What does one gain from studying Marxist philosophy?
Marxist philosophy (1) is a harmonious system of man’s views of the surrounding world, the laws of its development and ways of cognising it. A study of philosophy, therefore, provides us with a coherent idea of the world and of it’s development, of man’s place in the world and whether he can cognise and transform it, why the life of society changes and how best to organize it, and so forth.
What is the practical significance of these general questions and how do they directly benefit man’s life and work?
The practical significance of Marxist philosophy is enormous. Being a component part of Marxism-Leninism, Marxist philosophy renders invaluable assistance to all progressive forces in their struggle for humanity’s better future by disclosing the more general laws of the development of nature, society and thinking, and showing the need and inevitability of socialist revolution and the triumph of socialism and communism.
Marxist philosophy offers a truly scientific explanation of nature and society and consequently is a powerful instrument of their revolutionary transformation.
Only the proletariat and its Party are concerned with acquiring a correct knowledge and carrying out a revolutionary transformation of the world. That is why dialectical materialism emerged and is developing as a theoretical, ideological weapon of the proletariat in its struggle against capitalism, for socialism and communism. The philosophy of Marxism is revolutionary in its very essence. Recognising neither immutable social systems nor eternal mainstays of private property, it theoretically proves that the doom of capitalism and the victory of the new, socialist, communist society are inevitable.
It is especially important to master Marxist philosophy in our epoch of radical social change and the transition from capitalism to communism. It helps Marxist parties to find their bearings in the very complex conditions of our time, make a scientific analysis of the actual situation and then define the most important tasks and find the most effective ways of attaining them.
“Should the Marxist political party in its examination of questions base itself not on dialectics and materialism, the result will be one-sidedness and subjectivism, stagnation of human thought, isolation from life and loss of ability to make the necessary analysis of things and phenomena, revisionist and dogmatist mistakes and mistakes in policy. Application of dialectical materialism in practical work and the education of the party functionaries and the broad masses in the spirit of Marxism-Leninism are urgent tasks of the communist and workers’ parties” (2).
Marxist philosophy is a powerful theoretical instrument for cognising and transforming the world, but only if applied creatively and with strict consideration of the concrete historical conditions in which its laws and principles operate. In order to master Marxist philosophy it is not enough to learn by rote its propositions and conclusions; it is necessary to grasp its essence and to learn to apply it in practice in solving concrete tasks of the revolutionary struggle for peace, democracy, national liberation and socialism. […]
The struggle for the victory of communism envisages not only the creation of the material and technical basis and the moulding of communist social relations, but also the all-round and harmonious development of the human personality. But to be able to do this a member of society needs more than to be a specialist in his field. It is important to master the totality of human knowledge, and even more important, to learn to apply it. A person has to acquire a scientific world outlook in order that communist ideas combine organically with communist deeds in his behaviour, in his work and life. In contemporary conditions the acquisition by all Soviet people of a scientific world outlook on the basis of Marxism-Leninism as a harmonious system of philosophical, economic and socio-political views is a matter of primary importance.
The philosophy of Marxism helps the builders of communism to understand the course and prospects of world development and correctly grasp events taking place in the country itself and elsewhere in the world, and convinces them in the just nature of the revolutionary cause and the inevitability of the victory of socialism and communism throughout the world. It mobilises the people for the struggle against the reactionary imperialist ideology and the survivals of the past, helps to perceive and surmount the difficulties on the way to the successful building of communism and teaches how to work the communist way.
Marxist philosophy cultivates a broad, correct world outlook in a man and trains him to discern the importance of seemingly insignificant things. It stimulates thought, makes it more flexible and incisive and hostile to stagnation and routine, and imbues man with the valuable sense of the new. And this is most important, for in our age of unprecedented scientific and technical progress and the subjugation of the atom, in our age of electricity, automatic systems and space exploration it is impossible to do without an incisive, resourceful mind. [….]
Knowledge of Marxist philosophy is essential for progressive young people of all countries because it helps them to gain political maturity and cultivate integrity, staunchness and courage in the struggle against national and social oppression. Without these qualities it is impossible to build a bright communist future.
In a word, those who fight for national liberation and social emancipation, who build socialism and communism and seek the truth, those who want to probe the secrets of the Universe and, life ought to master the invincible Marxist-Leninist teaching and its life-asserting philosophy.
Life repudiates all sorts of nihilistic ideological conceptions invented in the West, according to which we are now witnessing either the general decline in the role and significance of philosophy and ideology in the system of scientific cognition and practical activity, or the automatic “removal” of all ideological problems and precepts by the very course of scientific and technical progress, the mathematisation of science and the introduction of cybernetics and modelling methods, or the “inability” of Marxist philosophy to meet the “challenge” of new successes, new problems of modern natural science, etc.
In actual fact the very nature of philosophical knowledge rules out such assessments because it is rooted in the requirements of social development itself and is designed to identify and develop eternal values and problems: the more common, universal conceptions of the world, of its past and future, the more general foundations and principles of life, cognisance and practical activity, the meaning of human existence, social progress, development of mankind, etc.
Philosophical knowledge is not a fruit of idle reflections of dilettantes, but a form of social consciousness which reflects the advances of scientific and social progress, the ideals and world outlook of different classes, social contradictions and conflicts in the given country and in the given epoch. That was why Marx called philosophy the “intellectual quintessence” of its time, “the living soul of culture” (3). [….]
Life shows that the mounting complexity and intensification of revolutionary transformations in the world, the acceleration of the scientific and technical progress and the increasing influence of its social consequences imperatively call for a philosophical rethinking of the fundamental problems and patterns of social development and scientific cognisance, and of the ideological orientation of man’s spiritual and practical activities.
1. ( From the Greek—philosophia meaning love or pursuit of wisdom (phil + sophia).
2. The Struggle for Peace, Democracy and Socialism, Moscow, 1963,p.15.
3. Karl Marx, “The Leading Article in No. 179 of the KolnischeZeitung”, in: Karl Marx, Frederick Engels, Collected Works, Vol. 1, Progress Publishers, Moscow, 1975, p. 195.