Fredric Jameson once pointed out that the Marxist tradition is already our Antiquity due to its significance and historical distance. This distance allows us to view it from the outside, and to reinvent Marxism for our own time. The same could be said about the most paradoxical version of this tradition's Soviet Marxism. However, there are particular qualities that single it out from the classical antiquity of Marxist tradition. Even internationally known Soviet works (by Vygotsky, Bakhtin, amongst Вothers) are not perceived as belonging to a unitary theoretical tradition, and are even less associated with Marxism and the heritage of 1917. It may therefore seem that the October Revolution of 1917, although being recognized as the key event of the short twentieth century has not created a universally recognizable and consolidated body of thought. It is, therefore, a difficult task to outline this field, and this is why the current lens of historical distance might be helpful in attempting to grasp both this unity and the richness of its internal differentiations.
The article argues for contemporary relevance of "Cosmology of the Spirit" by the outstanding Soviet philosopher Evald Ilyenkov, and explores its historical and intellectual contexts. This short treatise was written in the first half of the 1950s, but only published posthumously in the 1980s as it was too heretical to be published in the author’s lifetime. The text was heretical because of its enormous speculative drive. Addressing the physicist idea of the “entropic death of the universe” and using a combination of materialist dialectics and Spinoza’s concept of attribute, Ilyenkov claimed that thought is a necessary attribute of matter as it is able to prevent the terminal entropy of the universe. The paper uses the ideas of Ilyenkov’s cosmology in order to critically address contemporary currents of “speculative” philosophy.
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