More on Hegel

The author of “Once More About the London Riots” responds to Danilo Scholz’s letter:

Dear Editors,

My reference to Zizek’s “predictable” Hegelianism wasn’t an attack on Zizek, let alone Hegel. My point was that referencing Hegel in that paragraph in the London Review of Books was unnecessary, didn’t accomplish anything that I could see, and appeared to me a typical example of intellectual posturing: making a simple idea (in this case, extraordinarily simple) seem complicated by referencing a famously difficult philosopher.

Recall that the momentous idea that Zizek ascribed to Hegel is that: “when something happens just once, it may be dismissed as an accident . . . but when the same event repeats itself, it is a sign that a deeper historical process is unfolding.” Now recall that the OED’s definition of the word ‘pattern’ is: “A regular and intelligible form or sequence discernible in certain actions or situations; esp. one on which the prediction of successive or future events may be based.” One hopes that Hegel did more than reiterate the OED’s definitions of two-syllable words.

If we are to take Hegel seriously, as Scholz suggests, these thin and frivolous references would seem to be the wrong way to go about it. I don’t say that all of Zizek’s references to Hegel are always this silly (they aren’t), that Zizek is wrong (my references to Zizek in my piece were mainly supportive), and least of all that Hegel is irrelevant (he isn’t.) In fact, although a significant portion of Scholz’s letter is framed as a defense of him, I had nothing at all to say about Hegel. I simply think that if we are to discuss him, we should do so seriously or not at all.

—Musab Younis

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