Thursday, March 3, 2011

Phenomenology of Spirit, Preface, paragraph 20

The truth is the whole. The whole, however, is only the essence perfecting itself through its development. Of the absolute it must be said that it is essentially a result, that only at the end is it what it, in truth, is; and just this is what comprises its nature, which is to be real, subject, or becoming-itself. As contradictory as it may appear that the absolute must be conceived essentially as result, a little consideration will set this appearance of contradiction in its true light. The beginning, the principle or the absolute, as it is initially or immediately expressed, is merely the universal. As little as saying “all animals” yields zoology, just as little do the words divine, absolute, eternal, and the like, express what is contained in them; and contemplation in fact expresses the immediate in just such words. That which is more than such a word, even if only the transition to a statement, contains a becoming-other that must be taken back; it is a form of mediation. It is this process of mediation, however, that is rejected with horror, as if it intended more than this alone, as if it were not absolute and indeed not in the absolute, as if absolute cognition thereby were surrendered.

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