Re: [xmca] ego, self, etc.

From: Paul Dillon <phd_crit_think who-is-at>
Date: Mon Feb 04 2008 - 19:06:28 PST

  As I understand Hegel, the dialectic of the Master-Slave (Lord-Bondsman) emerges from the inability of sensory consciousness’,i.e., self-consciousness as appetite and its satisfaction, to establish its own truth. This absence of absence can be thought of as the non-existence of any meal or food that eliminates the recurrence of hunger or any joyous epiphany that doesn’t dissolve into everyday existence. Such food or experience would, of course, be an absolutely truthful food or sensory experience (you always do have to come down, right?). Utopian.
  However in the Phenomenology Hegel proposes that an OTHER self-consciousness can continually affirm the individual self-consciousness's (subject of the hunger) existence. Hegel really doesn’t go into the grounds of intersubjectivity that this resolution of solipsism implies. However, upon establishing itself, the dialectic of Master-Slave turns again: the truth of the conquering Lord over the cowering Slave dissolves away just like the momentary truth of a full belly.\: the Lord’s consciousness of the truth of his own consciousness depends on the alienated consciousness of the serf/bondsman/slave, this is labor in the broadest sense of the term, ACTIVITY. \
Echoing Andy, I would like to point out that among those people who have a passing acquaintance with Hegel’s philosophy, beyond the thesis-antithesis-synthesis caricatures, the Master-Slave dialectic is probably the most commonly encountered. But that’s not the key to the theory of Self-Consciousness Hegel presents in these parts of the Phenomenology.. In the sub-section , “the Unhappy Consciousness fthat follows the Master-Slave”, he describes how the subordinated “individual” self-consciousnesses realize their truth), the truth of their own self-consciousness, as the absolutely universal, self-consciousness devoid of indivdually differentiating properties vis a vis the other bondsman/slaves; the Slave’s consciousness is an alienated consciousness, its free, creative activity affirming not its own but an Other’s self-consciosness. But in that commonality of alienated self-consciousness, the Slaves realize the collective, intersubjective basis of
 self-consciousness itself, without having to go out and have knife fights to prove it. The next step in the Phenomenology is the domain of Spirit; i.e. the domain of all humankind"s collective traditions and institutions.
  I’m might be misreading Andy’s responses to you, but it seems that he is diminishing the importance of the Master-Slave moment of the section on Self-Consciousness and the Phenomenology overall, dismissing it as some kind of socio-pathic reaction to their own subordination in WWII. I don’t agree about that. I think this section of the Phenomenology, especially the M-S sub-section, is one of the most important for various reasons; for example, it is the section in which the , Hegel develops a social/intersubjective theory of the self- consciousness. To the best of my knowledge hobody ever did that before..
    In some ways this section plays the same role in the Phenoomenology as the scene ) in which the projected shadows of Mickey Mouse and Stokowski shake hands plays in Disney’s Fantasia (1940) Prior to that we have only seen purely aesthetic skating seed pods, fanciful dancing Cossak mushrooms and other objects of pure fantasy, after that we are treated to fkying Pegasii and other mythical figurers, to narratives imparting a moral order. The MSD is the hinge of the Phenomenology and Lenin probably would have loved it. In “The Rational Kernel in the Hegelian Dialectic” (Telos Fall 1970 ) ,the Vietmese philosopher, Tran Duc Thao , demonstrated the importance of this section of Hegel’s philosophy for the anti-colonialist, anti-imperialist struggles.

Looking for last minute shopping deals? Find them fast with Yahoo! Search.
xmca mailing list
Received on Mon Feb 4 19:08 PST 2008

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.1.8 : Thu Mar 06 2008 - 10:37:02 PST