Dialectics and Present Bias: Hegel as introduction to Systems Theory
This is an idea that I may turn into a paper after I finish five thousand other things I am doing; however, this is something that occurs to me a lot. As a Hegelian Socialist, dialectical thinking allows one to see movements through the tension within systems. To hope for sublation, but realize that there is a point of decision related to any event and that event plays out in processes through history. This is not hard science, but it rhymes so to speak. When Marx said, “the point is not to understand the world, but to change it,” Marx understood this in a Hegelian conception of history. The reason why the world could be changed is that we now how an advanced enough historical framework to really leap through it.
Yet this is where I think analytics and dialectics, as methodologies of logic, are necessary but not sufficient. To understand the rational order of human history, we must also understand the rationality of human irrationality. So understanding instrumentally various limits to our “natural” way of thinking is crucial to moving foward. To make the world not what it is, one must actually know what the world is. This is why ruthless SELF critique is necessary.
THis brings me to the left actually incorporating psychological baises into our own methodology explicitly: to use the instrumental reasoning against itself. This is not just a tactic, but also a theoretical proposition.
For example, dialectics alsos one to move forward: it is both empirical and rational–it deals with ideas as structured in the world. I have said before that scientific methodology since the 20th century is in many ways a meta-dialectic between empirical (inductive, abductic lopic), and rational (deductive) logic. A dialectic that took account of innate tendencies but not assume they were eternal is another positive move.
For example, the idea that present bias will always be with us is, itself, a statement of present bias. One must acknowledge that such a thing exists, but also acknowledege that there is always a tension between is and ought, between want and should. It is not a simple opposition but a spiral: to see how things can be manifested rationally, the first step to admit that things are not rational for most people. It that itself is this irrationality, as a economist I don’t agree with stated, is actually rational at a higher level. We must try to understand the meta-rationality of systems if these are to be undone.