The Cunning of Geist

The Cunning of Geist

Gregory Novak explores philosophy, psychology, and science with an emphasis on Hegel. For seekers and scholars alike.


November 19, 2023 20 mins

Does Spirit evolve?  

How about God?

And what exactly does the term panentheism mean?

This episode takes a deep dive into process philosophy, process theology, and the evolutionary nature of "becoming."  

The pioneer work of Charles Hartshorne, Alfred North Whitehead, Charles Sanders Peirce, and of course Hegel, all in a way process philosophers, is addressed. 

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Wittgenstein is often mention as the most influential philosopher of the 20th century.  His focus on the meaning of words became an integral part of the so-called "Analytic" branch of the discipline.   

The later Wittgenstein contended that words are but tools, defined by their use within the context of the “language game” of the arena they are used, which is societally based and can evolve.  One of these sandbox...

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Is philosophy just mental masturbation?  Nothing but air?

Many today see no value in philosophy because there seems to be little agreement among philosophers on anything, and much of what they say seems to have little or no impact on one's life, or society in general.  Is this the case?

An examination of the major pillars upon which society stands - political systems, the law, science, and its moral base - sh...

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The behaviorism of B.F. Skinner took the psychology world by storm.  His 1971 book "Beyond Freedom and Dignity" was hailed as the most important psychological publication of the 20th century.  And this was from someone who denied mind and free will. 

It was an attempt to dignify psychology as a hard science, based on experiments and what can be observed, rather than what people think or feel, a direct contradicti...

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July 30, 2023 31 mins

Developing one's own philosophy of life can be one of the most rewarding experiences. ll can serve as the basis for a productive and happy experience in this world.  

What many don’t realize is that our beliefs, values, and actions are based on a grounding in a particular philosophy, whether we understand it or not. Examining the underpinnings of our concept of self and the world can be a fruitful exercise. It is bett...

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This episode explores psychologist Carl Jung's conception of the psyche, from the ego and the persona it shows to the world, down through the personal  and collective shadow, finally reaching the two core archetypes of the collective unconscious - the anima and the animus.  

This fundamental polarity is seen in myths and narratives throughout the ages, including the yin/yang symbol, heaven and earth of the Bible, Hege...

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The duality of Mind and Body has been debated for millennia.  This has resulted in two polarized camps - Realists vs. Idealists.  Realists contend that there is a world existing out there whether we are here or not, whether we are observing it or not, whether we are thinking about it or not.  Idealists contend that ultimately only Mind exists, and the physical world around us is just an illusion, an unreal fantasy of the Mind.

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Can't we all just get along?  The world today is increasing fractious.  The Electronic Age has fueled a return to tribalism, as the individualistic linear emphasis of the print age gave way to finding identity though emotionally connected groups.  And these groups are often based more on hatred of the "other" than on what they stand for themselves. 

What can be done?  As Hegel and others have pointed out, it...

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Sundar Pichai, CEO of Google parent company Alphabet, has said  that artificial intelligence (AI) could have a more profound effect on humanity than fire and electricity.   Quite a statement.

New AI technologies are being produced, Including ChatGPT, that are conversational and can write better and communicate more clearly than most people.  And they provide fast, almost immediate, answers to any question.  While it is has not yet b...

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The great psychologist Carl Jung was a leading pioneer in psychological type analysis.  In fact, he coined the terms "extrovert" and "introvert."  His work spawned a whole industry of personality analysis which is as strong today as ever.  

And key to his psychological type system was his recognition of Intuition, or the "small still voice within."  This function has direct correspondence to H...

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Biologist Richard Dawkins is the poster child for the materialist doctrine and the new atheism.  His paradigm boils down to a mechanical replicator, that somehow appeared by chance, which no one can explain how (a miracle?), that goes by the name "gene."  He sees us all as mere robots, zombies, propagating the gene's replication.  

The materialist doctrine stands on three assumptions - that all is matter, th...

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19th century Danish theologian and philosopher Søren Kierkegaard was a towering figure not only in philosophy and religion, but in psychology as well.  He is commonly considered to be the father of Existentialism, with the importance he place on individual subjectivity in finding meaning and truth.  He was also a fierce critic of Hegel.  

By examining the differences between the two, one can hopefully see the distinctivene...

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America went through a profound spiritual awakening in the 19th century, most commonly referred to as "New Thought."  Many leaders at this time credited Hegel  for laying the groundwork.  This episode explores several of the early developments in America, but such movements have also occurred across the globe at different times in various cultures. 

And there are many themes of this movement that echo Hegel, incl...

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Free speech is of course linked to freedom.  And freedom is the cornerstone of Hegel's philosophy.  

Today free speech is an issue with respect to social media platforms, which are used by literally billions of people over the world.  Yes billions.  And who exactly controls what can be said on these platforms?  Up to now it has been a handful of executives.  And some claim that free speech has been curtailed to a degr...

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November 22, 2022 28 mins

The word "spirit" has so many connotations. Per the thesaurus: character, courage, energy, enthusiasm, essence, heart, humor, life, mood, morale, quality, resolve, temperament, vigor, vitality, warmth, and will. 

Hegel had a different interpretation: God.  And he said it as clear as day.  

He defines God as the timeless Absolute Idea, the idea of ideas, self-thinking thought.  But it doesn't end the...

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The term "paradigm "and "paradigm shift" were made famous by Thomas Kuhn in his landmark 1962 book, "The Structure of Scientific Revolutions". 

Steven Covey describes a paradigm as "frames of reference, worldviews, . . through which we see everyone and everything, including ourselves.  . They affect the way we interpret what we see and experience, and how we interact and relate with other...

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Hegel saw the Absolute metaphorically as a "circle of circles" (SL, pg. 842, Miller trans.).  He also said philosophy itself "forms a circle" (PR, Wood, ed.,  Nisbet trans., pg. 26, ¶2).

Yet religions sees a creation event in our past, and modern science has embraced the Big Bang as the beginning of it all.  The universe is expanding and current theories show an eventual fizzle out into a "heat dea...

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September 18, 2022 28 mins

It is said that French philosopher Henri Bergson was the best known philosopher in his day during the early 20th century.  In fact, when giving a lecture in New York City, he caused the first traffic jam the city had ever seen.  

Although presently he is less prominent, there was much reason for his positive perception back then in philosophy circles. His concepts of duration, intuition, élan vital, and memory took on the ...

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To me, the goal of meditation is to escape the left-brain world of analyzing, breaking things down, either/or judgmental thinking, and to get in touch with life itself.   Thoughts tend to come to the foreground, but there remains a background.  In meditation, thoughts can be viewed like passing clouds in the sky, and the goal is to experience the sky, and not get hung up on the clouds. 

The notion of Being and Nothing is c...

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"Becoming" is addressed very early in Hegel's Science of Logic.  And it provides a foundation for all that follows in his project.  But the concept of becoming is much more than an abstract philosophical term.  It is the foundation of growth, evolution, and all development processes.  

Nietzsche recognized how important Hegel’s concept of becoming was.  Hegel of course preceded Darwin,  and Nietzsche knew th...

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