Why Doesn't Everyone Learn Dialectics?
- Everyone knows how things change. We have to know this in order to survive --when we get hungry, we have to eat; when we get thirsty, we have to drink; we have to breathe in and breathe out. We know that there is no point in having a conversation, going to school, going to work, taking a nap, or doing anything if we are simply going in circles. We have a conversation or go to school to learn; we go to work to earn money; we nap to get rested.
So why isn't dialectics simply acknowledged and taught in every home and school? The answer is that people in power have always feared change-- they have privileges and don't want to lose them. All through history kings, pharoahs, czars, emperors and the like--through their generals, overseers, and high priests--have taught people to be obedient, so that no one would challenge the ruler's control. Naturally the idea that everyone could go on strike or otherwise overthrow the king was not very popular with the rulers. They wanted to believe that their rule would last forever.
What about today? Are people in power still afraid of change? Unfortunately, yes. In today's world we still have much poverty, hunger, and homelessness in the midst of great wealth. People with money are afraid that poor people will take it from them--it's really that simple. Since people of wealth and power control the media, the schools, and most information sources, they have the ability to teach dialectics, but they have chosen not to.
In some places dictators violently repress any efforts to make changes. In advanced industrial societies there is more freedom of expression--that's why this web site exists. But most money is behind conservative talk show hosts, politicians, preachers, police, and military leaders who stand in the way of changes that would redistribute wealth more equally.
So don't expect much help in learning dialectics from the media, schools, or the government. Many open minded people who agree with these ideas are scared to teach them because they fear being labled a communist. This isn't an idle fear, since people can lose their jobs based on this accusation. Even philosophers, who ought to know better, aren't much help.
Now, to be fair, it is true that countries that have adopted communist systems have not been successful, and some have been downright horrendous. But dialectics is no more to blame for this than it is for your car not to start or for your bus to be late. However, dialectics is a tool that can help understand why socialism collapsed (and why your car won't start and maybe even the bus being late). For an essay discussing the dialectics of communism please click here: "What does dialectics have to do with communism?"
The basic way to understand dialectics is to learn from and trust your experience (as explained throughout this web site). You can also learn from science (e.g. see the quotes from Michio Kaku--The Dialectics of Water and The Dialectics of the Universe as mentioned above).
Also, look outside of corporate controlled information sources to publications like Z Magazine, radio stations like KPFA, commentators like Noam Chomsky, and organizations like Global Exchange. Of course, it would be great if "Dialectics for Kids" were taught in school, so, if you are a teacher, give it a shot and see what happens. Maybe you can be part of a really big change in what is taught!
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