We had to read Hegel for class. A *historiography* class, so it wasn't even the kind of class where you sign up to read Hegel. I've managed to study China for eight years without having to read Hegel, and then they sneak him in in an innocuous *historiography* class?
(Not that historiography is innocuous. It's full of crazy theories, just not usually as crazy as Hegel's.)
Anyway, I think Hegel is like monopoly money for thoughts. It makes sense in relation to itself (mostly), but as soon as you try using it in the real world, it's worthless.
Here's the kind of loopy stuff we had to read and pretend to take seriously:
"To begin with, we must note that world history goes on within the realm of Spirit. The term "world" includes both physical and psychical nature. Physical nature does play a part in world history, and from the very beginning we shall draw attention to the fundamental natural relations thus involved. But Spirit, and the course of its development, is the substance of history. We must not contemplate nature as a rational system in itself, in its own particular domain, but only in its relation to Spirit." http://marxists.org/reference/archive/hegel/works/hi/introduction.htm
And this is the stuff that led to a guy that led to a guy that led to a series of revolutions.