Friday, March 25, 2011
Phenomenology of Spirit, Preface, paragraph 53
Science shall only be organized through the concept’s very own life. The determinateness which was taken from the schema and stuck on to existing facts in external fashion is, in science, the self-moving soul of the fulfilled content. The movement of the existing is on the one hand to become something else and so its immanent content; on the other hand, this movement takes this unfolding or this, its existence, back into itself, i.e., it makes itself into a moment, and simplifies itself to determinateness. In this movement, negativity lies in distinguishing and positing existence; in the return into self, negativity is the becoming of determinate simplicity. It is in this way that the content shows that its determinateness is not to be received from something else, and stuck on externally; rather, it gives itself this determinateness, and of itself ranks itself into moments and to a position in the whole. The pigeon-holing understanding reserves to itself the necessity and the concept of the content, that which constitutes the concreteness, the reality, and the living movement of the matter which it ranks, or rather, it does not reserve this to itself, but does not know it; for if it had this insight, it would show that it did so. It is not even aware of the need for such insight; if it were, it would drop its schematizing process, or at least would no longer be satisfied to know by way of a mere table of contents. A table of contents is all that understanding gives; the content itself it does not furnish at all. If the determinateness (e.g., even such a one as magnetism) is in itself concrete or actual, it all the same gets degraded into something lifeless, since it is merely predicated of another existing entity, not known as immanent life of this existence, or known how it has in this its intrinsic and peculiar self-generation and expression. Formal understanding leaves this main issue to others to add later on. Instead of making its way into the immanent content of the matter, understanding always takes a survey of the whole, assumes a position above the particular existence about which it speaks, which is to say, it does not see that existence at all. True scientific knowledge, on the contrary, demands abandonment to the very life of the object, or, what amounts to the same thing, to have before it the inner necessity thereof, and to express that. Steeping itself in its object, it forgets the overview, which is merely a reflection of knowledge from the content in itself. But being sunk in the material and following its movement, it returns back into itself, yet not before the content in its fullness is taken into itself, is reduced to the simplicity of being determinate, drops to the level of being one aspect of an existence, and passes over into its higher truth. Hereby does the simple, self-overseeing whole emerge from out of the wealth within which its reflection seemed to be lost.