OUR REALITY AND HEGEL’S FRUIT

Cherry_fruit_on_tree

It is the very fluid nature of human existence in the world that creates our uniquely human problem with “reality”. The human experience is enclosed within our  passage through time, our present is embedded in the historical movement through the ages of our technological development both in the past and the future. Of course this must be considered enriching, but we become so enamored by the motion of the historical phases that we lose sight of the constant and this creates a very dangerous condition: for it is when the continual is no longer consciously conceived amidst change that reality becomes a lie.

Hegel’s metaphor of the flower works here[1]. Imagine that reality is a tree. On the branch of this tree there appears a new, green bud which draws our attention to it. The tree had always seemed so dull and tedious before. Now it seems that there might be some other, more interesting, reason for its existence. This seems to be affirmed when the bud suddenly explodes into a colourful blossom, so beautiful that the flower itself refutes the significance of the bud and claims all attention for itself. The purpose of the tree is now so obviously to make this flower, we think. And in making this logical deduction we imbue the flower itself with the idea of Reality. But this is a mistake. The flower itself is merely an ephemeral phenomena and it will soon be replaced by a new truth, the manifestation of fruit.

Hegel uses the fruit metaphor to represent truth rather than reality, but if we were to implement our geometry of erroneous judgements on this (see our essay REAL DEMOCRACY AND THE LINE OF ERRONEOUS JUDGEMENT) we would be able to draw a triangle with a vertical axis of “truth” sprouting from a horizontal line of “reality” and linked by a hypotenuse of “ideology”.  Through understanding this relationship between ideology, truth and reality we can also see how Hegel’s metaphor works to describe the blossoming and fruition of ideologies that dazzle us, convincing us of themselves as the purposeful aims of humanity, until they themselves, explode, wither or just drop off. Of course it is the tree itself which is the constant source and power of all ideologies: but who can say they know now, with all the stentor, commotion and partitioning violence that the ideologies have thrown at us, what singular truth could possibly be the source of so much division? Where is the constant trunk from which all this diversity has grown?

As for our current, Western-world system it is very much a “fruit ideology”. We find it most often at the market-place and hardly ever on a tree. We may walk through a greengrocer, peruse the fruit and have no idea at all what the trees that they were plucked from may look like. We hardly even consider that the most essential component in the market is actually the trees from which the fruits were picked: we cannot see where the fruit of our reality came from any more. Reality has become too alienated from the real source.


[1] G.W. Hegel PHENOMENOLOGY OF THE SPIRIT, Forward.

 

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