V. I. Lenin

Remarks on Ryazanov’s Article “Two Truths”{5}

Written: Written in September-October 1901
Published: First published in 1959 in Vol. 5 of the Fifth Russian edition of the Collected Works. Printed from the original.
Source: Lenin Collected Works, Progress Publishers, 1977, Moscow, Volume 41, pages 36.2-38.1.
Translated: Yuri Sdobnikov
Transcription\Markup: R. Cymbala
Copyleft: V. I. Lenin Internet Archive (www.marxists.org) © 2004 Permission is granted to copy and/or distribute this document under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License.  


1. The author regards as being of primary importance what Marx said (about the two ways) in exceptional circumstances and in virtually conditional terms.{6} However, the author distorts the fact, creating the impression that it was Marx himself who actually raised the question of the two ways.

7. “Laughter” at the men of the 70s (facing history) shows n o t “only an absolute incapacity for taking the historical standpoint”, it is also evidence of theoretical disparagement of the men of the 70s, as compared with those of the 40s and 60s.

7a. The author touches up Mikhailovsky by emphasising that the latter had opposed V.V., but failing to say that he had gone along with V.V. very much more frequently and at greater length.

8. This is a glaring untruth: blaming Mikhailovsky for the t r a g i c demise of the Narodnaya Volya and the “going among the people”. The article is devoted to Mikhailovsky, whose Untergang{1} is purely p e r s \"o n l i c h e r,{2} and whose fate contains a kopek’s worth of the “tragic” and a ruble’s worth of the comic.

9. It is stupid to confuse the dressing-down of Mikhailovsky with the “shovelling of dirt on the generation of the revolutionary socialists of the 70s”.

9. NB “refuses” to follow the reflection of the revolutionary majority in legal writings.

9-10. All the “Gekreuzigte und Verbannte”{3} ?? (of the 70s) ? lend an avid ear to the voice of the ignoramus.

13. “Social questions give way to personal ones” (a n d d o w n t o t h e e n d o f t h e p a g e NB). |??| (A downright Pisarev approach.)

15. ...(Pisarev) “A buoyant sermon of personal happiness”
” ” ” of “individualistic |??| ideals”.

18. ” ” “immersed in matters of personal self-improvement”.

24-25. (§ III) A characteristic of the utopian socialism of the revolutionaries (of the 70s), which is confused with the Mikhailovsky trend.

28-29. Mikhailovsky frequently “sacrificed” one of the truths. B u t we are not interested in the “latest phase” of his activity. We are concerned with Mikhailovsky only as one who has given expression to a definite trend among the young people of the 70s and 80s.

31. What are the “limits” set “by nature to the mind”? (Theory of cognition.)

29–35. Exposition of the “system of truth”.

35. ...This system “is an effort to discover the social element in reality...” which “would be concerned in realising the ideal”.

41. From the dispute with Yuzov and Co. (a dry rehash), a leap over to Yakovenko (1888).

46–48. Pendant{4} ==T k a c h a v.
Further Axelrod
and transition to Social-Democrats.
The whole exposition is dull and has little bearing on the “two foregoing” and on M i k h a i l o v s k y.

And N. —on (52)!!—with Mikhailovsky’s conclusions from his work (53).

§ V, from p. 57 to p. 77 (78–80 about the “critics”)—the birth of Marxism. It’s all deadly dull; only on p. 82 does he return to the “o l d t r u t h”.

—85— We reject the division of the world into noumena and phenomena.{7}


{1} Downfall.—Ed.

{2} Personal.—Ed.

{3} “The crucified and the exiled”.—Ed.

{4} Counterpart.—Ed.

{5} Lenin’s remarks en the article by D. B. Ryazanov “Two Truths”, written in the summer of 1901 for the magazine Zarya. The article was rejected by the editors and was not published in the magazine.

The pages indicated by Lenin are those of Ryazanov’s MS., which he submitted to the Zarya Editorial Board. p. 36

{6} See Marx and Engels, Selected Correspondence, “Letter to the Editorial Board of Otechestvenniye Zapiski, November 1877”, Moscow, 1965, pp. 311–13. p. 36

{7} Noumena and phenomena—opposite concepts in Kant’s idealistic philosophy.

Kant held a noumenon to be an incognisable thing in itself, which existed independently of man’s consciousness and was beyond his grasp. A phenomenon existed only in the mind and was an object of cognition.

This antithesis between noumena and phenomena, which is one of the main p repositions of Kant’s subjective idealist epistemology, is used by the ideologists of imperialism and revisionists in their fight against materialism.

Dialectical materialism rejected this antithesis and proved that Kant’s theory is wrong. p. 38

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