Transcendent Men: Hegel and Posthumanism (pt.1)



As Hegel’s name for some reason pops up every now and then in “alternative” information nodes, there is a need to provide a substantial explanation of who Hegel was and what his dialectics was all about. While popular moniker “Hegelian dialectics” as social engineering is meaningless, there is a sinister side to Hegel’s project of absolute science, which brings him surprisingly close to “transcendent men” of our day: posthumanists.

This is part one of three-part audio essay about Hegel and his relevance to contemporary world – the world we call Postmodern.

Now, this expression ‘postmodern’ is pretty vague. That’s because it’s nothing but an excuse for not having a better word to describe our epoch: someone realized that it is not modernity, yet it is really not entirely different from modernity, and decided to call it “postmodernity” and be done with it.

Be that as it may, these times of ours are mainly understood as times of dissolution or, if you like, times of destruction. The thing dissolving before our eyes is precisely the Modern or modernity.

This epoch was an age of belief in the power of mind and casting away of “superstitions” of Middle Ages, i.e. traditional organized religion, traditional metaphysics, ways of economic and political life, etc.

However, while rejecting the belief in the traditional notion of transcendence as something inaccessible to man if he is left to his own devices, early modernity proceeded to affirm a belief that man can reach it – or indeed, create it – by his own effort. It is by no means novel idea, but in modernity it became a foundation of the epoch.

This belief was epitomized by firm conviction in the absolute power of mind.

Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel was a man who pushed this belief to it’s final consequences.

What we are witnessing from, roughly, end of the WWI is dissolution of this belief and an emergence of epoch which, on surface, altogether denied the possibility of transcendence.

However, if we scratch a bit deeper we’ll find that things are not so straightforward.

Postmodern will to transcend is epitomized in posthumanism, a belief in absolute powerlessness of mind coupled with desire to gain absolute power and absolute knowledge through eradication of man and creation of something superior to him through technology.

There is a clear connection between these two seemingly opposed notions of man as a being capable of knowing, literary, thoughts of God Himself in the Hegelian absolute system of science and man as something that must be overcome and become god through technological progress.

In order to demonstrate it, we’ll provide introduction to Hegel’s philosophy and put it in connection with contemporary posthumanism and scientism.

In this introductory podcast, we’ll focus on problems which provoked the advent of Classical German Idealism, i.e. philosophical epoch that gave birth to Hegel’s project. The starting point will be the idea of inherent limitedness of human mind, proposed by Immanuel Kant, which provoked German philosophers of the time to prove him wrong.

Kant’s idea that the world is in fact conditioned by our consciousness was both the problem and the incentive to demonstrate that it is not only conditioned, but downright created by it.

The spearhead of this movement was Hegel himself.

(If for some reason the Mixcloud presents you with problems, the podcasts are available on Kali Tribune’s Youtube channel. Podcasts can be downloaded via this link )


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Branko Malić

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2 Responses

  1. Tim says:

    Hi Branko
    I just want to say that I really appreciate your podcasts/lectures. I find them indispensable. You have an avid listener here in Blighty.

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