J. Posadas: Les soucoupes volantes, le processus de la matière et de l’énergie, la science, la lutte de classes et revolutionnaire et le future socialiste de l’humanité, Paris: Éditions Réed, 1968.
Originally published in 1968 as a pamphlet in French.
Translated and transcribed by David Broder.
Marked up by Einde O’ Callaghan for the Encyclopaedia of Trotskyism On-Line (ETOL).
Life can exist on other planets, in other solar systems, in other galaxies and universes.
The passage of matter from the inorganic to the organic state could take place in a different manner to how it does on Earth, such that energy could be used in a more effective manner. Here, we barely know how to make best use of the oil and, in a very limited fashion, nuclear energy that we have at hand. They, on the contrary, may be on the way to exploiting all the energy existing in matter. They can use all the energy that we still do not know how to employ on Earth, and transform it into light. It could be that matter is organised differently in other planetary systems or galaxies, in infinite combinations and in totally different forms to those that we know on Earth. We cannot imagine what it is like, but we can imagine very well that there may be an organisation of energy infinitely superior to what we have here. In the Soviet Union, they have discovered a ray infinitely faster than light, which is something totally new.
This same ray may have been discovered on other planets millions of years ago, and already been used. While we take X amount of time to get from one continent to another, they perhaps do it in a half-second. The conception of life and the organisation of matter are determined by all such things. This energy must contain a property and force infinitely superior to anything we know. We can conceive of a being which, just by raising its hand, can produce light, draw energy to it, push it away, and organise it. It is possible. We are habituated to seeing and conceiving of life on Earth, in the commercial sense of private property, the feeling of possession, which is the basis of social development before the coming of the workers’ state. It is this that determines the purpose of life and its relation with other planets. When they plan a journey to another planet, they do so in order to see how to exploit and dominate it, because science is subjected to those who pay for it. Science is not independent.
It is not the same thing as when you plant a plant, to reap what you want from this. In this case, even if we are subject to nature, we determine what happens. Science, on the contrary, is subject to those who finance it. Astronomers, physicists, where should they go to find the equipment for their research? They cannot do so, without money. They are not, as individuals, rich enough to pay for these things and also get by. It is the capitalist state, or indeed the Soviet state, that has the means to pay. They can thus install their equipment, but they limit their capacities to capitalist interests or the bureaucratic limitations imposed by the leadership of the workers’ state. That is why our knowledge of physics, of matter, of astronomy is still at only an embryonic stage. We still have no real knowledge of what exists. We constantly correct the very basis of discoveries, whether for Newton, Einstein or all the others. The forms and combinations of matter are infinite. There are forces within it that we do not utilise. We must discover the power of what it is possible to do. The force that allows us to raise our arms is called ‘kinetic energy’. Why this energy? What is it that impels the activity of the cells? There is no outside force. It is an internal movement. What is this force? The force that impels movement is a source of energy, which must have a primary form of development even before it lifts the arm, because there already exists the capacity that allows us to conceive, in our spirits, of the need to raising our arms.
One Japanese scholar advanced a conclusion, rather like our own, concerning earthquakes: he said that it was criminal to waste the energy made by these earthquakes. It is possible to make an system drilling into the Earth – like a sort of radar – measuring all the movements, the gases within the Earth, its interior shifts due to gas or to the rotations of the Sun and the Earth, of which scientists are still unaware. The Japanese scholar also said that we could predict, contain and, indeed, make use of this energy. We said the same thing at the time of the Chilean earthquake of 1961.
Scientific knowledge is still limited as regards understanding the organisation of matter that has permitted a certain form of life and reproduction on Earth. Our scientific capacity is limited as a result of the missed possibilities of such a study, as well as being limited by lack of financial means. It is the capitalists who have these means in hand. They have capitalist interests. This is a very significant limitation.
Moreover, our capacity and audacity for making further observations are limited by the conception of the world established by the appropriation and utilisation of property. Our knowledge is limited by particular interests and social prejudices. This is evidently the case, for example, as regards heart transplants. Capitalist mentalities prevent the bourgeoisie from having any perspective, impeding them from taking an interest in the world and limiting their daring to observe it. If they had audacity and resolution, they would realise that they have gone awry and that their existence is no longer justified. Their interests limit and box them in. They place the same limits on science, chemistry and medicine. Conversely, there is no reason why this should be so on other planets.
The class struggle does not have to exist. On Earth, on the contrary, the process of history has played out like this. There is no reason why the same should be true of other planets. The organisation of society could take on infinitely superior forms, without struggle and antagonisms. There is no reason for fighting. If beings on other planets saw us, they would say, astonished: ‘Oh! They are fighting over a car, shooting, killing each other!’ For them, death does not exist. Here, it does. The notion of death, the extinction of matter or of cells is not the same everywhere. For elephants, life lasts 260 years. For human beings, 100 (and on average 70-80). If the elephant can live for 260 years, it is because the organisation of matter, in this form, allows for such a long life. But why can we not imagine living as long, in a different form to the elephant? Without a trunk… why not? We do not know if beings exist in other systems or galaxies, nor how they are constituted.
But we believe that they could exist. It is possible that beings will come to study Earth, what life is like here, beings who departed their homes for Earth a million years ago. For us, that corresponds to a million years. But for them it is an insignificant figure, a normal amount. They may well not be subject to our notion of time. Time has always been and remains a notion picked up by a society divided into classes. Such a society needed to measure time in order to exploit nature. Hence this division of time.
Otherwise, there is no reason for its existence. Certainly, we have to deal with periods of time, weather and the seasons – spring, summer, autumn, winter. But there is no reason why there should be seasons on other planets. Why does it have to rain? This apart, time is of no significance. This interest in measuring time is relative to nature, to its effects on life, to the effect of energy on the organism and to due dates and billing. On other planets, there is no reason why this should be so. For example, no-one has to pay debts by a certain time or needs a heart transplant. A being on another planet who saw a heart-transplant operation would say ‘what is that they’re making?’ The notion that we have of the origin of life is something that we have learned.
But each year, corrections are made to it. For example, the date of the appearance of human beings on Earth: at first people spoke of 500,000 years ago, then a million years, and now that the first anthropoid appeared some 17 million years ago.
All the news of UFOs (unidentified flying objects) around the various parts of the world coincide. There are many coincidences, not all of which are exaggerations. We believe and accept that these beings exist. The majority of people who have seen them say that they are normal beings; and the people who speak of them say that they do not believe in ghosts or spirits. Many people have already seen UFOs. General MacArthur, that Yankee murderer, said with regard to the disappearance of a plane that had struck a strange object: ‘perhaps we – together with the Soviets – will have to make war against an enemy arriving from outside Earth’. But conciliation of this type has its limits. Capitalism has no interest in UFOs and, as such, makes no research into them. It has no interest in occupying itself with these matters because they cannot reap profits, nor are they useful to capitalism. But people see in UFOs the possibility of advancement and progress. This thus accelerates the fall of the bourgeoisie, shown in all its uselessness. All the people who say that they have seen extra-terrestrials, UFOs, coincide in the fact that these beings have not frightened them, and that they have made themselves understood, without using an audible language, showing them that they mean no harm. They do not provoke a feeling of alarm, but of serenity. They create sensations of mellowness, suppleness, harmony, reassurance. They do not inspire any fear. They must give off a sense of security by their movements, by their facial demeanour, or in other ways. None among those who have seen them have said ‘I was scared, they frightened me’. On the contrary, they awaken a pleasant sentiment, one of respect. They must emit some sort of rays that cause this sensation, if they do exist. None among those who have seen them has said that they were attacked. They have shown no interest in attacking, violating, stealing, possessing: they have come to observe.
Starting from the fact of the existence of extra-terrestrial beings, we can accept that UFOs also exist. We need to wait for further proof. It is possible that they have appeared, though it is also possible that there has been much fantasising, exaggeration or mystical deductions on the part of those who have seen them. But there is testimony from people who seem thoughtful. Neither the capitalist system nor the bureaucracy [in the workers’ states] have an interest in researching this subject, because they cannot draw any commercial, political or military benefit from it. Socialism, on the contrary, does have an interest in this, and so too do the masses. Capitalism feels that it has been made to look inferior, faced with a system that it sees as superior. People draw the conclusion that capitalism is useless. They say ‘Look at that! And you, what are you any good for?’ The ruling class feels diminished. If it could draw a military gain from doing so, it would conduct research. But capitalism tries, on the contrary, to spread the impression that this is fantasy, so people will not think that there are superior forms of relations and that capitalism is incapable of reaching this level. The workers’ state will act in a different way, because it has an objective interest in developing socialism. But at all events, the facts are coming to light in spite of the smokescreens, because there have already been many testimonies. The capitalist ruling circles, the chemists, the military, are hiding the facts. But all the information still gets published – amidst all the current worry about war, revolutions, the preparation of the final settling of accounts between capitalism and the world revolution, the constant strikes in anger against the capitalist system, the occupations of factories, of universities, of land – because these questions preoccupy the whole world. In spite of all these other concerns, people are interested in UFOs.
We do not know what form they take, or their number, but they must exist, or else they would not appear like this. There are reasons enough why capitalists would not invent these matters. They could try to use them to distract attention. But all this runs against their interests. They could divert attention to a concrete fact. But they do nothing but increase peoples’ certainty that the capitalists are no good. Besides, all this concern with UFOs does not stop strikes or factory occupations or revolutions, nor the progress towards socialism. The preoccupation with studying these phenomena has not yet developed in the workers’ states, given people’s concentration on getting by and because the bureaucracy is hiding these matters. It is, certainly, hiding a great amount of research that has taken place in the workers’ states. People would see forms of existence superior to those we have today. Socialism, on the contrary, has no fear in being compared with or integrated into higher forms of progress.
On the contrary, it seeks out this progress. ‘We have nothing to lose but our chains’. This phrase of Marx’s can be applied to everything. Moreover, it is absurd that people are discussing the problems with UFOs while millions of others are dying of hunger. It is capitalism and the bureaucracy of the workers’ states that have led to this prejudice that exists in the world. There are possibilities of exploiting matter that this society is incapable of employing. Capitalism, as well as the bureaucracy [in the workers’ states], is aware of this inferiority. In the workers’ states, there are researchers who do not measure things in terms of inferiority or superiority, but simply note that in other galaxies and planetary systems, in other universes, it is possible to fully utilise matter and eliminate all this concern with hunger and class struggle. It is possible to wipe the ruling classes out of existence. The system, there, is superior. The inhabitants of other planets who come here must consider the Earth’s inhabitants as mad, always fighting one another. The notion of struggle, of confrontation, certainly does not exist where they come from. Why fight? The historical foundation of the capitalists’ and workers’ states’ bureaucracies’ lack of interest in studying UFOs and living beings on other planets is that they see the threat of their own elimination. As such they do not interest themselves with the continued existence, the life, of human beings.
Everything that is not of commercial use, or does not serve to facilitate the existence and perpetuation of capitalist power, does not interest them. But since society must live and the proletariat and socialism must advance, these things stimulate people in the capitalist system to concern themselves with the existence of beings on other planets. So too in the workers’ states. The existence of flying saucers and living beings on other planets is a phenomena that the dialectical conception of history can admit. The most immediate consequence we can draw is that, if these beings do exist, they must have a societal organisation superior to our own. Their appearances are not the effect of bellicose or aggressive sentiments.
This means that they have no need for war, that they do not come to Earth with goals of conquest in mind. In this planet’s history, when a people has felt itself to be more capable and invaded another country, it did so with conquest in mind, in the form of war. The class struggle on Earth is the result of the organisation of society into classes, that of the possessors and that of the exploited, the bourgeoisie set against the proletariat which wants to overthrow it and build socialism. The behaviour of these beings, if it is true that they exist, seems not to be aggressive in character. All the people who say that they have seen them, say that none of them were of an aggressive disposition or inspired fear in them. All of the say that they awakened their curiosity. If these were beings from afar (as we have known in our planet’s history) with swords, arquebuses, cannons, stones and rocks, with tools of conquest, they would inspire fear through their aggressive behaviour. But these beings come to observe, they try to make it understood that they intend no harm. Their behaviour expresses their superior organisation.
They have no aggressive impulse, they have no need to kill in order to live: they come only to observe. We can foresee the existence of such beings, even taking into account the fantasies that exist among the reports, stories, observations and statements. If they exist, we must call on them to intervene, to help us resolve the problems we have on Earth. The essential task is to suppress poverty, hunger, unemployment and war, to give everyone the means to live in dignity and to lay the bases for human fraternity. To this end, we must suppress the capitalist system, as well as the bureaucracy of the workers’ states and Communist Parties who do not want to seize power. The fundamental obstacle we face is the capitalist system. We must suppress the force currently in the hands of the capitalist system: nuclear weapons. Destroy all nuclear weapons. Destroy the whole military power of the capitalist system, of Yankee, French and British imperialism. Appeal to the masses and give them the means immediately to destroy capitalism, overcome the bureaucracy of the workers’ states and establish a new society: socialism.
We must appeal to the beings on other planets, when they come here, to intervene and collaborate with Earth’s inhabitants in suppressing poverty. We must make this call to them. It is possible to make ourselves understood to them. We must not, of course, expect that they will understand immediately. But we must make appeals to them, if we believe that they can, indeed, exist. If we have any possibility of making contact with them, we must not fall into individual scientific curiosity, out of some desire to see where they come from and to visit other planets.
We must unite with them, they who seem more powerful than human beings, such that they will come and help us resolve Earth’s problems. Then we can concern ourselves with going to see what other planets are like, how life and matter are organised, and everything regarding nature. But most important is first to resolve the problems of humanity on Earth. We do not have a fantasist or idealist position with regard to flying saucers. As we accept that they exist, we want to use all means at hand, including those from outside of this planet. When we seriously reach a scientific discovery, we must try to use it to the benefit of humanity.
The longest human life of which we know was 160 years in duration. We can keep our full mental faculties intact up to around 80 or 90 years of age. But an elephant, which lives for more than 260 years, has a much vaster memory. That means that the length of memory can be extended. Extra-terrestrial beings could do so for more than a million years. Have there not been over a million years of human existence? And it reproduces itself incessantly, without destroying itself, without its reproduction wiping it out. Matter, in the case of mankind, persists by means of reproducing itself. It does not disappear. Just one form of the organisation of matter – the form of human life – disappears. The matter transforms into something else and takes part in the transformation of something else.
On other planets, matter could transform itself without needing to destroy its state of existence, nor its constitution as a living being. It may well not have to be reduced to ashes in order to feed something else. What is the meaning of a seed? It is matter in a primary state, which stimulates other elements and is reproduced in another form. It may be the case that among other beings, there is no need for death for the sake of reproduction. We are not saying that this is so, but it is totally possible. Energy is still used in a very mechanical, limited and rudimentary fashion. Today, we make use of the transformation of matter into energy, but not the energy that already exists in a natural state. This must be done. For example, we could suppress all oil refining, necessary to the transformation of this matter into energy. One day, energy will come from the air. Electricity is part of the structure and behaviour of matter. We profit from this because we have discovered it. But all this is very limited. Tomorrow, electricity will not be necessary. Everything that exists is energy. The condition of existence of an object is that it has energy. The organisation of the human body, the brain and other organs and senses, is that proper to Earth. On other planets it could be very different. We feed ourselves because the human organism is constituted in such a fashion as to make feeding ourselves necessary. This suits us partly for capitalism’s sake, because otherwise there would be no reason to live in submission to this system. The scientific capacity of humanity is determined by societal organisation. The organisation of society in terms of private property is very limiting, because the élan, courage and audacity it allows for are determined by the interests of individual appropriation. Our audacity is thus very limited, because it stops as soon as this interest is satisfied. If the human being goes further than this, he has the feeling of having gone too far. This societal limitation constrains the capacity of society. In socialist society, society’s capacity will be unlimited. The notion of life, existence, society, will be measured by the objective interests of life and progress. Existence and progress will be identified with one another. Notions of conservatism, parasitism, passivity, will no longer exist. Progress will be existence itself, as in the case of matter. Matter does not exist, if it does not progress and transform itself. The same is true for the life of society. It does not exist without progress. Society’s condition of existence is progress. Immediately, progress will give élan to its capacity and to its audacity, which will be a million times greater than those of the private-property system. It will not be limited or determined by what suits individual interests. All society will be there to give confidence and reassurance. Common, society-wide thought will change the forms of life. For example, in the same time that we today need to reach the Moon, we will be able to travel distances of millions of light-years.
Today, we speak of millions of years. Tomorrow, the measure will not be the same. We will easily find ways of solving all the problems deriving from the notions of land, gravity, and atmospheric pressure. We will find a response to the essential problem: the capacity of society, organised as a single societal thought, will be able to resolve everything. There will not be, as there are today, certain people who think, certain faculties, certain universities. Universities exist insofar as a division, a separation is made. They serve the exploitation of society for the sake of capitalist profits. That is what universities serve for. Tomorrow, we will have no need for them. Progress will be common amongst everyone: audacity facing up to nature. This question is important for a training in and knowledge of Marxism. Marxist knowledge is unlimited. It does not stop at the question of social, economic and political struggles. Understanding existence gives the assurance necessary for envisaging the solution of all problems. There is no problem beyond the remit of humanity. All the problems of humanity influence one another. The more we master knowledge of history, humanity, society and matter, the more confidence we can have in addressing problems with resolution and audacity.
Even without prior preparation and knowledge in a specific field, but scientifically prepared with Marxism as our tool, with dialectics, we can address all problems. This is the essential aspect. The other is socialist audacity, drawn precisely from the objectivity of Marxism. We are not subject to nor dependent on what exists now, nor what will come in future. We are objective and our thought has no limits. The only limit is the lack of human capacity to understand more. This human capacity is also a product of social relations. That is why in socialist society, human capacity and knowledge will be the norm for all of humanity. People will have a scientific capacity superior to Marx – which does not at all affect his historical importance.
The development of history has continued and today there exist conditions that did not exist in Marx’s time. In the near future, scientific knowledge and society’s confidence will develop the capacity of society. But we are not yet living out socialism. We are still in this society. The critical spirit is an essential condition, inherent to Marxism, of its historical force, inexhaustible up to the point where there appear superior means of interpretation allowing us to understand the processes of nature. The dialectic will be one of its aspects. The critical spirit represents a constant feeling of the need for revision, analysis, observation, study, to see what effects and what conclusions arise from the development of nature and society. Marxism in itself its irreplaceable, because it is a method for understanding the history of the world.
Means of interpretation superior to Marxism will arise – not because Marxism is incorrect – but because humanity will reach some better understanding. The dialectic will be part of some superior tool. All these people who accept the existence of flying saucers do so without the impulse or the will to develop scientific understanding, but simply because they are obliged to recognise a real event for what it is. But they do not have the systematic spirit or the objectivity to make use of the understanding that they have, in the social terrain. For example, if life does exist on other planets, this means that there exist superior forms of social organisation, which do not oblige them to live as we do here, with wars. All those who accept the existence of flying saucers, have only reported them. Like someone projecting a light onto a wall and saying ‘this is a light’. They draw no conclusions.
We, on the contrary, take up these questions in order to contribute to understanding history and, consequently, to develop our audacity. The basis of historical audacity is certitude. The Vietnamese masses are a demonstration of this. It is Marxism that gives this confidence. It is very important to concern ourselves with these questions. Yet we do not have time. Certainly, we must give full attention to those problems we find before us, without thus losing sight of other questions. We are not indifferent to these. We accept that extra-terrestrial beings exist, as a conclusion of dialectical thought. This gives us confidence that we can master no matter what other phenomena that exist, without being caught off-guard. These problems do not put the dialectical method into doubt.
On the contrary, they do but confirm it. This is confirmed on every occasion. We believe that extra-terrestrial beings may exist, as well as flying saucers. This also holds, basing ourselves on the knowledge we have thanks to dialectics, with regard to the organisation of matter. There is no reason, for example, that reproduction must always take place by means of couples. There may also be self-reproduction, as is the case for the amoeba.
Why could this not also be the case for humans, in future? These beings from other planets come to observe life down here and laugh at humans, we who fight each other over who has the most cannons, cars and wealth. The possession of wealth is a distortion of human feeling by societal organisation: instead, the human sentiment is a fraternal, collective one. Possessing wealth is a degeneration of these sentiments. Why does the bourgeois want twenty cars, a hundred factories, the rank of general – why? What does that give him? Power over others? And what then? ... It does not give him any capacity to raise and develop his intelligence. On the contrary, it limits it. The bourgeois class can have no interest in or perspective of seeking objectively to develop society. It is only concerned with material goods, from which it can draw profits, and thus the perpetuation and extension of private property. This limits its understanding and prevents it from thinking. Even if the information on flying saucers is fantasist – as it most often is – the historical basis for it is correct.
Neither capitalism nor the bureaucracy in the workers’ states, nor any bourgeois thinker, can explain this. They are all at sea, overwhelmed. Those who could do so do not have the means, because they depend on the major scientific and research-institutions, which are themselves dependent on capitalism. It is necessary to try to understand these phenomena, not simply to increase our knowledge, but to extend the application of Marxism to all branches of knowledge. For example, thought. The speed of thought depends on the dominant material means. Thought is still very limited today. Tomorrow it will be infinitely more powerful, and quicker, too. When the class-struggle has been eliminated and harmony is a necessity of life, thought will have a field of operation and possibilities of development infinitely superior to those that exist today. Today, thought is very limited, from infancy onwards. To draw deeper conclusions on these questions, we must follow them attentively, interest ourselves with them, discuss them, learn about and study them. Other phenomena like that of UFOs will present themselves. A whole series of things will attract our attention. Is the development of matter in another universe similar to that here?
If it is different, what form will it take? The utilisation of matter must, certainly, take place at a superior level. Organisms are not created arbitrarily, but according to certain compositions and relations internal to matter. The organism is structured starting from inorganic matter, then taking on an organic form, and then in function of the environment in which it evolves. These beings coming from other planets with a structure similar to mankind may well originate from a process of the organisation of matter similar to that on Earth. They may also have used matter in order to take on this form. They could do so if they have mastered science, just as here we could move mountains. Mao Zedong says that we must do this with a pickaxe and a spade. But those beings do so by means of putting the mountain’s energy into action. It is possible. But it is not a problem we can resolve just now. We do not have the times or the means. Already, we can reproduce life. Certainly, this must also be true of other planets. These beings can do that. Here, we transplant hearts and kidneys, fundamental organs of the human body. But it is possible that on other planets they create life. Engels told us that already in his time it was possible to produce artificial protoplasm, this being an essential basis of the cell, and thus a basis for existence. The discussion of these questions will soon become more generalised, because it makes for the progress of humanity in its integration with nature and the universe.
Last updated on 27.12.2012