28. The Three aspects (22)  10/05/2000

The third aspect: the creation of meta-worlds (8)

   It may have been sensible that we made a turn to the Absolute on the way to search after the mechanism of 'contradiction.' This notion, after all, has its root in the meta-movement of the Absolute itself. (*1)
   We would not find any clue to 'contradiction' in simply staring at outer, sensuous movement as Newton looked at a falling apple. Such movement is merely "a direct existent of contradiction" (*2) and Hegel did not get this notion from that kind of motion, but from the Absolute or the primary identity:
   ">>All things are in itself contradictory.<< . . . A contradiction that presents itself by the contraposed is just the developed nothingness that is contained in identity." (*3)

   So we should now continue to examine Hegel's Absolute (the primary identity). And his original view begins from the following.

  1. "While the Absolute in itself is absolute affirmation, it also opposes to the contraposed or the finite as their identity; so it is absolute negation. And this negation as existing and really posited is the positing of the contraposed: +A-A = 0. As '+A-A' nothingness [i.e., 0--Taki] exists and is, in essence, infinity, thought, the absolute concept, and the absolute, pure affirmation." (*4)
    We can accept the formula, '+A-A = 0,' for we have already known a characteristic of language: while there really exist the elements of language, or simply put, words that are spoken and written, language itself does not and can not appear to us directly; it is in a sense nothingness. But a word or 'figure', e.g., A, can only appear against the 'ground', which is naturally not A. A plus not A forms the whole or language. A la Hegel, +A-A = 0. (*5)

   Hegel thought of the Absolute as the negative: both the negation of the contraposed and nothingness in a realistic sense. On this point he parted from Fichte as well as Schelling:
"Since [in Fichte's idealism--Taki] that negative side itself [of the Absolute] is posited as the absolute positive, Fichte's idealism becomes formal and opposes itself to realism." (*6)


(*1) cf. The three aspects (17) dated 05/01/2000.

(*2) "Die äußerliche sinnliche Bewegung selbst ist sein [Widerspruchs] unmittelbares Dasein." (Wissenschaft der Logik, Suhrkamp Verlag, Werke in zwanzig Bänden, Bd. 6, S. 76)

(*3) ">>Alle Dinge sind an sich selbst widersprechend<< . . . Der Widerspruch, der an der Entgegensetzung hervortritt, ist nur das entwickelte Nichts, das in der Identität enthalten ist . . . " (ebenda, S. 74)

(*4) " . . . indem nämlich der absolute Begriff Unendlichkeit – an sich absolute Affirmation, aber gegen das Entgegengesetzte und Endliche gekehrt ist als ihre Identität, so ist es absolute Negation, und diese Negation als seiend, reell gesetzt ist das Setzen Entgegengesetzter: + A – A = 0. Das Nichts existiert als + A – A und ist seinem Wesen nach Unendlichkeit, Denken, absoluter Begriff, absolute reine Affirmation." (Glauben und Wissen, Suhrkamp Verlag, Werke in zwanzig Bänden, Bd. 2, S. 351)

(*5) cf. Re: Three aspects (6) dated 12/03/1999.

(*6) " . . . der [Fichtes Idealismus--Taki] aber, weil jene negative Seite selbst [des Absoluten] als das absolut Positive gesetzt wird, formell wird und einem Realismus sich gegenüber stehen hat. (Glauben und Wissen, Suhrkamp Verlag, Werke in zwanzig Bänden, Bd. 2, S. 394)

29. The Three aspects (23)  10/13/2000

The third aspect: the creation of meta-worlds (9)

   Although Hegel criticized Fichte for his formalism, which resulted from the I merely considered positive, it should be mentioned that the birthplace of Hegelianism was Fichte's I. (*1) Hegel wrote on the heels of the sentences in my preceding post (*2):
   "This abstract infinity of the absolute substance [i.e., nothingness, '+A-A' or '0'--Taki] is what Fichte brought as the I, the pure self-consciousness, the pure thinking, that is, the eternal act or production of difference . . . to our new subjective culture." (*3)

We have already seen that Fichte's I necessarily posits itself: the I = the I, and that the I is just the movement of the metaworld for us (*4): "The I is identity and doubleness at the same time. . . . the I is the subject and again the object; . . . the contraposed is identical with each other." (*5) 

   Hegel's interpretation of the I led to his famous assertion in The Phenomenology of Spirit: "In my view, . . . everything rests on grasping and expressing truth not as substance but also as the subject." (*6)
   The 'subject' in the assertion is used in the ordinary sense: an independently thinking and acting entity; though many people still today take it as the subject of the modern 'subject – object schema,' i.e., "the simple substance of a soul as a common container of various contraposed activities." (*7)
   But for Hegel such modern subject already ended with his elders; what was the subtitle of
Faith and Knowledge?--"The Reflective Philosophy of Subjectivity in Its Completed Forms as Kantian, Jacobian and Fichtean Philosophy" [italics--Taki]

   Hegel's "substance as the subject" or "the living substance" (i.e., an independently thinking and acting entity in our terms) is "the movement of positing itself"; and "the living substance as the subject is the pure, simple negation, and just on that account it is the breakup of the simple or the contraposing duplication . . . " (*8)--that is, the movement of the metaworld in our wording.
   In historical context, we can safely say, Hegelianism is a reasonably realized philosophy of identity of Schelling in the mold of Fichte's 'the I = the I.'

   By the way, the movement of the metaworld is, so to speak, semantic, not physical nor psychological one in real (and maybe cyber) space-time. "Because in the truly spiritual and Idea there is neither sequence nor order [of the real time--Taki]. Only when Idea becomes finite at the moment after it is posited as the spiritual sphere . . . and then that spiritual sphere itself is qualitatively dispersed into the infinite mass of spiritual atoms or subjectivities as corporeal citizens . . . , the spiritual sequence can become a topic for discussion." (*9)


(*1) cf. The three aspects (16) dated 04/20/2000.

(*2) "While the Absolute in itself is absolute affirmation, it also opposes to the contraposed or the finite as their identity; so it is absolute negation. And this negation as existing and really posited is the positing of the contraposed: +A-A = 0. As '+A-A' nothingness [i.e., 0--Taki] exists and is, in essence, infinity, thought, the absolute concept, and the absolute, pure affirmation." (The three aspects (22) dated 10/05/2000)

(*3) "Diese abstrahierte Unendlichkeit der absoluten Substanz ist dasjenige, was Fichte als Ich oder reines Selbstbewußtsein, reines Denken, nämlich als das ewige Tun oder Produzieren der Differenz, welche das reflektierte Denken immer nur als Produkt kennt, unserer neuen subjektiveren Kultur nähergebracht hat." (Glauben und Wissen, Suhrkamp Verlag, Werke in zwanzig Bänden, Bd. 2, S. 351)

(*4) cf. The three aspects (16) dated 04/20/2000.

(*5) "Ich = Ich ist Identität und Duplizität zugleich, es ist eine Entgegensetzung in Ich = Ich. Ich ist einmal Subjekt, das andere Mal Objekt; aber was dem Ich entgegengesetzt ist, ist gleichfalls Ich; die Entgegengesetzten sind identisch." (Differenz des Fichteschen und Schellingschen Systems der Philosophie, Suhrkamp Verlag, Werke in zwanzig Bänden, Bd. 2. S. 55)

(*6) "Es kommt nach meiner Einsicht, . . . alles darauf an, das Wahre nicht als Substanz, sondern ebensosehr als Subjekt aufzufassen und auszudrücken." (Suhrkamp Verlag, Werke in zwanzig Bänden, Bd. 3, S. 22 f.)

(*7) "[dem] Subjekt, [d.h.--Taki] der einfachen Substanz der Seele, als dem gemeinschaftlichen Behälter für vielerlei entgegengesetzte Tätigkeiten" (Glauben und Wissen, Suhrkamp Verlag, Werke in zwanzig Bänden, Bd. 2, S. 407)

(*8) "Die lebendige Substanz ist ferner das Sein, welches in Wahrheit Subjekt oder, was dasselbe heißt, welches in Wahrheit wirklich ist, nur insofern sie die Bewegung des Sichselbstsetzens . . . ist. Sie ist als Subjekt die reine einfache Negativität, eben dadurch die Entzweiung des Einfachen; oder die entgegensetzende Verdopplung . . . " (Phänomenologie des Geistes, Suhrkamp Verlag, Werke in zwanzig Bänden, Bd. 3, S. 23)

(*9) "Denn im wahrhaft Geistigen und in der Idee ist keine Reihe noch Folge; nur wenn die Idee fürs erste dadurch verendlicht ist, daß sie einer sinnlichen Sphäre entgegen und als geistige gesetzt und dann diese geistige Sphäre selbst wieder in eine unendliche Menge von geistigen Atomen, Subjektivitäten als Bürgern eines Dings, . . . qualitativ zersplittert ist, kann von geistigen Folgen die Rede sein." (Glauben und Wissen, Suhrkamp Verlag, Werke in zwanzig Bänden, Bd. 2, S. 428 f.)

30. Re: Hegel & Hölderlin  12/09/2000

   Mr. Gxx's post about Hölderlin and his influence on the young Hegel, dated 11/30/2000 JST, was very instructive and I could willingly agree with him on the whole.
   In regard to Hölderlin (1770-1843, become insane in 1802 ) the letter from him to Hegel, dated 26 January in 1795, would be important. After introducing Fichte's just published "Foundations of the Entire Wissenschaftslehre," Hölderlin said:

   "The absolute I of Fichte, which is equal to Spinoza's substance, includes all reality. The absolute I is everything, and nothing is out of it. And there are no objects for it because, if there were any, it would not follow that all reality is in the absolute I." (from Japanese translation (1); I haven’t got a copy of the original text. If anybody has it, please let me know the quoted original sentences.)

   But Hölderlin was acutely aware of the difficulty such absolutism involves intrinsically. He wrote on:

   "It is, however, impossible that there were any consciousness without its objects. And if I myself am an object, I am necessarily finite as an object, exist only in Time, and I am not absolute. There is then no consciousness within the absolute I, and I as the absolute I have no consciousness. Without consciousness I would be nothing to myself and the absolute I too would be nothing to me."

   Unfortunately I don't know who was the first among Hegel, Hölderlin and Schelling to become aware of the difficulty above (maybe, Hölderlin?), but it is sure that the task of how to solve it played a central role in forming Hegelian philosophy.


(*1) Friedrich Hölderlin, The complete works of Hölderlin, ed. Tomio Tezuka, trans. Kojima, 10th ed., vol. 4 (Tokyo: Kawaide Shobo Shinsha, 1991) 201.

31. Re: Hegel & Hölderlin  12/15/2000

Dear Mr. Gxx,

   Thank you very much for the Hölderlin's original text. (*1)  And I sincerely appreciate your advice on my English translation.

   Your opinion in that post seemed right on the whole to me. You wrote:

   >> At the beginning of the Science of Logic he says: "Pure Being and pure Nothing is the same". There is no original ground. The whole is what the multitude (the finite self-consciousnesses as 'inherited' from Hölderlin) makes in its process of integration and disintegration that is in the process of the relationship between the particular and the universal of these particulars or in the process of acknowledgment (Phenomenology of Spirit).<<

   In order only to clarify the line of my thought, I would like to add that the "multitude" or "particular" is also nothing or ideal, that is, it does not exist by itself but receives its existence from the whole. And when the particular or the individual acknowledges that fact, there will be Reconciliation (Versöhnung) between the whole and it.

   As for Spirit you pointed out correctly:

   >> . . . the substance itself has become subjective: It is not the Kantian transcendental unity of the subject (the a priori of the objects) which has to become substantial (Fichte) but the substance we live in has to become subjective and - in this sense as Spirit - transcendental to itself.<<

   Here the word "subject" does not have the Kantian sense (as you said), but designates the movement of positing itself or "Spirit - transcendental to itself." Because the Hegelian Spirit includes all reality and is intersubjective, not like the Cartesian cogito, which lacks Nature (i.e., the material moment) and belongs only to the individual, it might be admitted that I call such Spirit the "world" itself.
   Consequently the subjective substance means to me the world's movement of positing itself, or the meta-structure of the world.


(*1) "Sein [Fichtes] absolutes Ich (=Spinozas Substanz) enthält alle Realität; es ist alles und außer ihm ist nichts. Es gibt also für dieses absolute Ich kein Objekt, denn sonst wäre nicht alle Realität in ihm; ein Bewußtsein ohne Objekt ist aber nicht denkbar, und wenn ich selbst dieses Objekt bin, so bin ich als solches notwendig beschränkt, sollte es auch nur in der Zeit sein, also nicht absolut. Also ist in dem absoluten Ich kein Bewußtsein denkbar, als absolutes Ich habe ich kein Bewußtsein, und insofern ich kein Bewußtsein habe, insofern bin ich (für mich) nichts, also das absolute Ich ist (für mich) Nichts."

32. Re: Hegel & Hölderlin  12/20/2000

   As is well-known, Hegel's assertion: "Judgment [Urteil] is the original division [die ursprüngliche Teilung, das Ur-Teilen]. (1)" is first set forth by Hölderlin. I heard that the philosophical poet had put down that idea in a fragment. But I couldn't find it in the Japanese version of his complete works.

   If anybody in this list finds that fragment, I wish he or she may let me know its number and, if possible, the original text.

   Many thanks in advance.


(1) "Die etymologische Bedeutung des Urteils in unserer Sprache ist tiefer und drückt die Einheit des Begriffs als das Erste und dessen Unterscheidung als die ursprüngliche Teilung aus, was das Urteil in Wahrheit ist."  (Enzyklopädie, Abschn. 166)

"Der Geist ist schlechthin sich in sich vermittelnd, das Tätige; diese Tätigkeit ist ein von sich Unterscheiden, Ur-Teilen (ursprüngliche Teilung)." (Vorlesungen über die Philosophie der Religion, Suhrkamp Verlag, Werke in zwanzig Bänden, Bd. 17, S. 54)

Comments and suggestions are always welcomed.

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