Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel. August 27, 1770 – November 14, 1831. German philosopher, one of the founders of German classical philosophy and the philosophy of Romanticism.


Life and Work:

1. According to an anecdote, an intellectual is a person who can distinguish Gogol from Hegel, Hegel from Bebel, and Bebel from Babel. Our readers will certainly distinguish one from the others: Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel is among the most famous philosophers in the world.


2. The creator of German classical philosophy and the philosophy of Romanticism was born on August 27, 1770 in Stuttgart. Georg’s father, Ludwig, worked as the secretary of the treasury at the court of the duke of Württemberg.


3. For the first time, Georg distinguished himself in high school, where he was known as an exemplary student. The pedagogical council asked him to influence the fellow students who were engaged in drinking and debauchery and to report their indecent behavior to the headmaster. George Wilhelm did not want to inform on his friends. And in order to get rid of the informant’s duties, he spoiled his exemplary reputation. In other words, he got drunk.


4. Hegel’s father was not satisfied with the school education and additionally hired home teachers for his son.


5. In his youth, the future philosopher got interested in ancient literature. He carried the love of antiquity throughout his life.


6. After graduating from the gymnasium, Georg Hegel entered the theological school at the University of Tübingen. He became a master of theology there, but was certified as a man of ability, yet not diligent, ignorant, and even unskilled with words. Life has shown that the teachers were wrong.


7. The teachers were wrong about the skill with words either: Hegel’s aphorisms are repeated even today. Hegel’s scathing response to his opponents during the defense of his doctoral dissertation entered history. In it, the philosopher argued that there should be no other celestial bodies between Mars and Jupiter. Alas, on this very day, the discovery of the minor planet Ceres was announced. “This fact contradicts the key idea of your dissertation,” Hegel was told. “So much the worse for the facts,” the philosopher retorted.


8. Hegel’s career is bizarre and tortuous. Among other things, he worked as editor-in-chief of Bamberg Gazette in Bavaria, but the newspaper was shut down for censorship reasons.


9. Hegel spent eight years as the headmaster of the women’s gymnasium in Nuremberg, where he honed his oratory skills so much that students from all over Europe came for his lectures to Heidelberg and Berlin.


10. Hegel captivated the students and everyone else with the idea of absolute idealism – everything that exists is based, according to Hegel, on the “absolute spirit.” Self-revelation of the “absolute spirit” in space is nature; its self-revelation in time is history.


11. It was Hegel who first told us that history repeats itself twice – once as a tragedy, once as a farce.


12. Similarly, Hegel was aphoristic about his teaching: in his own words, his philosophy cannot be rendered either briefly, comprehensively, or in French.


13. We know from Lenin and Mayakovsky that Hegel’s specialty was dialectics, and Vladimir Lenin considered it one of Marxism’s sources, and this is absolutely true: for example, the law of negation of the negation was first put forward by Hegel, and then developed by Marx. And Vladimir Mayakosky assured that “we studied dialectics not according to Hegel.”


14. Hegel’s legacy is extensive and had a great influence on the philosophy of the 19th and 20th centuries. He understood from his own experience and put it in an aphoristic way: truth is born as heresy and dies as delusion.


15. The practical usefulness of philosophy, according to Hegel, was proved by Alexander the Great’s career – as we know, he was educated by the philosopher Aristotle.


16. Like many scientists, Hegel was an absent-minded eccentric. For hours, he stood where he was caught by an idea that he wanted to think about. He could fail to notice that his shoes were stuck in the mud and could continue to walk barefoot.


17. Contemporaries mention his avarice, which was paradoxically combined with the breadth of his soul, as well as caution, which was sometimes replaced by adventurism.


18. Hegel liked female company, but he married rather late. His chosen one was younger by more than 20 years and belonged to the high Bavarian society. In this marriage, two sons were born.