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Romantic Science

I have been writing a touch on the topic of ecosocialism and going on about how little I cared for the term.

The irony is that I am very enamored with the notion of dialectical biology as I see that as a very descriptive term that I like to use. Since I'm no scientist please excuse my ready name drop of a science I'm not so very good at in specialist detail.

The concept of dialectical biology is explored in an important 1986 book by Richard Levins and Richard Lewontin which predates the more recent review of the same topic by John Bellamy Foster with his Marx’s Ecology,

So there is a body of work that embraces a sort of holistic take of life on earth that is not held hostage to a reductionism that is so much the mode in so many of the biological sciences. And when you approach the Gaia hypothesis developed by James Lovelock y(and it is Lovelocks' holistic science that begins to explain the consequences and causes of runaway carbon emissions) you can really green yourself up by expunging Gaia's mythic investment to settle on a dialectical materialist view of the planet and its living things.

It's like a rewrite (but with much better science) of Frederick Engels Dialectics of Nature where everything is meshed together and synergistic.

My point is that the methodology of Marxism -- dialectical materialism -- is a great way to comprehend the current carbonation of the planet and the part played in that by the capitalist mode of production.

That's my greening, you see. The issue is broader than ecosocialism and bigger than King Kong.

However I want to throw a little something extra into the pot: Alexander Luria. (pictured)

Luria was a Soviet neuropsychologist of some significant standing. He was for instance a mentor to Oliver Sacks and partnered the groundbreaking work of Lev Vygotsky on the nature of thought, language, culture and development.

[Excuse this route I'm pursuing but I want to give the man some context.]

Luria wrote an autobiography The making of mind which included an important chapter on "Romantic Science".

The web kindly offers us that chapter here for our perusal..I suggest you go and read it with the planet's ecological ill health in mind, because Luria talks about the one science -- the science of Dialectical Materialism. (Nickname: DiaMat)

If you are wondering how we got from ecosocialism to something romantic , you can blame Goethe who wrote for Luria's inspiration this line in Faust:
"Grey is every theory, ever green the tree of life."
Marxists aren't usually thought of as exponents of much romance at all. But the way Luria calls it(with some help from Goethe), it is so very easy to become passionate about the science of Marxism and still come up so very green as green can be.
LURIA:I have always admired Lenin's observation that a glass, as an object of science, can be understood only when it is viewed from many perspectives. With respect to the material of which it is made, it becomes an object of physics; with respect to its value, an object of economics; and with respect to its form, an object of aesthetics. The more we single out important relations during our description, the closer we come to the essence of the object, to an understanding of its qualities and the rules of its existence. And the more we preserve the whole wealth of its qualities, the closer we come to the inner laws that determine its existence. It was this perspective which led Karl Marx to describe the process of scientific description with the strange-sounding expression, “ascending to the concrete.”

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