Friday, May 6, 2016
Science, Thinking & A Brave Woman Of Color Standing Alone In Sweden
We got the following comment from a comrade this morning:
Thanks for sending links to the new blog pieces. A couple of comments. Because I worked in science for a number of years and thought a lot about it, I particularly like the writings of Richard Levins. Monthly Review recently republished his autobiographical essay, Living the Eleventh Thesis (http://monthlyreview.org/2016/04/01/living-the-eleventh-thesis/). Thanks for the reference to Marx's Theses on Feuerbach, the 11th of which I now realize must have been the reference Levins was making in the title for his essay.
On Portside yesterday there was an article about a brave woman standing in front of marching Nazis in Sweden (http://portside.org/2016-05-05/moment-one-woman-stands-more-300-nazis-and-refuses-let-them-pass). In the spirit of Levins I consider her actions more of living the eleventh thesis than as an act of science. The analysis of forces and risk, however, as you point out, involves the kind of rational thought that good science also has.
We respond with the following:
We're grateful for this comment and the links. I am working through the Levins piece and it clearly influenced my writing on how to think. The reference is to Marx's point in his Theses on Feuerbach where he says:
The philosophers have only interpreted the world, in various ways; the point is to change it.
We constantly recommend the Theses on Feuerbach because it such a concise and moving statement that applies across the board. If a reader gets that and lives with it then they don't need to be reading my posts on how to think.
The photo of that very brave woman of color in Sweden seems to be everywhere and we're glad for that. But the question I have is---why is she alone? Where are the white people? Where are the allies? Why must a person or people of color make a dramatic statement alone at this point? Will white people only comment on this woman's bravery or will white people make sure that no one has to stand alone in these situations again? This is a learning opportuity and a challenge for all of us.