Spirit is freedom and self-consciousness acting to realise its own potentiality (Hegel)
Yes, I agree:
I like this; it rings true/ a fertile source of new ideas
No, I disagree
I don't like it; and I don't believe in spirit or even the importance of consciousness
Don't know, tell me more
Interesting; how does Hegel develop this theme?
[Development. The response to each statement takes the reader to one of three areas where the response of Yes, No, Don' know can be explained.]
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The individual as individual is unimportant; only the historically decisive actor, the hero, makes a significant difference in history; but whether a man be a conventional citizen, a courageous person, a hero, or a victim, he is nothing but the Spirit's instrument.
I have not red Hegel but would be surprised if he had not clarified what he meant by the individual being unimportant.
It is true that individuals die in millions but the species survives. This applies to humans as well. Yet the primordial and evolutionary duty of an individual is to do everything necessary in order to survive. When it comes to humans the picture is very much more complicated because we have to take into account the imperatives contributed by cultural evolution. Although it can be argued that the evolution of other species also has a cultural dimension, it is of a relatively rudimentary kind.
As to the individual being nothing but the Spirit's instrument, yes, until Hegel defines the State as the embodiment of the Spirit's freedom. This is preposterous. It would be important to investigate the thought processes that led Hegel and others to this conclusion. Here we should find the justifications that lend legitimacy to the oppression of the individual by the group/society/government. Please someone read up on this and report.
Assuming this philosophical stance has momentous consequences in terms of social arrangements that flow from it. Here is an example of why philosophy is of such major importance for society. By turning philosophy into a purely academic pursuit public consciousness is deprived of its potential competence make high quality political choices that would turn politicians and governments into "servants of the people".
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