25 July 2015

Hegel

Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel
German philosopher
(1770 - 1831)
If a loved one died, how would you remember them? Maybe you would cry for your loss. Maybe you would smile, recalling times you spent with him or her - affectionate remembrance. The essence of the departed person treasured.

Three years back, a friend of mine died and his brother crafted an epitaph a couple of days later. It disturbed me a little at the time and it still disturbs me now.  I won't paste the entire piece - it's too long. I am just going to give you a sample of it in the hope that you will give your reaction to it in the comments:-

"To understand my departed brother . . . is to understand the “Dialectic” of G. W. F. Hegel. My brother’s “Dialectic” involved taking his “Thesis” (his issues, concerns, needs, rights) and creating an “emptiness” in his “Consciousness, in his Awareness” to make room to allow the inclusion of your “Antithesis” (your alternative and additive issues, concerns, needs, rights) . . . engaging in associative reasoning . . . to relate your “Antithesis” with his “Thesis” . . . to arrive at a “Synthesis (what is commonly known as a “Win-Win”). His life was the life of the “Dialectic.” His life was as concerned . . . if not more concerned . . . with your win as it was with his win. It was his ability to find “Synthesis” through associative reasoning that gave him the ability to exercise compassion, empathy, insight and innovation."

Of course my own brother Paul died five years back but I never remembered him in those terms - nothing like them. A couple of days after his death, I could only remember him with a mixture of tears, disbelief and a very heavy heart. I never thought of Hegel - not even for a smidgeon of a moment.

19 comments:

  1. Your friend's brother is a lot smarter than I am, but he managed (eventually) to get his point across. I don't find it disturbing (except that it made me feel stupid). He made the deceased seem like a wonderful person to know.

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    1. Did he Jan? Did he? Perhaps minds work in different ways but I would have expected something like... "I remember when we were little and how he protected me from some bigger boys who were snowballing us in the street. And I remember one summer swimming in the lake when we had a competition to see who could hold their breath the longest..." Not all this "dialectic" crap. Or is it just me?

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    2. In that case, I'd think it was the author who has problems relating to people, unlike his brother. We tend to make things more complicated than they need to be when we, ourselves, have problems relating to people.

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  2. Really?!? This is how you remember a brother, newly departed? Geeze! I am thankful I am not his sister.........

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    1. As usual we are on the same wavelength Missy Thyme.

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  3. Sheeeeet! Putting it as politely and as mildly as I can!!

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    1. I am happy to discover that such a reaction was not exclusive to me.

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  4. That's just weird. I think the writer was trying to show off.

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    1. The words "I miss him" or "I loved him" would mean so much more than all that philosophical verbiage.

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  5. Is the bloke a complete twat? Maybe be not, possibly overcome with grief and swallowed a dictionary to cheer himself up.

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    1. I met him a few times. He was an airline executive. If he was going to swallow a dictionary it would have to be a small Collins "Gem" one. I can't see him keeping down the twenty volume Complete Oxford Dictionary.

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  6. Very, very strange way to remember a brother...
    But then grief does not follow a logical pattern and is different from one person to the other, as you of course know.

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    1. Your charitable thinking on this is admirable Miss A. I wonder now, after three years, how the brother views his epitaphic writing.

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  7. I think the epitaph speaks more of the brother than the deceased. Perhaps it is time to let it rest and put your own mind at peace. The longer I am alive the less I think I know of people.

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    1. You are probably right Carol.

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    2. OK, I agree with Carol.

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  8. I remember from Uni days that Marx was influenced by Hegel and I also remember that I tried to understand what his dialectics was about and being unable to comprehend it even in the simplified form my textbooks provided. It's certainly not an epitaph an 'ordinary' person would write even about someone extra-ordinary. Perhaps the writer is not, in fact, an 'ordinary' person.

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  9. It certainly is an odd sort of thing to say about one's brother. But straight after someone's death, especially if they were near to you, most people don't think very clearly (as opposed to logically, which this is).
    It feels to me like a determined effort to distance himself from the loss. Or the person. Or both.

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