Tuesday, November 4, 2014

SubReddit on Half-Hour Hegel Series

Doing a Google-search to track down some of my materials (eventually I've got to get organized and have everything curated in one main place -- but that's a separate matter!), I came across a Reddit discussion about this video series.  I have to say that the best -- because funniest -- post by far was this one-liner, by quierogato:  "Thought that said half hour kegel."

It was interesting to come across this (and a few other, less commented-upon) discussions of the series on that site.  Back when I was first starting to build my presence in the virtual world of social media, I played around with Reddit a little bit, but I never really "clicked" with it the way I did with other platforms.  So, I more or less abandoned my Reddit presence, then ended up forgetting not only what my password was, but also my username!

When I found this thread, I invested the labor to figure out what my lost information actually might be, updated things a little, and then commented on some of the threads (Reddit really strikes me as something like a course management system's discussion forum, just writ large and with up-voting, down-voting, and lot of cliques).  I can't actually say that I plan to remain very engaged there, or even post anything -- but it's interesting nonetheless to see that the series is getting that sort of notice and traction outside of the usual places I post and look.

Is there anything particularly "Hegelian," i.e. that flows from Hegel's philosophical perspective, to say about finding these sorts of discussions going on Reddit?  That's something I'd need to think about more -- but right off the top of my head, I'm inclined to say Yes.  For one, if there's anything that philosophers ought to have drawn from Hegel -- the guy they keep thinking is just an "idealist" - it's that they're not consciousness as such, let alone Absolute Spirit.  It's always possible to find other minds, other consciousnesses making sense out of thing, thinking them through, puzzling at them and arriving at somewhat different conclusions -- whether theoretical or practical -- than one's own mind, one's own consciousness is wont to do.

To take on the perspective of a Hegelian-style idealist means striving to center one's own viewpoint in that most essential one that reflects the Gestalt, the "shape" of consciousness that is predominant, determinative, in one's own time, place, and culture.  It certainly does not mean that one starts out -- simply by virtue of being conscious -- occupying that privileged space!  Working one's way to the center. . .  well, that's actually work.

So, really, what it means, practically speaking, to take on that sort of idealism is the opposite of solipsism or narcissism -- instead, it means realizing that there's a lot of other minds out there, working, thinking, deriving things that one then perhaps might be lucky enough to encounter, which then call to be grappled with -- and if they're worth anything -- incorporated into one's own perspective.

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