Some Examples of Dialectic --
My Response to a Quora Query.
I recently responded to the following query on Quora: “What are some Hegelian dialectics you see in everyday life?”
My -- edited -- response is posted herein below.
For more information regarding these Seldonian insights into dialectics, please see --
For ‘poster-ized’ visualizations of many of these Seldonian insights -- specimens of ‘dialectical art’ -- see:
Member, Foundation Encyclopedia Dialectica [F.E.D.],
Participant, F.E.D. Special Council for Public Liaison,
Officer, F.E.D. Office of Public Liaison.
At the level of our deepest penetration of the origins of our cosmos to-date, we can speculate that “Dark Energy” — ‘pure time’ as the [accelerated] self-expansion of even “empty” space; unknown source ANTI-gravity — brooks a self-resistance in the form of “Dark Matter” — unknown source gravity, resisting and countering the self-expansion of space. We may also hypothesize that “ordinary” or ‘Bright’ Matter is a ‘uni-category’ or hybrid product of “Dark Energy” and/versus “Dark Matter”.
We can also note Einstein’s solution, in his General Relativity Theory, of Kant’s “unsolvable” antinomy of space: space must be finite, must have a limit, must have an end, must be bounded, but space cannot have any limit, any end, cannot be bounded. Einstein’s Riemannian 4-D curved space-time, which is “finite but unbounded”, solves Kant’s “unsolvable” antinomy.
At the level of pre-atomic “particles”, we can also note the opposition of “matter” and “anti-matter” — of “particles” and their “anti-particles” — such as “protons” vs. “anti-protons”, and their mutual annihilation upon “contact”. Less well know are the ‘Unitrons’ which are their own “anti-particles”’, e.g., ‘unitronic’ bosons, i.e., photons, “Majorana fermions”, and “Majorana non-abelian anyons”.
Also within the pre-/sub-atomic realms, we have the charge and mass contrast of electrons versus protons, but also the ‘uni-category’ that includes proton/electron hybrid neutrons, non-isotopic neutral Hydrogen atoms [one electron “orbiting” one proton], neutron star ‘bulk neutronium’, and what we of F.E.D. have named “black hole” ‘bulk holonium’ — all different forms that arise from the unification of protons and electrons.
At the level of neutral individual atoms in general, we have ‘the valence dialectic’ of ‘electron donor’ atoms, like Hydrogen atoms, versus ‘electron acceptor’ atoms, such as Oxygen atoms, versus their ‘both-and-neither’, hybrid ‘uni-category’ of ‘electron sharor atoms’, such as Silicon atoms, and, especially, Carbon atoms, whose ‘sharor’ character is so crucial to our own bodily existences.
At the level of populations of molecules — i.e., of higher, ‘‘‘meta-’’’, units, each one typically “aufheben” made up out of a heterogeneous multiplicity of atom [sub-]units — we have the dialectic of “Polar” Compounds or “polar solvents”, such as water, opposed by “Non-Polar” Compounds, or “non-polar solvents”, such as liquid populations of Hexane molecules, followed by “complex unities” [cf. Hegel] of Polar and Non-Polar molecules, the most pertinent example of which are the “Soaps”. Such hybrid molecular “solvents” also form “micelles”, which are non-living structures that closely resemble the prototypical molecular-structural infrastructure of living cells.
Also at the molecular level, one finds the dialectic of “Acid species” molecules versus “Alkali” or “base species” molecules. The interaction of these opposite kinds of molecules typically produces pH [nearly-]neutral “Salts”.
Returning to the cosmological, or at least to the astronomical, scale, Marx, in Capital, volume 1, pp. 103–104 [New World], noted that the generally elliptical orbits typical of planets orbiting our Sun are a resolution and conservation of the “contradiction” between planets constantly falling toward that central star, and, concurrently, also constantly falling away from that central star.
In terms of the prevailing astronomical-scientific hypothesis as to the birth of our Earth, upon which we now rest — namely, the “Giant Impact Hypothesis” — that hypothesis holds that ‘‘‘proto-Earth’’’ formed out of the same Sun-orbiting band of “gas and dust” as did an “opposing” planet of Mars-like size, named Theia. Their inevitable eventual co-orbital collision destroyed both, but the debris of that collision re-coalesced into the forerunner of our present Earth-Moon system, the long-term “synthesis” of Theia and ‘proto-Earth’.
Staying at this astronomical scale, consider the dialectical progression of scientific hypotheses regarding the “rings” of the planet Neptune.
New observations, via space probes, led to the overthrow/negation of the longstanding early hypothesis that imputed no rings whatsoever to the planet Neptune, in favor of a contrary hypothesis, imputing full rings to Neptune. That second hypothesis was later countered/negated by a third hypothesis, when more detailed observations detected an apparent large “gap” in Neptune’s ring(s), leading to a hypothesis of (a) “partial” ring(s) around Neptune. This second hypothesis is a “complex unity”, “synthesis”, or “hybrid” of the first two hypotheses. Deeper observation still led to the negation also of this third hypothesis, in favor of a fourth hypothesis of full but “arc-ed” or “segmented” rings, consisting of segments of thicker, fuller ring arcs interrupted by segments of thinner, darker, almost-invisible ring-material. This fourth hypothesis is a “complex unity”, “hybrid”, or “synthesis” of the second and third hypotheses.
Moving to the level of human-social dialectic, consider the architectural dialectic of the design of Justinian’s “Hagia Sophia” super-cathedral in “Constantinople” [today’s “Istanbul”]. Justinian wanted the imperial power-prestige of the Pagan circular dome of Rome’s Pantheon, but needed also the orthodoxy of the rectangular Christian Basilica. It took the technological prowess of two Pagan — denigrated — Greek scholars, one from the Christian-despised “Muse-eum” of the proto-Renaissance city-state of ancient Alexandria, to “square [or ‘rectangle’] the circle”, resolving the opposition between rectangular Christian Basilica and circular Pagan Pantheon, to produce the monumental beauty of the Hagia Sophia, a “complex unity”, or “synthesis”, of rectangular Basilica and ‘domic’ Pantheon.
Or, consider Marx’s example, in Capital, volume 1 [New World, p. 352], of the dialectic of ‘Rurality’ versus ‘Urbanicity’: “The foundation of every division of labor that is well-developed, and brought about by the exchange of commodities, is the separation between town and country. It may be said, that the whole economic history of society is summed up in the movement of this antithesis. We pass over it, however, for the present.”
What do YOU think might be the ‘uni-category’, the ‘hybrid’, the “complex unity” [cf. Hegel], the “dialectical synthesis”, of this antithesis, and when and where do YOU think that “synthesis” will manifest, if it has not manifested already?
There are countless further examples of dialectic, but you get the idea.