Contradictions In Maoist Philosphy

Essay by PaperNerd ContributorCollege, Undergraduate November 2001

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One big contradiction of Maoist philosophy on contradictions is the fact that in Maoist sense the contradiction is that very same "unity" on which both Daoism and neo-Confucianism are based (neither one as far as I recall were members of the Party). And hence another contradiction - isn't it self-contradictory that Mao uses a word contradiction to describe unity? An oxymoron? The fascinating thing about Mao's contradictions is the fact that for him the contradiction is not only the basic law of materialist dialectic, but also a driving force of everything and everyone - the universe, human beings, of politics, history, evolution. Contradiction is a constant struggle without which nothing can develop or evolve. It is a plus and a minus from which a new life emerges, it's the two opposites that attract, struggle, often fight but always give a way to the third (I am not speaking of specifically humans here, but concepts and ideas as well).

What strikes me as unusual and what I struggle with is the following - if contradiction is necessary for the common good and for evolution, why then do we need to eliminate, or to use Maoist language "resolve" these contradictions? What is the point of resolving them if new ones will immediately emerge. Is it then the resolve of contradictions that becomes a driving force? Is it the outcome of the struggle, or just the struggle itself? Partially Mao answers this question by dividing contradictions into Universal and particular. One can never be understood without another, but it seems to me that universal contradiction are not only of larger value (the universe for example, is the contradiction itself), but also permanent, while particular contradictions are temporary (or rather ever-changing). He also draws a line between contradictions within external and internal. The latter (internal) is more important, since "the strength lies in internal, while particularity of contradiction lies in its universality" (p.30). Yet, I still have not been able to find an answer to this question. Do you have it?