Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Phenomenology of Spirit, Preface, paragraph 54

Because generally, as expressed above, substance in itself is subject, all content is its own reflection into itself. The existence [Bestehen] or substance of anything that exists [eines Daseins] is its equality with itself [Sichselbstgleichheit]; for its inequality with itself would be its dissolution. But equality with itself is pure abstraction; and this is thought. When I say quality, I state simple determinateness; by means of quality one existence is distinguished from another, or is an existence; it is for itself, or exists with itself through this simplicity. But thereby is it essentially thought. Herein is comprehended that being is thought: here pertains the insight from which from the ordinary non-conceptual way of speaking of the identity of thought and being tends to deviate. In virtue, further, of the fact that the existence of what exists [das Bestehen des Daseins] is equality with itself or pure abstraction, it is the abstraction of itself from itself, or is, itself, its own inequality with itself and its dissolution – its own inwardness and taking-back into self – its becoming. Because of this nature of the existing, and to the degree that the existing has this nature for knowledge, knowledge is not the activity that handles content as something alien, not reflection in itself from the content outward; science is not that idealism which arises in place of purporting dogmatism as an assuring dogmatism or the dogmatism of certainty of itself; but because knowledge sees content go back into its own inwardness, its activity, rather, is both sunk in the content, it being the immanent self of the content, and, as well, gone back into itself, for it is the pure equality-with-itself in otherness; so is it the cunning that, seeming to contain the activity in itself, watches how the determinateness and its concrete life therein, precisely because it believes it is pursuing its self-preservation and particular interest, is the inverse, activity dissolving itself and making itself into a moment of the whole.

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