European Intellectual History Assignment

A follower of Dionysus

This piece was written during a midterm of 60 minutes for a class entitled European Intellectual History since Nietzsche. The prompt was to give a eulogy in the person of Nietzsche to the death of God, and recommend three thinkers that we had studied who suitably contributed to such a supposed death of God. I received an A- because I ignored part of the prompt to rank each thinker cardinally as opposed to thematically as I did.

Please enjoy!

God is dead ladies and gentleman, and now we are tasked with the grand labor of commemorating him. I have chosen the three best thinkers, who have contemplated, in my opinion, the deepest, most significant way of living life without the influence of that Great Big Man in the Sky. Hegel, Marx and Lenin all understood the deep chasm our father in heaven left when we murdered him. Hegel showed that God, or the Spirit, the Geist, an all-seeing, all-encompassing Concept, still moved its hand through history immanently. Marx, bolder, showed from the misty heights of Hegelianism, we could distill an atheistic vision of History, which progressed according to nothing more than logic and class-struggle. Lenin, boldest of the three, took God’s place, combining theory and praxis and brought about a Marxist revolution in reality. These three pay homage to God the highest because they have thoroughly replaced him, and as the student is a testament to the character of the Teacher, these three are the crown of their father in heaven.

The Hegelian Absolute Concept and the Geist are shrewd, sophisticated replacements for God. In Hegel’s visions, we see a world dominated by an unceasing, ever-growing, dialectically opposed force combating itself to produce higher and higher order in the universe. This Spirit has its hand in History — incarnating itself in the figure of Napoleon even, when that great man brought the force of history across Europe, and devastating old feudal relations and backwardness, and thereby imposing order and nationalism. The Spirit is a testament to a Godless world which still has a supreme logic to it — a never ceasing force of order-creation. You Hegel deserve awards for your eulogy of God, for you brought his essence into the world, and showed how it worked immanently. Without you our understanding of history would be poorer and without a guide. But like Vergil to Dante, you have shown us the heights of philosophy and heaven and inspired countless great thinkers after you. Hail to Hegel!

Marx, that great student of Hegel, went further in his replacement of God, and in the act demystified the great Spirit of Hegel into a science of history, where exact social forces like the proletariat could be pinpointed as the source of dialectical materialism in its pursuit of a universally equal and just society. You showed, that in a world where God had forsaken the proletariat, the working, oppressed man, how his salvation lay within History and class-consciousness, that if the working man could but realize it, he holds God’s salvation within his own heart and arms. You Marx showed that History was an endless struggle not between man and his Maker but between man and man, and that salvation could only come about through a dialectic within class struggles; the universal communistic society could be achieved if the lower, oppressed classes overthrew their masters, and created a new whole greater than the previous opposing forces. Only through human struggle, not divine intervention, could man achieve that goal of all philosophers since Plato — a universally just and equal society. Hail to Marx, materialist scientist and prophet of man-among-man, for you showed the way to salvation for those forgotten and ignored by God. If Jesus told us that the meek will inherit the earth, you Marx showed us that the meek must throw off their meekness, and achieve their salvation through class struggle.

Lenin, man of action, the culmination of Marx’s entire philosophy in one man, you showed the world that without God, without divine salvation, a determined man of willpower and effort could overthrow a ruinous monarchy and install a utopian, revolutionary government on earth. If Marx was the Moses of Marxism, then Lenin is the Joshua — leading the Marxists to power in the promised first revolution of marxism in Russia. Lenin you showed that diligence, commitment, virtue and willpower could accelerate the process of History. You showed that man was no longer the brute, dumb object of History; but the Supreme Subject wanting to reassert his universal independence and freedom. To restore the dignity of all by ensuring equality and freedom for all. And you were successful, creating a series of acts the like of which history will never forget, those thronging masses of the freed proletariat, that ineffable joy where the Concept of freedom Hegel spoke about, appeared within reality itself. Hail to you Lenin, greatest of the Marxists and the restorer of justice. Without God, you showed us that with the right willpower we can take control of our own fate, over the means of production and all the socio-economic material forces which would otherwise oppress man, rather than liberate him.

Ladies and Gentleman, God died a most tragic death. But do not despair, for the three thinkers I have chosen for their apt eulogies, breathed into life a new world devoid of God, but with the same vigor and strength of instituting order and justice. Hegel, Marx and Lenin in their own idiosyncratic ways pay homage to God in the highest for they bring him down from the starry heavens of conceptual, negative thinking of the Scholastic era, into a realm of rationality and science, a science first mystified by Hegel, then elucidated and elaborated by Marx, and finally put into practice by Lenin. Together, these three show that man is more than capable of taking the reins from his heavenly father, and taking control of their own fate. And what more could a eulogy ask for then to show and praise that the Father’s children have learnt from their father. Father who art in heaven, though we have killed you, we did so only that we could become more like you!