Recently a comrade made a more explicit connection between my post on Werner Herzog’s Cave of Forgotten Dreams and Marx’s concept of time. I wanted to post a few notes about it here as a follow up.
He pointed to an important essay by Loren Goldner on the concept of social reproduction where he talks about Marx’s concept of time, drawing the threads together from the Grundrisse, Capital Vol 3, the “Theses on Feuerbach”, among others.
“In the Theses, as indicated above, Marx refers (Thesis 1) to the “active side developed by idealism,” over and against all previous materialisms “which do not understand activity as objective.” What connects Descartes to Hegel, via Spinoza and Leibniz, is the idea of “actual infinity.” (I retain this term not in any mathematical sense but as it comes down to us from philosophy, above all in Hegel.) Bourgeois ideology conceives of infinity as endless repetition toward a goal which is never reached, as presented in Zeno’s paradoxes. Bourgeois ideology could not free itself from this “asymptotic” ever-closer approximation of a “bad infinity” (the term is also from Hegel), which expressed in a different way an atomistic reductionist vision of the universe as consisting of ever-smaller points and instants….”
“…Actual infinity, by contrast, sees infinity not as an ever-receding “goal” at the end of a process of infinitely small steps, but as EXISTING IMMANENTLY IN THE PRESENT. What connected Descartes to Hegel and Marx was the idea that the banal recognition of any specific “fact” presupposed immanently and simultaneously a self-consciousness RE-cognizing of that “fact.” Just as there is in Marx no commodity in itself but ultimately the whole circuit of M-C-M’ valorization presupposed in the existence of any specific commodity, there is in the development from Descartes to Hegel the growing recognition that the “actual infinite” present in cognition is the presupposition of any sense-certainty perception whatsoever. Hegel culminated this process in philosophy (that is in ideology) by immanently unfolding the activity of “world spirit” from banal sense-certainty data; Marx relocated it in the concept of “sensuous transformative praxis,” the “germ of a new world outlook” best presented in the (incomplete) 4 volumes of Capital, wherein he immanently unfolds the world history of capitalism, and demonstrates capitalism’s transitory nature, from the banal individual commodity. Creativity IS the “actual infinite” in man”