels Collected Works, Vol. 25, New York: International Publishers, 1987.

The law of the transformation of quantity into quality and vice versa… in nature, in a manner exactly fixed for each individual case, qualitative changes can only occur by the quantitative addition or quantitative subtraction of matter or motion (so-called energy.)”  Id., p. 367.

The sphere … in which the law of nature discovered by Hegel celebrates its most important triumphs is that of chemistry.  Chemistry can be termed the science of the qualitative changes of bodies as a result of changes quantitative composition. Id., p. 359

What quantitative difference can be caused by the quantitative addition of C3H6 is taught by the experience if consume ethyl alcohol, C2H6O, in any drinkable form without addition of other alcohols, and on another occasion take the same ethyl alcohol but with a slight addition of amyl alcohol, C5H12O, which forms the main constituent of the abominable fused oil.  One’s head will certainly be aware of it the next morning, much to its detriment; so that one could even say that the intoxication, and the subsequent “morning after” feeling, is also quantity transformed into quality, on the one hand of ethyl alcohol and on the other hand of this added C3H6.”  Id., p. 360
This confirms that the experience of Soviet communism was theoretically correct: The intermediate step between socialism and communism is alcoholism, a qualitative change [at least in theory]. 

As a practical matter, I suppose that it depends on what you drink.  I offer, purely in a spirit of scientific curiosity, a bottle of Chivas Regal to that end.

By:  Homeless with a Laptop, That is my Name
        Бездомный с ноутбуком, это мое имя

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