Essay Example on Traditions of the Dead Still Influence the Living: Marx's Views

Paper Type:  Critical thinking
Pages:  5
Wordcount:  1289 Words
Date:  2023-04-24

Discussion Question 1

Karl Marx argued that the traditions of the dead or the past had influenced the brain of the living (Marx, 2019). Primarily, these claims mean that the past has an enormous influence on the inventions and the kinds of thinking witnessed in the world today. Marx believed that although men make their history, they do not make it as they please (Marx, 2019). Instead, some factors, such as the circumstances that already existed, influence them. The existing conditions created by the ancestors are a source of learning. More so, they play a significant role in ethically guiding the living. Arguably, people learn from real facts. An active learning process involves a situation where a tutor has the capability of rooting everything taught. The statement by Marx implied that reasoning in a human mind is wholly dependent on facts. Mainly, this means that drawing on the experiences and histories when explaining concepts could foster the learning of new ideas more, which shows the influence of the past on modern thinking and life as well.

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For Marx, new concepts are borrowed from the past, and one can see the relations in their names, battle slogans, and costumes. In addition to that, the theorist also argued that the social revolution witnessed in the 19th century could not have existed if it did not strip away the superstition about the past (Marx, 2019). The riots seen in history developed from the recollection of the past for them to develop the new content showing that the experiences of the past affect how people handle challenges in the present. For new inventions to be possible, inventors start by understanding the history and the process of invention witnessed in those years.

Similarly, Marx gave an example of a situation where historical traditions bore the beliefs that Napoleon would be the man that would bring glory to them (Marx, 2019). Such ideas emanated from the past ancestors and persons and influenced the future convictions of the people, which is another example showing how the past influences the next thoughts and beliefs. The basis of the statement by Marx lies in the fact that everything that people believe and invent in the world today is influenced significantly by the inventions and experiences of the past relayed along with disciplines such as history and science. Science is the study of facts, and those facts form the foundations for current beliefs and inventions. At the same time, history discusses the experiences and occurrences that happened in the past, which provide knowledge to the living who, in turn, develop it to construct new concepts.

Discussion Question 2

The death of Ivan Ilyich is an example of a narrative that shows a reader the adverse effects of living life, as Ilyich did. Ivan made decisions based on what others thought and what would be of monetary value to him (Tolstoy, 2017). However, at the time of his death, Ivan screamed, which signified regret. It was at this time when Ivan realized that he squandered everything meaningful and pure for him to make money and work. Ivan's desire for money and material wealth had a role to play in making his life miserable, which eventually led to his death. The story shows that Ivan did not live a productive and fulfilling life. Ivan did not establish close relationships with his friends, evident from the fact that when his allies learned of his death, they did not express any feelings of remorse neither did they mourn for him. One can see that the consequences of living life as Ivan did even before understanding the flaws that Ivan made in his life. Ivan ought to have lived his life like Geraism, his servant. Geraism is of a lower class when compared to Ivan. However, Ivan admires him because of living his life happily and understanding what he wants in life. In addition to that, Ivan admires Geraism since he has no burden of materialism and having material wealth. From this, one can see that Ivan should have lived his life without having the desire that he had for money, which ruined his life.

Ivan's desire for materialism and social status prompted him to marry Praskovya. Ivan married the woman because of his social standing instead of love. As such, he was not happily married. Ivan's life was burdensome and contributed to his early death. Ivan lives a devastating life as opposed to Geraism, whose life is fulfilling, happy, and free from any societal expectations. The fact that Geraism died at an old age while Ivan died when young shows that a burdensome and extreme love for material wealth leads to an early death. Materialism is the primary cause of Ivan's downfall. With this in mind, he ought to have lived a life away from material pleasures, but instead, follow whatever that makes him happy. By doing so, this would have prevented all the regrets that Ivan had on his deathbed since he would have lived a happy and fulfilling life free of any pressure and obligations to society.

Discussion Question 3

Most existentialists believe that what distinguishes humans from others is the fact that they can choose what to do. Importantly, the only thing that existentialists are not free to do is to deny themselves of freedom. Thus, this shows how much existentialists value freedom (Flynn, 2006). In particular, they believe that they can do whatever they want with their time and space. The meaning of the phrase personalization of time is that existentialists are free to do whatever they please with their time. Space personalization means that existentialists can utilize their personal space in their preferred ways. Therefore, existentialists have the freedom to decide what to do with their time and space.

Space and time are critical categories of philosophy. With this in mind, it would be challenging to define them. Instead, one can only understand what space and time mean in a philosophical analysis. It is worth noting that space and time are both attributes of matter and are fundamental forms of being. In addition to that, they are a significant part of the motion. Through motion, both time and space, and revealed. Importantly, space and time have different dimensions that humans can easily be comprehended. An objective definition of space and time is not possible due to their natural association with the perspective of an observer. Besides that, the observer of space and time are audiences and viewers. As such, one can hardly explain and define their personal space and time, which shows that they are the opposite of private.

Space is a three-dimensional area where items and events have virtual position and direction. Time is a quantity comprising of different measures used to analyze facts and compare their duration and intervals. Philosophers have conducted a variety of experiments to analyze the differences and similarities between space and time. In the course of their research, space-time emerged to define the events that are occurring presently. Notably, space expresses the position of an object while time represents their order. Space describes the distance between one object and another while time analyzes the time taken by an object to move from one particular point to another. With this definition in mind, space and time cannot exist when there is no object, which makes the two objectively measurable. Since existentialist has the freedom to personalize their space and time, they act as objects, which determine what to do with their space and time. In such cases, they are objective measures of time and space.


Flynn, T. R. (2006). Existentialism: A very short introduction. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Marx, K. (2019). Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte. S.L.: Blurb.

Tolstoy, L. (2017). The Death of Ivan Ilyich and Other Stories. Stilwell: Neeland Media LLC.

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