“Hegelianism of the poor” is a sarcastic phrase. It is well known that Hegelianism was in its heydays a revolutionary and elite ideology in principle, attributed to Hegel (1770-1831) the founder of the German idealistic philosophy. However it remains mere theories and presumptuous ideas generated from a thought that is nothing but an intellectual luxury, similar to all dogmas and intellectual approaches preaching such ideas that carry false promises, like Stalinism, Marxism, sectarianism,… and which we can label as “Hegelianism of the poor”. It even can be generalised to all forms of neo-colonialism around the world, for example France’s president Hollande’s visit to Africa, as a sarcastic example! Accordingly I here generalise it to our intellectuals who deserve this label.
An intellectual dissection of samples of the intellectual elite indicates that they have reached the senility stage of thought, at which many of our intellectual tools such as the ability to analyse events correctly and read developments on the ground, as well as the retirement to outdated ideas belonging to the pre-revolution era, or contentment with idealistic metaphysical speculation contradicting reality.
It can be claimed that with the Arab revolutions – or at least in the context of the Syrian revolution dealt with here- a historic rift has occurred at the intellectual, social and political levels, as well as international and regional relations. This revolution has declared the end of the era of mentality of failure, submission and obedience to all forms of despotic and colonial thought. It has thrown the intellectuals who had claimed to be part of the struggle- ranging from Nationalists and those opposed [to Israel], to modernist, liberals, and rationalist- outside the realms of the revolutionary existence.
Those calling for liberalism wanted to reform society politically, economically, and socially after they thought that relying on a rational scientific knowledge of existence is sufficient to reform those societies. A quick observation of reality explains their failure. The position of nationalist intellectuals as well as those opposing Israel is not worthy of shining a spotlight on in this editorial. On the other hand, the seculars of the Syrian revolution (of Sunni background) are themselves adherent to criticism of the Arab intellect and criticism of the Islamic mind and defining the concept of mind. They have attempted, through these criticism processes, to search for their lost identity and invested persistent continual efforts to overlook the Islamic era in history, and thus lost their identity and concurrently their minds as well! I do not know when the worshippers of the mind (as opposed to the spirit) and the atheists of rationalism will wake up and move from the centralism and essentialism of the mind to admitting its limitations?
If rationalism could be classified into six categories (according to Halim Barakat), each with its own unique hypothesis, logic, proofs and approaches, and if the Westernisers (i.e. those following Western culture and rejecting any other kind of rationalism) could have the right to call themselves rationalists and consider their approach to be rational, then there is also a rationalism adopted by the religious traditional sciences, which is based on logical comparison to precedent cases. Nevertheless, as much as they tried to escape the structure of the Arab mind, the mind in Arab thought and conscious remained attached to behaviour and ethics and carries a value related to the general notion of guidance and aberrance. Their rejection of this mind reflects their distance from ethics.
We find that the group of intellectuals and writers who were notably absent from the true sphere of the revolution have refused to write voluntary or pro rata about the revolution. They have made the written word their paid profession. Furthermore, when analysing or commenting on the events of the Syrian revolution, they have tried to apply the famous advice in the art of writing “display but do not narrate”, i.e. they have displayed a lot of emotion and put great effort into making their publications seem as if brimming with life and identifying with the horror of events on the ground. However, no matter how hard they try to deceive the readers, and no matter how hard they aim to display emotions as a means, most of them are still in the narration circle! Most of their publications have not gone beyond the “ranting of thought as a luxury” on internet sites and pages. This has become obvious to any sensible reader following them.
When the godfather of intellectuals expressed his opinion of the Syrian Opposition, I found that by linking between those working in politics in the Arab World and egoism, narcissism, and self-inflation he has used a concise description of the intellectuals themselves (including himself). Isn’t -pre-revolution- thought as a whole self-centred and egoistic? Isn’t politics the practical application of the theories of those intellectuals and philosophers of reality?!
Some like to apply a historic review approach regarding the Arab revolutions. Someone reads the Syrian revolution as being similar to the French revolution! He then arrives at a conclusion which can be summarised as 1: It is the revolution of the enlightened (i.e. the intellectuals) and its tools are the neglected, poor, and commoners. 2: Similarly to how democracy arrived late in France and the sectarian state was not declared until 1905, one century after the eruption of the French revolution, and the same-sex marriage law was not enacted til 2013, then similarly the Syrian revolution will achieve a secular state even if the results are delayed! I tell such an intellectual, true the French revolution arrived with the principles of citizenship, humanity, civility and civilization in all its forms, however, a blind eye is often turned to the fact that that same revolution invented the guillotine and terrorism as a method of rule and control of enemies and opposition. During the era of the French revolution freedom and “terrorism” had become two synonymous terms, freedom and emancipation from the former regime, and terrorism and elimination against the enemies of the revolution.
Our intellectuals blindly parrot Western slogans. Frantz Fanon’s analytical description of the orient’s intellectuals in the introduction of his book “The Wretched of the Earth” is not inaccurate. They are the product of implanting Western thought in the East and the manufacturing of short-sighted intellectuals, whose concern is to become like the Westerners! They are against the culture of martyrdom, and backers of the culture of theoretical chaotic philosophises and the culture of the disoriented, their biggest concern is to attack Islamist, regardless of their positions, more than attacking the regime itself.
In other words they are the “Helegist” of the poor.