Hegel and Radiolab

This is a cheap, shallow connection backed by little to no technical knowledge or research, but I thought it was interesting, so what the hell.

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about why I like Hegel.  At first Hegel was the necessary evil that I had to go through to study Lacan, Marx and religion.  Then he took over my PhD, but in the back of my mind it was still just a hoop to jump through on the way to later research interests.  But now, I actually really like Hegel.  Especially after reading Heidegger.  I find Hegel so much more convincing in his method, his conclusions and the political implications of both (at least as I see them).

Then this morning I was listening to an old Radiolab episode on ‘What Technology Wants’, taken from the title of a Kevin Kelly book.  Kelly, who was one of the guests, was describing how technology taken as a whole, has come to have a degree of autonomy.  For example, imagine trying to turn off the internet.  I can’t even understand what that means.  How would you do it?

What Hegel offers is a way of understanding these kinds of things.  Technology, politics, religion… things that are related to human beings, but have developed a kind of autonomy.  God acts in the world.  I don’t believe in a divine being, but there is an idea, referred to commonly as God, who has effects on people.  Hegel gives us a way of understanding this without necessitating that we ascribe wholeheartedly to confessional ideas about God, but while also allowing us not to condescendingly dismiss the way that a substantial number of people order the world.  I think this logic is transferable to the way we think about all ideas or processes that originate within humanity, but then achieve a degree of autonomy (granted there is a difference between religion and technology, but perhaps the difference is as profound as often think).




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