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The Conflict of Contradiction, Hegel, and Tragedy


Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel is supposedly this smart German dude who wrote about conflict over 200 years ago. Ironically, he himself is a walking contradiction. If he was so smart, why would he write in a way that is more boring than watching paint dry. Come on, if you want to influence people, do it in a way that the average person can understand.

I could pretend that I understand what he is trying to express, but watch this video about Tony Soprano for better clarification.

Thesis + Antithesis = Synthesis

According to Hegel, history is filled with examples of opposing view points that eventually meld or synthesize into a better point of view. But just like Tony Soprano, the conflict between family life and being a mob boss can end in tragedy, just as oil and water never find that happy middle.

The Bucks in 2001 had an identity of an offensive team first and were only one shot away from reaching the finals. Maybe in an attempt of self awareness, George Karl made the bold attempt to change the teams identity and become more defensive minded. First they got Anthony Mason and then traded Ray Allen for the Glove.

As Bucks fans we know that the hybridizing of identities did not work. Was Hegel wrong?

Jedi vs Sith

George Lucas is the antithesis to Hegel, in that he he demonstrates the the conflict of contradiction in a way that millions will engage in. By expressing ideas by using parables, Lucas engages the imagination.

Lucas uses the Jedi/Sith codes to demonstrate that all thesis are partially flawed and antithesis can have truth. Hegel would be proud. The moment you think you are 100% right, is probably the moment you should realize that your hubris will be your downfall.

The Jedi Code begins with the line "There is no emotion, there is peace." Those seven words can stand for the entire code, and summarize everything the Jedi are. Their ultimate goal is to keep the peace, and to do so they detach themselves from everything in the galaxy, including themselves, and focus on doing what is "right."

"There is no ignorance, there is knowledge" is a reasonable line, but the Jedi don’t live up to it. They never truly understand the Force because they cannot see past the Light and into the Dark. Ironic, since they are the ones who say "only a Sith deals in absolutes."

The next line, "There is no passion, there is serenity," basically repeats the first one. The idea is that in order to operate in the usual trance-like calm, they must first detach themselves from everything so nothing can throw them off because passion is a potential weakness.

Yoda fails Anakin when he says, "the fear of loss is a path to the Dark Side. Attachment leads to jealousy, the shadow of greed, that is. Let go of everything you fear to lose."

But Yoda's failure is undone, when Luke and Darth Vaders bond (attachment) is used to defeat the Palpatine. Success though trial and understanding.

2% Diff vs 3% diff

In the past two seasons, the Bucks thesis was to be the very best in 2% diff. But we know how that turn out as the Sith Lords Kawhi and Butler struck us down.

As Master Bud attempts to train his students to the dark teachings of 3% diff, how will his pupils synthesize the lessons? Can they withstand the dark clouds? Will they find balance?

Success and understanding will depend on overcoming fear (not avoiding it), playing as a team (attachment), learning from mistakes, and embracing the struggle.

Hegel's great strength was understanding that we are not finished products. Lessons can be learned from our opposites. And when those lessons are learned and new set of lessons will emerge.

As a new year arises, I will resolve to listen the words of Steven Covey (who I assumed was borrowing from Hegel).

SEEK FIRST TO UNDERSTAND, THEN TO BE UNDERSTOOD

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