of World War I, Lenin (1870-1924) studied dialectics. Dialectics is:
1. a summary of methods of knowledge. Hence, we need to continuously update these by following the works of the most outstanding philosophers-scientists of our time.
2. a resume of the most general relationships in the Universe. Again, we need to continuously update these in regard to our expanding horizon of knowledge.
Basing himself on Hegel, Lenin isolated the following elements of dialectics:
Investigate an object in itself, following its own development, not substituting for this analogies, other examples, digressions, in other words: not substituting for the object under investigation another subject matter. "Hic Rhodus, hic saltus!" was the slogan of Hegel.
Grasp the entire spectrum of relationships of a given thing to others.
Observe development of the object itself, its own inner life, its own movement and spread into different areas.
Grasp inner contradictory aspects and tendencies of the thing.
See a thing as a sum and unity of opposites, of contradictory tendencies.
Observe the struggle and development of the contradictory tendencies inside the object.
Use both analysis and synthesis - split the whole into parts, and assemble together parts into a whole. Knowledge is a kind of a human constructor.
The relationships of each thing are not only specific and concrete, but are also general and universal. Each thing, or a process, is related to another thing, or a process.
In each thing there is not only "a unity of opposites", but some of these qualities (or properties, tendencies, etc.) passes into other, sometimes into their opposite!
Knowledge is an endless process of discovery, or opening, of new aspects of a thing. Each thing is infinite and fractal in nature.
The process of knowledge passes from surface of a thing, its phenomenal appearance, to the essence of the thing, its inner law and structure, and from one essence to another one, still deeper.
The process of knowledge goes from co-existence of qualities to causality, i.e. one quality being the cause of another one, and from one form of inter-relationship to another one, still deeper.
At each new stage of development of a thing certain qualities, present at the lower stage, appear again, in a changed form.
In development of a thing, we see a return to a seemingly old structure, i.e. "a negation of the negation". One example: the process of Restoration in any political revolution.
There is a struggle between form and content. There is a shedding off of the old form as required by the content, injecting a new content into the old form, and the old content taking up a new form. One example of this is how knowledge was done: first, in a poetic form, then in a form of dialogues, then in a lecture, monologue form.
- There is a transition from quality into quantity and visa versa.
Lenin's summary of dialectics can be read here.