Thursday, May 17, 2012

Slogging Through With Leszek Kolakowski

'Genuine' works of literature are those which seek to to mirror the world as a whole,and it is for the critic or ideologist to ensure, as far as he may, that the work embodies a true reference system giving significance to its component parts and subordinating them to an over-all artistic purpose.
Leszek Kolakowski, Main Currents of Marxism, Book Three, p. 1018

It was earlier this week that the Oracle of Ottawa turned past page 1,000 of Leszek Kolakowski's monumental work; Main Currents of Marxism, only about another 200 odd pages to go! How sick is that? The Oracle of Ottawa got the unabridged complete edition, containing all three volumes, all piled into one very large volume, that was masterfully printed by W. W. Norton & Company. Not only did the great Pole get all the main currents, but he seemed, in this readers estimation, to get each and everyone of the slightest eddy currents also!

Leszek Kolakowski

This work is the most complete history of Marxism as a philosophy that this humble reader has seen to date. It is most exhaustive and very extensive. It covers everyone from Marx to Marcuse.  And many of the players were known personally by Leszek Kolakowski. For anyone who is interested in the historical effects of Marx on the history of the world, what more could you ask for? No one can truthfully say even today, no matter where they live, that Marx has had no affect on them. As the great Canadian economist John Kenneth Galbraith said (The Affluent Society) Marx  (still) affects you, no matter if you were or are aware of him or not!

The Oracle of Ottawa must warn you that Main Currents of Marxism is not for the faint of intellect. Truth be told, the Oracle of Ottawa had to lay the work aside for periods of time, to let it all sink in. One should not be discouraged that it will not not be dealt with like a work of pulp-able science fiction that is somewhat precariously perched upon the present day "best sellers" list. This is a work for the ages, and in turn will go mostly unnoticed and unread by the great unwashed masses. And the fact that the work contained thirty years of the life of Lezek Kolakowski should give the reader of just average intelligence some solace if it takes a few months to get carefully through. Diligence however, as per usual, will be, in this case very well rewarded.

There were very few people of the 20th century who fate had perched in such a perfect position, place and time as Leszek Kolakowski. There were even fewer people that had such rock solid guts and sense of purpose and fate to fulfill their destiny. Although a dissident and outcast in the times of the Soviet Union and still practically unknown in the West, Leszek Kolakowski is considered today as one of the greatest Poles to have ever lived in modern times, even more so that he lived to observe and enjoy total vindication in his lifetime.

Here is a small bio, in Polish, but you can get the real sense and greatness of the man. If you doggedly stick with it, you will become a greater person....

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