Is there an END to history? Whereas most generally think of
history as a record of past events, Philosopher Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel considered it
to be a rational process moving towards completion. Make no mistake- by “end of history,”
Hegel wasn’t prophesizing the end of the world. But to discover what he did mean,
we must first ask ourselves “what is history?”
According to Hegel, “History,” is the progression of reason brought
about largely by confrontation and conflict.
For example, if a group of rebels seige a castle,
we have two opposing forces- the establishment and the challenger. Through this conflict,
the opposing ideologies will collide and produce a new establishment.
Like the one before it, this idea will eventually invite upheaval and the “dialectical process” yielding
heightened rationality, will continue. But such changes don’t occur randomly.
黑格尔认为 人的本质––自由 推动着历史
To Hegel, history is pushed forward by freedom- mankind’s essential nature.
随着历史的进步 我们变得更加自觉 更加理性
As history progresses, we become more self-conscious, therefore more rational,
and therefore, more free. For example, as a warrior gains more experience points,
he is granted more skills. The more skills he gains, the more
在战斗中他就有更多选择 最终能随心所欲随着世纪交替 我们变得更加自由
choices he has has in combat, and thus, he is free-er. As the ages pass, we have become more free.
During the age of the Orient,
只有统治者是自由的 在古希腊有些人是自由的 而在黑格尔所在的时代
only the ruler was free. In Ancient Greece, some were free. And in Hegel’s time
即法国大革命后 人生而自由 所以如果自由是
following the French Revolution, it was thought that all should be free. So if freedom is the end
goal of history, will there ever be a perfected state that invites no more change- An END
to the dialectic? In his book The Phenomenology of Spirit,
Hegel devised the concept of “World Spirit,” or the manifestation of reason
通过社会文化展现 包括哲学 宗教和艺术
exhibited through a society’s culture- including its philosophy, religion, and art.
The ULTIMATE freedom will occur when the World Spirit,
or collective consciousness of a culture, becomes entirely rational.
Only then can a unified society be
established in which its laws and institutions will invite no more change- because they are
in perfect harmony with their culture. And thus, the dialectical process of history will end.
Hegel’s philosophy of history
inspired some of the most important thinkers of the nineteenth century- including one young
poet who would one day become one of the world’s most influential figures.