Sunday, October 14, 2012

Hegel Rant

I know its supposed to be Octoberween but I had an outburst of fury during our last seminar, which took up three pages of my seminar notebook and was sufficient to distract me from anything that was said in class, which was good, because I was livid and I may or may not have been close to having a full-scale emotional melt down and throwing my chair through the window. 
Anyway I wrote this during class and I thought I would share it with you.
For the sake of context, here it is: we are reading the works of Hegel for class, he is an unintelligible German philosopher. Well, unintelligible to me anyway a few people seem to understand it because they have a muse for German nonsense or something.

Here are my seminar notes since they are extremely stream of consciousness I have attempted to give a play-by-play of them in italics:

I began with an odd moment of self-reflection…probably because we kept talking about self-consciousness and I was mainly conscious of being irate.
 Whenever I am not capable of understanding something I get uproariously angry and throw a hissy fit. Three weeks of Hegel readings that I don’t understand has pushed me off the deep end.
 Other humble people are like, “I don’t understand this, but its ok, I can still have an open mind”
Me: “I have no idea what this is saying. Therefore it is stupid and wrong.”

Which leads me to the following conclusion: People who think they are smart, are handicapping themselves with respect to actually being smart.

One might ask: Liz how did you become such an arrogant twit?
Well, self-confidence is considered a virtue. Sometimes.
Self-confidence is a virtue that I did not come by naturally (this became evident in high school where I spewed a toxic river of self-deprecating humor). So I set out to construct an artificial self-confidence, which I based on my bright and shiny intellect.
            Today as I sit in this Hegel seminar, not understanding a word anyone is saying, I find myself wishing that I had a time machine. I would go tell myself, “listen, don’t put all your eggs in that intelligence basket, you’re just not that smart.”
 And previous me would say, “I don’t have any eggs, or baskets... and I wouldn’t take your advice even if I did.”

After that period of soul searching I proceeded to draw an angsty cartoon, which went like this:

(note this endless spiral of screaming insanity)

More whining:
In high school people would tell me things like, “hey I really like your cartoons! You should do that for a living,”
And I would respond, “No. no one will like them. I think I will be a smart person. Maybe a Professor.”
8 years of higher education later, and now I am saying, “turns out I am not good at being smart either I think I will draw cartoons”

A return to a commentary on the misery of seminar and some sort of self-help guide to Hegelian depression:
No amount of tea could restore my emotional state.
How to help your friends who are depressed by Hegel:
  1. Telling them that Hegel is awesome = the worst plan ever. You: “no Hegel is great and really makes a lot of sense if you kind think about it sideways.” Depressed friend:  “I can’t think sideways.” Result: depressed friend tries to murder you.
  2. Compliments = not helpful, “no! you’re smart!” … no really I have just have had a frickton of evidence that I am in fact not smart. I don’t believe you or your compliments.
  3. Sympathy cards = acceptable, they should say things like “sorry for the loss of your intellect” and “during our senior year my mind leapt into a black abyss of despair just like yours, I believe that with the help of bourbon milkshakes you can make it through this trying time” these are helpful statements.

See how many times I said self? I am practically Hegel.


  1. Liz, I totally sympathize. Hegel was a nightmare. I missed two Hegel seminars, which ended up being a good thing because class usually just confused me more. A bourbon milkshake would most definitely have helped! You'll make it through!

  2. I thoroughly enjoyed this! I haven't read Hegel, but I get how philosophy can drive one crazy. Thanks for entertaining us all in the midst of your wrath. ;] ~Camila Hervey

  3. Awesome Liz! :D I never get tired of reading these... or laughing at them. :) ~ Alyssa

    1. YAY! I love when people read them and laugh at them. I really did write this one in the middle of a Hegel seminar- I just got so fed up that I made that cartoon as an expression of my angst.

  4. Flamethrower = Wonderful. :D