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23 Hegel In the Philosophy of Right, Hegel writes, ‘No people ever suffered wrong. What it suffered, it merited’. This is wrong. Hegel’s idea is that suffering is justified historically. That is, suffering is suffering for the sake of world history, for the sake of what he sees as Spirit’s relentless forward movement, that culminates in the Germany of the early 19th Century or in the Fukuyama-esque delusions of the so-called ‘New American Century’ into which we have slowly crawled. Such is the secular theodicy of Hegelianism and related progressivist conceptions of history. This is what Hegel means when he speaks gnomically at the end of the Phenomenology of Spirit of ‘the Calvary of Absolute Spirit’. Calvary is Golgotha , a field of skulls. History is a field of skulls, a 24 cemetery.There’snodenyingit.Butisitthecasethat,as Aeschylus’ characters repeat in the Oresteia, we suffer into truth, and that such truth finds expression in the world we inhabit? Such is perhaps the truth of tragedy and arguably the truth of Hegelian dialectics. But in saying this most of the world’s inhabitants, both human and animal, are condemned to suffer in falsehood. Life is not tragic, it is ridiculous and it is best not conveyed in a philosophical system or a tragic trilogy , but in a joke, a paradox, a fragment. ...


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