Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Phenomenology of Spirit, Preface, paragraph 47

Philosophy, on the contrary, does not deal with the non-essential determination, but the essential one. The abstract or unreal is not its element and content, but the real, that which is self-positing, living in itself – existence in its concept. It is the process that creates and runs through its own moments, and this entire movement constitutes the positive and its truth. This movement thus just as well includes within it the negative, which would be named the false were it to be considered something from which could be abstracted. That which is vanishing has rather to be looked at as itself essential, not as something in the sense of fixed, cut off from the true and outside it, no one knows where, just as also the truth is not to be held to stand on the other side as an immovable, lifeless positive.  Appearance is the rise and fall, which itself does not rise and fall but is in principle [an sich] and constitutes reality and the movement of the life of truth. The truth is thus the Bacchanalian revel, where not one member is sober; and because every member, if it becomes detached, just as immediately is terminated, the revel is just as much a state of transparent simple calm. In the courtroom of that movement, the particular shapes which spirit assumes do not indeed subsist any more than do determinate thoughts, but they are, all the same, as much positive and necessary moments, as negative and vanishing. In the entirety of the movement considered as repose, that which distinguishes itself and gives itself specific existence in that movement, is like one that remembers itself, preserves itself, the existence of which is the knowledge of itself, as this likewise is immediate existence.

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