Abraham Rotstein, Weekend Notes XVIII

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Weekend Notes (Overview)

The Early Marx (5)

P. had

He doesn't mention

The Russians

To anybody

In the Russian edition,

[3] an introduction … […]

The Russians were extremely … […]

Adams studied it closely … […]

Macmurray wrote his book after discussing Marx in Vienna with K.P.

P. wrote The Great … […]

[5] It is a mystification to say







Comments on my "Notes on Marx" (Nov. 1, 1957)


Robert Owen (5)








Freedom and Technology (10) - General Comments

[20] The machine does certainly do … […]

The question of adapting … […]

Going back to Marx, these … […]

P. doesn't know whether … […]

[21] The social … […]

This complaint … […]

His solution … […]

What he did … […]

This could be made clearer if you … […]

[22] to be Hegelian, the dialectical … […]

Here you see how … […]

Sartre is the opposite. […]

Rousseau … […]

Text in English to type


[23] P. got hold of the 'Mannheim' in New York. It shows very imposing mental power and is a very impressive effort. It is however too complicated and not a simple basic idea and the whole thing is wrong and you can't solve the problem. He assumes a world without faith and belief - that's the given situation similar to the existentialists. With faith and belief out, he wants to show a society can be constructed and how it can be master of social change. It assumes man is only partly rational and is partly irrational. The task is to make the rational faculties effective. He says that this is possible only if man is reconstructed. It is extremely improbable that this can be done.

The lack of clarity comes from the lack of faith and belief. One would have to build on faith and belief and he claims he has none. This is insoluble. The one element in which he sees a trouble of our time is a "fundamental-democratie". In English this is in some sense the democratization inherent in an industrial society. That consists in more and more people (a greater percent) being activated and called to participate mainly in looking to their interests. He thinks that there are a greater percent looking to their interests and they participate and have a say. He doesn't mean the constitution, but e.g., the trade unions.

He says that this is an obvious contradiction with the increase of so much emotionalism (irrationality), with which he credits the masses. Culture is a possession of the few (the elite idea is strongly inherent in the work.) This is the Pareto idea that only a small group is capable of leadership and rule, and since the masses of the people are activated to look after their interests the conditions under which elites form are undermined.

[24] Many ideas come together here. His great thought is that we need a sociology as a practical guide to a reconstruction of society.`

With this "fundamental-democratie", P. thought that the reality of society is increased by many more people who wish to be free (who are insisting on the fulfillment of their interests.) This is a direct result of industrialization of society. Instead of being sweet, daft shepherds they are members of, for example, a socialist labour party.

His point is not proven and he might have a stronger case with the opposite. P. doesn't know if this comes into our argument. When Mannheim thinks of the trade union he links it with the fact that people have more education. P. doesn't see what education has to do with it. Also what Pareto's elite has to do with it. If you have a march some will be in front - but where will they go? That is the question. But in traditional societies there was no circulation elite e.g., clan societies. P. doesn't say that there is much truth in this.

It is doubtful whether "fundamental-democratie" is on a level of political democracy or basic freedom. P. is not sure that the people are fearing for basic freedom in terms of salvation. P. only assumes that man is unchanged in this regard for him to be master of his inner destiny. He assumes that for all of us, except for very few, life would be unliveable if it lost its meaning. Ti would if we were not always in a state of fear and hope. As regards the meaning of the fullness of life, it is where we are alone and exist as persons and nobody can quite get rid of that haunting knowledge unless he has sunk to a level where life can't be carried on. That isn't the problem - humans sinking to an inhuman level.


"The Organization Man"

[25] The organization man is the victory of the organization over the live mind - over nihilism.

Interdisciplinary Project (6)

The session which was held in New York last week went through the work on Money but the work on the symposium got off to a very slow start. The session itself, however, was excellent.

Text Informations

Date: November 2, 1957 (Interview)
KPA: 45/13