Some background on the Spectre that Haunts: Hegel

One of things one can conclude from Hegel’s background is that he was very much a man of times, in some ways the philosopher of history’s chief error whatever other obscurantism on may accuse him of or logical parsing he seems to missed,  was a belief that he too was not a reflection of his zeitgeist. In his own thought, from it’s romantic underpinnings to its ruthless defense of the Prussian state and the Bonapartist developments in France, we see the promises of the liberal revolution betray itself in his own convolutions for justifying the spirit of the current.  Whatever one makes of him, this is blind spot must be acknowledged because it is this blind spot that leads us to the beliefs that history has been ended, or even can be.  No, more than likely, key events for sentient life may even outlive humans, but that speculation aside, Hegel’s key insights about the rootedness and timeliness of a thought must be seen in his own person. In mirrors so many broken promises of liberal political philosophy in the three centuries, of which, both the German state and its failures and the US state and its failures are manifest examples. 

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About El Mono Liso

Por una civilización de la pobreza.

Posted on July 18, 2012, in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. 8 Comments.

  1. One might remember though, that Hegel did not view the end of history as the Prussian state, but instead the crucifiction of Jesus. (see: Lacoste, The Experience of the Absolute) That is not to say that I disagree with your analysis of his posture towards his contemporary society, but merely to indicate that its relation to “history” is somewhat more complex.

  2. That is the thing, for all we get it becuase of people like Zizek arguing that Hegel is so idealist inhai rationalism, he was secretly a materialist. His philosophy does only make sense in a Christian context particular after the lectures of philosophy of religion. This makes a lot of modern readings some suspect.

  3. Perhaps, yet (as you have now opened the Zizek vault), we must wonder what Christianity is proposed by, and perhaps more importantly fuels, Hegel. His “death of God” theology-of-negation certainly finds itself at odds with “traditional” readings of the religion, and seems to offer what Zizek (accurately?) calls a “Christian atheism” (The Monstrosity of Christ). I say this only to destabilize any clear notion of a “Christian Context” which might provide a ground for his philosophy.

  4. One should not confuse the death of god theology with the theology of negation, Maggee’s book makes it pretty clear this negation in god is hermetic,not atheistic.

  5. God’s existence is absolute and it includes no composition and we comprehend only the fact that He exists, not His essence. Consequently it is a false assumption to hold that He has any positive attribute… still less has He accidents which could be described by an attribute (Maimonides Guide to the Perplexed. 1:58). God is then essentially a set of negative traits. Now, Hegel is not a Jew, but it this has a lot of pull in Hermeticism. This negative G-d is “”Ein Sof” the absolute.

  6. I remain ambivalent concerning the designation of Hegel’s theology-of-negation as “atheistic,” as, the term bears some uncomfortable connotations (particularly in light of the “new atheists”), yet, there is also a particularly technical understanding of the term (a-theist), that I think is quite accurate for Hegel.

    Regarding Hermeticism, I must say that I am not particularly familiar with the thought (though your clarification was quite helpful), nonetheless, I must say that I have always viewed Hegel through a particularly Boehmian perspective, specifically Boehme’s “Six Theosophic Points,” which does not posit an entirely negative absolute, in a Maimonidean sense, but instead (following from its Kabbalistic influences) a complex self-engendering and interacting absolute, specifically, one which posits a “ground” (a concrete particular) in itself (itself being the ungrund, the ungrounded).

    This is important for Hegel because a similar understanding of the absolute, and its relation to its own concrete manifestation (Christ), can be seen. It is through the “negation” of the absolute (purely negative God) in the figure of Christ, that God can bear particularity (i.e. positive attributes)

  7. p.s. Thanks for the interesting conversation!

  8. Good counter-point.

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