(L to R) Mayor Kirk Caldwell and Mr. Gilbert Githere, President Honolulu Mombasa Sister City, having called on the mayor on a courtesy call. Gifts were exchanged as per sister city protocols.
(L to R) Former Mayor Ahmed Modhar, Mombasa City, handing over a check of $ 500, donated by Honolulu Mombasa Sister City, to Nyemuteka Self Help official Mr. Samuel Nyenyo, of Nyemuteka Self Help, Shanzu. Mr. Shadrack Nabea of Honolulu Mombasa Sister City looks on.
In his book Phenomenology of Spirit, Hegel remains very abstract about humans and acquisition of knowledge. At the center of his abstraction about life Spirit, is the magic wand which makes everything happen.
In the opening of his discussion, the Spirit, is gotten in the struggle of heavenly elements of water, light, darkness and wind. During the rainy seasons, there is lightening and thunder, and in this struggle, Spirit is revealed; self-consciousness comes to fruition.
Spirit according to Hegel is essentially a process and it starts from pure thought (Logic). Logic is another magic wand that Hegel uses to arrive at very abstract essences. The next thing that contributes to begetting the Spirit is Nothingness.
Like darkness, the void nothingness evokes the absence of light and the inability to see nothing. The struggle of Nothingness is perfect for dreams and mind travels, and the possibilities in this media are limitless.
After Nothingness, then at daybreak, the night is over and the Universe is revealed, with all its pictorial presentations. In the Kikuyu language the word Universal –literally translates to an Authority-or Rule.
From natural presentations, there evolves the ideas of the wonders of the Universe and its geometric formations –that follow a very strict Natural Laws. In these dialectical abstractions, Hegel begets the Spirit which is an intrinsic essence deep inside the consciousness of man and Hegel calls it self-consciousness..
Now I will look at Hegel and Kant and how they deal with religion in their books, Kant’s book here is the Critique of Pure Reason.
Both of these writers have a lot of reverence for Religion, and they accord it a high pedestal in their conversations about human knowledge.
Kant uses Reason as his magic wand, to get across the maze of religion, the categorical imperative that Supreme Being, made all that wanders the mind of man-transcendental deduction (speculative reason), transcendental analysis, and transcendental synthesis-empirical understanding and the magic wand Reason, help us to be able to comprehend the existence of the Supreme Being.
Hegel who must have read Kant thoroughly, follows almost the same route Kant takes in dealing with the existence of the Supreme Being. Hegel introduces the Greek gods and the Athenians. The Greeks lived a life entwined with the gods, who constantly came down and participated with them in tackling human problems in their midst.
The gods in the Greek mythologies took sides in their tribal wars, and they at times changed sides depending on situations. Hegel travels this route in showing the road religion has taken with man in its midst.
Hegel touches the idea of Jesus coming to earth, and how the dialectics of his life and death were necessary to allow the coming of the Holy Spirit.
These two great philosophers agree very much that the Supreme Being and his presence in the Universe, must be taken as true, and not much should be questioned. It is all laid out there in the Natural Laws of the universe for one to see the signs and revelations of the Supreme Being.
Comparing Hegel and Kant
Gilbert G. Githere
Hegel in pur suit of how humans acquire, knowledge was what kept him busy in his book Phenomenology of Spirit. Unlike Kant, Hegel starts this endeavor, in the middle, at Sense-Certainty-which he terms poorest Truth., but at the same time he admits this is what comes first in human knowledge. Hegel, definitely must have read Immanuel Kant thoroughly, for he was born 25 years after Kant.
Kant on the other hand started his exploration of acquisition of knowledge from, apperception, which allows the accumulations of intuitions, and then formation of conceptions, then thought and understanding-at higher stages of knowledge formation, there comes in reason, and judgment.
Sense-Certainty is allows, humans to perceive, an Object- Hegel calls this, the Being of things.
Object of Sense-Certainty is “This.”
It is important at this point the reader to remember that the human who is perceiving the Object, “This, ” is in this case “I.”
Also it is very important to keep in mind that the “I,” in Hegel’s world, is equated with “Consciousness.”
At this juncture the person who Senses-Certainly the Object, “This,” also uses Sense-Certainty,” to identify “Is.”
Sense-Certainty, also introduces the idea of “universality,” this is the law which allows “This,” “Is”, “Here,” and “Now,” to exist.
But things are not as simple as they look, Hegel deals with deep abstractions and to be be specific, he deals with very abstract things, for at this point he introduces ,”Now,” as an accumulation of “Nows,” and also at the same time the passing of ,”Now,” such that one refers to that past , “Now,” as “It.’
Hegel plays with space and time and its dynamics, by introducing the concept of a, “Tree,” which he speaks about it as if it was in Sense-Certainty, as if present, and then in another time not there, and talks as if the ,”Tree,” was, “Here.” As if the tree was cut down, then one arrives at the spot where it stood, and says, "the beautiful tree I knew, stood over, 'Here.' "
It is important as one reads Hegel to remember that this genius ( who held racial prejudices against people of color), uses dialectics constantly to discuss what we know, and what we are in the process of knowing and that which we will know at a future date or moment.
In retrospect, Hegel has this style where some notions about an Object or the self appear and disappear. He also shows relationships of words, in the movement, for example, he throws in words like “Above,” and “Below,” At same time he states that the, “Here,” just another minute with the passing of time becomes, “Heres.”
To Hegel “here,” is plurality of, “Heres,” as a Day is a collection of, “Nows,”
All the above is the history of Sense-Certainty, and is told in movement or in other words is experience going through the unfolding of things.
Hegel in his very first analysis of how humans acquire knowledge, he establishes a very important concept and this is Universal concept or experience, which is in the realm of Natural law, for for example the word, “This,” universally is found in every human surrounding.
But, these universal concepts undergo change constantly, for example “Now,” after a few minutes is no longer , “Now,” it becomes, “Then.” Hegel in his dialogue sights a, “Tree,” and sees it at one time standing then another time cut down and used to build a cabin which he calls a house.
Hegel is very down to earth when it comes to us humans, (I say this with a grain of salt because later the same German intellectual is caught equating, people from South India i.e. Ceylon now Sri Lanka, as less than humans because they have a dark complexion). For more information on this read his book, The Philosophy of History, but let me continue with this piece on how humans accumulate knowledge.
Hegel says that humans use a lot of assertions to arrive at how they perceive things around them, and those they behold in their minds.
Hegel advises as to revisit a religious ritual, in the Christian faith, that of receiving, Bread and wine, as a cleansing ritual. He assures the reader, this will lead them to nothingness.
At this point, Hegel arrives at point, where he trashes sensuous things, as nothing, and says animals eat them without caring, or ignore them.
Hegel states that what saves the situation in this case is External Objects – for he says exist with absolute certainty and truth.
As you can see Hegel, revisits Sense-Certainty often, he equates it with, “Here,” which is a, “Here,” of other, “Heres.” This he ends terming as Perception, which he says is Truth.
After a long discussion about Knowing, Hegel introduces Kant’s idea of perception, which, for those who have read The Critique of Pure Reason, will remember that our learned friend, who was older than Hegel, 25 years his senior, dwelt at length how knowledge comes through perceptions.
Hegel continues to say that perception is tied to Truth, and this idea ties with Universal experience.
At this juncture I like to revisit universality of things, for it is important and necessary, to remember that this is like a natural law, for it gives us the, “I,” and so establishes the element of ”Consciousness,” similarly “Object,” is universal, which, establishes externality of things, verses us humans.
The act of perceiving or pointing out, plus the Object, perceived, adds up to movement, and this point is key, to many of the ideas Hegel writes about, for it is in the realm of Space and Time.
Just to elaborate the idea of movement, this is considered the unfolding of whatever is perceived and also what is differentiated of the two moments. An example of this is like how the, “Now,” added to another, “Now,” with this happening and movement, taking place, by the passing of time, then another “Now,” passing, then in the end one can say a “Day,” has come to pass.
Hegel continue to converse about the importance of words in humans, he sites the importance of the object, which he says it is a Simple (*entity), and is the essence regardless whether it is perceived or not.
Once more Hegel goes abstract into dialectics, in his analysis, and says that perceiving as a movement is the unessential moment here.
To Hegel Object has to prove itself using its many qualities, instead of just one quality of Universality- a mediated universal, so as if the Object understands this, it shows itself using its other qualities.
Hegel states that the wealth Sense-knowledge, comes through perception, and not through immediate certainty. Here Hegel comes closer to concurring with Immanuel Kant his predecessor, who as I said earlier had pondered over perception, so deeply, in his analysis of how human’s acquire knowledge about Objects.
Objects entwined with negation in their makeup, this means the differences and the manifolds, their essence. They are part and parcel of the contradictions, Hegel deals with, when he decides to use dialectics, as surgical tool, of looking at life and the acquisition of knowledge by human beings.
To say the same thing but taking a different route, “This,” “is,” “Here,” “There,” “Now,” “day’” and “Night,” and taking their movements into account, as result of Space and Time-their Universality acquire dynamism, setting in negation and positivism.
With a light touch : by Gilbert Githere
Commonalities of Kant and Hegel
Hegel started his Phenomenology of Spirit, with how humans acquire knowledge.
As Hegel did this he also knew that Kant had done the same 30 years before; Kant had tried to decipher the idea of how humans acquired knowledge.
In order to understand objects, Kant started to decipher Time and Space. In doing this he quickly discovered that these two concepts are metaphysical, and they exist a priori.
Hegel 30 years later, went a different route to try and understand how humans acquire knowledge. He explored the idea of the sense-certainty concept. This meant that one had a sense for certain that “It is,” or understood the concept of “I.”
Another important thing to mention about Hegel and Kant is that in their trying to understand knowledge, they both started to ponder about Time and how it related to objects.
What I am saying here is that Time is one concept that allowed the state of being to be clear in their minds. For understanding the being of things is possible only through the concept of time.
Hegel in his writings about knowledge concerned himself with Consciousness, which from the beginning he equated with “I,”, and when it came to Objects he equated them with “This.”
Kant earlier when struggling with the same topic of how humans acquired knowledge, concerned himself with Space, which he referred to as “a priori representation.” Kant believed that there was no situation in the universe from which Space would be absent.
On the other hand when it came to Hegel an Object to him was just referred to as “Is.”
In Sense-knowledge, “This,” is the most important concept, and so he calls this situation a, “state of pure being.” At the same time he terms this state as, “Simple Immediacy.”
Hegel who uses dialectics in presenting his conversation, gets very abstract in his thinking, for example he continues and calls Certainty, Connection-and goes on to call that state, “Immediate pure connection.”
Hegel continues to equate Consciousness with “I.” and also says it is equal to “This.”
It is, pure being –which is made possible by Time, and This which is made possible by Space because it is external. Hegel says the concept of Thises, means "I" and "This" (meaning Object).
At this juncture it is important to remind the readers that Hegel dwells with Consciousness, when explaining, "Thises"-"This" and "I."
Kant on the other hand expounds the importance of Space in the conceptualization of the self, and Objects around the self.
In the footnotes in his book, The Critique of Pure Reason, Kant tackles the idea of experience, and he says that which comes from experience is Universal, i.e. "Thises," as conceptualized by Hegel in his famous book, Phenomenology of Spirit.
In this analysis Kant arrives at a very important conclusion, that all concepts are representations.
Hegel in trying to expound this concept, tackles the idea of Night and Day-and to do this he brings in the question What is Now? But notice Day and Night for them to be, cancel each other constantly-to arrive at Nothingness.
This analysis of Night and Day-with the Universality of This in mind, automatically brings out the idea of Truth, which I discussed in the top paragraphs.
Hegel continues to discuss Consciousness bringing in the concept of, “It Is,” and uses it to define being.
For the first time Hegel touches the idea of language and its importance, if one is to understand Truth.
Hegel concurs that Universal is the True content of Sense-Certainty. At this point let us see what Hegel says about Universality of things when they are conceptualized in the sense of i.e. Here.
Hegel puts it very simply for one to understand the concept of Here, by giving an example of a Tree, and how humans would say the Tree, is Here. But he also says that humans could cut down the Tree and use it to build a house.
So the "Here" is negated by the presence of a house, for the tree dwells in the house and so physically is not "THERE."
But he also tells us that Here as a universality is still very much There, so although the Tree is not there, he calls this concept a mediated simplicity or Universality.
This conversation of trying to see commonalities between Kant and Hegel continues with another observation. If one senses oneself and say, It is, or I am, or I, then one starts to sense a Pure being. This concept is made clear by the conceptualization of the "I" universality.
At this point I would like to clarify what is in this conversation, it is the representation through experience of a Tree, in the Universality of Here. Whether the tree is there physically is immaterial, the truth is that the knowledge of the Tree is There.
At this point I would like to bring in the idea that has been perpetuated by Norm Chomsky of Universal Grammar. Humans have it, a priori, and same thought, was also perpetuated by Kant when he wrote about Geometry and its existence a priori in the human mind-this thinking in humans was as result of the Cosmos-humans always thought of how far the heavenly bodies were from them and from each other-Geometry came in handy when these thoughts visited their minds.
Kant continues in his appendices to remind us that it is only through Space alone is it possible that things should be outer objects to us.
Also he writes that it is through Time, that appearances acquire their actuality. He also lets us know that appearances can be removed, but they cannot take away Time – Time is permanent.
Kant defines Time as successive and Space as simultaneous. He also lets us know that Time is a pure form of sensible Intuition.
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