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Hegel formulated a method that would be used in resolving conflicts among members of society. He suggested that a conflict would be resolved in three stages.
In his analysis, a thesis would generate a reaction that he referred to as the antithesis. The two would always be in conflict for quite some time before forging a common position, something he termed as a synthesis. In the phenomenology of spirit, Hegel presented the science of experience of consciousness whereby he described the process through which people’s consciousness develops over time.
People’s minds go through a number of stages as regards to consciousness. The development of the mind starts with the lower levels and ends with the high levels. This article analyzes how Hegel used the idea of the master and the slave to bring out the conflicts that usually exist among various groups in society. The article situates the reasoning of Hegel in two articles, one being the Second Sex by Simone and the other is the modern woman as a subject by Fanon.
In his works on phenomenology, Hegel discussed the idea of independent and dependent self-consciousness whereby he talked about lordship and bondage in detail. He also discussed two critical issues related to life and desire. Hegel employed several concepts in analyzing how self-consciousness forms. Through self-awareness, a group of people develop certain knowledge, spirit, and sciences meaning that what people know are always held as true (Hegel 112).
Knowledge develops when one consciousness recognizes the existence of another consciousness meaning that conflicts among groups will never take place without each group developing a sense of belonging. Knowledge development, according to Hegel, does not follow the basic rules of science, but instead it develops through a phenomenological construct, which has a clear history.
This entails a group demanding for freedom after realizing that another group interferes with its interests. Regarding master-slave dialectic, the views of Hegel were that the relationship between the owners of the means of production and the proletariat could be understood through an internal analysis or process, particularly when it occurs in one individual.
Moreover, the same could be comprehended through an external process, particularly when it takes place between two people or two groups. Based on his view, whatever takes place in the mind of an individual would be the same thing that would take place in an individual’s life. This means that if an individual feels oppressed in his or her reasoning, there is a high likelihood that such an individual would indeed be oppressed even in normal life.
Hegel was of the view that the objective suppression and objective sense of inferiority would gel to become one thing. The two levels of consciousness are never in harmony and they can even be in conflict to an extent that they fail to agree. The self at this moment is viewed as a foreign object whose existence interferes with proper reasoning.
The two types of consciousness would as well perceive each other as animated objects as opposed to equal subjects. Based on this, Hegel concluded that the self does not appreciate the existence of another self. One self views the other self as an ordinary object with an autonomous shape. Due to this, a contradiction emerges, but the self tries to resolve the conflict through negating the other self, using a dialectical method. Since an agreement will not be readily reached, the two will be engaged in constant process of convincing each other.
This struggle persists until death, even though no self-consciousness would want death to take place since it would have fuelled a natural negation. The two forms of self-consciousness try as much as possible to avoid death. Therefore, the two tend to strike a deal to cooperate through constant communication and acceptance of subordination. The master would be willing to negotiate since she understands that life without self-awareness is useless. The slave accepts slavery because of the fear of death. The slave allows he master to control his life.
Application of Hegel’s Ideas
The second sex is the writing of Simone, which talks about the position of women in history. The scholar observed that women have never been given an opportunity to express themselves socially, politically, and economically due to the presence of men. Men are like masters who understand that life would never be enjoyable without self-consciousness. On their part, women accept their position as slaves since they fear death. Women have always engaged men in several fronts in order to realize their dreams in society.
In her works on history, she notes that reproduction is considered slavery to women because it denies them an opportunity to engage in economic and political development. Men have different views, which are perceived as the thesis since they control the affairs of society while the views of women are believed to be the antithesis because they oppose the position of men. Since the two forms of self-consciousness fear destruction, they will agree to form a working formula, which would result to a synthesis.
Under the new arrangement, women would be given adequate chances to participate in economic and political development. Their physical weaknesses would not be used to undermine their positions in society. In the second part of her works, she opposes the idea of marriage since it undermines the position of women in society. Women are mainly relegated to the private domain of the home since their role in marriage is related to performing domestic chores.
Fanon suggested that the white race is always perceived as a superior race because of its physical qualities and skin colour. The black race is viewed as an inferior race, whose major role is to serve the black race.
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Since time in memorial, the black race has never occupied its position in society, just like women (Fanon 191). During colonialism, the white race misused the labour of the black race to benefit itself while the black race was simply languishing in poverty. In this regard, the views of the white race are perceived as the thesis since they dictate all forms of life in society.
The black race is always in constant conflicts with the white race hence its views are believed to be antithesis. The conflicts between the two races will persist for years until the time when the black race will rise up to challenge the position of the white race. Since the white race is aware that life without self-awareness is useless, it will decide to engage the black race in talks in order to resolve the conflicts. A relationship would be established, with new ideas referred to as the synthesis.
Fanon, Frantz. Black Skin, White Masks. New York, NY: Grove Press, 2008. Print.
Hegel, Georg. Phenomenology of Spirit. Delhi: Motilal Banarsidass, 1998. Print.