Quora Answer: What are some Hegelian dialectics you see in everyday life?

Oct 18 2014

Dialectics are a way of seeing what happens, it is not necessarily what happens itself. The best thing to do is to read Phenomenology of Mind because the dialectics in that book are not so reified as we get in Hegel’s logic. The basic point is that what ever different ways of looking at things that arise together in relation to each other all in a sense cancel each other out or contradict each other so that the only way to see your way out of the situation is to rise to a higher level of understanding that at once accommodates the contradictions and rises above them. This move is called aufhebung but then it eventually causes a proliferation of viewpoints at the next level that are irreconcilable. Maybe we could call aufhebung the reconciliation of the irreconcilable.

It is one of those things you can see everywhere if you are keyed into looking for it. This is because our lives are full of contradictions and impossibilities that we continue to live with everyday To the extent that the various contradictions and impossibilities balance each other and we can take a higher view of them such that they actually fit together with each other, then we get the effect of aufhebung, i.e. the production of a higher synthesis that encompasses thesis and antithesis. But when the higher synthesis is produced then it merely spawns a lot of differentiation at the new level that again needs to be reconciled.

So I have often spoken in different answers that by struggling with fascism and communism we have become like them. Our current globalization economic policy is in many ways an aufhebung of the disparate tendencies between capitalism, communism and fascism. Communism and Fascism did not go away but by reacting to them and fighting them we became somewhat like them. And what we have now is an amalgam of the reactions to communism and fascism in the last century. I call that synthesis corporatism. It leads with the doctrine that imaginary legal “persons” set up as a facade to protect wealth and allow accumulation of wealth across generations should have the same rights as human citizens. This results in a de-facto oligarchy. The state ends up serving the corporate interests rather than those of the human citizens, for instance with its too big to fail policy for large banks. What is that but socialism for corporations. Corporations deserve welfare but not citizens. Representatives serve special interests instead of the people. Lobbyists write the bills that the Representatives pass without reading them. Political Action Committees work to sway local elections to serve their own interests.  This system we have is nothing like what the founders of the country envisioned and is a far cry from what we had prior to the end of WWII. How did it get the way it is? In reaction to struggles overseas with big powers both fascists and communists that caused changes at home and we are still living with the fall out of those social structures and institutionalization today. Capitalism, Fascism and Communism struggled with each other throughout the last century and our system still bears the signs of that struggle which we claim to have won. Gorbachev said to Reagan roughly, I am going to do the worst possible thing to you, I am going to take away your enemy. Zizek talks about how we think we live in an age in which we have overcome ideology, and he rightly says that such an age is the most ideological, because other ideologies do not exist to restrain the dominant ideology from hubris, like  we saw in the Iraqi war for instance.

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