Thursday, March 3, 2011

Phenomenology of Spirit, Preface, paragraph 19

Hence the life of God and divine cognition might be spoken of as a game of love with itself; but this idea sinks into edification and even insipidity if it lacks the seriousness, the suffering, the patience, and the labor of the negative. In itself, that life is no doubt undisturbed equality and unity with itself, which is serious neither about being-other and estrangement nor about superseding this estrangement. But this in-itself is abstract generality, which is abstracted from its nature to be for itself, and thereby from any self-movement of the form at all. If the form is declared to be the same as the essence, it is just for that reason a misunderstanding to suppose that cognition can be content with the in-itself or the essence, but can do without the form; that the absolute principle, or absolute contemplation, makes the carrying out of the former, or the development of the latter, needless. Precisely because the form is as necessary to the essence as the essence is to itself, it is not to be grasped and expressed merely as essence, i.e., as immediate substance or pure self-contemplation of the divine, but just as well as form, and in the entire wealth of the developed form. Only then is it grasped and expressed as real.

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