Dialectical interpretation of Human History

Posted on September 21, 2009 by


by Salman Khalid

(Salman Khalid has contributed an article to Secular Pakistan. We encourage others to contribute as well. There could be differences of opinion regarding the application of Hegelian dialectic to an analysis of history and one can consult the extensive material available to form an opinion.)

“We can only learn from history, but we can’t go back to solve our present tribulations. Time, more than that, the evolutionary growth of production in every sector of the society to preserve our materialistic interest can’t permits us.  Humans have been, are and will be dictated by the materialistic forces which constantly operate on us and it continue to remain the stronger one in any form to decide our fate; and that is what I learnt so far from History”

If we study entire human history from the beginning when they began their civilization to the modern age, we came to know that it involved so many evolutionary change that one can never imagine and believe. Human history has got a lot within it if we joggle it. It is wrapped with violence, bloodshed, rise and fall of great empires, revolutions, changing of borders etc. The societies, super-powers and political economic system existed today, are the outcome of constant progress in the evolutionary process. The world which we perceive today has not existed from eternity. Human beings evolved and created societies in the shapes and forms suited to him/her according to growth of means of production and level of organization required to manage the relationship of production and maintain equilibrium in the particular society. The political institutions, state etc are the outcome of the socio economic conditions which have been changing constantly. Keeping in view all these points in mind combined with the study of the human nature, we try to examine the human history and try to conclude to best of our understanding that what are the basic reasons behind this evolution, how did it happens and if this process continues to proceed in the future; which it will, what lessons we are going to learn from it to comprehend our present and future.

First of all, we study that what is Evolution. Evolution means development, growth or progress. Devolution is the antonym which mean stagnant or move in a same circle that is to stop from where you started. In the world, nothing is stagnant. Everything is going through the process of evolution. Every second brings a change. These changes are irreversible and this irreversibility increases the imagination of time. To comprehend this, let’s take an example. If at some place a baby is born and at this moment let’s imagines how many people have been died, how many water have been poured into seas by the melting of glaciers, and how much distance the people traveled etc. The birth of a child is a sole incident, but this sole incident is connected to every instant occurring in this world. To reverse the event of child birth mean that is to reverse all the events occurring at the same time in the universe; it’s impossible. Evolution is not only the principal of soulless matter; it is also the basic principal of life.

The purpose of this study circle is to discuss and comprehend the changes in the human society. The human being who knew the use of fire was totally different from the human being who didn’t know the use of fire. The human being who survived on the basis of hunting was totally different from the human being who learnt agriculture. The human being in the era of agriculture was totally different from the human being in the era of machines. This world is not like that from eternity. It is passing through the constant process of change. Let’s take an example of journey. At the time when human beings lived in the caves, they used to travel via saunter. The need for the saunter was developed as a result of hunting. Then when human being learnt agriculture and went near the rivers and settled their, they started habitation in the form of tribes. To fulfill and according to a need of an agriculture and for travelling, human being captured animals. When human being, saw and visualized the speed of falling rocks from the mountains, they invented the wheel. They built a wheel car which assisted them a lot in travelling. Human being used this wheel car for thousand years, and then Diesel engine was invented and machine replaced the animal. Then the train, then the bullet train, then airplane and afterward the rocket.  They all replaced one after the other. The journey from saunter to rocket is by no doubt; the saga of the evolution. The human being who started their civilization from the cave, now developed mega cities and connected them with the means of airplanes and highways.

If we study the process of evolution which occurred in the past, we came to know that only two powers remain dominant. First is the devolutionary power, which suppresses the emerging thoughts and actions in the society. They consist of the ruling existing class and their proponents. Second one is the evolutionary power which consists of working class and their proponents which constantly remain focused on the process of growth and development. It puts the society on the process of development and innovations. The journey and ideas of human history was the outcome of the constant battle between these two forces. The history is a witness that always evolutionary power won the battle; otherwise, human being is still living in the era of caves.

When in European countries, the only way of production was agriculture, and then via feudalistic’ agriculture economy and political system, the kingship system was established. Then the economic system also changed from feudalism to mercantilism. Then for centuries the process of evolution remained between the classes of the society. Then the inventions happened and machines came. Machine gave birth to the industry (industrial revolution) and also to the two opposite classes of industrial economy; one is capitalist and other one is labor. Capitalists now needed the new economical and political to sale the products of their industry in the market and with the presence of kingship system, it was impossible. Therefore, by the constant clash between these two forces, the kingship system was demolished and new capitalists’ democracy was established. Economic system also changed from mercantilism to capitalism and then afterwards, from capitalism to welfare capitalism. In this battle, the evolutionary power and force were the capitalists. One thing which should be observes here that always the process of evolution which makes the society to prosper; is the outcome of the constant clash between these two forces which wrestle to preserve their interest. Whenever devolutionary class tries to suppress the interests of the society to protect their interests; resistance occurs and resistance follows violence and then the change occurs in the society. New political and economical institutions are interestingly always established either in order to suppress and to control the working class and it is always done by the ruling class or to counter the problems which arise as a result of suppression. The institution of police was established in order to control the situation of law and order in the society when crimes were committed. This is only one example out of many others. The origin of family, private property, state, and the creation of classes (rich & poor) are also the consequences of these clashes as God had nothing to do with them. These are our own creations.

So far, our previous learning shows us that, one change gives birth to number of changes. One generation gives its experiences to the upcoming generation and it becomes the cause of keep moving the process of evolution. The wheel of stone and wood didn’t need the concrete highway. That is why the highways weren’t made up of concrete. There was no concept of speed. When the wheel of rubber came then the need for concrete highway had arose and it also gave birth to the concept of speed. That is how one change became the work place for the other change. In the time when transport was only possible via animals, press had been invented, but the concept and tradition of newspaper was only possible after the invention of train. And the institution of police was not possible when the change in the society occurred via the beginning of the crime. That is how the change in the surroundings of the society, basically becomes the cause of the change in the ideas.

These were major aspects of evolutions which made the history. What we learnt from human history is that, in the society, always numbers of concurrent evolutionary processes are occurring and the root of all them are same. It may exist in multiple forms, but the nature of all them is same. These multiple evolutions when occur simultaneously, bring a major change which itself an evolution at the upper level. When it happens, it brings revolutionary change in the political and economical system at any particular period of time. Before the revolution in any one particular system, concurrent evolutions in multiple forms get stuck in the vicious cycle. This vicious cycle tries to evolves in order to sustain, but the constant violence occurring in the hot balloon at different levels, forces it to burst. When it burst then the revolution comes which add one more patch which makes the human history and human history is filled with number of different patches. You can say that it a consequence of long term evolutionary process. It occurs due to the clash of class wars i.e. between the evolutionary class and devolutionary class. Both are fight for the preservation of their materialistic interest. It was, is and will never be an ideological crawl between two classes. If we go deep down, it clearly shows us that it is always a war of materialistic interest and it is done by the materialistic forces which are always remains stronger and dictator. And the interesting thing is that, that this wrestle is the primary evolutionary thing existed in the society which becomes the sole factor in moving the society forward for the major change. And this is impossible to control and it can’t remain stagnant. We also learnt that the dominant becomes dominated and dominated becomes dominant. Interesting thing isn’t it. That is the principal and the beauty of life. This revolution is itself an evolutionary process among other revolutionary processes. When this system becomes corrupt and sadistic, one more patch will be added to the history. This is all done by humans who struggle for the preservation of their rights, to attain a distinct position in the political and economical system, to improve their socio-economic conditions etc and evolved and created societies in the shapes and forms suited to him/her. Behind all this, this is the struggle for materialistic interest which exists in multiple forms, between two different classes, and it is the primary motive of evolution. Other thought provoking lesson which we learnt that

“If you think and concentrate for the moment, history shows us that the thinking, life style, culture, nature of problems, political and economic system of the people living in the 16th century is very different from the people living in the 21st century. We studied that how the political as well as the economic system have evolved over the centuries. Every new political and economic system had different nature in every aspect. New and different challenges had emerged and to counter and to keep the system in equilibrium, new political as well as new economical intuitions had emerged. It is because the nature of society had been changed and to counter the change we had to made new changes, otherwise, society can’t move forward. If we think and visualize, the evolution in the society was inevitable and it was automatic because it is nature of human being that he/she can’t sustain suppression for longer period. To keep the society in equilibrium and to preserve their interests in any form, they had to keep the process of evolution going and it has been, is and will be the inevitable action. Therefore, the social, political and economical problems which we are facing in the present, can only be solve via making suitable efforts and changes which should be according to the nature of the existing society, they can never be solved by going back in the past to find the remedy.”

The amazing and thought provoking thing is that which forced us to think that how the human being becomes so cruel, violent and self centered when they have so much great intellect and conscious. We know what the great works are done by us in the history of mankind and this process is still going on. If we visualize our surrounding and observe the great inventions, we’ll be pleased and only one word will pour out from our mouth without any hesitation that is remarkable, but side-wise, if we see the cruelties which the humans made to achieve their materialistic interest; we wouldn’t believe that. This is done by us who claim that we are very noble, peaceful and intellectual. That is the thing which forced me to think, think and think that among various beliefs that either there is something missing that we couldn’t understood yet or we don’t want to comprehend and accept the other side of the picture which is against and opposite to our embedded born beliefs. Think….

Courtesy: Masaud Khalid- Chairman Sanjh Publications.

Posted in: History, Politics