Monday, July 12, 2010

Heavy thoughts from the philosopher Hegel

I have been discussing, debating, what have you with a network of people on facebook today who are up in arms regarding the current conflicts between the government and the syndicates here in Panama. Personally I see these conflicts as a small example of what I believe is coming in a much bigger way in much of the first world during these tough economic times. As irrationality, desperation and unconstitutional actions on the part of both governments and citizens becomes the mode of the day...chaos and revolution are just around the corner.

One of my favorite philosophers studied way back in college was Hegel. These quotes I came across today are what Hegel might have to say on Panama’s (and maybe USA’s) current government and cultural crisis;

The State… is mind objectified. The individual mind, which, on account of its passions, its prejudices, and its blind impulses, is only partly free, subjects itself to the yoke of necessity---the opposite of freedom---in order to attain a fuller realization of itself in the freedom of the citizen. This yoke of necessity is first met with in the recognition of the rights of others, next in morality, and finally in social morality, of which the primal institution is the family. Aggregates of families form civil society, which, however, is but an imperfect form of organization compared with the State. The State is the perfect social embodiment of the idea, and stands in this stage of development for God Himself. The State, studied in itself, furnishes for our consideration constitutional law.

A peaceful revolution is also possible...when the changes required to solve the crisis are ascertained by thoughtful insight and when this insight spreads throughout the body politic. If a people can no longer accept as implicitly true what its constitution expresses to it as the truth, if its consciousness or Notion and its actuality are not at one, then the people’s spirit is torn asunder. Two things may then occur. First, the people may either by a supreme internal effort dash into fragments this law which still claims authority, or it may more quietly and slowly effect changes on the yet operative law, which is, however, no longer true morality, but which the mind has already passed beyond.

Revolutions take place in a state without the slightest violence when the insight becomes universal; institutions, somehow or other, crumble and disappear, each man agrees to give up his right. A government must, however, recognize that the time for this has come; should it, on the contrary, knowing not the truth, cling to temporary institutions, taking what — though recognized — is unessential, to be a bulwark guarding it from the essential (and the essential is what is contained in the Idea), that government will fall, along with its institutions, before the force of mind.

I for one truly hope reason and the power of the MIND overcome those who simply want to use violence and destruction in a vain attempt to get their way. That goes for both sides of the conflict...

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