29 avr 2013

Has Akram Yari founded the dialectical materialist approach of psychology?

Submitted by Anonyme (non vérifié)

Did Akram Yari, the great historical Maoist of Afghanistan, founded the dialectical materialist approach of psychology? This is a very important question. There are many elements that can let us consider that it is the case. Let's go back to a sentence written by Akram Yari:

“Individual’s perpetuity is a cause of station and is a passive agent, but sacrifice for the [working] class is a dynamic and active agent.”

There is the need to comment further this sentence, as its ideological luxuriousness is extreme.

Poles of opposites

As we can see, indeed, there are two poles of opposites:

Individual’s perpetuity <=====> sacrifice for the [working] class

cause of station and is a passive agent <=====> dynamic and active agent

If we look further, we can see another pairs of opposites, in the opposites:

individual <=====> [working] class

perpetuity <=====> sacrifice


cause of station <=====> dynamic

passive agent <=====> active agent

We begin to have an overlook about the luxuriousness of Akram Yari's thought. Let's go further and see which words he used.

The etymology of the words chosen

In particular, we need to see which vocabulary he use for active / passive and cause of station / dynamic.

Akram Yari says:

"بقای فردی عامل سکون وپسیف است وازخودگذری درمقابل منافع طبقه عامل متحرک واکتیف"

For “station”, he uses “سکون, pronounced “Sukoun”, it comes from the Arabic language, where it means “calm”; it is also used by the great master of the falsafa, Avicenna, for example in the “Danesh Namé”, the “book of science”.

For “dynamic”, he uses “متحرک”, pronounced “Mutaharek”, which comes from the Arabic "حَرَكَة. Here it is to note that word is to take in the sense of “mobile”, i.e. dynamic in the sense that it can come to be in motion. The opposition station/dynamic is to understand as calm/mobile.

This is directly in relation with the opposition passive / active, for which Akram Yari uses the words borrowed from the English language (aktif/pasif).

And now, let's take a last look, at the word “agent”. Akram Yari uses the word “عامل, prononced “Aamel”. It comes from the Arabic language, and the on-line dictionary wiktionary gives us this useful explanation:


عَامِل‎ • (ʕāmil) , plural عَوَامِل (ʕawāmil)‎

  1. factor, constituent, element, causative agent

  2. motive power

  3. (grammar) word that governs another word”

The Falsafa: Al-Fârâbî and Avicenna

Now, let's take a look at the teachings of Falsafa. Do we find the same poles of opposites?

Let's take the opposition passive agent <=====> active agent.

To sum up, according the tradition of Aristotle, the second master (Al-Fârâbî) and Avicenna, there is a God which is a “motor”. Because it is “good”, it produces goodness which is already separated from God, giving birth to an “angel” which is an “intellect” (aql).

At the end of this process, there is the Earth, formed of a fusion of the low level of the “intellect” and matter. Matter is merely “passive” and formed by the intellect, which is “active”.

Therefore, what is called the “thought” does not belong to matter. It belongs to the intellect.

Let's see now the opposition cause of station <=====> dynamic.

According the tradition of Aristotle – Al Farabi – Avicenna, matter is “calm”, in the sense of “receptive”, whereas the intellect is “mobile”, moving to the receptive matter, forming it (= gives forms to it).

According Aristotle, the wise who understands that becomes happy; according Al-Fârâbî, somebody understanding that become the philosoph-king. And according Avicenna, the individual can receive the “light beams” of the “intellect” bringing universal forms of knowledge.

The Falsafa: Averroes

In the amazing conceptions of Al-Fârâbî and Avicenna, people are like computers searching the informations in a big datacenter, which would be “God”, the cables being the intellect putting informations on the screens (here: the “souls”).

But as we know, the “great commentator”, Averroes, modified this system. In the system of Al-Fârâbî and Avicenna, everything comes from the top, from the intellect. The individuals are merely passive.

However, Averroes saw the contradiction: how can the eternal and unique intellect be in relation with the non-eternal and non unique individuals?

This was a major materialist step, which was quickly and harshly crushed by the representatives of Islam, whereas in Europe it became the weapon for the materialists in the struggle against the Church, giving the central impulse for the Renaissance.

How did Averroes change the Al-Fârâbî - Avicenna system?

According Averroes, the “intellect” was not only coming from outside the matter, there was also a part of the intellect directly connected to matter.

Humans were matter, but with an “intellect”, which was opened to the intellect coming from outside (from the top, from God).

The union matter – intellect of a human formed a union الاتحاد - al-ittihad, seeking for a jonction إتصا –ittisal, with the great intellect.

It was a major step, because it was a recognition of the existence of the brain.

A materialist understanding

The system of Aristotle – Al-Fârâbî – Avicenna – Averroes is a static one. But for us, the world is in movement, matter is eternal and follows a dialectical movement. So, the static aspect is opposed to the dynamic aspect, as Mao Zedong said, “the tree may prefer calm, but the wind will not subside”.

So, now, let's go back to Akram Yari's affirmation:

Individual’s perpetuity is a cause of station and is a passive agent, but sacrifice for the [working] class is a dynamic and active agent.”

And let's understand it properly.

What is perpetuity? It is the calm. What is the sacrifice? It is the wind. The individuals live in a given society, but this society evolves. The individual sees and feels this evolution, but without a proper approach, falls in nostalgia.

Here, Akram Yari stressed some very important points, reaching a very high level of understanding of psychology; if we take his quote, on one side, we have the non-mobile side:

Individual’s perpetuity is a cause of station and is a passive agent”

On the other side, we have the mobile side:

sacrifice for the [working] class is a dynamic and active agent”.

If we were with Avicenna, we would say: the intellect (aql) is active and “writes” the passive agent. But as we don't use the concept of God, but of matter in eternal dialectical movement, then the world is in a process of auto-transformation.

(It is certainly why Akram Yari didn't use the Arabic words for active / passive that used Avicenna : it would been as if the materialist system was equivalent to Avicenna's, and this was not the case. Akram Yari probably didn't knowt Averroes, Titan of the falsafa but largely unknown in the Muslim world.)

Therefore, this transformation is the real active agent. And with Averroes, we know that the individuals are not only like a receptor, they can emit also: humans are turned in the direction of the intellect from the top, but also in the direction of the matter they're connected to.

So, Akram Yari explains what Averroes, Kant, Lenin observed: people do no think at a greater level than themselves, except some few people understanding the whole system which put everything in motion.

The “thought” of the humans is a reflection, it is late, because not turned in the direction of the general motion. To understand it properly, let's come back to the opposites presented by Akram Yari.

Individual and sacrifice, a dialectical movement and so, intern

We said that the opposites were:

individual <=====> [working] class

perpetuity <=====> sacrifice

But in fact, this is not correct, it should be:

individual <=====> sacrifice

perpetuity <=====> [working] class

Why that? Because it is the class which is against perpetuity, the class carries communism, which is abolishing the old society.

The contradiction is intern: the class belongs to the society.

And the other contradiction is between the individual, turned in the direction of itself, whereas the sacrifice shows that he turned itself to the general movement of matter.

The contradiction is intern: the sacrifice is the one of the individual itself.

The basis for an understanding of the psychology of the individual

So, the contradiction is intern. But what are the forms of this contradiction?

Let's, for this, understand what Akram Yari said just before the sentence we quoted:

the basic principle of an individual’s life is in a superficial manner, nothing more than keeping owns material existence till death, but the situation of life, meaningfully, its social manner, conducts the survival and perpetuity of an individual towards transforming to a contradiction: from one side, material survival is the basis for being alive, but from other aspect, giving sacrifices in favor of the class, is the necessary initiative for individual growth and development of human society.”

When Akram Yari speaks of the “social manner”, the fact of “keeping owns material existence till death”, it is like when Averroes speaks of the “intellect” present in matter and not turned to the great intellect (Averroes calls is the “material intellect”).

And as the contradiction is in society itself, in the reproduction of the means of life (= the mode of production), then the contradiction is in the human directly also. Individual and sacrifice forms a contradiction, but a contradiction not between the human and an intellect as in the religious conception of Aristotle – Al-Fârâbî – Avicenna – Averroes.

It is indeed a contradiction in the human itself. This is why Karl Marx explained us, in its Contribution to the Critique of Hegel’s Philosophy of Right (1843):

“The weapon of criticism cannot, of course, replace criticism of the weapon, material force must be overthrown by material force; but theory also becomes a material force as soon as it has gripped the masses.

Theory is capable of gripping the masses as soon as it demonstrates ad hominem, and it demonstrates ad hominem as soon as it becomes radical. To be radical is to grasp the root of the matter. But, for man, the root is man himself.”

Akram Yari gave the basis for psychology

In explaining that the individual is in a situation which is passive and non-mobile, Akram Yari upholds the dialectical materialist point of view that the individual thought is the reflect of the movement of matter.

Nevertheless, as the thought is gray matter, is in the brain, and as the brain is matter, the brain is a part of the movement of matter.

Therefore, the individual is in a contradiction. This contradiction is the basis for the dialectical materialist approach of psychology.

The mind of the individuals is at the same time the tool to understand the direct reality of the individual, but also the global reality of the world. This comes from the natural reality of the brain.

This opens a whole field of understanding the individuals. It helps to understand the tension between the global aspect of the class and the reality of the individuals, which are in the class, but also turned, in a relative way, in a direct reality part of the reproduction of the means of living.