Without contradictions, no universe

Dialectical materialism is the study of contradiction, the identity of opposites. Lenin sums it up in his « Notes on Hegel’s Science of Logic »:

« Dialectics is the theory that shows how opposites can be and usually are (and become) identical – under what conditions they are identical by converting into each other -, why the human understanding must not take these opposites to be dead, petrified, but to be alive, conditioned, mobile, converting into each other. »

Idealism doesn’t grasp contradiction; indeed, it doesn’t even know the principle of contradiction. It looks for relationships, particularly of the cause-consequence type. In the end, what idealism talks about is abstractly constituted.

What Mao Zedong says about myths and children’s stories applies to the chimeras of idealism:

« In myths or children’s stories, the aspects constituting a contradiction do not have a real identity, but an imaginary one. Marxist dialectics, on the other hand, scientifically reflects identity in real transformations. »

Idealism does the same thing as myths or children’s stories, it looks for different aspects, but without grasping the real identity, the driving force, without delimiting the phenomenon. Idealism picks and chooses from different things, it invents realities, all in an attempt to explain or justify things.

Dialectical materialism does the opposite: it starts from the very substance of general reality, of the universe.

The first thing to note when studying dialectical materialism is that it is a total thesis: everything that exists is called nature, and nature obeys dialectics.

This is why Lenin remarked:

« Marx’s dialectic of bourgeois society is only a special case of dialectics. »

Dialectics, in fact, is the principle of absolutely all movement. There is no matter without contradiction, without unity of opposites, without movement. Consequently, to be scientific is to seek out the dialectical process in a phenomenon, in a thing.

As Lenin puts it:

« Thus, in any proposition we can (and must), as in a « cell », bring out the embryos of all the elements of dialectics, showing that dialectics is inherent in all human knowledge in general [that it is possible to acquire].

And the science of nature shows us (and, again, this is what must be shown on every simplest example) objective nature with the same qualities, the change from particular to general, from contingent to necessary, the leaps, the modulations in leaps, the mutual binding of opposites.

Dialectics is precisely the theory of knowledge (of Hegel and) of Marxism: this is what « aspect » of the story (and it’s not an « aspect », but the substance of the story) Plekhanov, to say nothing of other Marxists, didn’t pay attention to. »

Every process is dialectical, but we need to find its core, its driving force.

It’s wrong to think you can pick and choose, or to be satisfied with different examples.

To do so is to attempt to describe a phenomenon with movement, without seeing that the very material existence of the phenomenon and the movement are part of the very substance of the world, as eternal matter in dialectical motion.

As Mao Zedong puts it in On Contradiction:

« In all things and phenomena, the interdependence and struggle of the contradictory aspects inherent in them determine their life and animate their development.

There is nothing that does not contain contradictions. Without contradictions, there is no universe.

Contradiction is the basis of simple forms of motion (e.g. mechanical motion), and a fortiori of complex forms of motion. »

This universality doesn’t just apply to today’s phenomena, it is eternally valid: there is no matter without contradiction, and so all matter is necessarily in motion, and must transform itself, its contradiction giving way to a new contradiction, within the framework of a new phenomenon.

Mao Zedong notes therefore:

« Contradiction is universal, absolute; it exists in every process of the development of things and phenomena, and permeates every process from beginning to end.

What does the appearance of a new process mean? It means that the old unity and its opposites give way to a new unity and its new opposites, which succeeds the old one. The old process comes to an end, the new arises. And as the new process contains new contradictions, it begins the history of the development of its own contradictions. »

Dialectical materialism does not take phenomena at random: it circumscribes them and studies their inner core: the unity of opposites.

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