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Simmel Bridge & Door

A dialectic analysis is one where certain laws of thought are used to demonstrate the nature of things. To a dialectical analyzer the nature of everything involves internal opposition from contradiction. Development is viewed as moving in a quantitative to a qualitative progression, and change negates what is changed but the product is also negated so that the second negation leads to development not the original starting place. In Simmel’s Bridge and Door, we see the use of dialectical analysis, a mechanism of change and progress in which every possible situation exists only in relation to its own opposite. This relation encompasses antagonism and mutual dependency but the antagonism eventually undermines the relationship and overthrows it. However, sometimes dialectical is used only to emphasis a relationship of reciprocity between two entities or processes. In his analysis of a door, Simmel (172) demonstrates that a door represents “how separating and connecting are only two sides of precisely the same act.”

The door exists as a means of entering or exiting from a limited physical space we cut off or isolate from the natural world at large. However, for Simmel, it also represents the separation of things that are connected and contradictory, the “I” versus the “We.” With any language, such as the word door, Simmel argues we only know its meaning because of what it is separated from or is not. In other words, it has meaning to us as a door not because of the physical thing representing a door, but because it is not a bridge, a tree, a dog or anything else it is not or separated from. We need the “We” to give meaning to the “I”, though the “I” is separate from the “We” without the “We” we would not know the “I.” As such, the door represents the ability to separate or enclose the “I”, but it also represents a means of leaving the “I” and joining t


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Simmel Bridge & Door. (1969, December 31). In Retrieved 04:52, July 04, 2022, from