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020 - Hegel: Realizing the Purpose of History

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History is a key element of Hegel’s philosophy. Although he called history a “slaughter-bench,” he believed it to have purpose. This purpose, which can only be recognized after the fact, is greater freedom. This episode traces the increase in human freedom from the totem ritual of the prehistoric primitive horde through the male genetic bottleneck in the agrarian revolution to the Hegelian “knot” in liberal democracies. This knot, which needs to be worked out, is more prominent today than ever. It is when individual and identity group demands come in conflict with principles that uphold the state.