Re: [xmca] V: ":There Are No Coincidences"

From: Martin Packer <packer who-is-at>
Date: Tue Feb 26 2008 - 14:45:11 PST

The manuscript is sent, and my life is lighter by about 500 pages. So back
now to freedom and necessity. In the article I propose that central to the
conception of history that V seems to have drawn from Marx (and/or Engels,
Hegel...) is the notion that humans can reach a point where we come to
understand the laws, the objective tendencies, that move history, and by
doing so we can break these laws! What was necessity becomes freedom, indeed
necessity provides the basis for freedom. It is by discovering the objective
laws of our own existence that we are able, through using them, to transcend

What I then tried to show is that V had a very similar way of thinking about
children's development. (In fact he drew an explicit parallel.) I think this
has been missed because the underlying conception of history is not well
known in the west. Here too there is a break, a leap, from necessity to
freedom. This is especially emphasized for adolescence, but it is evident
elsewhere in development too. The qualitative leap to the higher
psychological functions is a result of self-mastery: of control of ones own
natural psychological functions. This is the person acting on themselves
(which necessarily follows upon action on others, and vice versa). In order
to form scientific concepts, the developing human *needs* to control their
own behavior. I quote Norris Minick's translation of Thinking & Speech (p.

" The higher form of activity is present wherever there is mastery of
processes of onešs own behavior and, first of all, its reactive functions.
In subjecting to his will the process of his own reactions, man enters in
this way into a substantially new relation with the environment, comes to a
new functional exploitation of elements in the environment as stimuli-signs
which he uses, depending on external means, and directs and controls his own
behavior, controls himself from outside, compelling stimuli-signs to affect
him, and elicits reactions that he desires."


On 2/23/08 3:15 AM, "Paul Dillon" <> wrote:

> This problem of the freedom of the self and history's inexorable process was
> for noone else a greater preoccupation than for Sartre, whose Critique of
> Dialectical Reason" will certainly come to be appreciated "as time goes by".

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