Will History END?
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Will History END? | (Hegel: The Philosophy of History)
Written & Directed by: Jared Bauer
Narrator: Nathan Lowe
Animation Producer: MB X. McClain
Original Music & Sound by: David Krystal (http://www.davidkrystalmusic.com)
Academic Consultant: Mia Wood
Producer & Additional Artwork by: Jacob S. Salamon
Will History END? – 8-Bit Philosophy
Is there an END to history? Whereas most generally think of
history as a record of past events, Philosopher Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel considered it to be a rational process moving towards completion.
According to Hegel, “History,” is the progression of reason brought about largely by confrontation and conflict. For example, if a group of rebels siege a castle- we have two opposing forces- the establishment and the challenger. Through this conflict, the opposing ideologies will collide and produce a new establishment. Like the one before it, this idea will eventually invite upheaval and the “dialectical process” yielding heightened rationality, will continue.
But such changes don’t occur randomly. To Hegel, history is pushed forward by mankind’s essential nature- freedom.
As history progresses, we become more self-conscious, therefore more rational, and therefore, more free. For example, as a warrior gains more experience points, he is granted more skills.
The more skills he gains, the more choices he has has in combat, and thus, he is free-er. So as ages pass, we have become more free.
During the era of the Orient, only the ruler was free, in Ancient Greece, some were free, and in Hegel’s time following the French Revolution, it was thought that all should be free. So if freedom is the end goal of history, will there ever be a perfected state that invites no more change- An END to the dialectic?
In his book The Phenomenology of Spirit, Hegel devised the concept of “World Spirit,” or the manifestation of reason exhibited through a society’s culture- including its philosophy, religion, and art. The ULTIMATE freedom will occur when the World Spirit, or collective consciousness of a culture, becomes entirely rational.
Only then can a unified society be established in which its laws and institutions will invite no more change- because they are in perfect harmony with their culture. And thus, the dialectical process of history will end.
Hegel’s philosophy of history has inspired some of the most important thinkers of the nineteenth century- including one young poet who would one day become one of the world’s most influential figures.