Of Negation of Negation


“In G. W. F. Hegel thought purports to be the whole of life.  By passing through and transcending his ‘other’ being, man claims to recover himself again in pure Mind.  Thought recovers itself in madness, inasmuch as it is madness!  The ‘alienated’ life is recognized as the true life, in religion, in the law, in political life and, finally, in philosophy.  ‘To know and to live is to posit oneself, to assert oneself in contradiction to oneself, in contradiction to the knowledge and essence of the object.’  The Hegelian negation of negation is not therefore the assertion of man’s true essence by the negation of his imaginary essence.  On the contrary, it abolishes the concrete essence and transforms into a subject the false objectivity or abstraction: pure thought or ‘absolute’ knowledge without an object.”

-- Henri Lefebvre, Dialectical Materialism, 1940 (1968)


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Comments (2)

  1. magnocrat

    Wow that’s tied me up in awkward knots.

    March 22, 2017
    1. rallen2

      Hegel is very difficult to understand. But if you first dissect the propositions (analysis), and seek to understand them, and then integrate your understanding of each proposition (synthesis), you will manage better the propositions, often creating your own reading of Hegel, or perhaps your own re-writing of Hegel.

      March 22, 2017