Dialectic oppositions. Law of unity and struggle against oppositions

The generalization of everyday life observations, experimental facts obtained in various sciences, as well as socio-historical practice, showed that the phenomena of reality are polar in nature, that in any of them one can find opposites. In mathematics, plus and minus, exponentiation and root extraction, differentiation and integration; in physics, positive and negative charges; in mechanics, attraction and repulsion, action and reaction; in life – analysis and synthesis of chemicals, association and dissociation; in biology, assimilation and dissimilation, heredity and variability, life and death, health and disease; in the physiology of higher nervous activity, excitement and inhibition is such a cursory list of opposites discovered by science.

The discovery of contradictory, mutually exclusive, opposing tendencies in various phenomena and processes was of fundamental importance for the formation of a dialectical-materialistic world outlook, for understanding the processes of change and development.

Opposite is called such properties of objects (phenomena, processes), which in some school occupy “marginal”, extreme places. Examples of opposites: top – bottom, right – left, dry – wet, hot – cold, etc. Dialectical opposites are understood to be such parties, tendencies of one or another holistic, changing subject (phenomenon, process), which simultaneously mutually exclude and mutually presuppose each other.

Dialectical opposites are inherently united, interconnected: they complement each other, interpenetrate, interact in a complex way. The relationship between dialectical opposites is always dynamic. They are able to go from one to another, change places, etc. Their mutual change leads sooner or later to a change in the subject itself, of which they are parties.

And as a result of the destruction of their connection, they cease to be opposites in relation to each other. Thus, it is meaningless to speak separately about the dialectical opposites, outside their contradictory unity within the framework of a certain whole.

For example, an atom is a unity of its two necessary components: a positively charged nucleus and a negatively charged electron (if we talk about the simplest structure of the atom, that is, the hydrogen atom). Obviously, their unity, interconnection determine the integrity of the atom. With its destruction, both the nucleus of the atom and the electron are transformed into objects that already exist in a different way, in some kind of connections. Accordingly, they cease to be opposites by the sides of the contradictory unity of the atom.

In the collision of opposing forces, trends, there are processes of change, development, as well as in society (where it is revealed in a fairly visual form), as well as in living and inanimate nature, if the latter is considered in the process of its evolution, increasing complexity and organization. The complex, moving relationship between opposites was called the dialectical contradiction. In other words, the term “unity-and-struggle of opposites” and “dialectical contradiction” encompass the same content.

True, we must bear in mind that if in public life the struggle of opposites in the philosophical sense can be attributed to the real struggle of social groups, people, the clash of their real interests, etc., then in relation to nature, to consciousness (and in many respects to society) the word “struggle” should not be taken literally. It would be absurd to think, for example, that when solving mathematical problems, the operations of addition and subtraction, exponentiation and root extraction “struggle”, that in the process of metabolism, the processes of assimilation and dissimilation of substances, etc., struggle. Obviously, the term “struggle of opposites” in relation to all these phenomena has a special meaning, that the word “struggle” is used metaphorically and that, perhaps, it is better to use it not separately, but as part of the formula “unity-and-struggle of opposites”.

In the history of culture, there have long been concepts that recognized such polarity (the struggle of opposites), but were interpreted in the spirit of complementarity, mutual equilibrium, and finding a known balance of opposing forces. In particular, this was characteristic of the mythological consciousness and the early philosophical systems closely associated with it.

Fundamental polarities, the so-called binary oppositions (such as bottom and top, light and darkness, good and evil, right and left, female and male principles), were for mythological consciousness principles of some kind of universal “homeostasis”, that is, constantly reproducing cycles of violation and rebalancing these polarities.

The English philosopher K. Popper writes: “If we look closely at these so-called contradictory facts, we find that all the examples proposed by the dialecticians confirm only that in the world in which we live, there is sometimes a structure that can perhaps describe using the word “polarity.” An example of such a structure is the existence of positive and negative electricity. ”

But the fact is that the dialectic is not limited to fixing such polarities, but seeks to understand their “pulsation”, which gives the key to clarifying the complex, dynamic, living processes of existence, change and development of all that exists. The ratio of opposites is mobile. Strengthening or weakening (destroying) one of the parties leads to a change in its role, significance within the contradictory unity of a changing, developing object and, accordingly, affects the role and significance, the “share” of another opposition, their tense contradictory unity in general, its balance imbalance etc. In a word, a whole complex of difficult but important problems opens here.


The law of unity and struggle of opposites V. I. Lenin called the essence, the core of dialectics. This law reveals the sources, the actual causes of perpetual motion and the development of the material world. His knowledge is fundamental for understanding the dialectics of the development of nature, society and thinking, for science, for practical revolutionary activity.

Analysis of the contradictions of objective reality, the disclosure of their nature – the most important requirement of any scientific research and practical action.

1. Unity and struggle of opposites
Each of us has dealt with the most ordinary magnet more than once and knows well that its main distinguishing feature is the presence of such mutually exclusive, but inseparably connected sides, like the north and south poles. No matter how we try to separate the north pole of the magnet from the south, we will not succeed. Cut in half, into four, eight, etc. parts of the magnet will still have the same two poles.

Opposites are those internal aspects, tendencies, forces of the object, which exclude, and at the same time, assume each other. The relationship of the inseparable relationship of these parties is the unity of opposites.

The contradictory sides are enclosed in all objects and phenomena. All of them are an organic bond, the inseparable unity of opposites. Not only elementary particles, but also the atom formed from them are contradictory. At its center is a positively charged nucleus, around which negatively charged electrons move. The chemical process is the contradictory unity of the association (connection) and dissociation (separation) of atoms.

Opposites take place in living organisms. Heredity is the tendency of an organism to preserve inherited properties, and variability is its ability to produce new properties, improve, develop.
Human mental activity is characterized by opposite processes of arousal and inhibition, concentration and irradiation (distribution) of excitations in the cortex of the cerebral hemispheres of the brain.

Inconsistent aspects are inherent in the process of knowledge. A person uses such opposite and interrelated methods of research as induction and deduction, analysis and synthesis, etc.
Thus, the inconsistency of objects and phenomena of the world is universal, universal. There is no object or phenomenon in the world that would not split into opposites.

Opposites not only exclude, but also necessarily imply one another. They coexist in a single object or phenomenon and are inconceivable without each other. We have already noted the indissoluble unity of the opposite poles of a magnet. Equally inseparable assimilation and dissimilation in a living organism, analysis and synthesis – the process of cognition. Capitalist society is impossible without opposing classes.

So, we have established that objects and phenomena are the unity of opposites. What is the nature of this unity? Do opposites coexist peacefully in this unity, or do contradictions enter into battle with each other?

The development of various objects and phenomena of reality shows that the opposing sides cannot coexist peacefully in a single subject: the contradictory, mutually exclusive nature of opposites necessarily necessitates a struggle between them. They can not but conflict, not – 6 to fight the old and the new, emerging and obsolete in objects. Contradiction, the struggle of opposites and is the main source of development of matter and consciousness.

The statement that the struggle of opposites is decisive in development does not at all detract from the significance of their unity.

The unity of opposites is a necessary condition of the struggle, since the struggle takes place only where the opposite sides exist in a single object or phenomenon.

The entire experience of the development of science and the social-historical practice of people indisputably testifies that the source of development is the struggle of opposites. At the same time, it must be borne in mind that this struggle is manifested in different ways in various areas of material reality.

In the inorganic nature, the struggle (interaction) of such opposing forces as attraction and repulsion is widespread. The interaction of mechanical, electrical, nuclear and other forces of attraction and repulsion plays a huge role in the emergence and existence of atomic nuclei, atoms and molecules. The struggle of these forces, as it follows from modern cosmogonic theories, was the most important source of the origin of the solar system.

Modern astronomy has also shown that the interaction of attractive and repulsive forces is one of the important sources of the various processes that are currently taking place in outer space. In various areas of the Universe there is no absolute balance of these forces, one of them necessarily prevails. Where repulsion prevails, matter and energy dissipate, the stars die out. In the same place, where gravity takes over, matter and energy are concentrated, as a result new stars flare up. Thus, in the course of the struggle, the interaction of these opposing forces is carried out perpetual motion of matter and energy in space.

It was already noted above that contradictory processes of assimilation and dissimilation are inherent in living organisms. Their struggle, interaction and represent a specific source of development of the living. These contradictory processes cannot be in absolute equilibrium, one of them necessarily prevails. In a young organism, assimilation prevails over dissimilation, which determines its growth and development. When dissimilation prevails over assimilation, the body ages, collapses.

However, in any organism, young or old, these processes interact. Their interaction, the contradiction is life.

With the cessation of this contradiction, life ends, death occurs.

The progress of social development is also carried out on the basis of unity and struggle of opposites. Among the contradictions of social development, an especially important role is played by contradictions in material production, and, above all, between productive forces and production relations. The latter in class antagonistic societies finds its expression in the struggle of the hostile classes, which leads to a social revolution, the replacement of the old social order by the new.

So, objects and phenomena are divided into opposite sides, they represent a unity of opposites.

Opposites not only exist, but are in a state of constant contradiction, a struggle between themselves. The struggle of opposites is the inner content, the source of the development of reality.
Such is the essence of the dialectical law of the unity and struggle of opposites.

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