Hegel against Glenn Beck

“Since the man of common sense makes his appeal to feeling, to an oracle within his breast, he is finished and done with anyone who does not agree; he only has to explain that he has nothing more to say to anyone who does not find and feel the same in himself. In other words, he tramples underfoot the roots of humanity. For it is the nature of humanity to press onward to agreement with others; human nature only really exists in an achieved community of minds. The anti-human, the merely animal, consists in staying within the sphere of feeling, and being able to communicate only at that level.”

—Hegel, Phenomenology of Spirit, trans. A. V. Miller (Oxford: Oxford UP, 1977), 43.


micah said…
how do you think this quote relates to the idea of fideism and/or the spirit's guidance?
Well, I should note that this is Hegel against Schleiermacher most specifically, and thus also Hegel against American evangelicalism and all forms of pentecostalism. It's certainly also against crude forms of anti-intellectualist fideism (to be sharply distinguished from the rational, revelation-centered "fideism" of someone like Barth).

I think that answers your question. Did you have any thoughts about it?
Clarification: I'm not saying Hegel is himself targeting Schleiermacher, because that would only come later when he moved to Berlin. But he is anticipating here the kinds of critiques he would make against Schleiermacher later.
Anonymous said…
Thanks for this David. Great stuff. Hegel, of course, had already hinted at this earlier on when he wrote that 'the life of Spirit is not the life that shrinks from death and keep itself untouched by devastation, but rather the life that endures it and maintains itself in it. It wins its truth only when, in utter dismemberment, it finds itself ... Spirit is this power only by looking the negative in the face, and tarrying with it. This tarrying with the negative is the magical power that converts it into being'. (p. 19)
Danny said…
anti-intellectualist fideism (to be sharply distinguished from the rational, revelation-centered "fideism" of someone like Barth).

Barth's theology, though surely not Barth himself, is certainly anti-intellectualist.

Can you actually defend that absurd statement?
You might as well reject Athanasius, Augustine, Luther, and Calvin (and many others) as anti-intellectualist. Are you willing to claim that everyone who says that faith seeks understanding, rather than understanding seeks faith, is anti-intellectualist?

See what Augustine says in Letter 120:

"And so, the prophet stated quite reasonably, Unless you believe, you will not understand (Is 7:9 LXX). There he undoubtedly distinguished these two and gave the counsel that we should believe first in order that we may be able to understand what we believe. Hence it was reasonably commanded that faith should precede reason."
tripp fuller said…
I forwarded this post to philosophy prof friend who happens to be a Kierkegaard in hopes of getting a smile out of him. Here's what he said in pure anti-Hegel fashion.
"I am happy to oppose Glen Beck on just about any topic but I think Hegel is wrong to suggest that it is the nature of humanity to press onward to agreement with others. The evidence won’t support such a claim. It is the nature of humanity to do what it does. It is dangerous to think that Glenn Beck is not really human or to suggest that he doesn’t represent a real possibility for humanity because his actions are not true to “the nature of humanity.” The problem is that he represents human nature all too well."
Sabio Lantz said…
I agree with Tripp's philosophy prof !
But David, I am new to this stuff.
I am trying to understand post-modernism in Christianity today. If you have time, could you give me a few suggested readings to bring me to speed. For example, I have never read Hegel and he seems key to the post-modern crowd.
Thanx, if you have time
Bobby Grow said…
I have a hard time with the notion that Glenn Beck is an "animal;" but if that's the way Hegel says sinner, then I'm all for it.