February 3, 2014
The necessity of Hegel

A true reader of history understands that, as Hegel said, “Reason is sovereign of the World; that the history of the world, therefore, presents us with a rational process”. Events are simply particular occurrences in what is essentially a rational plan. By knowing history, one can thereby understand this grand plan of Providence. One cannot understand Spirit alone; it must be discovered within the bowels of history. When a person falls in love with another person, there is a profound acceptance, placing him or her in an absolute state; thereby seeking perfection in imperfection itself. I see man’s relationship being akin to this interpretation. It is as though man must, in order to comprehend history ‘in and of its self’, seek the rational within the irrational.

Why must we concentrate on history? Because as Hegel so beautifully put it: “Weltgeschichte ist das Weltgericht” (World History is a tribunal that judges the World). History itself essentially judges men, their actions and their thoughts. By having serious scholarship with history, mankind itself becomes more familiar with ‘events’ both disastrous and magnificent, which are ultimately integral to the big other’s (the god of Freud) plan. We can then understand the mind of the big other. Ergo, as history moves forward, man himself edges closer to a profound liberation. There are, I propose, epochal peaks throughout history of which man edges closer to the Spirit. Said instances always revolve around a dialectical paradigm. This is why man longs for a revolution, not only to overcome an imperial obstacle, but to empirically experience an event with the Spirit. What we should aspire to attain is true, subjective emancipation for man as an individual and as a universal being - a liberation theology for both materialists and non-materialists. Academically, this is very easily said, but politically which worldview is shows the most promise of reaching such an understanding? Communism of course!

It must be said, there is no inert recipe for communism; the ingredients of which it embodies are ever changing. Along with its intellectual outpourings, within its very cells, lies dialectical evolution. Marx himself was not inclined to write ‘recipes for the cook-shops of the future’; in fact Marx was opposed to any Hegelian universality. It is essential to accent that for Marx, the real characteristics of communism is not its firmness, but more its prosperity to said events - its dispersive flexibility in the face of unforeseeable circumstances. This is Marxian theory’s advantage and disadvantage. Just like with a reader of love, it can ultimately be a beautiful thing or a fatal thing. In the right hands, it can be a relationship to last. However, in the wrong hands, it can be a relationship destined for failure. It is an intellectual weapon - a double edged sword.

This is something that is alien to the Western model of “democracy”. There is no individual taking said responsibility. What is in place instead is a paradigm incapable of understanding itself never mind history. In the West, we have a non-utilized State – a body with an excessive amount of limbs. Consequentially, Western communists have sadly followed suit. Remember an intimate instance in which you and your partner are having sex and the bed begins to squeak erratically. You swiftly change positions in order to remedy the distraction. To no avail, the bed persists. As a failing result, you both begin to laugh with the bed. The bed has developed a personality. It is at this moment; the bed stops you from enjoying the sexual act but thankfully enjoys it on your behalf. Is Communism itself akin to this particular dynamic of the symbolic order? We as Marxists in the West are not reaching any sort of climax, but are still enjoying the act nonetheless. The reason communism is viewed by so many as idealistic, and nothing more, is due to the affiliated enjoying the notion more than wanting to fulfill it - so many of my peers have wandered away from the work of Marx due to disappointment due to such dialectical glitches.

-Thomas Mayer

February 3, 2014
An Atheist’s Perspective On Why Christianity Was Right

Let’s talk about Christianity. For those who don’t know, I’m an ex-Christian, I’m an atheist, and I also believe that Christianity, or at least the Christianity expressed by Paul, was way ahead of its time, and easily the most moral popular worldview available to date. If that’s not the kind of thing you expect to hear from an ex-Christian atheist, read to the end.

Christianity got something right that we have still not grasped, but which ironically we will be forced to accept when we completely let go of our religious beliefs. I am talking about Free Will, one of the most prevalent religious ideas in human history. This post isn’t really for those who haven’t yet come to terms with the fact you don’t have free will, but to sum it up: there is no way to think logically about free will. It is not a logical idea. It can’t exist in any possible universe, for a simple reason: nothing can be without a reason. Whether or not you are a reasonable person, all that you do has reason, all that you do is the logical consequence of your mind’s interaction with its local and universal environment. We are the product of involuntary desires, and the only way to defeat one is with either another stronger desire, or with external help. If you can’t accept that, try doing something for no reason, and get back to me. It’s a delightfully entertaining activity.

Now of course many people associate Free Will with Christian theology, but you won’t find it in Paul. In Paul we encounter ideas such as being a slave to sin, being chosen by God, and subsequently being a slave to God. Not being a slave is not an option. Now Paul also talks about a freedom found in Christ, specifically the freedom to not be a slave to sin. …which is a very poetic way of putting it, but does not change the fundamental theology. It does not change the power of the theology. Paul, 2000 years ago, came to the revelation that we are still slowly moving towards, that humans are not in control. That we are victims of the universe. That is not how Paul would have phrased it, but that is the correct way of thinking about it.

Now why do I think this is such an important idea? Everything changes when you accept it. Currently, the justice system in most countries would collapse if they were forced to make law what we now know. They are designed around the seeking, containing, and punishing of evil rather than the exorcism of it. Whereas a rejection of free will leads you to the conclusion that criminals are equally human, and should be fixed rather than physically and mentally destroyed. It changes our perspective on group identity, it renders violence nonsensical, it is utterly incompatible with Capitalism, and leaves us without monsters.

No monsters, only humans. Paul put it another way: we are all monsters. We are all broken. We all need fixing. And Paul had his vision of how the Church would be the agent of the fixing.

I have my own vision of humans being the fixers irrespective of religion, merely equipped with empathy and enough logic to reject Free Will.

And this is why I have been talking so much about Pedophilia in my videos. I believe it is the foremost example of scapegoating those most in need. It is also where Christianity could be most relevant. On that note, I have been extremely disappointed with the level of Christian engagement with my videos, and the general level of engagement by Christians other than joining in with the scapegoating.

Now I must turn from praise to condemnation. Those who call themselves compassionate Christians seem overwhelmingly to be capable of nothing more than to stop hating whoever the rest of the world has stopped hating. With all the pressure that the Church has experienced to accept homosexuality, I really can’t congratulate them.

I’ll congratulate them when they embrace a group of people as human before the secular world does. Not merely with ‘Jesus loves you’, but with ‘I love you too.’ I’ll congratulate them when they speak out against those who dehumanize rapists and pedophiles. I’ll congratulate them when they stand up against the idea that criminals can’t simultaneously be victims. I’ll congratulate them when their theology starts to mean something.

-Joshua Bizley

*****

For those who have only seen this tumblr, here are the videos I refer to:

Standing up for Pedophiles

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zec7oZUrGg8

Compassion for Children, Compassion for Pedophiles

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AZ_S8iSE1ZU

Perversion of Bias via Identity

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WC2wQXlsQWU

August 10, 2013

javert:

yES A GOVERNMENT SHOULD BE CRITICIZED FOR PASSING IMMORAL LAWS ARE YOU FUCKING SHITTING ME RIGHT NOW 

If the laws reflect society, no, government should not be criticized. Society should be criticized. Government is required to be transparent and representative. The rest of the job of human progression is down to changing humans, not their laws.

It is no good to enact a moral law in a society that isn’t ready for it. The backlash against them pulls society backwards, not forwards.

Responding because I assume this is a response to this post.

August 10, 2013
Why you should appreciate Russia’s homophobic laws

If you take away only one sentence from this post, it should be that homophobia is a good thing. Because I would rather people who form views without reading thoroughly to be hilariously wrong rather than only a little wrong.

So Russia is getting a lot of attention, for two reasons. They have sheltered Snowden and it is an ugly place for homosexual people. Although perhaps it is just one reason.

After all, is Russia the only homophobic nation on earth? Either that, or there is some other reason that their homophobia is suddenly getting so much attention. It didn’t suddenly come into existence. But I am not interested in excusing the Russian government. Instead, I am going to praise them, not in spite of their homophobic laws but precisely because of them. And in doing so I will either teach a few people what governments are actually meant to do or attract a horde of raging bloggers or both.

I will begin with a simple statement that few would debate: the only mandate of democratic government is to represent and enact the will of the people.
 
It is not to protect us at any cost. It is not to make us more moral. It is not to fix global warming. It is only those things if the people want it to be those things.

Consequently all anger expressed at the Russian government is either ignorant of how deeply homophobic Russian society is or is intentionally or ignorantly proposing that a government should be attacked for passing immoral laws.

There are countless things I believe need to change in society and government but all of these agendas are secondary to getting this most simple thing right: that we are aware of the kind of government we have and that we have control over it. If you don’t think that comes before every other possible political agenda, you’ve lost the plot.

I am sure there are a few people who intend their criticisms to be for Russia as a whole, but after a while of seeing this I would confidently assert that 90% of the media’s coverage is designed to contrast the Russian government with the US government, as if the crimes of the US government are dim in comparison to how the Russian government treats homosexual people.

This is painfully ironic. There is only one thing that government needs to get right: representation. The rest is the responsibility of society as a whole and can only be dealt with in the inevitably slow process of transforming society. This one thing is the one thing that Putin’s administration is getting right - and getting this one thing wrong is what makes the US government so despicable and dangerous.

While Russia and its government will eventually be transformed, if nothing changes they will eventually be far ahead of the US on every moral issue because the US government has created a culture of shepherding rather than obeying the people.

—-

In response to this in facebook note form my friend Dimentio said, ‘I agree with you to the extent that it’s good for Russia’s government to be following the will of it’s people. But I disagree in that we should still condemn it, and argue against it, in that we might win over Russia’s population through discourse, and influence policy change.’

I didn’t go into my opinion on whether we should condemn Russia as a society so I will do that now. My position is simply that, while I don’t get annoyed every time a friend attacks Russia, I believe condemning an ideological enemy strengthens rather than weakens that ideology.

It is one thing for France to condemn Germany or the UK to condemn the US, but the West condemning China or Russia actually just increases nationalist views. This is because we not only tend to align our views with our own ‘team’ but also form them in contrast to our enemies. You might think that Russia/China vs. the West is a thing of the past but you would be wrong.

What condemning there is to do ideally needs to be done explicitly from a non-nationalist perspective, so if an American or Brit is going to vocally condemn Russia, it has to be explicitly said as a human rather than as a Brit or as an American. There is an extent to which individuals joining the internet chorus of anger accomplishes this. But a Western government condemning Russia accomplishes nothing. Nothing good.


-Joshua Bizley

May 24, 2013
Violence does not work, but it does.

Violence does not work, but it does. This is essentially the message that I have experienced over the last day. Boris worded it perfectly, ‘One obvious point, it is completely wrong to blame this killing on Islam but also wrong to draw a link between this murder and British foreign policy.’ The failure of enemy violence is the least appropriate time to discuss our own.

Whether consciously or unconsciously orchestrated, the conversation erupting over Islam has served as a distraction from the fact that this was a failure rather than merely a tragedy. So read with me through the quotes of the killers.

‘By Allah, we swear by the Almighty Allah we will never stop fighting you until you leave us alone… ayah in Sura at-Tauba [Chapter 9 of the Koran], many, many ayah [verses] throughout the Koran that [say] we must fight them as they fight us, a eye for a eye and a tooth for a tooth. I apologise that women had to witness this today, but in our land our women have to see the same. You people will never be safe. Remove your governments. They don’t care about you. Do you think David Cameron is gonna get caught in the street when we start busting our guns? Do you think the politicians are going to die? No it’s going to be average guy, like you.’

‘We want to start a war in London tonight.’

What should be immediately clear is how different this event was to terrorism as we know it. In 9/11 the killing of westerners and the demolition of their capitalist symbol were ends in themselves. But it was made clear here that killing us was not the goal, but rather something even to be sorry about. Here the goal was articulated to be a war in London, one in which we were to help overthrow our own government. We were, in plain English, called to violent revolution.

It is not all westerners who are evil anymore, it is our politicians, and we are warned that we will die for their sins if we do not remove them. Perhaps, in their mind-set, this was even a chance for us to redeem ourselves. It was their sincere hope that, in experiencing the suffering they experience in their own countries, we would be moved to action.

We were not moved. We were not transformed. We were not enlightened. Instead we were hardened further, hardened against the violence that they suffer. Today of all days, we could care less. This is the failure of violence that I talk of.

But if the violence has failed, we have also failed to critique it. Yet we believe we have. We believe our national shock, horror, and disgust serves to expose the violence as unjustifiable. But every time such a terror happens, the Muslim world wants to know where this sudden abhorrence came from, and where it was when their own people were suffering.

The only way to understand why the Woolwich attack was wrong is to be able to consider that it was not. Our inability to do this is not a sign of our innocence, but of our hypocrisy. Hypocrisy is a word we hear so often from these killers, and often it is their justification for treating us all as guilty. But yesterday was different. Yesterday we were treated as if our hypocrisy was not irredeemable. We were treated as if we were capable of disavowing our double standards.

Yesterday was yet another failure of Muslim violence but in their circles it will not be perceived that way. It will be perceived as the failure of hope, the hope these killers had for western humanity. We are lost, irredeemable. Our ideology has too tight a hold. We must be destroyed before we destroy them.

And as our same ideology continues, the very last thing we should allow ourselves to do is wonder if the violence isn’t working.

April 20, 2013
We Need More North Koreas

I have been mostly quiet on Nonviolent Communism for a year now. My belief in it has not diminished, but another conviction has gradually taken precedence. I realized today how best to communicate that conviction.

I will start with clarifying that under no circumstances would I like to live under the North Korean regime. If there is one thing that people on almost every side of almost every debate can agree on these days, it is that we would rather not live under the North Korean regime. But there is something priceless that North Korea has been doing for the world during the last few decades, and it is something that we need more of. Much, much more of. In fact, it may be the thing the human race needs most.

That something is Science. Over the last century, the scientific method has come to dominate almost every area of human knowledge, with at least one very notable exception: the organization of human society. The scientific method in this area is often reduced to flippant references to the fall of the Soviet Union: ‘See, Communism didn’t work. Therefore, Global Capitalism.’

There are two glaring fallacies here, and forgive me while I note them (I assure you that the defense of Communism is nothing to do with my main point): firstly, that everything that Communism is and could be was encapsulated in that one system, and secondly, that what such a person thinks of as Communism is the only alternative to a version of Capitalism. If you paid attention to that, you might be thinking that the two fallacies are essentially the same, but there is a crucial difference. The difference is this: the second fallacy is worth debating; the first is not.

What I mean is this: it does not matter whether the word we use is Communism. Again I will reiterate that neither Communism nor another word in place of Communism is my point. But it is important to frame my point within a rejection of the semantics. People on every side of the debate must stop clinging to words: they have become like a football team that you support no matter what. You support them when the manager changes, when new players come in and old players leave. Over the course of your life, you might have watched every part of a football team other than the logo transform into something else, and yet week after week you attend the matches because you are dedicated to the word. Not the players, not even the team in general. Just the word.

So thank God for North Korea, a tangible demonstration of a thing we do not want. So what if they call it Communism!? We know that it is a thing that we do not want, and we should be very grateful that we can know this so certainly. This is the scientific method: you try something and see if the results are desirable. If not, you try something else. If we get many more North Koreas – systems that utterly buck the trend – we might actually find something worth keeping.

And why not!? I do not see a good reason not to break countries into simultaneous experiments. No one seems to be happy with the way things are, and everyone seems to think that this perpetual state of disagreement is inevitable. It is not inevitable: we can, through the power of trial and error, keep trying something new until that desirable thing catches our attention, we see it happening before our eyes, and eventually there are no debates left to be had regarding its practicality and its results.

But we must discard the words. One thing that I know would be much worse than Capitalism is if we were to all try one idea of Communism everywhere right now. The idealists are all so divided that it would signal a final end for every version of the Communist ideal. And the same for every other ideal. Let me be brutally honest with you: if we tried what the Tea Party wants and the results were desirable, I’d be just as happy. Genuinely. This is the power of the scientific method: our sharp disagreements before the experiment cease to matter. It is the only such approach that both has a chance of working and of allowing those who argued for something else to be won over.

We have learned by now that is it the winning over that matters. This is the failure of the ideals thus far: the incredible underestimation of the power of disbelief. We will tolerate incredibly unjust systems if we can only be convinced that nothing else would work. We will tolerate absurd leaps of logic in the justification of our own system if we just accept that the alternatives are impossible or worse. Science is the only response to this – even if you are 100% convinced that the experiment will not work, you do it anyway.

We need political parties separate from left and right. Parties of people who will stop insisting that they know what will work best and instead promote a willingness to put everyone’s ideas to the test. I can imagine that would take a ridiculously long time and I’m not suggesting everyone stops voting for what they believe to be best, but that those of us who would like to see this realized communicate with each other until such a time that we are numbered enough to be heard.

-Joshua Bizley

June 21, 2012
"Today Gramma told me that when she was a girl during the War she was bullied a lot by students (and more by the teachers) because she spoke German. One day during recess she was playing jumprope with some other girls and they suddenly stopped and just asked her ‘Do you love Hitler?’ Gramma quickly responded ‘yes’, because she had been taught to lover her enemies. It didn’t go well for her."

— Jordan Dyck

June 5, 2012
On Free Will

I am reposting a conversation I had on a Christian facebook group. For some context, it began with me arguing against the idea of ‘a loving God who is all-powerful and all-knowing who lets the world continue in the state that it is.’

Josh: There is no argument I have heard of to explain this away, but sadly many Christians continue to believe that Free Will is compatible with any logical understanding of the world, and try to make this the solution.

Clyde: You think we don’t have free will Josh?

Josh: No, as I said, Free Will makes no logical sense. We are not the source of our thoughts, which are the logical results of the way our brain interacts with the world. Neither are we the source of our desires, which we have absolutely no control over. We can neither choose what we want nor whether we pursue what we want. There is absolutely nothing you or I have done that either you or I can take any credit for, or blame for.

Clyde: I can decide to go to the fridge and grab a drink? That’s free will?

Josh: No. If you go to the fridge and grab a drink, it’s because, through entirely logical mental processes, you (1) physically needed a drink, which created (2) the mental desire for a drink, and after careful consideration, you discovered that there was (3) no good reason not to have a drink, and so (4) logically, you entertained that desire.

Let’s say you decided not to have a drink purely out of rebellion, because you wanted to believe you had free will. Laughably, this would merely be another reason, and you would never be free to live outside of reason.

You have no control over 1, 2, 3, or 4. Let me ask a question that Sam Harris asks. By the way, Sam Harris isn’t the person who led to me rejecting Free Will, but I have discovered he is one of the most articulate with explaining how nonsensical it is.

Can you think a thought before you think a thought? No, that would be ridiculous. And because you cannot, you cannot choose the thoughts you have. Thoughts simply appear in your mind. You have the illusion of free will because no one is coercing you to have those thoughts, but in actuality you are not free to think different thoughts instead. Consequently, what you consider to be the source of your freedom is, in fact, not under your control at all.

It is difficult to accept, but this is one of the most important truths for everyone to come to terms with: we are not in control of our lives, we are only witnesses to it.

Clyde: I can’t believe you don’t believe in free will to be honest.

Josh: That’s just a silly thing to say. I have told you why it does not exist, and cannot exist.

Clyde: So u didn’t choose your wife?

Josh: No. And the answer to all the other identical questions will also be no.

Clyde: You didn’t choose to reply to me?

Clyde: You didn’t choose your clothing?

Clyde: You can’t choose to get out of bed at 7am?

Josh: No. No. No.

Clyde: You are controlled basically.

Josh: Almost, except that suggests that someone else with will is controlling me - no one has will and no one is controlling anything, that is precisely the point.

Luke: I agree in part with Josh on this. No one has true free will, even if you don’t take it to the full extent like Josh says. Regardless of our view on it, our “free will” is limited. Whether we have absolutely no choice as Josh suggests, or whether we think we have at least a degree of control in our thoughts and actions, our will is still limited by outside forces - whether that be unexpected circumstances or other peoples choices and decisions. Someone else’s ‘will’ can override our own whether we choose to allow them to or not, i.e. someone could point a gun a me, their choice, their will, is to pull the trigger and kill me. My choice and will is to live and not die. Sadly, if they pull the trigger then my “free will” to continue living means nothing.

Josh: By the way, I understand why people are reluctant to accept the fact of a world without free will, because many people have built their entire concept of morality on it, but here is why accepting this fact would be a good thing:

Redemptive Violence will fade ideologically, though will probably remain in random spurts of emotion. It will fade because Free Will is the basis for redemptive violence - without it you do not have the idea that a criminal ‘deserves’ to be punished. Criminals will be treated as broken human beings rather than evil people.

Simon: Okay so here’s my problem. If I do not have free will but can only be a witness to my life, then my acceptance of believing that I do not have free will is not my choice.

Josh: What you’re saying is correct Simon. The question is: what is so terrible about it not being your choice?

Luke: Wouldn’t all this make discussing it pointless? Or do we still require what other people say to us in order to get the results of what we’d normally call “choice” in a matter?

Simon: What I don’t understand is this: what is the point of you theorizing about what would happen if more people have free will when you cannot make a difference any way, because you don’t have free will. So my point is not whether i am afraid of there not being free will, but what is the point of this discussion when I am not free to engage with the material presented.

Josh: You seem to be defining ‘pointedness’ as something that can only exist while we have the option to do something else. In that case, everything is pointless.

But if we use the simple definition of ‘purposeful’, then no, of course this isn’t pointless. Each of us have a purpose in this debate. For each of us, that purpose is entirely determined and we do not have the option to do otherwise, but it is still a purpose.

Now Simon has responded, so I will answer that as well. No, you cannot choose whether to engage with what I am saying. If you engage, it is because you are determined to. This does not make whether or not you engage worthless: our beliefs, regardless of whether we have chosen them, dramatically affect our experience of life. It doesn’t matter in the sense of consciously changing the future, but it still matters consequentially.

Consequences, regardless of whether they could have been prevented, are meaningful. Here’s an example: If someone kills your wife and you were not home to prevent this, even if we were to imagine that you did have some level of free will, we can agree that you did not have the freedom to save your wife.

Now, are you going to just view this as a mechanical outworking of reality and disengage emotionally from your wife’s death merely because you could not have prevented it? Of course not - you will still cry, and the fact that your wife has died will still have a huge effect on you.

We could do the same with a happy event, and any other kind of event. Life is meaningful regardless of free will. We still experience suffering and happiness, and we still prefer one over the other.

Luke: But then we become no more than mere machines pre-programmed to do something, emotions themselves just become functions as the result of a predisposition already set in our brains that say “death of loved one = tears + sad emotion feeling” in the basis sense.

Whether we feel or events have meaning to us, it still makes existence pointless in the grandest sense, even if not in the personal sense; and we appear nothing more than robots with clever programming.

Josh: You are pre-programmed to think of being pre-programmed as a negative thing. But why is it negative? What is innately good about having chosen your life?

I think part of the problem is that many come to the debate with the presupposition that life must have meaning beyond itself, that there must be something to achieve or some truth to realize through our choices in it. Consequently, these sorts of debates seem to be taking something away from you, when all I’m doing to trying to help you see what you always didn’t have.

And what is wrong with ‘robots’? If a robot was created that was as intricate as you, it would effectively be a human. You could fall in love with ‘it’, have deep conversations with it, argue with it, fight with it. When you rudely say to it, ‘You’re just a robot’, it would cry.

The only reason you would not treat such a complex creature as a human being is the belief that it is not ‘sentient’, but it IS. I am not suggesting a robot that appears to be human, I am suggesting a robot that is configured physically just as the human is, so that it experiences sentience just as we do. You may argue that sentience is not physical, but you have little reason to believe that there is anything in your mind that transcends physics, bar religion.

The problem is not that my conception of the world would reduce humans to robots, the problem is that our present conception of the world views that which is merely physical (and not transcendent as we believe our souls are) as worthless, when in fact, the physical is all that we know and thus should be all that we attribute worth to.

*To clarify, by robots I meant artificial intelligence.

June 5, 2012
Force is not Violence

I cannot stress enough how important this post is for understanding what The Nonviolent Communist is about.

The primary reason Nonviolence sounds ridiculous to many people is their ridiculous idea of it. Imagine a person you care about being attacked by a person that you’d stand a chance of fighting off, but instead you stand by and try to reason with the attacker. Or perhaps you are standing between the victim and the attacker, nobly taking the brunt of the blows. What the hell is this? If that is your idea of Nonviolence, you’re mental.

The problem is our concept of Force, and of force being bad. This stems from our idea of Free Will, and of free will being good. Free Will is an entirely illogical concept, but because people are finding my posts on this blog to be too long, I’ll make a separate post on it afterwards: which is now here. It’s also not necessary to explain that Free Will is illogical to argue for the crucial point here: that everything is force.

Take these two actions: (1) physically stopping someone from hitting you or anyone else (assuming it is practical to do so) and (2) verbally persuading someone to not hit you. What is different about them? If successful, they both have the same immediate consequence, and they both change the course of that person’s actions. If you believe in free will, neither of these actions could be good, because they both deny that person that which they had ‘willed’. There is, of course, the perverse notion that persuading someone, changing their desires, does not go against the free will because they now ‘want’ something else.

I would argue for precisely the opposite - changing someone’s will must be the worst crime against free will (if we imagine that it exists). If you can change what that person wants, they are not free at all. For the person who believes that Nonviolence involves protecting people’s Free Will, persuasion and traditionally nonviolent actions are actually the most violent actions.

But that is not the kind of violence and nonviolence that we mean to engage with. We define violence as that which intends to destroy, damage, or humiliate out of a dehumanization of the enemy or victim. So, let’s analyze the situation again. You are with a human being whose life matters. That human being is attacked by another human being, whose life matters. What should you do?

If protecting the person who is being attacked is only possible by inflicting some level of damage on the attacker, you sure as hell better do that. If the consequences of the preventative damage is obviously going to be worse than the consequences of the initial attack, that’s where you have a problem, and physical force fails you. If you decide it is okay to do more damage to the attacker than you would be averting, you definitely have a problem. You are not acting out of protective instincts, you are acting on the idea that the attacker is less human than the victim, and deserves less. That is violence.

May 22, 2012

To date, for systematic Hegelian expositions, the bookshelves have remained sparse, so to hear Slavoj Zizek was soon to deliver a thorough reading was a momentous occasion to say the least – I was left in both a state of excitement and relief. Relief predominantly being due to such dry times proving to be a steady strain on my “unwavering” ontological post.

The rare exception to have graced our shelves has pictured Hegel in a caricatured Idealist fashion, almost to the brink of being stereotypical. The danger of this being that it regularises him into an akin category to that of his peers, diminishing his grand historical significance. Of which, at least for myself, is an unforgivable sin, as it is the very science of the dialectics that is thus also compromised. Although I do not completely subscribe to the pessimism of “things will inevitably go wrong” I do, on the other hand, believe it to be a powerful enough incentive to provide a synthesis. This is precisely where I adopt a dialectal discernment that it is only via class struggle can this be accomplished – until then, I suppose Tom Cruise could pull out a fifth movie.

Is it still possible to be a Hegelian in today’s climate? It is not only possible, it is imperative! As without being so, Marxian theory is rendered moot. I believe we are expected to in order to survive. It is gravely alarming to hear so many, a part of the Left, to have never read Hegel. This is not by any means a statement of condemnation, it is quite the contrary, it is fueled with excitement; for if every subscriber to Marx were to have a thorough reading of Hegel then the Left would be dialectally indestructible. Our greatest antagonist being our greatest subject: history. For History itself certainly does not serve a plan established in advance. At least for the dialectical historicist the historical process is itself undecided. What lies before us, behind us, and to come, are a whole array of unanticipated instances that endanger the balance of entrenched social and cultural norms; in turn enforces new orders. The sooner we understand this through the eyes of Hegel, the sooner we can pragmatically cater an eventual synthesis.

I recently had a heated conversation with someone concerning Hegel: (X = fellow participant)

X: “I feel sorry for anyone whom reads Hegel. The only importance I can see Hegel being of is a purely historical one.”

My answer bluntly being: “Have you any idea how important history is?”

This is the very epitome of my point. For those whom take history as consisting of things existing in polarities, we need someone equally as eminent as Hegel.

- Tom