Earlier I’d explored the relationship of Soros to Hagel
Since then, I’ve been up to my prefrontal lobes in what is called “Philosophy” sorting out bits.
I’ve come to several conclusions, despite being nowhere near done.
1) Philosophy is a mess. Full of pompous asses pontificating (in some cases literally) from uncertain premises via illogical “logic” to untenable conclusions who’s main purpose seems to be affecting intellectual skill beyond their means.
2) It is largely couched in “code words”, each of which requires you read some other pompous assholes pontifications AND the critiques of it, before you can know what the local meaning of that word is, frequently the word is the name of a person, and than THAT “philosophy” defines itself in terms of earlier “philosophies” (via their code words and names) or the negation (in whole or in part) of those predecessors often predeceased… in the end, only to find another pile of steaming poo.
3) Substantially none of it is reality based, nor has any attempt at testable assumptions, reason, or conclusions. (They have one very special category of ‘philosophy’ that attempts to have a connection to observable reality… it gets it’s own special name… Existentialism, yet even it has no firm definition: “There has never been general agreement on the definition of existentialism.”)
Existentialism (/ɛɡzɪˈstɛnʃəlɪzəm/) is a term applied to the work of certain late-19th- and 20th-century European philosophers who, despite profound doctrinal differences, shared the belief that philosophical thinking begins with the human subject—not merely the thinking subject, but the acting, feeling, living human individual. While the predominant value of existentialist thought is commonly acknowledged to be freedom, its primary virtue is authenticity. In the view of the existentialist, the individual’s starting point is characterized by what has been called “the existential attitude”, or a sense of disorientation and confusion in the face of an apparently meaningless or absurd world. Many existentialists have also regarded traditional systematic or academic philosophies, in both style and content, as too abstract and remote from concrete human experience
There are some others, maybe related, like “realism” and other isms… to be explored later. Key point here is that Hegel is NOT an Existentialist… that bit about freedom and authenticity need not apply…
4) Much of the early work (but not the very early stuff like Plato) was done in an era, and by people, that were strongly searching for ways to justify God, prove God, or in some other way make a proof of religion. This meant they were often not nearly as concerned with reality as with proving the existence of that for which there is no physical evidence… Needless to say, much of it revolves around word games un-connected to things like physical observables, evidence, or human reality.
At some future date, when a bit further down that road, I’ll try to map out the worst potholes in it… For now:
My Starting Point
I’ve settled on an anchor for MY philosophy. Much like the “I think, therefor I am”, but IMHO a bit better. Does a ‘possum not exist because it does not think? Or does it exist less because of reduced thinking? At the same time, “I am therefor I am” seems a bit tepid.
“I sense, therefor I am. -E.M.Smith”
Things, people, animals which have senses can detect their own existence. Be they ‘possums, people, or robots. There is, to some level or degree, a sense of self; so they know that they are.
Does a rock exist? I would assert it does, but not due to sensing itself, due to others sensing it. A corollary to my starting point. Once I know I exist, I can start to sense or infer the existence of others and of things.
That’s about as far as I got down that road today. I’ll likely be gluing bits onto that for a few more years…
Now a whole bunch of philosophers spend a great deal of ‘reason’ trying to decide if there IS a single reality. There’s whole books about it, and lots of non-reality based “philosophies”. To them, I have one “razor”:
Go lay across some working rail road tracks. Ponder the meaning of reality, and, with all your might, believe there are no trains. Since there is no reality, and it is only the conception of your mind that causes them to exist, cause them not to exist. We’ll all wait…
Now the truly bright will recognize the existence of a profound absolute reality right out the gate, not even needing to go visit the tracks. The lesser lights, but able to learn, will come to that realization as the rail they are using for a pillow slowly causes a headache and as the sun crisps their skin (or the rain / snow causes shivers) and they will fairly quickly acknowledge that “Reality just is. -E.M.Smith”.
The most beautiful part? After an hour or two, those who are convinced there is NO absolute reality will have exited the conversation and in short order the world will be filled with folks who recognize that all exploration of those non-reality philosophies are, quite literally, a dead end…
Such is the power of “I sense, therefor I am! -E.M.Smith”
There was a comment in tips that sent me off to a link to a story with a reference to a song in it. (Almost as bad as the indirections in philosophy ;-) h/t Jeff. Indirect h/t to “Another Ian”:
@ Another Ian says:
15 October 2016 at 9:04 am
A link within your link had a really interesting article (as well as the author’s “counter article”), about Trump’s rise and red vs. blue:
Now in that link, you find a bit of an epic rant, including film references and photos.
I’m going to explain the Donald Trump phenomenon in three movies. And then some text.
There’s this universal shorthand that epic adventure movies use to tell the good guys from the bad. The good guys are simple folk from the countryside …
… while the bad guys are decadent assholes who live in the city and wear stupid clothes:
Much of the rest of this posting is pointing to the philosophical basis of that division…
At the bottom is a photo snap from a song.
Well, that meant I just had to listen to the song:
Which of course got me thinking about philosophy and Hegel…
I’m sure it did the same for you ;-)
Oh, gee, to talk about those of us who follow my ‘school of philosophy’ I need a name. Smithians doesn’t cut it, that could be anything as Smiths are everywhere… Since I base it in the senses, I suppose well have to take the risk of confusion (hey, everyone else in Philosophy is fine with confusion…) and call it Sensesalism. Though I suppose Sensationalism ought to be an accepted synonym given how people will be…
So us Sensesalists will be in touch with that tune. We didn’t start any of these fires, yet here we are, pissing on them as fast as we can. (Beer! Beer here! I need more BEER! It’s a fire I tell ya’!)
But what has this to do with Hegel?
Higher up, we had Another Ian with:
Wow! The link at
That has a long list of comments basically extolling the Individual and Self Reliant country person. Now think of that “movies” link and his emphasis on the city vs country people. Now think of that reality based existential senesesalist…
Now generally, I hate Hagel. But one thing he does is close to my “empty space analysis”. He takes a thesis, looks at the opposite, and then expects a synthesis to arise that raises everything to a new level. (Me? I know that as often as not, one of the two wins and the other is crap… no synthesis needed, though sometimes it happens. See those non-realists on the railroad tracks…) So applying the Hegel method to my love of individualism: the opposite of an individualist and self reliant person is a Statist. We are all cogs of the State. Gee, we end up at one of the Hegelian beliefs…
So Hagel essentially says that The State is the highest form of completion of society and it’s just fine and dandy that they crush and absorb individuals, it’s for their own good and things will be better in the end. Yes, a horridly gross generalization and slightly warping some bits, but then again, folks like his student, Marx, did reach that same conclusion and we’ve seen what the end game there was. (Or maybe not… like a zombie, it rises again from the grave… this time here in the U.S.A….)
But in fact, Hagel has been used to justify all sorts of oppressive regimes / States from the Left Hegelian Wing (Marxism) to the Right Hegelian Wing (still a Statist Socialist side, but more ‘right’ of Marx – Fascism) along with Nazism and the preceding German rulers along with various Kings and others. Now, with a resume like that, I think you can start to see why I find Hagel a bit of a Royal PITA.
Which leads to:
The Marxist / Hegelian doctrine would expect a ‘reactionary’ force to form against The State as it seizes power over the individual. In Marxist doctrine, that leads to the final rise of The State as a joyous “synthesis” in a final Global Socialism.
In my opinion, it just will result in a conflict between rabid Central Authority and The Individual as Rebel. Hey, it has so far in all of human history, so I don’t see much reason for that to change now. (Oddly, Hegel is part of a Historicism school that thinks things are tied to history, yet somehow he doesn’t learn from history… go figure.)
Which leads to my view of revolutions as being a ‘cooperating anarchy of fiefdoms’. Folks of common need and common goals acting together as convenient for that common goal, while respecting the right of each to be different. Individualists are like that.
Do we hear echos of that now?
The Central Authoritarian Hegel vs Individual Liberty
The unfortunate thing is that I doubt 1 in 1000 has a clue that we have, yet again, the influence of Hegel, in the form of those Democrats advocating for ever larger Central Government and ever more Central Authority, and the “country folks” who are in favor of individual responsibility and authority; neither side realizing the heavy hand of Hegel as their mortgage… (Mort dead gage hand…)
Hagel justifies the “at any cost” actions of the Dimocrats. Hagel justifies the State Supremacy. It is all Hegel all the way.
The Enlightenment was based on different ideas. It gave us the French Revolution and the American Revolution. An age of individual liberties and individual responsibilities. Limited Government and freedoms spread widely.
We are once again in a struggle between the forces of Central Authority State vs Individual Liberty.
Thus has it always been, thus shall it ever be.
So our great experiment in Individualism is at risk, attacked by Left Hegels and Right Hegels and all the little Hegels… How much longer will it last? When will the forces of evil and empire win? I don’t know how long we have, who does.
But I do know that Hegel was, and is, quite wrong. There is an absolute reality. Virtue lives in the individual. The State is an imperfect creation of man, and far less moral or virtuous than ordinary people. Individuals matter, the State not so much.