Hegel, Georg Wilhelm Friedrich (1770-1831)
By Richard E. Noble
Trying to get an understanding of the German Philosophers, their lives and thought, was the basis for the movie One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest. There ain't a one of these guys who could get a psychological clearance to work on the assembly line at G.E.
Hegel was a depressive hypochondriac and had a number of bad moments dealing with suicide. He had a theory that the truest and greatest relationship that can exist between man and woman was that of brother and sister. Before we go into any great depth analyzing this theory let it be suffice to say that Hegel's sister, after a lifetime of studying and reviewing her brother's thoughts and ideas, at first went totally out of her mind, but then reconsidered and took a long walk off a short pier and drowned herself. His good friend, and poet Holderlin, described his friend Hegel as "a calm person of the intellect." Holderlin, very shortly thereafter, went totally and completely mad. Hegel had a positive propensity towards mad people. He thought basically that they expressed a point of view that, in light of the state of mankind, was not without merit. None of the biographers who I have read thus far suggest that Hegel eventually went mad himself. But I think that this may have been overlooked since he was born and raised in Germany.
In such an atmosphere who the hell would have noticed.
Heine (whoever the hell he was) says that Hegel was deliberately confusing, and that deep down inside Hegel never really wanted to be understood. In this respect, I think that Mr. Hegel was a complete success. My good buddy Bertrand Russell says that in his opinion Hegel was basically incorrect on everything. And that's good enough for me.
His big proposition was that all of human civilization was a kind of fist fight.
A big nose states a proposition, a disagreeing fist hits the big nose, a bleeding big nose then agrees to compromise.
This is about as deep as a German can get, it seems. He calls this Thesis, Antithesis, and Synthesis. Bertrand says that he sees no historical reality in this analysis. And neither do I. If anything, I see Thesis, followed by Antithesis then a reaffirmation of the original thesis but in different words, then followed by a reaffirmation of the original antithesis but in different words, an on and on and on.
For example: I am The Greatest – thesis.
No you are not – antithesis.
I am so - restatement of original thesis.
You have poop for brains - restatement of antithesis.
My father can beat up your father - restatement of original thesis.
Your mother wears paratrooper boots - more confusing restatement of original antithesis.
And so on. If there is any evidence of the evolution of an advancing Civilization, it is going to take someone a lot better than Hegel to prove it to me.