Harmonic Sentimentality Part 3: Harmonic Sentimentality and Hegel

by hughestim665

Now for a crash course in the works of Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel.  Hegel was a 19th-century German philosopher whose claim to fame was how he used paradoxical contradictions as a necessary requirement for higher development and creation.  This concept can be broken down into a simple model known as a Dialectic Triad.  In Hegel’s writings, however, he was incapable of keeping it simple because of his need to disguise what he was truly saying, so the model itself wasn’t explicitly explained by Hegel, but the format and pattern reoccurs throughout his writings.  The need for him to disguise what he was saying was because he was an atheist in an otherwise very Catholic, non-atheistic society.  If he wanted a job or to not be exiled, it was necessary for him to disguise his atheistic beliefs as somewhat relating to Catholic beliefs.  Nevertheless, the Dialectic Triad contains three parts:  a Thesis, Antithesis and a Synthesis.  Typically, each part contains two elements but the model can be used in such a way that each part only uses one element.  A bare bones example:

Thesis:  A + B
Antithesis: C + D
Synthesis: C + B

Where C is the total opposite of A, and D is the total opposite of B.  Each Antithesis is the complete opposite of the Thesis.  The Synthesis then combines one element from the Thesis and one element from the Antithesis in order to realize something new (In the example above, it’s also possible to conceive the Synthesis as A + D).  Hegel was of the mindset that contradictions were the most relevant way to create something that wasn’t previously in existence.  It is the essence of paradox.  Contradictions yielded a higher development than what was previously known.  Chronologically, one thing exists, then its opposite exists, then they interact with each other until a balance is conceived where they work with each other instead of fight each other.  An example of this kind of Dialectic is:

Thesis:   Spirit + Unconscious
Antithesis:  Observer + Conscious
Synthesis:   Spirit + Conscious

Here, Hegel is confronting the issue of the separation between Man and God, or as he calls God here, Spirit.  The Catholic ideology is that Man is separate from God, but Hegel disagreed.  He believed that Man eventually became God once he was aware that there was no difference between the two.  In the example above, Spirit represents the world pre-Man.  It is all the objects (plants, water, mountains, animals, etc.) that existed before Man walked upright into the picture.  Before Man, Spirit was unconscious of itself.  It was unaware that it existed (Thesis).  It jus was.  Once Man (Observer) existed, he became aware of the existence of objects (rocks, trees, leafs, birds, etc.).  Man was aware, he was conscious (Antithesis), and was at odds with Spirit who was unaware, unconscious.  Eventually, Man’s consciousness grew and he realized that he himself was an object.  So if he was an object, and Spirit was all of the objects, then Man is Spirit, and vice versa.  If Spirit is now Man, then Spirit is now aware of itself, it is conscious (Synthesis).  This Dialectic can also be represented:

Thesis:  Observed
Antithesis:  Observer
Synthesis:  Observed = Observer (Both are Spirit)

Now let’s compare this to Harmonic Sentimentality where two opposite forces, Cynicism and Sentimentality, are at odds with each other.  Using the Dialectic model:

Thesis:  Cynicism
Antithesis:  Sentimentality
Synthesis:  Cynicism = Sentimentality

Wait a second.  How can Cynicism equal Sentimentality?  Well, it’s not that they equal each other in terms of them being identical, it’s that one eventually becomes the other.  In H.S., Cynicism eventually becomes Sentimentality.  Because they occur within the same person, Cynicism will always realize its potential to be Sentimentality.  This shows the containment of Sentimentality within Cynicism.  If one exists, the other is sure to be around somewhere.  For ease:

Thesis:  Cynicism
Antithesis:  Sentimentality
Synthesis:  Cynicism —> Sentimentality

Now let’s put this in terms of the definition of Harmonic Sentimentality:  1) A person is acting cynical, 2) There is sentimentality that affects them, and 3) The cynical person has a realization that changes them into being sentimental.

Thesis:  Cynical + Actions
Antithesis:  Sentimental + Reactions
Synthesis:  Sentimental + Actions

The point of comparing H.S. to Hegel’s Dialectic Triad is that like the Triad, H.S. always creates something new, something more highly developed.  In this case, a sentimental person.  More on this and how this exists within Harmon’s story circle in Section 6:  Why Harmonic Sentimentality is Possible.

Part 4:  Quick Examples of H.S.