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[Xmca-l] Re: Engels on Laws of evolution and laws of history



There is not a trace of sarcasm in what Engels said. Interestingly I find that the old Soviet edition of "Dialectics of Nature" which we have on marxists.org translates the sentence closer to what we have it in LSV CW. See
http://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1883/don/ch07c.htm#laws

   "The eternal laws of nature also become transformed more and more
   into historical ones."

But read the context. It is just saying that laws of nature are not invariable, but exactly as David Ke suggested, are subject to change according to the historical point of view of those posing them.

Andy
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*Andy Blunden*
http://home.pacific.net.au/~andy/


Annalisa Aguilar wrote:
Hi Andy and others,

I wondered if Engel's phrase is tinged with sarcasm given what you have divulged about Stalin's interpretations. That perhaps Engels was being descriptive about what people tend to do when thinking about evolution. It is a theory after all, not a law, but if we make the theory into a law then it opens the door to justify much of what happens in history.
There is a story of a mother and her daughter cooking a ham for dinner. The daughter asks, "Hey Mom, why do you cut the ends off the ham after taking it out of the tin?" Mom says, "I'm not sure, that was something your grandmother always did." So the mother telephones the grandmother and asks, "Hey Mom, why do you cut the ends off the ham after taking it out of the tin?" And grandmother says, "Oh gosh, let me see. Well, as I remember… it was because the ham didn't fit into my little roasting pan."

But then again, it may also have nothing to do with sarcasm but with noticing the syncretic dynamic that occurs over time, where people take something as real from something that began as a whim, such as when baking ham. Likely not something Stalin would get behind, exactly, as I don't believe he was a very whimsical kinda guy, nor was he a ham.

Kind regards,

Annalisa