Philosophy of Life

Tan Malaka (1948)

Source: Translated by Chris Gray from Indonesian in April 2007. The translation source is Pandangan Hidup, published by Lumpen (2000)


                        Translator's Introduction

                        I. Basic Conception

                                            The Ape-man
                                                Early Indonesia
                                                The Beliefs of India
                                                About the Prophet Moses
                                                About the Prophet Jesus
                                                About the Prophet Muhammad
                                                Ancient Greece
                                                Alteration of the System of Production
                                                The Religious Question
                                                Materialists and Idealists
                                                The Greek Philosophers
                                                Mediaeval Philosophers
                                                Philosophers and the French Revolution
                                                Dialectical Materialism
                                                Empirical Science
                                                The Branches of Empirical Science
                                                The Object, Method, Content and Spirit of Empirical Science
                                                Eastern Society and Empirical Science
                                                The Greeks as Pioneers of Empirical Science
                                                Logic and Dialectics

                        II. The Concept of the State

                                            The State
                                                The Appearance of the State's Collapse
                                                The Collapse of the State's Appearance
                                                Thesis, Antithesis and Synthesis



Translator's Introduction

Sutan Ibrahim, gelar Datuk Tan Malaka, better known as Tan Malaka, was probably born in 1897 in the village of Pandam Gadang near Suliki in the Minangkabau area of Sumatra, into a gentry family (his father was village headman). The name Tan Malaka appears to be an honorary title similar to the designation of an Irish clan chief as “O'Rahilly” (“The O'Rahilly” in English usage). Education for Indonesians under Dutch colonial rule when Tan Malaka was born was not available above teacher training level, but, as a promising pupil, Tan Malaka attended teacher training school in Bukittinggi from 1908  to 1913, completing his studies in Haarlem in 1915. Back in Sumatra he worked as a teacher in Sumatra from 1919 to 1921. By this time he had become a communist. In 1920 he wrote a pamphlet entitled “Soviet atau Parlement?” (“Soviets or Parliament?”) which established him as a theoretician.

In February 1921 he went to Java and soon became prominent in the PKI, becoming party chairman and speaking in public in support of striking pawnshop workers, for which the Dutch colonialists exile him. He returned to the Netherlands and was elected to the Dutch parliament, but was unable to take his seat because it turned out that he was too young. He then travelled to Russia, where he attended the Fourth Congress of the Communist International as delegate from Java.

In 1923 he was appointed Comintern representative for South-east Asia and settled in Canton. The Indonesian communists decided to launch an uprising. Tan Malaka was convinced –correctly as it turned out-- that the rising stood no chance of success. Despite his efforts to prevent it the rising duly took place in Java and Sumatra in 1926-27 and was duly suppressed by the Dutch. It was thus roughly contemporaneous with the equally disastrous “Commune of Canton” launched by Stalin and Bukharin in a desperate attempt to redress the balance after Chiang Kai-shek's brutal suppression of the Chinese Communists in Shanghai. 

In disgust Tan Malaka founded a new party of his own called Partai Republik Indonesia (known as PARI). The party was suppressed by the Dutch and virtually ceased operating from mid-1930 onwards. The official PKI  fared no better in this period. Tan Malaka, despite having founded his own party (a fact which the Comintern was not officially informed of, and which they did not find out about until 1935 ), attended the Sixth Comintern Congress in 1928 as an Indonesian delegate. He protested at the International's failure to draw an lessons from the failure in China, and was promptly denounced as a Trotskyist by Bukharin, but, as Tan Malaka himself pointed out at the time, he was not a Trotskyist. (He wrote a pamphlet on the Trotsky-Stalin controversy, but this, together with many of his writings of this period, has been lost).

Having been ejected by the British colonialists from Hong Kong in 1932  he went to Amoy in southern China, where he taught foreign languages until the Japanese attacked Amoy in 1937. He then moved to Singapore, where he taught in a Chinese school until the city fell to the Japanese in 1942. Crossing to Sumatra, he then proceeded to Jakarta, taking up residence just outside the city and living on his savings. During this period he wrote his major work entitled “Madilog” (the title stands for “Materialism, Dialectics and Logic”). After his savings ran out he took a job as a clerk at a Japanese-controlled mine.

Following the Japanese defeat in 1945 and the declaration of Indonesian independence issued by Sukarno and Hatta, Tan Malaka resurfaced in active politics. In addition to “Madilog” a number of important works of his from this period are extant. He attempted to organize an opposition to the cautious policies of Sukarno and co., but was imprisoned along with a number of other prominent  Indonesian politicians in 1946. The Indonesian leaders did not dare to bring him to trial, and he was released in 1948. Very soon the Republic was involved in a final armed confrontation with the Dutch, who were still determined to recover their colony. Martial law was declared on the Indonesian side, and under the cover of it Tan Malaka, who was with an armed unit, was killed on the orders of somebody high up in the Indonesian armed forces early in 1949. (The finger of suspicion points at General Nasution, but no proof exists).

Tan Malaka's autobiography is available in English under the title “From Jail to Jail”. Those interested in further biographical information should consult Harry Poeze, “Tan Malaka: Strijder voor Indonesie's vrijheid” (Martinus Nijhoff 1976, in Dutch, with a short summary in English and a list of writings by Tan Malaka).

The translation of this pamphlet is based on the edition of Penerbit Lumpen (Jakarta 2000)

Tan Malaka frequently uses non-Indonesian expressions, mostly from English. These are shown as underlined, i.e. where the author gives the English form in brackets following the form in Indonesian, the brackets have been omitted and Tan Malaka's English form adopted.

Original Indonesian wording has also been reproduced in places, by way of illustration of what is being translated.

Emphasis throughout is as in the original, except in one or two unimportant  instances.

The spelling of non-Indonesian words in the original text tends to be somewhat erratic: in most cases I have corrected it; where I have not done so I have indicated.

The phrase that Tan Malaka uses for “science” is “ilmu pengetahuan empirik”. This longwinded expression has now been replaced by “sains”. I  have reproduced the longwindedness by translating “ilmu pengetahuan empirik” as “empirical science.”

The Malays and Indonesians possess two words for “we” or “us”, depending on whether the addressee is included or not. “Kita” includes everybody referred to, but “kami” excludes the addressee. Tan Malaka only uses “kami” when he means “we Marxists”. I have not used this gloss as in all places the meaning is clear from the context.

It is necessary to highlight certain errors of interpretation and factual inaccuracies in the text. To start with, the ancient Greek philosopher Herakleitos would have denounced the suggestion that he was a materialist –an assessment put forward by George Thomson, who described his system as “the ne plus ultra of materialist monism” (“The First Philosophers”, Lawrence & Wishart 1955, p. 283).  Furthermore, while Tan Malaka brackets Demokritos with Herakleitos as a dialectician there is no evidence that he was anything of the sort. Also there seems to be no evidence that the mediaeval Arab philosopher Ibn Rushd was a Mu'tazilite, nor indeed that the Mu'tazilites were pioneer revolutionaries and dialectical materialists. Moving on to the French Revolution, whereas Tan Malaka describes Lamartine as a philosopher of that period, he was in fact a poet and active in 1848: he was born in 1790 and died in 1869.

There are a number of other questionable assertions. For example, the notion that in the Hindu “Ramayana” the white monkey is a derogatory reference to Aryan newcomers in the subcontinent is unsupportable, and the notion that the Hindu trinity is a reflexion of concentration of power among the Indian kingdoms will not stand up either. Our current knowledge of pre-Islamic society in Arabia suggests that class differentiation was already quite far advanced in Muhammad's lifetime and was , in fact, a prime factor which impelled his ministry: see Reza Aslan, “No God but God: the Origins, Evolution and Future of Islam”, Arrow Books 2006. Having said that, Tan Malaka was quite correct to emphasize the sharp increase in inequality in the Islamic world which resulted from the extensive Arab conquests after the death of the Prophet.

On the subject of  the successive stages of modes of production, the “set of five” --early communism, slave society, feudalism, capitalism and socialism-- which Tan Malaka  holds to is no longer universally accepted by Marxists, especially as it leaves out the so-called “Asiatic Mode of Production”, which is clearly identifiable not only in Asia and Africa (ancient Egypt) but also in pre-Columbian Latin America. It is interesting to note that Tan Malaka specifically situates the five stages in Europe, leaving open the possibility for other types elsewhere.

Tan Malaka's criticism of the Paris Commune must refer principally to Marx's censure of the leaders for their failure to attack their opponents militarily at Versailles(see Marx and Engels, Selected Works, Volume I, p. 514) while the latter were still relatively weak numerically. Tan Malaka must surely have been aware of Marx's praise for the Communards' insistence that the commune should be an executive as well as a legislative body, that its officials should be recallable and that the people's representatives should not draw inflated salaries.

I have been able to trace only one quotation from Hegel utilized by Tan Malaka: this is the one from Hegel's “Philosophy of Right”, where Hegel says, in English translation: “The march of God in the world, that is what the state is”. The quotation from Engels's “The Origin of the Family, Private Property and the State” can be found in Marx and Engels, Selected Works, Volume II, p. 319, and I have incorporated the wording there. Lenin's observations on bureaucracy and the army as component parts of the state can be found in Lenin's Collected Works, Volume 25, p. 412.

The publisher's introduction, which is not included here, suggests that interest in Tan Malaka's writings increased markedly following the “Asian Crisis” of the late 20th Century, which had a very significant impact on the Indonesian economy and on Indonesian society.





The Ape-Man

Tens of thousands of years ago, at a time which was  still one of impenetrable darkness in our present memory, when conceivably the Indonesian archipelago was still joined together and connected with the Philippines and the continent of Asia and possibly even with Australia also, according to an expert there lived near the village of Trinil a creature half animal and half human, known to science as pithecanthropus erectus, the ape-man. This particular creature has also been found in other countries of the world such as northern China, South Africa and central Europe.

Since Charles Darwin very many biologists have formed a point of view and a conclusion in conflict with the belief held by religion up to now [selama ini] regarding the origins and last days of humanity in this world of ours, which is small and very insignificant compared with the various great stars among the millions of stars in our Universe [in English in original].


Early Indonesia

We return to our world of the aforsesaid Indonesia and we return to observing its inhabitants! Even now we can still witness people living at a very low stage of development interspersed with other sorts of animals at the highest level, like the orang utan, the various human inhabitants of the mountainous areas and jungle expeanses of greater Indonesia.

The Kubu, who still live wild in the extensive jungles of south Sumatra, the Semang in Malaya and the many Dayak in the woods of Borneo, likewise the many peoples of Irian (Papua) can still obtain all their necessities of life from their local environment. They have not yet been forced to switch their brains and energies to cultivation, skilled crafts or commerce, in order to acquire food and clothing as necessary or to obtain weapons to stand up against animals or cruel opponents. The fruit of trees in different places and seasons, wild beasts and fish existing here and there are sufficient to guarantee them an existence. Skins and forest leaves are enough to cover parts of the body which they need to cover. Boughs, branches and forest leaves, making as it were a nest high up in a tree. are sufficent likewise to give just enough shelter against rain, heat and danger from enemies.

The above picture can be found more or less accurate even now for several places in the Indonesian archipelago. Here I will go on to give an explanation of the close connexion between humans and their environment. The environment of Indonesia, which is very rich, does not compel its people continually to change their bones or rack their brains in order to acquire food and clothing or obtain weapons and protection against wild animals or a cruel world. Where the situation does not yet compel it, there human power, cleverness and knowledge remain as they were in the beginning. But where conditions, environment and society undergo alteration, there the energy and intelligence of the inhabitants of Indonesia indicate likewise a full capability for all kinds of material and spiritual progress required by an environment and society subject to change. Of course there is a big difference between the psychological world [alam-jiwanya] of the people of early Indonesia such as the Kubu, Semang, Dayak and the people of Irian described above and that of an Indonesian in town or village, such as a peasant, a worker, a doctor, an engineer or a lawyer. But without doubt and likewise with no object of praise or blame I venture to say that a Dayak or a person from Irian in the same situation will be capable of learning to achieve what can be achieved by all those people who live in the village or the town. The differences between the civilized [beradap] Indonesian and the 'primitive' [word in English in the original] are not caused by differences of nature or capability but by situation and environment. In other words, they are caused by external stimuli [kodrat pendorong].



It is the form of environmental variation which causes the difference of philosophy of life (Weltanschauung) between civilized and primitive Indonesia. To understand this matter, suppose for a moment that we are living right in the centre of the jungle expanse of Sumatra, Borneo or Irian! For an inhabitant of a city, or for almost all who live on the island of Java it is a bit difficult to understand how very terrifying is this extensive jungle milieu, which in truth our spirits find oppressive.

Big tall trees tower up to the sky; the day is always plunged in darkness because the noble sun [sang matahari] cannot penetrate the wall of luxuriant foliage; there are sounds of animals which impinge upon our spirits; there is suspicion of every bush and thicket, because it possibly conceals a wild beast or a poisonous one: all this brings to the surface a craven, abject feeling, which is of no use for a person facing the enormity and awesomeness of the world.

For a human being who thinks from the beginning, who right from the beginning brings a reflexion of the external world into the inner world,  into the soul, there is a suitable and exact understanding that pressure on the soul within is caused by the soul which exists in the great jungle expanse. In the thought of a person who is completely primitive the spirit can only be broken because it has been struck by a big tree.

So it is in the eyes of this primitive person: every terrifying thing in the environment is thought of as being pregnant with a spirit like one's own self. The big leafy terrifying tree; the waterfall which thunders; the dangerous wild anaimal; even a stone and a piece of timber is thought of as alive, as having a soul.

In truth the antithesis between good and bad, which is concealed in day-to-day experience, is still not separated out in people's attitudes. Primitive people do not worship the source of good as good only, but also the source of evil.They give sacrifice to both, good and evil equally. A spirit which is evil accepts worship and sacrifice from a primitive person no less than a good spirit which is a friend of humankind.

It is certain that where the world is very terrifying there is an evil spirit; a great forest tiger or a crocodile attracts more attention than a good spirit.

It is already clear that in this initial period the outlook of the Indonesian people, being in this condition also, was based on an understanding known to experts as that form of belief which is called animism. Everything in this world was considered as being alive, as having a soul.

In connexion with the primitive individuals of our nation in the past, in a world where such people behave passively, accepting, even suffering nothing but anxiety, at this time there operates a dialectical law, that is to say there is a change in quantity which occurs little by little, becoming eventually a change of disposition (quantity into quality)[in English in original].

In the day-to-day struggle for existence in the face of various dangers in the forest, on the mountain, in the water, and various sorts of disease, eventually their knowledge became concentrated on making sacrifices to and veneration of one out of several most feared among many feared things. Among the tiger, the crocodile, the tree spirit, the water spirit, or the spirit of the hunter, finally they settle on the worship of the Great Spirit, which is most significant and congruent with their daily experience and way of life.

Where hunting as a way of life and activity is extremely important, there the spirit of the hunter is much reverenced. Here the hunter spirit finally acquires honour as the Great Spirit.

Where society is already quite forward-looking and where the environment is already somewhat informal and friendly, there good gets rather more attention than evil. People say there is one lineage of the people of Irian which considers the sugar palm as God, by which they mean the Supreme Being. Is it not the case that it is the sugar palm among all the trees and among everything else in their environment which gives them everything they need for their existence? Sago from the sugar palm is a food which is healthy and the tree has many uses. Its palm fibre can be used as a house roof. Its stems can also be used as a spear to catch fish and as an instrument for defending oneself against an enemy.

An ancient Irianese only required seven sugar palms issuing from one over a period of seven years. The seventh tree, which was seven years old, fell, but it was already ripe. He planted a tree to replace it. This is an activity which a member of the community needs to engage in, i.e. to cut down a tree with a lot of sago every year and to plant a tree with a lot of sago every year. In addition he can fish or hunt, fight or enjoy himself. In a society of this kind it is the Sago God which is thought of as the creator of all things and which is in charge of everything [berkuasa dalam segala-galannya]. So it is among the Swarga-loka in Irian.

Plainly the Sago God carries his greatness skywards while at the same time he gives happiness to human creatures in his environs.


The Beliefs of India

We jump now to another part of the world, to another society, namely India! The conclusion we draw after reading the holy books of the Mahabharata, the Ramayana and the Upanishads, as well as the writings about the life of Siddhartha Gautama, the Lord Buddha, and the religion of the Buddha. is that from the very first times India possessed original inhabitants and that these consisted of various kinds of peoples invading from the north and possibly from the east and south!

Secondly we conclude that Indian society at the time at which all the abovementioned books were composed already knew productive tools and implements made from metal.

Thirdly, that society in India had already moved up from primitive communism to the feudal stage, recognizing several rajas and maharajas, while arrangements in the villages remained based on primitivecommunism.

Fourthly –and this likewise needs to be noted here--  that the culture and religion of India here recorded was an adequate reflexion of the society of that time for those guided by materialist [materialistis] as opposed to idealist [idealistis] dialectics [Original Indonesian underlined].

Actually in the holy books of India it is difficult to get hold of historical facts and also difficult to find consistency, i.e. basic agreement between parts and conformity with the rule of Common Sense. On the contrary, even the relevant era [tarikh], which is one important condition for history, is difficult if not impossible to ascertain.

My object here will not be to draw definite conclusions from the holy writings which are not based on historical facts; it is only to bring the obscurity to the surface as a guide for investigators.

Regarding the Ramayana legend, a question naturally arises in our hearts as to whether the white monkey (Hanuman) is an exact recreation of a human being, based on recondite knowledge, or whether that white monkey is not, more accurately, an Aryan commander, that is to say a whiteskinned Caucasian. Is it not possible also that the white monkey's words constitute derision on the part of the ancient Indian race, which was blackskinned, like the Keling people? We here in Indonesia know about words of derision directed against white foreigners, colonizers, such as “kebo bule, siwer matane” (“cross-eyed water buffalo”).

However that may be, for me the legend of the White Monkey is an injunction to investigate Indian history as it actually occurred. But what we can quite strongly rely on, arising from the monkey myth, is that India was made up of various different kinds of nationalities, either ancient ones or ones entering as invaders.

It is very possible that those caste differences –not yet definitively given form in the holy books, but carried so far as to become a system of some 3000 castes divided into main, medium and lesser branches in the period of English imperialism-- was originally based on national differences.

What I find no less suggestive also is the Trimurti, the Hindu threefold supreme deity, i.e. the Lord Vishnu the Creator, Lord Shiva the Destroyer and Lord Brahma the Protector.

Many people see a realization of dialectics in this ancient Hindu belief. Indeed many dialecticians consider that the spirit of Hinduism is based on an idealist rather than a materialist dialectic, although Hegel's opinion was that the Hindu dialectic had less of a connexion between one element and another –between thesis and antithesis, that is. However that may be, the trinity of the Mahadewa, Creator, Destroyer and Protector, agrees very well with a philosophy of life which divines the process in all things both external and internal. It is not difficult to turn the abovementioned process towards the trinity of Hegel, viz. thesis, antithesis and synthesis. But for Hegel, an expert in philosophical science, this process occurs within the human brain, whereas for a Hindu this trinity, the supreme being which holds sway over this whole great world of ours, also pertains to the life and death of human beings.

For me the origin and threefold nature of the Hindu Mahadewa is adequately revealed in Hindu society, but blurred and not inserted in a logical-chronological fashion into Hindu holy writ.

For us it is not difficult to picture Hindustan, consisting in the beginning of various small kingdoms which after a long period engaged in combat with each other, finally coming under the control of three maharajas or even one pre-eminent maharaja. To this threefold supreme deity there corresponds a stage of authority and honour accepted by all three gods or by each separately, differing as regards time and place.

Thus in Hindustan itself at one time and in one place it is Vishnu who is extolled, while ay another time and in another place Shiva is held to be superior.

Noy only did the various Hindu gods and the supreme Hindu deity in this recondite world gain an accommodation with the various rajas and maharajas in the external world, that is to say, the world of politics, but they became also completely accommodated to the Hindu social world. The various castes in Hindu society climaxed in three principal ones, viz. the Brahmin, Kshatriya and Vaisya castes (or priestly, noble and large-scale merchant castes). The summit of these castes was the Brahmin caste. Even if already dead, the Brahmin returns to this world and progresses, so according to the law of karma one by one they pass through the castes from the bottom to the top, stage by stage. In these circumstances only a member of the Brahmin caste has the right to enter heaven, while the Sudras and Pariahs (the lowest class) are not allowed to listen to the reading of the holy books in this transitory world.

Hindu society, the most prominent of those under the sway of English imperialism, was broken in pieces and frozen, fixed in the form of thousands of castes which could not associate with each other. Apparently long before the time of Jesus the division of Hindu society into several castes was already perturbing those thinkers who were honest, and giving birth to humanitarianism.

The reaction aganist caste society came from the great thinker Siddhartha Gautama, heir to the raja of Kapilavastu. Siddhartha Gautama, or the Buddha, was strongly opposed to the division of humanity into several castes and propaganized to the effect that members of the Brahmin caste could enter Nirvana after death, but only if they seriously carried out their religious duties.

The process of democratization of Hindu society that began more or less 500 years B.C. ended with the victory of Buddhism roughly 500 years likewise after the Prophet Jesus, i.e. under the rule of Ashoka. But the action that was carried through by Siddhartha Gautama and his followers ending in victory around 500 was followed by a reaction from the Hindu side. This reaction was completely victorious, and up until now Hinduism still lords it over Hindu society.

After the 14th Century there entered from the direction of the north a new religion, known as Islam, which had arisen in Arabia. Islam quickly gained adherents in Hindustan both via propaganda in a peaceful fashion and by the road of warfare. Before European imperialism forced its way into India it was a Muslim who became emperor of Hindustan.



The philosophical movement glanced at briefly above was also active here in Indonesia. Here  we are aware at different times and in different places of the presence of the Trimurti, the Supreme Deity constituted by Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva. We recognize the development and expansion of the religion of Islam.

With the growing dominance of Hindu commerce in Indonesia year after year there arose likewise the growing dominance of the Hindu nation (later also of the Arab nation) over the society and politics of early Indonesia. With that came the growing dominance of the whole of Hindu and Arab (Islamic) religion over Indonesian society also.

In those circumstances, at the culmination of the hegemony of each religion, Hindu or Arab (i.e. Islam), the ancient Indonesian beliefs, beliefs which appeared within the world of Indonesia iself, i.e. animism, did not vanish from the hearts and minds of a large part of the Indonesian nation. The ghosts [hantu] who reside in tall trees, in the jungle expanses or in the plunging waters which continuously pour forth still impinged upon the soul of the inhabitants of Indonesia who saw and approached them.

Parallels in the realm of belief in the Hindu period accord also with parallels in the economic realm of the Indonesian nation in this period. Although foreign commerce and enterprise flourished and gained power over the society of Indonesia, Indonesia never passed from the hands of its people. In other words the wet rice fields, the unirrigated fields, plus the woods, rivers and seas, in short the land, water and air still remained within the grasp of the ancient Indonesian race. Hence the ancient Indonesian nation was still guaranteed a better and more splendid future than in the times already past.

The means of livelihood still tightly grasped, the land, the water and the especially generous atmosphere, which somehow intensively pressed down upon both foreigners and the nation itself in the Hindu period, all guaranteed an existence, even if an extremely simple one.

As in cases of the wealth and magnanimity of nature [alam], which do not compel members of the human community to struggle with each other and kill each other in order to get hold of basic necessities, images of various different kinds of Mahadewa could enter under one roof,

Unlike the situation in the country of origin, among the Swarga-loka of Java we can witness an image of the Destroyer, Shiva, side by side with one of the Creator, Vishnu, both smiling at each other.


About the Prophet Moses

Let us now turn our thoughts towards the river Nile under the rule of the Lord Pharaoh.

Concerning this part of the world we have a great deal of historical evidence, the oldest from any part of the world.

Egypt in that period many thousands of years ago likewise recognized various different gods.

Among those various gods then was the god Ra, i.e. the sun god, who was honoured and worshipped as supreme god.

So according to the religion of the ancient Egyptians the god Ra decreed the earth, the sky, the river Nile and the desert, along with domestic anaimals and humans. All this was fashioned at once via the utterance of one word only, that is to say, Ptah. So unlike the view of Kant, Laplace or Darwin, according to the prior religion of ancient Egypt in that age the world and its inhabitants were formed in less than a second from the void by means of the utterance of Ptah.

Thus a conception of the Almighty was already present in the religion of the Jews, who in the period of the Pharaohs were a slave nation, degraded immigrants in Pharaoh's empire.

Because they could not endure any more the exploitation, oppression and concomitant humiliation as a foreign nation in the middle of ancient Egypt, the Jewish people decided that they wished to move to the “Land of milk and honey” which, according to Jewish belief, had been promised to the Jews by God. This prosperous land full of milk and honey that was meant was the land of Palestine, which is now an area of contention between Jew and Arab.

For a slave nation, whose way of life was circumscribed by an atmosphere of continual poverty and humiliation, a part of the world “flowing with milk and  honey” along with the promise of full independence was certainly a magnet [besi berani] of very great power.

The leader of this migration (the exodus) to Palestine, which was carried out illegally and in great secrecy, the leader in the wandering in which they risked their annihilation as a people, because they were pursued by the army of Pharaoh with all its weapons, should be spoken of as a true leader. The Jewish nation would have been destroyed or forced to return under Pharaoh's rule had  it not been led by such a person as the Prophet Moses.

Although already very tall for his age, he faced various dangers which an ordinary person would have considered humanly insurmountable; he led a group comprising both young and old, infants, men and women, healthy and sick, who often quarrelled among themselves for all sorts of reasons; he guided a group which partly consisted of those who were already discouraged and wanted to surrender to Pharaoh, who was already close by in hot pursuit with an army of cavalry, in a condition such as a leader born very long ago could likewise continue to exercise leadership.

The Prophet Moses was exceptionally knowledgeable about human nature and about the conditions of his environment. He had an accurate opinion regarding events that could occur in the future. The prudence, patience and intgelligence of the Prophet Moses was at the service of a group of people of different ages and with varying experiences and desires, accompanied no less significantly by a belief unshakeable by danger, and by the help which had been promised by Jehovah to the ancestors of the Jewish nation towards the attainment of the promised “Land of Milk and Honey”. Every important prerequisite for a leader in a situation such as the prophet Moses found himself in enabled him to surmount all difficulties and to bring his people to a place of safety and happiness without compromising with his enemies who were infinitely [1001 kali] stronger.

The capable leadership of a person with only one aim and one resolve, in accordance with Jewish belief, the Prophet Moses's leadership, which in conditions of hardship and danger often alone found the Lord God Almighty, the leadership of a person who was convinced of the existence of that one God ... a leadership which brought the Jewish nation to that period of glory deepened Jewish belief in the unity and omnipotence of that God more than formerly. For the Jewish people in those days it was absolutely right that “the proof of the pudding is the eating.” [In English in the original].

With the completion of its victories, won by the leadership of one person or several, the Jewish tribes, which had before this time recognized several gods, each according to his tribe, there came, therefore, also the completion of the victory of monotheism, a belief in the unity of God among all the tribes of the Jewish nation.


About the Prophet Jesus

Inconsistency, logical contradiction, conflict between various parts, conflict as regards date, events at variance with natural law or common sense, which both the experts and I myself have found in the second of the two holy books, the Old and New Testaments, are not what I wish to focus on here. I think that, given the degree of technical knowledge, of science and of evidence in the time of the Prophet Jesus, all the mystery of nature and human supernatural power, as written in the book, is appropriate to time and place. My attention here is focussed on morality (ethics) and on the divinity which is recorded in that holy book. Conflict of meaning in the matter of ethics and divinity, which, I think, can also be found in the holy book, is perhaps in accord with our thoughts if we adopt the opinion of several experts, which is that the holy book was written in the period following the Prophet Jesus's death and contains much understanding already expressed by Greek writers before the Prophet Jesus was born into the world.

How can we combine the main argument of the Christian religion: “Whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also” with the saying of the Prophet Jesus: “Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to bring peace, but a sword.”?

Thus in the matter of ethics. In the matter of divinity too how can one reconcile the One God given prominence in the Old Testament and by the prophets, as explained above, with the Trinity, the Trimurti, since it is Catholic, viz. the One in Three, the unity of God the Father, God the Son (Jesus) and the Holy Spirit?

Personally I think it should have been all One, if we are to bring it into conformity with time and place. So, therefore, for me it is less important that there once lived a Jew who called himself the Son of God. For me already a clear enough field of study is given by the Christian religion and the ideal of spiritual grandeur held in high esteem, as portrayed in the person of the Prophet Jesus. I shall also be satisfied if there are historical experts who come to the conclusion that , where the Jewish nation was under the Roman colonizers, there in the district of Galilee someone called Jesus instigated a revolt and openly defended the masses against the Jewish rabbis, who had become accomplices [kaki tangannya] of the Roman authorities. The leader of the Galilean revolt called himself the Jewish king, the Messiah, Jesus Nazarenus Rex Judiorum [sic]!

Looked at in this perspective, all contradiction vanishes from our conception. The Prophet Jesus gave abundantly his love and affection, along with the sacrifice of his life, to the masses, who indeed were living in poverty at that time and who indeed were avid for rebellion, especially in Galilee. If he recommended an attitude of forgiveness, that one should “turn the other cheek”, that attitude was directed towards the masses as a whole. Towards the rabbis the Prophet Jesus clearly advanced the opposite attitude, that is to say, if it was necessary to smash the priestly class arms in hand as oppressors of the Jewish people and accomplices of the Roman colonizers at that time.

Of course there are other possible rational explanations of the two conflicting moral codes. One of these wrongly asserts that the Jewish masses at that time did not have the power to oppose the rabbis, oppressors and exploiters who were in perpetual contact [?langsung berurusan –there appears to be an error in the text here] with the Jewish masses.

So according to this interpretation a passive attitude, one of acceptance proposed by the Prophet Jesus, arose from a feeling of powerlessness vis-a-vis the Roman authorities, along with the rabbis, who were the accomplices, the administrative agents [“inlanders-alatnya”] of the Roman power.

For me this recent explanation has some force but is less than adequate. The Jewish nation, especially its masses, in several towns such as Jerusalem, and particularly in the district of Galilee, from which Jesus himself came, was far from passive in its outlook, or “nrimo”, as they say in Java. Large-scale and small-scale rebellions in pursuit of freedom from explotation and oppression occurred on a flood of occasions [acap kali]. So this also is of a piece with the Prophet Jesus himself when he faced the rabbis, the above-mentioned loyalist natives.

In the “lifetime” of the Prophet Jesus himself differences from the God of the Prophet Moses were not apparent. God in the Prophet Jesus's time was the eternal one true God. The philosophical notion of God in which 1+1+1=3 emerged and flourished after the Prophet Jesus had lived in this world. Of course there are many secular matters which can make possible the emergence and flourishing of 3=1. Later on at the time of the French Revolution many elements of human society brought about the collapse of that 3=1 philosophy! But for me that kind of philosophy is not the main question.


About the Prophet Muhammad

More interesting, I feel, is the return of 1=1 600 years after the Prophet Jesus. Contemporaneously there occurred the return of a commonplace, practical ethic for human society, i.e. faults were punished proportionately, a fault pardoned if acknowledged as a fault and behaviour and future conduct truly and honestly amended. The one who restored that was Muhammad bin Abdullah, an Arab from the tribe of Quraish. Since there is not much difference between the Arab nation and the Jewish as regards nationality, and both nations are designated Semites, therefore in actual fact those three great prophets, Moses, Jesus and Muhammad, are of the same nationality and descent. According to the Bible itself it is stated that the Jews and the Arabs are  both descended from the Prophet Abraham.

When we glance at the totality of the earth's surface that we know, at the beginning of the 7th Century, what is visible is only collapse in the matter of politics, economy, society and culture. At best we have evidence of stagnation, malaise, inertia, complete social breakdown in all areas.

The Romans in the west with their colonies in Western and Northern Europe, North Africa and Western Asia were in a state of defeat and collapse as a result of pressure and aggression on the part of various German tribes from the north. Only the Eastern Romans succeeded in taking care of the new courageous peoples (Bulgarians and others) who attacked in that quarter, accepting them as enforced guests and members of the family. In the realm of culture only the Eastern Romans were able to digest the knowledge inherited from the Greeks and deceased Romans.

Egypt, Syria, Persia, Judaea etc., states formerly in authority in the neighbourhood of the Arabian Peninsula, were all in a situation of life averse to a death they didn't want [keadaan hidup enggau mati tak mau]. Whereas the Arabian Peninsula already had 5 million inhabitants, a figure which can be considered high for that time; it had already attained prosperity by reason of commerce carried on by clever and audacious large-scale merchants, who relied on strong armed desert caravans drawn up in paramilitary fashion! Also in particular the Arabian Peninsula had not yet endured oppression at the hands of any foreign nation. Such being the case the Arab nation was still energetic, strong, upright, brave and confident in its own strength. Only between the tribes was there still conflict and warfare. Parallel with those social conflicts, the belief system also was not yet in the process of becoming united, but rather was  divided among various beliefs, a state of affairs known after the Prophet Muhammad's time as the Jahiliyah [“age of pagan ignorance” –translator] of the Unbelievers.

To unite the various beliefs of the Jahiliyah, as portrayed in the various images of that time; to unify the ideology as a synthesis of the various ideological contradictions existing then, this was the work carried through from first to last by the Prophet Muhammad in the direction of national political, social, economic and cultural unification.

That unification was not achieved by means of one great image among several images prevalent in Arabia but rather via the oneness of God and His omnipotence, no longer subject to time and place as an image existing anywhere made by a human hand from any material in the world whatever.

Illiterate does not mean unintelligent, cowardly or dishonest. Contrariwise education does not guarantee courage, perseverance, honesty, capacity for leadership, adroit consideration for the next day or the ability to take rapid and effective decisions (resourcefulness) [in English in the original].

Indeed there is much truth in the Indonesian aphorism: “To travel far is to see much, to live a long time is to experience many things.” The travels undertaken by Muhammad bin Abdullah to the countries bordering Arabia with the caravans gave all the experience and knowledge sufficient for a leader, a general, a man of letters and a Prophet of the future, at the moment when the Arabian Peninsula and later on its environs were in great need of such a leader.

The desire to know, which flared up in the brain of the young Muhammad bin Abdullah, the desire to understand the origin of everything existing in the world and in society, was filled by the societies surrounding Arabia, which had already attained a high level of culture in the past. The priests and rabbis were able to give instruction or a method of thought along with material for thought in order to answer every question that arose in a brain that wished to know about everything.

It was the earth and sky of the Arabian Peninsula which made an unforgettable impression on a person whose observation would perfect the knowledge gained in conversation going to and fro between Meccah and foreign parts. The experience gained following the caravans, which so many times found themselves facing already trained enemies, developed every leadership trait hidden in the soul of Muhammad bin Abdullah.

Trained and disciplined in that “University of Life” [in English in original], when, therefore, the Arabian Peninsula needed overall unity, Muhammad bin Abdullah stepped forward as propagandist, general, chief of state, leader of society and Prophet.

Time and place were very appropriate for unity and omnipotence at the beginning of the 7th Century. There was also much interest in the Arabian Peninsula and its environs at that time.

The society of the Arabian Peninsula very much needed a unified leadership capable of establishing its authority among the various powers of the different tribes. That society also required the presence of one group, i.e. the Muslims, which, standing above all nations on earth, could truly be imbued with the belief in One Almighty God dominating everything completely –nature, humanity, spirits and angels.

The spirit of Islam, that is to say, the spirit of submission to God's Will, the spirit of acceptance of God's verdict with a feeling of pleasure, the spirit of Islam as the centre of the soul and of philosophy, together with a certain practice of belief, was not yet known in human history. A new religion in conflict with the beliefs of several Arabian tribes was not going to be abrogated even if concealed by the Prophet Muhammad. When one day the Prophet Muhammad's family at a meeting requested that propaganda for Islam be halted, because it brought about disputes and threatened the Prophet's life, Muhammad answered that even if the sun on the left and the moon on the right forbade such a thing he would not heed the prohibition.

So it happened  with the spirit of compact unity among themselves the Muslims, who day by day [kian hari kian] increased greatly in numbers; with the spirit of confident surrender, body and soul, to the Almighty, with a spirit of irreconcilable opposition to the beliefs of the Unbelievers' Jahiliyah, that finally, under the leadership of the Prophet Muhammad, after some twenty years of itinerant propaganda and with preparation for and engagement in repeated violent combat, they achieved the unification of the whole Arabian Peninsula.

With strong and sturdy unity among all the Arabian tribes, with a spirit of no capitulation, with the spirit of Islam, of unconditional harmony with the divine decree, equally with a spirit of unremitting aggression against the states and peoples surrounding Arabia, for the attainment of victory both in the world and within, in more or less 100 years the Arab nation came to dominate the whole Mediterranean area in Asia, Africa and Europe.

There should be more than formal recognition given by the Christian world concerning the service of Arab Islam in the mediaeval centuries even down to today as regards philosophy and empirical science, which has in fact not yet received proper recognition!

With the Arab nation we have the completion of a dialectical orbit in a circle! [English in original] With the Prophet Moses we advance to a philosophy of the divine in which 1=1 (thesis). Then the Prophet Jesus appears in opposition thereto, in the form 3=1 (antithesis). With the Prophet Muhammad there is formed the synthesis, i.e. the return of the philosophy of 1=1 but more complete and richer in content than at the outset.

Only a little of the Islamic philosophy of the divine, which was included in fate, in God's unavoidable desire, looked back to the old world, i.e. the society of Greece; the philosophy of Islam thereby acquired material along with valuable guidance. Islamic philosophy raised up again the Greek philosophy which had been buried for hundreds of years beneath the Roman Empire. Islamic philosophy was able to separate the full-grained rice from the empty husk and to plant the former until it grew in the mediaeval centuries.

So it is fitting that we look back hundreds of years behind the society of Islam that was victorious, noble and prosperous in Spain, in Egypt and in Baghdad, and return for a moment to look at the society of ancient Greece.


Ancient Greece

For the modern culture of Europe and America, ancient Greek culture is still thought of as the mother culture. Plato, as philosopher, is still the source for the philosophy of idealism. The philosophy of Herakleitos is still thought of as a vein of materialism and dialectics. Aristotle is still considered as a great-grandfather by several modern empirical scientists (according to the viewpoint of positivism). So various branches of modern culture can search diligently for their roots in the culture of ancient Greece. This is not surprising, if the ancient Greek language is still required to be studied by students obliged to fathom all modern knowledge and to go deeper, down to the very root.

Religion, Philosophy and Empirical Science

If we concentrate our attention on the Western World, i.e. Europe and America, three main lines of culture become visible to our eyes. After 2500 years of Western World history, i.e. from around 500 B.C.E. to the present, these three main lines occur: the line of religion, the line of  philosophy and the line of empirical science. All other branches of culture are included in or dependent on these three main lines.

So, then, three main lines in the history of the Western World, a great mass of experience of progress, decline and change of value and status.

In the biggest line from 500 B.C.E. to 1500 C.E. it was religion that gained the highest status and value. In that period philosophical science was only the servant of religion; along with empirical science it might rather be thought of as entirely sense perception and opinion. That moment included the Greek, Roman and the mediaeval period, which was dominated by Islamic and Christian society. In the period of the Greeks and Romans philosophers had played the main role in society and in the state.

It may also be said that in the biggest line from 1500 until 1850 C.E. it was philosophical science that attained the highest value and status in the society of the West. At that time religion began to be pushed back. In fact at the time of the French Revolution religion encountered very stiff resistance.

Meanwhile empirical science was increasingly pushed to one side and became the principal support for philosophical science. At that moment it was not the clergy that controlled the leadership of society and the state, but rather those in possession of philosophical knowledge and empirical science, real science.

Finally from about 1850 to the present day it was empirical science which enjoyed the highest value and status in society, together with the state, in modern Europe and America. Religion, which had met with very determined resistance at the time of the French Revolution, was able to reawaken, but it has not regained the value and status it had before the French Revolution.

At the middle of the 19th Century the science of philosophy in its original sense began to descend from the throne it had occupied in the previous period. One philosophical group, protagonists of the philosophy known as dialectical materialism, led by Marx and Engels, proclaimed “the end of philosophy”. Since that knowledge was social also, it was based on laws of empirical science. Empirical science in various subjects, branches and sections has acquired the highest value and status up until the present.

Empirical scientists make use of the word “philosophy” but with a different meaning from what it originally had. Nowadays the best meaning of it is “weaving up general principles”, in the words of Francis Bacon, one of several great empirical scientists [in English in original].

It appears clear that in the three periods which we have brought forward for the Western World, as decribed above, there was a mutual alteration of value and status acquired by the three main lines of culture –religion, philosophy and empirical science. It so happens that the alteration in the third main line which also ran parallel with alteration in the status of the social-political regime [in English in original] was rooted in an alteration undergone by the system of production based on existing techniques.


Alteration of the System of Production

At the time when priests and nobles held supreme power in society and in the state, both in Greece and Rome and in Western Europe in the mediaeval period (round about 1500 up to 1850 C.E.), production became more centred on manufacture. By the end of this time factories were already beginning to be operated by steam power.

In the bourgeois period (which was assisted or opposed by the socialists), where the bourgeoisie held supreme power over society and the state in Western Europe and America (ranging from 1850 to 1948), production came under the control of finance capital [in English in original] and monopolies. Technology advanced rapidly, from steam energy to electric power, oil, and, nowadays, atomic energy.


The Religious Question

It so happens that we all more or less understand the religious question. The question centres on this: what is the origin of the earth, the stars, the sky, in short the whole universe, and how will it end?

What is the origin of the human race and how will it end? Three divine religions, the Jewish, Christian and Islamic, base all origins and endings on the will of God. The universe was decreed all at once by God Almighty. Humanity is a creation of God. Human destiny is surrendered by the three religions to God's desire. The destiny of the individual is decided by that person's deeds and religious devotion. Deeds and religious devotion will determine afterwards at the ensuing day of judgement what merit or punishment will be received. Someone who is devout and has a lucky destiny will have their sins pardoned and enter heaven. Someone who is guilty, with a perverse destiny, will be consigned to hell. In brief, all three religions will determine the way of attaining heaven and avoiding hell.

The Hindu and Buddhist religions have a different understanding of the origin and end of humanity. The Buddha, Siddhartha Gautama, put forward five ways to attain heaven. In contrast to the three above-mentioned religions, the Buddhist religion makes a person's end depend on personal responsibility and personal conduct.

We already understand all this! What is right and proper is up to each adherent of a religion in person. What is correct for one is not correct for sure for another. For me religion is decidedly [tetap] “eine Privatsache” [a private matter] or personal belief of each individual. With the progress of philosophy, logic and mathematics, religious people also make use of this knowledge for the purpose of clarifying the principles of their religion. But what is clear for one religious adherent is not yet clear for the adherent of another religion. Religion stays fixed as something each individual can rely on.



As with the religious question, the question of philosophy also depends greatly on your point of view. But for us the question of what point of view can be satisfactory and accurate and capable of  providing a solution is a question already advanced by Friedrich Engels in the last century. According to Engels, philosophers can be divided into two groups, the materialist group and the idealist group. Between these two big groups, which form two mutually incompatible poles, there exist varieties which, under further analysis, actually form part of one or other group, materialist or idealist. Philosophers divide into the two groups as a consequence of the conflicting answers they give to the philosophical question: what is the cause (primus –primary) and what is derivative between matter and the idea [in English in the original]? In the universe there exists the problem of matter and of the power in nature which moves that matter. Among animal species the question changes to become the problem of body and soul (instinctive life-principle). In the human species the question alters to become one of body and spiritual thought. Philosophers ask: which comes first, material object or force, material substrate or soul, matter or spirit?


Materialists and Idealists

The materialists answer that it is matter, the corporeal substrate, which is primary and fundamental. “There is no spirit apart from matter. People must be able to eat in order to think.” So before there were people on earth, the earth and the stars already existed, say the materialist philosophers.

According to the idealists, it is the idea, force and spirit which is primary and matter and material objects which are derivative [in English in original]. According to the extreme idealists, what exists in the universe is ideas only, that is to say, the idea that exists within the brain of the philosopher himself. Indeed this view is connected with the power of the supreme god Ra, who filled the void at the beginning of the world with the stars, the earth, the rivers, the plants, the animals and humanity in the twinkling of an eye after the word “Ptah” had been decreed (see “Madilog”).

Whatever the difference in viewpoint, it is clear that the ridicule aimed at the materialists by the idealists to the effect that the materialists only conceive of eating and drinking and the pleasures of life is completely without proper foundation.


The Greek Philosophers

Truly, after the Greek thinkers began to free themselves from the umbilical cord of beliefs based upon nothing but dogma, and began seriously to face up to the universe, we know too the answers given by them. They arrived at four elements, earth, water, air and fire. Enclosed within his own spiritual self as an investigator of the universe, as well as being hampered by matter and the movement of matter, Zeno drew the conclusion that “motion (of matter) is only an illusion of the senses” [in English in original].

A famous capable thinker of the Greek nation, Plato, later made use of a mode of thought which separated matter from force [kodrat], the physical from the spiritual, concluding that the original entity was the absolute idea [in English in original]. Via a mode of  abstract thought, i.e. classification (analysis), he arrived at the Logos of the World, the World Spirit. There is much similarity between Plato's Logos and the Hindu Atma.

In contrast Herakleitos, a comparable thinker who based himself firmly on reality, along with the motion of matter, formulated a conclusion which to this day is of great significance for us, viz. “A thing both exists and does not exist, because everything is fluid, changeable, always different, forever appearing and vanishing.” Herakleitos recognized the existence of matter, even proposing the molecular hypothesis, which more than two thousand years later was newly confirmed by empirical scientists. Moreover, in opposition to Zeno, Herakleitos suggested that motion, as a characteristic of matter and cause of matter, always involved change (Nichts ist, alles wird –Nothing is, everything becomes) according to the law of motion, that is to say, the Dialectical law.

Between or alongside the two aforementioned groups stood the giant thinker Aristotle. As a physician, who always recognized the existence of matter and spirit, and as the father of several sciences, in particular the science of life (biology), Aristotle centred his attention on a certain structure, a certain system. Aristotle more than Zeno and Plato paid attention to the interior composition of matter. But the laws of thought which he gave priority to were the laws of logic and the laws of dialectics, which were not the same as the dialectical laws employed by Herakleitos and Demokritos.


Mediaeval Philosophers

The Greek philosophers in general, and in particular Aristotle and Plato, had a very great influence on society in the mediaeval period, that is to say, on Islamic and Christian society. The western philosophical tradition reached a climax in the eulogy of Ibn Rushd, known as Averroes, or the Aristotle of the Arab nation. Indeed the flag of Aristotelian philosophy, which had disappeared for hundreds of years, was raised again by Ibn Rushd, renewed and handed down as the legacy of Greek society. Plato also gained much appreciation in the period of Islamic and Christian mediaeval society. In these two societies we hear less of the names of Herakleitos and Demokritos. But it is possible that their influence was great enough, or greater than the historical information which has been bequeathed to us.

Islamic society in the Middle Ages was conversant with a group of thinkers called the Mu'tazilah. They were to be found in the large towns of the Islamic world, and were considered outlaws, rebels, anarchists and atheists. More detailed information concerning their life and concepts has not come down to us, apart from the fact that they were considered apostates by the official religion. Ibn Rushd himself, if I am not wrong, was a Mu'tazilite and his freedom of thought was much feared by the priests in Europe, with the result that European students (Christians) returning from Spanish Islamic dominions were carefully watched as a movement. It would not be surprising if they, the Mu'tazilites, were from the urban masses, with a revolutionary outlook and followers of dialectical materialism, even if in a very rudimentary form [in English in original].

It is not surprising if in Western Europe in the mediaeval period we hear very little of the name of Herakleitos and a lot more of Plato and Aristotle.

Life was very hard for the serfs in the Western European mediaeval period. The weather was cold, the fog was thick, tools were primitive, in short the miseries of life, the anxiety and the cruel oppression of the serfs at the hands of the nobles and priests did not give them the opportunity to think about philosophical problems. Such questions were handed over to the priests, who lived in the neighbourhood of big churches surrounded by trees and waited on by the serfs round about. Isolated from the society of labourers, like Plato's Logos, separated from coarse and perishable matter, the monks and priests had an ideal opportunity to examine the philosophy of Plato and Aristotle. Plato's Logos and Absolute Idea agreed  perfectly with the nature of God [in English in original] who was independent of everything and existed over everything. The monks' and priests' understanding took the form of a realization of the Logos and of God in this transient world.

Aristotle's classification regarding plants, animals and other entities separate from plants and animals was actually something that the schoolmen [in English in original], the book specialists of the Middle Ages, greatly delighted in. As the book specialists truly lived lives that were separate from the masses, they separated themselves from animals and plants in actual fact! Thus the book knowledge of the philosophers of the Middle Ages was suspended in mid-air [tergantung di awang-awang saja], just as their lives were in reality divorced from the popular masses, who produced all the necessities of life of the philosophers in the Middle Ages.

From 500 C.E. down to 1500 C.E. philosophy was still based on religion and rudimentary empirical science. The idealists made use of religious beliefs as premisses (basic evidence) in system formation. But the materialists no longer made use of elements of religious beliefs as premisses. They only used real evidence as premisses.

Both idealists and materialists utilized mathematics, physics and primitive biology especially in explanation. With more and more development of empirical science, the more explanation based on beliefs which could not be proved (petitio principii)[argument in a circle, in which the conclusion is assumed in the premisses –translator] was left behind.


Philosophers and the French Revolution

Around the time of the French Revolution empirical science had already made very great progress compared with the age of Plato, Herakleitos and Aristotle. In France we recognize giants of mathematics and the physical sciences as well as mechanics, such as Maupertuis, Clairut, D'Alembert, Lagrange, Laplace, Fourier, Carnot, Pascal and others. In England there arose a giant of mathematics and physics, namely Isaac Newton. In the world of chemistry there appeared a Frenchman called Lavoisier, who ordered the science systematically, a process representing a more advanced development than that of Ibn Sina, an Arab chemist!

At the same time Cuvier developed Aristotle's findings. The theorem of Pythagoras was expanded by Newton, just as the thought of Archimedes was by Pascal. All this could be enlarged upon, but it would be like comparing an infant with an adult.

It is not surprising if the progress of empirical science, which had already bridged an apparent gap of tens of thousands of years from ancient times to the Middle Ages, afforded material which was not valued by the philosophers. But the philosophers were divided permanently into two groups, idealist and materialist. Moreover each group utilized the progress of empirical science as proof [in English in original] of the correctness of their respective theories.

In England there emerged two most important philosophers, the priest Berkeley and David Hume. Based on the spirituality of the spectator, David Hume, with the determined consistency of a philosopher, said that in the final analysis [in English in the original] everything in the universe is nothing but a bundle of conceptions [in English in the original] concerning the universe. Moreover Hume said that “you” for him (Hume) was only an “image” in the brain of Hume, and nothing else. In truth in this case Hume contradicted himself. Because if Hume said that  other people were  for him only an image in his brain then other people could say that Hume himself did not exist except as an image in other people's brains. “You” for Hume is “I” for those other people. Contrariwise “I” for Hume would be “you” for those other people.

Immanuel Kant, a German philosopher greatly influenced by David Hume, was not so bold as to draw a similar conclusion to that of David Hume. Kant took up a position in the middle! He could not nullify what was in the universe. But besides acknowledging what existed he left behind the Ding an Sich, the thing in itself, which remained unknown. With Immanuel Kant's presence in Germany there emerged an idealist philosophy later developed by experts such as Fichte and Hegel.

Berkeley and Hume, two idealist English philosophers associated with the bourgeois revolution, came under intense criticism from some very famous French materialist philosophers such as Diderot and Lamartine. Basing themselves on mathematics and physics, which had been making rapid progress at this time, they denied the omnipotence of spirituality in the universe. Going to the opposite extreme [tenggelam pada paham sebaliknya] they acknowledged the omnipotence of matter in motion [in English in the original]. As if humanity was powerless in the face of matter and the laws of motion of matter in the universe. Such an individual would be a passive machine, receptive only. If there exists an activating force it sets things in motion, if it is not stationary. So, like an acquiescent, passive machine, in that case the individual is subjugated, lacking the necessary wherewithal for dealing with the environment. That kind of materialism is what we call mechanical materialism [in English in original], i.e. a materialism which conceives the human being as a machine that receives its fate from a force outside itself only. As if the individual does not have power to alter its milieu or the conditions surrounding it. It seems that there is still an enduring mentality which adheres to this spirit of mechanical materialism. Just as primitive humanity felt powerless in the face of the divine decree, so also the materialists at the time of the French Revolution felt powerless in the face of the mechanism of matter [in English in original].


Dialectical Materialism

The voice of materialist philosophy, just like that of idealism, was well approved of in German philosophical circles. Ludwig Feuerbach, a German professor, adopted the philosophy of materialism from France, especially that relating to what was known as Menschliche Tatigkeit (human action). Marx in 11 Theses criticized Feuerbach, saying that Feuerbach's thought embraced “human action under the sign of [pada] idealism”, whereas for Marx “human action enters into the material category”. Subsequently Feuerbach was discharged by the bourgeoisie from his duties as professor because he was considered too radical, and forced to live on his own in a village in Germany, becoming more and more out of date from a revolutionary point of view and in the way of thinking according to the fashion of dialectical materialism.

Thought based on dialectics was extended by Marx and by his friend and contemporary Friedrich Engels. Besides being men of letters, the two of them were devotees of mathematics who often drew on French and English utopian socialism. They also made use of Charles Darwin's theory of evolution, as well as the economic theories of Adam Smith and David Ricardo, in the formulation of their theory. With the discovery of the cause [in English in original] or more accurately condition [in English in original], i.e. the reason for social progress, socialism, which had been based on utopia, as outlined by Thomas More, Saint Simon, Fourier and Robert Owen, altered to become scientific socialism [in English in original]. What is considered as the cause [in English in original] of change, including social change, is the stage by stage alteration in the mode of production: such is the make-up of the science of history based on material reality known as historical materialism [in English in original], that is to say the materialist conception of history. The philosophy associated with matter in motion is known as dialectical materialism.

It is called materialism because matter, thought of as primary, is the origin of the universe. It is also called dialectical because the way of approaching the question of matter along with creation in the universe is under conditions of contradiction and motion, i.e. under conditions of appearance, growth and collapse.

After Marx and Engels had identified the cause or condition, the reason of alteration and change as  something within human society, human history changed likewise from something given over to chance [kebetulan], something fated but not caused and having no real consequences, to something specific, having a cause, an end, a rationale and a result. In this way also the science of history changed from a world of mystery to one of reality. Hence the human mind began to penetrate the origins and direction of a certain society, as well as its drama [lakonnya].

After matter in its entirety and in all forms of motion in the universe had been dissected, analyzed, investigated and its laws ascertained, since the age of the Greek philosophers, there occurred also a change and alteration in philosophy, whose question was: what does this all mean? [in English in original], so that it became a problem for empirical scientists, who investigated and analyzed it, founding various empirical sciences in the process.


Empirical Science

Engels's conclusion was accurate when he said that over a period of development lasting centuries philosophical knowledge became broken up and separated out, so that it became empirical science (Wissenschaft), i.e. various kinds of knowledge concerning human history and various kinds concerning Nature [in English in original]. What remained of philosophy, in Engels's view, was logic and dialectics.

We turn back again to the beginnings of empirical science, to the age of the Greeks, and from there as quick as lightning to modern times. Then we turn for a moment to logic and dialectics, which Engels called the residue of philosophy.

It happened that, in more or less 2500 years of wandering, science, which was thought of as the child of philosophy and the grandchild of religion, in large measure not yet free of the umbilical cord of its mother and grandmother, that empirical science, facing [tentang] a very great world not visible in its entirety because it was so big, arrived at a minute world not visible to the eye because it was so small. One universe [in English in original] which could be seen by the naked eye in times past now with the eye armed with microscope and telescope increasingly became several universes. Now we recognize the existence of other planets and solar systems. We are also familiar with the world of the molecule and the atom. The molecule and the atom, conceceived [tercipta] as a hypothesis or guess on the part of the two dialectical materialists Herakleitos and Demokritos, can now be visually verified with the aid of the microscope. In fact empirical science can reach things that are even smaller. The atom, which at the beginning, it was thought, could not be divided, turns out to be divisible into two, the proton and the electron. Just as the Earth and the Sun; just as one solar system or another; just as one universe or another universe [in English in original] in the great universe [di alam raya ini] is held together by the forces of attraction and repulsion [in English in original], which can be said to come under the category of thesis and antithesis in dialectics, so likewise the two aforementioned worlds, the aforesaid proton and electron, are held together by the force of attraction and repulsion, becoming one atom, one synthesis of an atom. In short the synthesis of proton and elctron is the atom; the synthesis of atom and atom is the molecule; the synthesis of molecule and molecule is a body; the synthesis of earth and sun is the solar system, the synthesis of one solar system with another and finally of one universe with another [in English in orignal] is our great universe.

In these 2500 years, in accordance with dialectics and its law of thesis, antithesis and synthesis, the human brain has come to know a very great world, which is our great universe, and a very small world, which is the aforementioned electron and proton.


The Branches of Empirical Science

Who knows how empirical science will be divided again?

If we make use of a logical division [in English in original] of empirical science we obtain two classes, namely those sciences which comprise the historical class and those that comprise the natural class. Empirical science concerned with human history divides into sociology and history, the science of politics, the science of law, the science of economics, the science of literature, etc. Empirical science concerned with this great universe is likewise divided into astronomy, physics [in English in original], the science of chemistry, the science of electricity and so on. Alongside these we find the science of mathematics, which demonstrably and in reality is based on any product whatever which can be represented as a number or a letter [in English in original]. We know the science of measurement, the science of arithmetic, algebra, trigonometry and suchlike.

This division is not confined to the biggest branches, each branch is also divided. Just notice how many experts there are in medical science. We recognize experts on teeth, ears, noses, hair and so on. You may take examples also from legal science, which is divided into several subsections such as consitutional law, law of nations, civil law and criminal law [in English in original].

There is a very big danger if a person who is an expert in one branch of empirical science does not recognize the relation between his knowledge and dozens of other kinds of knowledge, so that they live apart from those other forms of expertise. In other words there is a danger if a doctor who is an expert on hair disappears and vanishes into haarklovery (hair-splitting), forgetting the relationship between hair and all the other parts of the body and human health in general. The danger is no less great if an expert in crime, a criminologist, looks at crime from the angle of the individual only, as if he were to forget that the action of a person who lives in society is conditioned [in English in original], dependent on various internal and external situations; dependent on the movement of life, which is complex and connected also with the economic and political, social and cultural situation in society itself.

Regarding the danger of fragmentation, separation and deviation there is a very strong current, a tradition within the world of empirical science towards co-ordination and reconnexion of  the various forms of knowledge which have been broken apart, because of its own development! As I mentioned previously, this is probably what was envisaged [dimaksudkan] by one famous scientist in weaving up general principles [in English in original] as the interpretation of modern philosophy.


The Object, Method, Content and Spirit of Empirical Science

It is not possible but there is also no need for us here to approach and interpret all the content, or even part, of the various branches of science. We already have enough of importance here to attempt an interpretation of the aim and object of empirical science and of the method used to attain its object. Also as regards the matter it makes use of and finally the spirit that it brings forth in order to attain its object.

One phrase which is customarily used in order to define (determine) the object of empirical science is simplification by generalization [in English in original] or facilitating the inclusion of something being studied in what is already better known or the inclusion of what is n ot yet known in what is already better known.

Another phrase which is also used for defining the purpose of empirical science is the following: the organization of the facts [in English in original]. I feel this formula is very practical. In connexion with this I translate “science” by “science of evidence”.

But no less practical is another formula published in the scientific world, to establish laws and systems [in English in original].

So much for the object of empirical science.

As regards the methods of attaining the goal, this is done with the methods of logic, classification, statistics and measurement, along with weighing, often also making use of the dialectical method. In logic we are concerned with what is known as induction, deduction and verification. In mathematics we are concerned with what is called the method of synthesis, the method of analysis, and reductio ad absurdum. These two kinds of methods of thinking in logic and mathematics arfe not very different. Elsewhere I have put forward a more advanced analysis of this topic, viz. in “Madilog”. Here I only wish to mention in passing the method scientists use to attain their object, that is to say to arrive at laws and systems [in English in original].

The content or evidence made use of by empirical science is obtained by way of  observation or experiment [in English in original]. The experimental method is more fruitful. Because: with the way of observation the investigator only plays a passive role, silent and watchful only, whereas with the experimental method the investigator can move the object from one place to another and mix various things together according to the aim in view. While the observer can only scrutinize the life and characteristics of each plant and animal at each particular spot, the organizer of an experiment may breed a new plant or even animal in order to obtain a new species, one which is bigger, stronger and healthier.

How rapid was the advance of empirical science following Galileo! At the beginning of the 17th Century Galileo organized his experiment [in English in original] at the tower of Pisa. One can say that that experiment opened the door for the acquisition of countless natural resources for humanity. From the four elements known by the ancient Greeks, namely earth, water, air and fire, the science of chemistry at this moment in time already knows 92 elements [in English in original].

Finally, and no less important, the spirit of objectivity (not being subjectively involved, a prey to emotion and self-interest) side by side with the spirit of adventure [in English in original], in the sense of being able to leap from the world of fact to the world of hypothesis and theory, is a sine qua non for a scientist. An expert who only remains within the world of facts alone and is not capable of freeing him- or herself from facts, so as to be able to fly up to the world of hypothesis and theory, will not be able to formulate laws and systems [in English in original] which are the object of science [in English in original]. Those people will dwell forever in the world of fact only.


Eastern Society and Empirical Science

It is not quite correct to say that the society of the East apart from the Arabs did not know empirical science. It is not quite correct to say that India, China and the rest only knew religion and philosophy and did not know science [in English in original]. It is reported that the father of geometry was a Hindu from Burma, and they say also that India for a long time already knew algebra. Also the Chinese understood how to make a circle, even if they did not know the πr formula which we know. No one will fail to be surprised and influenced by the logic of the great teacher Kung (Confucius) if he reads about the system of family relations in his four books. Also no one will not be spellbound following the dialectical method used by the great mystical teacher Lao Tzu, when he explains his viewpoint. I myself have repeatedly been  greatly struck by the medical progress of the Chinese. In fact in predicting the future, in connexion with such phenomena as rain, heat, wind, storms and typhoons, I have often witnessed the magical skill of the Chinese (usually monks), superior to western empirical science as regards the weather forecast [in English in original]. And was not knowledge of printing, gunpowder and the compass bequeathed by the Chinese to the West via the Arabs?

Of course, all that has been said does not mean that ancient Chinese society had already reached the level of Greece in 500 B.C.E. Confucius, although a logical thinker, did not reach the stage of formulating the science of logic, i.e. separating the laws of thought from the process [in English in original] of thought itself. Lao Tzu was not yet able to extract the law of dialectics from the process of thinking, itself dialectical. Likewise an expert in measurement, in medicine and a weather expert in China has not yet arrived at the stage of separating the laws of the science of measurement and the laws of medicine and chemistry from the process of taking measurements and practising medicine or of separating the laws of motion of weather from the processes which occur in weather. Kung Tzu made use of logic only from instinct [in English in original]. Lao Tzu utilized dialectics in a similar fashion. And the method of recording it even was all in the form of remembrance of an analogy only. In such fashion the expert in measuring, the medical expert and the meteorological expert in China carried out their practices. They were not ever free to leap  through to the world of law. Here Greece surpassed the world of India and China in law and knowledge. Probably the impetus [kodrat pendorong] in India and China in the form of the mode of production, the way the product was created and distributed, did not progress much for four thousand years or so! India stood nailed to the caste system. China was nailed to the feudal world, rooted in a system of family relations. They were locked fast in techniques, social relations, economic relations, political relations along with a culture which was different in its design from the system existing in Western Europe, as if the letters of the alphabet (a, b, c) had not yet been freed from the illustrations of concepts according to the Chinese system of writing (Hanji). Hence the laws of empirical science had not become freely separated out, springing up from the facts themselves.


The Greeks as Pioneers of Empirical Science

So it is fitting that we should honour the Greek nation as pioneers of modern empirical science. Indeed both literally and metaphorically [dalam arti tulisan dan lisan] Archimedes leapt from the realm of brute fact to the world of law ruling over brute fact.

For such a long time Archimedes wondered why and how his body sprang upwards if he submerged himself in water, into any kind of water at any time. Finally he got the inspiration and for the first time established the cause and consequence he was looking for. Archimdes discovered the law concerning things which sink, drift and float in water which we now learn in school. In his joy Archimedes not only jumped out of the water, shouting “Eureka, Eureka!” (“I've got it!”) and running up and down without clothes on, but he leapt from the world of matter to the world of law. The more the years went by the more the law first discovered by him flowered and soared. The law realized in the past was valid for all times and all places, until one of his followers discovered mercury. Everyday objects like wood do not sink in mercury but they float. Later on it became evident that it was not the law of Archimedes that was wrong but rather its formulation was not quite extensive enough. In fact Archimedes's law acquired verification [in English in original], because of the aforementioned new fact (mercury). Nowadays “water” is widened in extent, to cover oil, water , mercury or to cover all liquids. “A person” or “wood” was extended to all objects. The law of  Archimedes grew and throve until Gay Lussac etc. Till it was extended to the air, to the stratosphere, to where Prof. Picard sprang up to search for confirmation of knowledge. Picard voyaged to a world only thought of as true according to hypothesis only! He sailed as an adventurer from the known world to a world not yet known, just like Columbus, Ronald [sic]Amundsen and other ocean explorers!

In this way the method of induction, deduction and verification, considered most important by logic and empirical science, was perfected. Also better perfected was the search for causes, that is to say, by means of five known methods:

  1. Method of Agreement
  2. Method of Difference
  3. Joint Method [of Agreement and Difference combined –translator]
  4. Method of Concomitant Variation
  5. Method of Residue [all in English in original].

A report has been handed down to us to the effect that Pythagoras did not live to prove [in English in original] the right angle that we know. Not only that, the first time he set up his theories and the method of proving them, Pythagoras even agreed with the ambience of his age by elevating number and the theory of number to the supernatural world. Many numbers were considered as divine by the great teacher Pythagoras. Hence Pythagoras influenced the world of religion, the world of philosophy and, relative to our analysis here, the world of mathematics. Thanks to Pythagoras's pioneering work we after 2500 years have arrived at various complex mathematical theories, such as Einstein's theory of relativity, thanks to giants of mathematics such as Fermat, Laplace, Newton  etc.

And within all the greatness and merit of those mathematicians we should certainly not forget the greatness and merit of the Muslims who developed abstraction [in English in original] in a more advanced form. Numbers used as symbols for things were isolated from any kind of thing wahtsoever. The number 3 can become a symbol for three soldiers, three bombers or three bamboo spikes. But algebra ascends one level further by elevating letters to the position of symbols. The letter x, for example, may represent the number 1, 2, 3 and so on. Without algebra we could not arrive at the theories of trigonometry and Einsteinian relativity. The techniques of algebra made possible or at least greatly facilitated the progress of mathematics. The leap from objects to numbers and the leap from numbers to letters gave Einstein and Newton the instruments to facilitate the leap to the world of the stars in the sky and for measuring all the forces in motion in this great universe, from the motion of sand, stone, earth and sun to the motion of the atom and of a sunbeam, which moves at 300,000 km per second!

It is said by some experts that the classification put forward by Aristotle was frozen by the knowledge of the Middle Ages. A statement of that kind cannot be accepted just like that. It is necessary to examine how the situation regarding production in the Middle Ages and mediaeval society froze that classification of Aristotle's. But in reality it is the classification much utilized by Aristotle which became an important apparatus, along with dialectics, for the pioneer of modern biology, Charles Darwin. When Darwin voyaged in his ship “Beagle” to study the species [in English in original] of plants and animals on land, sea and air, Darwin was not free from the method of classification, induction and the method of establishing causes shaped by Aristotle in his logic. Indeed the beginning of the 19th Century was a period which was capable of raising up again the live knowledge which already pioneered by Aristotle. The knowledge which was first developed by those giant thinkers of Greece could still be halted in the intervening period, because production, technique and knowledge in general did not yet permit a resurgence for quick and rapid progress, as it did after reaching the hands of Charles Darwin, who lived within the womb of modern capitalist society.

Likewise for more than 2000 years the theory of the molecule and the atom, along with the materialist tradition and dialectical way of thinking stemming from Herakleitos, Demokritos and Epicurus, had to be frozen and buried in anticipation of a society and a mode of production compatible with clever specialists like Marx, Engels and Lenin, who were capable of reviving the theory, tradition and method long frozen and hidden, making it extended and perfected.

So much for empirical science at this point!


Logic and Dialectics

A very short explanation of logic and dialectics will be given here.

The content, consituent parts, character, history and scope of logic, likewise the content, consituent parts, character, history, scope and varieties of dialectics we have already explained at great length in “Madilog”. Here we will explain the distinguishing features and scope of each of the two ways of thinking in accordance with the biggest dividing-line only. We shall also deal once more with the two types of dialectics, idealist dialectics and materialist dialectics.

The world recognizes Aristotle as the father of logic. He it was who first formulated logic as a separate science. That formulation achieved such perfection that one could say that from the time of  Aristotle till the time of John Stuart Mill and Ueberweg logic did not undergo much important alteration. One cay say that among all other branches of science logic cannot be removed or even attentuated without experiencing a failure or deficiency as regards the science of knowledge itself.

Dialectics in the hands of Herakleitos and Demokritos was already capable of penetrating the realm of matter as far as molecules and atoms, which were invisible but can be seen afresh with a microscope in this modern age. But, with the progress of knowledge concerning all things and the motion of matter, dialectics as the laws of thought based on matter in motion obtained a stimulus it never experienced in the world of the past, a static world, arrested, passive.

In the hands of Hegel, the leader of a bourgeois-democratic current in Germany, which opposed the feudal-aristocratic one, the idealist dialectic reached great heights. In the hands of Marx and Engels, as leaders of the proletarian-communist current in Western Europe opposing capitalist democracy, dialectical materialism became a tool of thought for the revolutionary proletariat of the whole world.

In the hands of the Bolsheviks the mode of thought of dialectical materialism was able to form a mass party [satu partai Murba] capable of crushing feudal-bourgeois Russia and establishing the dictatorship of the Russian masses [kaum Murba Rusia].

So logic is often construed as the laws of thought, or method of thought. This interpretation is valid.

Are there differences between the two laws of thought and if so what are they? At first sight only, I think, the differences in the two laws of thought are located in the method of positioning objects investigated by the researcher.

Formal logic is used to situate something that is being examned in a static, distinct, unchangeable and lasting condition [in English in original]. Such an object must be investigated singly and separately and regarded as unrelated to and unconnected with other things at the appropriate time and place.

Dialectics is used to position something under investigation in a condition of movement, connexion, change and contradiction [in English in original]. Something like that must be examined in motion, self-contradiction, emerging and collapsing also at one particular time.

For someone using serious logic faced with a problem in that situation, there is a serious answer: “Yes is yes and no is no. Yes cannot  be no and no cannot be yes.” One thing cannot comprise its opposite. As Ueberweg said, “A precise question with a precise meaning, viz. 'is it the case that there is a certain definite characteristic possessed by a particular object?' must be answered 'yes' or 'no'. One cannot answer 'yes and no'.” There are three premisses of logic: (1) A = A; (2) A does not equal Non-A; (3) there is no bridge between A and Non-A. (These three premisses are also called “The Principle of Identity”).

In connexion with these three main aforementioned premisses an object is classified as A or Non-A. And a certain conclusion concerning the one or the other cannot be true of both of them.


Is a cow coloured black or white if looked at from the left side?

Indeed if it is only one or a limited colour which is possessed by something which is moving, then a question of that kind can be answered with “black” or “white” only. For example some parts of that cow looked at from the left are white, not black. And if looked at from the right hand side the cow is the opposite, that is to say black and not white.

So the answer agrees with “A = A and not Non-A”.

But what is the answer if someone asks: “What colour is the whole cow, black or white?”

That question cannot be answered with “white” only or “black” only.

But here dialectics can step in and intervene with the following answer: “The whole cow is both white and black”. Or, in other words, “the cow is spotted”.

That cow still has not yet, by and large, endured everything, that is to say from its infancy to when it became an adult, during which time its colour often underwent alteration. And that cow has not moved with the speed of light, i.e. at 300,000 km per second. In this case, a not yet fixed colour, “spotted”, may suffice. Was it not the case that in the Second World War a deceptive colour (an aberration) [in English in original] (because a change of colour is connected with light and movement, among other things) was used by the American armada to deceive its enemies?

Hence in connexion with something complex [in English in original] but still in a motionless condition, logic is already forced to request assistance from dialectics. And especially so in conditions of motion.

This is indeed so with a question such as “Is a ball which is quickly rolled for a second in this position [di titik ini] or not?” This cannot be answered “yes” or “no” only. If the answer “no” is given, it is wrong, because actually the ball is at the intended point. If the answer is “yes”, even this answer is wrong because the respondent has not yet finished saying “yes” before the ball has already gone beyond that point. So formal logic is wholly insufficient in this case; formal logic must request help from dialectics in order to give the answer “yes” and “no” (both at once).

In truth, for a very long time empirical scientists have acknowledged that

1. All force or energy [in English in original] in this great universe expressed as light, heat and rays [in English in original] along with concealed reserves such as magnetism, electricity and chemical forces, all of that is in the form of motion in the universe changing from one form to another. Hence with its appearance in one form of energy it vanishes in another, until all motion in the universe consists of ceaseless change from form to form. Kant and Laplace explained the change of molten mass [in English in original] in the universe at the very beginning until it becomes the universe we now know, with the earth, stars and comets.

2. That cells exist as units within the bodies of plants and animals! Because multiplication and variation [in English in original] of  generation upon generation of cells created  the world of plants and animals known today.

It was explained by Charles Darwin that all plants, animals and human beings now alive on our earth are the product of the progress of hundreds of thousands of years from several single cells in an environment marked by struggle for existence, survival of the fittest, and adaptability [in English in original]. Several of these single cells emerged from white of egg and protoplasm according to the laws of thescience of chemistry.

Joule and Mayer pointed out that heat can change to become electricity. Indeed as long as heat and electricity still exist we can answer all questions in accordance with logic, statistics and measurement. A definite answer can be given to the question: How many degrees of heat and units of horsepower have the strength of electricity? We can also answer Ueberweg's question, Is it heat or electrcity? with a “yes” or a “no”. But when heat is not heat any more but has not yet become electricity the aforesaid question cannot be answered “yes” or “no” only. That question must be answered with “yes” and “no” both together.

Hence also in a situation where a single force sufficiently undergoes a single change: such as water changing sufficiently to become steam, energy changing sufficiently to become a dynamo (electricity) and so on; or a single substance sufficiently undergoes change: atoms changing to become a molecule, white of egg changing to become living things, plants changing to become animals and 1001 other examples ... here logic and statics [sic] and measurement in the manner of mathematics are no longer useful. In this case it is dialectics which has the capacity to give the answer.

When certainty in change has already appeared (water has already turned into steam, magnetism has already turned into electricity, the sun has already become the earth, a plant has already turned into an animal), then in that case we can make use of logic, statics, mathematics and the science of measuring as well as weighing! At a later date Uebrweg also drew the following conclusion: in a simple problem one can use formal logic. But when one is concerned with various objects containing various contradictory features, then we must acknowledge the coincidence of opposites [in English in original]. Consequently in this case “yes” and “no” may be utilized together!

On one page in his book entitled “Logic” Hegel, a very great German philosopher, said more or less this:

Dialektik nennen wir solche geistliche Bewegung, bei denen das getrennt scheinenden durch sichselbst, d. h. durch das was sie sind in einander, uebergehen, und so das getrennt scheinenden aufheben.” (I am obliged to quote from memory).

The meaning is more or less as follows: “We call dialectics the (spiritual) movement of thought whereby what is formed essentially separate, i.e. affected by its own characteristics mutually being transformed, is in the process in its form separated out and negated (i.e. reunited)”.

There are many similarities between Hegel and his ex-pupil Marx! But there is also a great difference between them, the teacher and the pupil, after the pupil's thought emerged from within the womb of thought of the teacher.

First similarity: both types of thinking equally make use of the dialectical method, i.e. the investigation of something under conditions of motion, contradiction, appearance, growth and collapse.

Second similarity: both of them equally repudiate any eternal distinction between “yes” and “no”. In the movement of thesis, antithesis and synthesis, in the final analysis “yes” can become “no” and so on. In this movement quantity gradually [lambat laun] changes to become quality [in English in original]. In this way Negation der Negation (the negation of the negation) is achieved.

So it happens that according to the science of logic and mathematics that two objects which are each equal to a third object are both equal to each other. But two objects which each differ from the third object are not yet definitely equal to each other.

We have already shown above that the two great thinkers Hegel and Marx both had the same hostile attitude to formal logic.

They both equally disagreed with the notion of an eternal distinction between “yes” and “no”.They both equally carried out their investigations in a dialectical framework [suasana] (motion and contradiction). But there are also big differences between the two protagonists of dialectics.

It so happens that Hegel made dialectics depend on the theory and interpreation of idealism. Whereas Marx based dialectics on the theory and interpreation of materialism. Hegel was an adherent of idealist dialectics. Marx, likewise his friend and co-thinker Engels, was an adherent of materialist dialectics.

In “Dialectics and Logic” Plekhanov suggested that the differences between materialist and idealist dialectics were as follows:

In Hegel's system the dialectic is equivalent to metaphysics. For us dialectics hinges on the knowledge of nature (the laws of nature).

In Hegel's system the demiourgos, the creator [in English in original] or maker of reality is the absolute idea [in English in original]. For us that absolute idea is only an abstraction [in English in the original] from motion. And through motion every synthesis arising from the condition of everything occurs.

According to Hegel, progressive understanding is caused by the realization and resolution [keinsyafan dan penyelesaian] of various contradictions existing within the concept [in English in the original]. According to our materialist theory, all contradictions existing in thought arising from the realm of thought, as well as various contradictions that exist in reality, are reflexions within the human brain; this is one explanation of the real world (phenomena) resulting from contradictions which are found having a common basis, viz. motion.

According to Hegel, all real progress is determined by the progress of thought ( the idea) [in English in original]. According to our conception, the progress of thought can be explained by real progress, the progress of understanding by the progress of (human) life.

Thus Marx and Engels brought back to earth what was up in the air and redirected what had been situated by Hegel on the ground up into the air, and removed the veil of mystery which Hegel had imposed on the operations of the dialectic. In this way in the hands of Marx and Engels dialectics became a weapon of revolution pure and simple.

Camouflaged under a veil of mystery, dialectics had become a weapon of reactionary forces in Germany. For Hegel dialectics was a revolutionary weapon against the feudal class but changed into a weapon of reaction vis-a-vis the proletarian class. For Marx and Engels, as defenders of the proletarian class, dialectics, based on materialism, was a precise, reliable and perfect weapon against the feudalist and the bourgeois class.

It would take a long time to conduct further analysis here of the similarities and differences in method and conceptual theory in a work which is intended only as a series of brief observations. Elsewhere I have written a broader and deeper commentary in somewhat more detail. I wish to touch again briefly on these similarities and differences by way of a preliminary examination only, as well as to discuss the similarities and differences between mechanical materialism and dialectical materialism!

We should not willingly suppose that Hegel only flew straight up to the world of thought without ever setting foot on reality [in English in original]. Conversely it should not be reckoned that Marx and Engels never freed themselves from brute fact and never penetrated to the world of emotions, thoughts and ideas!

Both abovementioned sorts of thinkers proceeded to think while keeping hold both of the world of thought and the world of fact. But Hegel took the world of thought as his point of departure while Marx and Engels started from facts. Hence the yield obtained by Marx and Engels was far richer than that obtained by Hegel.

Hence Hegel once pronounced that spirit [in English in original] was the motive principle [in English in original] of history. But alongside that he expressed the view also that economic conditions at a certain level become a force that behaves with spiritual instrumentality [in English in the original].

Marx, although in the final analysis taking matter in existence as his starting point, also gave it as his opinion at a certain stage that spirit also could become a force, determined in its direction by economic conditions.

Hence in the end the similarities and differences between mechanical materialism and dialectical materialism are also clear for us. Both are equally based on matter. But for the followers of mechanical materialism human beings with their thoughts, feelings and desires (in short humans and their souls) are as it were ineffective in the face of the universe and its laws.

Contrariwise for Marx and Engels and their followers, in a sphere limited by the condition of society itself, humanity and its soul cannot be something passive, nrimo, like a machine only. There are several passages in Marx's writings which exhibit interaction [in English in original] (wissel werking) between human beings and their environment, more or less as follows:

“The geographical environment [in English in original] influences humanity via the agency of economic progress, in one particular region, based on one particular set of forces of production [in English in original] whose characteristics are determined also by the surrounding earth [bumi].”

“The forces of production (steam, electricity, atomic power etc.) enhance the power of humanity over the surrounding world. This condition creates a new relationship between humanity and its environment.”

“Humans, while taking measures in relation to their environment, alter that environment and in the process [dengan begitu] alter themselves (their own life) [jiwanya].”

Finally, at the same time, as regards the philosophers Marx said

Die Philosophen hebben [sic] die Welt nur verschieden interpretiert. Es kommt darauf an, aber, die Welt zu aendern.” (“ The philosophers have only interpreted the world in various ways, the important thing is to change the world, that is to say, the world and our society.”

From several of the above remarks, those who say that the materialists are only fatalistic people, accepting only natural forces [kodrat alam] and only thinking about eating and drinking and the pleasures of life merely, are well and truly incorrect. On the contrary the harvest of the realization of human desires is not boundless! Rather it is limited by external and internal conditions which already bear the stamp of a particular society (its knowledge, technique, production, social features, politics, culture, history, etc.)

Limited by the world and by the society existing here in Indonesia, for me the dialectical interpretation considered from one angle is as follows:

1. The world and the society of Indonesia via the agency of western nations, technical knowledge and modern organization, prior to the Proclamation of Independence formed one social system of production and distribution, a form of society and politics that can be summarized as the society of Dutch colonial capitalism (thesis).

2. In the womb of this Dutch imperialism among other things there emerged and developed an outlook which conflicted with the abovementioned colonial capitalist outlook, which had in fact as its objective the establishment of a new society making use of all Western technical knowledge within a certain productive system based on mutual aid and a distributive system based on “the time which is beneficial for the heart of an elephant to be skinned equally and the heart of a mite equally chopped up, and in the time of danger for someone stretched out to drink the same amount of water and for someone lying face downwards to eat the same amount of earth”, based on independence and equality [persamaan] berween individuals as well as  between the nations of this world (antithesis).

3. With the Proclamation of Independence of August 17th [1945] the youth are beginning to act in order to implement this conception of a new world and a new society in parts of our earth.



The State

As the product of a method of thinking based on formal logic and ignoring contradiction, bourgeois experts such as Kranenburg and Krappe (the Netherlands), Blackstone (England) and others define the state more or less as follows: “A state is a  determinate territory inhabited by a determinate people (an ancient nation or new citizens) under a determinate legal authority” [in English in original].

An expression  of political science commonly put forward in America runs: “A territory established for the sake of organizing government” [in English in original].

As the product of a dialectical method of thinking realizing the contradictions in the theory of idealism, Hegel defined the state as “the expression of moral understanding or the illustration and reality of reason” or “God's empire on earth, where truth and eternal justice are realized.”

As the product of a dialectical method of thinking, to wit, logical contradiction operating in the theory of materialism, Marx defined it in a well-known sentence: “The state is the product and the manifestation of the irreconcilability of class antagonism.” [in English in original].

In a book written by Engels entitled “Der Ursprung der Familie, des Privateigentums und des Staates” (“The Origin of the Family, Private Property and the State”) (1894) it is written (inter alia):

“ ... [the State] is a product of society at a certain stage of devlopment; it is the admission that this society has become entangled in an insoluble internal contradiction, that it is cleft into irreconcilable antagonisms, which it is powerless to dispel. But in order that these antagonisms, classes with conflicting economic interests, might not consume themselves and society in sterile struggle, a power seemingly standing above society became necessary for the purpose of moderating the conflict, of keeping it within the bounds of 'order'; and this power, arisen out of society, but placing itself above it, and increasingly alienating itself from it. is the state.”

“This public power exists in every state; it consists not merely of armed people but also of material adjuncts, prisons and institutions of coercion of all kinds, of which gentile society knew nothing.”

Lenin, in his pamphlet “The State and Revolution” [in English in original] says “Two institutions most characteristic of this state machine are the bureaucracy and the standing army.”

“The bureaucracy and the standing army are a parasite on the body of bourgeois society –a parasite created by the internal antagonisms which rend that society, but a parasite which chokes all its vital pores.”

So much for my prior notes on the state, which I feel are necessary before I begin my analysis.

Since their methods of thought differ, as do the contents and spirit of their thought, the three kinds of thinkers aforesaid arrive at a product of thought which differs both in form and content.

With the method of thinking of formal logic, a bourgeois professsor does not confront the class contradictions within society which are covered over by the state. Hegel, Marx's teacher, in this case assuredly thought in a dialectical way, that is to say, his method was based upon contradiction. But he made use of the dialectic on the basis of the conceptual understanding and theory of idealism. Marx, Engels and Lenin not only thought dialectically but based their dialectics on the theory of matter, of reality (materialism).

The thought-content prioritized by the bourgeois experts is territory, people and authority [in English in original]. In the definition given above by Hegel there is no concern with territory or people. He emphasized morality, reason and the Idea. Even Marx, Engels and Lenin did not include territory within the definition. But they gave priority to class differences among the people and emphasized the power that is used by one class of the population in order to oppress the other classes, using the coercive instruments of the state.

As regards their approach to matters concerning the state the three kinds of experts differ among themselves. The bourgeois experts consciously try to disperse or limit conflict. Contrariwise Marx, Engels and Lenin exacerbate and extend class struggle from the national to the international sphere. Whereas Hegel is consciously revolutionary in relation to the feudal state system but consciously reactionary in relation to the proletarian movement!

Although Marx, Engels and Lenin did not include territory and people within the definition of the state, even though these thinkers of the proletariat were internationalists through and through, this does not mean that they paid no attention to the national question [in English in original]. Far from it!

All issues connected with glory and nationalism (the national question) [in English in original], such as the question of the form of a particular state, i. e a unitary form or federation [in English in original]; the question of the form of government, i.e. monarchy [in English in original] or republic; all questions connected with the climate, language, culture, and history of each state did not escape the attention, investigation and consideration of Marx, Engels, Lenin and Stalin. By solving problems relating to nationalism and the state, Soviet Russia, a giant up to now among other states, has gained very great success in realizing the value of labour (as of 1947).

Internationalism is the final structure, and the slogan “Workers of the world, unite!” is the working class call to its collegiate classes throughout the world to bring it into being. Internationalism does not mean calling on the working class to sit on its hands [berpangku tangan] only, in the hope that internationalism will arrive like a miracle from the sky. Each state remains in possession of its own territory, its own population and authority as the fruit of struggle within the state and with other states.

Each proletariat in every state must still struggle to extend the territory under its control or to break through the state limits that persist thanks to the capitalist sytem, in order to shake hands with the world proletariat in the destruction of world capitalism.

The largest socialist state, like the Soviet Union, which dates from World War I (1914-1918), has been joined by several other socialist states surrounding it, Poland, Czechoslovakia, Hungary, Romania, Bulgaria, Yugslavia etc., which date from World War II (1939-1945) [The text has 1935-1945]. The Soviet Union and its environs are now (in 1947, exactly 100 years since the Communist Manifesto was published, i.e. in 1847) still engaged in a struggle against the confines of their state territory, and assist the population (citizenry) included within these socialist states.

Is it not the case that now (December 1947) the question of territory and population which we think should come under the authority of the Republic of Indonesia, along with the question of the culture which we consider most important, is the business of the Indonesian nation itself, something which has also become a life and death issue, to establish by all means in our power, whether immediately or not, one hundred per cent independence?


The Appearance of the State's Collapse

Where and when in a particular society the emergence of two classes in economic contradiction with each other cannot be handled peacefully, there at that  point in time in that society there appears a power whose design is to restrict this contradiction and  make it subject to public order.

This power, which arises within society and which more and more alienates itself from society and exists above the society, Marx and Engels call the state. This power quite nakedly takes the form of the bureaucracy, the army, the courts, the police and prisons; initially stands right in the middle, like a magic force, but essentially serves as an instrument of the propertied classes for the oppression of the people of no property [kaum tak berpunya]. The harder the pressure of the propertied classs or of the class of no property, the more intense the contradiction between the two classes. With the increasing intensity of the contradiction the clearer the character of the state becomes as an instrument of oppression of the propertied class over the class of no property.

Where there are no class contradictions within the society there is no need for a special power distinct from that society, standing above the society itself. In other words a society of this type has no need for a state [in English in original], no need for instruments of oppression such as the bureaucracy, the army, the courts, police, prisons and executioners. So long as economic contradictions between classes within the society do not exist, that society easily enjoys peaceful relations among its members. All economic, social and cultural affairs of the society and all purchasing business abroad are managed on the basis of independence, equality, brotherhood and deliberation. Compulsion via instruments of oppression at the service of one class over another is not needed and does not appear. In face of all questions all the members of the society discuss on an equal basis in order to obtain a collective decision and finally in order to act as one. The condition of a society of this kind was apparently characterized by Engels as the self-acting armed organization of the population [in English in original]. Such an armed society acting on its own initiative is found in societies based upon ancient communism (“primitive communism”).

There are a great many lessons we can learn from the above little book by Engels. The more deeply we examine Engels's opinion concerning the society of the prior period in America (“Indian” society)[in English in original], which Engels took over as the product of the researches of an American writer named Lewis H. Morgan [“Mergand” in text] in his book “Ancient Society”, the more we understand about our own highly complex society.

I myself, reading Engels's book, repeatedly felt that there were certain similarities between the societies of ancient (Indian) [in English in original] America and a number of local societies in Indonesia. For example, it seems to me the condition of Minangkabau society in the past, in the days of its glory, was not so different from the “self-acting armed organization of the populace!” The basis of unanimity according to Minangkabau sayings is not one of decorative words only. This unanimity is a foundation firmly fixed in  a public meeting. Even this “public meeting” is an expression lacking content [satu kata yang kosong isinya]. Men and women, old and young, all can attent with  a full right to speak at a particular meeting, which is repeatedly spoken of a “lighting up the sun and moon, making an arena for many people's eyes” [bersulukkan bulan dan matahari, bergelangakan mata orang banyak], meaning “making perfectly clear.” It so happens that this deliberative meeting has an obligation to achieve unanimity or agreement of thought. There is a saying: “Agreement of water with a bamboo tube, agreement of documents with deliberation.” The principle of the deliberative meeting is independence and discipline. What becomes the basis of the conference is discussion (logical clarification in relation to tradition and law) and orientation towards what is fitting.

There is a saying as follows: “Consensus [mufakat] rules over discussion and what is fitting.” After this unanimity and verbal agreement have been obtained by means of deliberation free of all kinds of force or compulsion, only then can the society act together both internally and externally.

One instance only! A murder case needs thorough public investigation, whereby accused and accuser, before the law and before the public, have the right to argue their case to their satisfaction. They are allowed to put forward information and witnesses in as complete a fashion as possible. If need be they can make use of the aid of a shrewd and cunning person as advocate. Any particular punishment for a thorough violation of proper behaviour [adat] must be approved beforehand by both sides before the punishment is administered.

The agreed verdict, also, which is determined in its severity, is for the guilty party to pay a fine (note!) i.e.  punishment of like severity which accords with the system of Datuk Perpatih, even in a case of murder. In such a case, by agreement, the guilty party is obliged to slaughter so-and-so many water buffalo, for a ceremonial meal, where the two parties, in the presence of a third party as witness, are reconciled. (Very frequently it happens following the act of forgiveness that the murderer flees abroad and takes his own life, or indeed commits suicide, out of shame). Hence also in a case establishing peaceful or warlike behaviour a unanimous verdict is obtained by agreement.

Until recently the whole area and the whole society of Minangkabau acted in accordance with the principle of  “a self-acting armed people”.

There is a saying: “Living in the village is the village fence, living in the world (Minangkabau) is the world's fence” and “To jump equally far is to lose what is equally hidden.”

The above conditions prevailed in Minangkabau when the economy was not yet or very little subject to the influence of money, Wealth and property, for the most part, was owned by the lineage (family). Inherited wealth, such as rice fields and houses, could definitely not be sold or mortgaged, if in the family conference it turned out that there was even one member, male or female (usally female) who did not agree. Prosperity was still evenly spread throughout the whole lineage. Im- portant work like work in the rice fields or erecting a traditional house –especially a communal building-- was still based on the group and on mutual aid [tolong-menolong].

In passing I only wish to suggest here that, according to the evidence I have come across, Arab society in the time of the Prophet Muhammad and the three subsequent khalifas [caliphs], Abu Bakr, Umar and Uthman, also existed at the stage whose basis was the “self-acting armed organization of the population”. Only after the subjugation of several very rich states like Syria and others by the Muslims did Muslim society split into two classes, those with property and the propertyless. The contradiction between the propertied and the propertyless sharpened all the more every day and could not be tranquillized. Along with the ever-continuing exacerbation of this contradiction the more power became concentrated in the hands of the khalifa and his family and assistants. The “self-acting armed organization of the population” based on collective deliberation in the time of the Prophet and the three following khalifas finally changed in the long run to become one state, one monarchy [in English in original]. The Islamic monarchies often enjoyed public prosperity and justice, such as in Muslim Spain under the government of Abd-ar-Rahman, the Baghdad monarchy under the Khalifa Harun al Rashid and the monarchy of Muslim Hindustan under Sultan Akbar. But often also the Islamic states (monarchies) suffered misery and oppression when the Khalifa, the army, the police, the judges and the executioners acted arbitrarily.

It so happens that the continent of Europe up to now has known five stages of social progress: (1) the society of ancient communism; (2) slave society; (3) feudal (serf) society [in English in original]; (4) capitalist society; (5) socialist society (Russia, Poland, Czechoslovakia, Hungary, Romania, Yugoslavia and Bulgaria!)

In the first stage (ancient communism) the state [in English in original] as an instrument of the oppression of one class over another was yet unknown. After society there divided into a possessing class and a slave class (stage 2) as in ancient Greece and Rome, only then was there a need for the state as an instrument in the hands of the propertied class for the oppression of the slaves, who could be traded and murdered.

It is said that around 25,000 individuals in propertied families, democrats “standing equally tall and seated equally low”, exploited and oppressed roughly 500,000 (half a million) members of the slave class. The stronger the exploitation the more brutal the oppression; so also the stronger the measures taken by the state institutions –the military, the police, prisons and executioners.

At the third stage (feudal society), the state and its oppressive instruments are held by the family of the king and the nobles in order to exploit the serf class [in English in original], which is attached to the land and can be bought and sold but not murdered at will by the possessors.

At the fourth stage (capitalist society) the state and its oppressive instruments are held by the capitalist class and the landlords in order to exploit the proletariat using machinery and land. Besides the bureaucracy, the military, the police, the law courts, the prisons and the executioners the bourgeois class also has psychological weapons for the mental oppression of the proletarian class, such as newspapers, motion pictures, schools and churches.

Finally at stage 5 (socialist society) the state as an instrument of oppression does not yet disappear. The state at this stage is in the form of the dictatorship of the proletariat, that is, the proletariat as ruling class. The proletarian dictatorship dictates its desire for a new society (socialism); it constructs the foundations for the growth of communism; it oppresses the remnants of capitalism and feudalism within the state and additionally defends the proletarian power [negara proletar itu] from external capitalist-imperialist attack.


The Collapse of the State's Appearance

A state can endure for a long period, as long as the possessing and ruling class is still able to bring about progress (technical-social, politica and cultural). A state which finally collapses, with an up-and-coming state as the old one finally becomes incapable of delivering further progress and  with a new class in society i.e. one which has previously been oppressed, capable of being organized, struggling and substituting for the old, also furnishes progress in all social spheres.

Thus, on the continent of Europe, the slave state gave way to the feudal state and then the feudal state in France gave way to the capitalist state (the French Bourgeois Revolution in the year 1789) and the feudal-capitalist state in Russia gave way to the socialist state (the Proletarian Revolution of 1917).

The exchange of form after form of the state is preceded and impelled by economic change, that is to say, alteration in production, distribution, exchange of goods, transportation and finance, little by little, from year to year, up to the point when a change in quantity turns into a change in quality [in English in original] in accordance with the law of dialectics.

Changes in the economic order of ancient communist society, little by little by turns becoming big and rapid alterations, caused a leap or an eruption into feudal economy. Furthermore, all through that dialectical law we have a socialist economy of not far off in excess of three hundred million (300,000,000) people residing in the Soviet Union and its various surrounding states (not counting China and Korea).

Changes and alterations in the economy, from the economic system of ancient communism to a slave economy, impelled a change from ancient communist society to a slave state. And then the economic changes taking place one after another from a slave economy to a feudal economy, from a feudal economy to a capitalist economy, and from a capitalist economy to a socialist economy likewise provided the impulse for successive changes in the form of the slave state towards the form of a feudal state, a capitalist state and a socialist state (the proletarian dictatorship).

In short the movement of state forms, from one form to another form, is generated by the corresponding economic movement.

What are the moving forces [in English in original] of the economy? Marx and Engels clarified all the evidence adduced by historians in their lifetime, to the effect that the economy (production, distribution etc.) is driven by the forces of production [in English in original], viz. energy (of humans), tools and machines. With changes and modifications of these productive forces changes and modifications in the economy likewise occur.

I do not know in what century and in what year human beings in the very first stages of society recognized a stone as a tool. Later they invented the bow. Using human energy, stones and bows they searched for means of livelihood and defended themselves from enemies in the shape of savage people and wild beasts. Their chief sustenance was fruit and wild animals. Activity of that kind could only be carried on collectively [bersama-sama] on the basis of mutual aid and co-operation within the community. A person could not live and operate on their own in that time of savage and ferocious people and animals.

Working together to find food and defend oneself leads automatically to collective property in tools and weapons (except in one or two cases!) Collective property prevails also in the fruits of production or the products of work. Here at this time there is no exploitation of human being by human being or of one class by another class. There is no one who does not own anything. Also there is no contradiction between a possessing class and a propertyless class. So a society of this kind has no need for the state as a special instrument of oppression “which alienates itself from the society”. A society of this kind is the society of ancient communism.

At stage no. 2, slave society, the tools (of production) are no longer stone, but rather metals, that is, copper, iron and steel. The propertied class possesses human labour power and means of production. Slaves, and their labour power, may be bought and sold and they can also be murdered. Human society is no longer a society of hunters ignorant of agriculture as in the stone age. The society of the age of metals already knows animal husbandry and agriculture (even if only at a rudimentary level) and is already familiar with the exchange of goods. At this stage the division of labour [in English in original] has already appeared, with groups of pastoralists, farmers and artisans. An individual member of society in this period is not the same as before, for example a hunter in the morning, a warrior at noon, a farmer in the afternoon and a craftsman or a weaver in the evening, so that there is no one occupation performed in a skilled fashion. Human beings in this society are already divided into groups of warriors, hunters, farmers and craftsmen. Each of these groups carries on its own activity. In this way the skill and expertise in work increases all the more. Also the social product increases continually. In such a situation there arises exchange of goods between individuals, between groups in the society itself and then between one society and another. A person who needs clothing but has a food surplus (e.g. wheat) exchanges it with a person who has a surplus of clothing but needs food.

At this time we have the beginning of the appearance of a class of large-scale merchants, and there arises also the possibility that all the productive forces, that is, slaves and tools, can fall altogether into the hands of a number of property owners.

Collective work on an independent family or kin basis disappears. Forced labour appears thanks to the power of a class of property owners over a class of slaves, the majority of whom are prisoners of war or their offspring or people in debt who have no prospect of paying it. Collective property over tools and products as in the period of ancient communism turns into private ownership [in English in original] of tools, labour power and the product. A small class of property owners exploits and oppresses a large class which owns nothing at all. The contradiction that often becomes most intense is the contradiction in the necessities of life.

Here there appears the special instrument of oppression which arises out of society but “placing itself above it ... increasingly alienates itself from it.”We have here the rise and growth of the army and police as “the principal means of maintaining the authority of the state.” The society of ancient communism changes from “the self-acting armed organization of the population” to become a slave state, with soldiers, detectives, police, attorneys, prisons and executioners.

At stage no. 3, feudal society, the use of iron increases markedly. Iron ploughs and wheels for weaving proliferate. Stock-raising, agriculture and the utilization of milk to make cheese and butter (dairying) [in English in original] progress. Manufactories [in English in original] begin to appear alongside handicrafts. The king's family and the nobles are in the possession of the means of production (land and implements). Bondsmen and women, who in Greek times could be murdered and traded, cannot be murdered any longer but can still be traded. Slave bondsmen are exchanged for serfs (lijfeigene) [in English in original]. Production in the feudal period requires a certain care and attention, not to say initiative, in its operation. The slaves [in English in original] absolutely lacked these two characteristics, because their bodies and souls were not their own property, even less the tools and what they produced. The serfs [in English in original] were permitted to possess land (husbandry) and implements [in English in original] for it to be worked. Hence they were able to pay part of their produce over to the nobles and acquire the residue from that tax for their own livelihoods and those of their families. For this reason they were just about able to take an interest in and show initiative in their work. Besides feudal property there was also personal property owned by the farmers and artisans, tools and their products based on individual work. This individual property steadily increased in this feudal period. In general exploitation in the serf period was almost indistinguishable from that in the slave period [in English in original]. Hence also the contradiction between baas (boss) and knecht (servant) in a manufacturing enterprise was not less compared with the slave [in English in original] period. In this feudal period the state with its constituent members such as soldiers, police, attorneys, prisons and executioners, accompanied by the church in the form of mental pressure, clearly showed the features and characteristics of an instrument of oppression exercised by one class over another class.

Stage no. 4 is the period of capitalism which we already know. Instruments operated by hand in the previous period of manufacture are now operated by steam and electricity. A hammer wieghing ½  kg in the period of manufacture, which can with difficulty be swung by an individual worker, is replaced by a 500,000 kg hammer which can be powered with ease electrically. Whereas a factory in the period of manufacture could only bring together 1000 workers, a mechanized factory is now capable of assembling 30,000 workers in one plant and hundreds of thousands in one enterprise (mines and vehicles). To operate and supervise a machine requires training and skill, Slaves or even serfs [in English in original] who are ignorant cannot be used by present-day capitalism.

The machine worker must be educated first. Here we have the beginning of laws which are democratic (compulsory education) [in English in original]. Suppose that each citizen in the state possesses a plot of land or a trade: in that case the individual capitalist will not be able to obtain workers for employment –or only with great difficulty. However, this case does not occur.

In this capitalist period a large enterprise oppresses and causes the disappearance of small enterprise. Because of this oppression and destruction it is not each and every citizen who enjoys a property right. In this intense and cruel economic competition, factories wipe out the majority of small handicraft enterprises, the large plantation destroys or marginalizes rice fields and unirrigated fields [ladang]. The vast majority of the inhabitants are impoverished or become proletarians (people without property) because they are thrust aside by the large businesses. They, the proletarians, are forced to sell their labour power to the capitalists. They are “free” because they have been “set free” by the bourgeois revolution from the nobles' land, and the small craftsmen are “set free” from their tools because they are forced into competition with and wiped out by the machinery in the factories owned by the capitalist class. They are “free” to sell their labour power to the capitalists. But because they are constrained by the danger of starvation they are forced to sell their labour power to the capitalists as cheaply as possible [semurah-semurahnya], on account of the intense competition between one individual proletarian and another. With the destruction of the small businesses by the large ones, wealth in the state is concentrated in the hands of the well-to-do. Those who are poor get steadily poorer while those who are wealthy get steadily wealthier. The number of the poor steadily increases while the rich steadily get smaller in number.

So it happens that in a genuinely modern capitalist society like America two dozen people possess all forms of livelihood, such as factories, plantations, mines, vehicles, ships, banks and so on. Hence the fruits of production also fall into the hands of those who possess the factors of production. The vast majority of the people does not possess anything at all, but they are the ones who produce everything through their collective work. There is a contradiction between the one or two dozen individuals who do not work but own the means of production and the product thereof and the majority of the people who work their fingers to the bone but do not own means of production or the fruit of production. This contradiction is very dangerous in a period of economic crisis. At such a time the capitalist state, along with its bureaucracy, the military, the police, the judiciary, the prisons, executioners, priests and professors acts to prevent an outbreak of strikes or a proletarian revolution. In this crisis period the bourgeois state is stripped completely bare, revealing itself as an instrument of oppression of the bourgeois class over the proletarian class and casting off its mask of being an “arbiter” who stands in the middle, a just institution which is not partial to one side or the other.

The proletarian revolution, which abolishes the contradiction within the world of capitalism and brings society to stage no. 5, the socialist stage, failed in France in 1871 and was victorious in Russia in 1917. In Russia there is no longer a contradicition between private property rights and a collective right of property in the means of productionand products of importance. In that country the people have been living with a mode of working based on collectivism since the First World War. There around 150 million people at the time of World War I and more than 300 million since World War II were removed from the contradicition between the possessing class and the class not possessing property. Important means of production and their products are collectively owned and shared out (even now) acording to the principle: “Someone who does not work will not eat either.” With the presence of revolution in Russia there appeared a new power, a new state, i.e. the dictatorship of the proletariat, the proletarian class as a class which brought about the collapse of the feudal-capitalist state. There grew up Soviets, an army, police, courts of law and prisons in proletarian hands, for the purpose of overthrowing and mounting a firm guard over the disappearance of the bureaucracy, army, police and prisons in the hands of the Tsar, the Russian capitalists and all assistance to them from their cronies, the class of capitalists and imperialists outside Russia.


Thesis, Antithesis and Synthesis

In outline, the validity of the dialectical law in the form of thesis, antithesis and synthesis in the course of thousands of years of progress in human society is almost obvious.

As thesis we have that society which exists on the basis of collective work and collective property in tools and the social product. Such conditions can be found almost everywhere on the planet in the period of ancient communism.

As antithesis we have the society of ancient communism divided in two, which leads to a contradiction between the collective property foundation and individual property, between a class which does not own property but which works versus a propertied class which does not work. These conditions are found in three stages of European society, viz.: (1) the stage of Slave Society; (2) Feudal Society; and (3) the Society of Capitalism.

As synthesis we have a human society on a global scale sufficient to proceed in the direction of moden communism. Here the contradiction within capitalist society between collective work carried out by the propertyless class, which does the work, versus the individual property of the propertied class, which does not work, vanishes and disappears. We are in a position to move to modern communist society, which (in the same manner as socialist society) is based on collective work and collective property in the means of production and in the social product.

Looked at from the angle of government, parallel with the mode of production and the mode of ownership of the social product we have the “self-acting armed people” (armed for the purpose of opposing its enemies). In the period of class society, a class within the society forces its desires upon another class within society itself. Later, finally, in the period of modern communism, every human being will become a worker in society, discussing every social question, carrying through the decisions of the collective, and spontaneously acting in order to ensure the smooth running of every social enterprise (at the beginning of communism this still needs to be done stringently).

In the final stage of communism (the highest phase) the state as an instrument of oppression for the benefit of one class over another withers away [in English in original] because that contradiction within society no longer exists. There is no longer an oppressed class. The habit of command has already changed into the habit of regulating and administering social occupations, by, in and for the benefit of society itself on the basis of  real independence, equality and brotherhood. At this time all customs needed by the highest phase of communism have been implanted and grow in the initial phase of communism, i.e. the phase of socialism which takes the form of working class dictatorship.

The progression from class society to modern communism (which in form is fifty per cent ancient communist) is not a movement in a closed circle [in English in original] but rather a circular process that is one of continuous ascent and open-ended (spiral) [in English in original]. Modern communism as the climax of this process (the synthesis), which will also very possibly undergo a dialectical movement (within itself!) will acquire features supassing in number and quality all those found under ancient communism (as thesis!).

Collective work under modern communism is more rational (ordered), with instruments (machines, electrical and chemical energy) all far more advanced than the stone tools and human labour power of the period of ancient communism. Common ownership of the social product means common ownership of a product many million times more diverse and valuable than the product which is obtained by hand and with tools made of stone in the ancient communist period. The relationships between people in the period of modern communism are relationships having no regard for skin, blood and family (lineage), as in the period of ancient communism, but rather are far-ranging relationships based on real humanitarianism.

In short the new society possesses knowledge, experience and riches acquired by the whole of humanity of various kinds and colours as part of the history of the whole of humankind over decades, centuries and even milennia.

So, as described above, the period of proletarian dictatorship is not the period of modern communism. The dictatorship of the proletariat may be specified as the period of transition [zaman peralihan] which acts as a connecting link between the world of capitalism and modern communism. At the beginning of this transition period the society under proletarian rule leaves capitalist society behind and enters the society of modern communism. This latter society, society at its highest level, is located at the end of the transition period.

It so happens that the dictatorship of the proletariat still bears the marks of a state, that is, an instrument of oppression organized by the working class for its own purposes as an instrument whose object is to bring about the collapse of the instrument of oppression which is bourgeois property. But the proletarian regime which exhibits coercive characteristics vis-a-vis the former bourgeois then plants the seed which will grow into the tree of communism. After all the important means of production have become the working population's property, the whole economic, social and cultural system is based on the intention to instil all necessary habits of communist society, the highest phase of society. All necessary occupations according to the plan, which is determined by the working class itself, are carried out and controlled by the working class for the benefit of the whole working population.

But in the period of transition, that is, the period of socialism or proletarian dictatorship, distribution (the sharing out of the social product) is still carried out according to bourgeois precepts, first “Anyone who does not work will not eat either” and, second, “From each according to ability, to each according to the result thereof.”

These two precepts still have bourgeois features, because, as Marx also acknowledged, one person is not the same as another. One is strong and another is weak, one is married and another is not, one person has many children and another has none. For this reason it is not equally just if a weak person is compelled to expend the same energy as a strong person. Also, contrariwise, if a strong person, producing more than a weak person (over the same period) receives the same pay as that weak person; or if a person married with a wife and children should get the same amount as an unmarried person; or if a person with many children gets the same as someone who has no children. Equality of that kind is equality for everyone who is not the same as another individual; it is false equality.

But Marx, Engels, Lenin and Soviet Russia felt compelled to use the above foundation as a stepping-stone to the world of communism. A person who has just left the sphere of capitalism must have something reliable to stand on. The new society is forcibly linked to the society of the past, just as a new-born infant is still attached to its mother's placenta. Later, after the bourgeois class and bourgeois ideology have disappeared and the habit of working and the will to work have been evenly spread throughout society, along with planned production and the use of all available techniques and knowledge, then the social product will multiply. With the production of such abundance the basis of communism will spontaneously take effect, i.e. “From each according to their ability, to each according to their need.”

The anarcho-syndicalists (not those who pretend to be anarchists!), who we should be quite respectful of, do not think about what will happen, furthermore, if the bourgeois state has been overthrown. They seem to believe that when all those in authority (the king, ministers, generals and so on) have been killed wherever they are met with then conditions similar to those in the period of communism –the highest phase-- will emerge automatically. They forget that all bourgeois traits emanating from the bourgeois which also penetrate the working class cannot be made to disappear just by slaughtering all those holding positions of authority in the state.

Socialists are convinced that the power of the bourgeoisie can be removed by a struggle for seats in parliament only. By means of legislation passed by a parliamentary majority, that is to say, by working-class representatives, they believe that the means of production can be made to become collective property. They forget that the state is a “state of a certain type”, an instrument of oppression possessed by the righ against the poor. They forget that in the body of the government, as in the army, the police, the judiciary, the administration and so on, it is the bourgeois intellectuals who become leaders. They can sabotage those laws that benefit the proletariat and harm the bourgeoisie which have been accepted by parliament but must afterwards be implemented by various branches of the state. The experience of the socialists in Germany who took office after World War I (the government of Ebert, Noske and Scheidemann) [Ebort, Sheidemann in text], along with the three periods of socialist government in England, proves that the working class cannot inherit wholesale the governmental institutions of the bourgeois state in this fashion. Both the German socialist government and the English socialist government did not succeed in severing the most important roots of capitalism.

Taking a leson from the Proletarian Revolution in France which established the Commune of the City of Paris (the Parisian municipal government)in the year 1870 [sic: 1871 is the correct date], Marx, in his book “The Civil War in France”, said that the proletariat cannot in this fashion inherit the state [in English in original] of the bourgeoisie wholesale, but must smash the state's constituent parts (bureaucracy, army, police, law courts etc.) and replace those state institutions with proletarian state institutions. This is the origin of the conception of the dictatorship of the proletariat established in Russia by the Bolsheviks under Lenin's leadership and, on the part of the Second International under Karl Kautsky's leadership always forgotten –or ostensibly forgotten.

Lenin in “The State and Revolution” [in English in original](pp. 30-31) agreed with Marx, who was of the opinion that the year 1871 –when England was still “an example of a pure capitalist state but did not possess the element of militarism and also almost completely lacked the experience of bureaucracy”-- was a period of revolution. In fact a popular revolution could be understood and might hence occur without the need for a guarantee, namely that the institutions of the ready made state have been smashed beforehand. But, according to Lenin, in 1917 at the time of the great imperialist war Marx's view was not accurate any longer. England and America, as the greatest fruits of Anglo-Saxon liberty [in English in original], without militarism and bureaucracy, had now on the contrary sunk into the mud that was the source of bureaucracy and militarism, soiled and smeared with blood, which dominated and despised everything. At this time, both in England and America, for Lenin, the most important thing required as a precondition for the occurrence of a revolution was the destruction and the smashing of the ready made state machine [in English in original] introduced into the two states in the years 1914-1917. Furthermore, according to Lenin, what we should do nowadays is give particular attention to Marx's warning that the smashing of the state institutions which take the form of bureaucracy and militarism is the most important prerequisite guaranteeing every real popular revolution.

The dictatorship of the proletariat was not Marx's dream or creation. As a scientist [in English in original] Marx never dreamed up or imagined anything, as did the utopians –Saint-Simon, Fourier [Fourir in text] and Robert Owen. As a scientist [in English in original] Marx informed a certain thesis or a certain experience, that is to say, certain evidence. The working class actions of the leaders of the Paris Commune in 1871 only constituted a takeover ot the state institutions overall. They allowed the bourgeoisie to continue to lodge themselves in all the state institutions and organize clandestine opposition to the proletarians in authority at that time. The proletarian leaders did not replace the bourgeois state institutions with proletarian ones operated by and for the proletariat.

It was this neglect by the Paris proletarians which was held by Marx to be the main reason why the Paris Commune was crushed by the bourgeoisie from within and without in a short space of time.

The Russian proletariat under the leadership of the Communist Party did not inherit overall the state institutions bequeathed by the Tsar, which one after another were inherited by the Russian bourgeoisie, led by Professor Miliukov, and by the social-revolutionary party, which represented the petty bourgeoisie, under the leadership of Kerensky and his friends. The communists smashed the state institutions which were the bequest of the Tsar and his nobles, inherited complete by the big and petty bourgeoisie, replacing them with proletarian state institutions. The old government was replaced by Soviets, the feudal-bourgeois army was replaced by a red army, the feudal-bourgeois police was abolished via the proletarian law courts, feudal-burgeois education became proletarian education and so on.

With its proletarian dictatorship Soviet Russia, already in existence for more than 30 years and already capable of replacing a half-capitalist state with a first-class industrial state has already won a military victory and is already capable of concentrating the energies of more than 300 million people, or one seventh of the whole human race, as well as occupying one fifth of the world's continental landmass.

But genuine communism covering the whole world must pass through a prior period of transition, namely, the period of proletarian dictatorship on a world scale. Nowadays sensible people are communists, people of various shapes and colours, residing in states which can be numbered in tens in various sorts of geographical situations, plus civilizations in five continents, sufficient indeed for the organization and mobilization of the world proletariat in its desire to crush the aristocratic-bourgeois class and its accomplices throughout the world.