Hegel's Contradiction In Human History Essay

1243 words - 5 pages

Human beings have been struggling to learn the meaning of life since the first day. Ideologies are born as human’s interpretation of the world and belief system, also an endeavor to seek the truth of human nature. Ideologies emerge throughout the periods of great changes: the Enlightenment, the English “Glorious” Revolution, the American Revolution, etc. They have become the motivations, the standards, and the roots to modern political systems. Their roots are the philosophies developed by famous philosophers throughout the time. However, as each ideology is developed, its own contradiction also grows, takes place in the realm of actions. This, in turn, shows contradiction as human nature.
Everything changes over time, and there is no moment when things stop changing to a different state, or a completely different thing. Heraclitus, a pre-Socratic Greek philosopher, states firmly: “There is nothing permanent except change.” Heraclitus’s works have influenced later philosophers and thinkers, including Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel, a German philosopher of the late 18th and early 19th century. In order to define “contradiction”, I found it is understandable to use Hegel’s principle of non-contradiction, which has been studied for a long time. As Horst Althaus says in his Hegel: An Intellectual Biography, “If it is true, as Hegel says, that ‘all things are in themselves contradictory’, then the principle of non-contradiction is itself logically contradicted, and the sublation of contradiction as a logical operation becomes in turn a contradiction of the contradicted contradiction or a case of double negation.” (Althaus, 131) Thus, to Hegel, the nature of everything is contradiction. This, to me, includes human beings. The nature of human beings, as the nature of everything else in the world, is contradiction. Even in everyday life, people’s actions and thoughts are contradictory. Not only that, but this also reflects though historical events.
The historical events that reflect contradiction as human nature spread through times and happened all over the world. Considering the English “Glorious” Revolution happening during 1688 – 1689, the contradiction of the revolutionary leaders’ motivation and actions is obvious. Tracing to the causes of the revolution, they are based on the ascent of English Parliament toward a more liberal way, limiting the King’s power, giving the Parliament the power to be more involved in governing decisions. Beside that, the fear of “popery” took place as a very important cause of the revolution. The Parliament, playing the key role in this game, at the same time brought about a radical change in government system and tried their best to conserve the religious culture of Britain, which is to protect the Anglican Church. Thus, the contradiction of the revolution has become the topic for discussions between modern thinkers and philosophers. As John Carswell, author of The Descent on England, states in his book: “But it...

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