Brief comment on a passage in WL

Nietzsche claimed that one must have a taste for the work of Hegel. Once a proper understanding of Hegel’s work is grasped it’s easy to see that subsequent thinkers had a difficult time getting that taste out of their mouth.

I’d like to call attention to a passage in the wonderful Introduction to the Science of Logic:

“That which enables the notion to advance itself is the already mentioned negative which it possesses within itself; it is this which constitutes the genuine dialectical element. Dialectic in this way acquires an entirely different significance from what it had when it was considered as a separate part of logic and when its aim and standpoint were, one may say, completely misunderstood. Even the Platonic dialectic, in the Parmenides itself and elsewhere even more indirectly, on the one hand, aims only at abolishing and refuting limited assertions through thmselves and, on the other hand, has for its result simply nothingness. Dialectic is commonly regarded as an external, negative activity which does not pertain to the subject matter itself, having its ground in mere conceit as a subective itch for unsettling and destroying what is fixed and substantial, or at least having for its result nothing but the worthlessness of the object dialectically considered.”

Hegel’s comments are prescient as they accurately depict the manner in which american deconstruction, an unfortunate but successfully conceived marketing ploy, harnessed and controlled the powers of negativity suppressing its power into a method to apply, from without, to texts. American deconstruction ironically appropriates Descartes’ “masters of nature” by appropriating nature’s internal combustion of dialetical negativity and packing it into a commodity to distribute and love to death through its universal application. It becomes a methodological fixture existing external to the “subject matter itself”. Derrida seems to have remained faithful to Hegel inasmuch as his deconstruction happens immanently within the subject matter of the text itself; deconstruction, that is, is not something externally applied to a text from without. In my reading of Hegel Philosophy merely observes the development of thought as it negates its particular determinations along the path to Absolute Knowing. Indeed, the philosopher must refrain from interfering in this development, being thus actively passive, as well as being thought’s amanuensis. There’s certainly a perverted component to this idea of the philosopher peeping-tom: The philosopher as receiving Thought’s lap-dance. Sit back and watch as Thought dances and reveals itself to the philosopher. Heidegger too positions himself as a kin of Hegel’s letting-be. Heidegger’s well-known Lassen allows objects of thought to develop phenomenologically and expose/reveal their nature to the philosopher: To the things themselves. We see this most precisely and clearly in his later essays on Language and Work of Art.

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One response to “Brief comment on a passage in WL

  1. I feel like I keep coming back to this, but this idea of one’s thinking being adequate to thought, it seems to me to hearken to Hegel’s tango dance with Romanticism. Which is funny, because Hegel is often regarded as the “System-guy” who railed against every whiff of Romanticism. I suspect this sentiment is more a misunderstanding of Hegel’s System & the Romanticism he critiqued than anything else.

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