20 sep 2011

Inevitable communism and thermodynamics

Submitted by Anonyme (non vérifié)

Socialist revolution shall win; this is a fact if we follow the point of view of Marx, Engels, Lenin, Stalin and Mao Zedong. For them, it was not a question of possibility, or a moral duty: socialist revolution is « necessary » and not depending on « choice. »

Let’s follow Mao Zedong own words:

« The socialist system will eventually replace the capitalist system; this is an objective law independent of man’s will. However much the reactionaries try to hold back the wheel of history, sooner or later revolution will take place and will inevitably triumph. » (Speech at the Meeting of the Supreme Soviet of the U.S.S.R. in Celebration of the 40th Anniversary of the Great October Socialist Revolution, November 6, 1957).

« Objective law » : what Mao meant with these words ? Was he meaning that it was a political law? An economical law? A moral law? And it is not strange to speak of « objective law » and to say that man’s will is something that here does not count?

In fact, Mao’s conception is only understandable if we know that for him, there is only one law: contradiction as the only fundamental law of the incessant transformation of eternal matter.

That’s this law that makes socialist revolution inevitable. But why? If matter transforms itself, why should it go to communism, and not, for example, back to feudality?

To understand it, we must take a look at matter itself, through a particular aspect: thermodynamics. Thermodynamics are the field where is studied energy conversion involving heat.

Here we have an image of the process, used for example in steam engine (where the heat is used to boil water, and the steam produced in this way is used for mechanical action).

In this process, there is a law, called the « second law of thermodynamics » and formulated by the german searcher Rudolf Clausius (1822-1888).

This law is easy to understand, as it says that differences in temperature, pressure, and chemical potential tend to equilibrate in an isolated physical system. If you’re for example in a closed room and you put the heat, then you feel easily that the temperature tends to go to equilibrium: it is not like that that a part of the room is hot, and the other cold.

In the same way, if you take two bricks, one hot and the other cold, and if you put them together, the first will become colder, the second one hotter, till an equilibrium.

Let’s take a look of an image showing us the process. On the top we have a two closed boxes, that merges to one as we see below.

The hot temperature and the cold temperature meets, there is a contradiction, and it produces a third temperature, like in the case of the two bricks.

This process was called « entropy » by Rudolf Clausius ; he forged this word from the greek εν- [en-] (in) and τροπή [tropē] (turn, conversion). Each system goes to entropy, and it is possible to see different levels in this movement, to evaluate the movement to equilibrium.

This tendency to equilibrium explains why perpetual motion is impossible, as it explains for example a tornado, which duty is to bring back an equilibrium in atmospheric pressure.

If we know understand that matter is always in movement, then we understand that the second law of thermodynamics means a raise of complexity.

Why that ? Because nothing exists in a separated way, there is no system totally separated from the others. So, and as perpetual motion is not possible, contradictions must happen, and so produce synthesis, in a never-ending movement.

As Shoichi Sakata said, in physics we can see such a movement : particles — nuclei — atoms — molecules — masses — heavenly bodies — nebulae. In the field of biology, we can see the same process : molecules — colloids — cells — organs — individuals — societies.

And because of the second law of thermodynamic, the movement can’t go back, once the contradiction has… brought to a superior stage.

The meeting of A and B in a contradiction produces C, which is the leap forward. This is exactly what Stalin meant when he explained:

« Contrary to metaphysics, dialectics does not regard the process of development as a simple process of growth, where quantitative changes do not lead to qualitative changes, but as a development which passes from insignificant and imperceptible quantitative changes to open ‘fundamental changes’ to qualitative changes; a development in which the qualitative changes occur not gradually, but rapidly and abruptly, taking the form of a leap from one state to another; they occur not accidentally but as the natural result of an accumulation of imperceptible and gradual quantitative changes.

The dialectical method therefore holds that the process of development should be understood not as movement in a circle, not as a simple repetition of what has already occurred, but as an onward and upward movement, as a transition from an old qualitative state to a new qualitative state, as a development from the simple to the complex, from the lower to the higher.

« Nature, » says Engels, « is the test of dialectics. and it must be said for modern natural science that it has furnished extremely rich and daily increasing materials for this test, and has thus proved that in the last analysis nature’s process is dialectical and not metaphysical, that it does not move in an eternally uniform and constantly repeated circle. but passes through a real history.
Here prime mention should be made of Darwin, who dealt a severe blow to the metaphysical conception of nature by proving that the organic world of today, plants and animals, and consequently man too, is all a product of a process of development that has been in progress for millions of years. » (Ibid., p. 23.)

Describing dialectical development as a transition from quantitative changes to qualitative changes, Engels says :

« In physics … every change is a passing of quantity into quality, as a result of a quantitative change of some form of movement either inherent in a body or imparted to it. For example, the temperature of water has at first no effect on its liquid state; but as the temperature of liquid water rises or falls, a moment arrives when this state of cohesion changes and the water is converted in one case into steam and in the other into ice….

A definite minimum current is required to make a platinum wire glow; every metal has its melting temperature; every liquid has a definite freezing point and boiling point at a given pressure, as far as we are able with the means at our disposal to attain the required temperatures; finally, every gas has its critical point at which, by proper pressure and cooling, it can be converted into a liquid state…. What are known as the constants of physics (the point at which one state passes into another – J. St.) are in most cases nothing but designations for the nodal points at which a quantitative (change) increase or decrease of movement causes a qualitative change in the state of the given body, and at which, consequently, quantity is transformed into quality. » (Ibid., pp. 527-28.)

Passing to chemistry, Engels continues :

« Chemistry may be called the science of the qualitative changes which take place in bodies as the effect of changes of quantitative composition. his was already known to Hegel…. Take oxygen: if the molecule contains three atoms instead of the customary two, we get ozone, a body definitely distinct in odor and reaction from ordinary oxygen. And what shall we say of the different proportions in which oxygen combines with nitrogen or sulphur, and each of which produces a body qualitatively different from all other bodies ! » (Ibid., p. 528.)

Finally, criticizing Dühring, who scolded Hegel for all he was worth, but surreptitiously borrowed from him the well-known thesis that the transition from the insentient world to the sentient world, from the kingdom of inorganic matter to the kingdom of organic life, is a leap to a new state, Engels says :

« This is precisely the Hegelian nodal line of measure relations in which at certain definite nodal points, the purely quantitative increase or decrease gives rise to a qualitative leap, for example, in the case of water which is heated or cooled, where boiling point and freezing point are the nodes at which – under normal pressure – the leap to a new aggregate state takes place, and where consequently quantity is transformed into quality. » (Ibid., pp. 45-46.) » (Stalin, Dialectical and Historical Materialism, 1938).

Now, we can understand why socialist revolution is inevitable : because of the second law of dynamics, because of entropy, because the capitalist mode of production is blocking the movement.

The movement… of matter, of course. That’s why scientific socialism always explained that the socialist revolution comes from the fact that capitalism is blocking the movement of the productive forces.

And what are the productive forces, does it mean only economy ? No. Engels said :

« According to the materialist conception of history, the ultimately determining element in history is the production and reproduction of real life.

Other than this neither Marx nor I have ever asserted. Hence if somebody twists this into saying that the economic element is the only determining one, he transforms that proposition into a meaningless, abstract, senseless phrase.

The economic situation is the basis, but the various elements of the superstructure — political forms of the class struggle and its results, to wit: constitutions established by the victorious class after a successful battle, etc., juridical forms, and even the reflexes of all these actual struggles in the brains of the participants, political, juristic, philosophical theories, religious views and their further development into systems of dogmas — also exercise their influence upon the course of the historical struggles and in many cases preponderate in determining their form.

There is an interaction of all these elements in which, amid all the endless host of accidents (that is, of things and events whose inner interconnection is so remote or so impossible of proof that we can regard it as non-existent, as negligible), the economic movement finally asserts itself as necessary. Otherwise the application of the theory to any period of history would be easier than the solution of a simple equation of the first degree. » (Letter to J. Bloch, 21 september 1890)

The production and reproduction of real life, says Engels, and we know that life is living matter.

That is why socialist revolution is inevitable, why universe tends to communism, as it is a closed system going to equilibrium.