33. The Three aspects (24)  06/24/2001

The third aspect: the creation of meta-worlds (10)

Preface and Introduction of The Phenomenology of Spirit

   Even though Hegel did not mention his important idea, "contradiction," in the preface and introduction of The Phenomenology of Spirit, it is obvious that in this book each "station" is generated from the contradiction of the moments the former one has. However, since the ontological reason of contradiction in general was not explained by him there, we had better turn our eyes to another point at issue: many people have criticized Hegel for his identification of being with the concept or thought. How should we approach this problem?

   Indeed Hegel wrote:
   "Existence is quality, self-identical determination, that is, determinate simplicity, determinate thought . . . Because of this it is the nous, as Anaxagoras first recognized reality to be. After him people grasped the nature of existence more determinately as eidos or idea, i.e., specific universality, species." (*1)
   "In the nature of the existent to be its concept in its being . . . " (*2)

   Hegel is, of course, a typical spiritualist who holds reality, the entity of the universe, spiritual or ideal. But this does not mean he took no notice of the material moment of things. As we observed on his monism of consciousness (*3), he oriented himself toward the mutual relation between an object (i.e., being) and the I (concept in the ordinary sense); these two pure poles are merely the products of our abstraction and do not exist actually. So his treatment of the being-concept problem must have unique character.
   We now examine the manuscript writings written before The Phenomenology of Spirit and after Faith and Knowledge in his
Jena days, System of Philosophy in Manuscripts (*4) (1803-05).


 (*1) "Das Dasein ist Qualität, sichselbstgleiche Bestimmtheit oder bestimmte Einfachheit, bestimmter Gedanke; . . . Dadurch ist es nous, als für welchen Anaxagoras zuerst das Wesen erkannte. Die nach ihm begriffen bestimmter die Natur des Daseins als eidos oder idea d. h. bestimmte Allgemeinheit, Art." (Phänomenologie des Geistes, Suhrkamp Verlag, Werke in zwanzig Bänden, Bd. 3, S. 54)

(*2) "In dieser Natur dessen, was ist, in seinem Sein sein Begriff zu sein . . . " (ebenda, S. 54 f.)

(*3) See 4. The three aspects (1) 10/14/1999.

34. The Three aspects (25)  06/28/2001

The third aspect: the creation of meta-worlds (11)

System of Philosophy in Manuscripts in Jena days

   In Hegelian system matter is the self-identity of Spirit. Hegel wrote in 1804/5:
   "This absolute reflection-into-itself in its infinity or the self-identical, which has annihilated all its moments in itself, is the still, indefinite . . . Spirit
; as the pure motionless stillness, . . . [i.e.,] the absolute ground and entity of all things is ether or the absolute matter, the absolutely elastic that takes every form . . . " (*1)
   "Ether does not infiltrate through all things, but it is itself everything;" (*2)

   Some people, based on the sentences above and the like, argue about the materialistic stage of the young Hegel's philosophical development. However, his "ether" or "absolute matter" is only one moment of Spirit. (*3) And they sound to us like metaphors rather than philosophical terms, though they are in fact the latter in his natural philosophy. Hegel was from first to last an idealist.

   If we accept Hegel's ontological explanation about matter as cited above, a naïve question still arises. The so called ether does not exist really or ontically; then, what about real existence or being in ordinary sense? Let us follow his text:
   "Ether is indeed the absolute Spirit, which relates to itself and does not recognize itself as the absolute Spirit. But this property does not affect its spiritual absolute nature, and Spirit just . . . gives an appearance of by-itself-being to its moments. And yet their emergence or the reality of Spirit, as existence, . . . " (*4)

   Instead of Spirit never being in existence, (*5) its moments with own definitions have existence. In our wording, the world itself (Spirit a la Hegel) never subsist, but worlds (its moments) in the process of meta-movement come into existence.


(*1) "Dieses in seiner Unendlichkeit absolut in sich reflektierte, das sich Selbstgleiche, das alle Momente derselben in sich selbst vertilgt hat, ist der ruhige bestimmungslose seelige Geist; als diese reine unbewegte Ruhe, das aus oder vielmehr in der Bewegung in sich Zurückgekehrte, der absolute Grund und Wesen aller Dinge, ist der Äther, oder die absolute Materie, das absolute Elastische . . . jede Form sich gebende und Ausdrückende." (Jenaer Systementwürfe II, Felix Meiner Verlag, S. 200)

(*2) "Der Äther durchdringt nicht alles, sondern er ist selbst Alles;" (ebenda, S. 202)

(*3) S. "The active God as the self-identical absolute circle, which is the totality of the self-reflection-into-itself, have self-identity as his moment. [Having] this self-identity as his moment, God is the self-identical Spirit, which does not recognize itself as the absolute Spirit. He is Nature and this self-identity of Spirit or of the other of the active God is the absolute matter, . . . "
   "Der lebendige Gott als der sichselbstgleiche absolute Kreis der sich in sich selbst reflektierenden Totalität hat die Sichselbstgleichheit selbst zum Momente seiner selbst. Diese Sichselbstgleichheit als Moment [habend], ist er der sichselbstgleiche sich nicht als absoluten Geist erkennende Geist; er ist die Natur, und die Sichselbstgleichheit dieses Geistes, des Anders des lebendigen Gottes ist die absolute Materie, . . .
" (ebenda, S. 201)

 (*4) "Der Äther aber ist absoluter Geist, der sich auf sich selbst bezieht, sich nicht als absoluten Geist erkennt. Diese Bestimmtheit aber affiziert seine geistige absolute Natur nicht, nur daß er . . . seinen Momenten den Schein des Fürsichseins aufdrückt; aber auch ihre Erscheinung, oder die Realität desselben, als Existenz, . . . " (ebenda, S. 201)

(*5) " . . . daß ihre Unendlichkeit [die Unendlichkeit der Momente], als negative Einheit [d.h. der Geist--Taki], in welcher sie schlechthin aufgehoben sind, . . . bleibt, und nicht in die Existenz tritt." (ebenda, S. 202)

Comments and suggestions are always welcomed.

e-mail : takin@be.to