Master-Slave Dialectic Hegel and Fanon Views

Topics: Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel, Dialectic, Master-slave dialectic Pages: 11 (3820 words) Published: December 2, 2012




Master slave relationship and dialectic

Fanon - Black Skin White Masks Black Skin and Hegel Self Consciousness

“In this experience self-consciousness learns that life is essential to it as pure self-consciousness. One (self-consciousness) is self-sufficient; for it, its essence is being-for-itself. The other is non-self-sufficient, for it, life, that is, being for an other, is the essence. The former is the master, the latter is the servant” (Hegel 189). Hegel suggests in the dialectic that there is coherence between subject and object, concrete and abstract, part and whole, and for the purpose of dialectic, master and slave.

Hegel believes that “master” is a “consciousness.” The consciousness defines itself in mutual relations to what is referred to as slave’s consciousness. This occurs in a process of mutual interdependence and mediation. Hegel uses his Phenomenology of Spirit to provide his understanding and exposition of master slave dialectic as an account of both the need of recognition and emergence of self-consciousness. Hegel’s line of thought and work plays a crucial role in Fanon’s exposition of the colonization by the Western.

Fanon exposition focuses more on violence and race. Violence adds urgency, complicates and is driven by the need for recognition. An optimistic and promising moment lurks in Fanon’s Black Skin White Masks. The promising moment in Fanon’s work is articulated in a humanity characterization which also serves as an entry point into mutual recognition.

The question to ask; is there any hope in reconciliation and coming to terms with the colonial situation between the white master and the black slave? How can we address the problem of mutual recognition in light of racism and violence?

Frantz Fanon’s exposition is based on a context that analyzed being both similar and different from our own context. Fanon’s work is based on colonialism that has come to an end with effects which are still around. Colonization effects are witnessed in the existing unequal relationships between the former colonies and the West. Fanon’s work still carries much relevance when we reflect on the existing racism and persistence violence in most of the former African colonies. There is a reassessment of the current context when we revisit to reassess Fanon’s Black Skin, White Mask. Fanon attempted to explain how Hegel’s master slave dialectic is significant to the context of former colonies.

Being a philosopher and a significant figure in idealism, Hegel reflects his most profound ideas in master slave dialectic that left a significant legacy. Hegel attempts to describe and conceptualize a process of recognition that leads to mutual recognition. According to Hegel’s exposition, proper recognition is achieved through mutual recognition of one consciousness agent and another conscious agent. Fanon reflects Hegel’s idea when he says “There one lies body to body, with one’s blackness or one’s whiteness in full narcissistic cry, each sealed into his own particularity – with, it is true, now and them a flash or so. It is this flash of “recognition” in its Hegelian sense with its transcendental, sublative spirit – that fails to ignite in the colonial relation where there is only narcissistic indifference” (Fanon 1986).

Mutual recognition brings freedom between self and the other and acts as an agent in the attainment and development of own self-consciousness. The self-consciousness is the cognitive awareness of self and the relation to the other and the world in extension. “If the standpoint of consciousness, which is to say, the standpoint of knowing objective things to be opposed to itself and knowing itself to be opposed to them, counts as the other to science – if it is that the point where consciousness is at one with itself is where it counts to an even greater degree at the loss of spirit” (Hegel 26). Domination has a central role to play...
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