Vilém Flusser: Is the Devil an Idiot, Mr. Hegel?

flusserThis paper attempts to elucidate Flusser’s understanding of human history, comparing and contrasting it with that given by Hegel.

It is one of Hegel’s central claims that reason rules reality; hence the task of philosophy is to comprehend that world history is nothing but the execution of God’s plans.

Is this account of history one expects –demands, even – from a philosopher who also admits that world history is a slaughter bench? Not surprisingly, Flusser pays very little respect for Hegel’s historical theodicy. In Flusser’s view, all Hegel attained with his theory of rational reconciliation was to replace the self-indulgent gods of thunder and rain for a pallid notion of nationalism.

Thus, contra Hegel, Flusser argues that in fact the whole symphony of civilization is nothing but the majestic work of the Devil. This is of course the central point of contention between Flusser and Hegel, but my overarching question is, how does Flusser’s understanding of history as an unfolding of the Devil bear on our evaluation of human nature and morality in relation to evil?

Autor: Wanderley Dias da Silva.

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