Kant and Hegel
While studying at the University of Berlin between the years 1836 and 1841, Karl Marx was introduced to Plato’s dialectic as it had been interpreted by Emmanuel Kant and Georg Wilhelm Fredrich Hegel. Kant’s so-called “transcendental dialectic” results in the belief that orthodox religion requires faith in a doctrine which human reason cannot justify. Kant maintained that Jesus originally taught a rational morality, a theology adapted to the reason of all men.
Kant’s antipathy to what he considered speculative metaphysics and the “hypothetical imperatives” of Christian faith was initially accepted by Hegel, who wrote an interpretation of the Gospel according the Kantian ethics. Two or three years later, however, after careful study of Greek philosophy as well as an investigation of modern politics and economics, Hegel rejected Kant. His perspective on Christian origins became that of an historian inspired by the doctrine of the Holy Spirit.
To Hegel, the Spirit of man, his reason, cannot be subject to the limitations which Kant imposed upon it. He believed that Jesus taught the understanding and the fulfillment of the law not by Kantian rationalism, the justification of the law by the human mind, but by the love of God—as Paul said, “Love is the fulfilling of the law.” Kant believed that when reason attempted to go beyond the finite appearance world, it became lost in insoluble contradictions; whereas Hegel found in love a union of opposites, human and divine, and the transcendence of their seeming contradiction.
Hegel’s theory of dialectic
Hegel believed that what makes the universe intelligible is the understanding of it as an eternal cycle wherein Spirit comes to know itself as Spirit. This Spirit knowing of itself as Spirit comes through logic, though nature, and through mind-Spirit or Geist. He saw logic as positive pure Spirit. He saw nature as the negative creation of Spirit which bears the mark of its creator, in other words, Matter. He saw Spirit coming to know Spirit through Alpha, through Omega, through the masculine and feminine polarity of the universe; and then through Geist, through self-consciousness, self-expression in history, self-discovery in art, religion and philosophy. That Geist, then, becomes the individual Christ Self positioned in the midst of the Spirit-Matter being which you are, here and now.
Hegel believed that thinking always proceeded according to the dialectic pattern. An initial positive thesis is immediately negated by its antithesis. Further thought produces a synthesis, which again produces an antithesis. The process continues, but not indefinitely, for it is circular. The culmination is the absolute, the return of thought to Source or to Spirit.
Hegel explains that the cause of this cyclic process is the power of the negative inherent within the positive thought itself. This is what the ascended masters’ teachings say—Alpha contains Omega, Spirit contains Matter, and they are one. The thesis is God the Father, the first polarity of being. The antithesis is God the Mother, which is contained in the thesis. The synthesis of the two is the Christ consciousness, which is a point of the individualization of the God flame that transcends the prior thesis and antithesis.
The Christ Child, the Manchild, fusing the light of Alpha and Omega in each incarnation transcends its predecessor—it transcends that mind of God out of which it was created. Therefore you have an expanding cosmos, you have a self-transcending cosmos, you have a God who is continually transcending itself through this very act of creation. This is the real cycle of which the Marx’s dialectic is a perversion.
Hegel’s application of his theory
Hegel’s system was based upon scientific, historical, theological and philosophical investigation. His historical and political works elaborate an otherwise abstract dialectic theory. In his Elements of the Philosophy of Right, Hegel describes a social and political order which satisfies the demands both of universal and of individual conscience—freedom without license. According to Hegel such a state rests on the family and on the guild, the cooperation of those who are in a particular trade. Through cooperation with others the individual finds satisfaction of his needs and recognizes the state not as an alien oppressor but as the guardian of peace and order. Such a state, unlike any existing in Hegel’s day, was a limited monarchy with parliamentary government and trial by jury.
Hegel’s philosophy of history reveals his conviction of history as the course of mankind’s advance towards self-knowledge. He saw that the goal of civilization was that the individual through his Geist (what we would call his Christ consciousness) should come to know himself as God. According to Hegel, history is the fulfillment of God’s purpose: freedom. Geist is free in essence. The Spirit has free will. The task, then, of we who live upon earth is to build institutions in which man can express that freedom.
Marx’s reinterpretation of Hegel
Karl Marx is known as a neo-Hegelian. At the University of Berlin, where Hegel held the chair of philosophy, Marx was drawn into speculative quarrels over the meaning of the complex Hegelian dialectic. You might say that Hegel, limited though he might have been as an individual, however lacking in attainment, was used to set forth once again the basic premise of a true logic of the Christ mind.
Now comes Marx disputing with it, arguing about it. Marx accepted Hegel’s theory of dialectic evolution with one fundamental variance. Marx denied the existence of Spirit as the initial thesis, as the essence of the antithesis, and as the unifying factor of the synthesis. Although Marx was fascinated by the Hegelian dialectic, he was determined to put it back on its “feet.” Marx translated Hegel's idealistic thesis of pure Spirit into a rationalistic thesis which he called the “productive man,” homo faber.
Marx was greatly influenced by Ludwig Feuerbach, who saw in Hegel’s philosophy something extremely revolutionary. Feuerbach accomplished a break with religion, a transition from idealism to materialism. To Feuerbach, man is the secret of religion. Whereas traditional doctrine maintains that God created man in his own image, “Feuerbach maintains the reverse:... man has created God in his own image.”
August Thalheimer describes Feuerbach’s views in these terms: “There is no super-sensual knowledge, as religion and philosophy maintain.... Knowledge of the world is possible only on the basis of sense experience.” Therefore proof of anything must be existential, experimental—it must come from the five senses. This is the utter denial of the faculty of the Christ consciousness and the senses of the soul which the sons and daughters of God have. And yet this empirical method is imposed upon us today, especially in our universities and colleges. We are taught that this is the only way to think, the only way to draw conclusions in science or religion or any field.
In The Essence of Christianity, Feuerbach maintained that although Hegel had discovered that man was God in a dialectic state of becoming, he had not taken the logical next step in concluding that God is man: homo homini deus est (“man is God to man”), i.e., that man imposes the idea of God upon whatever is most sublime in mankind. Feuerbach believed that Christianity alienated man by depriving him of his political energy. He saw man as a political animal who creates his God, his figures who are the world leaders, and he worships them. And in fact if man created God, then obviously man must be God.
Marx’s thesis and antithesis
With productive man as his rationalistic thesis, Marx evolved a rationalistic antithesis. By denying the inherent Spirit which Hegel found within nature, Marx made human nature the antithesis of the productive man. Human nature created by the rational will is obedient only to so-called rational laws (in contrast to the seemingly irrational law of love).
Marx perceived the interaction of his thesis and antithesis as illimitable class struggle. His synthesis is not Hegelian transcendence. He doesn’t see Spirit transcending itself, becoming more and more of God. He sees synthesis as death and destruction. And that is where the fallen ones have determined to take the cycles of the Trinity: to pervert its cycles and to create not eternal life, not the ascension, but death.
Marx proposed that social progress is achieved only through conflict between old and new systems and that class struggle is the great motive power of history. The negative force which Hegel saw as inherent within the positive force and the cause of its cyclic progress, Marx identified in the social system as germs of its own destruction—reforms which ideally operate as a foreign body within an existing system to accelerate death. Progress is impaired by limited reform which prematurely reduces tension.
To Marx, violence is the price to be paid for progress. In other words, evils in society are not to be put out and destroyed. They are considered the antithesis of the thesis, a very necessary part of the process. So he proposed that we should allow the evil to grow so large as to destroy the entire society. In other words, we need the conditions of decay, corruption, destruction, violence and terror in order to evolve a better society.
Marx distinguished five economic forms or modes of production: primitive communal, slave, feudal, capitalistic, and socialistic.
Under the first, the means of production are socially owned. Under the second, the slave owner owns them. Under the third, the feudal lord partially owns them while his men have some property. Under the fourth, the capitalist owns the means of production, but not his men. He can no longer dispose of his workers as he pleases, though they are compelled to work for him. Under the fifth, which has not yet come into existence, the workers themselves will own the means of production, and with the abolition of the contradictions inherent in capitalism, production will reach its fullest development. From the point of view of both production and freedom, each of these stages represents an advance upon its predecessor, in accordance with the dialectic principle that every new stage takes up whatever was of value in that which it has negated.
Marx saw the separate stages of social progress each represented by a social class: feudalism by the nobility; capitalism by entrepreneurs, which he called the “bourgeoisie”; socialism by the workers, the proletariat. Marx maintained that the victory of the new class cannot be limited by a democracy which substitutes ballots for bullets and requires respect for inalienable rights.
In the class struggle which Marx witnessed following the Industrial Revolution, he professed extreme sympathy for the injured and the insulted laboring masses. This sympathy for the downtrodden characterizes this entire philosophy. It originates in the sympathy of the Devil for himself: “Feel sorry for me. I have gotten kicked out of heaven. God has denied me his light, his bread, his energy, his consciousness; now give me what God has failed to give me.”
That does not mean that the sons and daughters of God do not have utter compassion for those who are without, those who are the poor in Spirit. But feeling sorry for those who do not earn by the path of initiation that which is their right to earn is the emotion that enters into and engenders the fervor of world communism—sympathy for the fallen ones.
Marx proposed that violent repression of the capitalists by the worker would ultimately result in the dictatorship of the proletariat, the working class. This Marxist synthesis is an inanimate economic system in which technology is used to obtain increasing control of nature. The Hegelian synthesis, Geist, is replaced in Marx’s system by mere mind, mechanized mind. Mechanization man is the goal of dialectical materialism. Marx’s synthesis according to dialectic law should return man to thesis, i.e. the so-called productive man. En route he produces not transcendence but death and destruction.
Reminiscent of Feuerbachian ethics, Marx’s economic determinism or the economic interpretation of history supposes that religion, patriotism and all other so-called idealistic feelings are the product of economic conditions and their effect upon the human mind—i.e. Spirit is the creation of Matter. Marx felt that history was on his side, that history was predetermined, and this predestination without God was reduced to simply the interplay of these forces in society without a ruling mind—either a mind of God or the mind of the people.
The Great White Brotherhood teaches us that there is no predestination, because God has set free will. This means there is no predestination of golden ages, dark ages or the pattern of history. We are not robots, mechanical beings following a mechanical economic determinism. We are God-free beings with a flame in the heart intended to be free to apply the laws of a cosmos, all of which are supportive of individual freedom.
In the absolute sense, God never brings man to a state of slavery in order to bring him to future freedom. But in the relative sense, man brings himself there by his own self-imposed laws of limitation. And just because man has brought himself to the state of slavery, this does not allow us to conclude that by dialectical materialism he will evolve out of slavery through economic determinism. It is impossible. Man evolves out of slavery through Christ, through that liberation of the soul that is a burst of consciousness, which is the elevation of that Christ in the temple of being; that is, through confessing that he is come in the flesh in this temple.
We can obviously see that history has followed these steps. But this has not happened according to the interpretation of Marx. This evolution has been the result of karma—the karma of ignorance of the law of the individual Christ. It was not necessary to go through these stages. These were not dependent on one another. They did not come out of this dialectic. They came out of the fact that, one by one, step-by-step, the individual was evolving a Christ consciousness, and therefore he gained a greater and greater enlightenment of the law of economics set forth by Jesus Christ and the flow of the abundant life. And we have come to the greatest principle of that abundant life in the guru-chela relationship in the free-enterprise system. That is the evolution of the Christ consciousness by the cycles of Alpha and Omega, as thesis and antithesis and synthesis of the Christ within us.
Marx uses his theory as the justification that socialism is the next phase of economic determinism. It is not. Socialism is and ever has been the fallen state of man and woman. And with this logic, the fallen ones are trying to take from us the foundation of the Golden Age economy and to return us to the most primitive form of life on earth. Socialism was never born in the 1850s. It has been around as the subtle lie within the being of the individual for millennia.
The problem of materialism
Marx’s economic interpretation of history, which he called “historical materialism,” is founded upon his interpretation of dialectic, which he therefore called dialectic materialism. He was convinced that social and historical processes followed the law of dialectical materialism, which he said was no less universal than the laws of physics and chemistry.
Guided by this law, mankind, he said, would achieve a utopian society. Marx himself knew that a utopian society was unattainable, but he used the concept to perpetuate endless class struggle and the socialist revolution wrecking societies and destroying bodies, souls and minds through murder, war and terrorism.
In fact, what Marx said and his belief behind what he said are two different streams of consciousness. We see dialectical materialism as a set and rationale and logic which ultimately, fundamentally even Marx himself does not believe. He sets it forth to be that which will advance the highest human good. That is the lie. That is the bait for the children of God. He knows in the very core of his being that the end thereof is the way of death.
Those who have been behind the manifestation of dialectical materialism have known exactly the end from the beginning: the destruction and the death of the souls of sons and daughters of God. Some know it consciously, some know it subconsciously. Some are tools, some are the originators of the lie.
Millions and millions of communists today, many of whom are children of the light, believe the inevitability of the logical conclusions of what is mere theory. It has never even been proven that it is true or that it works. It is a complete lie and perversion of the cycles of the Trinity.
The perspective of the Brotherhood
Dialectical materialism is in itself not valid according to the teachings of the Brotherhood, because it bases the cause-effect sequences in society upon the phases of the human consciousness, the reaction of new phases to the old, and then a mixing together of the two producing a new product that is still the human consciousness. In fact, it is a diabolical materialism because it neglects the definition of Matter as Mother, and the alchemy of the Mother in civilization as the Mater-realization of the God flame by sons and daughters of the Most High.
When you realize the fullness of the Mother flame, you have all of the accoutrements of civilization, of Matter, the crystallization of the God flame. Materialism without the Mother is anti-Mother, anti-Matter.
Dialectic materialism looks at life as a human evolution, instead of seeing that there are inner causes behind outer manifestations. There is the law of First Cause (your own great causal body, your own I AM THAT I AM), which sets in motion the Word, the individual Christ Self that must become flesh in the sons and daughters of God through the great synthesis of the Mother flame. There is also the law of secondary causes sent in motion by the free will of man. The secondary causes are the free-will expressions of the soul once it has descended.
The First Cause, which is God’s karma (the cause of the ray in manifestation) is the descent of the soul with free will. Under that First Cause, obedient to that will, imbued with that wisdom, filled with that Holy-Spirit love, we can manifest God-mastery. Disobedient to it, entering the ignore-ance of the Law and the anti-love synthesis, we set up secondary causes.
Secondary causes are temporarily real. They are real because we sustain them by free will, but they are unreal in the absolute sense and therefore we do not give them power, wisdom or love. We do not feed them energy. We cut them from the vine of life and we put them into the fiery furnace where the tares belong.
What is true of the individual is true of civilization. There is First Cause: golden-age civilizations, golden-age God-government and economy. There are secondary cause-effect sequences: the karma of society and civilization that is not founded upon the Rock of Christ.
The law of karma that we have set in motion has no inevitable conclusion, but only the perpetual process of resolution by the law of love and its transmutative sacred fire. The agents of this transmutation are always the Word made flesh and the fiery baptism of the Holy Ghost. This process continues until the Absolute is attained, that is, until the soul’s liberation from all cause-effect sequences—dialectic, didactic or materialistic—through integration with the Law of the One or the I AM THAT I AM.
Saint Germain’s commentary on Marxist philosophy
Saint Germain comments on the fundamental errors in Marx’s philosophy:
Some of you are aware that the study of the relationship of opposites in the planes of relativity is reflected in the dialectic of the nineteenth-century German philosopher Georg Hegel, who theorized that man’s thought process and all historical change result from the interplay of three elements: thesis, antithesis and synthesis. According to this observer of life’s forces, every thesis generates its opposite, or antithesis, and the interaction of the two produces a synthesis that transcends both. The emerging synthesis in turn becomes a new thesis, and the entire process is repeated again and again.
Thus, in the Hegelian dialectic all progress is brought about through the inevitable conflict of opposing forces—a principle Karl Marx turned upside down in his “dialectical materialism,” wherein he replaced Hegel’s idealism with economic materialism. Whereas Hegel supported the value of the state and saw in the dialectical process the unfoldment of spiritual principle, Marx branded the state a mechanism of exploitation and claimed that all progress arises from conflicts involving the economic means of production.
You who understand the premise of the ascended masters’ teachings to be the Law of the One do not always take into account this law of relativity governing relative good and evil, perceived by psychologists, scientists and the worldly philosophers. Moreover, in the world of maya, where good and evil are always “relatively” in opposition, we must also reckon with the negative misqualification of the Absolutes of Power, Wisdom and Love upon which we have been discoursing. Therefore we would touch upon both the human and the divine equations.
The Law of the One, based on the unity of Being, also functions within the framework of human reason and human events and when it comes full circle in the individual’s experience, supports Truth and exposes error.
But in the human “two-eyed” perception of the world acquired after the departure from the Edenic self-knowledge in and as the One—when the worldview of man and woman was no longer single in the immaculate All-Seeing Eye of God but the same as that of the band of seducing fallen angels called serpents—there were unalterably two sides to every human equation, with the pendulum swing hot/cold, left/right, always just waiting to happen.
Not so in the divine equation. Here the true Divine Polarity of Alpha and Omega, the plus/minus of the Godhead, and of each member of the Trinity are the Masculine/Feminine counterparts of Being. These are complementary, not opposing, always fulfilling the Law of the One as the Divine Whole. But in the human condition, just as there is a positive pole, so there is a negative pole to a given situation. These are opposing forces, rivalrous in nature and mutually destructive. For example, if the thesis be human love, its antithesis will be some form of love’s polar opposite—human hatred, fear, suspicion or even mild dislike. Their synthesis will be a watered-down version of both with no commitment either to one or the other.
This is the lukewarm state of mediocrity that Jesus spurned when he said, “Because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth.” And this is precisely why the economic evolution of mankind according to Marx and Lenin can never lead to the divine conclusion: self-transcendence according to the law of love, the Law of the One, which self-contains the true Trinity—power, wisdom and love—as the triad of every man and woman’s being.
For more information
Lectures by Elizabeth Clare Prophet, “The Philosophy of Antichrist,” October 8, 1978; “The Psychology of Socialism: The Religion of Hatred, the Cult of Death,” October 9, 1978; and “The Psychology of Socialism: The Death Instinct” October 9, 1978. Available on DVD and audio album The Seduction of Socialism and the Responsibility of Freedom and in audio from Ascended Master Library.
Elizabeth Clare Prophet, “The Philosophy of Antichrist,” October 8, 1978.
Mark L. Prophet and Elizabeth Clare Prophet, The Path of Brotherhood, pp. 101–03.
- Rom. 13:8–10.
- Hegel used the word Geist to describe a central principle of his philosophy. The word is the etymological origin of the word ghost, but this term has lost much of its original meaning in English. Analogous words in other languages are the Greek pneuma, Latin spiritus, and Sanskrit prana. One element of the breadth of the original meaning in English is found in the term Holy Ghost. Geist can be translated as “consciousness,” mind or Spirit. Hegel’s use of this term is indicative of his departure from atheistic rationalism.
- Homo faber: Latin for “man the maker.” The use of this term dates back to Roman times. It is often placed in juxtaposition to the term homo adorans, “worshiping man.” In Judeo-Christian philosophy, the ultimate purpose of man is to worship God; in Marxism, man’s purpose is defined by what he produces. The term is somewhat parallel to the concept of the “primitive worker” (Homo sapiens) genetically engineered by the Nephilim to work for the “gods.”
- August Thalheimer, Introduction to Dialectical Materialism, part 7, “Hegel and Feuerbach.” www.marxists.org/archive/thalheimer/works/dimat/07.htm.
- “The history of all hitherto existing society is the history of class struggles,” The Manifesto of the Communist Party (1848), sect. 1, para. 1.
- One of the basic lies of the fallen ones is that good and evil are in polarity. This is not true. Spirit and Matter, Father and Mother are in polarity. Good and evil are not in polarity: evil is unreal; good is real. In actuality, evil is not necessary for the expansion of good—a principle demonstrated in the golden ages that flourished on earth before the Fall of man and the entry of evil into the world.
- Bourgeoisie is a French word originally referring to dwellers in a city, as opposed to the peasants who dwelt in rural areas. It was later used as a legal term for those who had rights of citizenship and political rights in a city. These were often merchants, craftsmen and business owners. The revolutions of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries saw the ascendance of the bourgeoisie over the nobility who had ruled in earlier centuries. Marx had great disdain for the bourgeoisie, and the word has come to be used as a pejorative description for the middle class.
- Proletariat: (French) from the Latin proletarius, “producers of offspring.” The term was used in ancient Rome to refer to poor freedmen, including artisans and small tradesmen, the lowest rank among Roman citizens, whose primary contribution to the state were their offspring (proles). In Marxist philosophy the term is used to refer to those who do not own capital or the means of production and who earn their living by selling their labor.
- See lecture by Elizabeth Clare Prophet, “The Economic Philosophy of Jesus Christ,” October 6, 1978, available on DVD and audio album The Seduction of Socialism and the Responsibility of Freedom and in audio from Ascended Master Library.
- Mark L. Prophet and Elizabeth Clare Prophet, Saint Germain On Alchemy: Formulas for Self-Transformation, pp. 310–12.