Thursday, November 1, 2007

The Spirit of The Dialectic in Hegel's Hotel

The Unifying Spirit and Force of The Dialectic Between Opposing Polarities

The main thesis of 'Hegel's Hotel' which is the name for the evolving philosophical treatise that this essay belongs to (in honor of the great dialectic philosopher Georg William Friedrich Hegel, 1770-1831, and his classic book, 'The Phenomenology of Spirit') is simply a re-working of the following adage: The sum of the whole is greater than the individual parts.

Re-stated in 'dialectic' terminology, the main thesis for 'Hegel's Hotel' may be stated as this: The integration of dialectical polarities from opposing perspectives (or 'binary opposites') into a working 'synthesis' is often if not generally superior in the quality of its knowledge and application than either of the opposing perspectives taken strictly by itself.

If you multiply this principle of integrative dialectics a hundred or even a thousand times over, then you have the expanded principle of 'multi-dialectical integrationism'. Thus 'DGB' -- Dialectical Gap-Bridging' Philosophy -- could also be reasonably called 'MDIP' -- Multi-Dialectic-Integrative Philosophy'. The first name represents the 'process' of 'dialectic conflict mediation' and of the overall 'process-teaching goal' in both Hegel's masterpiece, 'The Phenomenology of Spirit' and in my post-Hegelian 21st century extrapolation of it -- 'Hegel's Hotel'; the second name represents the open-ended, integrative dialectic 'results' of the previously mentioned 'dialectic conflict mediatiation and process theory' -- as originally taught in 'The Phenenomenology' and as modified and extrapolated on within my post-Hegelian 'Hegel's Hotel'.

My purpose in Hegel's Hotel is to write about 500 essays in most different areas of philosophy -- history, epistemology, ethics, politics, economics and business, science and medicine, psychology, enlightenment reasoning, romanticism, structuralism, deconstructionism, humanistic-existentialism, ontology and teleology, metaphysics, and more -- in ways that illustrate the theory and application of multi-dialectic-integrationism in many similar and different ways.

In this way of looking at things then, all else being equal, and without trying to paint myself into a philosophical corner that I cannot get out of, a good working balance between socialist and capitalist ideas and applications has the potential to be superior in quality to either Socialism or Capitalism taken by itself. The ideas I am working on in this regard I have already seen partly developed in 'sets of principles like 'Fair Trade' Capitalism and/or the name that I will probably use more often which is 'Humanistic-Existential' Capitalism.

The whole -- including the whole of all knowledge and editorial opinions democratically screened and integrated together -- is potentially superior to any 'righteous either/or, polar extremist' perspective.

The integration of polar perspectives into a 'middle balance' perspective helps to minimize if not eliminate the glaring weaknesses of any polar extremist perspective taken strictly by itself. This is not rocket science. It is partly what we do in politics and law every day. Still however, we can do better. Man -- for whatever reason -- still has an attraction, even an obsession or addiction for -- the righteously and/or narcissistically extreme. It is this quality, perhaps above all else, that continually and repetitively leads man back to the brink of destruction and self-destruction.

'Zero tolerance' generally means 'zero compassion', and zero compassion can cause as many problems in society with people trying to live and integrate together as 'too much compassion and not enough accountability' can cause chaos to run amok. Here too, we need a 'good working balance' in social and political life between accountability and compassion -- without either side 'dominating the other' ('hard-line politics' vs. 'soft-line politics'). We often call this working social and political and legal balance 'fairness' and/or 'justice'. Fairness and justice splits the difference between 'too hard' and 'too soft'.

Almost every essay in this manuscript offers a working example of this thesis in process and motion as it guides itself -- or is guided by me -- towards the negotiation of a 'hopefully better synthesis of opposing perspectives than either of the righteous, unilateral, either/or perspectives that we started with or from.

Now obviously, the case can be reasonably made that any negotiation and integration of opposing ideas that I come up with myself can be construed as a new form of 'unilateralism' as I am only negotiating with myself and no one else. As 'objective' and 'impartial' as I may or may not try to be, I am still full of only partial, limited knowledge and additionally, my own 'subjective, narcissistic biases'. At different times, I play all of the roles of: 'prosecutor', 'council for the defense', and 'judge and jury'. Doesn't this in the end make me just another 'control freak' -- as 'I play both sides towards the middle' -- or at least profess to.

This point is at least partly, if not totally, relevant and well-made (although, once again, it is me making it as I negotiate and integrate my own 'internal dialectic'). However, although this for the most part is a philosophical manuscript written by me, it is open -- or capable of becoming open -- to the alternative contributions of other writers own 'dialectic-democratic' perspectives. As much as I have my own particular point of view -- or am developing it as I move along -- I realize that 'I am not the only fish in the pond', even in the tightly and/or loosely controlled confines of my own manuscript which I would like to see become the starting-point for a new, open, multi-dialectic-democratic forum.

As Hegel wrote, and I am paraphrasing: Every new synthesis becomes the potential and actual starting-point for a new cycle of 'thesis', 'anti-thesis', and 'synthesis'. This is the continuous cycle of the always evolving dialectic -- of which there are millions of potential and actual 'dialectics' both on the 'biological-existential-phenomenological side of life' and on the more 'man-made conceptual-philosophical side of evolving knowledge and culture'. The genetic offspring of a male and female animal is no less 'dialectical' than the role of a 'liberal-conservative' or a 'socialist-capitalist' negotiating and integrating the opposing polarities of the unilateral liberal vs. the unilateral conservative, or conversely, the unilateral capitalist vs. the unilateral socialist.

This is where Darwin and Hegel meet in 'Hegel's Hotel'. I give priority to Hegel for two reasons: 1. Hegel's 'dialectical theory of evolution' is superior and more all-encompassing than Darwin's in my opinion; and 2. Hegel's theory came first. Hegel's 'The Phenomenology of Spirit (or Mind) was published in (1807) whereas Darwin's more restrictive 'The Origin of the Species' was published in 1859. Now, if you really want to dig deep, and I at least partly have, a serious case could be made for rejecting both Hegel and Darwin as the ultimate founder of the theory of 'dialectical evolution' in favor of the ancient Greek philosopher -- Anaxamander (610BC-546BC).

Even another case could be made for the creator of the Chinese dialectical concepts of 'yin' and 'yang'. If that was the Han Philosophers (roughly 207 BC- 9 AD), then creative precedence would have to be given to Anaximander and his idea of 'opposing polarities seeking to dominate each other with neither side ever totally succeeding for more than a certain period of time'). If the remnants of the concepts of 'yin' and 'yang' can be traced back even deeper into Chinese history such as back to the 'I Ching' (Book of Changes) which might even pre-date Confucius (551 BC-479 BC), then creative precedence for the beginning of 'dialectical philosophy' -- the idea of opposing polarities 'doing battle' with each other and/or 'compromising in the middle' -- might have to go to China (the beginning of Eastern Philosophy) rather than Greece (the beginning of Western Philosophy). At this point in time, I have to plead ignorant to any possible history of the dialectic in Middle Eastern Philosophy/Religion such as Hinduism, and Arabic or Persian Philosophy. I'm sure a case could probably be made here to.

What I find truly remarkable is that both ancient Eastern and Western man -- with or without communication between each other -- had arrived philosophically at approximately the same place some 2000 years plus before Hegel's classic philosophical work: 'The Phenomenology of Spirit' (1807).

It is this driving philosophical force -- the force of the dialectic from ancient times to now -- that is also the driving force of my essay here and the network of essays that it belongs to in my evolving 'post-Hegelian' dialectical treatise; 'Hegel's Hotel'. (See my profile for the most recent table of contents.)

Welcome to Hegel's Hotel.

dgb, Nov. 1st, 2007, updated Feb. 1st, 2008, April 4th, 2008.


FORREST said...

What an wonderful view and expansion of Hegel you offer!

Please continue to unfold it for us.

Do your offer an E Mail notice lists of new posts? I signed up for the TSS feed,

Forrest at//
radical gene

david gordon bain said...

Thanks for your feedback, Forrest. It's encouraging and re-vitalizing to know that work I have spent much time and effort developing is not going completely unnoticed or unappreciated.

I am currently working at a pace of 1 or 2 papers a week, mainly on epistemology right now. If I have access to your email, I will try to update you on new papers that may or may not interest you, depending on where your own interests are taking you.

Cheers! dave bain