Aargh! Imbricate and Imbrication really are the right words.

The excellent glossary for Volume 2 of Marx’s Capital at Ed George’s readingmarx blog uses “imbrication” in the very useful entry for “cycle of capital”. As far as I know neither Marx nor Maksakovsky nor Hegel use that word and it is the sort of word I would associate with post-modernist gibberish about Derrida et al.

Nevertheless, they are the right words to describe the overlapping cycles of Commodity Capital, Money Capital and Productive Capital that are essential for understanding what Marx and Maksakovsky are on about, which is how the society we live in actually works. Oddly enough, fully understanding the “cycle of capital” is essential for reading Maksakovsky’s “The Capitalist Cycle”.

I will write more on those cycles later when recommending that and other items from the two glossaries and many, many chapter summaries in pdf files there. Meanwhile this is to provide some “constructive criticism” that when words like that are used in a glossary for Marx’s capital, they should also be given separate glossary entries of their own.

Otherwise such words can distract people like me in the manner thoroughly illustrated below.

The best definition is provided by Google images where thousands of pictures are worth millions of words.

Note especially the pictures of overlapping roof tiles, fish scales, bird feathers, pebbles and sedimentary layers.

Definition of imbricate in English:



[with object]

Pronunciation /ˈɪmbrɪkeɪt/

usually as adjective imbricated

Zoology Botany

    1Arrange (scales, sepals, plates, etc.) so that they overlap like roof tiles.

    ‘these moulds have spherical bodies composed of imbricated triangular plates’

        1.1usually as adjective imbricatingno object Overlap.

        ‘a coating of imbricating scales’


Pronunciation /ˈɪmbrɪkət/

Botany Zoology

    (of scales, sepals, plates, etc.) having adjacent edges overlapping.

    Compare with valvate


Early 17th century (in the sense ‘shaped like a pantile’): from Latin imbricat-, ‘covered with roof tiles’, from the verb imbricare, from imbrex, imbric- ‘roof tile’ (from imber ‘shower of rain’).





verb overlap

    cover enfold envelop fold overlie override ride shingle

While looking it up in offline copy of Wikipedia on my phone (Android software Aard2) I somehow got to “Imprication d’ensembles” and then to “Nested Sets“.

Now “nested sets” are indeed an instance of the sort of overlapping described by “imbrication” and that page does have a picture that was in the Google images display.

Since “everything flows” and indeed rather like the illustration of tree traversal and since I happen to have once been keen on SQL tricks like that for tree traversal and am currently thinking about how to represent quivers and categories with WordPress Categories and Tags (and in particular how to do hypertext of Hegel’s System and the Leningrad textbook of Marxist Philosophy without just resorting to a tree outline), well naturally I got VERY distracted…

And I am STILL distracted… even if it ends up needing complex SQL and other programming.

So basically, help save others from disappearing into wikispace by adding glossary definitions for any words or phrases that are unfamiliar ESPECIALLY if they are used in glossary definitions.

One of the most useful ways readers of Maksakovsky can help others is by requesting definitions and explanations in the sections that will be provided for that here when I get past being distracted. I will include selections from the above glossaries together with additional comments (and links to pingback so Ed George can see them at readingmarx blog).

BTW Ed George mentioned that he has postponed completing the rest of Volume 3 (and going on to Grundrisse) in order to study Anwar Shaikh’s 2016 book and course on Capitalism. I cannot disagree and am in fact following his lead.

Nevertheless, if he has been preparing glossary entries while writing the 36 chapter summaries for Volume 3 that he has already done, I hope he can publish an interim draft glossary for those. Doing so will help with the work here as those 36 chapters cover pretty well everything in remaining in Capital directly relevant for Maksakovsky. Should result in some possibly useful feedback for his own work. No need to polish it – just dump what has already been done to blog as rough draft.

Now, just to avoid more distraction. The basic idea I must stop thinking about and others should not bother reading about is now dumped below. Stop reading if you have not done so already.

Hegel’s System might be represented as a quiver instead of a nested tree by providing a pair of WordPress Category trees for “source” (ceasing) and “target” (becoming) of each arrow. The objects of the category are arrows pointing from and to themselves so represented in both trees. WordPress allows multiple Category tree leaves attached to one post, so each gets a “Concept Lattice” pair of sets of intension and extension links. The trees just have a top “Source” and “Target” respectively and a single layer of leaves/atoms corresponding to each object. The Hom sets of the category are each represented by sets of posts that are each assigned to a single “Source” and “Target” (set). Hopefully only the quiver is needed but if necessary the full category can be provided by posts that link pairs of arrows to their product, associatively and transitively.

Non-post WordPress pages and sub-pages provide access via menu entries that display “source” and “target”.

RSS feeds would then provide meaningful slices, leaving the tags system for other purposes.

Instead of the usual nested triads, it should be possible to show the full (non-modular) pentad with Abstract Universal covering chaos of Individuals, mediated by Particulars (intensional sets of attributes under the Universal that have as their extension sets of Individuals, thus ascending to the concrete with a dialectical opposition between becoming and ceasing all enclosing a single “sphere” and leading to the next layer.

No I don’t know what I am talking about either. But now I have hopefully got it out of my head and am no longer imbricated in it.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s