The Cyclical and Hegelian/Marxist Views of History

Shi: Wow, that’s some highbrow stuff right there. I’m going to have to go look that up.

Of course it is! History repeats itself. Study the Cyclic View of History as enumerated by Giambattista Vico and later and most famously by James Joyce. Read the first sentence of Finnegans Wake. That’s all about the Cyclical View of History.

Here is the first line of Finnegans Wake:

Riverrun, past Eve and Adam’s, from swerve of shore to bend of bay, brings us by a commodius vicus of recirculation back to Howth Castle and Environs.

That’s a reference to the cyclical view of history, which is seen as a flowing river. History is often seen as a flowing river. Face it, it’s more of a river than a lake, right?

“Commodius vicus” is Latin and I am not sure what it means, but that Latin word “vicus” is a nod to Giambattista Vico, the great Italian philosopher of the 1500’s who came up with the idea of the cyclical view of history. His most famous book is called The New Science. And no, I’ve never read him. Joyce is hard enough without getting into the real big boys, the philosophers.

Marx also discussed this by referring to Hegel in The Eighteenth Brumiere of Louis the Fourteenth that begins with the famous line,

History repeats itself, first as tragedy, second as farce.

And I’m not even sure what that means!

Oddly enough, Hegel and consequently Marx and Marxists didn’t adopt a cyclical view of history (and perhaps the quote above is meant to mean that it’s a bad idea). Instead, they adopted the view of history as a progressive thing in which people advance in every way possible and old ideas, reaction, and barbarism are slowly discarded. In that sense, it is important to note that all Marxism and all Leftism or even liberalism is basically Hegelian and works according to the Dialectic View of History. Although I doubt most liberals would call themselves Hegelians because they suck too much to do that.

If you study history of the West or US in the last 200 years, you can see that we have gradually been moving forwards, not backwards. Of course this Supreme Court now is trying to make clocks run backwards and go back to the 19th Century. But no one ever said that the forward movement of progressive history won’t be fraught with reaction in response to this forward movement.

Generally speaking, most forward movements in society are met with either conservatism (“Don’t change or go forward! Leave it just the way it is!”) or Reaction (“Stopping things in place isn’t good enough because we’ve already gone too far! We need to go backwards, back the old days!”

This means something like

Hey, looks go back and live in the 1950’s!

of the White Nationalists all the way to the US Republican Party under Karl Rove which wants to go all the way back to the Gilded Age in the late 1800’s. In my opinion they literally want to turn the clock back 150 years.

In general I like the idea of history as a continuous forward movement and in general, I think Reaction is a bad thing. My view is:

Clocks run forwards, not backwards!

I also like to say that reactionaries are:

Literally fighting a war against Time itself

There are times when the old ways are better and reorganizing society actually goes way too far and even makes things worse. Too many liberals and Lefties are like, “Let’s change things! Why? Because the present always sucks! So why change? Just because! Change for change sake! The old ways are always wrong and we must continually move forwards!”

I think at some point you’ve gone as forwards as you can go and wen you start going beyond that, you just get into insanity, as with modern Identity Politics, SJWism, and PC culture. My response to that is they’ve gone too far:

Your grandmother was right (about some things)!

And

I signed up for revolution, not insanity!

with the latter referring to my embrace of the great cultural revolutions of the 1960’s which then didn’t know when to stop and kept moving forwards into insanity, mental illness, and non-adaptive behavior that in a way is as anti-civilizational as the Right’s dream state.

I also figure that all this new stuff we want to try has probably already been tried at some point by our ancestors or by someone’s ancestors anyway.

The reason traditions exist is probably because they tried everything else, including the kooky stuff the Left wants to do, figured out it didn’t work, and quit doing it. It also probably left them with some elder wisdom along the lines of, “That doesn’t work and here’s why.” They might not recall that they had tried it in the past, but how else would they know it doesn’t work?

And why do traditions exist? Like I said, I figure they tried everything else it either flopped or didn’t work real well, and eventually the tried the civlizational style of this tradition and found that not only did it work but it worked better than all the other nonsense.

In that sense, I am a bit of a social conservative. Liberals and Lefties often want change for change sake.

Me: Hey, why are we changing this thing anyway? It seems to work pretty good as it is, isn’t it?

Liberals and Lefties: Just because! Because we can! For no reason! Because all progressive change is good! Because the present mode is always backwards and barbaric! Because we must always go forwards!

My reaction to that is a cool type of conservatism that says:

Hey, look. A lot of these changes you are proposing don’t seem like good ideas and seem like they won’t work. You seem to proposing change for the sake of change. Be that as it may, tell you what, Lefties. You guys go over there out of sight and do all your wild societal experiments, but just keep me out of it, ok? Oh, and by the way, let me know how it goes!

Wink wink.

As with so many things, it’s often a bad idea to have too much of a good thing, in this case progress, an idea which might surprise a lot of people. The Chinese Taoist view of “All things in moderation” sounds boring to young people and rebellious types, but as I got older, I’ve found that this is the wisest way to live.

I basically hate conservatism but this is a type of “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” conservatism that I think is quite sensible and even wise.

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