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Consciousness, not blind creativity.

Tuesday, 27 Jun 2017

Engels on Dr John Dunn. And yet there can be no such thing as absolute freedom. Human thought processes, desires, aims and actions are, in one way or another, ultimately subject to necessity or express it. This scientific understanding of freedom differs from extreme subjectivism, the anarchist glorification of the myth of boundless ‘personal freedom’.

The promise of absolute personal freedom can always be found in the various idealist philosophies. Ignoring historical necessity in their emphasis upon the power of the will, they serve as the philosophical basis of political voluntarism in anarchism and fascism.

The anarchist and fascist concepts of freedom are tied to the creative freedom that is held to be innate to the individual. This is no less a factor in liberalism, where the political and legal aspects focus on free will, independence of action and equality before the law.

But innate human creativity is key here, because is ultimately linked back to an absolute creator, which sanctifies the power of the will whether God is deemed to be dead or not. This is the cause under the flag of the swastika. Opposed to this is the the cause of the red flag, which was expressed succinctly by Engels - ‘freedom is the recognition of necessity’.

It is through knowledge of the laws of nature and society that the progressive social results are attained that bring freedom. Consciousness, rather than blind creativity, is key here. Freedom is possible only through a conscious coordination of personal and social aims.

The basis of the new and free society is overdue for birth in the womb of the old. Capitalism has established the preconditions through the commoditisation of labour, which has rendered it equal and cooperative, even on an aggregated worldwide basis. It has also reduced the bourgeois class to a tiny and insignificant minority.

The conscious management of these preconditions is essential if the economic basis of society is to be sanitised of exploitation. Such a revolution in human affairs gives rise to the new objective conditions for the development of the economy,science and culture through which individuals will be transformed through creative and active participation in society. In this context freedom means the capacity of people to make decisions founded on cognised necessity, enabling them to control of nature, social relationships and themselves in full consciousness.

© John Dunn.

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