Growth comes only through continuous effort and struggle, says Napoleon Hill. It is accepted, yet, struggle for what? What am I willing to struggle for? It seems the answer changes according to the circumstances in which you are. You can struggle for existence, more fair life, or the life taken away from you. You can be extinct or existing, bourgeoisie or proletariat, saved, or drowned. There is no state between them. You are in the supreme or the subordinate part in one way or another.
For Darwin who accounts for the adaptations, we see everywhere and every part of the organic world by materialistic ideas, life itself is briefly the struggle for existence. This struggle can be between the same species, different species, or against the physical conditions. Yet the most severe one is between the individuals of the same species since they require the same sources and territories. The survival of any individual depends on the adaptation of that individual to the environment. Yes, maybe man can adopt the organic beings according to his own uses, his own interests, yet, natural selection is power in readiness for action and it is superior to man’s feeble efforts.
Many different relations and checks come into play, some being most potent but all concurring in determining the number and the existence of the species. For a plant these checks can be moisture or drought, for a prey, they can be competitors or hunters, for another organic being, they even can be the number of the fellow. A large stock of individuals of the same species, relatively to the number of its enemies is absolutely necessary for its preservation. In any way, all organic beings have the same aim: to increase in number. This tendency to increase in the number which makes the struggle inevitable is ceased at some point. Heavy destructions inevitably fall either on young or old, during each generation, or by the time intervals. It even reaches the point of extinction: gradually getting rarer and rarer and finally disappear. Now there is a survivor.
Nature is not the only place where the struggle for existence is in the stage. From the social aspect, it converts itself into a class struggle. In order to understand more clearly Marx and Engel, the action of natural selection and nature’s fight for survival should be extended to human societies. The oppressor and the oppressed… Two distinct and constant groups of yesterday and today. In contrary to the natural selection in the ideas of Darwin, there is only one but strict check here: how much money you have.
Like in the ideas of Darwinism, the struggle of economically subordinate classes against economically dominant classes manifest itself in many forms throughout history: freeman and slave, patrician and plebian, lord and serf. Both of these two species are exposed to changes and now, come across as bourgeoises society that has sprouted from the ruins of feudal society and proletarians who increase the number of members of it day by day. Marx shows every social system is particularly adapted to its conditions: Capitalism was natural under the conditions of the nineteenth century, just as feudalism was in the Middle Ages, and as Socialism will be in the coming age.
According to Marx the bourgeoise, the product of a long journey, brings along the political and social changes with this journey. It shapes politics and society in accordance with its own interests so that solid melts into air. There remains a state which looks out for the just the common affairs of the bourgeoisie and a society which has no other nexus than naked self-interest, which reduces the family relation to a mere money relation, which considers the personal worth in the exchange value, which isn’t aware of the religious-moral values drowned by the bourgeoises and whose lawyers, priests, poets converted into paid wage-laborers.
Darwin says the struggle between the same species is harsher. By the development in the industry, the bourgeoisie finds itself in a battle and regards more production as a solution. Also, the working class is in a different battle. They try to sell their labor to employers. Of course, any species must be exposed to destruction so for the bourgeoisie, the factor would bring that kind of destruction is the products of bourgeoises itself: it is giving birth to its own grave-diggers. The bourgeois view, which sees the world as one big market for exchange, is conquering the globe, forcing everyone everywhere, on the pain of extinction, to adopt the capitalist mode of production. This epidemic of over-production, too much civilization, and too much industry pave the way for extensive and destructive crises because these developments create a new class: the working class. Proletarians are those who will wield weapons forged by the bourgeois, who live only as long as they find work and find work only as long as their labor increases the capital.
Due to work that has lost all individual character and all charm since there must be overproduction to survive in this fight, the workman becomes an appendage of the machine. This situation deprives human beings of this essential source of self-worth and identity. The worker approaches work only as a means of survival and gains none of the other personal satisfactions of work because the products of his labor do not belong to him. They become not only the slaves of the bourgeois class, they are daily and hourly enslaved by the machines by the over-lookers. They sell their labor to the bourgeoisie; are regarded as goods and exposed to every article of commerce. Since less skill is required, all people become instruments of labor.
In contrast to Darwinism, diversity isn’t wanted. This struggle must be eradicated. For Marx and Engel, there is a solution to eradicate this rooted opposition between classes: the proletarian movement which is self-conscious, independent movement of the immense majority. The working class will realize their common fate, and begin to engage in a collective effort to protect their economic interests against the bourgeoisie. The equality among men can be carried out only by destroying all previous securities for and insurance of individual property- private ownership. Actually, it can be supported by the Darwinist idea that the more in number the more the chance to survive yet it contradicts with the again another Darwinist idea that this struggle is unavoidable and is a natural law for the entire organic world. Not only is this struggle natural, but it is also useful and beneficial. Thus the Socialists prove that different from the animal world, the competitive struggle existing between men does not bring forth the best and most qualified, but destroys many strong and healthy ones because of their poverty, while those that are rich, even if weak and sick, survive progress had been increasing as living beings evolved.
Like in Marxism, there are two distinct groups: saved and drowned in the camp Primo Levi describes in his book, If this is a man?. Why this title was chosen can be understood more clearly when it is read. It compels the person to question humanity, being human, and what these notions mean. The holocaust the world witnessed is told by one of the survivors.
Differently from Marxism but like in Darwinism, in which side (saved or drowned) you will be determined by how you are cunning, able to steal, able to manipulate the people, or maybe by any method discovered by you and kept as a secret forever. Like in Darwinism, (there are many relations and checks) the paths for survival are many, improbable and difficult. All is fair in war, in the struggle for being saved. There is no criminal or madmen. These notions remain outside of the camp. Insanity and deceitful bestiality, that all you need to gain the battle of survival. There is no one to extend a helping hand, on the contrary, someone will knock you aside. The one who is frightening is a candidate for survival, he will be esteemed and respected. And the destruction comes: Whosoever doesn’t know how to become an organisator, combinator or prominent is doomed to be a Musselman. Whosoever has no method to survive will mix into the anonymous flood. The flood which consists of the bone mass with tattoos and with no story. Levi says “beast against other beasts”. This dehumanization and being treated like an animal is one of the main themes in the book.
Nobody can truly understand the precise reason behind this formation. What did Hitler think? Primo Levi who can come out alive from the camp established by Nazis, defines this camp as gigantic and as a social experiment. Maybe he tried to show how human nature can be evil as much as you can’t even predict. Or maybe Hitler read so much Darwin so that he chose that “It is good thus to try in our imagination to give any form some advantage over another” as a motto..“When we reflect on this struggle we may console ourselves with the full belief, that the war of nature isn’t incessant that no fear is felt that death is generally prompt and that the vigorous the healthy and the happy survive and multiply.” Either this or that way, the healthy and the happy survive and multiply is verified by what Levi has told.
Yes, the struggle of life is with us all the time. It is what our motivation is, what forms us, how we live, and the rest. It is why we are insisting on living, why we don’t choose to leave this world yet although we aren’t the one who wants to be here. So what remains to do? Find your motivation, find your path to take, be whatever you want but be the best, please.