The Revolutionary Unconscious
From chemical pollution to evangelism of psycho-somatic disease to relentless
propaganda, capitalism has reinforced the importance of the mind-body element
in human activity. This article provides some metaphors for this total
human activity. The progress of capital is always opening up methods that
can either help capital or open a wider front of struggle. We will take
ideas from Neuro-linguistic programming (NLP), hypnosis and theories of
the unconscious and give an outline of how these might be put in a subversive
ASAN’s project has certainly involved digesting a number of perspectives,
from those by revolutionaries to those created by this society’s paid thinker.
Critical theory has to be the opposite of the arbitrary addition of some
trendy novelty. There are many appealing concepts. The Situationaists,
postmodernism, chaos theory, military strategy, NLP, anthropology, quantum
mechanics or other "big ideas" can all be either important tool or the
opaque novelties of specialists in abstract extremism.
While not aiming at revolution, NLP is a powerful tool for understanding
the dynamics of the human conscious and unconscious. Subversive activity
becomes richer through looting ideas. Once a conceptual framework has become
part of effective subversive activity, where exactly you get it is not
the most important factor. To make tools like this your own, you must use
them as well as explain them.
Revolutionaries should still try to trace the origins of the ideas
which they pilfer (and part of this article will trace the origins of some
questionable and useful ideas). Any such history is good since it shows
how ideas continuously mutate into their opposite.
This will include a broad summary of some very complex ideas. Some
of this discussion could be described as philosophical. But even this has
a purpose – occasionally activists get stopped by not being able to give
a philosophical base to their ideas.
To communicate our understanding of the complex subjects in Against
Sleep And Nightmare, we also use the multiple levels of human communication.
We don't skip the hard dull details nor do we wade through them. Instead,
we paint a picture which hopefully allows an entire situation to be grasped
quickly as whole by those having either the background or the imagination.
This strategy is intended to allow the reader to leap quickly into imagining
new ideas and new worlds.
All of this is not meant to unveiled some incomprehensible result.
Instead, the metaphors we will be developing here are intend to show the
unity of different actions and approaches which also make sense on their
The dynamic approach begins in the middle so as to pull the reader
into the process that is happening. Part of this article is also to give
a more complete, systematic picture of our language process. So we may
find ourselves first leaping to a more subtle point, then developing the
same point from a more general viewpoint.
NLP And Structuralism
Towards the end of his life, Karl Marx noted how he needed to preserve
the useful aspects of the classical political economy which he had previously
critiqued. This wasn't because he had found these theories more valid,
but because the rise of "neo-classical economics" had replaced the original
theories with an approach which simply buried all the political and problematic
aspects of the original political economy.
The conditions of this society stand against people’s immediate sensing
of their total, continuously moving animal existence. Just as much, it
stands against people’s creating ideas that describe this experience of
animal existence. The word “system” is engineering jargon describing a
group of just about any object which interact more or less as a whole.
Given the current world, this word is used extremely often. A “dynamic
system” is a system that is constantly moving.
Thus, we take a similar position Marx. Now that “systems” has become
omnipresent in this world, it is more the opponents of capital who have
an incentive to bring these systems into view and to get some general understanding
of them. This is the opposite approach to “postmodernism” theorists, which
denies the validity of systems theory while accepting every system of today,
from prisons to capital.
In the period after WWII, structuralism was a broad current oriented
to using “systems theory” to recast a number of academic fields. It included
Bateson, Chomsky, Norbert Wiener and many others. As well as using various
mathematical approaches, the systems theory view involved moving from models
where you have a single cause creating a single effect to models where
each element affects the other.
The psychological framework and self-help movement termed Neuro-linguistic
programming (NLP) was the product of a “radical structuralism” that involved
Margaret Mead and Gregory Bateson. Richard Bandler and John Grinder were
followers of Gregory Bateson at the University Of California Santa Cruz.
Their effort produced an effective stab toward Bateson's "Ecology Of Mind."
This methodology rolled together ideas from the previously mentioned structuralists
while adding a different attitude. Like most structuralism, NLP is an ahistorical
formulation. The questions of the origins and meaning of the unconscious
are outside it’s scope. Rather, it gives an interesting set of tools for
utilizing language, tonality, posture, etc., to influence the structure
of the relations between the human conscious and unconscious.
NLP has at least this in common with the Situation International -
it was a project to bring some critical abstraction to a level where they
could be used immediately and practically. It shared the attitude that
instantaneous change is possible given the correct process and circumstances.
One of the simplest dynamic systems is a “feedback loop.” A feedback loop
is a system where any small change from a set, starting position causes
an opposite reaction, thus moving the system back to this starting position.
Feedback loops are found everywhere. A thermostat keeps an area at about
the same temperature by raising the heat of the area if it gets too cool
and lowering the heat if the area gets too warm.
The feedback loop is everywhere in the living and non-living worlds.
Human activity in particular involves many, many feedback loops within
each other. This leads to interesting effects. One thing that can happen
in a feedback loop is that a system can become miscalibrated. We can see
this in a person with Parkinson’s disease. Their basic system for movement
has been damaged to the point where their body goes back and forth uncontrollably
when they simply make an effort to reach a particular goal.
In the early twentieth century, F.M. Alexander described how the development
of civilization produced a miscalibration of the basic human balance reflexes.
The miscalibration of the head and the neck balance produces a poor “use
of the self” – poor posture and many of the joint-disorders around a person
simply wearing out through this poor use.
Expanding our view to a “dynamic system” in general, we can look at
anything from a person throwing a rock to a rocket being sent to the moon.
The analogy of a space craft might seem complex and removed from us. But
the space-ship analogy simply allows us to step back and notice the complexity
of even a simple feedback process such as the aiming required to throw
a stone. A person tossing a rock can seem so simple that the complicated
processes involved maybe forgotten.
Balance and goal-getting are both natural human reflexes. They happen
without a person’s awareness, and on many levels, at the same time. If
you see something you want down the street, you can move towards your goal
while unconsciously maintaining your posture, your breathing and all those
unconscious aspects of a coherent self.
Of course, a person’s total activity certainly involves even more complex
feedback than simply what is needed to allow a person to move or walk with
elegant balance. But just considering this, shows how we should assume
that many things are happening outside conscious awareness.
So to make things explicit, consider again our satellite orbiting the
earth. If we want to move the satellite to the moon, what forces would
we have to use to get it there? Speaking loosely, we must understand the
existing orbit and fire our rockets at exactly the point when the satellite
will be already aimed at the moon. We would then keep firing our rockets
to maintain our aim at the moon, more and more using the moon's gravitation
to take us there as well. A more complex path might actually involve circling
the earth several times, each time firing rockets to make one orbit more
Now what we will be doing is taking this idea and expanding to systems
much richer than simply the orbiting planets frame. We can use this analogy
for just about any change that we might want to make to a complex dynamic
system. The approaches involves the following:
1) Understand existing dominant forces, understand your motion in terms
of the forces which guide you.
2) Concentrate your force in such a way that it brings other forces
into play. Use existing favorable forces to escape the pull of existing
3) Once change happens, allow favorable forces to guide you to your
destination, fine-tuning as necessary.
The ecology of a region, the health of a person, the growth of micro-organism,
and the behavior of an economic system all have this same continuous, interactive
dynamic quality. And human actions, from walking to throwing a stone to
making love, have this feedback built-in. Obviously revolutionaries can
take a hint in terms of organizing our activities so that we can a maximum
effect in an elegant manner.
To get a little closer to these rich systems, we can generalize our
“space short” analogy. We look at the "configuration space" of physics.
Beginning with Descartes, mathematics and physics have defined space with
coordinates. The set of “tupples” (x, y) can be used to describes all the
points in two dimensional space. To create a configuration space, we take
any set of values and group it to form a multi-dimensional space. This
involves grouping the coordinates of each object together into tupples
and considering these to be the coordinates of the points in a multidimensional
The movement of two objects in 3-dimensional space is can be taken
as the movement of one point in 6-dimensional space by combining coordinates.
Combining even more, the entire condition of a system can be seen as a
single point circling in space. Even further, a configuration of say, rope
suspended in space is described by infinite dimensional configuration space
if we height the height of each infinitesimal section of the rope to be
a single coordinate. Generally then, we can view any system as a point
oscillating within a many dimensional ball. This is the underlying process
we will be implicitly refering to as we speak of complex phenomenon “moving
in space” or “orbiting” around a “point.”
NLP is a system for looking at the way that language and dynamic systems
interact. The NLP "meta-model" system is a useful tool for sorting language
to determine whether an expression has full meaning. By attacking “deletion,
distortion and generalization” within language, the meta-model reveals
structural the limits of person’s “model of the world.”
A lot of NLP is done as standard therapy. One use of the “meta-model”
comes if a client makes a statement like "I can never feel good." In actual
fact, the client probably has felt good at some time in his life, if not
sometime in the recent past. But the effective meaning of this statement
appears when we project it down into an unconscious emotional dynamic.
The client may actually generate an internal dialogue that pulls him or
her into that state of "not feeling good." NLP's "meta-model" shows how
by challenging the "never" in the statement "I can never feel good," a
therapist can make the client’s unconscious dynamic explicit and thus open
to change for the patient.
The metamodel can be extended to a wide range of situations. For example,
despite its claim of going beyond structuralism, postmodernism’s basic
structure actually can be easily deciphered with structuralist NLP (though
we will give only a simple overview here). Phrases such as "discourse",
"embodied", "problemacize," "situated," and so-forth exhibit a standard
deleted-indirect-object formula. This deletion universalizes the phrase.
We can then observe that this universalism projects unconsciously into
the very specific realm of the artistic/academic trendiness. The meaning
of the statement appears when an object will added to the deletion. "Embodied
discourse" both means some discussion of something that involves things
with bodies, implies that no one will ask what the implications of these
bodies are, and prepares a particular assault on various perceived powers
in the academic realm - modernists and such.
In the context of the global marketplace, we can translate just about
any statement into a configuration of immediate material interests. Just
as Microsoft, IBM and AOL/Time Warner extend their interests from the price
of oil to the definition of freedom. Indeed, those which make no reference
to material forces or deny their power simply represent the most bald interests
and most complete mystifications - religions are most obvious for this.
In ASAN #5, we describe how the dynamics of race and morality unconsciously
express and reinforce capitalist relations. A word that has no logical
meaning can become the center for a powerful unconscious resonance. Race
is an idea that has little clear meaning, yet for racists it ties together
an entire edifice of nation, blood and soil. Like deconstruction,
what is most powerful is what cannot be said: God, country, race and a
host of other terms have extremely fuzzy and distorted meaning for people
- and simultaneously have tremendous unconscious impact.
Language as process can be seen in the way the mind creates some effect
for any sentence it hears. This is a source of much poetry. In this sense,
even meaninglessness is a meaning. We take language to have infinite dimensions
of logical, mathematically definable meaning. And the mind searches for
meaning far beyond the literal meaning of a sentence.
NLP and dialectics agree that our concept of meaning does not spring
full-blown, but instead arises out of the entire process of a person living.
The ordinary idea of language looks primarily at the logical meaning of
a sentence. Beyond from this, we will be expanding our idea of a dynamic
system by moving in what we could call “the space of possible meanings.”
The Hypnotist Milton Erickson, who was studied in depth by Bandler
and Grinder, developed the "embedded command" to add hidden suggestions
to his speaking . By saying "you can touch your nose" with the emphasis
on " touch your nose," he would send a signal to a person's unconscious
mind for the person to immediately touch their nose.
Such methods open up many questions concerning different ways that
speech might be broken-up and vast number of complex hidden meanings that
might or might not actually reach different levels of a person's unconscious.
Rather than looking at the complex details of these techniques, we would
look the total system such techniques are a part of. Basically, our ideas
arise out of the same process as our activity. We create our ideas in the
process of changing or maintaining our entire model of being.
NLP developed the “Milton model” to describe the effects of many kinds
of partial communication. The metamodel and the Milton model are describe
as being the opposite. Violations of the metamodel allow communication
to access thought systems outside the critical, logical processing system.
The limits of a person’s communication model are like the planets which
a person orbits around. Highly “deleted” words such as “democracy,” “freedom”
“responsibility” or “patriotism” organize a person’s thoughts without the
resulting logic being explicit or subject to debate. For “freedom” the
metamodel could easily ask “free to do what?” If democracy is “the people
ruling,” the metamodel could ask “which people ruling what how?”
Beyond this undefined discourse, though, the Milton model describes
the tendency of terms like democracy or responsibility to be associated
with change of conscious state, with a person thinking often switching
logical deduction to a feeling. States of mind can be categorized by the
dominant sensory system: by auditory, visual, or kinesthetic, or by the
contrast of trance-like versus rational. The process of spontaneous trance
is common to many non-western cultures and this points to a greater fluidity
in pre-capitalist and pre-civilized societies. Still, considering that
trance states are presently associated with buying frenzies or television,
we can’t see trance as automatically friend or foe. Instead, following
NLP, will encompass trance within our description of dynamic human activity.
The situation described by F.M. Alexander, of a civilized person holding
their body involves the conscious mind, goal-seeking over-riding the natural
balance processes and producing a habitually held, fixed posture. Ironically,
a person holding their body in a rigid, down position thus often believes
that they are “hold themselves up” or “holding themselves straight.” Telling
someone to hold themselves straight thus often result in a person pulling
their head and neck down and back. Alexander evolved the verbal directions
“free your neck, allow your head to move forward and up, allow your back
to lengthen and widen, allow you back and neck to move back, and allow
knees to move out and away from your body” as an antidote for a person’s
usual situation of their intentions getting in the way of their movement.
Within this society, the range of personal miscalibrations is huge.
It ranges from awkward postures to sexual misery and confusion to fear
and uncertainty about a person’s position in society and beyond.
Many miscalibrations fall into the problems described by Alexander.
These involve a person seeing themselves as a fix, rigid object to be moved
or manipulated according to some rational conception. Just as much, miscalibrations
often form fixed ideas in the conscious mind which do not follow a person’s
natural dynamic process of total change.
Marx described “Bourgeois Ideology” as a narrative which sees all activity
as essentially the product of a conscious narrative. The development of
the United States is described as being based on “the development of the
ideal of freedom.” This ideology can be seen as a product of the fixated
internal processes, the miscalibration, which citizens under capitalism
experience. Thus, we can describe “miscalibration” as calibration to capitalism.
When we talk about utilizing these ideas to inspire actions for creating
a new way of living, we describe both sitatuations which offer someone
people a chance to undo their manifest miscalibration as well as situations
which offer people a chance to change their ideas.
Both approaches are important yet neither can be compared to the other.
We will be imagining change in terms of people’s total dynamic rather than
simply imposing a set of new ideas.
Showing the meaninglessness of key phrases today is one useful tactic.
Still, revolutionaries call for "authentic life" as contrasted to the "impoverished
existence of supermarket society." But one can easily tag deletions and
generalizations in this statement by asking "Authentic in what way? False
in what way? Do you mean ALL society is the society of the supermarket?"
The expression is certainly incomplete, but we would use it because it
points the way towards a different dynamic of existence.
Moreover, the term "authentic" may be incomplete but it does not conceal
an entirely different dynamic in the way that a term like race, nation,
or God conceals hidden interests. All of these are incompletely specified.
But since much language is incomplete, we need to also look at the total
social dynamic to see what terms are useful for us to use.
This appears when we look at the complete dynamics of how meaning is
created. Physicist speak of "emergent properties". These are properties
that appear out of the operations of a system on itself. To see the system
as it is, emergent properties are very useful. Invariants are an important
emergent property - invariants are values that stay the same as a system
When a person makes a statement, their full behavior goes into creating
a stream of information. A person stands closer or further away, speaks
louder or more softly etc.. The process of speaking is unconsciously balanced
with processing of breathing, and so-forth. And the listener's unconscious
impulses are constantly readjusting themselves. This readjustment may or
may not move it in the direction of speaker's explicit message.
Now the feedback processes of the unconscious can be modeled as our
finite dimensional configuration space (see above). Thus our logical language
projects down to become a force affecting a particular complex feedback
system. Roughly, we can imagine speech having an effect determined by the
existing forces in a person's mind. Moreover, since a person's unconscious
is strongly connected with that of those around them, language can have
an effect based on total social forces.
We can look at how the structure of an expression determines the force
this expression exerts on the total unconscious dynamic. Some complex descriptions
come from NLP but many things are fairly obvious given this framework.
NLP regards beliefs as being formulated and re-formulated continuously.
It is not continuity of beliefs that results in the continuity of the world.
Rather, it is the continuity of the world that results in the continuity
of beliefs. Although this isn’t the impression of people today, a person’s
whole being is constantly orbiting within the space of language and meaning.
NLP models communication as happening simultaneously on multiple logical
levels. And each level involves a feedback loop which implicitly references
objects further outside the immediate circle of communication.
Now understanding the total system of conscious-unconscious communication
generates a number of techniques to enhance a "full-spectrum" communication
process (embedded commands and such). But the actual dynamic of each person's
conscious and unconscious is what allows a total communication to successful
The energy of planets is determined by a complex formula involving
their location and motion. But it is also simple and useful because it
stays the same over time (except with outside intervention). The
Marxian categories of “mode of production” or “relations of production”
show invariant of societies under the transformation of rulers or flavors
of ideologies. Chomsky's theory of language is based on transformations
of sentences which preserve the meanings of those sentences.
Consider again the term "impoverished existence." By streamlining and
minimizing the alienated labor going into each product, capital makes certain
that each commodity only minimally satisfies the need for which the consumer
buy it. Thus impoverishment is roughly a quality that remains constant
through-out the entirety of this society.
In the case of the term “authentic life,” we see the term as part a
different dynamic from the dynamic of the present system. The idea of a
“more real” existence is intended to tune-into an existing dynamic of negating
this society of endless calculation and impoverishment.
Stepping Beyond - Belief Change Dynamics
If deleted phrases are a force which maintains a person’s connection with
the present system, what happens when a person’s position is undermined?
Saying "The society of the supermarket is the society of the death
camp" provokes an immediate reaction. Certainly, there is a logic behind
this reaction. But it also a matter of person's immediate unconscious reaction
to an image. Many people have had the experience of changing their beliefs
on a way that is beyond words. This includes religious experiences, communing
with nature, and falling in love.
“Beyond words” certainly suggests directly experiencing a feedback
system. Our "moon shot" analogy can illuminate this kind of experience.
A belief or value can be seen as a stable point within a person's mind.
So normally a person's thoughts "orbit" around their usual values - they
move away from the value and then back towards it. If some event or some
image moves the person's thinking far enough away from their starting point,
they may suddenly find their thinking settling into a completely different
On one hand, a person's activity may be motivated by particular beliefs
or values. At the highest logical level, these ideas are usually stated
in a deleted fashion. The power of these conscious values comes from unconscious
When a person goes outside of a stable point, they reach a place where
systems of anticipation breakdown. The process of a person moving from
one stable state to another often involves stepping back from the reasons
a person’s conscious generates for acting and instead allowing the unconscious
to test the feelings generated by the possibility of new behavior.
A Berkeley Food Not Bomb activist recounted his experiences serving in
Oakland, CA. Paraphrasing him, "When Food Not Bombs first began, we would
serve food a little bit in Oakland. When we did, people would ask who we
were and why were serving there. As white activists, serving in a black
area, we had no real answer for who we were and so felt uncomfortable.
We eventually left. Later, once we became comfortable serving People's
Park, we began serving again in Oakland. At that point, we could simply
saying 'we're a bunch of freaks from Berkeley.' At this point, having an
idea who we were, people could accept us."
To mobilizes forces to create fundamental change we must use both conscious
and unconscious resources. It is common for conscious revolutionaries to
retain an unconscious attachment to the operations of this system. Just
as much, it is common for folks who are acting in an unconsciously revolutionary
way to retain a conscious attachment to this society.
Congruence is an NLP term describing a person’s conscious and unconscious
functioning harmoniously together. The many internal process of a person
generate a communication which is either congruent (supports the explicit
message) or incongruent (contradicts itself). To claim personal strength
in a weak voice contradicts the claim of strength. A speaking voice that
validates it’s conscious message is a powerful tool for taking people towards
the speaker’s viewpoint.
Communication in any medium can be congruent or incongruent. For example,
it may be incongruent to speak through the representatives of capitalism
while claiming you oppose capitalism. On the other hand, those who can
act shamelessly, those who make no apologies for who they are, are at the
point of congruence (though whether they are congruently revolutionaries
is another matter).
Those using the system against itself can use "anti-media sound-bytes"
(what could be called anti-art, when art was a serious proposition). This
can include anything from video parodies of cheap puppets hitting each
other to altered cartoons. These are sound-bytes which serve to undermine
the legitimacy of the media-form itself. Since the media is part of the
whole system, you can only congruently speak of the whole system by illustrating
that you understand the conditions of the discussion. This means only by
pacing ongoing reality. Also, this is a result of the concept "system"
itself being generating by our dynamic perception rather than by logical
argument. Workers can see capitalism as a system when they revolt and their
bosses respond to them.
Challenging people and interrupting expectation is important for several
reasons. It casts you as someone who won't put up with BS and thus casts
you as someone worthwhile. It is aimed to inspire folks to begin challenging
things about their lives as well. The aim of revolutionaries isn't simply
to get people to swallow whole an idea, but to get people to begin to take
more power over their entire lives. Being challenged by someone can inspire
action even if the person challenged doesn’t immediately accept the intellectual
framework put forward. Still, using challenges that present a high-level
perspective of the system can be an important part of the whole system.
Anti-media is at least as old as the Dadaists. The effectiveness of
self-critiquing media is so power that it is a large part of mainstream
media itself - from Monty Python to advertising. But those fundamentally
opposed to this system have the most potential to do this fully, that is
The Uses Of A Vision
A common problem among activists is finding the balance of tactics. On
the one hand, pacifists makes a fetish of non-violence. On the other hand,
those who reject pacifism can code a fetish of violence into a term like
“armed struggle”. Those who focus on dictatorial nations make a fetish
of direct democracy and consensus. Those who see the idiocy and paralysis
of consensus make a fetish of determined action by militants. This list
could go on endlessly. It shows the weakness of focusing on tactics.
When you try to sort through an action tactic by tactic, one has trouble
finding points of balance. If instead you let yourself focus on the final
result, then the balance of tactics can open effortlessly. And balance
is key in dealing with the spectacle.
A part of the structure of maintaining or disrupting stable states
is understanding how these involve anticipation. Many techniques do no
need clever calculation. Instead they involve imagining the condition which
you wish to inspire, going into that state and inviting others to follow.
Again using the space-shot analogy, the unconscious can sense the existence
of potential stable “orbits”. An empowered collective may not yet exist
but a potential state which we can leap or aim for.
Given this, the vision of an empower community is a more powerful force
than a series of improvements negotiated from the perspective of the present
order. Effective language involves imagining a new world. Communist tactics
involve projecting our imagination of a new society so as to allow people
to leap into this new stable state.
To do this congruently, we must advocate and take actions which have
the potential to change the fundamental dynamic of this society. The process
then is a sequence of double-or-nothing actions, each of which can go further
but which are seldom guaranteed to go further – a wildcat strike, an occupation
of a street or an act of vandalism all have the potential for igniting
Acts that involve increasing collective power can be a part of such
tactics. Making a strike committee reflect the collective will of strikers
is an important tactic and brings one closer to an entire society which
reflects the will of the dispossessed. Thus increasing democracy through
things like worker’s councils can be important at a critical moment.
But this is entirely based on looking at the exact situation. In a
situation of mass takeovers, say France in May of 68, committee democracy
might bring total collective control closer. But this doesn't mean it's
a generically "good tactic" which can be applied to any situation. Union-created
"Workers Councils" intended merely to increase the productivity of an average
factory worker quite likely are something for workers to fight against.
Our general method moves from the position of the individual dispossessed
person and the choices they face to the conditions of a collectivity and
the choices of the collectivity. Thus tactics which create a potential
collectivity can be incredibly strong. An example is when an instance of
property damage changes the concept of development from being thought of
as a process beyond collective control to one which might be under collective
control. Although this an individual act, it creates an understanding the
collective power is possible and thus creates a different idea of collective
This is also dialectics. Rather than imagine some separate system,
you imagine that you are of the system. Rather than imposing a blue-print,
you attune to and aim existing forces in a way that allows the embryo of
the new world to grow to maturity.
Conclusion - Dialectics
All of the really cool tools we mention are useful for recapturing the
action of informal subversion. Marx intended his materialist framework
to elucidate the existing activity of communist workers. NLP describes
how language touches a person’s total process (rather just their rational
logic). If we look at this with radical eyes, we will see that this analysis
also rediscovers how the language of informal existence already does this.
The question “how’s it going?” is beautiful for expressing life as a continuous
living process rather than a dead sequence of choices.
We are using sequential language to describe a system whose elements
interact simultaneously. Hegel is notable for confronting this dilemma.
Hegel's philosophy could be described as a narrative describing a natural
progression of ideas. Rather than a single guiding idea starting and ending
a discussion, the "dialectic" results in one idea developing organically
Marx reversed this by looking at the way a material world worked. Marx
maintained Hegel's conception that you could look at each stage of historical
development as an answer to the question asked by the previous stage but
material processes as the askers and answerers of the questions.
None of these methods replace political economy. Instead, they may
give insights into exactly when and how eruptions beyond capitalist economics
may happen. Political economy describes the stable points of our system
and thus is the most reliable guide.