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anarchist-flagsSome differences between Theory and Ideology

It is important to point out a few differences between was commonly called theory and ideology.

Theory  points towards the elaboration of conceptual instruments used to rigorously and profoundly get to know the concrete reality. It is in this sense that we can refer to theory as an equivalent to a science.

Ideology, on the other hand, is made up of elements of a non-scientific nature, which contribute to give dynamism to action based on circumstance that, although having something to do with the objective conditions, do not strictly flow from them. Ideology is conditioned by the objective conditions although not mechanically determined by them.

The profound and rigorous analysis of the concrete situation, in its real, objective terms – this is a theoretical analysis with the most scientific possible character. The expression of motivations, the proposal of objective, of aspirations, of ideal goals – that belongs to the field of ideology

Between theory and ideology there is a very tight connection, since the proposals of the second are founded and supported by the conclusions of the theoretical analysis. An ideology would be as efficient as a motor for political action inasmuch as it’s based firmly in the conclusions of theory.

The reaches of the theoretical work.

Theoretical work is always a work that is based and supported in the real processes, in what goes on in the historical reality, in what happens. Nevertheless, since it is  work that is located completely in the real of thought, there are no concepts there are more real that others.

It is important to point out some basic propositions on the issue:

1) The distinction between the existing, concrete reality, between the real, historical processes and on the other hand the processes acquired from knowledge and understanding of that reality. On other words, it is necessary to affirm the difference between the being and the thought, from reality as it is and we can know about it.
2) The priority of the being over the thought, of reality over the knowledge. In another words, it is more important, it weights more as a determinant to the sequence of events what actually happens in reality than what we can think or know about that reality.

Starting from these basic affirmations, it is important to understand the precise reaches of theoretical work, that is, the effort of knowledge guided by the purpose of acquiring rigorous, scientific knowledge,

Theoretical works is always realized based in a pre-determined raw material, It doesn’t comes out of the real concrete, of reality as such, but comes out of information, data and notion of that reality, This primary material is treated, in the process of the theoretical work, by certain useful conceptual means, certain instruments of thought. The product of this treatment if the knowledge.

On other words, there are only real, concrete and singular objects proper (determined historical situations, in determined societies, in determined times). The process of theoretical knowledge seeks to know them.

Hormiga-3aSometimes the work of knowledge points towards abstract objects that don’t exist in reality, that only exist in the thought but that are however indispensable instruments a pre-condition in order to know real objects (for example the concept of social classes, etc.) Therefore, in the process of production of knowledge, one transforms the raw material (a superficial perception of reality) into a product ( a rigorous scientific knowledge about it).

The term scientific knowledge” must be defined in its relationship with the social reality. Applied to that reality, it’s comprehension alludes in exact terms, to the best approximation of reality as it is.

It must be said that this process of learning about the social reality, as with any other study of any real object, is susceptible to an infinite theoretical deepening. Like physics. chemistry and other sciences can deepen their knowledge infinitely about the realities that constitute their respective subjects of study, in the same manner the social science can deepen indefinitely the knowledge about the social reality. Therefore it is inadequate to expect a “finished” knowledge of the social reality in order to start acting on it in order to change it. No less inadequate is try to change it without knowing it profoundly.

The rigorous scientific knowledge of the social reality, of our social transformation, is only achieved through working over information, statistics data, etc, through the means of more abstract conceptual instruments which are given and help constitute a theory. Through the practice of theory we seek the production of these conceptual instruments, each time more precise and more concrete, conducing to the knowledge of the specific reality we are part of.

Only through a adequate theoretical comprehension, that is, profound and scientific, can be developed ideological elements (aspirations, values, ideals, etc,) that constitute adequate means for the transformation of said social reality with coherence of principles and efficiency in the political practice.

NEXT WEEK: Final Part