Saturday, January 12, 2013
Hegel - to Mock or to Think?
It is one of the oddities of philosophy - how an idea can really grab you, and do so in spite of yourself. I am currently working on a piece on Hegel, who is never a philosopher I feel happy with - he is too verbose and too much the archetypical clever fool - the one people mean when they laugh at philosophy or think it pointless. All of which is true - and to read Hegel is to be perplexed and slightly annoyed - one wishes he says things more clearly (the really annoying thing is that he can - the start of the phenomenology of mind is wonderful, it is just a pity about how it then carries on though). And yet, and yet there is something also wonderful about Hegel. Even as one dismisses his ideas, and laughs at his made up universal histories, and bizarre pompous formulas, something in him grabs you. He has a power to make you step out beyond yourself, and your normal experience, and challenges you to re-examine yourself and your life. You laugh at him at your peril therefore, for you might very well become the object of fun.... The game therefore of performance I think ought to be to capture something of this movement. The audience ought to start laughing at him, and then wonder if it is he that is laughing at them... To see if I manage to pull it off come along to Taking the Mike on wednesday - or, alternatively there will be a video coming soon!