Marxist Materialism versus Idealism

Dialectical  materialism  teaches   us that   the   external  world   (matter) is reflected   by our  brains  through our five senses- sight,  hearing, smell,  taste and  touch. What  is first  perceived through the five senses is “perceptual knowledge.” When enough perceptual knowledge has accumulated in our brains,  perceptual knowledge  leaps  to “conceptual knowledge” (the formation  of  ideas,   theories, plans,  measures, etc.); that is, from objective matter to subjective  consciousness, from   existence to ideas.

We then  test  the “truth” of our  ideas  by putting them  into  practice; that  is, transforming subjective consciousness back into objective matter,  from  ideas back into existence.  Those   ideas  that  fail  to correspond with  the external material  world  are  incorrect  and  untruthful, while  those  ideas  that do  meet  with  success and correspond with the external world  are correct  and truthful. What this demonstrates is that “truth” is not  an  idea  that  exists  only  in our  minds, but  that  truth  exists   independently of  our minds  and  is  found  in the external   world. This  also  demonstrates that consciousness development first begins  with matter. Matter came  first  and  without matter,  which  is translated in our brains  in the form of ideas, there  can  be no consciousness. Consciousness  is a product and  reflection  of  matter, and  our brains  are nothing more than highly developed matter  with the ability  to consciously reflect  and  transform the material world  around  us.

Opposing this truth is the philosophy and thought of “idealism,” which  turns  truth upside down  on  its head  and  falsely contends  that consciousness came first, that is, consciousness is the creator of matter.  The existence of a god who created  the universe (matter) and everything in it being  the most extreme expression of  this  backwards assertion.  Consciousness did  not and  cannot create  matter  because without matter  consciousness cannot  exist.

Though  most are unaware of it, our ways of thinking are dominated by one of two camps, idealism  or materialism, and  idealism is the prevailing mode of though  within prison  society.  This  “convenient” way  of thinking is not only  incorrect because it doesn’t correspond with the external world; it’s self-deceiving and destructive to us as a population. For example, we conveniently convince ourselves that we’re warriors, soldados,  etc.,  and  that  we  can  do  life  in solitary confinement. “Cause  nobody can break  us,” “We know  how to do our  time,” etc., etc. In part this may be true for  many, but regardless of what we conveniently convince ourselves of,  “truth” is found   in the external  world and exists  independently of  our  minds,  and  the  truth  is,  we’re still being  oppressed when  we’re subjected to a lifetime  sentence of solitary confinement behind  fabricated  and  frivolous information, no matter what we convince ourselves of. Once we deceive ourselves with  convenient excuses in an attempt  to justify our inaction, we’re essentially laying  down  in defeat  and accepting our conditions. Idealism and the defeatist poison  it spreads must be discarded as a way of thinking if we are going  to improve  our  living  condition.  We are not who we are because we convince ourselves that’s who  we  are.  It  is  our  interaction with the external  world  and  those around  us  which  determines who  we  are, and inaction does  not make us soldiers. It makes  us accomplices of the C.D.C. and contributors to our own oppression.


This article first appeared in Prison Art Newsletter

Chad LandrumChad LandrumChad Landrum

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