This term (and its attribution), is generally a misnomer in its application to issues regarding socio-political cause and effect, however, it is contemporarily used to describe a process by which an individual or a group can be manipulated, over time, to reject their current beliefs and convictions, and to accept and replace them with new ones. The Hegelian Dialectic is a benign philosophical concept, never intended to be used as any part of a plan of action for policy makers who aim to manipulate the masses, but simply the definition of a natural process by which human standards of concepts and beliefs evolve with increasing sophistication over time.
As a concept, the Hegelian Dialectic bears no consequence for the individual or the group, except that it is a tool for understanding their own relevance with regard to tradition and belief when compared to the dynamics of a changing world. It is a concept that when understood and utilized, could lead one to a greater understanding of one’s self and the world in which they live. That being true, it is also a concept that can be employed as part of an active, long-term process intended to create within people the ideals and convictions which tend to support those who depend on a particular ideology to further their goals.
As an active process to slowly manipulate and change the hearts and minds of a population, the Hegelian Dialectic consists of three stages: Thesis, antithesis, and synthesis.
The first stage of the process is to present and confirm the thesis, being the current or accepted set of beliefs and convictions of an individual or a group. The second stage of the Dialectic is to present a conflicting view to the accepted ideologies and propose that the existing views are obsolete or outdated and must be replaced. In practice, this step in the process serves to cause conflict within the individual or group, and over time, cause acquiescence to the new paradigm via the processes of cultural and societal pressure. The third stage of the process is the resultant synthesis, a condition in which the individual or group capitulates to the new standard, casts off their former beliefs and convictions, resulting in little or no resistance to the new, and possibly contrived set of societal standards.
Cases of this model of thought and action can be seen in the public’s reaction to issues regarding same-sex marriage, the proclivity and legality of gun ownership, and race relations. By presenting through media the conflicted viewpoints of the people on the most sensitive issues, and inflaming their emotions, conditions for societal divisions are sowed.
The results are mixed, but predictable. The grander result of the conditioning is acceptance of the new norm by the majority of people. Conversely, the few who refuse to accept the new status quo, may feel compelled to vehemently defend their traditional values. This results in extremism, which can be seen most prominently in the reaction of the American Christian-right to issues such as homosexual rights and the legality and application of abortion. Also, the extremism of fundamentalist Islam is blowback from the encroachment of western capitalist imperialism into their traditional way of life.
It is important for every individual to recognize the frailty of their conviction and truly understand those principles on which their conviction is based. Without a solid basis of understanding of one’s convictions, one cannot defend them, and they will be vulnerable to the pressures that exist in this ‘go along to get along’ world.
It is also important to understand that it is likely that the information we’re presented for consumption on a daily basis, and the emotional conditions that result in the collective conscience is a deliberate contrivance intended to create confusion, apathy, and resulting inaction regarding the most important issues.