Who do they think they are?
Photo: Mark Zuckerberg, topnews.in
Image: Karl Marx, tonypapard.info
Photo: Karl Marx headstone, commons.wikimedia.org
Photo: Weekender cover. aemmgradnewmediastrategies.wordpress.com
Photo: Friedrich Engels, answers.com
Oh, I have done. Friedrich. I have done. That is not what I meant. It is not the dismal dictatorship of the Soviet proletariat that still engages my mind, it is the birth of the international communitariat that is rescuing me from deathly despair. You too must have been astounded, not so much by what has happened, but by how Zuckerberg has made it happen.
As ever Karl, you are a pace or two ahead of me. And what pleasure you seem to be taking in those strides. A Jewish philosopher with a convivial turn of mind? I'm happy to leave my cups to hear more of him.
Friedrich, you and I embraced the dialectic only to know her as a mistress with too many quarrelsome lovers. Well, I believe there is a new dialectic in town. And people like us are wooing her, leading her on. Actually, not like us. In fact, not like us at all. Social engineers by chance not by philosophising. And so young, Friedrich, so young. If the world had noticed me before I became a headstone in Highbury, much would have changed. History would have changed, Friedrich. No one listened till we were gone, did they? Zuckerberg, you must know of him. Thoughtless thinker besides you and me, but boundless achiever.
I am warmed by your tone. You speak as though there is romance in your soul. There was precious little of it in your life so I raise my flute to this Zuckerberg if he can affect you so. I thought romance was my province. He expounds a new dialectic, you say? Hegelian or anti-Hegelian?
Expounds? No that is not the word, Friedrich. He is a casual classicist but, I think, an involuntary philosopher. He is parent to the cyberspatial dialectic yet I doubt he would recognise his child. From the sound of things, neither do you. Is your mind now an empty corral - there used to be so many horned beasts buffeting around in it when we shared our thoughts? Zuckerberg thinks but mostly he does. What he's done is to alter my view on materialism. Friedrich, what if thought is matter?
That would either be nonsense, since matter is an objective reality existing outside the mind, or proof of the first principle of the dialectic, the law of the unity and conflict of opposites. Matter precedes thought. That was the core of all our ideas. "The ideal is nothing else than the material world reflected by the human mind, and translated into forms of thought," you said that. Matter is the philosophical superstructure of any society. Is Zuckerberg saying that thought is matter?
Definitely not. He'd never use the word 'matter' in that context. 'Stuff' is his word. All he's ever wanted is to 'get stuff done'.
'Thought is stuff 'doesn't have quite the right philosophical ring, Karl. Are you sure about him?
About him, perhaps not. About what he's done, very, very sure. You're not part of his movement, you've not showed your face? You don't have to have a body to have an identity, you know. I have, along with nearly six hundred million others. Admittedly most of them are alive. Six hundred million, that's a big share of the world to join in a revolution. It’s happened in Colombia. In Iran. In Egypt.
Made any connections?
If you can link the past to the present, we’d love to hear from you.
Marx’s headstone in Highbury
Harsh praise for Zuckerberg
If individualism is abolishing the present state of things then it is pure communism. Perhaps because much of it is mindless it is all the more dangerous to those in power. What are they stopping? The return of the individual to the infant at the breast state when it was the centre of the universe?
You want my help writing about this, don't you. Karl? Knowing you, you have a title already.
I will dedicate it to Mark Zuckerberg and I will call it Das Cybernipple.
Predictably brilliant. Call me again when you’ve written the first line. You’re good at those.
Karl Marx’s opinion was interpreted by Will Coe, Jan 2011
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Karl, I'm sorry. I'm with you now. Das Gesichtbuch. Facebook. He's the man behind that, of course. It is a revolution of a kind, I suppose. Not like the one I joined in Prussia. A lot less bloody. Where's the struggle in it? In fact, where's the class in it?
Zuckerberg has passed authority to the individual, so our mantra of class struggle begins to sound hollow. I'm prepared to give it up. If I am surely you are, Friedrich? No one was more passionate about the individual.
I can't believe what I'm hearing. Are you abandoning communism? To something you have said you find mindless?
Karl Marx assesses Mark Zuckerberg in conversation with Friedrich Engels
Hast du das Gesichtbuch gesehen?
Friedrich, old friend, it is so long since we discussed matters of moment. Did I ever thank you for completing Das Kapital for me? Unforgivable, even if I did not agree with everything you added. You will forgive my ungraciousness nevertheless, as you always did. Enough of wittering. To my point. For too long, I have been horribly depressed by what has happened in my name. Yours too. Stalin abused you. With your capacity for pleasure, I am sure you have not brooded on it as much as I. Have you been keeping up with the new social movements or have you been lost in a champagne corner of the afterlife? No, you would never abandon reason totally to the pursuit of pleasure. You will have kept up, I know. You are a very social animal. You of all people must have been drawn to the - I would call it mindless - conviviality of Zuckerberg's creation. We could not have foreseen it, could we, dear Friedrich?
It is pure joy to hear from you again, Karl. You are right. I keep my reason but I have not abandoned jollity simply because I have left life behind. There is no tear too wet that a smile cannot dry, even here. Thank you for thinking of the honour of my name. I am no more the ideological father of Stalin than Jesus was the apostle of the devil. It does not weigh on my soul that some people think otherwise. We were makers of destiny but not its masters. No, we could not have known how many would piss on our legacy. I urge you to leave the thought behind.