Talking “Seriously” About Values

Erasmo Calzadilla

Havana photo by Caridad

This is the continuation of my last blog entry when I  kicked up a stink about the teaching of values here in Cuba.  I’ll now repeat my tantrum, but this time basing my argument on several myths often used by those who appeal to Marxist rhetoric.  Let’s see how it comes out.

A long time ago people lived with a fair amount of unity and harmony.  It wasn’t that they didn’t have their quarrels, but there were not yet any irreversible differences in terms of access to power, nor had they elaborated sophisticated ideals that would later be worshipped.

A few thousand years later, this paradigmatic unity evaporated giving its place to discord: some groups began subjugating others, giving rise to peculiar visions of the world according to the side on which one found themself (on the side of the subjugated or of those who subjugate).

Simultaneously, in the area of thought, the abyss grew between the doxa (meaning popular opinion that at its most reached the category of the probable), and the episteme (rigorous reflection that engenders the “eidos,” the grandparents of the current values).

The eidos (abstract and perfect entities) were always close friends of the aristocratic class; they were used in the most difficult moments because after all: Who could do the favor to the magnificent eidos of thinking of them? – the aristocracy.  And who would disguise in the pure consciousness of the aristocracy the crime that slavery signified? – the eidos.  This was during the height of classical Greece.

But time passed and passed and one day in the 19th century a man named Hegel convinced many people that the breakup of original human unity had been necessary.  However, he asserted, in an equally necessary way, that the journey had begun toward a new unity in whose final chapter he himself was to play the leading role by writing his works.  Hegel said good-bye to values; whose last defender had been Kant, with his idea of good as the duty of reason, which one only strives for to be faithful to themself.

Then appeared a German-Jew who lived in the vicinity of the Rhine and who was a follower of Hegel. However, he was not a devotee to the extent that he would not correct Hegel by affirming that if the attempt at human integration did not surpass the framework of philosophy and thought, it would be no more than a farce that retards true communion.

Genuine integration, he believed, would come as a result of a long socio-economic process associated not only with eliminating the distance between the State and the citizenry, bosses and subordinates, manual workers and intellectuals, but also between values (as abstract entities that guide life without being tied to it) and daily practice orphaned of ideals.

To finish this humdrum rant, and not to bore the readers further, having said all this I believe the continued feeding of the totem of values is —in addition to being anti-Marxist— a way of reproducing classist dynamics at the level of rhetoric and to indirectly collaborate with that.

Apart from this, I at least would in no way wish to live among people who treat others well only because they’ve adopted a value of solidarity or any other one. Would you?

4 thoughts on “Talking “Seriously” About Values

  • hmmm. Sounds like “automatic writing” to me. But who is doing the dictation? BTW, myths are useful constructs; they help us make sense of the world; otherwise, the universe might be even more frightening than it is. We may embrace chaos–but will it embrace us? More likely, it will tear us apart, or squish us like an elongated piece of spaghetti as as it enters a black hole! Erasmo! Come home to Papa Marx, who even looks a bit like the Yahweh of the Desert we imagine.

  • Contrary to Mr. Grady, I think the author’s got his point right. Because, you know, I’m have sympathy with the ‘good’n’old’ Marxist rethoric, ha ha.

    Best wishes, Erasmo.


  • ” live among people who treat others well only because of solidarity or any other one. Would you?”


    On the above, we should be able to be aGREENable – that only GREEN_PESTICIDE FREE industries are going to bring us into the Fork_In_The_Road @ the cross road is WW-III, Biblical Day-3, “Born-Again” Amrageddon!

    Can we please be aGREENable, now that WE are in VIEW of the FORK – pick it up – Huemanity is on the horizon WITHIN society. The PENTAGON represents global petro-chemical cartels but paid by the US tax payer forced into bankruptcy by the Christian Christ in George Walker Bush and Anglo corporate wHOL-E Ghost ‘person’ as “god” to the “Born-Again” TEA-PARTY Reich in the USA as they DID in Germany 75-80 years ago!

    The USA is under global petro-chemical occupation of the media! That’s USA as in Jer*USA*lem!
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