29 January 2014

Disjointed thoughts on first grappling with Hegel

  • If I understand what I've read so far right - and that's a big motorscootin' if - Hegel argues that the objective and the subjective form a dialectical unity (as compared to the idea that the subjective is a more-or-less imperfect copy of the objective, as mechanical materialism would have it; or that the objective is only an agreement between subjectivities, as Scientology and other wacky New Age beliefs would have it). Doesn't that make him a non-dualist in precisely the same way that Advaita Vedanta, Zen Buddhism, Sufism and Chaos Marxism would recognize? I really hope I've got that right.
  • Karl Marx said very clearly that the proletariat would become fit to be the ruling class during the struggle to become the ruling class. The subject of action becomes its object and transforms itself. And yet, actually-existing revolutionary socialists seem to believe in one of the two one-sided, undialectical narratives set forth in this article - either they think that the personal has nothing to do with the political (like Corin Redgrave saying "If Gerry Healey is a rapist, then we need more rapists!") or thinking they're the same thing (viz. "callout culture"). Personal change outside the political struggle is just neoliberal self-fashioning, the ego changing itself into more efficient fuel to be burned in capitalism's engines. But if you don't change as a person via the struggle, and for the better, then you by God have a problem, and you're probably on the wrong track politically.
  • I'm thinking of writing a book entitled Read This When You're Depressed: Self-Help For Revolutionaries. Instead of sappy New Age affirmations which build up your ego, it would remind you just how far you are from a special and unique snowflake. Look: if all the above is true, the Universe is a hologram; "as above so below", or in other words, the whole is reflected in the part. Therefore you are as you are precisely because the Universe is as it is, and there could be no other way. "Free choice'', clinical depression and various other psychological states and stations must exist somewhere in this universe - just like, under capitalism, grinding poverty must exist somewhere. So why shouldn't it be you? It certainly doesn't mean you're bad or inadequate - you feel bad and inadequate because the system requires some people to feel bad and inadequate. Once you understand this you can stop blaming yourself, because your Self is an illusion caused by the necessity of living in the $2.99 Material World.