Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Americans may possibly defeat the Hegelian dialectic

Because Hegel's idea of the progressiveness of history depended on folks in every generation getting off their asses and doing something, with 'something' not just meaning something political but something that in some way engages the world around them in a way above utter passivity. I think we're approaching a sort of nadir here in the U.S. where despite lots of world issues going on that our country is directly involved with people are more inclined than ever to just sit at home and unplug themselves from anything beyond the most material preoccupations, and instead of trying to in any way understand the world to just be vegetables with brains that go to work in the morning, come home, consume and sit on the couch, go to bed, and then repeat the process everyday ad infinitum. Hegel responded to critics who asserted that his ideas of history and of things like the 'world spirit' or the 'spirit of the time' were mystical by saying that, no, it was all just how accumulated human actions manifested themselves. But of course without something from beyond pushing human action there's the possibility that humanity itself will default and either no progress or reverse progress will take place, that humanity will either stagnate or go backwards to some less sophisticated form. Witness the Tea Party.  Marx had the idea that continued economic necessity powered history, but that gets us into territory that goes far beyond Hegel's belief that humanity would always be something above and beyond educated animals.

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