warning: sporadically I post these warnings. These are random thoughts that should encourage further research. I can’t be bothered to make my thoughts formatted and all that. I just think of it as bullshitting and experimental. Not an expert on Hegel or anything; some of it is made up.
Some stuff on Hegel I’ve been reading recently:
- Kojeve’s Introduction to the Reading of Hegel
- Emmanuel Renault, Dewey’s Relations to Hegel
- H. G. Townsend, The Pragmatism of Peirce and Hegel
- Longuenesse, Hegels Critique of Metaphysics
For a while I had a blog and I finished it after reading Hegel because of reasons. Regardless, looking back the blog turned out to be a bum ass version of the Nietzschean return. Meaning that within the context of Hegel, I just reached a similar conclusion to Nietzsche. Which is surprising because I never really like Nietzsche.
I looked up the overperson online and where we differ is that I associated Hegel’s wise man as Socratic rather than Nietzschean.
Hegel’s Wise Man- Hegel is writing philosophy and he does a sort of Cartesian meditation. But rather than focus on the Cartesian subject (the “I”), Hegel focuses on the second part, the method of meditation.
Hegel studied the methods of various philosophers, studying various systems of understanding, interpretation and morality (among other stuff, these people were well educated). What he decided to focus on was not their individual conclusions but by which “action” or “event” did we arrive at conclusions.
What Hegel does then is. This dude is pretty ambitious but also a lot smart people say he’s right. He’s like an academic Buddha and pretty psychedelic. Hegel shrinks himself and then he goes inside all these different thinkers and examines their thought process. It’s like a Magic School Bus episode but with a lot more German words.
He ends by saying it’s all bullshit but that there’s wisdom within the bullshit. And that a “wise person” is able to discern the wisdom.
Obviously here is where Nietzsche defines the wise person as the overperson. Although, me being an admirer of Socrates, I thought Hegel was thinking about Socrates and concluded that the answer to Hegel’s wise man is within Plato’s Republic and precisely within the egoism/humility of Socrates as a practitioner of the dialectic. And it wasn’t like I was jumping to conclusion, Hegel mentions precisely dialectic as a source of truth.
This is where I realized I had confused Nietzsche’s mad man with the overperson for a long time. Nietzsche’s mad man is modeled after Diogenes. Diogenes was called a Socrates gone mad. Thus the dialectical connection. But Nietzsche hated Socrates. Not sure what the drama was about but Nietzsche’s response to Hegel was the overperson.
Overperson — The overperson is someone who has gone above and beyond the ethical and spiritual reasoning of the common person.
One interpretation — The common person revolves around the Sun. The overperson can break out of orbit and create it’s own system of perpetual power just from sheer Will. In this new orbit, the overperson is a free and sovereign citizen at last. Who’s going to join them? Nietzsche may have been influenced by Max Stirner’s The Ego and Its Own, also.
To recap — Philosophy has always been after the context or situation needed to determine Why we exist. Why are we here? Throughout its history, philosophers offered various answers to various questions that aimed to address the topic of existential questions. Hegel, using the 2 millennia-plus buildup of all these systems of processing conclusions, used words to describe the system, the one system, that hosted all others. The ultimate system.
Hegel called this system the Spirit. “Spirit” is related to sprite, like the drink. So shakeup a soda and open it up and it comes gushing out. That’s the Spirit. It’s a force, an explosion, a pushing forward.
This explosion that was probably set off by the big bang followed the path of least resistance if we are to play science. And here we are. Somehow the Spirit moved itself in such a way that it finds itself in this particular motion.
The Spirit is motion. It’s constantly moving. As a species, our biological response was a system that processed information in such a way that the information we processed was part of our response.
Meaning animals that are less conscious of a mental “I” know to run when certain triggers go off. Humans, however, can “see” future possibilities within the action before the action takes place. This is very controversial.
Humans use this “foresight,” ability to see the future, as a factor into their decision making.
Who is making the observation? Biologically the moving mental “I” that humans have can be defined on this side of things (rather than behind the scene science stuff), we can define it as an ego.
Nietzsche uses the Will to Power in a similar way, maybe. Regardless, the observation being made by the same reference that will eventually talk and make statements is the point of the equation where the ego defines itself.
The foresight, or ego, is made up of what Hegel (and I think it can be traced to Descartes) considered ingrained, natural expectation. For example, the eyes expect to receive light waves. The reception has to be created before anything can be received. So once you’re in mental process, you’re already within a system being processed.
I trace this ability to rhythm. It’s mostly a rhythmic thing where a reference is calibrated for objectivity and from there, we can create various rhythms that keep up with Reality. At anytime you can drop the rhythm and continue a different one, but people may not understand you if you’re beating off to your own drummer. Maybe this is Nietzsche overperson. That creates their own rhythm out of nothing. This part confuses me. Not really sure what the transition is from common person to overcoming the common person.
But this is where Socrates fits so nicely. Because Socrates doesn’t provide any particular rhythm of his own. Or rather, he rhythm doesn’t start expecting a reception. His rhythm starts with being receptive and he goes from there. Thus the transition is a natural evolution. This insidious bastard gets inside your veins and then all of sudden your beating off to this drummer you never heard of before.
Why?- Hegel, after studying all the methods, came to the conclusion that all conclusions are bullshit but that humans are intimately and necessarily tied to their nature. Humans being “tied” to their nature is interpreted as work. All humans work, some humans find freedom in their work. Dialectic is a type of work that produces conclusions and conclusions vary in quality. It’s like wine tasting.
Hegel, however, gives primacy to the subject. You. Which is why dialectic is important. It allows us to be receptive to nature.
However, because of memories and our beliefs systems, sometimes we become diseased with dogma. When we practice dialectic, we find truths, identities, syllogisms. We must not get attached to what we find that we cannot make use of to make progress. Getting attached to something that is not progressive is precisely the dangers of dogma. If dogma can be re-tested and found to be progressive still, then it can be used. But if it can’t be used, it should be discarded.
Is it dogmatic to be anti-dogmatic? The thing with dogma is that it doesn’t adhere to reason. That shouldn’t be the only reason to be anti-dogmatic. To be anti-dogmatic means to be receptive to consideration. Empathy and compassion where your ego says that there shouldn’t be any empathy or compassion is anti-dogmatic.
I don’t know where to go from here. Hegel’s Spirit was vindicated when Darwin’s theory of evolution followed a similar framework for biological unraveling.
In conclusion: Hegel doesn’t start with the Cartesian “I.” Rather, Hegel starts with an unintelligible “I” that is shaped and re-modded by the various methods it finds itself in. Somehow the “I” plays a role in making itself intelligible, at least to itself. But the “I” comes from and is born from society. The swarm is the platform for individuation.
The “Wise Man” tries to elevate the platform for greater individuation. This is a paradox. The “wise man” is individuation. Why does the “wise man” want to elevate society? The paradox is solved because Hegel’s “wise man” is fueled not just ego, but desire. And the ultimate desire for intellect is recognition. Does the “wise man” want to build a mirror out of people to see themselves in it? Not necessarily. Not if the “wise man” within the dialectic is herself a reflection of society. Thus it’s an infinite reflection.
I ended up understanding the “wise man” as the citizen. What makes the “wise man” qualitatively wise is that the “man” part is defined by a love for the community.
After Hegel, we have post-industrial war crimes and famines, genocides. Mental diseases regarded as criminal, foreign countries seen as necessarily evil. What possible transformation awaits?