When most commentators refer to the ideological state that Western civilization finds itself in today, the name most commonly used as the genesis of the rot that has infected our society is Karl Marx. This isn’t wholly wrong, but when an examination of the gradualistic sense of the processwhich has been used to purposely evolve societal conceptions to the end goal of progressive operational success, the name and the methodologies of Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel should immediately come to the forefront of discussion.
Leftism since Hegel has moved dialectically, and Marx’s “dialectical materialism” is a consequence, not the source, of this. Hegel’s dialectical methodology (Thesis, Antithesis, Synthesis; or Abstract, Negative, Concrete; or, metaphysically, Being, Nothing, Becoming), also known as “negative thinking,” is the mode by which Leftists have sought to tear down Western Civilization and replace it with their own Utopia. Marx was just one such player among them, and his followers just one species of thought in a broader genus of bad ideas. That genus is dialectical alchemy. Hegel called its defining tool aufheben; Marxists translated it this as “sublation,” to tear down, yet keep, even while lifting (heben) up (auf) to a higher level, and for him it was how History spirals along dialectically toward its perfected end.
Over the past few years, we have attempted to point towards the process of alchemy which can be loosely defined as the process of transmutation or changing one unique and defined object or substance into another. The Alchemy of Finance states: “Scientific method seeks to understand things as they are, while alchemy seeks to bring about a desired state of affairs. To put it another way, the primary objective of science is truth – that of alchemy, operational success.” (George Soros, The Alchemy of Finance, 1994). Hegel saw Hermeticism and Alchemy as manifestations of a collective subconscious and that is how he could take them seriously (Glenn Alexander Magee Hegel and the Hermetic Tradition, p. 103).
Marx saw in Hegel a method by which his imaginations of a society freed from capitalism and Christianity could be realized and, making the dialectic materialistic, sought to replace them both with his vision of a perfected society, which he called Communism. The method: “ruthless criticism of everything that exists” until the oppressive superstructure could be torn away and the alchemical seed of a golden Utopia could grow and blossom from within. All that was needed was operational success.
While Marx tried to remove the explicit idealist metaphysics laid down by Hegel in his dialectic by fusing it (dialectically) with materialism, the alchemical roots of negative thinking could not, in fact, be removed. “With [Hegel] [the dialectic] is standing on its head. It must be turned right side up again if you would discover the rational kernel within the mystical shell” (preface to the second edition of Kapital). What Marx called “critical philosophy” retained in that “rational kernel” nearly all of the alchemical metaphysics of Hegelian philosophy: the creation of the positive through the application of the negative. And so this line of “negative thinking” has evolved through Marxism into neo-Marxism and postmodernism and, at last, into the “Woke” ideologies of today, which dialectically synthesize these later developments in the philosophy.
The truth is that “negative thinking,” thus “critical philosophy,” “Critical Theory,” and “critical constructivism” (better known as “Critical Social Justice”), cannot produce a positive. Believing they can is alchemical mysticism. They cannot add color to our world or our understanding of it; they can only slowly strip it of its color and flatten it into a one-dimensional world of utter conformity and bland, uncreative misery. They cannot create; they can only cancel and grift off the edges of the destruction, just like how Soros crashed and shorted the Pound Sterling through the precise alchemical formula he wrote about in The Alchemy of Finance.
Join Michael O’Fallon, of Sovereign Nations, and James Lindsay, of New Discourses, for an in-depth discussion of how the Hegelian dialectical process and metaphysics work and slowly drain the color out of life in Western Civilization.
Previous episodes of Changing Tides may be viewed here.