Fight to the Death

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The next step in this vignette is that each individual sets about asserting his uniqueness and supremacy by attempting to destroy the other. This fight is the Hegelian primal fight to the death which can have only two possible outcomes. In the first and more sterile possibility, neither individual cedes his claim to supremacy and one eventually succeeds in slaying the other. The victor is thus returned to his position of uniqueness and supremacy, at least until he encounters yet another individual and the drama plays itself out all over again. The second possibility is that one of the individuals will succumb to the instinct for self-preservation and surrender to the other. The chief consequence of this surrender is that the loser of the battle agrees to recognise the victor’s supremacy and to come under his control. This is the point at which we are now able to speak of the master (the victor) and the slave (the loser). An irony also occurs at this point in the drama, however, in that the only recognition which the master will recognise or accept is that from an equal. The recognition of the slave, falls short of this requirement since his subjection deprives him of the equality vital to a meaningful recognition.

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