The General Linkage

Marxism, following Hegel, insists on considering nature as a whole in which things and events are linked together organically and are dependent on one another. No thing or event makes sense if isolated, as allegedly done by metaphysics, from other things and events that surround it. Martyr al-Sadr denies this allegation. Metaphysics considers the world as completely interlinked in accordance with the law of causality. The novelty introduced by the Marxist dialectic lies not in the general linkage itself but in its application to political aims.

However, two points are noteworthy in regard to the view of the theory of general linkage held by metaphysics. First, the linkage of every part of the universe to the causes, conditions and circumstances relevant to it does not mean that one cannot notice or define it in an independent manner. Second, the causal linkage among the parts of nature cannot be circular.

Here, at the close of al-Sadr's refutation of the dialectics, which was an attempt, albeit an unsuccessful one, to understand and interpret historical change and indeed to bring it about it is essential to point out that traditional Islamic philosophy as well historiography have not paid adequate attention to historical change, which is a kind of 'macro-change' that reveals itself over extended ages and eras of time. Western philosophy and science, at least since Hegel and Darwin, have been keenly cognizant of historical change and development and have tried to see beyond the immediate panorama of micro-changes of all sorts: physical, chemical, biological, social, economic, political and cultural.

Although al-Sadr insists that traditional metaphysics has not been blind to change, he himself gives no clear indication of the recognition which is due to macro-changes. One of the most significant characteristics of modem science is its attention to change that lies behind the veils of permanence in the universe. This historical awareness is now common to all the disciplines which have to deal with the past from astronomy, geology and biology to sociology, history, anthropology, and the historical study of art, technology, religion, politics, language and ideas.