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[Xmca-l] Re: Где то́нко — там и рвётся

'It is clearly a literal fact that a chain is only as strong as its weakest link. The conversion of that notion into a figurative phrase was established in the language by the 18th century. Thomas Reid's Essays on the Intellectual Powers of Man, 1786, included this line:

'"In every chain of reasoning, the evidence of the last conclusion can be no greater than that of the weakest link of the chain, whatever may be the strength of the rest."'



From: xmca-l-bounces+phillip.white=ucdenver.edu@mailman.ucsd.edu <xmca-l-bounces+phillip.white=ucdenver.edu@mailman.ucsd.edu> on behalf of Annalisa Aguilar <annalisa@unm.edu>
Sent: Friday, January 8, 2016 9:56 PM
To: eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity
Subject: [Xmca-l] Re: Где то́нко — там и рвётся

Hello Ulvi,

I did a search and the intertubes tell me it is a quote by William James (1842-1910):
Of course most of the websites are nothing official, but there were a few sites stating it. Marxist.org is the only place where it states it as something Lenin said, which was published in 1917.

The William James wikipage is here:

I have no way to know if James is the first person to use it. But I thought I'd offer that to you for what it is worth.

It's entirely possible that in any culture that possessed the technology for chains such a saying could exist.

Kind regards,


From: xmca-l-bounces+annalisa=unm.edu@mailman.ucsd.edu <xmca-l-bounces+annalisa=unm.edu@mailman.ucsd.edu> on behalf of Ulvi İçil <ulvi.icil@gmail.com>
Sent: Friday, January 08, 2016 6:11 PM
To: eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity
Subject: [Xmca-l]       Где то́нко — там и рвётся

Thus we may justly quote the Russian proverb: “The chain is no stronger
than its weakest link.” (Ilyenkov)

Can anyone kindly confirm that this is not an aphorism by any philosopher,
politician, like Lenin or Trotsky, but it is, as Ilyenkov says it, in fact,
a proverb.

Up to now, I though it was rather a theoretical aphorism, in the context of
(capitalist) imperialism, like "Russia is a weak link of the imperialist

I do not know Russian, but the wording in Russian makes me think it is a
proverb rather than an aphorism.

Thank you.


P.S. I think that, even if it is a proverb, and as such, it should have
supported immensely a political perspective to detach Russia from the
imperialist chain via a revolution.