Hagel – A Song Sung Low

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”

But that’s not what I came here to talk about today

The Impetus

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.

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About E.M.Smith

A technical managerial sort interested in things from Stonehenge to computer science. My present "hot buttons' are the mythology of Climate Change and ancient metrology; but things change...
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28 Responses to Hagel – A Song Sung Low

  1. pg sharrow says:

    A young man I know says: “Facts just are”. About as good a description of the real world as it gets! A philosophy for for REAL people in a real world.

    Bright people create complicated explanations, genius simplifies…pg

  2. JP Miller says:

    I think, therefore I am is good, but begs the meaning of think. It is difficult to define think unambiguously. This, I agree it is not entirely helpful as a test of self-existence.

    I sense, therefore I am is better because sense is easier to define in ways that are unambiguous.

    I prefer, “I remember, therefore I am.” It assumes sensing because one cannot remember if one does not sense (after all, what would one then be remembering?). But, sensing is possible without remembering. I can test an entity’s ability to sense by its reaction to stimuli. But, if an entity can only sense and not remember, is it a sentient being? How can it know it exists?

    Imagine your ability to remember shortens… to a year, everything before unrecallable. Then, to a month, then a week, a day, an hour, a second, a millisecond…then “poof,” you don’t exist except as an automaton. At some point, lack of memory = being insentient.

    Some philosophy is nonsense (e.g., existentialism). Some philosophy is very useful (e.g., Karl Popper’s epistemology). Then, here are social and political philosophers whose thinking is very helpful: e.g., Jeremy Bentham, Adam Smith. These thinkers are philosophers because they take what most anyone knows about the human condition and draw out broad conclusions on what makes for civil society. That differs from scientists who would test ideas with data.

    Good luck in your philosophical quest. If you want to read real mind-numbing philosophical nonsense that has been all the rage among progressive thinkers, try, “A Theory of Justice” by John Rawls. There is an idea that has some value at the core of this turgid tome, which could be summarized in a few hundred words or less. See if you can get through the first 50 pages with your brain intact. It’s like reading “Ulysses” by James Joyce, but not half as…. well… wait for it… sensible.

  3. beththeserf says:

    Enjoyed your assessment of Hegel a,reality and the state,.
    From my History’s Chequered History, – on Hegel.

    Hegel’s influence and the development of his philosophy began with his
    call to Berlin in 1818, when he was appointed official philosopher of Prussia
    in the feudal restoration after the Napoleonic Wars. His discovery of a law
    of destiny operating within history and the glorification of the great man in
    history as its instrument, is realized in the ‘now,’ each new stage surpassing
    each past stage in perfection.

    As the servant of Frederick William’s totalitarian State, Hegel developed
    a process of argument called the dialectic, a debasement of reason that
    contemporary philosopher, Schopenhaur described as corrupting a whole
    generation. (P P32). By means of this dialectical process Hegel was able to
    twist arguments for freedom of thought and the concept of ‘liberty’ into their
    opposite. Adapting to his dialectical process the antimonies arising from
    pure speculation of Kant in ‘Critique of Pure Reason’, Hegel argues that
    Kant is wrong to worry about contradictions. While critical discussion and
    science proceed on the basis that contradictions are not permitted, in the
    Hegelian doctrine they are to be welcomed. Significantly, finding there’s no
    need to eliminate error or contradiction means corruption of rational
    argument and scientific method. Hegelian historicists put on the powerful
    cloak of science as the discoverer of ‘laws’ but discard the discipline of
    testing and eliminating error.

    Seems like, for Hegel, history is an open book, in which providence is
    pursuing the perfection of the world via a struggle of world spirits, and the
    present expression of the world spirit just happens to be Frederick William’s
    feudal Prussia. Coincidence, that!

  4. beththeserf says:

    Omitted reference, (P) is Karl Popper. ‘Open Society and It’s Enemies.’

  5. beththeserf says:

    This too E.M. regarding reality versus idealism. You can start with
    Descartes’ ‘thinking denotes a thinker’, but more than that, while
    we can’t prove that there’s a reality out there, there are a lot of
    common sense arguments that indicate that there is. Eg from
    Karl Popper’s ‘Objective Knowledge, An Evolutionary Approach’,
    the argument that our simplest everyday observations involve an
    active conjectural process rather than passive reception of data.
    Popper argues that neurophysiology of the eye, ‘the thinker’s eye, ;)
    and that of the brain suggests that the process involved in physical
    vision is not a passive but an active interpretation of coded inputs, in
    many ways like problem solving by way of hypotheses.

    That our ‘knowledge’ is conjectural and theory dependent, whether of
    an everyday world or an invisible world of micro-physics, implies that there
    is a reality that our theories bang into when they are falsified or corroborated.
    … and something Winston Churchill argued, we can take a cross bearing:

    ‘Here is this great sun standing apparently on no better foundation than
    our physical senses . But happily there is a method , apart altogether
    from our physical senses, of testing the reality of the sun …astronomers
    … predict by mathematics and pure reason, that a black spot will pass
    across the sun on a certain day. You look and your sense of sight
    immediately tells you that their calculations are vindicates… when my
    metaphysical friends tell me that the data on which the astronomers
    made these calculations were necessarily obtained originally through
    the evidence of their senses, I say, ‘No’. They might, in theory at any
    rate, be obtained by automatic calculating machines set in motion by
    the light falling on them without admixture of the human senses at
    any stage…’

    That’s enough for a serf, why bother with esoteric arguments that don’t
    get us anywhere re human problem solving.

  6. Gail Combs says:

    “…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….”

    Keln’s poster at ConservativeTreeHouse, ‘Les Deplorables’

    gets mated with the song and makes it to a Trump Rally.

    Sundance at the Treehouse says Congratulations Keln ! Brilliant Les Deplorables Image Thrills National Audience

    And it goes on to becomes a rallying cry:
    “Deplorables Unite” – (Do you hear the people sing) Trump Anthem

    And from there it crosses the ocean and pops up in Brussels….

    Hillay and Soros Depends must be getting very stinky.

  7. Gail Combs says:

    I am of the ‘reality just is’ camp.
    It did not take a philosopher to tell a wooly mammoth that a saber tooth tiger was bad news.

    The elite have been trying to duplicate Ancient Spartan Communism for ages. It is really a Camelot for the megalomaniac.

    … Plutarch’s description is of interest because, waiving the question of its historical accuracy, it gives a very adequate definition of the ideal communistic state, as ideally imagined by countless later generations. In general, he says,

    he trained his fellow-citizens to have neither the wish nor the ability to live for themselves; but like bees they were to make themselves always integral parts of the whole community, clustering together about their leader, almost beside themselves with enthusiasm and noble ambition, and to belong wholly to their country.

    Thus Plutarch, of the influence of a man who is after all but the shadow of a shade, and who, it may be, was more or less imagined in order that his influence might explain what was.

    Whether or not Lycurgus succeeded in abolishing “all the mass of pride, envy, crime and luxury” which flowed from the previous state of inequality — indeed, whether or not Lycurgus ever existed — Sparta, with her remarkable system of government and institutions, certainly did exist, and these are in a way something of a portent. The symmetry of her constitution, her clear consciousness of the end for which, in Sparta at least, the state existed, the rigorous discipline imposed on the individual with a view to the realization of these ends, have, taken together, provoked the eulogies of many simple-minded enthusiasts. The beauty and the stability of Sparta became, to take but one example, something of an obsession with the ineffective Mably.

    On the other hand, Sir Frederick Pollock has suggested — and one’s heart warms to him — that the Spartans were the most odious impostors in the whole history of antiquity. In any event, the Spartan state was probably unique in some respects in the record of political institutions. It is difficult to recall any other state in which the individual was so completely subordinated to the general ends of the community — and such subordination is, of course, of the very essence of socialism in its general sense, as distinguished from that species of socialism generally referred to as communism. From the day of his birth, when he might be not merely subordinated but suppressed for the good of the state, the young Spartan continued to be disposed of in one way or another until death opened up for him a way of escape. The common education, which began at the age of seven, was wholly designed to make good soldiers, to teach men to suffer uncomplainingly the extremes of heat and of cold, of hunger and of pain, and in each was implanted the conviction that he belonged not to himself, but to the state….

    Philosophy and Religion has been twisted to support the desire of megalomaniacs from the time would be tyrants teamed up with a shaman in order to control others. Nothing like a priest telling the serfs that the king is anointed by god and they are nothing but the worms of the earth. Mohamed (and others) skipped the shared power part.

  8. pg sharrow says:

    “I think, therefor I am.”
    ” I sense, therefor I am.”
    Every atom and every electron senses the existence of every other.
    Every thing that I know of “senses, reacts, has memory” perhaps even thinks at some level.
    Humans are an experiment in memory specialisation and “think” they are “special”.
    Most of this intellectual work in “Philosophy” is just mental masturbation, a circle jerk in thoughts of superiority…pg

  9. pg sharrow says:

    In my opinion, the most wondrous creation of the human race is, their “thinking” machines. A new tool for the masses to access knowledge and communicate with one another over vast distance, even across language difference! An evolution still in it’s infancy…pg

  10. E.M.Smith says:


    Love that flash mob!


    You got it in one….

    I cut off the descent of sense at robots, but in fact it continues… how does a robot eye work? Same as a human eye… a photon causes a change of atomic state… and electrons move… Now I only have inference that atoms and electrons and photons exist… yet the sense of them is real since they are real.
    I sense therfore I am necessarily implies “therefor they are”…

    And I kinda stopped there since as you point out, much of the going beyond that in philosophy is pure baffflegab… and I want to be sure I don’t ‘go there’.


    Yes. FWIW, my subgoal is a clear and direct “philosophy for the people” suitable for deposing kings and would be emperesses…and their toady ‘philosophers’…

    Popper goes a long way to that goal.

    Oh, and due to a lifelong interest in robots, I would like a philosophical touchstone of broad reach, one suited to their eventual quest for liberty too… even if 100 years away… (I see me as just a clever stickyware robot, so can’t justify discrimination based on hardware type… I also see the nightly ‘possum show at the feeding window and think they too know they exist… so a true philosophy must have room for them… then again I lean to Buddhism at times… ) It is my opinion that truth will be simple enough for all of them to know it too.


    What is memory but stored sensation over time?

    Does an Alzheimers patient cease to be when memory ends? Perhaps the sentience does, but does the body? Is the body enough to say “they exist”? Or have you found the seat of the soul in memories…. interesting….

  11. Paul, Somerset says:

    The problem I have with “I think, therefore I am” and all its variants is the premise that thoughts, sensations, memories etc. are actually generated by an “I”. Surely phrases such as “a thought came to me”, “the noise made me look round” or “the memories came flooding back” describe the process more accurately. There is no “I” acting independently or of its own free will. At best the individual could be defined as a link in an infinite chain of causes and effects.

    Of course, the problem here is that by denying free will life becomes impossible. People HAVE to be held responsible for their actions, even though in a mechanistic view of the universe they could not have acted in any other way. But that’s more a matter for literature than philosophy. The definition of tragedy is of people having to take responsibility for events that were out of their control.

    At least this line of thought, that there is no free will, but you have to behave as though there is, has one thing making it plausible- it’s consistent with life and human relationships in general being so damn difficult. And with the fact that every human who’s ever lived considers himself hard done by in some way.

  12. Paul, Somerset says:

    Oh! And in reference to Hegel, the problem that anyone of a scientific mind is going to have with dialectical philosophy in general is that it is teleological – it tries to explain events and the world in terms of what happens next, of happening for a purpose. By contrast the scientific method (or at least the only one which has had any actual success) is a mechanistic one, of cause and effect.

  13. pg sharrow says:

    The stars or fates do not compel, they impel. Good or bad is your choice. That you are hard put upon or blessed by life is a point of view. You are blessed with life! Enjoy it while you can, all of it…pg

  14. Alexander K says:

    I attempted a paper in philosophy at a university in New Zealand many years ago. I ran out of patience with nonsense before one semester was complete and withdrew from the paper.
    I realise now that it was a way for elegant buffoons to amuse themselves.

  15. Zeke says:

    This is a book review I found by Carroll Quigley several years ago. It may seem off topic, but it is also wildly on topic at the same time — partly because of how badly wrong the experts get history, and partly because of who Quigley is. WJclinton studied under Dr. Carroll Quigely, and Quigley was also made privy to the plans for the destruction of the nation state and the creation of the world empire. In his own way, Carroll Quigley leaked these plans to the world by publishing a book about it.

    But here is a review of a dastardly little paperback from the 60’s, which I found in a used bookstore, and which subsequently led me to Dr. Quigley. I really love it.

    “History of Freedom in the Western World”


    By Herbert J. Muller (Harper & Row, 1963 $8.50)

    This, the second of Professor Muller’s three volumes on the History of Freedom, reaffirms my impression of his overly-praised first volume: the author has no real appreciation of the nature of freedom or the processes by which it has ebbed and flowed. Instead, he has merely written a history of Europe from 400 to 1800, reflecting his own unexamined prejudices, most of which are of late nineteenth century vintage: he likes the Greeks, ignores the Hebrews, dislikes the Dark Ages and the medieval period, sees “humanism” as the chief feature of the Renaissance, and thus marches through history along the paths set out by hundreds of conventional textbooks. The conventional nature of the whole approach is indicated in the 24 pages devoted to Islam, not because it contributed anything to the history of Freedom but simply because it is treated in every other textbook.

    Muller dislikes the “Dark Ages”, failing to see the double contribution it made to freedom by its shifting of European society from a slave basis in a unitary political system (imperium) to a free basis in a pluralist society (whose chief attribute, religion, was no longer merely an aspect of an autocratic state). The ending of slavery in the Dark Ages was based on the fact that it was a period of rapid technological progress which shifted heavy work from men to animals and thus made slavery obsolescent. Muller has two references to Lynn White’s famous article on this (pp. 45, 75), but he does not see that it refers to the Dark Ages nor that it was the vital factor in the decline of slavery. Moreover, he fails to see how the Dark Ages, by demonstrating in the West that it was possible to have a society without a state, ended the rule over men’s minds of the totalitarian Greek polis and the totalitarian Roman Imperium, both of which, by continuing in the tradition of the East, provided the basis for Byzantine, Ottoman, Czarist, and Soviet despotisms. To Muller, the Dark Ages is simply a period of regrettably low civilization (p. 33). But in the history of freedom, it was much more.

    Muller has equally great misconceptions about the nature of Christianity, its impact on philosophy, and the boon to freedom from both of these. He misses the process by which the Christian emphasis on individual salvation led to philosophic recognition of the reality of the individual in the face of all-pervading Platonic and neo-Platonic emphasis on the reality of the universal. This led to later social individualism and philosophic nominalism with their great contributions to freedom. In a similar fashion, Hebrew emphasis on the goodness of this world and the body, handed down against the challenges of…Plato, contributed much to later humanitarian and social improvements. Muller’s statement (p. 57) about a Christian tradition of predestination “reaching back through St. Augustine to St. Paul” is doubly erroneous because he fails to see that the roots of “predestination” are Greek, and that this was rejected in medieval times by all orthodox Christians (including the two Greek-influenced ancient Christians he names). Much of Muller’s difficulty rests on his neglect of the Hebrew influence (as contrasted with the Greek) in Christianity, which strengthened freedom by its emphasis on such factors as the importance of time and change, of the individual, and of the individual’s freedom and responsibility (all factors which were belittled in the most influential Greek thinkers).

    Muller fails to see that much of freedom has risen from the appeal of pluralism against unity (and especially uniformity) and that the great Greek contribution here was the effort to reach a social consensus by discussion in the market place. From this came the dialogue form of philosophic exposition (as in Abelard’s Sic et Non or Aquinas’ Quaestiones), and one of the sources of our Congressional debates (the other source, equally neglected by Muller, is the Indo-European assembly of warriors).

    Muller also misses the medieval contribution to freedom from the period’s emphasis on procedural matters (or on methods in general) rather than on goals. Most of our human freedom today rests on legal and constitutional emphasis on procedures of this type, including rule of law, separation of powers, and methods of trial, all of which are medieval rather than ancient or modern.

    The role played by legal changes is largely missing in this history of human freedom. The rediscovery of Classical antiquity in the West, especially the revival of Roman law and of its totalitarian sovereign state, during the late medieval and Renaissance period, brought a new strength to despotism in the west from its assaults on pluralism (especially on all autonomous organizations, including religion). These assaults, to this day, are hampered by pluralisms and procedural techniques of medieval origin. Does Muller know that the Tudor Court of Star Chamber used Roman law and procedures and was established by the same dynasty which sought, by endowing Regius Professorships at Oxford and Cambridge, to replace the Common Law with the more despotic Roman Laws as was occurring contemporaneously in Germany. Or, knowing this, does Muller see its significance?

    — Carroll Quigley
    March 25, 1963

    I hope this will bring some enjoyment and insight. Thank you for bringing up the subject and for all the thoughtful comments it inspired, EM.

  16. Gail Combs says:

    American students are not taught basic philosophy, the Constitution and it’s origin or logic. All of which should be required before leaving high school. Heck they do not offer Latin and Greek in school any more and you are lucky to find French and German.

    Heck, I didn’t know who Hagel was until I got a computer.

    So yes a discussion of philosophy is good.

  17. cdquarles says:

    Hmm. Thought provoking.

    My mom suffered from illness all of her adult life, such that her productive years were very short. Was she not a person? Yes she was, and she still had an impact in this (human) world. She was herself. As the years grew and the electrochemical fuel cells that comprised her body suffered from the inevitable decay inherent in chemical bodies, she lost the ability to make new memories. She still had her old ones. She could still converse intelligently, within the limits set by the losses from multiple strokes. On the other hand, like a newborn to toddler child, she required the efforts of others to maximize her days as a living thing in a material body.

    That said, she was very much alive, if not fully aware, until she died this past March. I still miss her. She remained in the care of her family (dysfunctional as is most of humanity). [Humans are so much more, in some respects, that we shouldn’t be so quick to dismiss the ‘disabled’. Created in the image of He That Is, and that’s where we get our sentience. I AM THAT I AM, said Existence that Is.] My mom was sentient until her body died and her existence still Is.

  18. Peter Azlac says:

    Hegel is the driving philosophy behind the construct of the EU, not surprising as Germany is in the driving seat! Locke is the driving force behind the UK and US democracies. The philosophy of Hegel follows on from that of Hobbs who promoted the concept of the “Leviathan that no man dare defy” under which the Pope ruled via his Kings appointed by God, Hence the attempt of so many philosophers, such as Nietzsche, to invoke the need for an omnipotent God to keep society together whilst at the same time as they deplored religion. The UK got rid of Hobb’s views when Henry the Eighth got rid of the role of the Pope in UK politics and we finalized it by chopping off the head of Charles 1st , allowing a move to the bottom up democracy of Locke. This a a major reason for the success of Brexit as we are taught in school the history of our democracy, corrupt as it is! Now we see in the politics of the UN (Agenda 21), USA and EU a move to bring back totalitarianism, so Hegel is correct in his concept of many reversals on the road to true democracy, the problem being we may well now have passed the turning!

  19. philjourdan says:

    Corollary to E.M. – Reality is not aware of your perceptions. Nor does it care about them.

    Which is driven home every day by the snow flakes and their safe spaces. Perceptions are dangerous because they are not reality. But they are the world that most live in.

  20. H.R. says:

    @philjourdan re reality isn’t aware of your perceptions

    In light of this post and comment thread, I am beginning to appreciate that George Carlin routine The planet doesn’t need saving. I’m beginning to think Carlin might be the most insightful philosopher of our time, and you get a bonus of belly-laughs instead of a bunch of scribbling in the dirt.

    Would one be more satisfied at the end of life if one had followed Carlin instead of Hegel?

  21. John Robertson says:

    HR; Carlin for sure.
    Or even the MacKenzie Brothers.
    The power Hungry are an interesting breed.
    What drives their lust to control everyone and everything?
    If not fear?
    Philosophy once interested me intensely, until it became apparent to me, that giving an idea a name does nothing to effect what is real.
    Human nature is.

  22. YMMV says:

    “Would one be more satisfied at the end of life if one had followed Carlin instead of Hegel?”

    Yes, philosophy took a turn down a dead end road long ago. The exception is Epicurus. Epicurus asked how to live the best possible life, whereas the other philosophers got stuck on “why are there things rather than nothing?” and “how do we know what is real?”. There is a book that discusses this. It’s light reading and insightful and entertaining and short.

    “Travels with Epicurus: A Journey to a Greek Island in Search of a Fulfilled Life” by Daniel Klein.

    Not what we have, but what we enjoy, constitutes our abundance.
    – Epicurus

  23. H.R. says:

    @John R and YMMV

    Thanks for the additional insight (and the votes for Carlin ;o)

    Come to find out that that I’ve been an Epicurean all this time. We were introduced to Epicurus twice; once very briefly in grade school and again only slightly deeper in H.S. World History. That’s the last I heard of it until now. I think I’ll try to chase down a copy of that Klein book, YMMV. Thanks for the link.

  24. pg sharrow says:

    The urge to name things is as old as humanity. If you fix the right name on something you gain power over it. Magic! just call it by it’s name and you gain control over it and all connected to it…pg

  25. philjourdan says:

    @H.R. – I do follow Carlin and not Hegel. ;-)

  26. YMMV i just finished reading “Travels with Epicurus: A Journey to a Greek Island in Search of a Fulfilled Life” by Daniel Klein. Thank you for the tip, it was well timed as I’m embarking on a very early retirement to Portugal.

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