[Abstract from Birkbeck:] Hegel is the ultimate bête noire of the last two centuries of philosophy:proponents of Lebensphilosophie, existentialists from Kierkegaard onwards, materialists, historicists, analytic philosophers and empiricists, Marxists, traditional liberals, religious moralists, deconstructionists and Deleuzians, they all define themselves through different modalities of rejecting Hegel. But when enemies start to speak the same language, it is a reliable sign that something is eluding them all. So what if something happens in Hegel, a break-through into a unique dimension of thought which was obliterated, rendered invisible, by the so-called post-metaphysical thought? What if the ridiculous image of Hegel as the absurd “absolute idealist” who “pretended to know everything” is an exemplary case of what Freud called Deck-Erinnerung (screen-memory), a fantasy-formation destined to cover up a traumatic truth? The task of the symposium will be to unearth aspects of this traumatic truth.
[This lecture was given on the last day of the The Actuality of the Absolute: Hegel, Our Untimely Contemporary event, held at The Birkbeck Institute for the Humanities between May 10th – May 12th 2013.]