Dialectical Hypocrisy

It’s Sunday so I would like to describe the history of our civilization as the dialectical process of overcoming hypocrisy. I don’t believe in interpreting historical development in a Hegelian way as the embodiment of a purely logical principle, and to be honest I lack the intellectual vigor to pursue such an endeavour. But I do think that when we attempt to describe the history of our culture in terms of the strangely entangled dialectical development of hypocrisy, we could gain a refreshing perspective.

That sounded like pseudo-academic claptrap, if you will excuse me. What I wished to say was let’s take our history to be the dialectical development of hypocrisy. It’s a dialectic that never ends of course, because in our view, hypocrisy is a basic human need. That doesn’t mean, however, that the dialectical force is any less absolute than in the German Begriff-busters. Hypocrisy is always, at any given moment, negating and reproducing itself at the same time.

Hypocrisy operates on concepts. Once a pattern of use has been established, members of a society are expected to follow these grammatical rules. It is what allows for the organization of their society. But the restrictions mean possibilities are left out. Those who try them anyway will fail, because the advantages of the forbidden, the proto-hypocrite, don’t outweigh the stigma put on it by society.

But when this continues over generations, the possible advantages accumulate, and a particular hypocrisy might become beneficial. Indeed, it becomes the only way of progress and because it’s stronger than the established rules, it becomes inevitable. Hypocrisy is a powerful undercurrent of cultural evolution, reaching the surface whenever a society grows “old”, and her established norms are worn out.

Hypocrisy provides the practical negation that is needed to capsize society and bring about real change. The New can only be created by the vigorous attempts to overcome the hypocrisy that has surfaced. It’s a mortal battle, because the accumulated hypocrisy is much stronger than the elements that fight it. In dying, the old societal order gives way to new ad hoc structures, that materialize the accumulated advantages of hypocrisy. The new order congratulates itself for its perceived lack of hypocrisy. And the process starts again.

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