Hegel Love Letters: Salman Mohtadi
My Dearest Beloved,
I just read fragments of Hegel’s work, Phenomenology of Spirit, and found out his words are not only whirling but hard to understand. And after spending time analyzing them, I found out he challenges our perception of truth, and the way we study literary works, including philosophy. I will write you what I think he tries to say, so that you also get confused after reading it, and to share with you a new thought.
Throughout the ten pages I read, Hegel talks about what truth, the Absolute, and the Whole are. He says that the Absolute is just a result “that only in the end it is what it truly is”, a truth is a whole, and a whole is the “essence consummating it through its development” (11). Now, what this means is that the whole includes particulars -details, or components- and the truth, or meaning of a philosophical work, is everything it contains and not what is contained on a generalized and biased preface or summary. That is why, he says that prefaces on philosophical works are absurd, inappropriate and misleading, because they are not the truth. The truth is the whole -universal and particular- and an opinion on it, whether to contradict it, or to agree with it, will affect the freedom it has to entail to other people’s minds (3). So, according to him, what I’m doing right now, explain you his aim and what he is trying to say is just breaking down the whole and not expounding the truth about his work.
Hegel gives an example of his truth-whole concept in the opening paragraph when he says that the only way we can learn the anatomy of a living organism (he says that Anatomy is not a science but a philosophy because it is the knowledge of the parts of the body) is by understanding its particulars, or components (1). That is, in order to comprehend a truth we must understand its whole, and not an absolute and generalized definition or explanation. I think this concept can be applied in many aspects of life, to avoid generalizations and analyze fully a philosophy, a literary work, a situation, or a thought.
I hoped you had fun reading my analysis on Hegel’s work.
Hope to see you soon.