Re: virus: MAIDS (dancing)

Brett Lane Robertson (
Wed, 24 Sep 1997 20:24:59 -0500

Well, that's all fine and good, but I'm not sure all the elements of the
dance are all "deconstructing someone else's argument and taking the
spoils" -- elements of the dance are dodges, emotional button-pushing, and
empty rhetoric. Amusing in its own way, but not substantive in the way
you're talking about above.


I have a tendency to agree with you. But, Hegel says that this (dance) is
self-consciousness creating desire, finding that desire external and coming
to terms with it by destroying Self--only to find self externally
represented in another. To me, this is like destroying god (truth) and
making him stand in front of you to prove himself (so how would you know him
if you saw him?). I think what Hegel illustrates is a selling-out of our
divine nature for external acceptence. I am attaching excerpts from a
commentary of Hegel's "Phenomenology of Spirit" for your opinion.



My selfhood, my act of relating myself to myself, is the law of identity
brought to life. For Hegel, this act of self-relating is negative or
self-contradictory. The reason is that, in being aware of myself, I hold
myself before myself: I am both subject and object. To pursue the spatial
metaphor, I generate an inner "distance" between myself and myself. In
logical terms, I generate the condition of self-otherness. Were it not for
this self-otherness, I could not be self-aware. But clearly I cannot stop at
this moment of distance or self-otherness, for then I would not be aware
that what I hold before me is myself. In order to be aware of myself as
identical with myself, I must generate a distance and overcome that distance
in one and the same act. Self-consciousness is this single act; it is the
experience of being at once self-same and self-other...Like every other
character in the Phenomenology, self-consciousness starts out in the
condition of mere certainty, as an unsubstantiated claim to absolute
knowing. Here the self is certain, not of external objects but of itself.
The most immediate or natural form of this self-certainty is egotism or
amour-propre. Hegel's technical term for this egotism is "simple
being-for-self"(113). At this primitive level of selfhood, the individual is
all wrapped up in his own utterly private perspective on the world. He is,
in the colloquial sense of the word, subjective...Desire in its ordinary
sense is positive and other-directed. By this I mean that it is the desire
for something, and that it is the desire for something other than myself.
The ordinary view is echoed and elaborated in various ways by Plato,
Aristotle, Aquinas and Dante. Hegel inverts the two characteristics of
desire in its ordinary use. Desire for him is negative and self-directed. It
is negative because it is the impulse to destroy rather than to acquire; it
is more like hatred than love. And it is self-directed because the whole
point of all this negativity is the self's affirmation of itself. A
necessary consequence of this inversion of desire is a radical shift in the
meaning of a final cause. Man, for Hegel, is not evoked, called forth, by
some being outside him, neither by the Platonic forms nor an unmoved mover
nor the grace-bearing Beatrice. He is driven from within, impelled by his
very self-certainty to seek the truth of that certainty through antagonism
towards the external world. What man strives for, desires in the broad sense
of the term, is not an object other than himself, nor a divine condition to
which he aspires without ever attaining, but his own full
self-expression...The individual in his condition of amour-propre finds
himself in a world that includes, not only external objects but also other
self-conscious individuals, other beings who say "I am myself." From the
individual's perspective, these other individuals must be "phonies"--
thieves and usurpers of the sacred pronoun "I." Now, certain as he is of his
own selfhood, the individual is also aware that that's all he has-- mere
certainty, the untested assurance that he is the legitimate bearer of the
name "I." Out of this awareness is born the individual's insecurity and his
need to "prove himself." In Hegel's language, he is driven to raise his mere
certainty to truth. Positively, he must prove himself to himself, show that
his self-certainty is even more important than his life. Negatively, he must
destroy the merely apparent or false selfhood of his opponent, who, we must
remember, is also driven to prove his self-worth...In the fight for
recognition, this other who stands before me, strange to say, is myself. As
Hegel tells us early in the chapter, self-consciousness "has come outside
itself" as an opposition between two individuals (111). Self-consciousness
is one universal self actually divided into two individual selves. This
numerical duplication is the self's inner dissonance made actual in the
external world...To fulfill the destiny of his self-otherness, man must
become reconciled to the world's externality. Man's inwardness, his
spirituality, must somehow come to terms with the outward and showy realm of
action and existence...The self-righteous individual judges the other to be
immoral, not because that other has done something wrong, but simply because
he has done something, because he has allowed himself to have an outward
existence and a concern for action, because he is worldly or secular. To the
judgmental individual, this worldliness is the greatest betrayal of which a
human being is capable-the betrayal of the sacred inwardness that alone
makes us worthy of respect. The judge judges the other to be a hypocrite;
someone who claims to be spiritual or inward but in fact prostitutes this
inwardness by worldly action and concern. The judge is the Napoleon of pure
morality, the emperor of inwardness. He is also a hypocrite, an even bigger
Tartuffe than the individual he judges. The reason is that judgment, which
for Hegel must take the form of outward speech, is itself an act, a moment
of entrance into the external and secular world. The judge cannot pass
judgment on the other individual without becoming like him. He cannot
denounce hypocrisy and also remain pure. Reconciliation occurs when both
individuals admit to being worldly and in that sense the betrayers of
spirit....In the confession of hypocrisy, the two selves "come out" of their
private selves, become external to themselves while remaining inward or
spiritual beings. There is now mutual recognition of selfhood, unlike the
one-sided kind we had earlier. The individuals here have experienced the
divine in time: They have become reconciled, not only to one another but
also to the universal self that the individual self had unhappily fathered.
All this, we must note, takes place in and through language. For Hegel, the
inner must become outer. The inner is by definition the drive or compulsion
to be an externalized inner, an inner that has some substance to it. The
self-righteous judge must not simply think his condemnation of the other; he
must utter it, indeed, throw it in the face of the other individual. So too,
in the moment of reconciliation, the two hypocrites must confess their
hypocrisy openly to one another.

Rabble Sonnet Retort
Why did the Lord give us so much quickness of movement
unless it was to avoid responsibility with?