Dia­lec­tics of a con­flict

The Pak Banker - - Front Page -

sis, which cre­ates its own an­tithe­sis.

In a con­tro­ver­sial sit­u­a­tion, says Hegel, each side con­sid­ers it­self to be to­tally in the right and its an­tag­o­nist wholly in the wrong. How­ever, in point of fact, each side is partly wrong and partly right. But be­ing right or wrong is merely an aca­demic ques­tion. What’s im­por­tant is the an­tag­o­nism, which, though painful, leads to a new and higher sit­u­a­tion. On the other hand, “Pe­ri­ods of hap­pi­ness,” in the words of the Ger­man sage, “are empty pages in his­tory, for they are the pe­ri­ods of har­mony, times when the an­tithe­sis is miss­ing. What is left to life is sim­ply habit, ac­tiv­ity with­out op­po­si­tion.”

Seen from this per­spec­tive, the clash of ad­ver­saries is to be wel­comed rather than feared, en­cour­aged rather than shunned. Which side wins or loses, thrives or gets dec­i­mated, is be­side the point. What mat­ters is the fact that the clash is both a nec­es­sary and de­sir­able step in the evo­lu­tion of so­ci­ety.

His­tory then, ac­cord­ing to Hegel, ad­vances in terms of con­flict, which is al­ways good. One may not see eye to eye with the Hegelian view that con­flict is al­ways good. How­ever, it is hard to deny that con­flict is not in­her­ently bad. Con­flict, it must be ad­mit­ted, has been a pow­er­ful in­stru­ment through which his­tory ad­vances and so­ci­eties trans­form. But for the strife among ad­ver­saries, we would not have seen the Re­nais­sance and the Ref­or­ma­tion or the Glo­ri­ous (1688), French (1789), Rus­sian (1917) and Chi­nese (1949) rev­o­lu­tions. How­ever, the change pro­duced by a con­flict can be a change for the bet­ter or the worse; it may usher in de­vel­op­ment or deca­dence, growth or de­cay, progress or re­gres­sion, or­der or chaos, peace or may­hem, greater har­mony or dis­cord. One may look at Gen Kayani’s state­ment as well as that of the chief jus­tice of Pak­istan, in­ci­den­tally is­sued on the same day, from a Hegelian per­spec­tive. The state­ments re­flect the predica­ment of the Pak­istani so­ci­ety, where democ­racy is strug­gling to take root, where at­tempts are be­ing made – fee­ble though they may seem at present – to bring the high and mighty to the book, and es­tab­lish rule of law and a pro­gres­sive, lib­eral so­ci­ety. How­ever, such en­deav­ours are gen­er­at­ing, as they al­ways do, stiff op­po­si­tion from forces that have high stakes in preser­va­tion of the sta­tus quo.

Down mem­ory lane, the po­lit­i­cal sys­tem of Pak­istan has been dom­i­nated by the armed forces, which have di­rectly ruled dur­ing half of the coun­try’s his­tory and have been the power be­hind the throne for the re­main­der of the time. There was a time when even mild criticism of the forces was looked upon as too dar­ing a ven­ture, and bring­ing serv­ing or re­tired gen­er­als in the dock was pretty much out of the ques­tion.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Pakistan

© PressReader. All rights reserved.